Hallo-yoga class brings spooky stretching to St. Clair Park

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October 14, 2019 | TribLIVE.com

Passersby near St. Clair Park in Greensburg Monday gave a second — maybe a third — look at the Robertshaw Amphitheater, as a gorilla, a super hero and a dinosaur took to the stage.

Twisty tricks and Halloween treats were part of Westmoreland County Community Club’s presentation of Hallo-Yoga, an all-levels free yoga class.

As part of recently earning her certificate of completion in yoga
teacher training, Michelle Horvath led eight participants through a
mid-afternoon series of stretches and poses.

“I’ve done some events with Moonglow Yoga, where I earned my
certificate. Yoga is very competitive in this (Greensburg) area, so I’m looking at some more (and non-studio) venues,” she said.

Horvath is a training coordinator with Community Options, which
provides residential and employment support services to individuals with disabilities.

Colleague Elliott Howe, a senior community integration counselor with Community Options, recently started the Westmoreland County Community Club to benefit both clients and area residents.

He’s planning weekly and monthly free events, open to anyone
interested, from painting in a park to weekly walks around Greensburg and yoga classes.

“It’s not limited to anyone. We meet on week days between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. I wanted to get my (clients) out to meet people. We started in April. It’s moving forward, getting better. We want to let people know about it if they are bored on a random (week day). I want to get more retirees involved. I want to start a monthly indoor board game,” Howe said.

Tackling yoga with humor

With Halloween approaching, Horvath incorporated optional costumes into her yoga class.

Most of the participants were new to yoga, and she led them through several breathing, stretching and relaxation exercises.

They gamely followed along as Horvath demonstrated downward facing dog, cobra, chair, crescent lunge, warrior and mountain poses.

“Elliott (Howe) is my best friend,” said Hailey Black of Latrobe.

So, when she saw his Facebook post, she put a black dot on her nose, penciled some whiskers onto her cheeks and gave yoga a try.

“I liked it. I feel so much better,” she said after the class.

Black recruited her brother and sister-in-law, Rachel and Phillip
Stilwell of Acme, and their son, Jaxson, 4, to take the class as well.

Although Rachel Stilwell also was a novice, Phillip Stilwell said he was familiar with yoga, thanks to a high school coach.

“In cross country, we did it every day,” he said, adding he remains active and now coaches sports.

“You feel loose after you’re done,” Stilwell said.