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Yoga teachers aim to strengthen Oakmont

| Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, 8:12 p.m.
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, pose for a portrait in their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, pose for a portrait in their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, meditate and breathe, duringa portrait session at their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, meditate and breathe, duringa portrait session at their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, pose for a portrait posed in a 'spinal balance' at their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, pose for a portrait posed in a 'spinal balance' at their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, pose for a portrait in 'warrior two' at their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015
Dan Speicher | For Trib Total Media
Kelly Rezak (left), and Katie Lascola, both of Oakmont, pose for a portrait in 'warrior two' at their Oakmont yoga studio, Homegrown Yoga, on Monday November 30, 2015

Business partners Kelly Rezak and Katie Lascola aim to improve the lives of others while sharing the same ideals for their new Homegrown Yoga studio in Oakmont.

“Most people say they feel much better,” Rezak says. “Yoga calms your nerves and brings peacefulness.”

Lascola says their focus is on helping their community, and that is how they came up with the name Homegrown Yoga for the studio that opened Nov. 2.

“Our goal is to be more than just a yoga studio,” Rezak says. “We want to be a destination. We want people to come for the holistic aspects. We want to reach out to nontraditional students, too.”

Rezak says other goals might include holding donation classes to raise money for charitable causes, offering classes for elderly and becoming more involved in the community.

Rezak said they participated in the Oakmont Hometown Christmas celebration and raised more than $100 in a basket raffle to be donated to the Verona food pantry.

Another goal is to support and promote other local businesses.

“The Oakmont Candle Co. provides candles we use in the studio,” Rezak says. “Artwork on our walls is done by local artists. We have two paintings done by Oakmont artists.”

The two women share the workload.

“It's great to have a partner share passion for yoga. I love yoga,” says Lascola, who began taking yoga in 2005 as a stress-reliever from her former job as a Philadelphia social worker, court advocate and sexual-assault counselor. “People suggested that I try yoga. I could let everything go and just focus on breathing. I had great yoga instructors. I would like to give to other people what was given to me.”

Lascola earned her training certification in 2010 and began teaching in a Pittsburgh studio. “I love getting to know people in the classes and love the community. The most important part is all of our teachers live in Oakmont, and we all have young children.”

Rezak began taking yoga 15 years ago. This year, she earned a RYT 200 designation as a registered yoga teacher after completing 200 hours of training through the Yoga Alliance.

Rezak says yoga lengthens muscles, builds core strength, aids in breathing properly while exercising, and helps posture, digestion and balance.

“It has two purposes,” Rezak says. “Physical is one, whether recovering from injuries or doing yoga and other exercises. The other side is a mindfulness to help lower stress and anxiety and helps you focus.

“Yoga is not a religion, per se,” Rezak says. “It's mindfulness of being more aware of yourself and your surroundings. One of the things we say is, ‘Put our hands together.' It's a moving mediation. You're linking your breath with movement. ‘The flow' is moving and inhaling and exhaling. You start to flow. You get lost in the flow of movement and your breath.”

Homegrown Yoga offers all levels of yoga, from beginner to advanced classes.

Newcomers get a free first class. There are 60- and 75-minute classes seven days a week.

One nontraditional target group is young children. A kids yoga class for ages 5 and younger was held in late November, and another 60-minute session will be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 19. The cost is $8 for the session.

For adults, the basic principles of yoga and a focus on alignment, strengthening and stretching are taught in the 60-minute, nonheated beginner classes.

“The beginner classes are 70 to 75 degrees as an introduction to yoga,” Rezak says. “We have all-levels classes. These are mostly 75-minute hot classes in an 85- to 90-degree room.

“We recommend starting in nonheated classes, and hydration is important. Your body doesn't take as long to warm up. It's like a massage for your body.”

Rezak says they primarily practice the Vinyasa flow style.

“All levels of classes link breath and movement,” Rezak says. “We practice standing and seated postures, backbends and inversions. We focus on proper alignment. We leave feeling stronger, relaxed, balanced and present.”

They also practice Hatha yoga in slow-flow classes.

“You're holding some poses longer and not moving as much with Hatha yoga,” Rezak says.

Those who want to deepen their yoga practice might opt for the dynamic-flow hot classes.

Rezak explains, “It's a sturdy flow of continuous movement. It's challenging and combines energetic posing and stretching. The goals of this are strengthening and flexibility.”

“Our mission is strong limbs, deep roots and open hearts,” Rezak says. “A strong body will improve your overall quality of life. We have deep roots and are passionate for our community and our love for yoga. We have open hearts and a judgment-free zone. Everybody is welcome.”

Debbie Black is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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