Tribune Print Share Text

Breathe deep

Yoga, Tallgrass Creek-style

Created date

March 20th, 2015
two people doing yoga poses


Each week, about 20 Creek residents gather in the Audubon Clubhouse classroom, dim the lights, and practice the ancient discipline known as yoga. A series of specific bodily postures, breath control, and meditation, yoga is widely practiced by all ages for health and relaxation.  

Tallgrass Creek’s yoga class, led by Wellness Coordinator Amy Rader, includes first-time students and others like resident Judy Turner, who have practiced the gentle exercise for years.

“For me, the stretching is tremendous,” says Judy. “Amy is among the best instructors I’ve had. She brings her entire personality, attention, and spirituality to the class and makes it a special 45 minutes.”    

Best of the best  

Rader, who has a master’s degree in exercise science from Southern Illinois University, has taught the yoga classes at Tallgrass Creek since she joined the community’s staff two years ago. 

In addition to yoga, Rader oversees a multitude of different fitness classes weekly including low-impact aerobics, Zumba, stretch-and-tone exercises, core work, chair exercises, men’s-only strength training (M.O.S.T), and water aerobics.  

But of all the classes she has taught (and taken) since beginning her career in the fitness industry in 2006, yoga is Rader’s personal favorite.  

“I’ve experienced the benefits of yoga personally, so I’m a true believer in its power,” says the energetic Rader, who keeps herself in shape by practicing and teaching yoga. “It positively affects mobility, blood pressure, and muscular and mental health. And though it’s a great exercise for all ages, it has particular benefits for seniors.”

Residents agree as Rader’s Tuesday morning classes have grown, and she now offers yoga classes on Thursday mornings as well.  

Easy does it

Rader’s class at Tallgrass Creek is called Gentle Yoga and is a chair-based exercise which consists of gentle movements and postures held for several breaths. Participants spend half the 45-minute session performing movements while seated and the remaining time performing additional movements on their feet.  

Dr. John Saxer, Tallgrass Creek’s physician, says the mental benefits of yoga are as important as the health benefits.  

“As we age, issues with balance, arthritis, and flexibility can emerge, so the holding postures yoga promotes are particularly good for seniors,” says Saxer. “But the peaceful environment in which yoga is performed is also a great stress reliever, which affects overall mental and emotional well-being.” 

Resident Nora Pinkston, one of many who rarely misses a yoga class, agrees. 

“I’ve taken it for about eight months and really love it,” says Nora. “My balance and flexibility have improved, but the real reason I continue is that I just feel better after class.”