Movement, Meditation And Memories

Photo by Maxwell Reide.

For 15 years, local residents have experienced the true sense of community and physical comfort provided at the Jai Ma Yoga Center.

This month marked the 15th anniversary of the center. Various events were held to celebrate including a poetry reading from local authors, a live music restorative yoga class featuring Steve Bernstein and a vegetarian dinner and food drive with all donations going to local nonprofit charities.

The second floor studio on Main St. New Paltz has been the center’s home since it moved from the Ashtanga studio next door in 2001, according to Ami Jayaprada, Jai Ma owner and instructor. They offer a vast range of classes from beginner and dharma yoga to mother-baby and therapeutic yoga.

Jayaprada found yoga while she worked on top of taking 18 credits at SUNY New Paltz. She said it was a release that made her more coordinated and stronger. She specializes in therapeutic yoga which teaches proper alignment and treats certain pain.

“At first it came as a surprise,” Jayaprada said. “But I followed my passion and my practice evolved. It is a gift.”

According to Jayaprada, Jai Ma focuses on the spiritual aspects of yoga and not only on the exercise. They teach the philosophy behind the art that has been passed down for thousands of years.

Jai Ma features special classes that offer instruction in unique forms of yoga or unique instruction on classical forms. On Sunday, Oct. 26 from noon to 2 p.m. there will be a course in AcroYoga, a partner based style where poses resemble acrobatics, taught by traveling instructor Adi Carter.

Yoga instructor Juliana Machado has been teaching yoga since 2002 and started teaching at Jai Ma early this year. She said she feels at home in the friendly, non-competitive community.

Three new classes were introduced recently are yoga basics, Qi Gong and strength building. Qi Gong is a Chinese yoga form based on slow movements and meditation meant to induce a state of deep relaxation, according to the Qi Gong Institute’s website.

Patrons of the center reflected on their personal relationship with yoga in the community.

After deciding to try out multiple studios in town, Judy O’Neill came to Jai Ma and said she “didn’t need to go anywhere else.” She has been coming to the center for about five years because she likes the spiritual learning that comes with the poses.

Eugene Gauggel, who has been practicing yoga since 1971, sticks with it because of the physical culture and the ethical guidelines and values it provides. He said it is simple and has tremendous effects when done regularly.

“Yoga is flexible and adaptable,” Gauggel said. “It is good for everyone if you have a good teacher.”

Local resident George Tuckel has been attending classes at Jai Ma Yoga Center since the opening in 1999. It was the first yoga center where he started practicing with commitment. He said he enjoys the diversity of the classes offered and tries his hand in many of the different styles.