May 25th, 2024

Community yoga for everyone


By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on January 11, 2022.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Shonna Lamb, at right, and her Pop Up Yoga students hold a pose for the camera at their Community Yoga session Sunday morning at CASA.

It’s a yoga class as the name implies.
On Sunday at CASA, a group headed upstairs at the downtown building for a little morning relaxation.
And everyone was welcome as Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge held its weekly SUN-day Community Yoga class.
“Every Sunday from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. we offer a community yoga class. We’ve been doing this for seven years,” said Shonna Lamb, owner and director of Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge. “So in an effort to remove barriers to access yoga, we run a weekly class and it’s done on a donation basis. So those who can afford to pay will usually pay $5 to $15 and those who, at this time, can’t, just simply drop in. We operate on an anonymous donation system, that way there’s a dignity as to removing that financial barrier if it’s there.”
The money for the sessions goes toward running the program, said Lamb.
“We have certified, qualified, well-trained teachers. They invested thousands of dollars into their training. So it has been really key for us to ensure the teachers who are facilitating are reliable, well-educated at well-practised.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit almost two years ago, Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge ran the biggest yoga class in Lethbridge at the Galt Museum, said Lamb. 
“We usually see 100 to 150 people for our spring equinox.”
This year, knock on wood, it’s back on.
“It’s booked for March 13,” said Lamb. “So, fingers crossed, we’re at a place where we can revisit it after a two-year hiatus.”
But Sunday’s classes usually draw between 10 to 30 people of varying skill levels.
“People who it’s their very first time and people who it’s their thousandth time,” said Lamb. “It’s really welcoming, inclusive and accessible space for all.
“Our aim is to make it accessible to as many as possible and that includes the physical component. Everyone is at a different level and each day we practice will be very different.”
The primary focus of style Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge does is breath, said Lamb.
“So whether you do one half of all of the postures, what we’re really looking to do is making it a system that fits everybody, whatever level they’re at. There are different styles and different benefits.”
One of those is regulation to the nervous system, said Lamb.
“It’s calming and a large part of that is the breath. When we’re moving there’s strengthening and obviously there is stretching and there is also focus and concentrate for the movements. So the benefits are calming for the mind, but they can also be energizing.”
Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge can also take their relaxation techniques directly to its clients.
“We often get requests from people to bring Pop Up instructors to them,” said Lamb. “So where it’s groups of teachers, or people opening a business or people in a group with their friends, we have lots of instructors that go out into the community and do it that way, too. We have some folks who work in the rural communities and they work with kids. We’ve got some that do special pop ups in the art gallery.”
A lot of that, said Lamb, has stemmed from the past seven years of working in the community.
“We’ve seen thousands of people come through the program and it sparks an idea of what if we brought this to our employee group or if we bought this to our hockey team or a school.”
Anyone interested in attending a Pop Up Yoga Lethbridge session can visit http://www.popupyoga-lethbridge.com.
“For anyone curious, feel free to email us,” said Lamb.

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