Yoga offers the way to physical and mental wellbeing

When Cynthia Mutch saw a traumatic event in her life that was staring her straight in the face, she turned to yoga.

“It changed my life for me,” says Mutch, who now teaches yoga classes at the YMCA in Columbus.

Mutch began her new passion by checking out yoga techniques on Instagram and YouTube, and later enrolling for classes at Columbus’ Bliss Yoga Studio before becoming a certified yoga teacher herself. She was amazed at how much work went into mastering the various techniques.

“It’s not just stretching as I originally thought, it takes a lot of strength,” Mutch said.

The more she learned, the more she realized that yoga can help with anxiety, inner peace, and offer both psychological and physical benefits.

“Since yoga is a slow moving form of physical activity, you force some of the balance postures and the force that goes with them to bring your focus inward and come to an inner calm place to focus on what you are doing “Said Mutch. “This skill is a really good skill for learning to focus and finding that strength from within.”

Mutch offers three classes per week, ranging from basic flow to strength and strength classes, at the downtown YMCA, which is free for members and $ 10 for all other guests.

“It’s never too late to start,” said Mutch. “You just meet where you are and progress from there. I want someone to be nice to themselves and not expect them to practice yoga like they have been doing for 20 years. I want people to come and do what feels right to them. You will feel immediate benefits. “

One of the beneficiaries of consistent yoga practice was Kelley Bassett of Columbus, who has taken classes at Bliss Yoga for the past six years.

“I love it. There is no competition, you are just yourself and accept yourself for who you are in the growth process,” said Bassett. “There is fellowship and encouragement to be found. There is only a sense of growth. I am always happy that I did it, especially for my mental health because I feel stronger. “

For beginners, yoga may seem overwhelming. According to Mutch, even if you’re a bodybuilder or a marathon runner, it’ll be a tough workout the first time, if you’ve never moved your body this way before.

But Bliss Yoga Studio owner Lindsey Nicholson said initial nervousness shouldn’t put off interested parties.

“Yoga meets you where you are,” says Nicholson, who has owned Bliss Yoga since 2017. “The biggest misunderstanding is, ‘I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga, or I’ve never done yoga so I can.”’ Don’t do it. ‘ People don’t really understand this, yoga is for everyone. Young, old, male, female, it doesn’t matter. It really hits you, no matter where you are. “

Nicholson offers mat and reformer Pilates classes in her studio, for which residents of the Golden Triangle can register at

“Pilates and yoga really touched me, the breathing, the calming and then I really realized that I wasn’t for me with older hardcore workouts,” said Nicholson of her yoga journey. “I really liked the mind-body connection that came with yoga, and that is something you can build on.

“You can make any class suitable for all levels. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first time walking in the studio or you’ve been practicing for 50 years. It’s a great way to exercise. What they do in the gym can be supplemented with yoga for strength, balance and flexibility with the breathing techniques learned from the mind-body connection. “

According to an article by John Hopkins Health, one of the nine benefits of yoga includes stress management resources.

“Breathing helps calm you down, and it can slow your heart rate,” said Lee Ann Starr, a teacher at Bliss Yoga, who said she started doing yoga decades ago to relieve back pain. “You think all these mental health things, someone with anxiety, that breathing is going to help you get back to a place where your heart isn’t racing and you’re not breathing fast.”

Other benefits of yoga, according to John Hopkins Health, include improved strength, flexibility, and balance, back pain relief, relief from arthritis symptoms, improved heart health, improved sleeping habits, improved energy levels, improved stress management mechanisms, a supportive community, and better self-nurturing care.

“When you finally get that pose, or when you finally get that balance, it’s just really beautiful,” said Nicholson. “You can do it anywhere, on vacation, you don’t need any equipment. Hopefully I’ll be doing yoga when I’m 90 years old here at the Bliss Yoga Studio. “