We had a blast sweating with Megan Donley of Lotus Moon Yoga and Creative Healing Arts Center last summer.
Donley guided us through various invigorating asanas and relaxing savasanas that helped us tone, strengthen, lengthen and center ourselves.
After a month of butt-kicking boot camp, we were craving something a bit more zen, so we invited her back for No Sweat in the Park in July.
Join us for free hour-long classes with Donley from 6 to 7 p.m. July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 in the grassy field behind the York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, West Manchester Township.
Not sure what to expect in your first outdoor yoga class? Read on for a Q&A with Donley.
Q. How is yoga different from other forms of exercise?
A. Yoga integrates body and mind as well as a spiritual connection in its truest form – this can fit in with any belief or religion – just a connection to life and a deeper understanding of self. Yoga also is a practice of awareness and simultaneously moving and strengthening the body and relaxing the body and mind. It is non-competitive – you are not competing with yourself or others and it is gentle and non-invasive when practiced properly.
Q. What are some of the health benefits of doing yoga?
A. So many! It induces the “relaxation response,” a term used in the medical field to describe what happens when the body relaxes. The relaxation response can help boost the immune system, reduce stress and pain and lower blood pressure, among other things. Yoga stretches and strengthens the entire body, brings focus and clarity of mind, helps relax the nervous system, cleanses the organs of the body and lubricates joints, among other things.
Q. What should I wear/bring to the outdoor yoga classes?
A. Comfortable “work out” clothing is fine — tank tops or tshirts and cotton pants or long shorts. Yoga pants, cotton or linen pants are great. It might be hot, so wearing layers or warm weather clothing is the way to go.
Q. What kind of exercises/movements will we be doing in class?
Gentle stretching, various yoga poses (asanas) and sequences of poses. Some poses are sitting, lying down, standing, kneeling or on hands and knees. Most poses can be modified for all levels of practice. Poses will stretch and strengthen the body.
Q. If I’m not in shape, will you offer modifications?
A. Yes. Absolutely. That is a specialty of mine.
Q. If I have certain health conditions/physical limitations should I not do yoga?
A. If you are pregnant, you may wish to consult your doctor before doing yoga outside in the heat or at all, though usually gentle yoga is great for pregnant women. For major spinal issues such as herniated discs and major injuries or recently broken bones/surgeries, it may be best to consult your doctor or wait until your body has had more time to heal.
Lotus Moon Yoga and Creative Healing Arts Center is located at 36 N. Beaver St., York. Reach them by phone at 717-424-2273 or visit them online at lotusmoonyogayork.com.