A new stretch for gym

Parks Fitness Center offering new group fitness courses

Parks Fitness Center is now offering new forms of group exercise with the launch of new classes in as aerobic kick boxing, HIIT, progressive step and yoga to students and gym members. While only a week into her classes, new yoga instructor Tarisha Shirley never thought she would be the one teaching.

“Just several years ago I couldn’t even look at people when I talked to them and now I love to share yoga with people because I know what it is for me,” Shirley said. “Spiritual, physical, emotional — it’s all of that for me and I want to share just a little bit of that with people.”

Shirley offers several types of yoga each week, and eachclass  can help strengthen, stretch and relieve stress for anyone. Whether you’re an athlete or have limited mobility, there is a yoga class for you.

“Yoga is also good for athletes because it strengthens and lengthens the muscles and that’s even important for people who lift weights,” Shirley said.

Chair yoga, offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m., is a gentle practice for those just beginning yoga and doesn’t involve anything too strenuous. Restorative yoga is offered at 11:15 a.m. each Saturday (starting Sept. 22) and serves its name through gentle, and an overall calm and relaxing, practice. The last class, Vinyasa, is offered
at 10 a.m. each Saturday in the Dance Room (also resuming Sept. 22) and is more in the realm of traditional yoga.

For KC students, yoga offers an avenue to relieve stress and take the mind off of the routine.

“Being a college student is stressful and a lot of the time, we are just on autopilot all week and ignoring ourselves and our bodies,” Shirley said. “Yoga will help with stress relief and bring awareness to out body.”

Awareness is everything. “If we’re ignoring what’s going on with us, then something could be going on that we’re not even aware of yet,” Shirley said.

Shirley’s yoga career began in the dark of a Gym Box movie room until recently brought into the light of the Parks Fitness Center.

“One day, I passed by the people in the yoga room and I thought ‘I want to try that’ and so I went into the class,”
she said.

By the end of the class, Trisha had found a new place and passion.

“At the end of the class during savasana, the instructor told us to “inhale love, strength and vitality and release what no longer serves you,’” she said. “I started bawling, and normally when things have an emotional effect on me
like that, I know I found my place.”

With a new passion in place, Shirley began practicing yoga everyday at the gym and at home. As the years passed, she began a new job at Gym Box until an opportunity to teach yoga presented itself.

“The instructor they had moved on somewhere else and the owner of Gym Box called me and said ‘Hey, do you mind filling in this class? We know you’ve done yoga before and so would you mind coming in and just leading a class?’” Shirley said. “And so I led that class and ended up getting a job out of that.”

Now taking the mat five times a week at KC, Shirley has found a fresh perspective on her favorite form of exercise.

“The best part of teaching yoga is the awareness and humility it brings,” she said. Which each class, stretch and pose, Shirley continues to grow. “I learned so much more about myself on my mat when I’m up in front of people, than anywhere else,” Shirley said.