Bend Stretch & Breathe

A Conscious Movement Practice


The ministry of Bend, Stretch and Breathe continues every Friday afternoon at 5:30 in the Vestry, which is the part of the church that faces the traffic coming down the hill on the Yarmouth Rd.  Whatever your ability, please join us.  Bending, stretching and breathing is essential to life.  A weekly conscious practice of integrating all three makes for a better life.


Pastor Richard has practiced yoga for over forty years and teaches a mix of postures and styles informed by various schools of flow yoga.  He first learned yoga out of a book, Yoga and Common Sense, by Ina Marx.  He has studied at the Kripalu Institute in western Massachusetts and with Mark Whitwell and Thomas Fortel at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Like all yoga teachers, he stresses the importance of paying attention to the breath, but the most important aspect of yoga is just doing it.


Especially at the beginning, do not worry about doing the poses perfectly.  Just doing something is better than doing nothing.  Get into the habit of doing something and you will soon be doing them well enough. 


Some yoga instructors focus on learning the individual poses, getting the pose exactly right and holding it.  Some focus more on the flow from one pose to the next. Both of these emphases are valuable.  If you get into the flow, you’ll eventually get skilled at all the poses.  If you get really good at the poses, you will naturally be able to flow from one to the next. 


Breath, flow, mechanics, awareness, relaxation, stretching, endurance, strength - all are important.  Each supports the others. 


There is no perfect way to do any of the poses, although striving for perfection may be worthwhile for some people.  The most important thing to do in a yoga or movement practice is start.  You can start with a focus on breath.  You can start with a focus on structure.  You can start with a focus on flowing movement. 


Just start.  And continue.  Repeat.

 “I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living.  . . .  In each it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”

- Martha Graham

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