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Back to nature with outdoor yoga at Devens

July 21, 2020 : Sentinel & Enterprise, by Cheryl A. Cuddahy


Taking yoga outside

DEVENS — Because of Anita Perry’s love of yoga and education, she finds herself dedicated to reaching out to others and teaching them about the importance of being healthy, especially during these uncertain times.

“I love to share my experience of how yoga can help people of all ages and all abilities not only physically but mentally as well,” Perry said. “I am a classroom teacher as well, so you could say it is my vocation. I teach yoga through group and private classes, workshops, seminars, and through writing and sharing in my blog as well as other publications.”

Perry has a master’s degree in education and is a frequent presenter at professional development and education conferences. She has taught all age groups from adult to elementary and brings her enthusiasm and classroom experience to the yoga community.

“I realized that many people have a misconception of what yoga is all about,” Perry said “They picture (young) people sitting on a pillow, incense burning, chanting ohms or being in ridiculous twisty poses.”

“I wanted to show people that yoga is beyond that,” she said. “That all it takes is a few minutes of breathing and stretching to feel great. Then hopefully it will spark an interest in people to go deeper, perhaps join a class, but always have those coping tools that they can utilize when stressed or in an uncomfortable situation.”

For the past few years, Dragonfly Wellness Center in Devens has offered free outdoor yoga during the summertime, which Perry leads.

This program, sponsored by MassDevelopment, has been very popular, attracting upwards of 300 students. Students of all ages and families have attended and return yearly.

“This year, we are again offering free outdoor yoga at Rogers Field, but it looks a lot different,” Perry said. “In keeping with the state guidelines, we are adhering to social distancing and having only three groups of students per instructor.

Students disinfect when signing in and position their mats 6 feet from each other in their groups. Students can remove their masks when on their own mats but must replace them when they are coming and going.

Classes began on June 17 and will continue until Sept. 2. In case of rain, the class can still be held remotely via Zoom.

“Yoga helps to strengthen the body, relax the mind, and calm anxiety and stress,” Perry said. “The instructors take care to give modifications and help students to adapt poses to meet their needs.”

Classes fill up quickly and students need to register weekly. For information about this class, visit https://www.dragonflywellnesscenter.net/workshops/

For those of you who still prefer yoga at home, they have it for you!

Perry will offer an online Hatha Yoga and Meditation class via Zoom at 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday.

Sign up with your MindBody App or http://leominsteryoga.com at least 30 minutes before class. You will receive an invitation to join.

Leominster Yoga Center

As part of Phase 3, the Leominster Yoga Center was able to re-open on July 12 for in-studio classes.

“Jenn Dillon, owner of the studio, has been working very hard mapping out the studio and strategically placing mats for proper social distancing,” Perry said.

A few things that will be different are: participants absolutely need to pre-register and pay online before you come using the MindBody App or by calling the studio; you need to wear a mask and may have to wear it during practice depending on how many people are in the studio with you; if you cannot make the class, you need to cancel or you will be charged for a ‘no show’; you will have the option of attending in person or online.

Perry has also published a book titled “Yogaminute.”

“Yogaminute” is an easy to follow guide for anyone who would like to incorporate yoga into their daily lives, one minute at a time. Simple instruction, pictures of real people and lots of ideas make this book the one to get.

“The most important advice I’ve given people is that when you oversee your health, there are wellness professionals galore, but-in-the-end, you are your best teacher,” Perry said. “You don’t have to have special equipment, or even be in great physical condition – just a minute of yoga helps to calm the mind, stretch the body, and invigorate the spirit.”

For more information, visit www.YogaAnita.com