Think you can’t do yoga? Take a deep breathe, stretch and think again in Fred Miller’s viniyoga classes at Yogaworks Larchmont.
The yoga style—named after a Sanskrit term—is “more challenging for the mind than the body,” explains Miller. “It takes a few weeks to master this… Come along and have fun,” he tells a group of 12 at the beginning of a recent afternoon class in a sunlit studio overlooking Larchmont Blvd.
His students include a mix of young and old. There are recovering hip-replacement patients and an 84-year old retired dentist who brought his 82-year-old wife to her first yoga class last month.
Leon Prochnik, a Holocaust survivor, likes Miller’s slow technique. “Very few teachers concentrate on the small details like breathing,” he says.
Twenty somethings also gravitate to the slower, more conscious form of movement than the strenuous grit of faster power-type workouts.
But you do move. “Breathe in for four, hold two, release for four,” Miller says as in a sitting pose, you twist your swine, and using a “corkscrew” as a metaphor, turn your head the other way, releasing years of built-up stress.
The hands-on seasoned teacher who has been guiding students here for 30-plus years, stumbled into the practice pretty much against his will.
An assistant director in television, his boss stayed calm under pressure, leading Miller to figure it was either tai chi or drugs. Turned out to be the former slow-paced exercise, which Miller took up, followed by aikido, all-the-while avoiding “do-nothing yoga classes.”
When a friend asked him to attend a workshop at the Larchmont yoga studio he agreed to come along to support her.
After surviving some strenuous poses, and standing in a puddle of his own sweat, he started to rethink the whole yoga thing.
The studio director at the time suggested he take the teacher training course. “I don’t want to teach,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter,” said the director, “It will strengthen your practice.”
He took the course, and the rest is ancient history.
Easier yoga options for everyone at Yogaworks Larchmont
Fred Miller’s viniyoga classes are on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:45 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
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Urban Zen is on Mondays at 2:30 p.m. with Amy Rose Stabley, an integrative therapist. The class includes restorative poses, healing oils and meditation.
Michele Rappaport offers a free HIV course on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.
Yogaworks Larchmont, 230 N. Larchmont Blvd.