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New yoga studio brings health benefits, friendship and connection

By: Kathy Maynard, Loomis News Correspondent
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When Casey Bird and Sherri Conway first met in a yoga class a few years ago, they were there for very different reasons. Bird was practicing yoga as therapy for an injured knee, while Conway was grieving the death of her parents. Both found yoga such a positive healing experience that they went on to take their first instructor training together. In May, they opened Bridgeyoga, on Taylor Road. “It’s a partnership based in friendship. Yoga had a profound impact on our lives and we met through it so we thought, why not offer that to others in our community,” said Conway. “Our vision was to create a safe and comfortable place where everyone could come and move their body in whatever shape or form their body happened to be and feel good that they came.” Bridgeyoga features hatha yoga, which combines physical poses and breathing techniques to create balance in the body and mind, in a comfortably heated room. “Every class is for everyone. You can come in at any level and gain flexibility and strength as you begin to lengthen the muscles with the postures,” said Bird. “People may come here to reduce their waist size and get some muscles, but they get so much more beyond that.” Bird and her husband, Russen, moved to Penryn from Rocklin in 2007 with their children, Olivia Frost, 11 and Brandon Bird, 12, who both attend Penryn Elementary School; and Cameron Bird, 15, a Del Oro student. Conway moved to Newcastle in 2003 from New York with her husband, Chris, and their children Katie, 23, Alison, 12, and Kelly, 16, who attends Del Oro High School. The women chose their location in the middle of town to feel more connected with their community, but wondered if there were enough people in the area to sustain a yoga studio. The response surpassed their expectations. “People tell us they are so glad we are here. A few come from Penryn and Newcastle, but the vast majority are from Loomis and nearly a third are men. We get people of all ages who have never worked out or done yoga, to people more experienced than me,” Conway said. There’s a real sense of community here, people immediately begin introducing themselves and form friendships with us and each other. Someone started a book exchange library, they tack things on the bulletin board, and bring in vegetables to share, she said. Deborah Roberts, of Loomis, started yoga the first week Bridgeyoga opened and now attends classes five times a week. “It’s fun and I can touch my nose with my toes, now.” “I’ve lost 12 pounds and I’m stronger,” Roberts added. The studio is already growing to meet demand. After Labor Day, they will add a 6 a.m. class and introduce chair yoga to offer extra assistance to people who are older or dealing with injuries or illness. “It has a lot of the traditional poses that we do on the mat, but the chair brings the floor higher up so you don’t have to work so hard going up and down,” Bird said. Bridgeyoga offers discounts to teachers and Del Oro students. They are also working with Del Oro to integrate yoga into the girls tennis team’s workouts and perhaps offer yoga as an option to make up PE classes. “It makes you flexible and it’s really fun,” said Malachi Greene, a 2012 Del Oro graduate. For more information, call 303-0621 or visit www.bridge-yoga.com. BRIDGEYOGA What: New yoga studio Who: Instructors Casey Bird and Sherri Conway When: Classes offered daily Where: 3587 Taylor Road Information: 303-0621 or www.bridge-yoga.com