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Global Breath is a Yoga Studio that Connects to the Global Community

By S. Mathur

Global Breath is a yoga studio with a difference. Along with its partner organization LiveGlobally, it helps to support communities around the world. Together, they support education, nutrition and creative self-expression through sustainable programs in places near and far, like Kenya and Durham NC. These programs provide school lunches, school supplies, funding for physical infrastructure, and more.

Bart Westdorp, Owner, explains that "Global Breath Studio is focused on supporting others through the practice of yoga. LiveGlobally is funded entirely through the Global Breath community. If you practice at Global Breath, you automatically support LiveGlobally's various projects, such as building a school in the Matopeni slums of Nairobi, Kenya, fostering orphaned baby elephants in Kenya, repurposing laptops for children in developing countries, offering mindfulness and yoga in the women's correctional facility in Raleigh, at the Boys & Girls Club of Durham, and at local non-profits such as CAARE."

At the studio, students at all levels are welcomed and encouraged by teachers to find their own authentic experience, says Westdorp. The benefits of yoga as a form of exercise lead to a mind-body harmony: "By integrating all parts of the body, yoga practitioners can access parts of themselves they may not otherwise be able to tap into. An intentional focus on the breath helps support a healthy body and mind. Yoga balances strength and flexibility."

Meditation is an important part of the yoga practice at Global Breath. Its practical benefits, says Westdorp, include "improved attention, memory, processing speed, and creativity. It may also help counteract age-related loss of brain volume. Meditation provides your body with rest that is two to five times deeper than sleep." Practitioners find that it reduces stress and promotes cardiovascular and immune health. The actual practice includes sitting meditation for ten to fifteen minutes, followed by walking meditation and Dharma Sharing.

The weekly class schedule is varied and covers Yin Super Stretch, Dharma Flow and Yoga for Dudes, Chandra Flow, Mindful Yoga Basics, Yoga for Strength, and Dharma Yoga. There are also Teacher Trainings in MBCY, or Mind Body Centering Yoga, which is the basis for the yoga practice at Global Breath. A special series of workshops on Yoga for Trauma helps students to learn to heal and be themselves.

The studio is located in an 1890s brick warehouse in downtown Durham. The third floor space has large windows and pine floors, creating an impression of light and spaciousness. Teachers at the studio offer individual MBCY therapy sessions as well as community yoga classes in locations like prisons, schools, hospitals, retirement homes, women's shelters, and underserved populations.

Students value the knowledge and experience that teachers bring to the classes, as well as the feeling of community.

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