WASILLA — The grass at Nunley Park is covered with mats and bodies engaged in various yoga poses Tuesdays and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m.
Offered during the summer months for the past several years, yoga instructor Linda Anastasia Ransom says the free classes support the community while introducing more people to the ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice.
SEVA — selfless acts of service with no expectation of reward — is part of the yoga tradition Ransom and the 10 other nationally registered yoga teachers at the Anjali Yoga Room impart to students of all levels, Ransom said.
A free community yoga class also is offered from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m., Wednesdays at the studio, 280 N. Main St., Wasilla.
Starting Sept. 16, the studio will expand its offerings to include a free class from noon to 1 p.m. for active-duty military, military veterans and their immediate families.
Since opening her studio in downtown Wasilla seven years ago, Ransom has added an array of classes to challenge yoga students of all levels, she said. Classes include intro to yoga, beginning, gentle, advanced beginning, hot yoga and radiant yoga.
Ransom’s isn’t the only studio teaching yoga in the Valley. Midnight Sun Yoga Center in Palmer teaches an assortment of classes, the Alaska Club offers classes and a yoga class also is offered from 6 to 7 p.m., Thursdays at the Big Lake Lions Recreation Center.
Ransom said students from ages 17 to 75 use yoga to help strengthen their bodies and minds.
In many cases, she said, local doctors refer patients to yoga classes to help with their recovery from medical procedures.
Sharon Story helps teach chair yoga, which Ransom said is the gentlest form of the discipline.
People who are referred to a yoga class should call before showing up to a class, she said, so she can match their abilities with an appropriate class.
“There’s yoga for everybody,” said Kathy Widmer, studio manager and a nationally certified yoga teacher.
She said yoga is a way for people to strengthen and align their bodies and minds.
“There are so many ways it comes into your life — physically, emotionally, spiritually,” Widmer said.
Ransom said it’s best to learn new poses from a certified yoga teacher so students are performing the poses with the proper physical alignment.
“In real estate, the mantra is location, location, location,” she said. “In yoga, it’s alignment, alignment, alignment.”
In the years since the business opened, a community has grown up around the studio, Ransom said.
As a community, she said, the idea is to take yoga off the mat and apply its techniques to daily life.
“Yoga is just part of the way I live my life, really,” Ransom said.
She also is a licensed professional therapist. As a therapist, she said, she hopes to help students identify the causes of their anxiety and anger. She’s already working with MY House clients.
And thanks to grant funding, students at Burchell High School also will study the 5,000-year-old practice this school year.
Ransom said yoga focuses on breathing, which can be a useful tool for students who struggle with anxiety.
In life when, people can’t control obstacles they can always control their breath, she said.
Yoga helps people focus on being present in the moment, Ransom said.
“It teaches you to relax and just be where we are,” she said. “You can get so wrapped up in what could be and forget to breathe. Breath is the only tool you can use to bring you into the present moment.”
Both Ransom and Widmer came to yoga as middle-aged adults, Ransom started in her 40s and Widmer in her 50s. If nothing else, they say yoga has helped them be more patient in their daily lives.
Ransom said yoga helps people recognize that their mind and body are separate.
“We are not our bodies,” she said. “We are the light within our bodies.”
Connect to the studio’s website, Facebook and Instagram pages to learn about classes and special events, such as the yoga on the Butte excursion planned Aug. 8. To join, meet at 9 a.m. at the Butte trailhead.
Other excursions have included a paddleboard yoga session on Wasilla Lake, taught by Nicole Seltrenreich of Pioneer Alaska Paddle.
Contact Heather A. Resz at 352-2268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.