A local business owner helps community deal with anxiety by teaching yoga

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: March 26, 2020 11:05 PM
Created: March 26, 2020 09:47 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- With each passing day, more information about COVID-19 is released. As the pandemic continues to grow, some say, the anxiety has as well.

"What I've experienced in the last 48 hours has been significantly different than the way my life has been going for several months or like the last year," said Heather Ritenour-Sampson, owner of Yoga Tribe studio in Rochester. 


When Governor Tim Walz ordered for schools and non-essential businesses to temporarily close, Ritenour-Sampson said she began to feel the pressures of her new normal.

"I've experienced moments of incredible anxiety. When I start to kind of blast out into the future and I worry about my kids and their learning, it's all a little overwhelming," said Ritenour-Sampson.
For over a decade she has been practicing yoga and meditation, and it's times like this when she said it's important to remember to take a step back.

"Meditation for me continues to bring me back to presence, it continues to bring me back to what's simple and what I can control and what I can change, compared to all of the variety of things that I feel overwhelmed by which fundamentally, for the most part, I don't have any control over," said Ritenour-Sampson. 

COVID-19 has changed the way many conduct their daily routine, from closures to the recent stay-at-home order, and all of the unknowns in-between. That's why Heather said it was important to still connect with the community.

When she had to close her doors, Heather and the other instructors of Yoga Tribe took their interactive classes on Facebook Live. The classes are held at noon, and again later in the evening, free for anyone to join.

Heather said there's no better time than now, to start something new, and she believes both yoga and meditation can help.

"I was just at a point of like literally thinking I need to call a psychiatrist and get medication because my anxiety level was so high that I didn't know if I could continue to function. I walked upstairs I put on a pair of yoga pants, rolled out my mat turned on a yoga practice. Thirty minutes later I was like okay, I've got this, I can do hard things, we're going to get through this like one breath at a time," said Ritenour-Sampson.

Heather said she and her tribe are working out a plan to provide a more long term version of their yoga sessions, they should be available sometime in April.

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