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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

A Holistic Yoga Center For Healing, Growth and Community

Nov 04, 2014 03:46PM

Yoga for Living is a true community center offering yoga, ayurveda and various workshops open to people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities wanting to deepen their understanding of a balanced lifestyle that includes yoga and holistic practices. Rhonda Clarke founded Yoga for Living (YFL), in Cherry Hill, in 2009 at the request of her students who were looking for a community-based center to learn the true teachings of yoga and its philosophy.

“We are a nation all too familiar with stress, rushing to meet deadlines and answering phone calls, emails and text messages,” she says. “It’s as though pressures are all around us—at work, at home and on the road. This hectic lifestyle can take its toll on our bodies, mind and health. Yoga teaches one to slow down and appreciate the true gifts of life and to restore health and vitality to one’s mind and body.”

How we put ourselves out in the world is greatly influenced by how much tightness we hold inside ourselves. Experts agree that how people cope with stress and everyday pressures determines their overall sense of well-being, and that relaxation is essential to wellness. Many are searching for a peaceful balance in their lives. Through the practice of yoga and meditation, a pathway to relaxation, growth and balance can be found. Yoga can enhance lives in many different ways—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

People come to Yoga for Living from all walks of life. Its varied student base includes seniors, professional athletes, soccer moms, corporate executives, college students, teachers, tweens, teens and children. Through sharing a class, students and instructor get to know each other. This community truly cares about each other; sharing in each other’s joy and challenges, creating a support system based on care and compassion.

Yoga for Living aims to create a friendly, non-intimidating environment for anyone seeking to explore and realize the amazing benefits of this practice. More than a yoga center, it’s a holistic center that’s committed to sharing the authentic teachings of yoga and to contributing to the support of the community at large.

Instructors are well-trained experts in various fields who teach with compassion and empathy. Bonnie Hart, Sharon Elliott, Brendon Bareiss-Bodie, Jennifer Jo Tortorice, Lori Volpe, Lauren Johnson, Karen Siugzda, Dorothy Blindenbacher and Mimi Scalia bring many years of education and knowledge to their classes and students.

A wide variety of classes and workshops that support all levels of well-being are offered. Mommy and Me yoga classes introduce 3- to 5-year-olds body awareness, balance and positive social interaction. Girl Power is entering into its second year of empowering tween and teen girls through positive role modeling, having fun together and learning the art of self-love, self-confidence and self-acceptance. Women’s silent retreats and empowerment workshops are also offered throughout the year plus Partner Connection workshops.

YFL is proud to offer Mindfulness Meditation sessions in conjunction with the Penn Program for Mindfulness. Volpe, mindfulness facilitator for the Penn Program, incorporates it into her weekly classes. Science has proven the benefits of mindfulness mediation in the reduction of stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and has shown its positive impact on various health conditions and on one’s overall sense of well-being.

Siugzda, Laughter Wellness/ Yoga instructor, brings a light-hearted, playful approach to her class that is welcoming to newcomers as well as seasoned laughers. Laughter wellness has been clinically proven to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and promote a positive attitude. It sharpens focus and leaves participants feeling uplifted and energized.

Hart offers several hatha yoga classes and private counseling at the center. A stress relief specialist with a master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology, she often calls upon the relaxation tools of yoga to help clients move through personal life issues such as grief, relationship strain and job stress.

In addition to these classes, YFL offers unique dance movement practices such as 5 Rhythms, Nia and Yoga Dance. Ayurveda treatments and workshops that teach how to live a more balanced lifestyle are also regular parts of the broad range of offerings.

All of these practices are most life changing when combined with self-compassion and awareness practices such as svaroopa yoga. Due to its simple movements and the relative ease of poses, individuals of all states of health can enjoy its compassionate approach which allows the release of tension and in turn aiding in relieving the stresses of life and illness.

Clarke is a 500-hour certified yoga teacher and yoga therapist of svaroopa yoga, and an Ayurveda Therapist certified from Greens Ayurveda Hospital, in Kerala, India. She launched the center to provide the authentic teachings and science of yoga and its proven methods, including the teaching of “Seva,” giving back to the community through volunteer programs.

Yoga for Living is located at 1926 Greentree Rd., Cherry Hill. For information on classes and workshops, call 856-404-7287 or visit

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