Yoga 101: It’s for EVERY body

August 2016 Posted in Your Health
Sarah Newman and Chantal Barton encourage everyone to see how yoga  can benefit their body.

Sarah Newman and Chantal Barton encourage everyone to see how yoga can benefit their body.

By Kristine Thomas

Yoga instructors Samantha Wiesner, Sarah Newman, Chantal Barton and Bridget Schuch have heard plenty of misconceptions about yoga.

Everything from yoga is only for people who can put their foot behind their head to it is only for calm people.

In other words, it’s not for people who are inflexible or tend to giggle.

“Saying you are too inflexible to do yoga is like saying you are too dirty to shower,” Wiesner said.

Schuch said yoga is not about having a bendy body. “Yoga is about stepping on your mat time-after-time with an open heart,” Schuch said. “We gain physically from yoga but the real gift of yoga is learning to stay heart centered and gaining that deeper knowledge at we all have within us.”

Schuch tells her students that she is their guide but yoga is their practice.

“We come into a space to practice together but each one of us in the room is having our own experience and each and every experience is valid,” Schuch said. “So make your practice your own and let if unfold organically.

About the teachers

Wiesner, 29, teaches at Gratitude Yoga, Believing in Birth and the Oregon Garden. She teaches several styles of yoga including a prenatal class.

“In my teachings, you will find a focus on body alignment and breath,” Wiesner said. “I make great efforts for my classes to be both nurturing and grounding, as well as accessible to all people regardless of previous experience level.”

Schuch, 32, is the owner of Gratitude Yoga and Movement Space, where she also is a yoga and Pilates instructor and personal trainer.

“I went to my first yoga instructor training knowing that I liked yoga and was curious about teaching it,” Schuch said. “It was at my Yoga Level One training that I fell in love with yoga and knew that I had to teach it.”

Barton, 25, teaches at Body Theory Fitness and Yoga Studio and Yoga + Beer events at Seven Brides Brewing. She learned yoga first from watching videos at home, then trained to become an instructor.

Newman, 28, teaches at Silverton Fitness and Body Theory Yoga. She started yoga after having injuries from dancing.

“Yoga has helped me in so many ways,” Newman said. “It has given me a new perspective on alignment and my skeletal system. It has taught me how to breath and it relieves my stress and anxiety.”

Yoga has changed lives
Wiesner said yoga benefits her differently every time she practices it. What got her hooked was “an overall feeling of confidence. I started to love and appreciate my body and self as a whole.”

About three years ago, Barton decided she wanted to be able to do a cartwheel and decided yoga would be the key to helping her learn how. She was 50 pounds overweight and felt sluggish.

“I weighed 198 pounds and I am 5-foot, 6,” she said. “I worked at a desk as a dispatcher. I would come home after work exhausted, plop on the couch to watch Netflix and eat.”

Yoga has taught her to calm down and how to breath.

“I started doing it two times a week and found it was the exercise I was looking for in my life,” she said, adding it took about two years to lose 50 pounds.

Schuch said her yoga journey also has been life changing.

“It assisted me in moving from being critical towards myself and my body to being in balance with how I feel in my body,” Schuch said.

“It has helped me overcome issues with food and body image and assisted me in cultivating a feeling of gratitude in all aspects of my life. It has been a journey of coming back to myself.”

Yoga is for every body

Senior citizens, athletes, busy moms, tired dads … yoga is for every body and every one, all the instructors said in separate interviews. Yoga can be done from a bed or chair or on a mat.

“There is so much to learn from yoga with the many layers of the practice,” Wiesner said.

“It’s not about touching your toes or standing on your hands. I feel it’s about self inquiry, a learning journey. Learning about yourself through yourself.”

Because most people are always in the “flight or fight” mode, their nervous system rarely gets a chance to rest and digest, Wiesner said.

“We need this to function,” Wiesner said. “If we were to leave the lights on in the house all of the time, we waste electricity, they get hot, dim and burn out, so do we, yoga allows that time for you. To flip the switch, rest the nervous system.”

Knowing the qualifications of all the teachers in Silverton, Barton said there is definitely a class for every one.

“Whether you are serious about yoga or someone who tends to giggle, there is a class for you,” Barton said.

Yoga, she added, isn’t about being able to do a pose perfectly. Instead, it’s about listening to your body and doing what’s best for your body.

“We encourage people to find a variation of a pose,” she said.

“The instructors in town won’t tell you to do something. Instead, they will guide you into a pose and then share what it is.”

Yoga helps athletes learn how to breath properly and expands their lung capacity. By getting more oxygen into the brain, it helps people feel less sluggish, Barton said.

Where to start

All the instructors recommend that if you are new to yoga try different classes and different instructors until you find connection, trust and a feeling of comfort.

Most importantly, give it a chance.

“Stick with it,” Schuch said. “One experience on the mat is not enough to give you a true understanding of how yoga can transform your experience with life.”

Schuch tells her students at every level to be kind and compassionate to themselves.

“Step out of the critical mind and enter the compassionate heart,” Schuch said. “It’s from a place of compassion towards ourselves that we can begin to listen to the knowledge our body has to offer and when we realize what there is to learn we want more.”


Wiesner said there are both long and short term physical and emotional benefits to practicing yoga.

She recalls a single mom ‘fresh out of a bad relationship that changed her. She felt dark, insecure and unhappy.”

By working together, Wiesner said the woman started to shed her layers.

“She first felt the physical benefits, feeling stronger, better balance, eased back pain, then she started to see her emotional wounds and face them head on. She started to see herself for who she really was, finding confidence and happiness again,” Wiesner said.

“What yoga helps teach people is everyone is different and every body is different,” Newman said. “Yoga teaches people to know their limits and to be happy and OK with who they are.”

Schuch has seen yoga benefit her students by allowing them to sleep better, feel more confident, learn to breath better, overcome anxiety, slow down their thoughts and be more meditative and learn more about themselves.

Newman said many people are always on the go, multi-tasking, which leaves them feeling stressed. Before she watches or reads the news or begins her day, she takes a time to practice yoga as a way to remind herself to have a balance between her mind and body.

“The whole practice of yoga is to learn how to breath,” Newman said. “It teaches you how to regulate your nervous system and how to take care of your body.”

Most importantly, both Barton and Newman said yoga teaches people to be OK with who they are and to take the time to refocus or “reboot” the mind and body.

“When we turn off our mind, the chatter in the brain calms down and when we are being still, we are in touch with a higher part of ourself,” Newman said.

“Yoga gives you a different perspective on life and it brings balance to your life.”

Yoga tips, classes
Wear comfortable but not baggy workout clothes that allow you to move. Don’t wear excessive jewelry. Bring a towel and a water bottle and a mat if you have one, if not studios have some you can use. Refrain from eating a major meal before class.

Classes offered at:
Anytime Fitness, 703 McClaine St., Silverton, 503-873-7033,

Body Theory Fitness and Yoga, 106 N First St., Silverton, 503-689-2140,

Gratitude Yoga and Movement Space, 211 W C St., Silverton, 503-409-6273

Silverton Grange Hall, 201 Division St. Classes are at 5:45 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Cost $5. 503-873-2906

Silverton Fitness, 1099 N. First St. 503-873-0800,

Silverton Senior Center, 115 Westfield. 503-873-3093 for class times.

Yoga & Beer
A Yoga & Beer class is at 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month. Aug. 3 is the next session at Seven Brides Brewing, 990 N First St., Silverton. Pre-registration is encouraged. Class for all levels. $15 for class and the first pint of beer. Visit Class is in partnership with Body Theory Fitness and Yoga.

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