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A Burlington Yoga Teacher Uses Grant to Offer Classes to Everybody

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Krista Marzewski - COURTESY OF KRISTA MARZEWSKI
  • Courtesy Of Krista Marzewski
  • Krista Marzewski

Krista Marzewski became a yoga teacher four years ago, after she'd found fulfillment in the practice while beginning her recovery from substance abuse.

She'd done yoga 30 years before, but at the time, it wasn't for her. In rehab, it was. "Yoga comes to us when we need it," Marzewski said, "and it's changed my life."

She started taking free classes at the Turning Point Center in Burlington, then learned about Story Yoga, a nonprofit organization that provides yoga teacher training to those in recovery. Marzewski completed the course and is a certified yoga instructor. Among the classes she offers is one that's part of a 12-step program.

She also teaches those with less mobility, including older Vermonters at Cathedral Square. That work inspired her to apply for a Teaching for Equity grant from Yoga Alliance, a Virginia-based international nonprofit. She didn't think she'd get it, but her students all wrote her letters of support.

Marzewski learned earlier this year that she was one of 25 teachers from around the world to receive the grant. It allowed her to provide 10 weeks of free classes to her senior students.

"I believe in making yoga accessible to every body — every shape, size or form," Marzewski said. "Some people can't pay 15 bucks for a yoga class."

Marzewski never charges that amount; most of her classes are by donation, or her students band together to buy her a gift, such as a massage.

Marzewski has been providing in-person classes at the Lund Family Center, but most of her work remains online. The option has led to more students. While she'd sometimes draw just a few people to her Cathedral Square classes, the Zoom ones attract a bigger crowd. And local attendees have started inviting friends from across the country — and around the world.

"The more the merrier," Marzewski said. "Yoga creates connection and community."

The original print version of this article was headlined "Just Breathe"