Stefanie Davis became interested in yoga and meditation when she thought every day was a struggle, wondering what her role in life was. One day while flipping through TV channels, she found the show “Namaste Yoga” with Kate Potter. The show inspired her and she was instantly intrigued with the process of controlling your breath and meditating. Now a yoga instructor at Agame Yoga & Meditation Center, Davis has been a certified yogi for six years.
“It changed everything for me, the mind, the body and the breath. The breath is the most important thing, it links it all,” Davis said, “If we’re not breathing we’re not living.”
Nobody tells you when to breath, but when you focus on your breathing and control it, you can get rid of all the bad toxins in your life and body, she said.
Davis compared the importance of breathing to when a child is born and the first thing the baby does when it comes into the world is take a breath. You breathe unconsciously — it is surprising how much better you can make yourself feel by focusing on your breathing, Davis said.
She explained that there are three parts of the breath—side to side, top to bottom and front to back. You regularly breathe up and through your chest, but if you put your hand on your rib you can feel your lungs expanding outward in both directions, in a side-to-side manner. Breathing is the main part in any yoga or meditation session. Even if you are not in a session, just focusing on your breath calms the body and that itself is meditating, Davis said. People who have anxiety and get panic attacks make it stop by taking deep breaths.
“Meditation and yoga intertwine together, you can have one without the other, but in order to get the full experience, you need both to bring you together,” Davis said.
Most people think yoga and meditation is the same thing, maybe in some ways, but they can be practiced separately. Davis said some benefits of yoga and meditation are that it detoxes the body, relieves stress, and reduces pain, but the main benefit is it enables you to breath with control.
“Getting more oxygen into the body allows you to do things you did not know you could do, not just reaching more to touch your toes, but going farther in life,” Davis said.
Yoga and meditation have benefits other excersises don’t, such as “a connection to yourself, a chance to look inward and outward at the same time,” Davis said.
Agame Yoga offers three classes a day — Yin yoga, which focuses on balancing and holding poses, intermediate and beginner classes and vinyasa, which is a continuous flow of poses. Private sessions are also available.
There are reviews on Agame’s website from individuals who have benefited from the private sessions. Davis said she has had as young as 8 years old and as old as 72 come in. One 66-year-old woman wrote that her chronic arthritis, stress, and anxiety noticeably decreased after a few months with Agame; and she experienced “increasing health and wholeness in her body, mind, and spirit.”
Memberships are available to purchase, or you can pay per class. Davis says most of her classes are open contribution, where you bring what funds you have to support the studio and instructors.
“If you have a dollar, come on, if you don’t even have anything, come on,” she said.
Agame encourages $10 a class, but nobody will ever be turned down to participate.
“The real practice begins when we leave our mats, practice taking the time to breathe and quiet the mind with all the multitasking in life,” Davis tells the class when ending a session.
Davis says it is different each time she practices yoga and meditation. She talked about how maybe you slept wrong one night, or a negative (or positive) person came into your life, and that can affect your daily living. Meditating, even just breathing, can help conquer your every day struggles.
“[Yoga and mediation] is not always about bending and going upside down, it is just finding where you are and only worrying about the present moment, not the past or future,” Davis said.