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Linking breath with movement

County’s free class for residents focuses on vinyasa yoga

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: “I usually speak to feeling, like what you’re feeling, and that could be different from yesterday, compared to what you feel today and what you feel tomorrow,” said instructor Holly Carrington of the vinyasa yoga classes she instructs at the Burlington County Lyceum.

Holly Carrington has been instructing sunset yoga classes at the Burlington County Agricultural Center for four years, but she’s excited about transitioning indoors for the colder months.

“You feel it,” Carrington said of the energy among attendees. “Honestly, it just brings me joy, just getting people, maybe in their comfort zone or out of their comfort zone, coming to a class.”

Carrington has been teaching since 2018 and shared what inspired her to do so.

“I actually started to fall more in love with the meditation side of yoga,” she recalled. “I found that it helped with my anxiety diagnosis because … I wanted to seek alternative help, which meditation has helped me a lot.”

Carrington became involved with the county’s agricultural center through a friend and was excited to lead outdoor yoga classes.

“It gives you a little bit more perspective, a little bit more of a different experience rather than in a studio setting, so I love teaching outside,” she noted. “It brings more of the natural side of things into the practice, more calming.”

Carrington focuses on vinyasa yoga, also referred to as “flow,” because of the smooth way the poses run together. According to verywellfit.com, in vinyasa yoga, each movement is synchronized with a breath. The breath is given primacy, acting as an anchor for moving from one pose to the next.

“I’m very breath-heavy, especially with queuing different postures,” she explained. “Every time we transition, we take an inhale or an exhale, and we’re just trying to keep that breath going, especially since a lot of people tend to hold their breath.”

“Just as much as the body is moving, I’m trying to link the breath with that movement.”

Carrington’s classes offer something for everyone, no matter the experience.

“I usually speak to feeling, like what you’re feeling, and that could be different from yesterday, compared to what you feel today and what you feel tomorrow,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what level you’re at. It’s all about what you’re feeling today, in the moment.”

Carrington likes to teach poses that help with stretching, more so than others.

“I myself have very tight hamstrings, and I was always a runner growing up, so I always try to que hamstrings in some way,” she offered. “I like teaching different variations of folding, or even lunges, to help with the lower half of the body.”

Carrington sees fitting a posture to oneself as a highlight of teaching others.

“It’s more of not forcing, not harming yourself in any way,” she said. “I like that aspect of it the most, just because I feel like we are hard on ourselves every day and with yoga, we want to undo that.”

All free yoga classes are held at the Burlington County Lyceum and require registration at https://www.co/burlington/nj.us.

“Just show up,” Carrington said for anyone interested in joining. “If you feel like you get to a class and you’re stuck, I say take another opportunity to open your mind, open yourself up to something new.”

“Even if it might feel a little uncomfortable at first, maybe it’s a good thing.”

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