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Yoga, meditation connect to self love

By Staff | Feb 13, 2015

photo by BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Amber Berberich has opened a new Yoga Studio and Sattvic Lounge, Sat Bhakti Shala, on Main Street in downtown Muncy. She is a certified multi-style yoga instructor who studied in India, where the ancient practice is known to have started in the late fifth century.

MUNCY – Amber Berberich has done it well. She has covered all of her bases, including choosing downtown Muncy to introduce her new Yoga Studio and Sattvic Lounge. Her official opening was held Saturday, February 7 when she introduced complimentary classes and opened her studio to the public to experience first hand the many styles of yoga, to fit all ages, all levels.

Located on the second floor of the Live Well Fitness Center, on the corner of S. Main and Water Streets in Muncy, classes officially began this week for Sat Bhakti Shala. “It means ‘Truth and Love'”, replied Berberich who has been practicing Yoga for the past ten years. “Shala is a sanskrit word meaning ‘home, adobe’. Sat Bhakti is a place of tranquility and rejuvenation and offers serenity for everyone.”

She has even spent time in Dharmashala, India learning the teachings of the Dali Lama through experienced masters and the art of Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Meditation. She is a certified Yoga Alliance 200 hour multi-style instructor. “I became very interested in its origins and wanted to learn from a guru,” she said.

Over ten years ago Berberich took her first class at a YMCA in South Carolina where she is from, and discovered how much better she felt. She said, “I was really impressed how relaxed I felt, so happy and so rejuvenated. I felt in my heart this is what I wanted to do.”

Along the way she met someone who also studied in India and had a studio in Columbia, South Carolina. “I went there (India) so I could try to figure out what style I liked best – to study the different styles, and what to do to be a teacher.” She explained that she wanted others to feel the same way, and went on to explain some of the rewarding benefits to practicing yoga.

“Asana means sitting down,” she explained. The classes teach basic asanas and participants will leave with a better understanding which style is best for them. Berberich recommends experimenting with all of them and has structured a schedule to meet most schedules, from early morning to the lunch hour and early evenings. Some fitness basics are introduced, like stretching and breathing, so any age can do it. Posture is important and props are used to make everyone comfortable. Amber has made most of them, pleased to have learned how to sew and will be introducing her own yoga line soon.

Yoga can help the heart, she said. It has proven to have positive impacts on the mind and body. It increases balance, energy and performance. It can lower blood pressure, improve circulation and lung capacity. Respiratory function is better and flexibility is maintained with relaxed poses by slowly stretching the body while focusing on breathing. The body becomes more energized.

“Yoga is designed to bring about increased physical, mental and emotional well-being,” said M. Mala Cunningham, Ph.D., counseling psychologist and founder of Cardiac Yoga. “Hand in hand with leading a heart-healthy lifestyle, it really is possible for a yoga-based model to help prevent or reverse heart disease. After your first yoga class, your blood pressure will likely be lower and you’ll be relaxed and feel better.”

According to Berberich, meditation is a great way to start the practice. In her brochure she calls it “an art of self discovery.” Yoga expresses kindness to the heart, a self love from within, she explained. Ashtanga is Amber’s favorite, based on her personal practice, and she is offering a children’s class four days a week. Classes are priced per class, drop-ins welcome, and a 15 percent discount is available for seniors and students.

Berberich also likes to spend some time practicing meditation at Mt. Equity Zendo in Pennsdale and was pleased to be able to extend her practices at a center so close to Muncy.

Berberich is also a vegan gourmet cook and hopes to share her experiences more with the Yogic diet and nutritional recipes she makes from scratch with natural substitutes instead of “toxic processed foods.” Her seminars discuss the anatomy of yoga and the digestive system. She likes to use foods “that are more light and alkalizing to the body known as sattvic foods.”

She and her fiance, Christopher Askins enjoy living in Muncy. It is close to everything they need said the couple. They especially enjoy outdoors and Christopher is an assistant supervisor with Jemma Power Plant, the renewable gas powered plant under construction in Montgomery.

Berberich will introduce yoga with a complimentary first class. To learn more about Amber’s classes, workshops and seminars go to www.satbhaktishala.com. Class size is limited.