By mid-February, 74-year-old Val Whitehead counted 1,000 consecutive days guiding an online, morning yoga group: yes, including Christmas, birthdays--all of it.
An idea that started during the pandemic, when people were isolated, Whitehead says the daily Zoom classes have become a movement. Though she now charges a membership fee, the classes started as a free offering; a way to connect during uncertain times.
"I would do my practice online and ask others to join in whatever way they were able: the focus was just on showing up every day," she said of the breath-based work that uses mantra, philosophy, contemplation and asana yoga (among other disciplines).
"For about one hour each day, we build physical and mental strength, flexibility and resilience--but it's not an exercise program. At the end of each session, we have a quote of the day; we share and talk about that. It's being part of a community that's important, that and being accountable; making a commitment to attend."
Whitehead says when she retired over a decade ago from a career owning an insurance agency, she knocked down walls in her basement to create a yoga studio--and she hasn't looked back.
"We do the practice first thing in the morning to start our day right," she added. "We even have get-togethers now that people can gather again. People are missing that connection."
Whitehead says she has spaces for students with little or lots of yoga experience. Email [email protected] for more information.