Bend, stretch, feel better this weekend

Monica Torline – The Desert Sun January 20, 2011

Improve your strength and flexibility by taking part in Yoga Day USA this weekend. More than 15 million Americans take part in the practice, according to a 2008 study conducted by “Yoga Journal.” They spend $5.7 billion annually on classes, products and trips. However, you can find plenty of free or low-cost ways to pick up the yoga mat and get your downward dog on Saturday in honor of Yoga Day USA.

Free open house

Guru Ren Rasa Yogamaya, who teaches in Palm Desert, is teaming up with the La Quinta Senior Center to provide a day of classes for all ages and abilities:

  • Morning Hatha Yoga at 8 a.m.
  • Yoga Korunta at 10 a.m.
  • Yoga Fusion at 11 a.m.
  • Integral Hatha Yoga at 1:30 p.m.
  • Partner Yoga at 4 p.m.

The all-day event at the senior center, 78450 Avenida La Fonda, will finish with a talk on “Mind Is a Myth” at 7 p.m. Classes are free, though some teachers will accept donations.

Power yoga

Local instructor Janet Vance teaches free yoga sessions on Saturdays at Desert Healthcare (Wellness) Park in Palm Springs. She finds the natural surroundings provide added inspiration to her practice — and you likely will, too. Participants do break a sweat during the hour-long class, which starts at 10 a.m. So wear comfortable clothes. Vance provides mats, towels and water.

Limited mobility

Janice Lennard, a product of the Kelly School of Dance in New Orleans, has been practicing and teaching yoga since the 1970s. The Palm Desert instructor teaches at area gyms, in addition to “Music and Motion” classes, a chair and wheelchair practice for those with limited mobility. She routines offers those classes for free to residents of Windsor Court Assisted Living in Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Health Care Center or Country Villa Rancho Mirage Healthcare Center. Ask your facility for details. Lennard’s recently released DVD “Yoga with Janice Lennard” is a good tool for those looking for more vigorous practice at home.