Oxford resident Sarah Logan teaches at Hot Yoga Plus at 1801 Jackson Ave., but brings new members to the yoga family during pop-up classes at the Oxford Community Market. The outdoors classes are free for anyone who wants to participate.
“It started as a few of my friends and I doing it,” she said, “but then others asked about it. It has become a way for me to give back and celebrate the meaning of why I started.”
Logan began practicing yoga when she was 18 and has returned to the mat every day since. It’s a place where her mind can be calm, and it has given her confidence outside the studio.
“It made me feel like I was in an inclusive, new environment, and it turned into a little community of my own,” said Logan, a Lafayette, Louisiana native, who brings her mat with her, even when she travels home to visit family and friends.
“As I gained more confidence in my practice, I started stretching and doing exercising movements anywhere. I have even done it in a terminal in an airport. Believe it or not, others joined me.”
Logan said yoga has enhanced her life in ways she never thought possible.
“It is the most humbling, raw, and selfish practice I have ever experienced,” she said. “Practicing at the studio is the one hour out of my day to breathe and allow myself to completely be me.
“It enhances my life because of the mental and physical lessons it teaches me. I have dealt with severe anxiety and depression for several years, and I truly believe if I did not find yoga or go through teacher training, I would have had to invest in medicine or counseling.”
Yoga is Logan’s art form. She expresses herself through yoga like others do through painting, drawing, singing, and dancing. The practice relieves stress and gives her confidence because she helps students calm their minds.
“It makes me a much better person,” she said. “I have learned to accept and not to negatively or positively attach to anything or anyone. It’s a form of art and expression, and while I show up on my mat for myself, everyone shows up as well. Together, yoga forms a community and a support system.”
The practice includes meditation, alignment, and mental strength.
“During a given class, students should learn to obtain a Sadhana, which is complete enlightenment,” she said. “In order for one to reach this, they complete an Ashana practice.”
Her technical understanding and appreciation of yoga as an artistic and creative expression were gained during teacher training.
“Teacher training includes journaling, meditating, eating a yoga meal, and giving something up,” she said. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was one of the most important components of my training.”
During meditations, she said her mind feels free and almost numb.
“Even on my worst days, yoga will save me from the stresses and uncertainties life throws my way,” she said.
Yoga is different than other workouts.
“Although there is a teacher, one is encouraged to take whatever move they would like,” she said “The breathing tempo connects the movements, and everybody moves at a different pace.”
One of her favorite moments is seeing different students moving in different ways to heal the problems of the day with her as their guide.
“You learn that nobody can do the same move in the same way,” she said. “Nobody can ever fully master yoga.”
She appreciates this aspect of the practice because it applauds the differences in technique, creativity, and alignment of a pose.
“There are yoga masters, but they, themselves, still learn new moves and teach new moves,” she said.
Logan cannot imagine life without yoga because of the sense of peace, confidence, and security it brings to her every day.
“The most valuable fundamental of yoga is the breathing,” she said. “It sounds weird and simple, but breathing allows your body to make room for movement and to calm down. When I am in the real world and experience difficult situations, I have learned how to step back, not immediately respond, and breath.”
Chelsea Nalley was visiting her younger sister for the weekend when she attended Logan’s last pop-up class.
“My little sister loves yoga and made me come with her,” she said. “I have never done yoga before, but that was so much more enjoyable than I thought.”
The Atlanta native said her friends practice yoga, and she had always wanted to try it, but was nervous.
“Not once did I feel judged or felt like I couldn’t keep up,” she said. “Sarah made it feel like it was a free zone to do whatever felt right.”
Nalley experienced the feeling Logan strives to instill in all of her students.
“New students bring me so much joy,” Logan said, “because with the first class, I can vision the potential they have with every movement and pose.”