DANVILLE — If Sharron Runyan is stuck in traffic, she does something she’s learned from years of doing yoga — deep breathing.
The technique helps calm her, and helps her handle the stress that comes with modern living.
“So many people have so much stress, yoga is a great way to de-stress,” said Runyan, owner of the Roselawn Fitness Center.
In her classes, the lights are low, and everything is calm, quiet and relaxing. Beginners are encouraged to sit back and observe, and then to proceed at their own pace.
Roselawn Fitness will mark its 25th anniversary in March, and Runyan has been teaching yoga at the center for 17 years. She’s been teaching exercise classes for 35 years.
Cardio exercises and weight lifting are good ways to relieve stress, as well, but Runyan is an advocate for yoga because its deep breathing, stretching and relaxation techniques can be used in everyday situations — such as being stuck in traffic.
“It’s wonderful. I wish everybody could try it and learn it,” she said.
People mistakenly think yoga is a religion, which it isn’t, or they think they’re not flexible enough for the poses, she said.
“You do gain flexibility,” Runyan said. “You work at it slowly.”
The classes start with breathing exercises, stretching, postures and then a time of relaxation. “The hour goes by fast,” she said. “People love it.”
The postures are simple ones — not the advanced poses where a person has his leg behind his head, for example. “I try to stick with poses that are useful and don’t hurt,” she said.
Yoga helps a person’s balance, too. In addition, the mind-body connection is good, she said, as the person acquires mental peace, learns how to breathe and becomes aware of his or her body.