BETHEL — Lisa Davidson, a resident of Bethel, teaches Kripalu Yoga, a practice which focuses on inward focus, stretching, and breathing. It reroutes a person’s ability to focus and helps them gain clarity. She specifically works with seniors, focusing on what happens to everyone as they age and ways to be careful with the body as they move in yoga. Her goal is to have a community senior class in Bethel for free.

Kripalu yoga has taught her many lessons. The most important one?

“Not to worry so much,” she says. “Everything works out.”

She talks about being in the present, in the moment, and how this is what is available to everyone right now – a lesson she had to learn because it wasn’t taught.

At the moment, she is teaching virtually.

Out in The Common, Melinda Gagnon can be seen teaching yoga to her class. Although she does teach fire flow vinyasa, she likes to always include breath work and meditation into every yoga exercise, no matter how athletic. She explains how breath work teaches to have a quiet mind and understand how to care for oneself. More so, it teaches one how to be present.

“[It’s a] peaceful way of being,” says Gagnon.

She explains breath-work helps keep one grounded.

Gagnon enjoys teaching in Bethel, especially outdoors, because she appreciates nature, which she finds relaxing. She offers an anecdote of why she loves teaching. One day, she had just finished teaching a class in The Common and was sitting on her mat in the grass, on her phone. A woman visiting approached her and said she needed to be rejuvenated, was she teaching any more classes that day? Gagnon set up a private class for her and her six family members at the gazebo. When it was finished the woman said to Gagnon, “Thank you, I can tell you know what your students need.”

According to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (hopkinsmedicine.org), yoga helps with back pain relief, can ease arthritis symptoms, and help out your heart by reducing levels of stress and high blood-pressure. According to health.harvard.edu, yoga is vital for sustaining a strong memory. In the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved with memory, a study showed that those with did yoga regularly did not have any shrinkage, meaning there were less age-related memory-decline.

Davidson also describes some of the benefits of yoga, some being strengthening muscles, easing breathing, improving mood – such as depression; becoming aware of the body and improving focus and clarity. The list is extensive.

When asking both Davidson and Gagnon if it’s easier to meditate in a place as quiet as Bethel versus a big city, both of them responded it did not matter where one practiced meditation. The point being, that the peace was all in the mind.

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