Slow Down and Breathe

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Regular exercise is an important part of anyone’s health and well-being, however, for people with HIV/AIDS the benefits of working out include potentially preventing or reversing some of the common complications of HIV infection and treatment such as lipodystrophy, and higher levels of cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels. Exercise can also increase bone strength, strengthen the immune system and improve overall health outcomes.

“As important as exercise is for humans, generally, for physical and emotional health, it becomes that much more important when managing a chronic illness,” explains Jamie, a certified yoga instructor who volunteers weekly teaching a class for people living with HIV at the Boston Living Center (BLC). There is a core group of 4 to 6 BLC members who routinely attPhoto of Jamie, volunteer yoga instructor and BLC memberend Jamie’s class, with other members dropping in from time to time.

Jamie takes pride in developing classes that will have a lasting benefit for his fellow members. “I want to make sure it is not just about stretching, but also about strengthening,” he shares. “Strength supports stretching.”

Jamie doesn’t just volunteer at the Boston Living Center. He’s been a member since 1998 and he ran the Boston Marathon four times as part of the BLC’s team. “I was really impressed and inspired the first time they [the BLC] did it and asked to join the next year,” he says. “I didn’t really think of it as 26 miles. It was just one step and then another.”

Jamie’s yogic practice started 30 years ago, when a friend talked him into joining him for a class at the Metropolitan Health Club. Although skeptical at first, Jamie found himself working yoga into his everyday

life. “Any activity can be yogic. It is all about attention and intention,” he says.

After years of personal practice, Jamie decided to take the next step and become a certified yoga instructor in 2014. “My practice had lapsed and it was a good way to recharge it,” he shares. When he teaches at the center he guides his students through a gentle, restorative flow. “It helps me to slow down. I’m always pushing other people to do that, to slow down and breathe.”

Please click here to learn more about the Boston Living Center

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