BRADENTON — For two days a week, the wide wood dance floor becomes a yoga studio.
Banks of candles burn in the dimly lit room, while soothing music plays and Kim Dumas leads her students through Downward-Facing Dog, Standing Warrior, and other yoga poses at Three in One Yoga.
Dumas always starts her class with a Bible verse, explains the verse, and then leads the class through poses designed to instill a sense of calm, peace and balance.
“We exercise to Christian music. At the closing, she restates the Bible verse and says a prayer,” said Tammy Woodward, one Dumas’ students. “She sends you away in a peaceful state and wanting to be a better person.”
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Dumas calls the class Christian yoga and presents it at 9:30 a.m. Mondays and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Dance With Class Studio, 4069 Cortez Road.
“I’ve been practicing yoga for about 17 years. As I grew in my practice, I felt I was connecting with God in many of the poses. I found myself talking to God and thinking of things I needed to deal with in my life. I started practicing to Christian music. I found that really made the mind-body-spirit connection. It was something I wanted to share with others,” Dumas said.
One day she was flipping through a magazine at Starbucks and saw an ad for yoga training in Arizona certifying Christian yoga teachers. She realized that others were exploring their Christian faith through the use of yoga.
“I chewed on the idea for a couple of years and finally decided it was time to share with the community,” she said. She launched Three in One Yoga, using the facilities of Dance With Class Studio.
Woodward said Dumas has a gift with Christian yoga. “This is her calling. It’s her way to minister.”
Dumas is married, has two teen children, and a family business.
“I know what it is to lead a busy life. I know the need to still my mind. I need this as much as my students,” she says.
The inevitable question is whether there is a basic conflict between Christianity and yoga.
Dumas doesn’t believe that there is. She sees yoga as a tool, like prayer, that can be customized according to beliefs, values and physical abilities.
“The word ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yug’ which means to yoke, to bring together, or to unite,” she said.
“We tend to see the mind, the body and the spirit as distinctly separate. The reality is that all of these aspects of our being are intertwined,” she said.
Dumas came to yoga through her mother, who had taken some classes and said how much she enjoyed them. On vacation, Dumas tried yoga for the first time and was hooked.
“I remember how I felt and started seeking out good teachers and wanting to learn more,” she said.
Woodward said one of the things she enjoys most about the class is that there is no competition between students trying to achieve the most perfect pose.
“It’s a hard workout and it makes you look at the world differently, and look at every individual differently,” Woodward said.
Dumas said she approaches each class with a theme and talks about her interpretation of scripture and things she is learning in her life. It’s all designed to help her students “turn inward and upward.”
Her classes at Three in One Yoga cost $10. She is also planning to offer a free class at her church, Bayside Community Church, 15800 State Road 64 E. Those classes are set for 10:30 a.m. Fridays starting June 25.
For more information, visit www.threeinoneyoga.com or call (941) 518-4448.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.