Yoga-for-all class to be hosted by River South this weekend
Published 10:31 am Wednesday, September 7, 2022
If you’re looking for a peaceful way to start your weekend, then look no further than Bainbridge’s very own River South festival. Saturday’s events commence with a unique opportunity to participate in a free Yoga class taught by local instructor, McKenzie Conder, beginning at 10am in Willis Park. With Yoga being a relatively new addition to the health and fitness scene in Bainbridge, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive about joining in with the community style class. But Conder insists Yoga has benefits for everyone, young and old, no matter what their mobility or ability levels are like. “The biggest fear most people have is probably not being flexible,” Conder said. “But I promise once you show up and are on the mat, no one is paying attention. Once you give it a chance, you will hopefully leave class wanting to come back. Yoga is for everyone,” she said.
Conder didn’t start out as a Yoga instructor, but felt the need to make a shift when her work as a private investigator felt unfulfilling. She describes yoga as “a journey worth taking,” and explained that her training was original in Vinyasa yoga that “flows, almost like a dance”. But as she has increased in skill and confidence so her style of teaching as evolved. “I tend to practice this type on my own, but love teaching a more slow paced style for those who have never been or are new to yoga.”
The practice of yoga is estimated to be over five thousand years old, and has many spiritual components which Conder describes as only one part of the many positive outcomes gained from regularly participating. “I started teaching yoga at the Firehouse in town to help bring awareness and to support the arts. But Yoga is an art in itself. Connecting the breath with body movements is a lost art, my goal is to help others connect their mind, body and soul as one. It’s the art of movement…connecting with thoughts and feelings… tuning everything out that no longer matters and in turn receiving a feeling of peace and gratitude. By quieting the mind, yoga can boost creativity, awakening your inner artist.” Conder teaches on Mondays at 6:30 PM at the Firehouse Arts Gallery where she donates a percentage of the class fee her students pay back to the gallery. She says classes could change in the near future to Tuesdays and Thursdays, but some day hopes to open her own independent Yoga Studio in Downtown Bainbridge. Conder claims that yoga not only improves flexibility physically, it can also help keep the mind flexible. “It helps with stress relief, increases strength, reduces anxiety, and improves the quality of life overall. It helps with balance on and off the mat.”
“It improves self-esteem body awareness and promotes better posture. Yoga helps boost brain function and ability to avoid burnout. The bottom line is yoga is a daily practice and you have to show up to the mat and accept yourself as you are. Of course you won’t see results after the first practice, but overtime the practice is rewarding in so many ways.” Health is an important part of Conder’s lifestyle but her goals are broader. “My goal is to hold space for others. no matter what is going on in your life, you matter. I want people to feel like they are welcome, and I am here with open arms to help those who are in need, who want to be loved. I want to teach others to love themselves because everyone deserves to feel this way.”
Her love of community is easily evident. “Our bones in our bodies are there for support, and as humans we should always try to support others in any way possible. You never know what the person next to you is going through and it is my mission to treat others as I would want to be treated. Yoga has helped me to believe in myself if anything. To take that leap of faith. To trust. To live with passion. I do it with love. For myself, and for others too.” You can find more information about McKenzie Conder’s classes through The Firehouse Art Gallery or on Facebook.