Develop Your Yoga Practice at the Library
Public libraries help nurture your mind and body with yoga.
Yoga is about more than just exercise. The word “yoga” comes from Sanskrit, referring to the union of mind and body. When you practice yoga, you are supporting your mental, physical, and spiritual health. To help spread awareness of the benefits of yoga in today’s sometimes hectic and stressful world, the United Nations approved a resolution in 2014 proclaiming June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. Whether you are a longtime yogi or haven’t yet set foot on a yoga mat, your local library has resources and programs to help you celebrate this annual event.
Why practice yoga at your library, you ask? First and foremost, it’s free! When you’re on a tight budget, you know how it feels to give up some things that add value to your life, such as the benefits of attending a yoga class.
And second, classes are often taught by certified yoga instructors. Licensed instructors have the expertise to guide students through poses and make safe modifications.
Without further ado, let’s look at what some libraries across the country are doing to help you celebrate the International Day of Yoga, not only for this special day but throughout the year.
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While yoga has plenty of perks for your health on its own, you can enhance these effects by taking advantage of outdoor yoga classes. And with the International Day of Yoga in June, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the warmer weather.
Placentia Library District in California allows you to enjoy yoga in the sun with their yoga at the Library series. Classes are held right on the library lawn, so you can combine the strengthening and relaxing benefits of yoga with mood-boosting vitamin D from the sunlight.
Yoga for the Whole Family
It’s never too early to start a yoga practice! Babies and young children enjoy the mind-body benefits of yoga. It’s also a great way to bond with your family. To practice yoga together, look for classes designed for parents or caregivers. Carve out sessions for each family member created just for them.
Harborfields Public Library in New York has something for everyone. Their Baby Yogi series is for parents and their little ones to enjoy a relaxing session filled with music, movement, and massage. Yoga Together is another parent-child series geared toward toddlers and preschoolers. Yoga for Kids introduces early elementary-age children to basic yoga poses and relaxation techniques. And for the most mature family members, Chair Yoga for Arthritis presents a gentle yoga series for adults living with arthritis or mobility issues. This series is offered in-person and online for optimal convenience and comfort.
The Free Library of Philadelphia also offers yoga series for all age ranges. Little Yogis is an excellent way for parents and children to enjoy yoga together through songs and storytelling. In contrast, the Yoga series with Mr. Sam teaches teens and adults how to relax through breathing exercises and gentle yoga poses. If you need something to accommodate mobility issues, try the Outdoor Chair Yoga series in the library courtyard.
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If you are new to yoga or have limited mobility, you may be intimidated to try the practice. Many people assume that yoga requires you to be flexible and able to perform challenging poses like headstands. While more advanced practices may include these impressive moves, many practice yoga for years without venturing into this realm. With yoga, there is no pressure or need to compare your strength or flexibility with others.
The beauty of yoga is that you can practice it wherever you are regarding your physical difficulty, preferences, and abilities. If you prefer a gentler practice, look for classes such as gentle yoga, yoga for seniors, chair yoga, and restorative yoga. Yoga instructors also tend to offer modifications for poses, especially if you let them know about your limitations and preferences beforehand.
For older adults looking for relaxed-paced yoga practice, the Washington D.C. Public Library has a gentle yoga program series for seniors aged 60 and up. Classes focus on strength, balance, flexibility, and relaxation.
The Harbor-Topky Memorial Library in Ohio offers a Senior Summer yoga series featuring chair yoga, gentle yoga, and yoga for functional mobility. These sessions are excellent for folks with limited mobility or who spend much of the day sitting.
Sometimes, you don’t feel comfortable dabbling in yoga in front of others. Suppose it’s your first time, or you are sensitive about physical limitations. In that case, you may prefer to practice in the privacy of your own home. Zoom to the rescue! Through the power of Zoom, public libraries now offer virtual yoga classes to their patrons.
The Verona Public Library in New Jersey offers a weekly Chair Yoga on Zoom class perfect for those looking for a gentle class that doesn’t require getting on or off the floor. This virtual yoga class is excellent for all levels.
The San Jose Public Library System holds a weekly Virtual Yoga class suitable for beginners. The program is a fantastic way to sample yoga for the first time in the comfort of your home.
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Boost Your Mind-Body Health with Yoga at Your Library
Suppose you’d like to develop a greater sense of inner peace while stretching and strengthening your body. In that case, you may want to consider starting a yoga practice. If you’re ready to try it, check out what programs your local library has to offer. Don’t forget to browse your library’s catalog for books, DVDs, and streaming videos on the subject.
And if you’re a yoga instructor or know someone who is, consider reaching out to your neighborhood library about sharing the love of yoga through some free sessions.