Yoga is growing in Hardin County and three studios are hosting open houses Saturday.

One studio, Karma Yoga and Hot Yoga, at 117 West Dixie Ave. in Elizabethtown, is celebrating three years downtown and nine years total teaching yoga in the county.

Two other studios are celebrating recent openings.

Yoga instructor Elizabeth McNeil of Karma said she’s excited to still be doing yoga downtown and being viable.

Participants have been supportive and have been taking advantage of classes to deal with stress, especially magnified these days with everything going on in the world, she said.

McNeil said throughout CO­VID-19, the studio has been able to have in-house classes of eight people with social distancing and outside classes in the fresh air.

During fresh air classes, McNeil said the landscape is gorgeous. These classes are in the garden at the Brown-Pusey House and at Freeman Lake Park, both in Elizabetthown. At the lake, they set up where you can see the lake but far enough away from the resident geese, she said.

“The constant cool breeze was just perfect,” McNeil said, adding that’s the case even in hot weather.

The outdoor spaces and the practice of yoga have helped people through stressful situations. Particip­ants have told McNeil it helps them with the stress of having children at home with them or the loss of a job.

“It’s been great to offer that stress release people desperately need right now,” she said. There are a couple ways yoga helps with stress.

“Yoga helps people slow down and more importantly helps them slow down their breathing and take slower breaths,” McNeil said.

Slower breathing is paired with slow, mindful movement that can change the chemistry of the body and brain and can get blood pressure and the heart rate down, she said.

Two of her students have branched out into studios of their own, Jeff McGlone and Jess Thomas. McNeil said that is proof of the growth of yoga in the community.

“That’s been my vision for 19 years,” McNeil said.

McNeil is glad to see yoga grow in the community and appreciates her students trusted her enough to teach them the basics for them to feel confident to do their own thing.

“These are good teachers, they have a good background on the anatomy and the philosophy required to be a good yoga teacher,” she said.

Yoga was slow to take off in the area, McNeil said, but it’s finally growing.

“I can see it growing more from here,” she said.

Karma will host an open house from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. McNeil said most teachers will be there for a meet-and-greet with information about the studio and yoga.

“We’ll be celebrating the fact that we are still open and providing a good service to the community,” she said.

McGlone’s studio, Tranquility Yoga and Massage, has opened at 839 North Dixie Blvd. in Radcliff. His studio will host an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Ashtanga Yoga Kentucky, Thomas’ studio, has an open house for her new location from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 790 North Dixie Blvd., Suite B-100.

“Our studio is unique to our area because we focus primarily on Ashtanga yoga,” Thomas said. “Ashtanga is meant not only to help with flexibility but also to build strength quickly, so it’s perfect for everyone.”

Her studio, she said, is the only one in the state partnered with the Trini Foundation that offers scholarships to those who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol. But it’s not only meant for those on scholarship but for anyone who wants to participate.

Thomas said the scholarships have allowed yoga to grow in the area because those who couldn’t afford a membership now can.

“We have a lot of teachers in our area who are filled with so much passion to teach,” she said. “There’s the option to try different places out and find where feels like home to you.”

Many small businesses, she said, are struggling because of COVID-19, so she’s glad to be able to have an open house to give people a place to breathe, move and relieve stress.

With multiple options in the yoga family in the community there are options to find where you fit, she said.

“So put your mask on, come over and meet your new family,” Thomas said.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1740 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

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