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No One Gets Lost in the Crowd at River Rock Yoga

By Jake Levin

Sandy Byrne, the founder of River Rock Yoga, located in the Hartford, Conn. suburb of Wethersfield, found yoga over 20 years ago. As a former gymnast and coach for over 25 years, Byrne recalled looking bright and shiny on the outside, but hurting on the inside due to many years of overuse and abuse of her body.

"At 20, I was thinking how awful I would feel in my 40s," Byrne said. "I am 50 now and I have to say? I feel great with less aches and pains now than I did in my 20s and 30s."

Byrne aims to empower her students by giving them the knowledge, tools, and permission to explore their inner landscapes and meet themselves with acceptance and kindness; breaking the age old thought that pain and getting older go hand in hand. Not only is it possible, but it's achievable to feel better and better as we get older and to live a high quality life participating in the sports and activities we love for years to come.

"River Rock is a small yoga studio, so you won't get lost in the crowd," Byrne said. "We're not the super young and bendy, stand on your head and bring your foot behind your back kind of yoga studio. We're a studio with a more therapeutic approach and are blessed with a beautiful community of everyday people from all walks of life."

River Rock Yoga is a home away from home; a safe place where you will be welcomed and accepted exactly as you are. When asked for advice for first-time yogi's, Sandy replied "Go in with an open mind and be kind to yourself.

"Yoga isn't about turning yourself into a pretzel or touching your nose to your knees, it's about learning how to listen to your body and honoring what your hear along the way," she said.

Byrne hopes to ignite a curiosity in her students, to get people moving and living from a place of presence and acceptance. She said that the more she knows about her students, the more she can help them both on and off the yoga mats.

"It's the awareness and a mindset of being present and learning how to love all the colors of you, even the ones that are hard to love," she said. "I tell my students all they need to start is comfortable clothes, a yoga mat and an open mind. The rest will come when its ready and the more you practice the healthier and happier you'll feel in your body, mind and spirit."

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