By Jean Stratton
published in Town Topics – March 17, 2004
Be in the moment. Let the stresses of the day fade from your consciousness. Concentrate on breathing, on the physical postures and poses of the class; achieve a sense of calm and peace and well-being.
FINE FORM: “Teacher training is very important. We are set apart by the quality of our teachers ? they are passionate about what they do,” says Deborah Metzger, founder/director of the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health. Shown is a class in Yogilates (combination of yoga and Pilates), in which students are warming up under the guidance of instructor Melissa Griffith (at the right in background.
These are the goals of many students who are attending yoga classes in increasingly large numbers. This ancient Eastern discipline is far more of a presence in the mainstream of Western life and culture than was once the case. Yoga studios and centers, featuring a variety of yoga styles, are becoming much more prevalent and attracting many adherents.
“With yoga, you can find who you are,” explains Deborah Metzger, founder/director of the Princeton Center for Yoga and Health (PCYH). “All the answers are inside – it’s that moment of silence within yourself.
“Each class deepens our connection to our true selves,” she adds. “Here at PCYH, yoga is not simply a form of exercise, it is a life practice.”
Ms. Metzger established the center in 1996, and it moved to its current location in the Montgomery Professional Center, just off Route 518 in Skillman, over a year ago.
Although she had dabbled in yoga in the 1970s, she did not become serious about it until a health problem caused her to investigate its healing possibilities.
“In the 1980s, I was having respiratory problems, which developed into asthma,” explains Ms. Metzger. “I thought yoga, with its emphasis on breathing, might be able to help. It has breathing practices helpful for asthma. It strengthens the lungs, expands lung capacity, opens the chest, and is soothing. It certainly helped me.”
This positive experience led Ms. Metzger to study yoga with the hope of becoming a teacher, and she was certified in 1991 at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.
When she decided to open her own yoga center, she chose to offer a variety of yoga styles, most of which are traditions of Hatha yoga, which emphasize physical postures, alignment, breathing, and meditation. These postures help to strengthen, stretch, and tone muscles, massage internal organs, and promote relaxation.
Classes are available in many yoga styles, including the more meditative Kripalu and Soma, the vigorous Astanga, power, and hot yoga, and specialties, such as kids’ yoga, mom and baby, Yogilates, and chair yoga.