ALTON — In keeping with the studio’s plan to give back to the community each month, River Bend Yoga is offering free yoga classes to area first responders during April.
“We found out April is Stress Awareness Month and the most stressful job we could think of was first responders,” said Vicky Delaney, who owns the studio with Janet Keffer. “Hopefully, this will give them another avenue to reduce their stress in a healthy way.”
By combining stretches, breathing exercises and physical poses, yoga helps relieve anxiety, depression and stress. Yoga and meditation is shown to help alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression, as well as reduce pain.
The offer dovetails with the studio’s goal to get more men to try yoga.
Fliers have been left at fire and police stations from Grafton to Bethalto and Delaney’s received a mixed reaction to the idea. One Godfrey firefighter told her it wasn’t for him. A police officer at a Godfrey substation was more open to the idea, but said he didn’t think it was “a guy thing.”
“I want them to know it is a guy thing. Over in China and other Asian countries, more men than women practice yoga. Over here it’s seen as for women. If they’re uncomfortable coming alone, maybe they could get their firehouse buddy to come along.”
Delaney has a place in her heart for first responders since her house burned down several years ago.
“It’s an amazing field,” Delaney said. “I can’t imagine the danger of possibly getting shot at or having to work an accident scene, the stress it would do to you.”
The offer is restricted to the studio’s regular classes, including hot yoga and the April beginner’s class. It does not include specialty classes such as aerial yoga or workshops.
River Bend Yoga is located at 202 State St., Alton. It offers daily yoga classes, as well as specialty classes such as standup paddleboard during the summer. A schedule can be found on their Facebook page or call (618) 433-8321.