SEARCY, AR. –
When someone walks into Mindful State Yoga, they are greeted with words integral to the yoga studio’s mission: “All are welcome.”
Laurie Swain, founder and instructor at Mindful State Yoga, says this is very intentional and how the Mindful State instructors approach their classes.
“Especially in the United States, there is a preconceived idea about what kind of bodies can do yoga, and that’s just not true,” Swain said. “If you can breathe, you can practice yoga.”
Kelly James, instructor at Mindful State, agreed with Swain’s philosophy. She also added the importance of feeling welcome here goes beyond the practice of yoga.
“Mindful State Yoga is a safe place for everybody,” James said. “No matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, it doesn’t matter. You are welcome here, welcome in this space… and will be loved.”
James, who has practiced yoga for 17 years, hoped that offering more inclusive and diverse classes would also help people see the benefits of practicing yoga.
“You don’t come to yoga looking perfect and feeling perfect,” James said. “Yoga helps you feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s all non-competitive, too.”
When opening Mindful State, Swain extended this accessibility approach to the financial side as well as the physical side, by offering pay-what-you-can classes.
“We hope to make yoga accessible financially as well as physically, by offering regular pay-what-you-can and low-cost classes,” Swain said. “All the teachers at Mindful State have a desire to share the practice of yoga wherever possible. It’s one way we can be of service to our community.”
Now, Mindful State has taken this inclusive approach a step further by offering a weekly pay-what-you-can class for beginners.
“We have so many conversations with people who say, ‘I have been wanting to try yoga and now I’m ready. Where do I start?’” Swain said. “The Begin class is our response to this. It will move at a relatively slow pace and include a lot of guidance and instruction about the elements of a typical yoga class.”
While the class is designed for newcomers, it’s also appropriate for those who are already doing yoga and want a slower, gentle class.
“[It’s] ideal for those who are new to yoga, those who want to refresh, and those who desire a gentle practice,” Swain said. “The class will focus on common postures, alignment, modifications, using props, yogic breath practices, and meditation.”
The Begin class is slow and gentle, as are some of the other classes at the studio. However, true to their mission, Mindful State’s class schedule is diverse. “We offer a variety of movement and meditation practices for all bodies, including people who are interested in physical fitness and restoration, body positivity, trauma-informed movement, relaxation, meditation, and stress reduction.” Swain said.
With the Begin class starting, Swain is looking to the future of Mindful State Yoga.
“I want Mindful State Yoga to be right here in Searcy, offering what our community wants and needs, as best we can,” Swain said. “I also foresee teacher training in our future, so stay tuned!”
You can book a class at Mindful State Yoga by visiting http://mindfullivingsearcy.com/mindful-state-yoga. Their new Begin class is offered on Thursday evenings at 5:30 beginning July 29th.