BUSINESS

Baptiste Power Yoga Oxford reaches out to the community

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Sign on the door to the studio in Baptiste Power Yoga Oxford. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

Lindsly Penny
Oxford Stories
lgpenny@go.olemiss.edu

Those who practice yoga know it has many benefits, such as decreasing stress, relieving anxiety, reducing inflammation and improving heart health.

Some Oxford yoga practitioners are trying to educate the community about the positive changes it can have in one’s life.

Formerly known as The Yoga Space, Baptiste Power Yoga Oxford just celebrated its one year anniversary and became an official Baptiste affiliate, thus changing its name. Mary Morgan Bryan opened the studio to provide a safe and nurturing space to build a community and empower others to live an inspired life, according to The Yoga Space website.

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Mary Morgan Bryan assists yoga student Ben Mangum. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

Bryan works with Chyna Sinervo, who recently completed yoga teacher training during the winter, practicing yoga with Ben Mangum, an Oxford resident with Down’s syndrome.

“I love yoga, and I’m going to keep doing it,” Mangum said. “It helps my weight and my legs, and I feel like I’m already getting stronger. Plus, I have two great teachers, Chyna and Mary Morgan.”

Sinervo said she enjoys using yoga to positively impact someone’s life. “I see how excited Ben gets when we are on the way to yoga,” she said. “Right after we leave, he is already ready to come back.”

Sinervo began practicing yoga when she was injured. “I didn’t think it would give me the same workout as I was used to, but my body has changed so much, and I feel so much better,” she said.

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Ben Mangum takes half moon pose. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

Bryan and Sinervo have also been working with a 13-year-old girl for a semester. “She was new to town and was dealing with a lot of problems,” Bryan said. “She wouldn’t even go to school. Eventually, she got sent to a five-day program. The only thing that she liked in the program was that there was yoga.

“After beginning a yoga practice, things have changed so much for the better for her. Her counselor says she has improved, and she is making As and Bs in school.”

These two cases are the first of many. Bryan serves on the board of Small World Yoga, a Nashville nonprofit. Their mission is to connect people and create a community providing access to yoga for people who may not have it otherwise.

“We serve over 80 locations and have over 100 volunteer yoga teachers,” Bryan said. “We want to bring that to the Oxford community, and these two stories are only the beginning.”

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Chyna Sinervo, Ben Mangum, and Mary Morgan Bryan after their yoga practice. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

Baptiste Power Yoga Oxford provides yoga for the Oxford community by offering community classes anyone can attend for $5 per class, even without a membership. These are offered four times a week and are led by various staff members.

The studio offers these classes to make sure that no one is unable to practice yoga because of their financial situation or because they are not able to attend frequently enough to purchase a membership.

They also offer Yoga For A Cause donation classes on Sundays. “We rotate local nonprofits,” Bryan said.”It’s a free class with donations encouraged, but all donations go to the nonprofits.”

Nonprofit organizations that the studio has raised money for over the past year include Doors of Hope and the Student Veterans Association (My Ole Miss Wish). They are currently serving the Lafayette County Literacy Council. The studio typically switches recipients each semester.

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Yoga for A Cause poster. Photo by Lindsly Penny.

“Practicing yoga has not only increased my awareness of my body, but also my mental stability and spirituality,” said Amanda Noel, a studio member. “Baptiste Power Yoga and its staff members provide me with a consistent and supportive second home that is readily available for me no matter what.”

Baptiste Power Yoga Oxford offers a variety of classes for all ages and skill levels. Classes include Power Flow (heated), Align + Flow (gently heated), Hip-hop Asana (heated), Buti Yoga (unheated), Vinyasa Flow (unheated), Refresh & Restore (unheated), and Deep Release (unheated).

Classes are offered seven days a week throughout the day. The $5 drop-in classes are a Community Power Flow. Teachers assist beginners with proper alignment and poses during practice.

Their website with a full schedule, class descriptions, team members, and pricing can be found at BaptistePowerYogaOxford.com, and their Instagram can be found at @baptistepoweryogaoxford.

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