When someone mentions the word “yoga,” images of thin, rich celebrities pop into our heads. Felicia Paige Williams wants to change that notion with her Teen Circle yoga class at Yoga Soup (yogasoup.com).
For about a year, Williams has been teaching yoga. She was introduced to yoga thanks to Yoga Soup, where owner Eddie Ellner allowed her to take yoga classes through a “donation option.” “Yoga doesn’t have to be a privilege,” Williams said. “It’s not just for the wealthy.”
Williams asserted that yoga isn’t only for the extremely fit either. Her classes are directed toward all levels, and have included students with multiple sclerosis who are wheelchair-bound or require walkers yet find Williams’s classes beneficial. While there seems to be a misconception that yoga is only for the flexible, the physical exercises only make up an eighth of the yoga lifestyle. There are eight “limbs” of yoga and the physical portion only constitutes one; the others include meditation and cultivating awareness. “Yoga means ‘unison with the self’; to yoke, to unite,” Williams explained. “It’s a practice, a way of life. A philosophy.” There are many different types of yoga classes, including some that are rigorous and others that include more meditation practices.
Williams incorporates a blend of these different yoga practices with a mixture of postures, meditation, chanting, and partner exercises. Yoga promotes strength in body and mind that Williams believes is beneficial to teens. With obesity plaguing an increasing number of young Americans, Williams sees yoga as being “instrumental in getting [these teens] active,” and helping with their “posture, strength : [and] increasing [their] mental clarity.”
While teen yoga classes aim to help alleviate stress and get youth in touch with their minds and bodies, Williams said that her “goal is for them to have fun.”
The class takes place at Yoga Soup (28 Parker Wy.) on Mondays from 3:45-4:45 p.m. and costs $12; those who cannot afford this can offer a donation instead. For more information, call 965-8811, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit yogasoup.com.