YMCA in Medina will offer free yoga classes for people of all ages

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 18 January 2023 at 8:18 pm

‘A big benefit is the mind/body connection. Yoga cultivates an awareness of yourself so you are more aware of things happening with your body.’ – Kaylin McCarthy

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Kaylin McCarthy and daughter Amelia, 6, demonstrate the art of yoga at the Orleans County YMCA in Medina, where Kaylin will give free lessons beginning Tuesdays in March.

MEDINA – A “Teaching for Equity” grant from the Yoga Alliance will fund a series of free yoga lessons by Kaylin McCarthy at the Orleans County YMCA in Medina.

The Yoga Alliance is a nonprofit membership trade and professional organization for yoga teachers, headquartered in Arlington, Va.

McCarthy, an Albion resident, is a registered Yoga teacher, a title in the United States that designates a yoga teacher who has received a certain standard of yoga teacher training at a registered Yoga school.

McCarthy has always been intrigued by people and early in her career she trained in social therapy.

“We looked at food they were eating and exercise they were getting, and that resonated with me,” she said.

She and her husband Patrick lived for 10 years at Heartbeet Life Sharing in Vermont, a community of people with special needs.

“We lived and worked with the adults on the farm there,” McCarthy said. “All had special needs. Some couldn’t eat without help, yet everybody contributed what they could.”

While there, she trained in yoga at Kripalu, the largest retreat and yoga school in North America.

When Patrick and Kaylin decided to make a move, they chose to come to Western New York. Housing was scarce and expensive in Vermont and they had family in Rochester and Niagara Falls, so settling in Albion was a perfect location. They arrived in December 2020 with their three children: Alden, now 9; Amelia, 6; and Etta, 5.

Kaylin, 36, has always loved yoga. She explains its benefits, especially breath work.

“It takes you from ‘fight’ to ‘flight,’” she said. “Modern science has proven most people are stuck in a fight or flight mode, and yoga takes you out of that and gives you the opportunity to reset. It has physical benefits of moving and stretching your body. A big benefit is the mind/body connection. Yoga cultivates an awareness of yourself so you are more aware of things happening with your body.”

She said she is ADHD and when her three children were under 3, she had anxiety. She was diagnosed with chronic exhaustion and fatigue.

“Yoga got me out of that state,” she said. “I understand the struggles people are going through. My work is based on my personal healing journey.”

Kaylin McCarthy and 6-year-old daughter Amelia love practicing yoga together.

Kaylin works with school districts and has taught a mindfulness class for teachers. She hopes to teach Kaliedoscope ME, a social, emotional learning platform that builds character, instills life-enhancing values and promotes healthy choices, similar to “Best Buddies” or “Big Brother, Big Sister” programs.

Kaylin began her yoga classes at the YMCA in Medina in October, and has seen a steady increase in attendance, she said. She has five neighbors in Albion who have adopted a regular yoga regimen, one of whom is in the 80s, she said. She even has inspired them to eat regular eat kale.

In January, she added a second yoga class.

The grant-funded yoga classes will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday from March through May. They are open to all ages. She currently opens her classes to individuals 5 to 85. Anyone interested in joining the classes just has to show up at the YMCA by 5:30 p.m.

The classes are suited for all ages, and chairs are available for those who may need to sit to practice.

All mats and materials are provided for the grant-funded classes. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and bring a bottle of water.

Kaylin explained the “Teaching for Equity” grant is available to teachers serving under-represented populations. She said a lot of yoga studios shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic and have not reopened. She also offers classes remotely.

“I want everyone to have access to these classes and the benefits they provide,” she said.