Yoga (Ashtanga) Classes

PARDS Fitness and Aquatics is offering Yoga classes in 6 week sessions, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4:00pm to 5:15pm.


Amy Pickholtz, RYT

(aka-Har Inderjeet Kaur)

Amy’s yogic path began in September 1999.  Her transformation continued to take shape when she began to teach in 2004, and then in October 2007 her entire life changed when she was involved in a motorcycle crash that killed her husband, Jim, and left her disabled.  Amy’s ongoing recovery from the extensive injuries included 7 surgeries, years of physical therapy and yoga.  It was only by the the Grace of God that  she re-emerged into life to raise her children, honor her late husband, and continue her studies of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.

In January 2009 Amy started to instruct again–one class per week, and has increased to teach several classes in both Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, as taught by Yogi Bhajan and and Hatha Yoga, inspried by B.K.S. Iyengar, for the YMCA, Bally’s, private Yoga Centers in Louisiana, her home yoga studio of Eight Chakras Yoga, and now at PARDS Fitness and Aquatics Center.

Furthering the studies of yoga as therapy, Amy completed Level 1 as a Yoga Therapist for Chronic Pain, and offers classes and individual sessions to those who live with Chronic Pain. Conditions.






Adapted from Yoga Journal

Flex Time  Improved flexibility is on to the first and most obvious benefits of yoga.  During your first class, you probably won’t be able to touch you toes, never mind do a backbend.  But if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible.  You’ll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That’s no coincidence.  Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligament, can cause poor posture.

Strength Test  Strong muscles do more than look good.  They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain, and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balace it with flexibility.  If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength a the expense of flexibility.

Standing Orders  Your head is like a bowling ball: big, round, and heavy.  When it’s balanced directly over an erect spine, it takes much less work for your neck and back muscles to support it.  Move it several inches forward, however, and you start to strain those muscles.  Hold up that forward-leaning bowling ball for eight to 12 hours a day and it’s no wonder you’re tired.  And fatigue might not be your only problem.  Poor posture can cause back, neck, and other muscle and joint problems.  As you slump, your body may compensate by flattening the normal inward curves in your neck and lower back.  This can cause pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine.

Joint Account  Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion.  This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used.  Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be SOAKED UP. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.

Spinal Rap  Spinal disks, the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniated and compress nerves, crave movement.  That’s the only way they get their nutrients.  If you’ve got a well balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bend, and twists, you’ll help keep your disks supple.

Bone Zone  It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis.  Many postures in yoga require that you lift your own weight.  And some, like Downward and Upward Facing Dog, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures.  Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.

Flow Chart  Yoga gets your blood flowing,  More specifically, the relaxation exercises you learn in yoga can help your circulation, especially in your  hands and feet.  Yoga also gets more oxygen to your cells, which function better as a result.  Twisting poses are thought to wring out venous blood form internal organs and allow oxygenated blood to flow in once the twist is released.  Inverted poses, such as Headstand, Handstand, and Shoulderstand, encourage venous blood from the legs and pelvis to flow back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to be freshly oxygenated.  This can help if you have swelling in your legs from heart or kidney problems.  Yoga also boosts levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues.  And it thins the blood by making platelets less sticky and by cutting the level of clot promoting proteins in the blood.  This can lead to a decrease in heart attacks and strokes since blood clots are often the cause of these killers.

Pressure Drop  If you’ve got high blood pressure, you might benefit from yoga.  Two studies of people with hypertension, published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, compared the effects of the Savasana (Corpse Pose) with simply lying on a couch.


After 3 months, Savasana was associated with a 26 point drop in systolic blood pressure (top #) and a 15 point drop in diastolic blood pressure (bottom #) and the higher the initial blood pressure, the bigger the drop.

Weighty Matters  Move more, eat less-that’s the adage of many a dieter.  Yoga can help on both fronts.  A regular practice gets you moving and burns calories, and the spiritual and emotion dimensions of your practice may encourage you to address any eating and weight problems on a deeper level.  Yoga may also inspire you to become a more conscious eater.

Happy Hour  Feeling sad?  Sit in Lotus.  Better yet, rise up into a backbend or soar royally into King Dancer Pose.  While it’s not as simple as that, one study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol. This finding has been correlated with greater levels of happiness and better immune function.