The Waxahachie YMCA will participate in Yoga Day USA on Saturday, Jan. 24, joining thousands of people nationwide as yogis, couch potatoes, tri-athletes, novices and those young and old and in between, join together for this history-making celebration.

Christine Engebretson, a 500 registered yoga teacher with nine years of teaching experience in yoga, will teach a free class from 10-11 a.m. in the downstairs aerobics room of the YMCA.

“Citizens will be joining together across our nation to stretch their mind, body and spirit through the practice of yoga,” she said. “The focus will be on fitness of the mind, body and spirit.

“This event is the brainchild of Yoga Alliance and this powerful annual event will be held in yoga studios, parks, gyms, beaches and private homes in cities all across America,” Engebretson said. “Most of the classes and workshops are free or nearly free.”

Engebretsen has studied various forms of yoga including Iyengar, Vinyasa, Kundalini, Ashtanga, Hatha, power and hot yoga with sunstone.

“When I first started yoga, I didn’t like it but I knew that there had to be more to it than I was grasping, so I stuck with it,” she said. “I felt intimidated by the more flexible people in the class around me. 

“Once I learned the art of yoga breathing, I was able to focus inward more and let judgment and stress leave,” she said. “This deepened my practice and heightened my passion for yoga. If people didn’t stick with yoga until they grasped it, it would not have lasted this long and would have just been another exercise fad that didn’t last.”

The more she attended yoga class the more Engebretsen said she knew that teaching yoga would be a part of her future. 

“I love to share the joys of yoga with others while at the same time helping people on their paths to better health and relaxation,” she said.

Supporters say there are many benefits of yoga, which began many years ago in India.

Health benefits include a decrease in blood pressure, a lowered pulse rate, improved immune system, balanced metabolism and improved balance, they say, noting also improved flexibility and increased energy, among others.

Anyone interested in attending this class should bring a yoga mat, if he or she has one.  Those who don’t have a mat can use one provided by the YMCA.

“I am looking forward to teaching this free yoga class and I hope we have good participation to introduce yoga to many people in our area,” Engebretson said.

The YMCA is located at 100 YMCA Drive.