26 October . 2023
Increase your fitness, reduce your stress with Sweetwater’s yoga group
After yoga helped her heal from a spinal injury, Sweetwater resident Kim Hlava wanted to share the benefits of this ancient practice with neighbors. So she started the Sweetwater Yoga group, which has become one of the community’s most active groups.
Free yoga classes are usually held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. at the Sweetwater Club.
Kim, who has become a certified yoga teacher, leads the classes in the energetic vinyasa style, which emphasizes an active flow of poses synced with breathwork.
Kim was an avid runner and marathoner before experiencing a spinal injury in 2015. She had to quit running, and when a doctor suggested she might benefit from hot yoga, she delved right into this ancient system of physical, mental and spiritual practice. (Sweetwater’s classes are not hot yoga.)
Since Kim began practicing yoga, MRI scans have shown a significant improvement in her spinal disc herniation, greatly reducing pain and increasing flexibility.
Since Kim and her husband Dustin moved to Sweetwater in 2017, she had practiced yoga at local studios. When the pandemic began in 2020, she moved her yoga workouts to her backyard.
When things began to open up in 2022, Kim got the idea of starting a community yoga practice. “It was getting kind of lonely with just me in the backyard,” she laughs.
She posted on the resident Facebook group and got a lot more responses than she originally envisioned.
“Lots of people wanted the same thing as I did, to practice among friends and neighbors,” she said.
The small group began doing yoga at the Sunset Pavilion, next to the Sweetwater Club. The group grew steadily and soon began using the indoor clubhouse.
Sweetwater’s Lifestyle Director noticed the group’s growing popularity, and offered to sponsor yoga teacher training for Kim. She received her certification though My Vinyasa Practice after completing 200 hours of training covering physical practice, anatomy, physiology, mindfulness training and other areas.
Today, the yoga group draws between five to 15 residents for each class. The classes vary from beginner level to “extra spicy” powerful vinyasa flows. In addition to physical benefits such as increased flexibility and improved energy, Sweetwater’s yogis enjoy a strong feeling of camaraderie.
“We’ve gotten to know each other better, and now when we see each other out in the community or even in local stores, it’s nice to stop and chat,” Kim says.
Recently, the yoga group celebrated their one-year anniversary on the summer solstice with a party at the Sweetwater Club.
Kim still practices yoga on her own in the backyard, and the tranquility reminds her of why she and Dustin chose to live in Sweetwater more than five years ago.
“We were relocating from Houston, and when we discovered Sweetwater, we loved the serene vibe and feeling of being surrounded by nature,” she says. “The neighbors are also very nice.”
For information about the Sweetwater yoga group, residents can join the Facebook group or stop by the Sweetwater Club on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. Feel free to follow Kim on Instagram at @lava_flow_yoga.
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