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ELKO – “Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down,” Ayurvedic doctor Jigar Gor said.

Although East Asian in origin, yoga is now practiced in almost every corner of the world, including Elko. Wild Iris Yoga is a small yoga studio on Railroad Street, sandwiched between a business and a bar. Outside the studio Elko bustles with busyness, but inside, all is slow and serene.

Board member and studio marketing director Catherine Wines said each class always ends with a short meditation session to help people look inward and connect to one’s body.

“If you had to pick one exercise, yoga does it all,” board president Jamie Metz said. “It helps with strength and flexibility and helps people mentally center their thinking. It’s also good for your joints.”

Wines explained that the studio started out a few years ago as a for profit business and was sold a couple of times. The enterprise struggled.

“A few of us got together one day and decided that we didn’t want this to go away,” Wines said. “We love having a studio just for yoga in Elko.”

Members wanted to reorganize in such a fashion that no one individual would have to try to make a living running the studio. At first, the group did not know the best direction to move forward but soon discovered the solution.

Now Wild Iris is a nonprofit business.

“This is a better tax structure as no one is making a living at this,” Wines said. “We have paid teachers but none of them are full time.”

“One of the things about being a nonprofit is that we now have a board,” Metz said. “We have a seven member board so nothing is dependent on any one person.”

Wild Iris offers a number of yoga classes including hatha flow, yin restorative hot yoga, morning meditation, and sunrise flow.

Not just a yoga studio, the facility is also starting to include wellness classes by offering them at social service institutions and businesses.

“We want to bring the idea of wellness through holistic means, including yoga, to the whole community,” Wines said.

The studio also offers workshops that cover a variety of interesting topics.

An upcoming workshop involves a hike up Lamoille Canyon with college professor Pete Bagley in July. Bagley is very knowledgeable about the botanical species in the area.

“In the workshops we want to bring people from the community who have a talent in wellness and we will advertise for them, organize the class and structure it if they need help,” said Metz.

The organization has also offered a vision board class and a meditation class and will include other human development ideas. Private classes for groups are also in the works.

“Wellness can be for your mind, body or soul,” Wines said. “We are looking for things that will help make our community better.”

Wild Iris is a place for both the yoga enthusiast and the absolute beginner. While there may be a number of flexible followers, the co-op is also hoping to bring new people into the “fold.”

Drop-in classes are $10 a session. The facility provides the teacher, mats and props. Students need only bring themselves. The place is positive and the poses are possible, even for the complete novice.

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Business and lifestyles reporter

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