September 16, 2014 by Steve Winkler
-Special to the Observer from Jane Bryant-
Ten years? It’s true. Yoginis recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of yoga in West Fork. Jimmie Thomas, yoga instructor extraordinaire, began teaching yoga in 2004 in the courtroom of City Hall. The classes recently relocated to Library Hall.
Jimmie has her 200-hour and 500-hour certifications as a Variyoga teacher. Variyoga is a blend of different types of yoga that are adapted to the needs of the students. It can be quite gentle or very strenuous depending on the students and their capabilities.
In the spring of 2014 Jimmie completed a week-long intensive course at Duke Integrative Medical Center on therapeutic yoga. She learned how to adapt yoga for people with various health issues, such as osteoporosis, heart problems, and COPD.
Jimmie happily admits that she did not plan to become a yoga teacher. This path came about when she visited the West Fork Library after she had moved back to Northwest Arkansas. She mentioned to the librarian that she did yoga, and the librarian gave her name to the West Fork Parks person. When the parks person contacted her about teaching a six-week yoga program, she agreed to give it a try.
Ten years later, she is still teaching. Jimmie often says that the best thing about becoming a yoga teacher in West Fork is the wonderful women she has come to know.
Janice Williams commented, “Jimmie has been my yoga teacher for 9+ years and neighbor for most of that time. I appreciate her for being a good, dedicated teacher, as it’s good healthy exercise I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.”
Long-time student Jan Hayes said,“ Jimmie became my neighbor a little over ten years ago . . . she asked me if I would like to take yoga classes. I wasn’t familiar with yoga and was a little hesitant. I didn’t realize gentle yoga is the best exercise you can do to keep your body flexible. Jimmie is not my neighbor anymore, but I consider her one of the best friends I have and she is totally responsible for my exercise routine. Thank you, Jimmie, for being a great friend and teacher.”
Yoga classes meet in Library Hall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. All ages and abilities are welcome. Mats are available for beginners. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing.