By LISA BRITTON
For the Baker City Herald
Toni Goss walked into her first yoga class at 47.
She was hurting - emotionally from several personal tragedies, and physically from being assaulted while riding her bicycle.
She found healing in that yoga class.
"I went every day at 7 o'clock for 10 years," she says.
That was in Sun Valley, Idaho. From her first introduction, Goss continued to study yoga for the next eight years, earning certifications in three levels of YogaFit.
Most recently she became certified in yoga therapy, which she is now offering in Baker City at Crossroads Carnegie Art Center. (She graduated from Baker High School in 1972, and moved back in 2010.)
Classes begin March 19. She will offer two hour-long sessions Monday through Thursday, at 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. each day at Crossroads.
The early class she describes as gentle yoga, ending with restorative yoga.
"It's a great way to start your day," she says.
The 10 o'clock class focuses more on restorative, plus gentle yoga, meditation and breath work.
Cost per class is $8 for Crossroads members and $10 for nonmembers. Students can sign up at Crossroads, 2020 Auburn Ave. Participants are asked to bring a yoga mat.
Goss believes that yoga can change your life, no matter if you're young or old, active or sedentary, healthy or hurting.
"It's for everybody," she says. "It's active relaxation."
Therapeutic yoga involves five approaches: restorative yoga (active relaxation); gentle yoga (gentle postures in a slow practice); breath work; guided meditation and healing touch.
"It's not massage. It's just touch that teaches them to breathe," she says. "They taught us a lot about using our energy forces to help heal. You're nurturing people."
She encourages everyone simply to try a yoga class, like she did years ago.
"When you're as old as I am, you've lived a lot of things in your life," she says.
Her move to Sun Valley followed the death of her daughter and loss of her business in Pendleton, which was destroyed by fire.
"It took a lot of self-discipline to heal myself inside and out," she says. "When you let go, you open your body up for healing. That's what yoga did for me."
Her classes are designed for beginners and pregnant women, and people who are suffering from cancer, fibromyalgia or other illnesses.
(She does require a doctor's release from those who are currently under a doctor's care.)
"We don't do a lot of hatha yoga, balancing on our feet," she says. "This is designed for those who have never tried yoga, to open their body and progress."
She incorporates a chair to help with balance poses, and can even modify for those who use a wheelchair.
"For people in a wheelchair who can't get on the floor, there's a bunch of stuff we can do," she says.
More information is available by calling Goss at 541-910-4114 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.