By Ruthie Robison The Webster Progress-Times
A fun way to shape in shape, promote heart health and increase overall self awareness is offered in Eupora. Yoga Bliss with Angie are Christian-based yoga classes designed to increase discipline of body, mind and spirit taught by Angela Avent-White of Eupora, a certified yoga instructor. White received her certification in 2010 after completing instructor training at Joyflow Yoga Studio in Jackson. She fulfilled the 200- hour standard requirement set by the Yoga Alliance, the governing body for yoga teachers and schools, to become the only registered yoga instructor in Webster County. White said she first began practicing yoga in 2002 at the Wellness Center in Starkville. “I was at a time in my life where I knew I had been neglecting my physical self, and yet through the practice of yoga, I realized how much I had also been neglecting my spiritual self,” White said. “Yoga, for me, became a very holistic approach to health. It made me want to take better care of myself from the inside out. Not only did I want to eat better foods, get more rest and take better care of my body, but I wanted to make sure my spirit was getting nourishment as well.” Yoga originated in ancient India and has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Over the years, studies have proven that the benefits of yoga include improved flexibility, balance and strength while lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Those who practice yoga often report of a decrease in stress. “I believe there are tremendous benefits to be gained from yoga’s stress reduction, not to mention the physical conditioning aspect of yoga,” White said. “Also, the “pranayama” or breathing aspect of yoga helps slow the heart rate, which has been known to reduce the chances of a stroke or heart attack.” With heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, a cardiologist, Dr. Tandaw Samdarshi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, is conducting a study to investigate the benefits of yoga and how the practice can improve heart health at the outset. “Yoga has also been known to have positive effects on such things as posture, breathing, mental concentration and even mood.” White said. “Who couldn’t benefit from being a little happier in life?” Even beginner “Yogis” can see and feel the positive effects of yoga such as improved flexibility in as little as eight weeks. “Yoga has been beneficial to me on so many levels. Not only is it physically strengthening and stress reducing, but it helps me keep life in perspective. It’s a practice that helps me clear my head of all the noise in the world and realign with the only thing that truly matters … and that’s the spirit within all of us.” White said. Although once a cultural activity, yoga is now considered a recreational sport and is widely practiced in America today because of its countless health benefits and relaxation most participants feel after a class. White describes yoga as being a practice that can discipline the body, mind and spirit. “Today the goals of yoga are varied and range from becoming more physically fit to releasing oneself of selfish desires.” White explained. “My personal practice of yoga is to seek an inner stillness and spirit rest; although others in my class are welcome to practice for their own reasons. I do, however, regularly incorporate my Christian faith into the practice.” Yoga Bliss with Angie classes are a beginner to intermediate mix focusing on flexibility and relaxation. Anyone, from first-time beginners to the more advanced, can practice yoga since most poses can be adjusted to make it easier or harder depending on an individual’s level of experience. “Yoga is very non-competitive. It’s about listening to your body, connecting with your breath and accepting yourself as you are.” White said. White’s style of yoga is considered “multistyle” since she learned during her instructor certification all the ancient styles of yoga. This gives her the ability to vary the style she teaches as well as build her classes around what her students want, such as a class focused on relaxation or a particular body part. Yoga Bliss with Angie meets twice a week on Monday and Thursday at 7 p.m. Classes are held at Joyce Yates School of Dance on Main Street in Eupora. For more information, search for “Yoga Bliss With Angie” on Facebook.com.