After skiing, muscles can be sore. In addition to a long hot tub and a glass of wine, a yoga class often makes the pain disappear. There are a number of yoga studios and classes throughout Summit County, and my favorite teacher, Mary Pat Cropper, practices in Silverthorne. She offered to answer a few questions. If youre visiting through Key to the Rockies, try one of her classes! You wont be disappointed.

What does yoga do for a person?

Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, teaches that yoga works most directly on density and imbalance in the physical body; breaking up congestion in soft tissue and muscle the blocks the flow of prana (life force). I like that description, and I feel that students feel the benefits of yoga on many levels. Yoga can calm the nervous system, alleviate pain and keep the body supple and flexible as we age. Many students have enjoyed more mental clarity and increased energy after a yoga practice. The mindfulness and self exploration also encourage healthier lifestyles and as a result more balanced eating habits and healthier weight maintenance.

When and how did you first learn about yoga?

I dabbled with different yoga practices during college and after, but I truly discovered yoga in 1990. I was pregnant with our third child and my regular exercise routine was leaving me exhausted and uninspired. I signed up for a yoga class through CMC and was immediately in love with the practice. I continued yoga throughout that pregnancy and began studying yoga in depth in 1993.

What do you love about teaching?

I love watching my students connect to their bodies through their breath. For many it is a new and delightful experience. Faces light up and hearts become expansive when students let go of their minds with all the judgments, expectations and criticisms, allowing themselves to immerse and expand with the breath. There is always a glow and beauty surrounding the physical body after yoga practice.

What poses are your favorite? Least favorite?

It depends on the day which poses are my favorite. Balancing poses are always a great barometer for my day. Standing poses get me going, the blood flowing and the prana moving; and Im able to gauge where Im blocked or stuck and give those areas some extra attention. Inversions challenge me to get a new perspective and step out of my comfort zone. And seated poses remind me to slow down and pay attention, to be patient and mindful. I love them all!

Where and when do you teach?

I currently teach 4 classes, Tuesday morning at 8 am at the Silverthorne Pavilion, Tuesday evening at 5:45 pm at the Alpine Earth Center, and Thursday morning 9 am at the Silverthorne Pavilion and a sign up Meditation class on Thursday evenings at Alpine Earth Center. All classes are suitable for all levels and sign up is done directly thru me at [email protected]