Find your balance

Health & Fitness / August 15, 2016

Story by Lindsey Wells | Photography by Richard Rasmussen


Courtney Butler, founder of Balance Yoga & Wellness, has been a yoga practitioner for 27 years and has been a yoga teacher and private yoga therapist since 2001. As of this writing, Butler was one of the first yoga certified therapists in the nation.

“They just gave that out on (Aug. 1); it’s the first time that credential has been given out,” she said. “There were no real certifications for yoga therapists until just now, and that’s international.”

In addition, Butler trains other yoga teachers and just recently took a position with the Dr. Dean Ornish heart disease reversal clinic.

Yoga calms the nervous system and elongates the muscles, helping to reduce joint injury and injuries of the muscles. Butler said in her cardiac rehab work she uses yoga as a lifestyle medicine to help to heal heart disease, and it’s also been found to help with diabetes and early stages of cancer.

“The nervous system controls so much in our body. It helps to control the responses in our body and the ups and downs of our hormones. Yoga also helps to drain lymph fluid,” Butler said. “Wherever there is circulation there is healing, so it brings circulation to parts of our body. We don’t normally move our body in this way, and other types of exercise don’t often move your body laterally, twisting, inverted.”

She added that it’s important for a person with any kind of injury or health issue to find a yoga teacher or therapist who is experienced and understands those issues. Otherwise, she added, a normal, healthy person can benefit from a good, solid yoga class.

“Yoga helps with balance, mobility, reducing morbidity or illness over a person’s lifetime, strengthening bones, strengthening muscles. And you don’t have to do hard yoga for an hour a day to get the benefits; you can see benefits after just a few minutes a day. If someone did these six poses every day, they would get the full benefits from these poses,” said Butler.

Butler and her assistant yoga therapist, Deby Su Sweatt, teach weekly beginner-friendly yoga classes at 6:15 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. Wednesdays at Emergent Arts, 341-A Whittington Ave.

Beginner-friendly yoga poses


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Lindsey Wells

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August 15, 2016