Yoga on the Patchogue River
Practicing and teaching yoga are passions for Rachel Kladias, who teaches yoga at the Carnegie Library in Patchogue on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. She also teaches classes in Bayport at Bikram Yoga.
Beginning ballet when she was 4 years old, her dancing segued into fitness and eventually, yoga. Her experience in ballet was essentially a “building block” toward her passion for yoga. She attended her first yoga class at a gym and has taught step classes, spinning classes and was a personal trainer at the YMCA in the past.
Kladias grew up in Patchogue, lives in Patchogue and works as a salesperson at Belzak and Bodkin Realty in Patchogue as well. However, she said she is striving towards teaching yoga full-time in the future.
One of her yoga students at the library works for Fire Island National Seashore and asked Kladias if she would be interested in teaching classes on the deck at the Patchogue-Watch Hill Ferry Terminal, overlooking the Patchogue River.
“Students have wanted to practice outside, but they didn’t want to practice outside on the lawn of the library,” Kladias said. “This is nice, because it’s by the water, and it is kind of in an enclosed space, so there won’t really be spectators. People were a little self-conscious. This was a great opportunity to offer my current students at the Carnegie Library as well as open it to the entire community.”
Kladias accepted her student’s and FINS’ request and said that practicing yoga outdoors is even better.
“Yoga provides so many benefits,” she said. “Those benefits are only enhanced when practicing outdoors. Not only can you really look up to the sky and ground down into the earth, but one can begin to truly connect with nature.”
Dates for 75-minute classes are scheduled for four consecutive Wednesday mornings at 7 a.m., beginning on July 11 on the dock at the ferry terminal. The other classes scheduled are July 18 and 25 and Aug. 1.
Kladias said she didn’t want to start the program in June, since it is a busy month, considering school. “I would be open to continuing into August this year if [FINS] okayed it. Even into September — I would totally do that,” she said.
She has taught students of all ages and has students in their 70s who regularly attend her classes at the library. “I see the benefits and the gains they’re making. Anybody can do yoga. And, really, everybody should do yoga. I have 70-year-olds doing things they couldn’t do 20 years ago,” she added.
Yoga is not only physically beneficial but also in terms of mental health. Extensive case-study research at Duke University Medical Center has found that yoga can be helpful for those suffering from depression, sleep disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD and several other mental health disorders.
“Most people after class look peaceful,” Kladias said. “It’s all about that body-mind connection.”
Kladias said her classes are designed to be challenging. She teaches both yin yoga, which is slower and more meditative, and vinyasa yoga, a faster-paced and more physically challenging exercise, at the Carnegie Library.
Like the classes she’ll be teaching at the ferry terminal, Kladias’ classes at the library begin at 7 a.m. She said that practicing yoga early in the morning helps establish a routine. “It’s a great way to start the day,” she said.
Kladias said that many of her students who attend her classes at the library have expressed interest in the outdoor classes. The upcoming classes being offered at the ferry terminal are open to anyone and are free.
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