Inspiring the mantra of health and relaxation
Mead, pictured in the back row (center) with her yoga class that includes all ages. “Yoga creates freedom in the body and calm in the mind. I have yet to hear a student say at the end of class,‘Gee, I wish I hadn’t come to yoga today’!” she laughed.
By Patte Smith, photo courtesy of Gina Mead
Gina Mead is a generous and dedicated woman who firmly believes in the benefits of yoga for “every body and every age.” She has taught the practice of yoga since 2008 and focuses on alignment-based Hatha yoga that is therapeutic and has many wellness benefits. Teaching in schools, community centers, yoga studios, churches, fitness centers and gyms, Mead has reached out and taught yoga to women in addiction treatment centers and to at-risk and incarcerated youth in detention centers in Seattle and Denver.
“Yoga is a powerful tool to improve strength and flexibility in the body and can help individuals become more aware of their emotions and manage them,” reaffirmed Mead. “Over the years, I have witnessed how yoga can help create freedom in the body and more balance and calm in the mind.”
Mead smiled as she noted that most of her students do not have a goal of standing on their head or even touching their toes, but are more concerned with being able to move without pain and get up and down off the floor with ease. She firmly believes that regardless of age, gender, status or occupation anyone can practice yoga – “you don’t have to be flexible or wear $100 stretchy pants to practice yoga!”
Many of Mead’s students are over 50, with most of them between the ages of 40 and 70, and numerous yoga practitioners are from the Castle Pines area. One of her students was 93 and worked on balance, breathing and maintaining range of motion in her joints. “Her family said the yoga sessions lifted her spirits as well as reduced her risk of falls.”
Another Castle Pines resident had severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and had some days she could not even get out of bed. “This student dedicated herself to practicing yoga three times per week for over two years and completely transformed herself,” explained Mead. “She told me how yoga helped reduce her pain and RA flare-ups. And when she did have a flare-up, it was less intense, and she was able to recover much more quickly.”
Mead and her family have lived in Castle Pines since 2013, and her two children who are 13 and 15 attend Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) and Rock Canyon High School. She is an educational assistant for the special education department at Buffalo Ridge Elementary school and at RHMS. She currently teaches at Ashva Yoga in Castle Rock and also offers private yoga sessions in Castle Pines. For additional information, visit www.ginameadyoga.com.
“Regardless of who I am teaching yoga, one thing rings true – I always seem to learn more from my students than they do from me. I am so grateful to be able to do what I love and help others become healthy and stay that way.”