Why Yoga? Why Now?

By Harriet Shirley, Gordon JCC Fitness Director 

Spring is coming, but while we’re waiting for the weather to warm up, it’s a GREAT time to try Yoga…why? Yoga is WARM! Warming up your muscles and joints is good for the body. It improves circulation, reduces stiffness and cramping, and helps increase your body temperature. Feeling sluggish? Do some yoga! It is known to boost energy which can feel low with short days, dark evenings, and drab winter clouds.   

But beyond that, Yoga is peace. The practice promotes mental clarity, a sense of security, grounding, and balance, reduces the cortisol levels in the body, and can boost cognitive and emotional wellness which is especially beneficial in times of stress (can you say pandemic?!?).   

The J offers 14 yoga classes a week. All are led by our certified yoga instructors who are trained and love to share their knowledge, and all are very different! Are you unsure of where to start? Read on to learn about each of our teachers and what they have to offer.   

Gerry Martin’s yoga class is very easy to follow, flowing slowly from pose to pose to work and stretch your muscles. He includes some poses specifically to improve balance and prevent falls, but also to make you stronger and more flexible. No headstands required. This class is for everyone, it is not necessary to know yoga lingo or even be able to touch your toes! 

Kristen Bendheim’s classes all feature a holistic approach focusing on the body, the mind, and the breath. These three elements are the foundation of Kristen’s practice, and her classes are designed for everyone from beginners to those with a long-time practice. Her classes promote balance, build strength, and improve range of motion while centering your mind with breath.  

Regina Fernandez teaches a very special yoga class – our Silver Sneakers Yoga. She has been teaching this class for 16 years, and her classes are specifically designed to be done while standing or seated, but you will not be on the floor in them. It is so important as we age to focus on balance, stretching, and range of motion.   

Janeene Larkin-Horn has been a yoga practitioner for over 20 years, loving it so much that she completed certification just over 3 years ago. Yoga for Janeene is mind, body, breath, and spirit melding together for a healthy life and this is what she shares in her practice. Her view is that yoga should be a consistent life-long exercise practice to reduce stress and improve endurance while building strength, balance, and flexibility.  

Carolyn Rudin is a personal trainer who has also been teaching yoga for 19 years and teaches a very gentle yoga stretch class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5pm. Carolyn emphasizes proper alignment, safety, and maintaining focus on the breath, as she accepts her participants wherever they are in the moment.  

Any of our classes can offer a wonderful beginning to someone wanting to get started with yoga, or to maintain an existing yoga practice and improve their well-being by growing. Our classes are open to all and are appropriate for anyone who wants to try them. Check out our full schedule at nashvillejcc.org/group.  


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