Staying physically fit with yoga
As 9 a.m. Saturday rolls around, club members file into Marion’s Diamond H Fitness for a relatively new experience — weekend yoga.
For instructor Shannon Hoffer, it’s a return to her roots.
She’s originally from Marion, but spent time in Costa Rica getting her 200-hour certification to teach yoga in 2011, and taught classes while living in Connecticut and Kansas City. It’s the first time yoga has been available in Marion since she moved away from five years ago.
Hoffer recently moved back to the area, working at Wesley Medical Center as a nurse, and started yoga classes at Diamond H at the beginning of January. For a health professional like Hoffer, yoga is more than a means of limbering up.
“As a nurse, I see the importance of preventative medicine, and stress management,” she said. “There’s current research being done that yoga is an effective method for helping with hypertension, insomnia, and obesity. The list is kind of endless.”
While it is an effective way to stay physically healthy, Hoffer also stresses the importance of finding an inner balance.
“There’s a lot of focus on trying to make yoga athletic, everyone wants to go in and get their workout,” she said. “I’m trying to serve those who need that athletic component, but I’m also really trying to connect people to the meditative side.”
Marion resident Casey Case started yoga with Hoffer five years ago, but did not practice since then.
“It’s easier the second time because I know what to expect, although I’m older now,” he said.
While he is reaping the physical benefits, connecting his inner balance isn’t something Case has managed yet.
“To get into the spiritual aspect of it, it takes time,” he said. “I’m not there yet. I’m trying to get there, but I guess I haven’t had that out-of-body experience.”
Part of the goal is changing the perception around yoga and making more people feel comfortable joining in, Hoffer said.
“As far as incorporating people from the weight room to come in there, that’s still a challenge, there’s that intimidation factor,” she said. “There’s a big stigma that yoga is for women.”
While it might be perceived as less masculine than weight lifting or biking, the balance and technique of yoga provides its own challenges, Case said.
“The older I get, the more I like to change things up,” he said. “I try to put a little variety in my fitness routine. For all the guys out there who think it’s for women, it’s a humbling experience.”
Class is free for members or $5 per class for non-members, and consistently draws 10 participants.
Hoffer’s current yoga schedule runs through February, with classes every Saturday, and alternating weeks between Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings.
While Marion isn’t a large community, that can be an advantage because there isn’t competition and people already know her face, Hoffer said.
“Because there aren’t a lot of opportunities like this in Marion, it’s an easy thing for people to gravitate toward,” she said. “They knew me from growing up here, and I taught here five years ago, so people already knew who I was.”
Last modified Jan. 30, 2019