Yoga goes beyond a purely physical exercise. It’s about finding a connection and discovering the mind and body empowerment that this practice can release. For yoga instructor Nicole Rogowski, this discovery made a huge impact on her life and allowed her to find deeper meanings.

“What yoga does is yoga shifts that unconscious breathing and asks us to breathe in a conscious manner. And the second that that begins to occur and we put more attention on our breath, it has this impact on our physical body. The breath work is key,” says Rogowski.

Rogowsk has been teaching at Main Street Yoga, located at 1201 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine, for two years. She teaches the strength building hatha yoga class, which focuses on breath work. This technique sits at the center of the core values in hatha yoga, which Rogowski uses with her students to help them re-connect with their bodies. The class also takes traditional yoga poses, incorporates them into what’s known today about the modern body and applies adjustments accordingly. By holding these poses even longer, the target is set at building strength in the body and in areas that are naturally weak.

“There is always core work involved in my class because a lot of us as we get older, our posture starts to worsen. And when you work your core and work to elongate the abdominals, you are going to elongate the spine,” says Rogowski.

Another theme that yoga focuses on is making an individual’s impossible, possible. Oftentimes, there are negative connotations preset in the mind. Whether it be, “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m not strong enough,” abilities are cut short. That can change with a lot of techniques done on the yoga mat. Rather than using self-limiting words, yoga allows those to think of themselves in a more positive, loving and supportive nature, which re-patterns some habitual behaviors.

“I come to my yoga mat to workout my crazy. We all have a little inner crazy going on. I make the time and I practice and I get out of my head and into my body,” says Rogowski.

Additionally, yoga is great for healing existing injuries. When there is an ailment in physical alignment, a presence of scoliosis or a pulled muscle, strengthening work can help fix such problems. In these cases, yoga focuses on places in and around the particular injury, which makes improvements better in the long run. Exercising this area also helps prevent the occurrence of future injuries.

"We have to learn to be honest with ourselves. To work in a loving and supportive manner when this is what we need. Alternatively, to recognize when we limit ourselves and work to push deeper. We have to be aware of where we are at on any given day. If we begin to enforce these habits early on, all the better," advises Rogowski.

Nancy Willman, the owner of Main Street Yoga, teaches a class specifically for scoliosis. Breathing awareness and yoga postures are techniques that Nancy uses in order to help those develop a more structural and symmetrical alignment. The techniques work in a way that finds a balancing point that allows gravity and scoliosis to co-exist. This results in better posture and reduced pain. Lifestyle issues, such as how to get in and out of a car properly or how to sit at a computer, are also addressed.

“The outcomes are even shoulders and hips, and bringing the body into better form and balance,” adds Willman.

As Rogowski constantly reminds her students, their yoga practice should mirror their life practices. It’s all about making changes in breaths and results in the benefits and healthy outcomes for the body. Practices used in the studio can translate to practices used in everyday life. The yoga studio acts as a controlled environment where personalities and behaviors can be adjusted or mended.

Anyone, no matter their age, can come into a yoga class and walk away with tools that can be implemented to help prevent injuries, build strength, affect attitudes, manage stress and unfold a clear mind.

Celebrating 10 years in Over-The-Rhine, Main Street Yoga is a loft/gallery studio, which offers classes and art openings throughout the year. Classes are offered Monday-Friday. For more information and to view their schedule, visit their website as mainstreetyoga.biz