Sitting atop a mat on a tile floor, Linda Sevika Ward told her eight class members to close their eyes, lean back and exhale.
“Om, hari om, hari om, hari hari hari om,” resounded throughout the room as the students sat in upright, cross-legged meditation postures.
After working as a corporate stress management consultant in Dallas, Ward has trained eager Killeenites in the ways of the yogis for 17 years.
For $10 a session or $35 a month, experienced yoga practitioners and amateurs relax and rejuvenate on Wednesday evenings at the Killeen Community Center.
“It is a transformation, that’s for sure,” said class student and yoga instructor Bridget Gregory. “I would call it the essence of life. It’s a necessity.”
Some do it to improve physical health. Some to release stress. Some practice yoga for spiritual reasons.
But most participants praised Ward’s abilities.
“I came because I can’t move if I don’t come,” Diana Kaye said. “I find it works better for me than anything else. But I came because Linda is absolutely the best teacher.”
Ward’s class is one of four a week that Catherine Levandovsky attends.
She cited spiritual inspirations for her practice, and followed the path of her mother, a yoga instructor.
Ward participated in a yoga class at a health club, and immediately recognized its immense value over the traditional Western stress management she was teaching, she said. She fell in love with yoga, quit her old job, and has taught the Eastern discipline ever since. “When you are practicing yoga, you can’t think about anything else,” Ward said. “Think about standing on your head. You think about something else, you’re going to fall. So you’re in the moment. ... Whenever you do it, you don’t have to think about your worries and troubles.”