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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Experience a Different Kind of Yoga at Free Spirit Yoga

Jul 01, 2013 06:22PM ● By Nancy Somera

The benefits of yoga are numerous, including improved flexibility, more strength and better concentration, but not all yoga practices are alike. Stephanie Trump Johnston, owner of Free Spirit Yoga & Wellness Center, in Hershey, has combined her psychology education with yoga experience to create experiential yoga classes based on the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT) model.

PRYT is a form of bodywork that combines yoga and elements of contemporary psychology. One-on-one sessions begin with a centering meditation to tune into one’s breath, emotions and thoughts at that moment.

Then the yoga therapist moves the client into postures and a dialog begins with questions like, “What’s happening now?” or “Tell me more,” that help the client make connections with what is happening on the yoga mat to how they are living their life. “This experiential practice allows you to access your body to go more deeply into awareness and get answers about what is going on in your life,” says Johnston.

Group sessions, daily classes and introductory workshops are also offered, where one-on-one dialog is replaced with an instructor’s nudging for students to notice what is happening physically and emotionally in the moment. Clients have described that this detached introspection helps them feel less stressed, less judgmental and gain a clearer perspective about their life.Free Spirit Yoga Hershey

Johnston asserts that this type of yoga is accessible to everyone, even those who have never practiced yoga before. “My belief is that we all have an inner sense of what is best for us,” she says. For people looking for a more mindful yoga practice with an instructor that coaches them to make yoga/life connections, PRYT might be a perfect fit.

Johnston, a former speech pathologist, received an MA in psychology from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology, in Atlanta, before becoming a certified PRYT instructor in 2003. She is a member of the PRYT teacher training staff, assisting in curriculum development for a more in-depth, 500-hour course.

The Free Spirit Yoga & Wellness Center is located at 1512 E. Caracas Ave. For more information, call 717-533-8292 or visit

Nancy Somera is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings.

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