By Sarah Jackson
Special to Sierra News Online
OAKHURST – Mountain community residents hoping to find easy-to-access options for yoga are sure to be pleased by some recent local developments.
Yoga classes have long been available to mountain residents with gym memberships at Mountain Muscle and Form Fitness, and an occasional ‘pop-up’ class has been available at various locations in recent months.
However for those wishing to try a drop-in class, gym memberships and sporadic classes pose challenges.
A new venue for yoga is starting this week at Dirty Hippy, a locally owned store in Oakhurst offering handmade soaps, incense and oils, books, clothing, candles, crystals and more.
Oakhurst resident and yoga instructor Sharon Barker has been practicing yoga for 33 years and teaching Hatha yoga and meditation for 25 years.
Barker is teaming up with Dirty Hippy (located on Highway 41 directly across from the new hotels) to teach classes focused on gentle, easy poses synchronized with the breath. She will use Iyengar and Integral yoga styles and will work into Vinyasa – or flow yoga.
Barker is clearly passionate and committed to the practice: “I love yoga and I love teaching it. I know so well how beneficial it is if practiced regularly and with a good instructor.”
Barker and Dirty Hippy will also be offering meditation classes on Tuesday afternoons. These classes will guide students in breathing techniques, withdrawal of the senses and concentration through guided meditation.
Co-Owners of Dirty Hippy – Cindy and Stefany Pillar-Mackey – are equally passionate and committed to bringing quality services to the mountain community: “We are so excited to bring services and classes to the community at affordable prices! We will be having yoga, meditation, reiki, tarot card reading, massage and other services as well as classes about tarot reading, chakras, crystals, meditation, nature-based spirituality and a prosperity workshop coming soon! We hope to bring other fun classes such as bellydancing as well! We are having so much fun and are really enjoying the vibe of this community that is coming together!”
Yet another local, accessible option for yoga can be found at Healthy In The Park – a plant-based gift and body shop located near the entrance to Mountain Feed & Nursery on Highway 41 in Coarsegold.
Healthy In The Park owner Anne Zuber could not be reached for comment but a promotional flyer in her store describes her as “a self-proclaimed natural formulations geek and a natural products educator with over 20 years in the wellness, detox, and nourishment industries.”
Gentle Yoga at Healthy In The Park is offered on Monday mornings. Another yoga class at Healthy In The Park is held on Tuesday evenings.
“Mindful Kidz Yoga” classes are popular at the Coarsegold location with lead instructor Ashley Gomez. These youth classes are held on multiple dates and times throughout the week and teach children mindfulness, breathing exercises, poses, games and activities.
Yoga is widely accepted within the medical community as a healthy practice for all ages – to reduce stress; improve strength, flexibility, and posture; increase concentration; and even reduce the risk of heart disease.
Gaining more options for access to yoga is a definite win for the health of the entire mountain community.
Here are some current local yoga class options:
Monday 8:30 a.m. – Gentle Yoga – $15 drop in – Healthy In The Park ($10 teens/seniors)
Monday 10:00 a.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park 2-4 yrs – $40 monthly
Monday 11:00 a.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park – 5-9 yrs – $40 monthly
Tuesday 10:30 a.m. – Gentle Yoga – $13 – Dirty Hippy
Tuesday 5:00 p.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park – 5-9 yrs – $40 monthly
Tuesday 6:15 p.m. – Yosemite Yoga – $15 – Healthy In The Park
Thursday 9:30 a.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park – 2-4 yrs – $40 monthly
Thursday 10:30 a.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park 5-9 yrs – $40 monthly
Thursday 3:30 p.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park – 2-4 yrs – $40 monthly
Thursday 4:30 p.m. – Kidz Yoga – $10-$13 drop in – Healthy In The Park – 5-9 yrs – $40 monthly