Relieve stress with Integrative Relaxation

John Hiester of the Amrit Yoga Institute teaches a stress relieving class on Sunday

/ Colby Gallagher

Can you change your mind? This is the question many people were asked Sunday during a special class that focused on relieving stress.

"I was asked here to come and help the community and this church community to manage and work with stress and the causes of stress," said John Hiester of the Amrit Yoga Institute in Florida.

It's called integrative relaxation or Yoga Nidra and it uses breathing and physical awareness to teach people how to ease the tension built up in their daily life.

"It takes you from the waking state, much like we do at night when we fall into the deepest stages of sleep, the body gets to that point of complete relaxation, but the mind is active and aware," said Laura Terry, a teacher at Yoga on Pine who organized the class.

Contrary to popular belief, the class doesn't require any flexibility but it does make an impression. The technique is meant to improve the body and mind and after only one session, some say they're already feeling the benefits."

"All the worries and the anxieties just evaporated so right now I'm feeling pretty relaxed," said Beverly King, a first-time Yoga participant.

"When you're deeply, deeply relaxed, what needs to be released will be released and that deep relaxation is physical, mental and emotional," said Hiester.

Hiester's lessons will continue during a twice-weekly class that will stretch what was learned into something that will help people gain a better self understanding.

"It's not so much the exercise or the movements or those things, it's the actual being able to get that physical knowing and knowledge," said Linda Garrett, another Yoga first-timer.

Organizers say it's a breath of fresh air that anyone can experience.

"It's such a critical problem with people anymore in our society and this is a way of easing that. Anyone can do it, if you can sit or lie down for thirty minutes, you can do this," said Terry.

To get involved, all you need is a blanket and an open mind. The classes start at 6:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday at the Unity Church on Hugh Road and will last about an hour.