GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - Anyone who takes Naida Burgess' No Sweat Yoga class Thursday mornings at the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College here doesn't need to worry about twisting their bodies into a pretzel or cooking like a roasted chicken inside a room with the heat on blast.
Burgess, 56, calls her stretching routine restorative yoga, and everything - the settings, her words and the pace of the class - works to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.
"Some people don't like to go to gyms. Some don't like to go to a yoga studio," Burgess said. "Some yoga might cause stress, mentality and physically. Not all yoga postures are good for certain people. This is more compassionate. My teaching style is if you are uncomfortable doing a certain thing, don't do it."
Burgess' No Sweat Yoga class is definitely more relaxing than doing Bikram yoga, which is ideally practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees.
At minimum, Burgess' yoga practitioners can look at the art on the walls of whatever gallery they are in while doing their movements. In galleries three and four, participants can look out the glass windows and see the greenery outside. Burgess has held her yoga classes in the center of the museum where Lily Lake is visible and also on the deck outdoors. When Burgess does her class in a gallery, the space is small enough that she can see the entire room and correct positions if necessary.
Burgess, who lives here, enhances the setting and the camaraderie among the nine women slowing moving in unison with her encouraging words.
"Let's get our energies running in the direction they need to go. Before you put new energy in, you have to get rid of old energy. You do need to let go of the past," said Burgess at a recent session. "Don't compare yourself from this week to last week."
Saskia Schmidt, Noyes' director of education, said part of the reason the Noyes started offering yoga eight years ago was that it was a beautiful space and environment with lots of floor space. Burgess' students have become museum members and attended artist receptions, Schmidt said.
"One of the staff mentioned Naida. I took a few classes. She (Burgess) has a following. She is a really, giving person. They will do a meditative walk around the museum," Schmidt said.
Maryellen White, 55, who lives here, was a recent recruit to the class. White started five weeks ago. White brought her 28-year-old daughter to one of the sessions. Even though White is relatively new to the class, she said she is definitely staying with it. Ninety percent of the reason why White likes the class is Burgess, who she said has so much energy and is always upbeat.
"Oh my God, I love it. I felt 2 inches taller (when class ended), refreshed," said White, who also walks a great deal and is a member of the Ventnor volleyball league.
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If you go
No Sweat Yoga with Naida Burgess held 11 a.m. to noon April 24 and every Thursday at the Noyes Museum of Art of Stockton College, 733 Lily Lake Road, in the Oceanville section of Galloway Township. Cost $12 per class and $60 for six classes for members, $15 per class and $75 for six classes for nonmembers. Bring an exercise mat. Call 609-652-8848 or visit noyesmuseum.org