“Our yoga mat is our space and our time for you and not everything you have to juggle in life,” said Mia Williams, yoga instructor at the Southern Prairie YMCA.
The YMCA will be offering Yoga Under the Stars, an outdoor yoga class, 7:15 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10 at Rainbow Park, 508 S. Birch St.
Williams said when YMCA director Dana Dodge and fitness coordinator Candice Honnold brought the idea to her, she was excited to do yoga outside and to bring the benefits of the YMCA into the community.
“I like that taking it outside makes us be more mindful and focused on ourselves,” Williams said. “When I’ve taken it outside here at the Y, we’ve had sirens or things that I thought would bother us, but actually it didn’t. It just showed that you can be mindful even though there’s stuff going on around you.”
Williams’ teaching style is “detail oriented,” explaining both the movements and their benefits. She said she will teach the outdoor class in a way that will allow first timers to feel comfortable.
Williams said if this goes well, they would like to do more classes in the community to introduce residents to yoga and to the YMCA.
Williams, a mother of three, began teaching fitness classes when her youngest, now 6, was about a year old. She wanted to stay home with her children, so at first she started doing daycare for another infant in addition to her own newborn.
About the same time, her friend Jen Frakes, encouraged Williams to look into teaching fitness. Williams said it took her about a year to really decide to do it. She started with one Pilates class in 2014 at the Afton Fitness Center and then began researching yoga.
“I researched power yoga classes and found the Vinyasa yoga,” Williams said. “I just fell in love with it, the flowiness, the relaxation part of it, the control part of it, and just that peace and quiet or that calming sense that you get at the very end of class.”
Williams said yoga benefits are similar to the Pilates she had been doing since she was 18. Both include controlled movements and moving the body from its core. Vinyasa yoga adds mindfulness, relaxation and a focus on self — what each individual body needs — Williams said.
“What I like about being a fitness instructor is that I can help people be aware of their body, help people relieve stress or tension or body aches or pains,” she said. “Because I’m so detail oriented when I teach, I think people can take that out into their daily life.”
Williams is a self-taught instructor whose passion for fitness and yoga has now expanded from teaching one Pilates class to nearly 30 hours a week teaching Pilates, yoga and water fitness classes at the YMCA, Afton Fitness Center and the Church of Christ Youth Center in Murray.
“I’ve learned that when you have a passion for something and you have an excitement for things, it makes you want to learn and it makes you want to teach other people,” she said.
Yoga Under the Stars is free and open to the public. In case of rain, the class will be held at the YMCA. Any changes will be announced on the YMCA Facebook page and KSIB radio.