Yoga Day USA in Steamboat offers a fresh variety of mini classes |

Yoga Day USA in Steamboat offers a fresh variety of mini classes

Nicole Inglis

Cindy Gay takes part in a class at the Yoga Center of Steamboat Springs on Wednesday afternoon. Yoga Day USA is Saturday. Instructors will offer free mini-classes for donations at the Yoga Center of Steamboat Springs and Bud Werner Memorial Library.

— "Namaste," a common salutation used in yoga practice, translates to: "I recognize the divine light in you which is the same in me."

One way of sharing that sentiment without words is by making the practice of yoga affordable and available to the community and world at large — a major part of the mission of Yoga Day USA.

"By offering yoga to everyone, we're recognizing that we're all together, we're all the same and we're all in this big, wide, wonderful world together," said Patty Zimmer, a local yoga instructor.

The national celebration of Yoga Day USA started three years ago, and the Yoga Center of Steamboat Springs has been on board since the beginning.

This year, Saturday's daylong event will expand to include two locations and an avenue of introduction to yogic practices.

With support from Bud Werner Memorial Library, yoga teachers from the Yoga Center and Steamboat Springs community will donate their time to offer free classes throughout the day.

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Zimmer, a partner at the Yoga Center, said a $5 donation is appreciated and will go to help fund two local charities.

This year, the yoga teachers chose to support Community Cultivation, which helps at-risk youths and children with disabilities develop vocation skills through horticulture, and Integrated Community, which works to promote integration of immigrant and host communities in Routt and Moffat counties.

"We just choose the organizations that resonate with us that we feel need the most assistance at this time," Zimmer said.

Classes start at 8 a.m. at Library Hall in Bud Werner Memorial Library with a 45-minute introduction to Surya Nam­­as­­kara, or sun salutations. Classes continue throughout the day in Library Hall and at the Yoga Center of Steamboat.

Library adult program coordinator Jennie Lay said the event offers a wonderful sampler for beginning, curious or experienced yogis.

"I think yoga just makes you feel good and more and more people are realizing that," Lay said. "Even if you've never tried yoga, you have a friend probably who has and this is a great day. Talk about a non-threatening atmosphere. It's 45 minutes to dip your toe into Yogatta dance or Kundalini."

Yogatta dance is a class debuting for the first time in Steamboat. Zimmer will lead the session, which allows free-form, dance-like movement combined with yogic principles.

"That is just a chance to move to the music, but with a yogic awareness of mind and body and who you are with the vibrations of the music," Zimmer said. "I've got a great playlist … everything from African music to the Dixie Chicks. It's just free-form dance, you can follow me or do your own thing."

From family yoga and partner yoga to deep, restorative practice and mediation, Zimmer said there will be something for everyone.

All of the classes are for all levels, Zimmer said, so first-timers will be given assistance in the poses from instructors. Experienced yogis can move deeper into the poses.

In addition to the classes, the library will display its inventory of yoga-related materials. The Deep Steep Tea Co. will provide tea, and local caterer Jill Waldman will provide snacks. June Florence will bake cookies, and Rhythmic Touch Sports Massage will offer free 10-minute chair massages between 1 and 5 p.m.

A raffle will continue throughout the day, featuring gift certificates to local health services and restaurants. Raffle tickets are $1 each.

It can be a wild day, but Zim­­mer said for the yoga teachers, it's worth it.

"Anytime you can introduce yoga to someone who's never done it is a joy," she said.

"Even seeing people we teach week after week being able to be a part of this community event is very enriching."

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