Living Breckenridge, there is a high level of athleticism displayed by its inhabitants.  The mountains afford opportunities to participate in myriad of activities like mountain biking, trail running, and white-water rafting in the summer; and skiing and snowboarding in the winter.   While it is healthy to be active and fit, the importance of proper relaxation cannot be overlooked.  Think of relaxation as the yin to the yang of activity.  Yoga teaches us that there are five points to a healthy lifestyle:  proper diet, proper excercise, proper breathing, positive thinking and meditation, and proper relaxation.

The hatha yoga classes taught by Breckenridge massage therapist and yoga instructor Erica Ragusa are designed to give us the proper levels of movement, breathing, and relaxation to contribute to our health and well-being.  The classes are one-hour long and start out in savasana, or corpse pose, to bring the participant into the present moment and leave behind the stresses of the day.  Then, there is instruction in pranayama, or breathing techniques to increase our vitality.  It is said that when we breathe deep, we live deeply; when we breathe shallow, we live shallow.  Deep breathing techniques are taught along with exercises to improve lung capacity.  Then, the part of the practice that is most associated with “yoga,” the asana practice, is started.  We move into a series of poses while keeping an awareness of our breath, trying to synchronize our movements with our breath.

The pace of the class is slow, giving us time to really feel the movements and deepen our stretches.  Participants have said that the class has allowed them the opportunity to really stretch, lengthen, and open their joints.  The class concludes with a guided relaxation to facilitate total calmness and comfort.  The savasana at the end is important, as it allows our bodies time to process the asanas and integrate them into our structure.  Erica teaches yoga Wednesdays at 5:45pm at Carter Park, Saturdays at 9:45pm at the Rec Center, and volunteers with the BOEC as a gentle yoga instructor and massage therapist for MS, ALS, and TBI groups.  Visit her Breckenridge Massage Therapy website for more information.