If you want pretzels, you won’t find them during Tom Sherman’s weekly yoga class at Concord’s Centennial Senior Center, but you’ll sure feel like one after stretching for 45 minutes.
Every Tuesday afternoon, Sherman and the center’s director, Kim Murdoch, invite the surrounding community to find their inner peace. For three bucks a session, participants have a chance to regain a steadfast calm that can get lost in the daily grind.
“It feels good, and good for my aging body,” said participant Anne McCullough, 67, who’s performed yoga for nearly 20 years.
“At the beginning, I was very stiff, and couldn’t twist as far,” said Karen Billings after completing her first session recently. “I loved it. I wish my schedule was open to keep coming back.”
The goal for participants, Sherman said, is not to see who can stretch the farthest, but for them to find a peaceful reality away from their busy lives.
“Once you can do the practices, you can relax,” he explained. “It’s a science of self-development.”
Sherman, who has instructed yoga for 22 years, first learned the exercise while serving in the Vietnam War for the U.S. Marines. He discovered Buddhist monks peacefully meditating while helicopters screamed overhead and thought he would do the same to ease stress.
Sherman’s newfound inner peace, he said, sparked an interest in helping others, including seniors and people with mental disabilities.
Trish Churchill, 65, has regularly exercised in the class since May. The Concord senior uses a wheelchair, but chair-based yoga works out perfectly for her upper body flexibility.
“When you reach a certain age, you’re a little sillier,” she joked. “I can reach the cupboard a lot further than I used to.”