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Yoga classes get a relaxing assist from nurseries

Calmness of gardens and fountains adds to yoga experience
By: Eileen Wilson, Special to the Loomis News
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Yoga has been relieving stress and changing people’s lives since ancient times. And now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to relax, or challenge themselves — both mentally and physically. Yoga, for many, is an ideal exercise to build strength and flexibility and bring mind, body and soul into alignment. And Elizabeth Lundeen and Cathy Mikles offer two unique locations to practice their healing art: Locations that are both relaxing and surprisingly invigorating. Oversized oaks, vibrant Japanese maples, murmuring waterfalls and bird song: These are sights and sounds to soothe the stressed-out soul. The Flower Farm Inn and Nursery, located at the corner of Auburn Folsom and Horseshoe Bar roads in Loomis, is a nature-filled wonderland, which lends itself to tranquility and peacefulness, the cornerstone of any successful yoga practice. Twisting, turning, and stretching fun takes place in the farm’s event barn, which, on any weekend, is the venue for weddings and parties. The teacher is Elizabeth Lundeen, who has been practicing yoga for more than 10 years. With open windows and doors, allowing fresh air, and nature’s soothing sounds drift about, the space is more inviting, to many, than a typical yoga studio. “Sometimes we practice out on the lawn under the big oak tree,” Lundeen said. “There are chickens outside (Chinese silkies), and people bring their dogs, who sit on the porch while we practice. This is a beautiful place, and a perfect location – I just love the energy.” While the location may be the icing on the cake, it’s the practice itself that is the substance. With a usual crowd of up to 20 students, easily accommodated in the large space, Lundeen encourages newcomers and veterans alike. “We’re open to all levels. It’s very non-threatening, and non-competitive,” she said. “This is what I love about yoga. You have a class of many people; you can have someone who has been practicing yoga for many years, next to someone who’s taking their first class. You simply modify so you can all practice together.” Also important to Lundeen is the fact that the class fosters a sense of community, a facet of our fast-paced world she feels is disappearing. “I have people of all ages. Everybody’s gotten to know each other really well. We notice when someone is missing,” she said, and notes that for many of her students, the practice is the highlight of their day. Lundeen shares her practice on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. As an extra perk, the morning class frequently wanders to the on-site café for a bite or a cup of hot tea after their workout. Cathy Mikles, who has been practicing yoga for over 30 years, teaches students in the old fruit shed located at High-Hand Nursery. We’ve been holding classes here for only a month, and already have between 13 and 17 people,” Mikles said. “That’s a great showing on a consistent basis. The ladies love it, and the class keeps getting bigger.” Mikles teaches yoga at various venues, and is excited to be in such a great location, with practitioners she describes as “a bunch of lovely women.” Most of her students come from Loomis, but some live further afield, in Granite Bay and Roseville. “They were all pretty much beginners, and we’re really working on foundations,” she said. A tranquil location, the fruit shed is surrounded by flowers, fountains, and shady foliage. “It’s the perfect combination – coffee and snack after class in the new café,” Mikles said. Mikles specializes in yoga that involves movement, with a slow pace. “What I love so much about yoga is everyone can do it, old and young, people with injuries, all different activity levels.” Yoga builds strength, flexibility and has a restful aspect, but Mikles really appreciates the union between mind, body and spirit that can be attained by her practice. “It integrates everything in your life,” she said. “I’m definitely a calmer person than I was. It helps you put things in perspective. It’s a very empowering process – I always feel well when I walk out.”