Namaste While You Stay

Namaste While You Stay
By Emily Kirby

A visit to the mountains was already tranquil, with Lookout Mountain and Sand Mountain’s secluded lodging, miles of serene hiking trails, and quaint towns. Now local yoga instructors are infusing a new type of relaxation into the vacation experience.

According to an article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, practicing yoga regularly provides numerous benefits, including “stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss, and quality sleep,” making it a great way to keep your trip stress free and enjoy an easy activity with others.

In recent years, the Mentone and Fort Payne areas have become fertile ground for those seeking mindfulness and relaxation, whether on the quiet brow of Lookout Mountain or in downtown historic buildings and parks. It’s easy to find a class that suits you.

  1. Yoga on Main Street
    Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m.
    Hunt Hall, 514 Gault Ave. Fort Payne, AL 35967

You can catch Courtney Willingham’s twice-weekly classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. at Hunt Hall in downtown Fort Payne. The one-hour practices start with breath work and end with meditation. Tuesday’s class is for beginners, with Willingham leading a Vinyasa Flow, and Thursdays focus on restorative, slow stretching.

“I believe yoga is a practice that does not discriminate,” she said. “Everyone is welcome to come, and it is a beneficial practice for the whole being — mind, body, and spirit.”

Classes are often followed by a “Sip and Flow” event at Blue Jug across the street, where participants gather for fellowship over water, wine, or whatever they prefer, and snacks.

The fee for the classes is donation based, so you give what you see fit. Follow Yoga on Main Street on Facebook for updates, events, location or time changes, and more.

  1. Yoga on the Mountain
    Classes throughout the month
    DeSoto State Park, 7104 Desoto Pkwy. NE, Fort Payne, AL, 35967 

The unique classes held by instructor Destin Padgett allow participants to experience yoga while enjoying the beauty of DeSoto State Park. Padgett leads classes throughout the year in various locations within the park boundaries, including the Nature Center, Talmadge Butler Boardwalk, hiking trails and the beach near DeSoto Falls. 

The variety in Padgett’s offerings, including yoga hikes, gives participants the opportunity to find a class that fits their level of practice and explore the park as well. 

“All my classes are beginner friendly and more laid back,” said Padgett. “I explain what we are doing, we work on being grounded, work on being present and focused on personal goals and comfort. They are very low-stress classes.”

The next class will be held February 26 at 10 a.m. along the Neverland Trail.

Classes are added by the park periodically, so check their website, or follow the park’s Facebook page. You can also follow Padgett on Instagram for regular updates.

  1. Soul Shine Yoga & Wellness Studio
    Classes throughout the month
    201 35th St. NE, Fort Payne, AL, 35967

Janie Hale, owner and instructor at Soul Shine Yoga & Wellness Studio in Fort Payne, hosts classes throughout the month in her boutique-style studio. The space accommodates up to nine participants, as Hale likes to be able to give one-on-one attention to students.

“I am not your typical Western yoga studio focusing on fitness of the body, although that comes along with the spiritual practice,” said Hale. “My classes are slower and mindful. I do have classes where we build heat and sweat, but most classes are more slow flow and meditative.”

Hale offers group and private group classes by reservation, and one-on-one individual classes at the studio. From April to October, she also leads beautiful and relaxing practices on the brow of Lookout Mountain in Mentone on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m., along with pop-up classes in downtown Fort Payne.

To keep up with her studio or reserve your spot for the next class, follow Soul Shine Studio on Facebook or Instagram, where she posts the upcoming classes the last week of each month.

Now you no longer have to drive out of town or look elsewhere for unique yoga classes, and visitors can add these practices to their itineraries for their next trip to Lookout Mountain, Mentone, or Fort Payne.