For the mind, yoga instructor Victoria Wells turns on a soothing play list from her iPod. For the spirit, she reminds everyone to get rid of negative thoughts. And for the body, she rolls out a rubber mat, and announces, "Now let's get those lungs going."
And in step, her class at the Lexington Senior Citizens Center begins the exercise that Wells calls "the perfect blend of everything physical and mental."
Just like its participants' hamstrings, yoga's age limit is becoming increasingly flexible, and members are posing to the beat by taking the senior center's new yoga class.
The multi-purpose community center offers activities including a book club, aerobics and tai chi for Fayette County residents ages 60 and older, but several members recently requested that yoga be added to the mix, manager Sean Wright said.
"People were looking for smaller groups, more of a personal connection with the instructor and more of a broad wellness experience," Wright said. Class attendance grows each time but averages about 20 people.
Wells, who is certified in yoga and senior group fitness, said she was thrilled to start the class after hearing the feedback.
"I'm so happy that everything fell into place," she said, adding that yoga is one of the best ways for seniors to stay active.
"People need to realize they have to take personal responsibility for their health," she said. "And this is an awesome way to do that."
Two weeks into the class, Wells was a proud instructor, saying her yogis, or practitioners, were responding positively.
"Folks are really loving it; they say it's the right balance and that it's not too easy or too hard."
One of them, Esther Martin, 73, frequently has to climb flights of stairs for her job at Rupp Arena. She said yoga keeps her going.
"I feel less stressed and more fit and just so much better after the class," she said.
It might be relaxing, but yoga is definitely challenging, said Rick Fernand, a Vietnam veteran who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Yoga's calming effect keeps him coming back to class.
"You don't have to think about everything happening around you, and you can just relax. It really helps me a lot," he said.
Martin encourages everyone to give the class a try, even if they have doubts.
"There's no pressure; you don't have to keep up with the group; you can just keep up with your body," she said.
Wells agreed, saying the benefits of yoga are too good to pass up.
"It's just a beautiful, beautiful exercise; each person is getting exactly what they need."
Yoga's movements help to improve balance, posture, strength and flexibility. Yoga can speed up recovery from injury and can help with high blood pressure, depression, arthritis and diabetes, she said.
"It's really just the biggest bang for your buck," she said.