Dobson reaches her arms to demonstrate a modification on the tree pose. People of all skill levels are welcome to participate in her $5 classes.
By Rosa Willis
“Her classes are for everybody as a body and everybody as a whole,” said Kathy Fellows. Fellows participates in Karen Dobson’s yoga classes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the Pickens Community Center.
Dobson got her start in yoga at Jasper Athletic Club, taking classes led by Paula Adams who inspired her to become a certified yoga instructor.
Dobson’s class is a relaxing environment that just makes you want to say “Namaste.” The group is mostly women with only one man who participates regularly - though both genders are welcome.
“Every single class is different,” said Fellows. The variety that Dobson offers keeps them interesting and motivational.
The class begins with stretching and breathing and gradually transitions into differing yoga poses and techniques. Dobson takes care to cater to both first-time yogis and the most experienced members of her class. “We try to show modifications for all levels,” Dobson said.
Having used yoga DVDs in the past and taught myself many yoga poses and techniques, it was very refreshing to participate Dobson’s class. Her instruction was comfortable and encouraging, yet simple modifications could be added to make poses and movements more challenging.
Each person focuses on Dobson’s instruction or his or her own body. No one is there to judge anyone else. Fellows described the class as a “sisterhood,” and said that everyone is friendly and welcoming.
“I encourage everyone to know we’re not here to intimidate. I’m here to encourage and show all the different levels,” Dobson said.
A common phrase used throughout the classes is “Listen to your body.” By listening to your body, you can become more advanced while still being safe. If anything hurts, you’re encouraged to take a break or use a yoga block or strap to help. If some poses require great balance, you’re invited to use the wall.
Dobson furnishes yoga mats, blocks, blankets and straps for anyone who would like to come, but she encourages people to bring their own supplies (yoga can get sweaty). Her yoga classes are no shoes and no socks (another good reason to bring your own supplies).
Dobson also teaches cardio classes at the recreation center on Mondays and Wednesdays. For cardio, she asks that everyone wear a good pair of cross-training shoes.