Idaho Health and Yoga Awareness Week brings free classes to Pocatello

By Sarah Glenn

POCATELLO – Starting today, yoga teachers across Idaho will welcome the community into their classes for free as the state celebrates the third annual Idaho Health and Yoga Awareness Week. At least one free, family-friendly class will be offered daily at various locations across Southeastern Idaho through Tuesday.

“Yoga has incredible benefits,” said Kath Olsen, who is organizing the free classes in the Pocatello area. “It’s a great thing to do.”

Classes offered for free this week in Pocatello include parent and child yoga, meditation practices, yoga for beginners, yoga for arm strength and flow classes that aim to build both endurance and strength. For a full schedule of the more than 20 classes offered in our area through June 9 click here.

While those attending the free classes at Idaho State University must be 16 or older, most of the other classes will accommodate any age or ability level. A yoga class for the whole family will be taught today at 6 p.m. at the Levitt Center.

“All of the teachers are really great about teaching to different abilities and levels,” said Jesse Call-Feit, a local yoga teacher who will be teaching a free class on the field north of Idaho State University’s Reed Gym at noon today. “We can accommodate just about anything.”

Todays classes include Yoga, from noon-1 p.m. at the Pocatello Public Health Department; Soma Flow from 12:10-12:50 p.m. at the ISU gym #236; Introduction to Beginner Iyengar Yoga from noon – 1 p.m. at Mind Your Body Studio; Vinyasa Flow from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at James Barrett Fit Fusion Studio; Restorative Yoga from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Family Service Alliance; Family Yoga from 6-7 p.m. at the Leavitt Center; and Vinyasa Flow Yoga from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Golds Gym.

Locals participate in a class on the steps of the Stephens Center during the 2014 Idaho Health and Yoga Awareness Week.

Locals participate in a class on the steps of the Stephens Center during the 2014 Idaho Health and Yoga Awareness Week.

This week was set aside in 2013 by Gov. CL “Butch” Otter to encourage healthy, active lifestyles among Idahoans.

The Governor declared June 3-9 Idaho Health and Yoga Awareness week, citing Idaho’s growing obesity rate.

According to the official proclamation, 27 percent of adults in Idaho are obese while another 62 percent of adults are either overweight or obese. The proclamation continues to state that “a wealth of peer reviewed scientific data supports the use of yoga in musculoskeletal, organ, and mental health benefits, reducing symptoms of chronic diseases and improving quality of life.”

One National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study of 90 people with chronic low-back pain found that participants who practiced Iyengar yoga had significantly less disability, pain and depression after six months.

Conclusions from another 2011 study of 313 adults with chronic or recurring low-back pain suggested that 12 weekly yoga classes resulted in better function than usual medical care.

The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published a paper in 2014 that found that regularly practicing yoga could decrease the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

Call-Feit is excited for the opportunity that locals have to get active and try a new form of exercise for free.

“Different teachers and different places teach totally different styles,” Call-Feit said. “It can be really expensive if you want to try it all. But this way you can do it for free.”

If you are interested in the science behind yoga, check out this video by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (18 minutes).

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