Zen Living Yoga opened in Sugar House on Jan. 2, and is designed to allow anyone the opportunity to incorporate yoga into their lives by offering 50-minute classes every hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The brand- new facility is hosting its grand opening celebration on Monday, Jan. 16, where you can take as many classes as you would like for free. If you can't make it to the celebration, stop in at your convenience for a free first class. We talk with Alexandra Bassett, a New York City-trained Vinyasa instructor who works as the director of Zen Living Yoga, and found out why you should stop in for a class.
How Zen Living Yoga is different
"We are a boutique yoga studio, so our classes are smaller and 50 minutes long, to provide a more intimate, yet concentrated experience. Classes also run every hour on the hour during weekdays in order to accommodate people with busy or unusual schedules. Someone can come to our yoga studio anytime during the work week and take a class without having to put forth a huge time commitment. We also offer three to four Kids Yoga classes a day including weekends, so parents can bring their kids ages 5 and up and take a class simultaneously while their children practice yoga. So there's no need to find a babysitter if busy parents want to take a class too!"
Why you should consider classes at Zen Living Yoga
"We have a wide variety of styles ranging from cardio to gentle yoga, and we cater to both beginners and more advanced practitioners. People of all skill levels can feel perfectly comfortable taking classes at our studio. We are also a membership-oriented studio, so becoming a member is really affordable -- the cost is about $2 per day -- and comes with great benefits like discounts at healthy local restaurants. We are really excited about our 8 to 9 p.m. evening candlelight yoga class, too. It's a sensory experience that is both relaxing and inspirational."
How yoga is beneficial for the body
"Yoga is a mind/body practice and lifestyle science. Yoga postures not only stretch and strengthen the muscles of the body, but also cleanse and tone the internal organs and glands. The thing that really sets yoga apart from other disciplines is the added elements of breathwork, meditation, and philosophy that have the potential to bring practitioners into balance with all aspects of their lives. Newcomers notice the benefits -- improved feelings of well-being, relaxation and positivity -- almost always right away."
Misconceptions about yoga
"Many people think yoga is a religion, but it's not: It's a lifestyle science. It is an ancient practice that has been around for more than 5,000 years, so it has been through many incarnations. In the 20th century, it used to be commonly associated with metaphysical pursuits, hippies or the new age movement. The chanting aspect, or devotional aspect of the practice often confuses or scares people and leads to misconceptions about yoga being a religion or cult. For instance, when I first started doing yoga, my family worried I might shave my head and start dancing through the streets with zills in my hands, losing my identity in the process. Yoga however, is really about self-exploration and finding ways to feel comfortable with oneself and others. The thing that makes yoga philosophy and practice so powerful is that it offers simple solutions to a lot of life's challenges and can be adopted by people of any faith."
Combining yoga with other fitness regimens
"Yoga by itself is a well-rounded, mind-body fitness regimen, but it is the perfect complement/crosstraining discipline to any form of fitness. It is especially beneficial for people looking to add more suppleness and flexibility to their exercise routine. For instance, runners or body builders may find it boosts their performance by stretching and strengthening muscles that they normally don't access with their regular fitness routine. I, myself, enjoy the strength building benefits of circuit training and find that it's a great complement to my yoga routine."
Suggestions for living healthy in 2012
"Everyone is unique, but it's important not to try to change everything at once. It's much easier to take small, but regular steps to create new habits, and important to pinpoint what may be holding someone back from making healthier choices in their lives. One of the reasons why yoga has become so popular and mainstream is that many people experience their bad habits falling away naturally, with little effort, when they become regular practitioners."