Get Your OM on for International Yoga Day in Wheeling Jennifer Materkoski June 21, 2021 International Yoga Day is observed annually on June 21 to highlight the benefits of this ancient practice. Here in Wheeling, there are several ways you can celebrate today and throughout the summer! Wheeling yogis will have the opportunity to come together on International Yoga Day to benefit a good cause. The Wheeling YMCA will be hosting an outdoor yoga class on Monday, June 21 in celebration of International Yoga Day, which occurs each year in conjunction with the summer solstice. The donation-based class begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Weather permitting, the class will be held outside in the greenspace adjacent to the YMCA, which also happens to be home to the new world-class inclusive playground currently under construction. All proceeds from the class will directly benefit the playground project. In the case of inclement weather, the class will be held inside the YMCA. In addition to being Community Relations Director for the YMCA, Julie Markel is also an RYT-200 and will lead the family-friendly class. Markel completed her yoga teacher training last fall at Ohio Valley Power Yoga, and she is excited to lead this special event. “This day aligns with the summer solstice – the day with the most daylight,” said Markel. “Let’s shine together as a community for a wonderful cause.” The class will be a gentle vinyasa flow suitable for all ages and abilities, and participants are asked to bring a mat, towel or blanket that can be used in the grass. Donations for the class can be made in cash at the event, and Paypal and Venmo options will also be available. Markel also leads Power Yoga classes for the YMCA each Monday at 6 p.m. and one Saturday a month. Classes are open to the public and are free for members/$10 for non-members. Another International Yoga Day event will take place Monday on the campus of The Linsly School. Local yoga instructors Joelle Moray and Lindsay Schooler will lead the event, which is a combination of yoga, journaling and meditation. The class begins at 6 p.m. and is free to attend. Moray says though a relatively new event, International Yoga Day offers an important opportunity for personal connection. “This event is meant to engage as many people as possible in practicing yoga and is meant to bring people together in community,” said Moray. “After the long winter, everyone is ready for a new season.” Another long-standing International Yoga Day event will take place on the grounds of the former Mount DeChantal Visitation Academy. Six teachers from the WVU Howard Long Wellness Center will lead the all-levels vinyasa class, which will consist of 108 sun salutations. Modifications will be offered to make the practice accessible for all participants. Teachers include: Melissa McCamic, 200 E-RYT; Zachary Templeton, E-RYT 200; Denise O’Brien, E-RYT 500; Jill Spangler, RYT 200; Judy Romano, RYT 200; and Danielia Gummer, RYT 200. The sun salutation is an invigorating series of postures to build heat in the body and clear energy pathways. The number 108 is sacred and significant in not only in Vedic and Hindu culture, but also in other mystical tradition and numerology. “When I took my yoga teacher training, they had a ‘108 Sun Salutations’ class, and it was my favorite weekly class,” said McCamic. “I later found out that people all over the world practice 108 sun salutations and that the number 108 is sacred spiritually, mathematically and physically.” HLWC offers yoga classes five days a week in three different formats. You do not need to be a member to attend, though admission fees apply. If you can’t make any of the International Yoga Day events but still want to do some yoga this summer, here are a few options to choose from: Generation Wheeling Outdoor Yoga Series For the second year, Generation Wheeling is offering free outdoor yoga classes in Downtown Wheeling. Generation Wheeling board member Betsy Sweeny leads the all-levels classes on the first Thursday of the month, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Participants are asked to bring their own mat and any props needed to make their practice more comfortable. Held in conjunction with the City of Wheeling Parks & Recreation Department, classes take place at Heritage Port and other downtown locations. Waivers are required for participation and can be completed in advance via the Parks & Rec website. Follow Generation Wheeling on Facebook to keep up to date on information about the Outdoor Yoga Series, including any postponements for inclement weather. Integrate Wellness with Joelle Moray Wheeling resident Joelle Moray will offer weeknight and weekend outdoor class options throughout the summer. Moray specializes in trauma-informed yoga, which considers the impact of trauma on the entire mind-body system. This type of yoga can be particularly helpful for individuals dealing with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Additionally, Moray uses techniques in mindfulness-based stress reduction to help participants cope with daily stressors. Moray’s classes will take place at Wheeling Park Soccer Field One and on the campus of The Linsly School. Class dates and times can be found on the Integrate Wellness Facebook group. Classes are $10 each, and a 20% discount is offered to all active or veteran military personnel, educators and school faculty and healthcare workers. HGY with Lindsay Schooler and Friends With a new event-based offering format, Happy Goat Yoga and Lindsay Schooler will have plenty of opportunities this summer for yogis to meet up on the mat or on the water. HGY’s popular paddle boarding classes are back this year, and fans can book a spot in a pop-up event or book a private session with friends or a small group. Paddle boarding sessions are often held at Friendship Park Lake, as well as Oglebay Pool and Warren Township Pool. In addition to paddle boarding sessions, Schooler will also lead “The Lazy Yogi” events, which feature yoga practice, a short hike, and a forest sound immersion provided by Chelsey Keding. Advanced registration for events and private bookings for all offerings are available online. Follow the HGY Facebook page for upcoming event details as they are released. • Wheeling native Jennifer Materkoski is a graduate of West Liberty University and Kent State University, where she earned a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications. Before beginning her current role as director of communications and employee engagement for a global business process outsourcing firm, Jennifer worked in local media and non-profit communications. She is a current board member of Generation Wheeling, also chairing the organization’s Work Committee. She lives in Wheeling with her husband, Rich, and her three children: Mason, Mercer and Miller. 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