Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stretch Beyond the Mat - Passport in the news!


Stretch beyond the mat

Reach your full potential with the Yoga and Pilates Passport
By nature, yoga and Pilates can involve extensive stretching and mild contortion, felt especially by those who don't roll out the mat very often.
But forcing a limb into an uncomfortable position for the sake of the exercise is not the way to meditation and inner peace, say yoga teachers Jennifer Spaziano and Jenn Thomas.
Rather, they believe that the exercises, with their numerous unique styles, should be doing some of the legwork, proving yoga and Pilates can be accessible to people of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels.
"One size doesn't fit all," Thomas said.
That's the philosophy behind the Yoga and Pilates Passport 2013, an invitation to try different studios and classes around the state without committing to a single one.
Here's how it works: Pay $75 for a passport, available at , and spend the next year redeeming coupons to 41 studios, with deals ranging from free classes to free two-week passes. Clients can also purchase a 30-minute consultation along with the passport to get them started.
Yoga and Pilates teachers from around the state are involved, so those with a passport can try places by their home or work to find what fits.
Participating studios can be found in Cumberland, Foster, Pawtucket, Johnston, Cranston, Providence, Newport, Westerly, North Kingstown, Bristol, East Greenwich, East Providence, Portsmouth, Wakefield, Middletown, Barrington, Warwick, Warren, Peacedale, Block Island, Coventry, and Seekonk, Mass.
Its small size and many "amazing teachers," some of whom are masters of yoga who learned directly from those who created a new style, is an asset, Spaziano said.
"Rhode Island has the opportunity to raise the level of conversation around yoga," she said.
The passport was launched by their parent company, Rhode to Wellness.
While the passport mostly targets beginners, those who already practice yoga are also encouraged to try new styles or different teachers.
"It allows any potential or current students to build an intelligence around the practice," Spaziano said.
She admitted she was not a natural yogi.
"It didn't grab me," she said, adding she did not understand that there can be a type of yoga for each personality and body type.
But after living in New York City and taking advantage of low priced classes, the Providence wife and mother of two said something clicked.
"The fire was lit inside of me," Spaziano said. "I made it a lifetime practice because of the experience I had."
Thomas, an artist from Hope Valley, has been practicing yoga for more than 25 years.
She started at the request of a physical therapist after she was in a car accident in the 1980s, a time when she said yoga classes were only held in people's living rooms.
Now that the business of yoga has grown to what it is today, Thomas said there is a need to dispel myths that yoga is only for "young, lithe women."
Spaziano and Thomas said through partnership with seven YMCA locations, as well as a relationship with Lifespan, they are reaching a more broad audience. They said they are interested in working with organizations to promote wellness, especially for employees.
They will also reach out to vendors, like massage therapists and chiropractors, to sell the passport in stores.
If nothing else, Thomas said the passport could be a gateway through which someone starts thinking about their own health and way of being.
She said, "It's a road map to being alive."
Visit for more information and a complete list of participating studios. The 2013 passport expires Dec. 31.

Yoga teachers Jenn Thomas, left, and Jennifer Spaziano created the Yoga and Pilates Passport 2013 as a way to invite people to try different styles of yoga and Pilates at 41 different studios around the state

Time For You Yoga instructor Natalie Schiffer, left, and owner, Maria Sichel are participating in the Rhode to Wellness Yoga and Pilates Passport program.

Time For You Yoga instructor Natalie Schiffer, left, and owner, Maria Sichel, right, demonstrate a lunge, a position used in some of their yoga classes. The studio is one of many partipating in the Rhode to Wellness Yoga and Pilates Passport program. The passport will allow individuals the opportunity to try classes at different studios across Rhode Island. (Valley Breeze photo by Elise Manahan)

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