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Yoga, Devonshire-style

Holistic, stress-free fitness

Created date

March 20th, 2015
woman doing a yoga move on a mat


Of the many fitness classes offered at at PGA National, yoga is the hands-down favorite. At least 20 people attend the twice-weekly sessions at Erickson Living’s retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens.

The classes, held in a private room on the ground floor of the community’s Cove residence building, receive terrific word-of-mouth reviews and align with Devonshire’s philosophy of providing amenities and activities that support and enhance the well-being and enviable lifestyle of its residents. 

Yoga, Devonshire-style, is a holistic practice. 

Mary Stout, known by her yoga name, PremShakti, or Prem for short, teaches the classes. 

She also trains yoga teachers, including Devonshire Fitness Supervisor Lori Klein, now a registered yoga teacher herself.

Prem brings more than expertise to her Devonshire classes, says resident Alene Kolodny: “She gives us her philosophy of life. We know she cares about us, and we care about her.”

Prem’s decades-long studies in holistic health and her experience as a masseuse give her an understanding of body psychology and enable her to nurture a participant’s outer body and inner spirit. 

Some yoga movements are energetic, says Alene, but they’re always optional. If a participant can’t quite do one, Prem demonstrates a seated alternative that provides the same benefit. 

She begins and ends each class with a meditation. People often leave with the lingering sound of Prem’s beautiful voice raised in a soothing chant-like song. 

“I leave feeling relaxed at whatever I’m doing next,” says Harriet Goldberg. “I feel more limber, and my mood is improved.”

She’d never meditated until Prem’s class. Now, she says, she values the yoga sessions more than food because they seem to feed her entire body. 

A friend’s recommendation and the convenient location prompted her to join the class. “I wouldn’t have taken it if I’d had to drive,” Harriet says. Devonshire’s climate-controlled walkways make it easy to attend classes and activities despite the weather.

The location appealed to Nina Diamond, too. Nina took yoga when the Diamonds lived in Manhattan. “So as soon as it was offered here, I jumped right in,” she says. 

The Diamonds chose Devonshire in part because “Good things happen here,” Nina says. “They offer lots of programs to benefit us.”

Nina does treadmill walking at 6 a.m. in the clubhouse fitness center. And she, like Harriet, attends other on-site fitness classes.

“It’s important to constantly keep your body moving,” she says. “With yoga, you’re stretching and moving, but it’s not so strenuous that you can’t move the next day. The body feels so good when you move without stressing.”

Prem gives new participants a handout listing the top ten reasons to try yoga. 

The benefits include increased strength, balance, and mobility; increased flexibility; improved sleep; pain relief; and peace of mind.