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Exploring Lotus Yoga: a hidden gem on South Park Avenue

RELAX YOUR MIND — Jennifer Liberatore, the owner and instructor of Lotus Yoga on South Park Avenue, is pictured in Ustrasana, otherwise known as camel pose. Photo by Alicia Greco.
HAMBURG — The following guest column was written by The Sun Staff Reporter Alicia Greco.

Monday morning began and the sun shined through the windows onto the hardwood floor of Lotus Yoga on South Park Avenue. Six mats of various colors and patterns were lined up, while Jennifer Liberatore, owner, instructed a vinyasa class at the front of the room.

Off of South Park Avenue is the building that houses Lotus Yoga and two other establishments: a hair salon and masseuse. Since the facility is set off the main road, the windows of the yoga studio reveal a view of forest and greenery.

The sounds of cars are diminished, giving an ideal spot for serene meditation, during yogic exercise.

Originally working out of a house on Clark Street, Liberatore and Lotus Yoga have been in the current location for about a year and a half. Liberatore previously taught pilates in Orchard Park.

The yogi has been exercising for 30 years. After developing back pain from dancing professionally, she took up yoga for a more restorative approach towards staying physically fit. A single mother with four sons, she said that the yoga helps her with stress relief.

“It really helps center me and ground me,” she said. The meditative benefits of yoga are just many in her long list of pros: upper body development, core, flexibility, strength, balance, breathing, focus, circulation and more.

There is a spiritual aspect to yoga that is a draw for many participants.

A yoga class focuses on breathing and forming a connection of mind and body. It is meant to be a comfortable space, no matter how advanced or intermediate the individual’s practice.

The vibe of the room was ideal. The approach towards yoga varies from person to person; the emphasis of spirituality in sessions is solely up to the individual.

I had previously taken lessons on the second level of a gym. The soundtrack of my yoga practice was the clanging of weights on a bench press, or a song by The Black Eyed Peas. It was a relief to lean into the warrior II pose, facing sunshine and trees, with only the chant of Indian mantras over the tabla and sitar.

Liberatore is mindful and will instruct from the front of the room, helping each person along, whether it be assisting an advanced person deeper into the pose, or help an intermediate student with a misplaced arm or foot.

“There are no levels, or judgement,” she said, adding that a patient personality is a necessity to become a yogi, as is a certification which she received, after attending a 200-hour teacher training course at Downward Dog Yoga Centres in Toronto.

The amount of people per class ranges anywhere from two – eight people.

Drop-in participants may sign up, for a one-time payment. Classes can also be bought in packs (three or 10 classes) for a one-time fee. There is no time restriction or expiration date. The practice is based entirely on personal schedule. Student discounts are also available, for those on a school budget.

Lotus Yoga is now offering a promotion for August. New students may receive 10 classes for the price of three. Call 472-3111, for more information.

Lotus Yoga is located at 5897 South Park Ave. in the village of Hamburg.

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