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Columbia Inspired

In Need of A Shift

Jan 11, 2021 03:42PM ● By Katrina Hall

Let’s face it: Adjusting to a pandemic is downright stressful for most of us. Stress presents itself both mentally and physically, prompting a wave of tense people searching for practical relief. Jessie Kates, founder and owner of Shift Yoga Studio, aims to change how we approach relaxation as well as how we access it. Kates is focused on the self-care aspect of yoga, leaning into the meditative and introspective experience far removed from the high-intensity classes that are popular as of late. After 10 years of teaching courses and a special connection with her students, she decided to open up her first location in Fulton in 2018.

 Kates’ philosophy of “come as you are” rings true for seasoned yogis and newcomers alike. Naturally, quarantine measures like social-distancing add a challenge to conducting yoga classes. “This business can pivot but the core pillars of the studio are self-care and interpersonal connection. Being able to foster that connection is different now.” Kates’ holistic approach has been modified to accommodate social distancing protocols, but little has changed in the way of Shift Yoga’s original mission.

Shift Yoga has an online class schedule for practitioners (of all levels) and includes classes such as Deep Breathing and Yin Meditation taught by Kates herself. “We aim to strengthen the inner layers by ‘ringing’ them out, which releases the deeply rooted, chronic tension our body stores.” The studio has a number of free resources available on its website. Tutorials highlight stretches to practice at home, alleviating everything from sitting too long to the dreaded ‘Tech-Neck’.

There are also free libraries of yoga philosophy and breathing techniques (pranayama), providing affordable access to students interested in relieving stress at their convenience. This can also be a useful tool for children who are feeling stressed out from distance learning and isolation.

“Normalize what you are feeling; it is okay not to be okay. While many of us are suffering, the lens of the pandemic provides a sameness, a togetherness that we are all seeing. “ says Kates. There is no “one size fits all” solution to stress management and mitigating its negative effects can be as personal as a fingerprint.

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