Winter Park yoga class raises money for charity

Sweating to raise money

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  • | 7:17 a.m. July 21, 2016
Photo by: Sarah Wilson - Chiropractor Crystal Nix, in pink, participates in the Yoga for a Purpose class in Central Park that she and her husband started to raise money for charity, and support health in the community.
Photo by: Sarah Wilson - Chiropractor Crystal Nix, in pink, participates in the Yoga for a Purpose class in Central Park that she and her husband started to raise money for charity, and support health in the community.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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In spite of the smothering summer sun in Central Park on Saturday morning, the brightly colored mats were rolled out on the lawn and muscles stretched as 14 yoga participants came together for a cause.

The group united to participate in Movement: Yoga with a Purpose, a free class started by doctors Joel Dayton and Crystal Nix for the community to connect through healthy activity while promoting a chosen charity. They gather the second and fourth Saturday of every month at 8:30 a.m. in Central Park, finding calm and balance in between the farmers market buzz and Park Avenue breakfast bustle.

The doctors, owners of Clear Route Health in Winter Park, graduated from chiropractic school with a dream of starting a charity, so, after opening their office, they organized the yoga group. Free and open to the public, donations given are earmarked for a specific charity that is chosen quarterly by the participants.

The charity chosen for this quarter’s classes changed in light of the Pulse nightclub shooting on June 12 in which 49 people were killed and 53 injured. The doctors chose Planting Peace, which helps spread peace in a hurting world.

“We loved what they stood for – truly about focusing on helping to unify people,” Drayton said. “We loved the fact that his main purpose is to help promote peace in the world because that is something that really resonates with us.”

Nix said, “This group was one of the first three to respond as one of the organizations to help these victims and their families. At least, they were one of the first we could find.”

The doctors considered different activities to create their community group including Zumba, cooking classes and walking, but Nix said she wanted the community group to be focused on healing and bonding. Yoga became the focus because of the emotional and physical aspects it offers and its connection with chiropractic.

“It helps with what we are already doing,” Nix said. “It helps people to stretch out, strengthen their core, and it’s very calming.”

“I’m really focused on helping the emotional component of who we are and the mental component of who we are in our health.”

Drayton said, “The biggest thing is it really reinforces helping people not be dependent on us. Because our biggest goal is to make sure they’re healing. So, the more that they can strengthen the muscles in their core, the more they are going to be able to do everything else they want to.”

Yoga, according to the doctors, strengthens the core of the body, which counteracts the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

“We are in a flexed position most of the day when we sit, so that puts a lot of strain on the back,” Drayton said. “Yoga is great because a lot of our exercises we are doing extension rather than flexion.”

Nix said, “It’s just this wonderful all-encompassing exercise – socializing and emotional healing all involved.”

The couple does not teach the yoga – they participate. Ashley Rife, who teaches yoga at the YMCA in Winter Park, conducts the classes for the doctors. They chose her to be the instructor because they observed her modifying positions to help the participants in her classes, and liked that style.

The doctors chose the park for these classes because of the farmers market on Saturdays. After the yoga class, they offer nutritional health and a “Shop with the Doc” opportunity over at the market.

“We help them choose foods that will be healthier for them, and then we actually have hours on Saturday, right after, so that we can treat patients right after if they feel something is out," Drayton said.

Nix and Dayton said the Saturday events encompass everything they want for their community – health, bonding within the group, investment in the community, and the charity.

Anyone can join the group. All anyone needs, said the doctors, is “just a mat and maybe a water bottle.”

But a donation to charity, they said, would be nice too.


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