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Stress-relief for a good cause

Yoga event benefits instructor

POSTED: February 7, 2008 5:03 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Becky Martin leads a Christ Centered Yoga group Saturday morning at the J.A. Walters YMCA.

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Some three dozen people spent their Saturday morning not only getting a bit of stress relief, but helping out a local woman.

Around 35 to 40 people took part in yoga class Saturday morning at the J.A. Walters Family YMCA, according to Becky Martin with Christ Centered Yoga. The event raised more than $1,000 in donations for Karen Smith, group exercise coordinator at the YMCA who was diagnosed with cancer in December 2007.

"We’re very excited to share that news with Karen and her family," Martin said.

Smith has been the YMCA since January 2007, according to the Walters YMCA Web site. She has been in the fitness field for about 27 years, teaching many types of group fitness classes, and has worked as a personal trainer. Smith has a degree in psychology and counseling.

Martin said Christ Centered Yoga, based in Gainesville, combines biblical study with yoga. Martin teaches classes at the YMCA on a regular basis, as well as Bible study classes at First United Methodist Church in Gainesville.

She said the entire exercise "is meant to be a moving prayer of praise and worship."

"The primary focus is to worship God with our entire being — body, mind and spirit," she said.

She explained that participants mediate on the Scripture that they have read prior to each yoga class, and also repeat aloud the names of the Trinity.

Saturday morning’s yoga class also was part of a national "Yoga Day USA" celebration. Yoga Day USA was organized in 1999 by Yoga Alliance to increase awareness about the activity through free or low-cost workshops. Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to upholding the teachings of yoga.

Yoga is a method of exercise and relaxation involving postures and breathing. It also is a Hindu discipline of meditation involving practice of these exercise methods and deep breathing.

Martin said donations for Smith still are being accepted and checks can be made payable to J.A. Walters Family YMCA, line item, "in care of Karen Ann Smith." For more information, contact Vanessa Zimmerman at the YMCA, 770-297-9622.


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