Yoga has been a programming mainstay at the Dayton International Peace Museum for many years. CONTRIBUTED

Yoga and peace go perfectly well together at this Dayton museum

Reflect, renew, reconnect and recharge — yoga offers the opportunity to do all that and more.

Challenging times can take a toll on a person — physically and emotionally. Whether it’s dealing with tragedy, change or everyday stress, the mindfulness and restorative components of yoga can help people cope. That’s where the Dayton International Peace Museum comes in.

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Yoga has been a museum mainstay on Wednesdays — also referred to as Zensday at the Peace Museum — for the past year, as it followed a free weekly meditation. In an effort to meet the growing community need, museum leaders decided to add more mindfulness-based programming.

“We try hard to give the community what they need more of,” museum director Kevin Kelly said. “Especially now, we want to find ways to help, ways to help the community heal. Adding more yoga and meditation is a great way to start.”

In addition to the weekly Wednesday night practice, the museum is adding a Saturday morning practice starting this weekend. The classes are free to all museum members and individuals can join the museum at any contribution level.

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“Everyone is going through different stressors so this is a space to feel safe and comfortable, a place to unwind and process,” said Elise Williams, one of the museum’s three yoga instructors. “I think of it as a one-hour resetting.”

Yoga is good for the body and mind. From increased upper-body strength to greater flexibility and balance, there are many physical benefits. But yoga also has significant emotional and psychological benefits, including relieving stress and reducing anxiety.

“Sometimes people need a moment to get out of their current situation – even for just an hour – whether it’s dealing with loss or trying to process an experience,” Williams said. “They need to feel a community that’s very loving an supportive.”

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The museum classes are geared toward all levels of ability and experience – from beginners to long-time yogis.

“It’s not about comparing yourself to anyone else or competing, it’s about challenging yourself, but going at your own pace,” Williams said. “As an instructor, I’m there to guide them and help them on their one-hour journey.”