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At Bristol Yoga, Practice Targets The Body, Mind And Breath

By S. Mathur

At Bristol Yoga Studio, yoga is an individual practice. Tracy Ramos, Director of the studio in downtown Bristol, RI, feels that even in a group setting, it's important for individuals to take control of responsibility for their own practice. This is also the reason that the studio emphasizes the role of skilled and experienced teachers, who offer individual guidance.

"No pose or practice is inherently good or bad, and a skilled teacher can help determine the right yoga practice for an individual," Ramos said. "I always tell folks to give yoga a try and be willing to not know what you're doing and try a lot of different styles and teachers until you find a practice that works for you and your body. Unlike fitness programs, a yoga practice targets the body, the mind, the breath, and the more subtle aspects of being."

In order to keep the focus on individual practice, class sizes are kept small. They are typically limited to 12, so no one gets lost in the crowd. The student population is eclectic too.

"Some of our students have been with us since we started 10 years ago, while almost every class there is also a new face," Ramos said. "Some are retirees and others are students at Roger Williams University. We take seriously the notion that yoga is individual so it makes for an eclectic group!"

A good reason to practice yoga is that it offers a lifetime of benefits. The most significant health benefit of yoga, according to Ramos, is greater awareness of our bodies.

"Folks who practice yoga tend to have a good sense of when something feels a little 'off' and what they might do to fix it, whether it means greater self care, or scheduling a doctor's visit," she said. "Of course, certain types of yoga can induce feelings of calm, which can aid with healthy blood pressure. Yoga postures can help maintain healthy muscles and joints which aid in flexibility and prevent injury and certain breathing techniques practiced in yoga can help with circulation and general well being."

With its mission to bring more yoga to more people, Bristol Yoga Studio offers a range of styles, from vigorous to gentle. There are classes for everyone from beginners to those who have been practicing for years. As well as group classes, the studio offers a schedule of workshops, community service events and individual personalized yoga instruction. Prenatal classes support mothers before and after childbirth.

Bristol Yoga Studio and Ramos herself have something of the status of yoga legend in the East Bay area. Ramos leads each class as a spiritual journey and her students are glad to benefit from her guidance.

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