Toledo yoga instructor offers advice for winter fitness

The Yogaja Yoga Studio is hosting a winter solstice celebration on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Wildwood Ward Pavilion on Central Avenue.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio has some of the highest obesity rates in the country, according to data and local doctors. During the winter those numbers don’t get better.

But there are many ways to keep the body moving and warmed up despite the cold weather. The winter solstice is on Wednesday and local yoga instructors suggest planning how to stay active now.

Margaret Penn, owner of the Yogaja Yoga Studio in west Toledo, said to be mindful of what our bodies need and not fall into hibernation.

“Nature is going to sleep, so we start to slow down we find ourselves slowing down,” Penn, who has owned Yogaja for nine years, said. “This is important. It’s a time of rest and rejuvenation for our bodies. But at the same time, we still need to keep moving. “

Consistency and healthy choices are key, Penn said.

“These vehicles that we move in our bodies are meant to move and when we stop doing that, we lose the ability to do it effectively,” she said.

Other ways to stay active during the winter include paying attention to your breathing to send oxygen to your brain and motivate a healthy mindset.

Tonya Carr has been practicing yoga for nearly a decade and said everyone should tune in, go internal and really focus on what’s important. She uses yoga to get exercise and center her body as a way to deal with seasonal depression.

“Other than the movement of yoga, which is extremely important for me, the spiritual aspect is too,” Carr said. “I’ve studied now for a while and I feel like I’ve just become a more enriched person.”

Spiritually, Carr cares for her mind and body with yoga.

“I struggle from a lot of anxiety, so it’s helped me with that,” she said. “My whole life I’ve worked out and this is the first time I’ve been pain-free.”

Yogaja Yoga studio has dedicated its yoga classes in the month of January to making good choices for better mental health.

The Yogaja Yoga Studio in Toledo is hosting a winter solstice celebration on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Wildwood Ward Pavilion on Central Avenue. The studio also offers a variety of scheduled classes and private sessions, found on its website.

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