This past Tuesday, June 21 was International Day of Yoga
—a day conceived in 2014 by the United Nations General Assembly to promote a holistic approach to health and well-being making healthier lifestyle choices to good health.
In fact, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine
, yoga can help improves strength, balance and flexibility, help relieve back pain, increase energy, and help manage stress.
"There are a ton of benefits to yoga—physical benefits in flexibility and strength, and the mental and emotional benefits of stretching the body and [coordinating] breaths," says YMCA yoga instructor Meghan Cliffel.
YMCA of Greater Cleveland
also promotes the physical and mental health benefits of yoga and has hosted classes around Northeast Ohio—especially this entire week.
“We’ve had yoga classes forever,” says Leighann Patterson, membership director of the Lakewood Family YMCA
. “Four years ago, we started Sunset Yoga in the Park. When it started out, we’d get one or two people. By the end of summer, we’d have 25 people. Every year we got a little bigger. We get 75 to 100 sometimes. It’s free to the community and you don’t have to be a YMCA member.”
And to celebrate the beginning of summer with the summer solstice that occurred on Tuesday, the YMCA will host the popular Sunset Yoga on the Solstice Steps
in Lakewood this Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m.
“It’s so relaxing and it usually tunes up with the sunset,” says Patterson. “When it aligns with the sunset it’s a beautiful thing.
Yoga instructor Megan Cliffel adds, "Particularly in this setting, it's a great way to ground yourself in nature with the sun setting and relax with a sense of togetherness in a group setting."
Sunset Yoga on the Solstice Steps occurs every Thursday at 7 p.m. through Aug. 25
The class is free and is taught by certified yoga instructors No reservation is required. Participants need only to bring a yoga mat.
To find more yoga classes, or other forms of exercise opportunities, visit YMCA’s online exercise schedule