Brattleboro yoga teacher helps people enduring stress to relax

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BRATTLEBORO — From self-healing to healing the community, yoga can be beneficial to both physical and mental health, especially to those going through tough times.

Dummerston resident and yoga instructor, Laura Tabachnick, has been teaching non-profit classes to benefit those in need in the area. Every Saturday from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m., Tabachnick offers classes at The Loft in the Cotton Mill. These classes are donation-based, and are all levels, so anyone can participate. All donations go to nonprofits in the area.

Additionally, Tabachnick said she has been teaching yoga for the residents at Groundworks Collaborative's shelter for the past year. She said this has been a rewarding experience for her, and helped to inspire her to teach these non-profit classes.

"I feel grateful to be able to provide an outlet for stress and healing for people who are going through a hard time," Tabachnick said.

According to Tabachnick, yoga classes can often be pricey, and she wanted to allow those who could not pay for them to be able to experience it as well.

"I found it to be such a healing practice that I wanted to make it accessible to people who might not be able to afford it. It isn't a money thing for me, it's not about profit, it's about helping my community."

Tabachnick said she has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years, and was just certified to teach this past year.

"(Yoga) has made me much more healthy both in my body and my mind," Tabachnick said. "That's what made me want to become certified."

Executive Director of Groundworks Collaborative Joshua Davis said the classes have been very successful among residents. "They look forward to it, they wish that we had more space at the shelter to make it easier to do yoga, and they would like for classes to be more often."

Additionally, Davis said the residents have developed a personal connection with Laura, and she has had a number of regulars who come to her classes.

Tabachnick said she even had one resident who moved out of the shelter but continued to come to her class.

Groundworks shelter is just one of the nonprofits that Yoga Locally supports. The Women's Freedom Center, Turning Point of Windham County, and the Boys and Girls Club of Brattleboro also receive donations from the classes.

In addition to Tabachnick's teaching, those attending Yoga Locally classes can enjoy Joel Eisenkramer on Indian slide guitar. Eisenkramer said he has been studying the instrument for the past 8 years. He also is a co-owner of The Loft, the space where Yoga Locally classes happen.

"We recently have done a lot of renovations so I was really excited to get more of the public into the space and aware of the space," Eisenkramer said.

Further, Eisenkramer said he thinks his music has been a popular addition to the class according to people's responses.

"I think that it reinforces the idea of pace and rhythm for people taking the class. (It is) a peaceful sounding instrument, so it contributes to the overall atmosphere of focus and dedication to one's practice."

Eisenkramer said that helping the community is a good feeling. "I like the idea of putting my efforts towards benefitting my community so I very much resonated with the idea of the proceeds from the class going to help our area non-profits."

Regarding the live music, Tabachnick said she agrees that it adds quite a bit to the classes.

"He has been instrumental in helping this get off the ground He's an amazing talent in the area," Tabachnick said.

Moving forward, Tabachnick said that she hopes the word gets out about Yoga Locally, and that more people continue to come. She said that she plans to continue teaching the classes every Saturday.

"New people are coming every week and they're coming back. I feel optimistic."

Devon Roberts is a student at Keene State College in Keene, N.H. She can be contacted at droberts@kscequinox.com.


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