BY BARB BERGGOETZ
There are a lot of yoga studios in Bloomington, but Maxwell House Yoga is different. Here, instructors volunteer their time to teach free classes that last as long as three hours. Students are asked to donate what they can to local charities.
Classes are designed for all levels and are especially appealing to those looking for gentle, restorative yoga, says Sarah Flint, a yoga and meditation teacher and board member of the nonprofit group.
“We touch on almost every joint and muscle in the body,” Flint says. “We really work to integrate mind and body. Any beginner can appreciate this type of yoga.”
Most sessions are held in the solarium or living room of Maxwell House, 1801 E. Maxwell Lane. Others are held at locations around Bloomington. Classes are offered throughout the week and students can attend as often as they like.
Maxwell House co-founder Winnie Edgerton, 75, developed this type of practice in the early 1970s in the Dominican Republic and Central America with her daughter Hannah Edgerton Matamoros, who now teaches the practice in Guatemala. Edgerton’s idea was to offer free yoga classes to those who could not afford to pay, then encourage her students to take that knowledge back to their neighborhoods and offer free classes there.
Edgerton, who has studied, practiced, and taught yoga around the world for 40 years, was inspired to start a similar free practice here in 2003. That program was later relocated to Maxwell House. Edgerton describes the practice as integral yoga, which offers a warm-up, asanas (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises), and yoga nidra (psychic sleep) and other meditative techniques.
“It’s really the series of three-hour classes that will change your life,” she stresses. But Edgerton adds that people will also gain more energy, greater relaxation, and other benefits from shorter sessions.
Flint, who has practiced for 15 years, says instructors have a nurturing way of conducting classes. “It’s given me tools to get through life,” she says.
For more information, visit http://maxwellhouseyoga.org.