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‘Yoga Without Walls’ pushes boundaries, makes yoga accessible to public

Posted: September 13, 2011 3:54 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The lights are turned down low. Colorful mats cover the floor. A soft voice welcomes everyone and begins the class.

“We greet each other with Namaste. Namaste means I vow to you I see that which is good in you; I honor the place in you where we’re connected, where we are one, where we are the same.”

While the rest of Camden hustles and bustles outside, inside the Camden Branch of the Kershaw County Library, Scott and Heather Freiberg teach a free yoga class offered to the public.

“I just want people to know we’re here and accessible to everyone,” Scott said.

The classes are offered through an organization the couple created called Yoga Without Walls.

The Freibergs have long held a vision to create yoga that would be accessible to all regardless of age, body type, physical limitations or financial constraints.

“Many people who have never experienced a yoga class may be hesitant to attend one,” Heather said, “Oftentimes they do not know what to expect, may feel awkward or concerned they will not know the Sanskrit names for the poses and be lost in the class.”

But Yoga Without Walls was designed specifically to put beginners at ease.

“It’s a nonprofit organization we created to give the public access to the benefits of yoga,” Scott said. “We like to see parents and kids who would never set foot in a yoga studio come out and enjoy our class.”

All classes offered by Yoga Without Walls are taught on a beginner level.

“Ninety nine percent of all the people we work with are beginners, and that’s OK,” Scott said. “In fact, I think that makes it less intimidating for others to join. We take everything slow.”
Scott also said classes can be tailored to individual abilities.

“Modifications for the postures are offered for those people who are either beginners or are not able to practice an asana fully,” Heather said.

“If you can’t stand for long periods of time, you can participate while sitting. We can adapt positions to an individual’s needs,” Scott said. “It’s mostly breathing. People that focus on breathing will find tension released. It’s only partially about form.”

Classes always begin with an inspirational theme and “should be uplifting,” Scott said.

“Yoga shouldn’t be mechanical, it’s something you feel with your mind, body and spirit,” he said.

The class is offered every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. at the library in Camden. Weather permitting, Scott said he liked to host the class outdoors in the court yard, but if the weather is unforgiving the class meets in the conference room.

Up to 12 people can join the class at once.

“Any more than that and I believe the room would be too crowded,” Scott said.
Yoga Without Walls also offers classes through the Kershaw County Recreation Department, but at least six people have to sign up for the class to be held.

“As soon as enough people sign up, we’ll teach the class,” Scott said.
Scott said he and his wife considered making Yoga Without Walls a business, but they both agreed that would “suck the fun out of it.”

“We’re not doing this for the money,” he said. “When money is involved, it’s just an added stress and that’s not the point.”

In the past, Scott said, they have offered classes outdoors in Camden’s City Hall Park.

“The city was very supportive of what we were trying to do,” he said. “We may consider trying to offer another outdoor class seasonally.”

For more information about Yoga Without Walls, visit yogawithoutwalls.net.

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