“Breathe, stretch, connect, grow.”

Those were the most common words heard during the recent Up North Yoga Conference in Essex, which drew 60 participants from the North Country to New York City, and Vermont to New Hampshire.

“It's truly an event that is bringing many communities together from the Adirondack Mountains to Lake Champlain,” said Michelle Maron, who along with Robin Shaver of Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness and The Yoga Tree, organized the experience.

“Yoga is a simple practice to improve the quality of your daily life through breath work, moving, stretching and relaxing your body," Maron and Shaver collectively emphasized.

"If practiced even just once a week, it can improve every area of your life — attitude, stance, walking, sitting, sleeping and blood pressure. And, you just need to breathe to do it.”


Several aspects of the yoga experience were highlighted in the sessions, including “The Art of Balance” with instructor Justin Wolfer; “The Eight Limbs of Yoga” with Debbie Philip; “Exploring Ayurveda through the Four Seasons” with Carmen Maron Walker); and “Elevate the Spirit-Kundalini Yoga with Deep Gong Relaxation” with Lynda Garrand.

There was also an informal session that included drumming, dancing, wine and refreshments under the direction of Patrick Siler.

“These types of yoga and wellness events can bring a whole new audience to the Champlain Valley, which can help boost business for everyone as we move into a slower time of year,” Maron said.


Wolfer concentrated on the art of balance as he encouraged the participants to breathe by exhaling into the body.

Initially, yoga was not an activity in which he intended to participate.

“I was a college baseball player and tore my meniscus. At first, yoga was a challenging physical experience that I used to help me heal my body, and made me aware that I had a very stressful life. We live in a society that is very fast paced and result oriented, and we feel the need to accomplish something.”

Wolfer eventually opened a studio in Saratoga Springs.

“I believe that through yoga we can cultivate whatever in life we are searching, for I believe in the power of yoga.”


Of the 60 participants, five were males, including Daniel Lincoln, 77, of Elizabethtown, who utilizes the practice of yoga “to stay centered.

"I feel that I am in touch with the world around me. It helps me with moving and balance. It’s a type of polar thing helping me weigh both sides of an issue.”

“I’ve been doing yoga for quite a few years, and this workshop will expand my horizons," Plattsburgh’s Julie Dumas said. "Yoga helps me keep the stresses in life in balance. I generally go to a yoga class once a week and then practice it several times a week.

"It just helps keep you going.”

Maron was pleased with the success of the workshop.

“Everything went extremely well from the beautiful weather to the ease of using the space, the fact that the presenters were very knowledgeable, the excellent food, as well as the enthusiastic attendees.

"It was just perfect.”

Email Alvin Reiner: rondackrambler@yahoo.com

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Alvin Reiner determined hermit/forest ranger. Grad. NYS Ranger School, Grad: Utah State (BS Forestry); BYU (BS Elem. Ed.); PSU (MS Ed). Employed: NYS Cons. Dept. Teacher and EMT on Navajo Rez; Retired 6th gr. teacher-ELCS; Vietnam Vet.

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