Kaylee Peveto instructs her class at Fit Life Fitness Center in West Orange. Peveto said yoga has provided many benefits to her life. She even had two new students give yoga a try. RECORD PHOTO: David Ball

David Ball – For The Record

Beth Dupree, age 75, of Orange, said her blood pressure has lowered and her breathing has improved since she began taking Yoga.

“I like classes at the 12 p.m. hour. It’s my afternoon pick me up,” she said. “I do it three days a week. I am now more flexible and stronger.”

Yoga originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It may have taken a few millennia for it to get to Orange but now there are two places to take classes: Body Workz Health Club and Fit Life Fitness Center.

Instructor Linda Harrison teaches several classes per week at Body Workz . Her students range in age from teenagers to 77, including a modified version for senior citizens. Anne Roberts is also an instructor in the classes.

Dupree said she has two great instructors.

Harrison is also a Zumba instructor and said she finds there is more benefits with Yoga than with Zumba.

“I have more muscle tone,” Harrison said. “I’ve been teaching since 2009 and Anne since 2010.”

Roberts said she now realizes what Yoga truly is.

“You don’t just sit in a corner and meditate. It really is a workout. If you stick with Yoga you start to see subtle changes,” she said.

For instance, Cade Bland, 18, plays football for his high school. His coach told him to do Yoga and he is noticing the effects.

“It’s harder than you think it is. It works and stretches muscles,” he said.

Harrison wanted to stress that Yoga is not a religion.

“The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root ‘yug,” which means ‘yoke’ or ‘unity.’ Yoga is the unity of the mind, body and breath. This is achieved through breathing (pranayama) and a sequence of poses (asanas) practiced with a class,” she said.

She explained Hatha Yoga is taught at Body Workz in Orange and the classes are held in the exercise room. The doors are closed, the lights are off with only a few lit candles, and there is relaxing spa music playing.

Each class begins with the students in a comfortable position, with their eyes closed. This is a time to clear their minds from their busy lives.

“We then start our breathing of long deep inhalations and exhalations through the nose,” Harrison said. “After sitting quietly for a few moments, the class is then taken through a sequence of poses that are held from five to eight breaths.”

She added this breathing alone will lower the stress level.

Harrison said practicing yoga energizes the body and calms the mind. Furthermore, she said it builds muscle strength, improves flexibility, posture and balance.

“Blocks, chairs and straps are provided in each class to aid in the flexibility and support of the body. Modified poses are shown for those yogis that have any pain form old, or new, injuries and/or health issues,” she said.

Classes end with a bow and salutation of “Namaste,” which literally means “I bow to you.”

“It is also a sign of gratitude and respect to the students for practicing Yoga with us,” she said. “Every ‘body’ and any age can do yoga. You don’t have to be flexible to begin yoga. Yoga is not a competition. Keep clam and Yoga on.”

Jaycie Harrison, 22, has danced all of her life including being on dance teams and teaching dance. In fact, she will soon be opening her studio, Encore Dance Arts in Orange.

“I noticed my breathing first,” she said after beginning yoga. “I’ve held it during dancing. I’ve especially noticed my balance and finding my center and core with yoga.”

Those interested may check out Bodyworkz.org for all classes offered at the Orange and Bridge City locations.

Kaylee Peveto of Orange is the Yoga instructor at Fit Life.

She has been teaching for two years. She just returned home from becoming a certified Yoga instructor in Hawaii. She told of how she discovered Yoga.

“I’ve danced all of my life,” she said. “I was living in Vegas and going through tough times. I was inspired looking at online yoga pictures and I went to a class.

“My life changed tremendously. I take my yoga outside the studio with me. It calms the mind and I am more aware. To be aware of my best self.”

Peveto said they were inspired by her Yoga teachers to travel the world. She was living in California before she returned home to Orange.

“I want to inspire others to do things they like to do. There are tons of benefits to yoga- the poses can help with anxiety, help with injuries, help your health, help with depression and reduces stress. It improves your balance, it improves your circulation and your digestion. It can realign your entire nervous system.

One of her students had a prosthetic leg and she could still do yoga. Peveto asks her class if anyone has an injury to make any adjustments.

She also asks for hands-on permission from the student to adjust for the right poses.

“Different ages can do yoga. Younger kids too. They have Yoga in schools in larger cities,” she said. “Guys are coming to build their strength.”

For instance, Kyler Poluk and Ryan Johnson visited the class for the first time.

Poluk said he wants a good mind, body and soul through yoga. Johnson said he tried yoga at home and he wanted to go to a class and give it a try.

“I’ve been looking forward to this. I can now embarrass myself outside of my house,” he said laughing.

For more information, go to fitlifestudio.me/ or 409-330-4710.