BY KARISSA MILLER
As calming sounds played in the background, Rescue Ranch staff, volunteers and community members stood atop yoga mats with their feet planted and extended their arms.
This small group took part in a free gentle yoga and stretch class with instructor Kim Shaffer of Tejas Yoga Lab at Rescue Ranch.
Shaffer, who volunteers at Rescue Ranch, was looking for an activity later in life and said she delved into yoga in her 50s.
“I went to teacher training never thinking I was going to teach. As you grow and progress through the training, it became this calling to help people and just get out there and make a difference,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer said that she gets satisfaction from watching people connect with their breathing in a stretch or being able to interact with people and animals at the Rescue Ranch using Reiki, a technique that uses energy to reduce stress and encourage relaxation.
Among the benefits of incorporating yoga into your life are increased flexibility, more energy, easing aches and pains, and increased confidence.
“Yoga is for everyone. It’s really about going inward and doing stretches and things that people should do each day,” Shaffer explained.
Rescue Ranch Executive Director Michelle Helper said that the yoga class was a fun way to promote the nonprofit’s mission and meet new friends.
“Kim is an amazing volunteer at the ranch. This was her idea to host yoga for us. It blends two of her passions and we are so thankful she chose to give back to us,” Hepler said.
Following the yoga class, the ranch held their Coffee with Critters meet up. Guests had the opportunity to hold Stu, the leopard gecko, and meet Lover, an umbrella cockatoo. The coffee was donated by Black Powder Coffee in Mooresville.
Tejas gives back to Rescue Ranch in February
Shaffer teaches donation-based classes at Tejas, located at 19911 N Cove Road in Cornelius, on Wednesdays. Her focus is restorative and relax/renewing yoga.
Each month, the yoga studio offers donation-based classes and sponsors a local charity or nonprofit organization. This month the studio will give the proceeds from their classes to Rescue Ranch.
Tejas owner Brian Ethridge has agreed to match the proceeds up to $500.
“I came to support Kim’s class today. She speaks highly of the ranch and their mission. I have an environmental scientist background and animals are close to my heart,” Ethridge said.
Tejas offers 35 weekly classes, including a virtual option. They have three licensed yoga therapists. Additionally, they are giving new guests three free classes with no obligation.
Ethridge said that they believe that yoga is for everyone. You don’t have to be flexible or fit a certain criteria to become involved.
“We tailor our classes to the needs of beginners to advanced yogis who have been practicing for years,” he said.
Visit https://www.tejasyogalab.com for more information.
About Rescue Ranch
Rescue Ranch is located on 87 acres at 1424 Turnersburg Highway in Statesville. The humane education center provides sanctuary and permanent residency to more than 80 rescued animals.