After constantly having to drive out of town to practice yoga, local resident and elementary school teacher Stacey Albrecht decided it was time for her to do something about it and that’s how Wild Om Yoga, Patterson’s new yoga studio located downtown at 218 North El Circulo Avenue, was born.

“I’ve been an Elementary School teacher for the last fifteen plus years,” said Albrecht. “I’ve spent the last six at Northmead here in Patterson....After I started teaching I got more involved in yoga but I always had to travel out of town to do it, so finally I decided that I should quit complaining and do something about it, and that’s how Wild Om Yoga got started.”

Albrecht, a native of Alberta, Canada is a health and wellness enthusiast. She runs an average of 20 miles a week, rides her bike and is currently training for a marathon. From Alberta, Albrecht taught in British Columbia and then flew overseas to teach English in Seoul, South Korea where she eventually met her husband, an Army Ranger 1st Battalion in 2002 and relocated to California.

For the last six years, Albrecht has been teaching at Northmead Elementary School here in Patterson and studied Baptiste Yoga, a type of yoga that flows from one pose to the next, at Warrior Yoga in Turlock.

“I had been going to Warrior Yoga in Turlock and I really enjoyed it,” said Albrecht. “They were offering a 200-hour training so I signed up for that and it was an extensive 200 hours. While I was [studying] there we learned the poses, the practice and we learned the fundamentals of yoga and the history and anatomy from top to bottom. We were really in-depth and from there I also did a 40-day Baptiste diet, meditation and lifestyle [a very] inspiring process with people from all around the world.”

What sets Wild Om Yoga apart from other studios is its practice of “heated power yoga,” an exercise that according to Albrecht, implements the Baptiste power yoga sequence of poses in a room heated between 75 to 80 degrees.

“That’s what I took my training in and it’s literally designed to stretch and bend and open all of your muscles, bones, ligaments and organs,” said Albrecht. “It literally addresses all the needs of your body in a 60-minute practice.”

While some newcomers may find the idea of yoga intimidating, Albrecht says that it’s really for everyone and she encourages newcomers and yoga veterans alike to come in and participate in the motivating environment at their own pace and comfort level.

“[Wild Om] offers people the possibility to see what’s possible for them. It’s an all levels, all ages practice and I assist and make modifications and offer different tips on how to complete the poses at your comfort level and it is [also] an opportunity to build community. It’s a safe, encouraging and inspiring environment that is all about community building and people finding out what they are capable of.”

Albrecht values yoga’s importance of community building while being surrounded by like-minded and encouraging people. She said that her studio is free of judgment and stresses the fact that Wild Om Yoga is something that everyone in the community can benefit from regardless of age or background.

“When [people] come to class, they leave with a sense of peace but also understand that yes, it can be for them even if they are nervous. The number one comment I get is, ‘I’m nervous because I’m not flexible.’ Well yoga is not about flexibility. It’s about breathing and you’re on a mat and you’re doing yoga...There’s no judgement here. It’s a process that everybody can do, not just one group of people.”

The mind and health benefits that Wild Om Yoga provides in addition to the community building has caught the attention of local non-profit, Invest In Me. The non-profit, which focuses on self-empowerment, civic engagement, leadership and wellbeing has teamed up with Wild Om to host Wellness Wednesdays in honor of May being Wellness Awareness Month.

“I’m a student of Wild Om Yoga and have seen the benefits of practicing yoga,” said Invest In Me Founder and Executive Director, Erica Ayala. “The minute I discovered Wild Om Yoga I thought, ‘How can I make this opportunity accessible to students of the community?’”

Ayala said that with the support of local resources, classes for the Invest In Me cohort will be offered at no cost and that at least 85% of the students registered indicated that it will be their first time practicing yoga.

“Our vision is if we continue teaching young people the importance of mental wellness and introduce them to activities [and outlets] such as yoga, we can then create a community mindset that it’s ok to talk about mental health like we talk about physical health. It’s about breaking the taboo.”

Although the grand opening for Wild Om is not scheduled to take place until Sunday, May 23. There are classes currently being taught by Albrecht, and the schedule is as follows:

• Monday evening from 4:30 to 5:30

• Tuesday & Thursday evening from 6:30 to 7:30

• Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 10:00

Albrecht said that new classes to accommodate the community are being added slowly into the schedule and in the future she plans on hosting classes for kids.

Members of the community who are curious about the class but don’t feel like they are 100% ready to participate are welcome to come to the grand opening on Sunday, May 23 at 10:30 am to watch the class and enjoy snacks, refreshments, raffles and swag bags.

For more information visit Wild Om Yoga on Facebook.

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