As I lengthen my spine and twist to look up toward the sky, I am deeply connected to all that surrounds me. I am in the moment, simultaneously grounded and infinitely expansive. I haven’t a worry in the world. Moments like this, of mindfulness and connection, keep me coming back to my yoga mat time and time again. Yoga is a path to contentment that should be accessible to anyone regardless of physical ability, and Firefly Yoga has made it their mission to provide classes for everyone.

Heritage bankWhen Lisa Cosmillo began taking yoga classes in Olympia eleven years ago, she recognized positive changes in her physical and emotional health immediately. She knew that yoga was a practice she would make time for every day. When her favorite teachers left the area, she adopted a home practice. She awoke every morning at 6:00 a.m. for yoga and meditation. Her daily practice transformed her life. Lisa said that before adopting a regular practice, her life was hectic. Now she has “slowed down to where [she is] aware in each moment.”

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Lisa Cosmillo opened Firefly Yoga in April 2015 with the mission of making yoga accessible to everyone.

The changes in Lisa’s life inspired her to bring yoga to anyone who wanted to learn. She received her 200-hour and 500-hour teaching certifications and set out to teach yoga to the masses. Lisa said “the minute I stepped onto the mat to teach, I knew it was what I was meant to do. I want to see people healthy and live fully.” Lisa toted her blocks and bolsters all around town teaching at any venue that would host a yoga class. Then one day, on her way to Traditions Café, she noticed the open space next door. It was a small space, but Lisa had a vision and in April 2015, she opened Firefly Yoga.

Firefly Yoga is run as a cooperative. Teachers rent out the space for their classes and charge students the amount they need to cover their expenses. Most of the classes offered at Firefly are $10 or less. Class cards are available at a discounted price and can be used for any class. Firefly limits class sizes, so each student has the space and individualized attention needed to get the most out of their practice. If attending a class doesn’t feel right for you, Lisa offers customized private lessons for individuals or groups upon request.

According to Lisa, “Yoga can be made accessible to anyone, and if a class you’re in doesn’t feel accessible, we’ll find something that is.” They offer classes ranging from chair yoga to vinyasa flow hoping to bring the healing benefits of yoga to people of all physical abilities. Chair yoga is the most accessible class offered at Firefly as it does not require students to move down to the floor and back up again. They also offer restorative yoga, which is a low energy practice focused on slow stretching. It is ideal for anyone with health issues or injuries (talk to your doctor first), or as cross training for people who work out aggressively other days of the week. Their Gentle Back Care/Yin Yoga is another lower energy class designed for people who want a slow-paced practice in our fast-paced world.

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Some of Firefly Yoga’s graduating teachers have stayed on to teach at Firefly. Photo credit: Claire Halperin.

If you’re looking for a vigorous practice, check out Firefly’s Energetic Hatha or Vinyasa Flow. The Energetic Hatha class focuses on alignment and includes some basic vinyasa flows. The Vinyasa Flow class is an energizing class designed for people who want to “build body heat” moving through the poses before relaxing into a blissful meditation.

Each class offered at Firefly includes some form of meditation. For people interested in longer meditation sessions, they offer a Rise and Shine Meditation and Yoga class that begins with a 30-minute meditation. They also offer Yoga Nidra, which is a specialized meditation that has been proven effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Firefly offers yoga classes, which include meditation, for children and teens as well. The Dalai Lama once said that “if every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” I believe this to be true. I also believe that by teaching children yoga and meditation, we can teach them to be kind to themselves while providing them with the necessary tools to cope with stress as it arises.

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Firefly Yoga limits class size to provide each student with ample space and individual attention. Photo credit: Claire Halperin.

If yoga has changed your life and you’d like to pay it forward, Firefly is offering a 200-hr Yoga Alliance Approved Teacher Training in June and July. They will also be offering a 300-hour Yoga Alliance Approved Advanced Teacher Training in February 2017. Scholarships and work trades are available for teacher trainings.

Yoga, in any form, is an excellent way to cultivate peace and contentment. Find the class that best suits you at Firefly Yoga, 421 Water Street in downtown Olympia.

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