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Get Fit with 6: Non-profit aims to bring the physical and mental benefits of yoga to more people

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 3:54 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In 2013, Heather Lilly and a group of other women wanted to come up with a way to bridge the gap between organizations that wanted to offer yoga to people in the community who didn’t have the means to get to a studio and yoga teachers who wanted to bring yoga to more people in the community. They started the non-profit Yoga Village.

“Yoga can bring so many different things to the table. You can definitely build a tremendous amount of strength. You can definitely bring flexibility. One of the things that I like to talk about in yoga and mindfulness is it really is up to your intention. What you’re coming to the practice looking for. And then you get to spread that across,” said Heather Lilly, Co-Founder Yoga Village.

It’s grown quite a bit with programs helping several different groups in New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, and Onslow counties. “We work with people who were formally incarcerated, we’re working on a program with LBGTQ community as well and kind of everywhere in between. It’s not just those organizations. I also facilitate trauma sensitive yoga to the general public,” said Lilly.

The Battleship N.C. recently hosted a fundraiser for Yoga Village on the deck of the ship. Takia Genwright, one of the participants comes to the classes to relieve stress. “I’ve got four kids so it’s helped with that and mentally throughout the day with stress and all that. It just gives you a clearer mind and helps you stayed focused and helps me ease a lot of stress,” said Genwright.

Genwright goes to the classes for free thanks to a partnership between Yoga Village and Communities in Schools. “It’s been really wonderful to see the initial hesitation of some of my young parents when we first started incorporating yoga into support group to it’s their favorite thing now. They look forward to it,” Emmy Gibson, Yoga Village board members and coordinator of the Young Parents’ group for Communities in Schools.

The yoga classes bring the physical benefits. But many people introduced to the concept through Village Yoga seem to crave the mental benefits even more.

“There’s such a tremendous amount of information and education that’s happening right now in terms of how much these practices can really help with mental health with anytime anything traumatic happens in an individuals life but then also thinking about us all culturally and what we’ve all been going thru several years on a whole host of different levels that having some kind of trauma sensitive yoga and mindfulness can be beneficial to virtually everyone,“said Lilly.

Genwright has come full circle with the program. “I’m actually taking my classes to be a yoga teacher right now. I’m going to continue with it and hopefully I’ll be teaching yoga classes soon and stuff and stay in the village,”said Genwright.

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