Weekly Yoga Classes
HCC offers weekly Yoga, Pranayama, & Meditation classes.
DAYS: Monday • 6:30 - 7:45 pm (gentle evening yoga with Thomas)
Wednesday • 6:30 - 7:45 pm (gentle evening yoga with Elaina)
Thursday • 7:15 - 8:15 pm (gentle evening yoga with Elaina)
Saturday • 9:30 - 10:45 am (gentle morning yoga with Wendy)
Saturday • 12:30 - 1:30 pm (nitya chanting therapy with Venky Ji)
Sunday • 9:30 - 10:45 am (gentle morning yoga with Wendy)
LOCATION: Hindu Cultural Center of CT (HCC)
96 Chapel Street, Stratford, CT 06614
A tax deductible donation of $5.00 is requested per class.
Please join us for gentle yoga asana (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) classes. These are ongoing, mixed, beginner and level 1 classes where we work with breath, alignment, flexibility, and strength in a way that is nurturing for all. Modifications and props are available to help each individual stay safe and comfortable. Our goal is for the student is to find peace, calm, and serenity while gently restoring and healing the body, mind, and spirit.
Taking time to still the mind and focus inwardly as one comes to the mat enhances the practice, and so we begin with a short meditation and several pranayama (breathing) exercises. The breath is integral throughout the entire session. We gently start to warm up the joints and muscles of the body. After moving through a series of classical yoga asanas and cooling down with some easy stretches, we take a deep relaxation (savasana). These practices help to reduce stress, calm the mind, and promote wellness. You will leave the class feeling renewed and relaxed.
Here is a partial list of yoga’s benefits on participants:
• reduces stress
• promotes sound sleep
• reduces cortisol levels
• improves many medical conditions
• relieves allergy and asthma symptoms
• lowers blood pressure
• lowers heart rate
• creates a sense of well-being
• reduces anxiety and muscle tension
• increases strength and flexibility
• slows aging process
Wendy Simmons-Taylor, Kamal Pandya, Victoria Mellah,
Elaina Campopiano, Thomas Cole, & Venkusa Kabadi Ji
We send an email once a week with class information.
Wendy Simmons-Taylor is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) practicing in the Fairfield County area of CT. She began practicing Yoga in 2008 and was inspired to go deeper into the spiritual aspects of yoga. She took her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, an Iyengar based training, with Kim Valeri of YogaSpirit and received her 500 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with Rolf Gates and Heidi Sormaz at Fresh Yoga in New Haven.
She has also received training in Chair Yoga, Therapeutic Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga and has studied jazz dance, somatic movement, Pilates, and group exercise. "I am every so grateful to all my teachers and humbled by my students who enrich my life daily!" ~ Wendy
Contact Wendy at:
Kamal Pandya is a certified yoga instructor from SVYASA Yoga University (svyasa.edu.in). His primary influences on the method of yoga practice are within the lineages of Swami Vivekenda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dr. H.R. Nagendra. Kamal Ji has been trained in the advanced meditation techniques of Sudarshan Kriya, Mind Sound Resonance, and Pranic Energy.
Having immigrated to the United States in 1965 to obtain a Masters degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Kamalji blends both ancient Eastern and modern Western scientific, cultural and philosophical ideas of spiritual evolution into his practice. Kamalji started the HCC Yoga program as a voluntary service to the local community in 2012. He is passionate about providing classes and innovative yoga programs.
Venkusa Ji teaches Nitya Chanting Therapy, the practice of Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is the Devotional form of yoga in which one chants, singing the lord’s holy names. In this class, we aim to attain spiritual bliss by means of chanting holy Hindu names of Gods and Goddesses.
Venkusa Ji is an IT professional. His belief in living in the moment and praying for spiritual wellness emanates from practicing Bhakti Yoga, which was part of his family’s culture and routine. As a child, Venkusa Ji learned Indian classical music, and he believes music is the means and Bhakti–Bhavana/Devotional thought–is the power for spiritual attainment. Many spiritual saints have declared Bhakti/Devotion to be the fastest and easiest way to be close to and please the Lord. His goal is to spread Bhakti Yoga Chanting to the world so all can experience the joy and peace of chanting.
Contact Venky Ji at:
Elaina began her yoga journey over 15 years ago. As a 2010 Lotus Gardens 200-hour certified Hatha Yoga instructor, under the direction of Lara Azzarito-Ward, She specializes in Hatha yoga styles including Yin Yoga, Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra®, Gentle Yoga and Shamatha Meditation. She is known for providing encouragement, compassion, and instructional guidance to her students on the art of yoga including mindful breath work, guided meditation, and awareness of body alignment.
Elaina currently teaches our Wednesday Eve Gentle Yoga class and Friday Morning Meditation.
Contact Elaina at:
Victoria Mellah has designed classes to strengthen and support students' movements, abilities, and capabilities while acknowledging limitations. Her classes shed light on how to incorporate the nature of yoga with all other aspects of life.
Victoria began practicing Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga in 1998. Over the years of practicing with many teachers from all over the country, she saw a need to bring inspirational breath and healthy movement to those who aren’t able to come to a yoga studio. Victoria became a certified Iyengar Vinyasa Yoga Teacher & certified Children’s Yoga Teacher in 2010.
Victoria creates a nurturing environment within a familiar setting for her students to connect their body, mind and spirit.
Contact Victoria at:
Erika Murphy, M.Div., Ph.D., teaches in the academic world of religious studies as well offering workshops and classes on meditation and mindful movement. Her work in theology and spirituality has led her to explore the world of the mind-body connection through meditation, mantra, and other practices that build awareness and attention. Her meditation training includes the traditions of Vipassana, Zen, and the many rich nondualist practices that come from both the yogic and Buddhist traditions.
Erika’s background also includes the internal martial art of I Liq Chuan, an art based on Tai Chi principles and Zen philosophy, which focuses on the body as a path to awareness. She enjoys teaching meditative Qigong and I Liq Chuan’s foundational exercises as a way of promoting health and mindfulness.
Contact Erika at:
Kristen Marie Williams is a Kundalini Yoga and Meditation Teacher. After having her son, a preemie at 26 weeks, Kristen Marie was given a unique perspective. Kristen Marie learned to explore new space within herself that required her to level up. All of this led her to develop a deeper relationship with her Spirit and focus on selfcare, specifically through Kundalini Yoga. Kristen Marie received her 200 hour KRI Level One Aquarian Certification. Kristen Marie has also received her Level 2 Certification in Shamanic Energy Medicine..
Kristen Marie currently teaches our once-a-month - 4th Friday Kundalini Yoga class.
Contact Kristen Marie at:
Kristen Marie Williams
Thomas Cole has been practicing yoga since 2005 and became an instructor so he could share his knowledge and love for yoga with the community. He is a 500 hour yoga teacher certified in Pranotthan (Kripalu style) yoga as well as core strength, flow, and Ashtanga, and his classes are a blend of many styles of yoga. He is also a Reiki Master and has trained in Massage Therapy.
Thomas believes anyone can do yoga and will strive to make yoga accessible for everyone. He will help you work at a comfortable level so you feel safe, supported, and authentic in your body, heart, and yoga practice. Yoga can help reduce stress, increase body awareness, and provide a sense of tranquility and calmness in your life, and Thomas wants to help you succeed, to make yoga a regular part of your life, and to leave his class feeling refreshed, energized, and relaxed.
Contact Thomas at:
Hindu Cultural Center, 96 Chapel Street, Stratford, CT
Tel: (203) 521-0359