Yoga classes return to Senior Center after month-long hiatus

Judy Jackson has been teaching yoga classes for the past nine years, bringing a different kind of health and wellness to her community, but after almost a decade of teaching, even the instructor needed a change to center herself.

The yoga class returns after a month-long hiatus she said was meant to give her a chance to take care of herself.

“I have basically worked ten years without a break,” she said. “I needed some time for myself.”

Jackson said she started going to classes as she approached retirement age, after having a series of problems with her hips and other parts of her body.

“The doctors just gave me pain medicine,” she said. “I was willing to try anything.”

Then, her friends encouraged her to try out yoga, and after doing it for several weeks, she resolved to begin teaching classes as soon as she officially retired.

Teaching classes, however, is not as simple as watching some YouTube videos and bringing your own gym mat. Jackson took around 200 hours of classes at a location in California to become a Certified Yoga Instructor, and that was just the standard class.

“There is a higher level if you want to teach yoga teachers,” Jackson said. “Those require around 600 hours.”

Now, Jackson teaches weekly classes in Elizabethton and Johnson City.

She said the benefits are pronounced in the people she works with, improving their posture, balance and much more.

“One student, she has fibromyalgia,” she said. “She could barely move when she started. A few weeks later, she came up to me and said she was able to brush her own hair that day.”

She said she can see her students visibly become more stable and self-confident.

As she predominantly teaches people over the age of 40, sometimes people as old as 90, she teaches two different classes, one where everything is done while sitting in chairs, and the other a more traditional class while sitting on floor mats.

“The chair class is not a lesser class,” Jackson said. “All the poses are the same.”

Her classes are $3 per session, a price she said beats out many other yoga locations in the city.

Classes take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Elizabethton Senior Center, located at 428 E G St. Classes on the chairs start at 12:15 p.m., while the traditional class starts at 1:30 p.m. Each session lasts about an hour.

She said those who are skeptical need to see yoga in action in person before judging its benefits.

“You must experience it to understand it,” Jackson said. “These benefits are available to everybody. Why would you deny yourself better posture and health by not doing this?”

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