How can we keep ourselves healthy? Yoga instructor Amanda Curtis Kezal might suggest taking a few deep breaths and easing yourself into frog position. Frog is just one of the many yoga postures that focuses on deep breathing and awareness of the body and mind. Curtis Kezal,who teaches the only one credit yoga course offered at USM, is a certified Kripalu Yoga instructor. She and her mother Bernadette Curtis operate Holistic Pathways Yoga and Healing Center in Gorham. Curtis Kezal teaches yoga while her mother specializes in reiki and polarity therapy.
Reiki, polarity therapy, and yoga are part of the holistic approach to wellness. Holistic healthcare focuses on achieving a healthy balance amongst the four planes of existence: spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional.
“Yoga is about centering your mind and body–being aware and present,” said senior art major Lisa Elizabeth. Elizabeth chose Curtis Kezal’s class because she needed a time to let go of her daily worries. “If you’re caught up in projecting and regretting, you’re not in the now,” she said.
Others like Anne Lauziere, a junior therapeutic recreation major, opted for yoga because her only other option was ballroom dancing. She discovered yoga was a good outlet for her stress. “After the first day, I felt more energetic,” she said.
An integral part of creating balance in our world exists in living fully in the present moment, according to Holistic Pathways. “To live wholly, we live consciously, mindfully, and aware of each day and its effects on the self, the body,” reads the philosophy of the Holistic Pathways Website.
“Yoga puts things into perspective by creating focus for the mind,” said Kezal. Though Curtis Kezal’s USM class consists mostly of 20-something females, her healing center students range in age from 20 to 60. Many of her students are career-oriented people seeking relaxation and peace. “Yoga is not something just for hippies living in a treehouse,” she said. “Anybody with desire and an open mind can do yoga.”
Kripalu yoga is a gentle yoga that fosters expansion of the mind and body through its three stages of deepening awareness and flexibility. Although there are many forms of yoga including the increasingly popular Bikram yoga, which subjects its participants to excruciating heat, most forms stem from hatha yoga and vary minutely.
Yoga is a low-impact practice that uses body weight, as opposed to machines or free weights, to strengthen and tone muscles. Yoga, often misinterpreted as a relaxation tool, can be an exceptional strength workout in its advanced form. Curtis Kezal has known extremely fit individuals, including burly wrestlers, to find yoga a difficult workout because of the different muscle groups used.
Holistic Pathways in Gorham hosts introductory workshops throughout the year. “Guided Meditation and Relaxation” and “Simply Breathe” are offered in the third week in February. Pre-registration is required. Call 839-7192 for more information.
Christy McKinnon can be contacted at [email protected]