By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Politicians in Albany usually fight like cats and dogs over all sorts of issues, but this summer two state elected officials representing Bay Ridge will be promoting Downward Facing Dog.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) are sponsoring five sessions of free yoga lessons in Shore Road Park starting June 3.
The lessons, which are geared toward beginners, are being presented by the two lawmakers in partnership with Yoga in Bay Ridge, a yoga studio 9016 Fourth Ave., and 5 Boro Power Yoga, a studio on Staten Island.
Participants will learn the fundamentals of yoga and will learn poses such Warrior, Tree, and Downward Facing Dog. They will also come to understand what Sun Salutations are.
The free events in Shore Road Park (enter on Shore Road at 79th Street) will be held on: Tuesday, June 3, at 7 p.m.; Tuesday, June 24, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 19, at 9a.m.; Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Aug. 30, at 9 a.m.
The events will provide a fun and relaxed way to improve physical health and mental well-being, according to Golden. “After a very long and cold winter, residents are looking for more and more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. I am proud to be partnering with my colleague, Assemblywoman Malliotakis, in presenting a series of health and fun, and invite our community to take part in yoga which is good for the mind, body and soul,” he said.
Malliotakis, who has been practicing yoga since her college days, said it’s not only great exercise, but a great stress reducer as well. “It’s a great way to unwind. You learn to focus on your breathing and relax,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Malliotakis sponsored free yoga classes for constituents in the Staten Island portion of her assembly district last summer. “My community suffered terrible damage from Hurricane Sandy. People were under a lot of stress as they tried to re-build their homes and businesses. I sponsored yoga on the beach because I thought it would be a good way for people to deal with stress. Over 100 showed up. I want to expand it to Brooklyn,” she said.
Malliotakis also said she plans to take part in the Shore Road Park sessions. “These events will offer a great chance to unwind with friends and neighbors, and I look forward to participating alongside the attendees,” she said.
Bob Boles, owner of Yoga in Bay Ridge, said yoga has many health benefits. “It’s great exercise. It’s a good way to relax and learn meditation. It’s an ancient practice. It helps people deal with stress and anxiety,” he told the Eagle.
Yoga is all the rage, but Boles said beginners shouldn’t be intimidated by media images of movie stars with perfect bodies twisting their bodies into pretzel shapes.
“Yoga is for all levels. The thing that’s important for people to know is that the poses can be adjusted. There are thousands of yoga poses,” he said.
The American Osteopathic Association’s website lists several benefits of yoga, including increased flexibility, increased muscle strength, improved respiration and weight reduction. Yoga has also been found to lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia, according to the association.
While the classes are primarily directed toward beginners, there will be options for those seeking a more advanced practice. Participants must bring a yoga mat or towel and arrive 15 minutes early to prepare.
Space is limited. Reservations are required. Call Golden’s office at 718-238-6044, Malliotakis’s office at 718-987-0197, or email [email protected] to indicate which classes you plan to attend.