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Yoga as Part of the Community

by Wesley Delanoy

Laurel Tormey Cole

Orchid Tree Yoga Director and Certified Yoga Teacher Laurel Tormey Cole has been studying yoga intensively since 1998 and teaching for 12 years. She states, “The mission of the Orchid Tree Yoga community is to foster personal growth through exploration, determination and self-study by promoting physical awareness in a safe, supportive environment where students grow beyond their perceived boundaries to a deeper connection with themselves and others.”

Cole received her certification from Cyndi Lee, of OM Yoga, in New York City, and practices OM Yoga and Iyengar yoga. Following a decade of teaching, she purchased her current studio, which embraces students of all ages and abilities, bringing the benefits of yoga to pregnant women, infants, children and their families, adults over 50 and seniors and other underserved populations that most yoga studios don’t cater to.

“Yoga is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your body. We all carry wounds and injuries, whether they are physical, emotional or are based on repetitive movements and work-related issues,” says Cole. “These manifest physically in the body, and we lose or compromise our flexibility, strength and resiliency. Yoga allows us to once again access our strength, relieve chronic pain and improve balance, breath and posture and creates an overall sense of well being. Yoga is the most age-defying practice you can do.”

Orchid Tree is expanding with a BiggerBodies series geared to plus-size adults. “The benefits of yoga are vast, and yoga is not about being skinny or becoming a pretzel. It is about strengthening, improving your balance and alleviating pain due to habituated ways of movement, as well as boosting confidence and self-esteem,” says Cole. In addition, a three-class prenatal series, in conjunction with Capital District Physicians Health Plan, will be held from 7 to 8 p.m., September 12, 19 and 26, 2017 (register at cdphp.com/classes).

On their flex system, students can take any class on any day they want. Special combinations are available, and Cole says, “Our Wellness Package pricing is one of the best in the Capital District in cost and value to our students.” At Orchid Tree Yoga, students receive individual attention and modifications appropriate to their personal practice. “Many of our instructors are trained and certified in specific areas of expertise, including infant massage, restorative yoga, trauma-sensitive yoga, BarreFlow, dietician/nutritionist and developmental and physical disabilities. We also have on staff wellness professionals killed in massage, reiki, CranioSacral Therapy and more,” says Cole.

Orchid Tree Yoga has partnered with The RED Bookshelf which reconditions gently used children’s books for distribution at community bookshelves in the Capital District. The studio serves as a permanent host to a Collection Crate, as well as offering donation yoga classes and karma yoga events where students volunteer their time for book preparation sessions. To date, they have donated more than 800 books.

Cole is also partnering with Eyes Wide Open, a local organization which works to raise awareness of human trafficking and establish safe havens of healing for victims. Cole will be pursuing cutting-edge training in trauma-sensitive yoga so that she can provide instruction to these trauma victims on a donation basis.

Cole is accepting registrations for a Yoga Adventure Retreat in Belize from January, 9 through 16, 2018. It will be a wonderful opportunity to spend a week practicing yoga in a beautiful setting, take a day trip to a Mayan ruin and to spend a day snorkeling on the barrier reef.

The newest class, an eight-week series of Inside-Out Yoga for students with physical and developmental challenges and their support staff, will debut in October. Yoga is beneficial for individuals with disabilities both through the physical postures and breathwork.

Orchid Tree Yoga is located at 457 Rte. 146, in Park Guilderland Plaza, Guilderland Center. To sign up for the new Oct 2017 class or for more information about the retreat, call 518-729-6308 or visit OrchidTreeYoga.com.