2018-08-16 / Outdoors

Yogis' workouts benefit county communities

By Jen Murphy
of the Enterprise staff

YOGIS PRACTICE on the beach to raise funds for the Leelanau Conservancy. The sunset yoga classes are held at Van’s Beach and Nedow’s Bay Beach. YOGIS PRACTICE on the beach to raise funds for the Leelanau Conservancy. The sunset yoga classes are held at Van’s Beach and Nedow’s Bay Beach. There’s a whole lot of yoga going on in Leelanau County. And some of the peninsula’s sessions focus on building or supporting community just as much as striking a pose.

Claire Wood, communications coordinator for the Leelanau Conservancy, said recent efforts by the Conservancy have been focused on offering different types of community activities in addition to hikes.

The goal is to engage new people, so a partnership with a local yoga instructor presented the perfect opportunity.

“The idea came about because the yoga instructor — Katherine Palms — is passionate about protecting Leelanau and wanted to partner with us,” Wood said.

“She came to us and it seemed like a great fit to try something different, since we have been thinking about ways to utilize the Village Green as a community space more. It is also helping to raise awareness of places we’ve helped to protect that people may not know we were involved in - such as the Village Green, Van’s Beach and Nedow’s Bay Beach,” she said. “Katherine is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from any donations she receives for the class to us.”

And Palms isn’t the only instructor who is turning downward dogs into donation dollars.

Amy Hubbell teaches “Yoga on the Beach.” Three years ago she started donating 50 percent of donations collected at the series of classes held at Glen Haven beach to Friends of Sleeping Bear.

“I started partnering with Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes about three years ago, after the park service told me about their volunteer-driven efforts to help keep the park clean, safe and accessible,” she said. “Specifically, the proceeds have benefited their accessibility program which has installed special boardwalks and purchased beach wheelchairs so that even those with disabilities can enjoy the beach and get in the water.”

Hubbell’s class, designed for yogis of all types, has drawn 10 and 20 people each week.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to share yoga with this wonderful community in a way that is affordable and gives something back to the dunes – a place I’ve visited since childhood that holds a very special place in my heart,” she said.

One yoga program focuses on creating a supportive environment. A Gentle Yoga class is offered by instructor Kerry Satterwhite at the Old Art Building in Leland, which draws participants ranging from teenagers to 80 year-olds.

“Gentle yoga was really inspired to draw almost anyone,” Satterwhite said. “As long as you could get down on the floor and back up again, you could get the benefits of a gentle class. And the Old Art Building is such a beautiful space to be in, I think it’s a great way to bring people to yoga in an unintimidating atmosphere. You don’t have to be flexible, you don’t have to be in shape or a certain age.”

The Cedar Area Community Foundation sponsors a yoga class specifically for men. Resident Tom Christensen has been a regular attendee of Men’s Yoga since it started almost two years ago.

“It’s really good stretching. It’s what we do,” he said. “The instructor is very calm and is watching out for us and doesn’t give us a lot of super stretches. We aren’t bouncing around. It’s very good stretching for us old guys. It helps with our balance.

“It’s fun,” he added. “There’s a little bit of camaraderie there too.”

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