Learn how to bring the relaxing power of yoga to your next get-together.
Whether you're just having your friends over for brunch or throwing a shower or birthday celebration, adding yoga can instantly make the day more intimate, says Cyndi Lee, founder of Om Yoga Center in New York. "When you practice together, you begin breathing together and your hearts begin beating together," she says. "It can be subtle but powerful."
The best teacher for your party is one you are familiar with. Try out a class at a studio near your home, but call ahead of time and ask which instructors can be hired for home parties, suggests Lee. Here are some questions you should ask to help you choose the right instructor for the job:
--Does she have experience teaching multi-level classes? Some of your guests may have a great deal of yoga experience while others may have none at all.
--Does she have a serious or lighthearted teaching style? You want someone who will help you create a celebratory atmosphere.
--How much does she charge? Expect to pay as much as $150 to $200 for an hour and a half of instruction.
Yoga mats are a must; other props such as blocks, straps, and blankets aren't essential but can make difficult poses more comfortable. Ask your guests to wear comfortable, loose clothing -- no shoes required!
You don't have to clear out your living room and paint it in the Saffron of the Dalai Lama's robes in order to set a serene tone for your party. Dimming the lights and adding candles is the easiest way to create calm. Or, you can take it outside for a back-to-nature approach. Either way, you'll want to make sure you have enough space for mats -- plus a few feet of elbow room -- for all your guests.
Provide water before and during the class, and serve light, healthy treats after. Try prepared spring rolls cut in half and displayed on an Asian-inspired tray, dried fruit and nuts served in paper muffin cups, Indian pappadam crisps, and fresh fruit salad or edamame flecked with sea salt. Mugs of herbal green tea make a perfect ending for this laid-back get-together.
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