Yoga: It’s not all about standing
on your head ... just breathe!
Story by Sue Erwin
Photos by Christine Cunningham and Caroline Clabaugh
Check your ego at the door and stay on your own mat.
That’s a phrase commonly used by yoga instructor
Ginny Williamson, who teaches hatha yoga at various
venues on the island. It’s a great way to get active and stay
healthy, Williamson said.
Island yoga instructor Natalie DiMauro agreed.
“It’s very beneficial both for beginners and experienced
students,” DiMaura said. “We encourage our class members to
pay attention to their bodies, and not compare their
movements with others in the class.”
Both women teach beginner and intermediate classes at the
Boca Grande Club, The Gasparilla Inn & Club and the Boca
Bay Pass Club. Williamson also teaches at Banyan Tree Pilates
& Yoga. She’s been a certified instructor for nearly 20 years.
The average age of class participants is about 60, so she’s
convinced that practicing the hobby has unlimited benefits,
especially for older clients.
“It helps lower blood pressure, it can help with depression,
dementia and post traumatic stress disorder – it can help
mentally and physically with so many things,” Williamson said.
“And the energy you can gain from it is just a side affect.”
Both instructors agree that there is still a slightly negative
stigma that surrounds yoga in society.
“Some people think have to be able stand on your head or
put your legs behind your neck,” Williamson said. “That’s just not
DiMaura said that although many of the poses can be
challenging, each person should determine what is comfortable
and move slowly to prevent injuries.
“Yoga should always be done with ease … if something hurts
then stop and just focus on controlled breathing, which is a
powerful exercise in itself.”
Many doctors agree that yoga may help cure a variety of
ailments. It eases stress by using slow breathing, and some
patients say it helps them with back problems because stretching
helps ease the muscles around the spine.
Natalie DiMauro and
Ginny Williamson teach
hatha yoga at various venues
in Boca Grande.