Mimi Amrit is in the business of healthy living, and she makes house calls. But when she shows up at a client’s door, she’s carrying a couple of yoga mats and an armful of pillows and blankets instead of a black medicine bag.
“Yoga is the perfect fit for the Sun Valley area, where everybody is so athletic,” she says. “It improves balance for skiing and snowboarding. It lengthens muscles, enabling runners to get a longer leg stride. And much, much more.”
Yoga is one of the hottest fitness trends in the country, but there’s a difference between Sun Valley and much of the rest of the country. Richard Odom, who has been teaching yoga for 28 years, says that in many cities yoga is what people do for fitness. It’s the full extent of their exercise regimen. Here, yoga tends to be something people do in between swimming and hiking and skiing and playing softball.
Yoga helps make the transition from one sport to the next, from one season to the next, from one age to the next. It alleviates pain and stiffness, and helps the body recover from injuries sustained during other athletic endeavors. It promotes flexibility and the deep breathing needed for endurance sports like skate skiing. It improves blood pressure and muscle endurance. And it returns the body to its natural state following activities that require an unnatural stance.
Each of Sun Valley’s two-dozen-plus instructors offer slightly different variations of yoga. Odom, for instance, focuses on the restorative nature of yoga, doing a lot of poses in a horizontal position since so many sports activities are done standing up. Nan Cresto brings the fluidity of dance and the body-sculpting discipline of pilates to the mix. Zenergy’s instructors offer power-yoga classes to build strength, stamina, and flexibility. Cathie Caccia of Sacred Cow Yoga Studio focuses on precision of movement and alignment in her vinyasa flow class. Anne Anderson of Gateway hones in on breathing, getting people fully in touch with their body from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. And kundalini yoga classes combine classic stretching postures with breathing exercises to stimulate the release of energy.
“The best part is that yoga is so convenient,” says Odom. “You can climb out of bed and do it.”