Steamboat Springs As yoga instructor Libby Mathes introduced standing yoga poses to a room of 50 patient students perched on their mats Saturday, she described how standing poses encourage strength, flexibility and balance.
But while important, she said, those physical effects are insignificant compared to the mental aspect of yoga.
“The most amazing thing is what happens to our minds,” Mathes said.
And with calm, yogic minds, the 50 yogis raised their arms to the sky in unison in the tadasana, or mountain, pose.
The third annual Yoga Day USA drew hundreds of curious souls and experienced yogis to Bud Werner Memorial Library and the Yoga Center of Steamboat for a day of mini yoga classes of all types.
The 45-minute sessions were available for a donation of $5, which went to a fundraising effort for two local nonprofits: Integrated Community and Community Cultivation. Fundraising totals were not solidified Sunday, but Patty Zimmer, an organizer of the event, said initial tallies looked strong.
Instructors from the Yoga Center of Steamboat and the Steamboat community donated their time to lead the all-levels classes.
Some participants, like Steamboat Springs resident Jill Brabec, already were avid yogis enjoying a community-oriented day of sharing their passion.
Brabec said she started her Yoga Day with the first class at 8 a.m. It was a class of sun salutations to warm up and welcome the day.
“I think the energy is fabulous,” Brabec said. “It was a great wake-up.”
But her day wasn’t close to over. After sun salutations, she participated in Happy Hips, where she worked on hip-opening stretches, and attended the Steamboat debut of Yogatta Dance taught by Zimmer.
The dance class focused on mind-body awareness coupled with freeform movement.
“For me, the best part is trying new things,” Brabec said. “Like the Yogatta Dance, that was totally new to me. It was really amazing. You could feel the energy in the room.”
Gloria James, of Steamboat, said she loved the Yogatta Dance class.
“You get the stretching with it, but you also get to have fun, and that rhythm,” she said.
James thinks she might have been the oldest person in the room, but she’s been doing yoga for six years and enjoys its benefits.
She said since she started practicing yoga, she’s gained back an inch of height, and it’s improved her flexibility.
“It’s good for balance, and it’s good for the soul,” she said.
Even after the conclusion of the standing poses class, Brabec’s day of yoga still was not over: she said her two children were going to join her later for the family yoga session.
“They’re really excited for it,” she said.
But she said the Yoga Day event would affect more than just those participating in the classes.
“On a spiritual level, I think it sends a lot of positive energy into the community,” she said.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or e-mail ninglis@SteamboatToday.com