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Under the shelter of the Pine Plains Lions Club Pavilion, Nichole Martini has been leading local residents through several yoga exercises while making sure they maintain a safe social distance from one another during the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of her Yoga with Nichole program held on Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. Photo by Melissa Manto-Fedczuk​

Pine Plains finds ways to stay fit safely with yoga

PINE PLAINS — Given all the sunshine this fall has afforded the Harlem Valley thus far, even as temperatures drop, local residents have been out and about in an effort to stay fit and enjoy the scenery while maintaining a social distance from one another. For those looking to get back into the local exercise programs they once enjoyed, they are more than welcome to join the in-person and online community yoga classes organized by the Pine Plains Free Library.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yoga with Nichole, with instructor Nichole Martini, was originally held at the Pine Plains Free Library on Monday nights. After the pandemic hit, she shifted to teaching on Zoom.

Nowadays, Martini can be found hosting her Monday evening yoga classes in-person in the open air at the Pine Plains Lions Club Pavilion, located at 82 Beach Road. Open to all skill levels, the program is available every Monday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Social distancing is a must for residents who partake in these classes, and donations are appreciated but not required. 

Martini is also teaching a Saturday morning yoga class via Zoom. Held at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings, residents can access this yoga class by clicking on the Zoom link https://zoom.us/j/8718532858?pwd=dnVZelo3bjBES2dyZFpjRjczbUEwZz09. The suggested donation for this class is $10. Participants can pay via Venmo to @Nichole-Martini or via PayPal to nichole.martini@gmail.com.

As another yoga enthusiast residing locally, Lynda Wisdo, had organized a Chair Yoga program on YouTube early in the pandemic. According to Wisdo’s website, Wise Woman Wellness at www.lyndawisdo.weebly.com, chair yoga is defined as a form of traditional Hatha Yoga (referring to a branch of yoga that focuses on physical exercises and breathing control) with the support of a chair. 

Participants are taught exercises in both seated and standing postures in addition to breathing exercises and guided meditation. 

Described as a practice for the mind, spirit and body, the benefits of practicing chair yoga range from increased flexibility and relaxation to an enhanced immune function and improved sense of empowerment. 

The Chair Yoga program was originally held in the Community Room above the Pine Plains Free Library every Wednesday morning, until the pandemic prompted the library to close. The library has since reopened, but not all of its programs have returned as it is still concerned about its patrons’ safety.

As a way of staying connected with her students while offering local residents access to Chair Yoga, Wisdo created a video on YouTube entitled, “Chair Yoga~Finding Our Breath Amid the COVID-19 Chaos,” which can be found online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0M7tccBfA0.

“So many of us are living with fear and, as a result, not breathing fully,” Wisdo said of how people are dealing with the stress of the pandemic. “Focusing on taking full, expansive breaths can help greatly to alleviate stress and anxiety as can gentle movement and guided meditation — both of which are part of my video.”

Wisdo later posted a “Chair Yoga~Releasing Muscle Tension During the COVID Chaos” video that focused on alleviating stress during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be found online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmi8zN8dEaQ.

Given that many of her students are seniors who don’t navigate the world wide web terribly well, Wisdo has since let the Chair Yoga program go, though residents can still find her videos through the aforementioned links or by visiting her YouTube channel, “Lynda Wisdo, MA.”

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