MARYLAND

Yoga studio gives weekly class for women's shelter

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A Montgomery County yoga studio is helping homeless women find their inner zen.

Every Wednesday, women staying at the Wilkins Avenue Women's Shelter spend an hour of therapeutic meditation on yoga mats.

On average 10 women turn out for the free weekly class. Many of them are escaping abusive relationships.

Arlet Koseian is the co-owner of extendYoga in North Bethesda and one of the brains behind this complimentary class.

"It's great because we know that the ones that are coming back are obviously getting something out of it," says Koseian.

The studio opened in November with the intention of spreading the giving spirit. And the shelter down the road welcomed the love.

"Many of the women who are coming into our shelter are trying to rebuild their lives," says Marie Henderson, executive director of Interfaith Works.

She says the ladies taking this class are building strength, learning discipline, and improving their concentration.

"They say what a great opportunity it is to have this time to come to the yoga studio and just take their mind off of all their worries about getting out of the shelter and finding a job and reuniting with their families," Henderson says.

"It gets them to loosen up, feel good about themselves, clear their mind," Koseian says.

An hour of peace became so popular that the class, which started at the shelter, moved into the studio. Now it's become a weekly favorite for women whose futures aren't always so certain.

"A lot of times they don't know what lies ahead or how long they're in a certain situation," Koseian says. "So it's kind of nice to have something on their schedule, I think."

The women who own the studio say they'll keep this class going as long as there's interest. And they're considering the idea of inviting women from other shelters over as well.

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