Y hosting free program that joins yoga and a community meal for fellowship

Y hosting free program that joins yoga and a community meal for fellowship

The Westerly Sun

A new monthly community yoga event put on through the Ocean Community YMCA will not only feed the mind and soul but the body as well.

Starting Saturday at 11 a.m., residents of the region will be able to participate in an all-ages instructional yoga class at the organization’s administrative offices at 90 High St., followed by a meal donated by local restaurants.

The program, which is free to all regardless of YMCA membership, will take place on the third Saturday of the month.

Instructors Annie Chapman and Maggie Skinner, a mother and daughter team from Mystic, thought of the idea for a dual yoga/meal event after Skinner got home from a yoga teacher training program in Kenya.

In the community where the training took place, there was a free yoga class and meal for anyone on Saturday. After thinking about it, both Skinner and Chapman, who has more than 800 hours of yoga teacher training, decided they wanted to do something like that here.

“We don’t need to go to Kenya to find people who are suffering and looking for peace or who can’t afford yoga or don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” Chapman said. “This class is for everyone to come together and unite all ethnic and economic backgrounds to practice yoga and share a meal. This is the fellowship that creates community.”

When the two brought the idea to the YMCA administration, Pat Hanley, the health and wellness director, said they couldn’t think of a better place to host such an event.

“We want this to be a program where people come together and experience true community,” Hanley said. “Not only will they take part in a yoga class but they might meet some new people and have good conversations with others over a shared meal.”

If the turnout exceeds the capacity of the space at 90 High St., Hanley said they will move it to the gym at the main facility.

“We’re hopeful for a good turnout. Yoga means union and this program will be all about uniting community and getting people together,” he said. “We want to break down all financial barriers because we’re all about promoting health and wellness in the community. Yoga is a great program to promote those things as it teaches mindfulness and self-reflection.”

As of now, there’s no end date for the program. Because the meal will be donated and both instructors are volunteering their time, the program is sustainable and requires no funding to put on. Chapman said she and her daughter are excited to give back to the community through the class and offer holistic nourishment to attendees.

“Yoga heals people,” Chapman said. “Peace begins within and yoga and meditation is an avenue to get there. And that’s what the world needs right now.”

Attendees do not need to pre-register or RSVP, but can simply show up the day of event. Free child care is available.


Latest Videos