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Larimer County Farmers’ Market offers free outdoor yoga class

The Larimer County Farmers’ Market:

  • Where: 200 W. Oak St., Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • When: Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon from May 20 to Oct. 28, 2017

In the midst of the bustling farmers market was a patch of grass filled with colored mats and calming moments. Despite busy lifestyles, to-do lists and deadlines, some Fort Collins residents took an hour-long break from the demands of life and dedicated it to morning sunlight and positive mindsets.

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Throughout the Larimer County Farmers’ Market season, the farmers market and Elan Yoga & Fitness partnered together to offer the community free yoga at 9 a.m. every last Saturday of the month. Before browsing local products, shoppers had the opportunity to slow down and start the weekend off with a free yoga class.

“I think it’s really good for your mind and body,” said Katy Limoge, a participant in the yoga class. “It’s fun that you get to exercise but you get to relax your mind and think.”

Not only is yoga beneficial for the mind, it is also an excellent way to strengthen the body. The benefits of yoga are innumerable, said yoga instructor Carol Hermes.

“It helps you become physically stronger,” Hermes said. “It helps your mind remain calmer, clearer, slower to anger and it lets you connect with other people if you practice in a class setting.”

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but it can also be used to address specific areas or muscles in the body, Hermes said.

“I have scoliosis, so it’s great for keeping my spine limber and for keeping everything flexible and balanced,” said Megan Charles, another participant of the yoga class. “It helps with pain, strength, stress relief and it helps me sleep better. It’s kind of my cure-all.”

Hermes has also experienced better sleep as a result of yoga. She recalled her first yoga class, a hot yoga class called Bikram Yoga, where the room is approximately 106 degrees and filled with humidity. Yoga was the first thing that helped Hermes sleep much better.

“I had a really bad bout of insomnia and tried conventional treatments, which didn’t work,” Hermes said. After attending Bikram Yoga, she found the cure she was looking for. “I slept like a baby that night, and I never looked back.”

After experiencing the benefits of yoga for herself, Hermes found a way to share the wonders of yoga with others.

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“I feel like it’s just made me a brighter person, so I really look to share that with my students,” Hermes said.

Despite the many positive reviews yoga receives, there are people who may not understand how yoga is beneficial.

“A lot of people think yoga is either stretching or chanting, but there is a yoga for everybody,” Hermes said. “We live in a world where there are plenty of options, so it can be more active for an athlete, it can be more spiritual if you’re seeking that.”

Hermes recommends letting go of the conception of yoga that people hold inside their heads and just try yoga. With such a wide variety of yoga classes and teachers, there will be a combination that is a good fit for anyone.

For some, like Limoge, outdoor yoga is a good fit.

“It’s nice when you get to hear nature,” Limoge said. “It’s just nice to be outside in the fresh air.”

Outside classes like the class offered at the farmers market come with more distractions, but even those distractions can be viewed as a part of the practice of yoga.

“You have some distractions, which are good for the mental aspect,” Charles said.

Charles noted that yoga classes in a studio are more predictable because you know what class you signed up for, and they take place in a controlled environment rather than in the unpredictable outdoors.

“Things come up that you can’t control, but it’s the same thing in life,” Hermes said. “Things come up in life and you can’t control it and you have to learn how to just deal with it and roll with it.”

Aug. 26 was the last time yoga will be offered at the farmers market as Elan Yoga & Fitness is closing its doors on Sept. 9 of this year.

To participate in the remaining yoga classes Elan Yoga & Fitness offers, visit their website elanyoga.com.

Elan Yoga & Fitness is located in Fort Collins at 353 W. Drake Rd. Ste 140.

Collegian Reporter Gracie Ludens can be reached online at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @gracie_ludens.

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