A big day for yoga

Published 7:12 pm Saturday, June 18, 2016

By Henry Luzzatto


Yoga is one of the hottest fitness trends of the past couple of years, and the city of Suffolk has partnered with a local yoga studio to give residents a free look at what it’s all about.

Sue Blei strikes a yoga pose at Bennetts Creek Park in preparation for River Yoga Studio's celebration of international yoga day.

Sue Blei strikes a yoga pose at Bennetts Creek Park in preparation for River Yoga Studio’s celebration of
international yoga day.

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As part of a celebration of the International Day of Yoga on Tuesday, North Suffolk’s River Yoga Studio will hold a free class from 6 to 7 p.m. at Bennett’s Creek Park.

Sue Blei, the owner of the studio, said the class will be beginner-friendly, but it will feature different levels of difficulty for more experienced participants.

Blei said the class would be an ideal way for beginners to become more familiar with yoga.

“There are lots of people there you can watch for help,” Blei said. “And there’s no stress and no pressure. This would be a really fun way to get into yoga.”

The class will be Suffolk’s first celebration of International Yoga Day, and the outdoor location at Bennetts Creek Park will accommodate a large group of people, Blei said.

“The City of Suffolk is awesome for businesses in Suffolk,” Blei said. “We were helped by the visitors center and everyone to get the word out.”

The International Day of Yoga was adopted by the United Nations in 2014. The U.N. chose to celebrate the day on June 21, the summer solstice, because of its spiritual importance.

According to the United Nations website, the U.N. adopted the holiday in order to spread the word about the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga.

“Yoga is great for you,” Blei said. “It builds strength, balance and flexibility, and it lowers blood pressure and your heart rate.”

Blei said the free class will be traditional yoga, known as Hatha. River Yoga also offers different styles of classes, including Vinyasa, a more active discipline, and Yin, which features deep stretching.

On last year’s yoga day, more than 35,000 people participated in a yoga class in India, breaking the world record for largest yoga class. Though the gathering at Bennetts Creek Park will be smaller, Mark Blei, Sue Blei’s husband and the co-owner of River Yoga Studio, says he expects a good turnout.

“Our post on Facebook had over 7,000 hits,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of attention and a lot of interest.”

Sue Blei recommended going early to the class in order to stake out a good spot. Participants should bring a mat or a large beach towel for the class. Blei also said to wear a t-shirt featuring your favorite yoga studio.