The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 27, 2013

Yoga helps people cope with daily life

The Commercial-News

---- — 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.

“You feel great,” Runyon said. “It changes how you look at everything. I just think it’s amazing.”

Runyon also is certified in Pilates, a series of moves that strengthen the body’s core or center, and improve coordination and balance. In fact, Runyon offers a yoga-Pilates class on Thursday nights, which combines both disciplines. Students get a good core workout, in addition to stretching and relaxing.

She’s also trained in tai chi for arthritis, and will offer such a class on request if enough people sign up. A person does not have to have arthritis in order to take the class. She has studied methods used by Paul Lam with the Tai Chi Institute for Health.

Runyon would like to add an exercise class for seniors, using chairs for balance.

Whichever exercise someone chooses, Runyan notes he or she will become more confident and empowered after learning the moves, and seeing the results.

“It’s so good for people, especially anyone thinking ‘My body is going quick … I need to tone and balance,’” she said.

FYI Learn more about classes and schedules at