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Pine Plains gets with the flow thanks to Vinyasa Yoga

PINE PLAINS — When the work week looks tough and residents need new ways of keeping calm and releasing some stress, the Pine Plains Free Library has a weekly hybrid Vinyasa Flow Yoga program available on Monday nights at 5:30 p.m.

Taught by instructor Nichole Martini, the Vinyasa Flow Yoga program reached its third year in Pine Plains this past August. When the program was first launched in August 2018, Martini was finishing her yoga teacher’s certificate at Three Sisters Yoga and had just moved to Pine Plains.

After attending a lecture in the Community Room above the Pine Plains Free Library, Martini said she thought the room was the perfect space for yoga and wondered if the library offered yoga. She approached former Library Director Veronica Stork, who told her the library didn’t have a yoga program and asked if she wanted to teach one.

Martini credited Stork for helping get the yoga program off the ground. Now that Alexis Tackett has taken on the role of library director, Martini has been working with Tackett to keep the program going.

Asked what makes vinyasa flow yoga different from other forms of yoga, Martini explained that she blends vinyasa (or movement yoga) with yen yoga (a restorative, meditative yoga), so those who come to her class get a nice physical release.

While yoga tends to focus on relaxation, improving flexibility, releasing tension in the muscular system and other physical improvements, she said a lot of her students benefit from the meditative aspect of practicing yoga as they learn stress release, breathing techniques and ways to calm their nervous system.

Before COVID-19, Martini said the program had, on average, 16 to 18 people attend in-person. When the pandemic hit and in-person programs became restricted, she said they were able to move the program online.

Today, the Vinyasa Flow Yoga program is taught on Monday nights at 5:30 p.m. both in-person in the Community Room and via Zoom. While the program has a small collection of yoga mats, bolsters and blocks available at the library, students are encouraged to bring yoga mats and other materials if they can.

These days, Martini said the program has around 11 to 14 people per class, an average she takes pride in given the town’s small size. In fact, one of the things Martini said she really delights in doing is catering her class to whoever shows up.

“It’s such a beautiful thing,” she said. “I have some young upper teens all the way to 70s, so I do a lot of modifications in order for everyone to participate at their level.”

Another aspect that makes the program special, Martini said, is the community built around it. Whether they’re full-time Pine Plains residents, former Pine Plains residents or people that move in and out of Pine Plains, Martini delights in seeing a diversity of people come together to practice yoga and then connect with one another in and out of class.

The Vinyasa Flow Yoga program is open to anyone interested in joining and is free of charge, though donations are accepted. Donations may be made to Martini in-person at the library, via Venom at @nichole-martini or via PayPay to her email at nm@nicholemartini.com. Anyone interested in joining the class in-person or via Zoom may email Martini for more information.

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