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The calming magic of yoga

Dori Daknis, center, leads McKenzie Siler, left, and her mother, Judie, both of Gloversville, in a movement in her introduction to yoga class on Saturday at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

GLOVERSVILLE — The room was dimly lighted, and soft wordless music played in the background.

These seemed to create a peaceful setting for Dori Daknis’ introduction to yoga class Saturday at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.

Mats, bolsters, blankets, straps and pads were among the items needed for the session in the yoga studio, which lasted 45 minutes.

Unlike vigorous physical exercise regimens, Daknis led Gloversville residents McKenzie Siler and her mother, Judie, in a series of slow, purposeful movements of torso, limbs and head along with directed breaths.

The aim was more than the stretching and working of muscles and joints but creating an atmosphere of calm.

Dori Daknis, left, gives initial instructions to McKenzie Siler, center, and her mother, Judie, both of Gloversville, in her introduction to yoga class on Saturday at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“We move our body to influence our mind,” Daknis said in an interview before the weekly 11 a.m. session.

One of the aims is to “come into the present moment where you can’t be worried or anxious,” she said.

“You’ll notice you have more insight, creativity and imagination,” she said. “You can feel inspired to do something to accomplish goals.”

Yoga is more than just a mind thing.

“It is helpful for overall well-being,” Daknis said. “It allows for the efficient transfer of oxygen to the blood stream; enhances flexibility, strength and balance; and releases synovial fluid into the joints.” Although yoga has been around for thousands of years, more than 10 percent of Americans practice it and hence it has been studied more scientifically, Daknis said.

Daknis said she adjusts her classes to the needs and characteristics of the participants, sometimes using chairs for those who need them —“every class is different.”

“I fell in love with yoga in high school” to deal with tests, schooling and relationships, she said.

Judie Siler said she was tired but more relaxed after the yoga session. She said having a person leading the session was better than the yoga they do on Wii at home.

“I have more strength than when I walked in,” she said. “It kind of clears your mind.”

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