Adaptive Yoga for Kids with Visual Impairments in Ferguson

It’s time to give a shout-out to a group of women making yoga accessible to a special group of kids in the Ferguson area.  Julie Johnson and Bonnie Lenz, teachers of the Visually Impaired with Special School District teamed up with Natasha Baebler, a legally-blind yoga instructor with a passion for adaptable yoga, to create the “Fit Abilities Program,” a once-a-week after-school program to teach yoga and mindfulness to kids with visual impairments.

Natasha and Julie took some time to talk about their program with me, and it is incredibly inspiring.

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Introducing the "Commit to You Card" Pre-paid Yoga Program

The best way to fully experience the benefits of yoga is to make a commitment. So Yogapath St. Louis is proud to introduce the "Commit to You" pre-paid class card program. The way it will work is each student will purchase a class card for 5, 10, or 20 classes at a time. Cards will be your class pass and paid in full in advance. Each time we have class it could be a private or have up to five students. This would be an "open" class. A student's price won't change based on the number of students in their open class.

If a student wanted a "closed" class or a class that is guaranteed to be private or semi-private with 1-2 other known students, this would not be eligible for a class card and would be subject to standard Yogapath St. Louis private/semi-private pricing.

Terms and conditions of class cards. 1. Students must pre-register/pre-schedule for class. 2. No-shows forfeit that class - make-ups are not offered for no-shows. 3. Students are held to a 24-hour cancelation policy and will loose a class if canceled in less than 24-hours except in special emergency circumstances approved by YSTL staff. 4. If the instructor must cancel class, 24-hours notice will be given at minimum and class will be rescheduled for the same week if possible. 5. Class cards may not be shared between students. 6. No refunds for any reason.

Pricing for class cards: 5 open classes: $80 (expires 2 months after purchase) 10 open classes: $140 (expires 4 months after purchase) 20 open classes: $240 (expires six months after purchase)

For now, class cards must be purchased in person with cash or check. Credit cards accepted with an additional $2.50 processing fe per transaction.

The preliminary open class schedule will be released soon.

We are super excited to offer this common package deal! As always, if you have any questions, please let us know!

All are welcome on the mat.



Introducing Corporate Yoga

Yogapath St. Louis has a new exciting program! Beginning in the new year (January 2015) Yogapath St. Louis will be offering a corporate yoga program. Your company or organization must have a group of at least five (5) individuals wanting to practice yoga on a regular basis OR want to offer a yoga workshop at a company retreat, picnic, or other one time event. Yogapath's lead instructor will meet with your group organizer to find out your group goals for a regular yoga practice, explain the benefits of a regular yoga practice as a group, and crate a custom tailored corporate yoga program especially for your group or organization. Classes and workshops will be held on site at your place of business at a time that is convenient for your employees. The ideal corporate program offers class once or even twice a week, but less frequent options may be available.

To find out how you can bring yoga to your organization or business, contact Yogapath St. Louis today at!

Beginner Yoga

Explore your inner self. Stretch your body and mind. Relax and renew. These are just a few of the benefits of yoga. What a better time to start on your yoga journey than the holidays? Take an hour for yourself Monday evening and join Natasha at Sweet Peace Yoga for Yoga Basics a class suited for the complete Yoga novice! In this Vinyasa or flow style class, we will delve deeply into the 12 basic poses of yoga, helping you form a strong foundation and preparing you mentally and physically to attend an all levels class.

Myth: You have to be flexible to do yoga.

Fact: Yoga is for every body! You will gain flexibility by practicing yoga regularly, but even the most stiff of people can benefit from yoga. No turning yourself into a pretzel in this beginner class!


Props to Yoga Props

As an instructor I see studies express hesitation around props in every class - no matter the level. Yet props are the tools through which a student can experience the full expression of a pose while reducing the risk of injury. Most yoga injuries happen because someone was pushing to far or too hard. When we try to force our bodies to do things they aren't used to doing, we create space for injuries to happen. I have seen more than one student tweak their lower back in triangle pose because they didn't use a block under the mat hand. There is no shame in bringing the floor up to you to achieve proper alignment. Sometimes props just help us compensate for physical attributes which we can not control. For instance, I regularly use blocks under my hands in pigeon. I have grater flexibility in my back and spine than my short arms will allow for. By raising the floor up three or four inches, I am able to experience a fuller expression of pigeon in its upright form.

The same is true for a folded blanket under the hips in seated postures. This is a prop aid I rarely see students using, yet Iit can make a huge difference in the tilt of the pelvis and thus the degree of depth in a forward fold.

So, the question becomes, why don't students use props? The first answer that comes to mind is vanity or self-consciousness. They don't see other students or even the instructor using props. So the student feels awkward about using props. To solve this problem in my group classes, I prompt students to use props regardless of whether I feel every student in the room needs that prop on that pose. Take a strap for example. Most students will not pick up a strap spontaneously to deepen a seated forward fold. Yet when first prompted to pick up their strap, take one end in each hand and place the middle of the strap over the balls of the feet, every student will use the strap to deepen his or her forward fold. Some will benefit more than others by the use of the strap, but those who need it will no longer feel self-conscious about using it.

As I see it, props are one thing in yoga that everyone - even instructors - should be using. The essentials, a strap and a blanket. Blankets are to me, the most versatile of all yoga props. Based on how a blanket is folded or rolled, it can mimic a wedge, block, bolster, mat, and provide extra cushioning under knees, feet, neck, shoulders, and back. In my classes, a blanket is as important as - and sometimes more important than - a mat.

The strap is particularly useful for two classes of yogis, the inflexible, and the inexperienced. In other words, if you aren't a rubber band and haven't been doing yoga since you could breathe, you probably can benefit from a strap. Straps help you maintain poses, give you those extra few inches you need to reach your toes or open your shoulders, and relieve part of your brain to concentrate on balance rather than grip in standing postures.

Blocks, the least portable of yoga props. Yet they are the one I encourage students to grab for every detox and yin class I teach. When you're reaching, twisting, lowering, or folding, a block can help bring the floor up to you when you can't both keep the true expression of the pose and touch the floor at the same time. Foam blocks in particular can simply make a pose more steady as when placed under the hip in pigeon or under the hands in downward facing dog for someone with very tight hamstrings.

So, the next time you walk into the yoga studio, stop and grab some props. Try them out in new ways. Find out for yourself how you can individualize the use of props to enhance your personal practice.

Creating Warmth

On a cold dreary or rainy fall day all most of us want to do is curl up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea, and maybe a companion. We have a tendency to draw inward to sluggishness when what we should be doing is moving more, not less. We have the ability to create warmth from the inside out through movement. Have you ever rubbed your hands together creating friction and thus warmth? This same concept can be transferred to the body as a whole to take your whole person from chilled to warm in less than twenty minutes.

It's no coincidence that many yoga classes contain a "warm up" of the sequence known as the sun salutation. The Sun Salutation was created to begin to generate heat in the body as preparation for more complex postures or meditation. After just a few flows through the sun salutation, deepening your folds and stretches with each repetition, yogis find themselves pealing off layers of clothing and beginning to feel warm. The Vinyasa - or flow with the breath - helps to generate an internal heat that warms the body from the inside out.

So, next time you find yourself wanting to curl up under a heavy blanket, pull out your yoga mat and create your own heat through movement.