During the day, Cassidy Benjamin works at Sandhills Community College as an academic adviser, but in the evenings after work, she knows the perfect way to release all of the day’s stresses from her mind. Yoga.
Benjamin began going to yoga classes with her mother about four years ago. However, after attending some classes, she decided to continue learning about yoga and become involved in teacher training.
“It has equipped me really well to know the body and know how a movement affects the body,” Benjamin said.
She learned from multiple instructors, including Virginia Gallagher of Hot Asana. After devoting 200 hours of training to her own practice through Hot Asana Yoga University, she decided to host her own classes. She realized that Seven Lakes had no local yoga classes.
“I think Seven Lakes is awesome. I still come out here all the time,” she said. “I lived in seven lakes for three to four years.”
In April 2017, Benjamin began holding weekly classes at Frankie Tapia’s Goshin Dojo in Seven Lakes.
“It’s been really fun,” she said. “[I’m just] excited about starting the practice of yoga [and bringing] it to that community that really doesn’t have that option.”
Benjamin’s parents, who live in Seven Lakes West, make a point to attend every yoga class.
“I wanted to be a teacher as a kid. I like helping people,” she said. “For me, yoga is like a form of therapy.”
Benjamin hopes to help bring relaxation and meditation after a long day of work.
“People walk into class thinking one million things,” Benjamin explained. “[In class,] all you have to do is focus on the next pose… I can feel a difference in people after.”
In her classes, yogis (people who do yoga) can relax in an environment where being different is encouraged. Different positions are always available to those who are looking for a more relaxing or challenging pose.
“There are always different options for people throughout the class,” Benjamin explained. “Everybody is different… There’s no reason to look around because they’re all going to look different.”
Benjamin’s class has typically been small – about six to eight people. The class size provides a family-like environment where Benjamin hopes yogis will feel comfortable to be themselves and ask questions.
One of the ways Benjamin has been impacted by yoga is the mental relaxation.
“[The change] has not only been with my body. What has really changed for me is my mind,” she explained. “I can’t explain what happens, but by [the end of the class], my mind is perfectly still.”
At the end of each class, Benjamin guides the class into savasana – the “final resting pose.” During savasana, yogis lay flat on their backs with lights off and eyes closed. Cool lavender essential oil cloths are offered to be placed over the eyes to give a restful atmosphere. Benjamin also goes around the room offering shoulder and neck massages.
“I can tell the difference in people’s state [of being] from beginning to end,” she said. “Physically it’s really rewarding.”
The classes are designed to help yogis focus on the mind, body, and spirit.
“I’m really happy with the progress made and the difference it’s making in the group coming regularly,” Benjamin said. “That’s what’s rewarding for me.”
Benjamin hopes to see the class grow and expand as more people learn about and take advantage of her class. She is also teaching a hot class at Hot Asana near Evolution Athletics in West End. This hot class takes place in a heated room, causing yogis to sweat and release more toxins from the body.
“It’s great for the skin, and muscles warm up quicker,” she said. “That’s my bread and butter of yoga…. It’s something else for people to participate in.”
Classes take place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00PM-7:00PM and select Saturdays from 10:30-11:45 am at Goshin Dojo at 4355 NC HWY 211 in Seven Lakes. The cost for one person is $10 per class or $25 for three classes. Ages thirteen and under are $5 per class.
Hot Asana classes with Cassidy Benjamin take place on Tuesday evenings at 6:00PM at 2065 Juniper Lake Road in West End beside Evolution Athletics.
Those interested in taking a class may show up with a yoga mat, water bottle, and payment in the form of cash or check.
For more information about Benjamin’s yoga classes, email CassBlair87@gmail.com or message her through the “Living Lotus Yoga” Facebook page. Be sure to follow her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LivingTheLotusLife/ for updates and calendar events.