Local yoga experts promote health and meditation to the masses

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Those who do yoga — and there are a lot of them — will tell you that there are infinite benefits to practicing yoga, which works out the body as well as the mind through different poses, combined with meditation and controlled breathing.

But yoga isn’t just for experienced athletes or Hollywood celebs anymore. Experts around metro Detroit are making it their mission to prove that anyone can enjoy yoga, including you. Yes, you.

Caren Paskel is a yoga instructor with Yoga Shelter, which has locations in Birmingham, Grosse Pointe and West Bloomfield. They also have two locations in Detroit and one in California.

The Yoga Shelter strives to be a place where anyone can go to practice in an eclectic and relatable environment. Gone are the days of rigid, boring classes. There are just too many health benefits to keep yoga contained to only experienced students.

 

“If you can move, even if you can’t move that well, you can do yoga,” said Paskel. “You’re going to have more range in motion in your entire body. You’ll feel stronger, as well. You’ll gain mobility, flexibility and strength. Plus, you’ll be lubricating every joint in your body, so you’ll have less aches and pains.”

She added that, in addition to general movement, yoga can be a preventative for disease and illness by cleansing organs and nourishing cells. Then, of course, there are the relaxation benefits that come from the discipline’s emphasis on meditation and breath. That’s probably why yoga seems to have only gained popularity over the years.

But even the Yoga Shelter’s seven locations aren’t enough to hold all of the people interested in getting their Namaste on. So Paskel is thinking bigger — like, center-court bigger.

On Dec. 1, Paskel will lead a yoga class on the Detroit Pistons’ basketball court at the Palace of Auburn Hills. From 10-11 a.m. that day, students of every skill level are invited to partake in a yoga class, followed later by a Pistons game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Paskel said the yoga and basketball combination is just another way she’s hoping to show people that yoga can be fun and healthful for the whole family.

“It’s a yoga class on the court before the game, so it’s multipurpose. You get yoga, and you get the game. We want to promote support of the Pistons and make it accessible for everybody to take a yoga class,” said Paskel.

For the $25 registration fee, participants will get the class and a center-court upper-level ticket to the game. Plus, $5 of the fee will be donated to the Michigan Humane Society. That’s because, Paskel said, the practice of yoga is all about being good to yourself while also being good to other living beings.

“I’m thinking we’ll get at least 200 there, but I really would like to get double that. We want to make yoga accessible to the masses,” said Paskel. “Anybody can do yoga. There’s some music, there’s going to be some live music, some families and some kids. It’s really a great community-building event.”

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