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Root River Yoga - a way of life, a calling


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Feb 7th, 2014
Posted in All Health & Wellness

Amanda Griggs, of Houston, brings yoga to local lives with Root River Yoga. Photo submitted

For some, yoga invokes one-sided images of quietly posed people, breathing paced and nothing more. But, for more and more Americans, the understanding has grown beyond the physical and into deeper understanding that touches mind, body, and soul and the practice is thriving in the rural tri-county area. Hardly a trend, the practice is over 5,000 years old and it’s estimated that more than 11 million Americans participate in it annually.

That’s not surprising to Houston resident Amanda Griggs, owner and operator of Root River Yoga. In just three year, she has grown her passion for yoga into a successful business, discovering an avid interest in the practice by countless others who are equally as eager to learn. Initially, she simply taught the practice in her living room to a few willing friends who wanted to learn. She now teaches a minimum of four classes weekly, in four communities, while continuing her own deepening in the practice through classes at The Yoga Place in LaCrosse, Wis.

While yoga may clearly be her calling, the path to peace for Griggs wasn’t an easy one. First learning yoga in 2006, Griggs found herself engaging in the practice daily in 2008 while in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. “The practice has saved my life. I found it to be the only light in my confusion. After getting out of treatment six years ago March 28, I have been devoted to a daily practice. Since, the yoga practice and sharing it with others has helped me to be a more healthy and vibrant person,” she says. “It calls us to be more present in our lives, more flexible in our bodies and minds, and more interested in the pursuit of wellness. My thought is that putting my story out there can bring others hope.”

Teaching for the past five years, Griggs was certified in the principals of Hatha Yoga in 2010 and is a 2014 Minnesota Yoga Conference Scholarship recipient for her work in bringing yoga to rural, southeastern Minnesota. Her classes, which are a varied mix of styles and principals, are designed for all levels and are aimed at bringing flexibility, strength, and a sense of calm to participants. The poses, called ‘asanas,’ incorporate breathing techniques and their benefits to the body are unmatched as a practice aiding the all of the body’s systems, as well as their notable influence on the mind and intellect.

Just ask the students. Their enthusiasm for both the practice’s benefits and Griggs’ teaching speaks volumes. “Yoga has been very, very gooooood to me!” enthuses Rushford resident Bob Spartz, a student of Root River Yoga for three years. “The reason for starting this practice was to improve my overall body movements. Along with the aging process, I noticed some normal day to day movements were getting difficult to do. The yoga practice has given me a better range of motion, increased flexibility and improved posture awareness. Amanda has given many valuable tips and insight in my practice and does a great job of explaining the how, why of the different movements along with showing the correct form of the movements that we do during a session. I find it to be a rewarding and beneficial practice time for me,” he continues.

“When I relocated a few years ago, I was thrilled to discover there was a group of people meeting to practice yoga. From the first class I could sense the personalized attention and devotion Amanda took in each of us,” notes Houston resident Jayne Gilmer, a four-year student of Root River Yoga and a student of the practice for over 20 years. “With a major back injury issue that almost put an end to a few activities in my life, I was searching for a practice that would incorporate modifications that would allow me to heal and continue doing activities I was passionate about. Amanda has been so very conscientious about techniques that help each of us progress in our practice. She is an amazing teacher with a true gift, willing to share in a personal setting that becomes more important in the busy and impersonal lives we sometimes have.”

“I am a middle-aged potter who began yoga with a few physical issues. Now, after several years of practice, I am much more limber, strong and full of energy,” says Mary Denzer, of Houston, a Root River Yoga student of four years. “I have been fortunate to have taken yoga from a gifted and talented yoga instructor. She has several certifications for teaching yoga to kids, seniors, and regular folks and has extraordinary skills in instructing and guiding students at every level. And the classes are fun!”

“I do think there are a lot of misconceptions about yoga. Just today somebody asked me if you have to stand on your head if you’re in yoga class!” laughs Rushford resident Bonnie Prinsen, a four year student. “I tried yoga a couple of times earlier in life, but it never really ‘clicked.’ I tend to carry a lot of stress in my body and I have a busy mind that makes it hard for me to relax. Yoga has really helped me become more aware of my body and has increased my strength and flexibility. For me, it is a chance to quiet my mind, move deliberately, and challenge myself, both physically and mentally. I hope to practice yoga for the rest of my life!” she adds.

“If you let it, yoga can become a way of life,” says Griggs. Many people think the most advanced poses are what are going to take you deeper. Often, the deepest part of the practice is meditation and pranayama, the study of work of breath. Finding the ability to justify its importance in our lives is often the limiting factor.

My hope is to make the time you do take something that follows you into your pursuit of wellness. The only useful rule is to listen to yourself and follow that.

When your yoga practice begins to follow you off the mat and into your day, advancing your practice may just move to the top of your priority list,” she adds.

In her spare time, Griggs can be found learning and educating, supporting environmental causes and natural living, creating pottery, and woodworking. She travels every summer to Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont to teach carpentry and barn restoration to non-violent incarcerated women that have suffered some of the same challenges of drug and alcohol abuse. “One passion, hope, and dream I have is to bring training to the area. I believe there is a lot of healing that can be done through teaching this population, and others who have suffered a trauma in their lives, with a yoga discipline. I feel very dedicated to sharing my story and teaching with the local community.”

Currently, Root River Yoga classes are held Mondays, at 6 p.m., at Ridgeway Community School, Tuesdays, at 6 p.m., through Rushford-Peterson Community Education, Wednesdays, at 7 p.m., at the Houston Community Center, and Sundays, at 4 p.m., at the Winona YMCA. Those interested can register for classes by contacting Root River Yoga at griggsamanda1@gmail.com or 507-459-6700.

Comments:







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5148

7:30:26, Feb 13th 2014

GRAMPS says:
I AM REALLY IMPRESSED