You don’t have to be an overnight guest to attend yoga and meditation classes held at Red Moon Lodge, 2950 Old City Park Road.
George Weil bought the property five years ago with the intention of creating a sanctuary — a “spiritually grounded” space that shows “reverence for the land.”
He invited his friend Gregory Lee Hood and music sound therapist Annette Kearl to teach community yoga and gong meditation classes at the lodge on Saturdays at 10 a.m. Additionally, Hood and Kearl offer classes at Hood’s home, the historic Helen Taylor house at 125 E. 200 North, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. (The home is named after Hood’s grandmother.)
Hood teaches a style of yoga called kundalini which emphasizes specific breathing techniques while doing the physical yoga exercises.
“We do each movement for two minutes, coordinating the breath with the movement,” Hood said. “Yogis will say, ‘control the breath and you’re able to control emotions and the mind.’”
Hood teaches different “kriyas” (a particular set of different yoga movements) each week — various postures are believed to correspond to different systems within the body. For example, during wintertime he’ll teach exercises intended to strengthen the kidneys, and adrenal glands to ward off or fight colds.
Hood, 58, is a retired licensed clinical mental health counselor and a financial consultant. He’s practiced yoga since 2004 and became a certified instructor in 2008.
The final posture of the class is called “shivasana” or “corpse” pose — where practitioners lay down on their mats for a final relaxation. That is when Annette Kearl, who has a doctorate in music sound therapy and vibrational medicine, uses a percussion instrument to lead yogis through a “gong meditation” for 11 minutes.
“Typically, a yoga practice is to prepare one for meditation,” Hood said. “The focus then is to meditate or allow the mind to follow the vibration of the gong. Then we come out of the gong meditation and we do a ‘wake-up series’ where we roll on our backs and do basic stretches.”
After the approximate hour-and-a-half class, Hood serves tea and sometimes cheese and crackers, or another snack. While there is no fee to attend the class, donations are accepted.
Anyone can attend — you don’t have to be experienced, Hood said. He provides yoga mats for people to use during the classes.
“I’m trying to clear any resistance to trying this,” he said. “I got into this and had a profound experience. I loved it.”
“It’s not Gold’s Gym. It’s just a very gentle engagement with your body,” he said.
Weil also teaches Qigong and meditation on Fridays at 10:30 a.m., and on Sundays at 5 p.m. at his personal residence on the property. The classes are free.
“Qigong is similar to tai chi (an ancient Chinese tradition practiced as a gentle form of exercise, and often described as ‘meditation in motion’),” Weil said. “It’s about relaxing the body and releasing toxic chi (energy) and bringing healthy chi into the body.”