If you have a problem accessing our program calendar, please email programs@smithcenter.org. We will be happy to talk about our program offerings and assist you with registration.

Gentle Yoga Classes

Science tells us that psychological stress can affect the immune system – the body’s defense against infection and disease, including cancer. Reducing stress benefits us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Smith Center offers therapeutic yoga weekly, as well as regular yoga workshops, meditation and qigong classes, and more.

Gentle Yoga in the GalleryOngoing Therapeutic Yoga Classes

Weekly gentle yoga classes are open to anyone interested in attending. They are specifically designed for adults facing stress, cancer, or other illness. Learn various techniques to help reduce stress and balance mind, body and spirit. Restorative Yoga focuses on relaxing the body in restful postures. Note that ‘rest’ is different than sleep. Rest provides the body an opportunity to renew and heal. Enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing and enhanced energy. All levels welcome.

Our yoga classes are listed with the National MS Society and we welcome patients and caregivers of those with multiple sclerosis to our gentle yoga classes. 

Chair Yoga

Weekly on Tuesdays from 12:00-1:00pm, with Beth Lawrence, RYT500

Our chair yoga practice will connect body and mind. You are invited to relax deeply as we move through a series of gentle seated and supported poses that promote self-care. All levels welcome.

Gentle PM Yoga

Weekly on Tuesdays from 6:00-7:15pm, with Yael Flusberg, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, RMT, MS

This yoga class encourages a greater sense of well-being and enhanced energy. You will learn various yoga postures, techniques in progressive relaxation, breathing practices, and meditation to help reduce stress, as well as balance mind, body, and spirit. The class is designed specifically for adults facing stress, cancer, or other illness and is open to anyone interested in attending. All levels welcome. 

Sunset Gentle Hatha Yoga

Weekly on Thursdays from 5:00-6:00pm, with Patricia Diaz, KYT-500, RYT-500

Start getting ready for the weekend (or end your day …) by practicing some gentle hatha yoga to explore letting go of what no longer serves you and open up space for healthy habits of self-care that will help you achieve your goals. This practice is appropriate for all levels of practice.
Hatha is a practice of yoga that involves physical postures (asanas) and breathing techniques. It is typically practiced slowly, with more static holds than a vinyasa or ashtanga class.

About Beth Lawrence, RYT500

Beth Lawrence Gentle Yoga Chair Yoga Instructor Smith Center

Beth Lawrence​ discovered yoga in early 2002 as a mother of six-month-old twins. She was looking to get back into shape after their birth. In yoga, she found far more than she anticipated- an age-old practice designed to help people relieve stress- both mental and physical. After a few years of regular practice, she knew she wanted to share her positive experiences with others. She has been leading yoga classes in the DC area since 2007 after completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Nth Degree Yoga with Martha Rosen. In 2011, she went back to earn her RYT500. Her personal practice is inspired by Integral Yoga and Sivananda Yoga, both of which incorporate body and mind into the practice.

About Yael Flusberg, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, RMT, MS

Yael Flusberg first came to yoga hoping she could get rid of stuff, namely the ways life’s stresses and traumas had become painfully embodied. Fifteen years and thousands of layers of release later, yoga continues to teach her how to make strategic, creative, and life-nourishing choices. Trained as an integrative yoga therapist, Yael’s classes blend active with receptive states of being, and are both insightful and lighthearted. Off the mat, she is a coach, writer and energy therapist. Since 2005, Yael has taught yoga classes at area hospitals, libraries, workplaces, schools, and yoga studios. As an integrative yoga therapist (E-RYT500) she facilitates both group and individual yoga therapy sessions, working with people dealing with a variety of conditions including cancer, digestive disorders, diabetes, eating disorders, fibromyalgia, hypertension, mental health challenges (including depression, anxiety, grief and trauma), rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis, and sports injuries. She currently teaches a weekly therapeutic class for people living with cancer and their caregivers on GW’s campus. More info: https://yaelflusberg.com/

About Patricia Diaz

Certifications: MS, KYT-500 (Kripalu Yoga Teacher), RYT-500® (Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance), and Health Supportive Chef from The Natural Gourmet Institute

Provides: Yoga Basics, Dynamic Gentle Yoga, Intermediate Yoga and meditation instruction for group classes and private clients. Life and professional/executive coaching.

Patricia’s yoga journey began in 1989. During the most challenging time in her life, and with the help of friends, family and life mentors, she turned to yoga, plant-based diets, and other wellness techniques to manage her crisis and gently restore her health and wellness.

The lessons Patricia learned, and years of yoga practice led to an enthusiasm for well-being, and to a search for a depth of knowledge, that provided a compass for her life and career. In 2019, motivated by a desire to start sharing this knowledge with others, she completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. It also led her to pursue training in the plant-based chef program at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. She completed her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2023 also at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

Patricia’s teaching style reflects the influence of gurus and teachers that have come into her life. She is passionate about teaching the foundations of yoga to beginners and all … partly because she spent many years working on the basics, but also because she believes that anyone – no matter the physical challenge – can practice yoga. She loves to help others connect with their inner wisdom, and she believes that a genuine practice starts with a strong foundation honoring the principles of ‘ahimsa’ – first do no harm.

Stress Reduction and Integrative Health

Countless studies have proven the physical and emotional benefits of including stress reduction as part of an approach to optimal wellness. Additionally, Smith Center’s yoga classes are listed with the National MS Society and we welcome patients and caregivers of those with multiple sclerosis to our gentle yoga classes.

Restorative yoga, as well as other forms of yoga, meditation, and other techniques, help to trigger the Parasympathetic Nervous System, also known as the PNS. The PNS is responsible for balancing the body and bringing its response system back into equilibrium. Stimulating the PNS helps to lower heart rate and blood pressure; it helps to healthily stimulate the immune system and keep the endocrine system operating healthily.

Meditation & Stress Reduction ClassWhen this system gets out of whack, or when the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) gets over-stimulated, the PNS helps to bring all back in balance. It is believed that if the PNS is tapped out or under-active, illness pervades. Thus, forms of relaxation, such as yoga and meditation, that help to stimulate the PNS are generally beneficial for overall body health.

David Spiegel, MD, author of Living Beyond Limits, reports, “In medicine, we are learning that physical problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, can be influenced by psychological interventions, such as relaxation training. Mind and body are connected and must work together, and this should be a powerful asset in treating medical illness.”

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