I have a really difficult time just sitting still and being “present” in the moment. It seems like I’m always involved in at least three different projects, leaving me tired and sometimes stretched so thin I feel like I have no time for myself. It’s like if I’m not doing something, I start to think I’m being lazy and wasting my life away.
I’ve taken yoga on and off for the past few years, so I am by no means a skilled yogini. But, I love being able to just take a moment, even if it’s just an hour a week to be still, forget about the craziness going on in the world, and just breathe.
So, when I was recently invited to take a Gentle Yoga class at Finer Studio on Bronxdale, I was excited to check it out. Most recently, I’ve been taking yoga at Crunch, which is focused a bit more on strength training and building muscle, so I knew I’d really appreciate a bit of a calmer pace. And of course I loved that it was a local studio, because while we’ve recently seen an increase in yoga classes being offered in the Bronx, there are still many neighborhoods where it isn’t offered and with the Bronx coming in last place in New York State’s health ranking, more Bronxites could definitely take advantage of this healing form of exercise.
It just so happens that there was a torrential downpour the day I headed to the studio, which only added to my stress level, coming from work that day, but the studio was so inviting, peaceful, and calm. I chatted briefly with the instructor, Racheal, about my experience with yoga and was provided with everything I needed for the class (no need to lug my mat around with me!)
Racheal was awesome in helping me adjust to the positions correctly and creating a meditative environment. After the class, my body felt great and my mind felt even better.
I also had a chance to interview Finer Studio’s owner, Geydi Moreno to learn a bit more about the studio and her views on yoga in the Bronx:
How has the community responded to Finer Studios?
The essence of Yoga is based on the saying that We are All One. Unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable attending a yoga studio. The media keeps showing us images of yoga that are skinny, flexible, female, and, for the most of the time—white. We rarely see images of plus-sized people, or minorities doing yoga. It is hard to feel included when you don’t see yourself in the picture.
FinerStudio offers a safe place on the mat for people of color, for Plus-Sized people, and for people with physical challenges. People in this community are noticing that our instructors are influencers who represent them. Our crowd is very diverse and that is a great response right there; everybody bending together, it’s amazing! We are all challenged in our lives in some way—the yoga mat can be the great equalizer.
What sets Finer Studio apart from some of the other yoga studios/ gyms in the Bronx?
-Diversity: We consider ourselves an Inclusive community, we want to be the change we want to see in other studios. It is important to embrace change in all areas of your world. A great place to practice inclusion is a Yoga Class in which Whites, Blacks and Latinos are one on the mat.
-Quality of Instructors: Almost anyone can teach an advanced level classes, but beginners are truly challenging to teach.
Our instructors teach progressively, they pick poses that can be easily modified and encouraging to people. They help students complement their practice. They breakdown the good and positive in each pose for them to tap into their power.
Most of our instructors are very well known influencers in the world of Yoga, and at the same time, they are kind and humble people, with a passion for spreading the word of Yoga in the communities with less access to Yoga.
-Prices: We really want people to be able to benefit from this practice; not too many can afford paying $20 to $30 per class. We are providing better quality of instruction at an affordable price.
What are some of the benefits of yoga for Bronxites who have never tried it before?
Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for longevity health.
Yoga is not only an exercise, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to find calm in a world of chaos, mental clarity and body awareness. Yoga helps relieve stress (Which can destroy the body and mind) and declutters the mind, helping you to become more focused.
Yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. Other physical benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, Increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance, protection from injury, etc…
Yoga is great to help with coping skills and finding the positive about life. Yoga incorporates meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being
Full Disclosure: I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.