By MARGARET BLOHM
For the Times-Herald
DEARBORN – When Dearborn resident Sherry Duquet moved to Florida five years ago to own a yoga studio, she kept strong ties to family and friends in her hometown. Yet, she never envisioned how the COVID-19 pandemic could strengthen those ties – virtually.
“Owning a yoga studio and teaching yoga was the answer to my dreams,” said Duquet, owner of Madeira Beach Yoga. “Then the pandemic hit. Our studio and instructors had to quickly shift from teaching in person to offering virtual classes to help everyone stay safe.”
Duquet shared that teaching people of all ages is something she really enjoys – especially seniors. Learning that residents of senior living communities were among the largest group of people impacted by the virus, she reasoned why not videotape and share her virtual classes.
“I already knew several of the folks at Beaumont Commons, Dearborn,” said Duquet, who contacted Shavon Baker, activities supervisor at the senior living community.
Baker, who teaches residents qi gong – a form of tai chi – was eager to receive Duquet’s 35-minute yoga video of seated and standing stretch exercises as another activity for residents.
“I always tell residents that exercise will help you feel and look good,” said Baker, who has also taught yoga in the past. “Yoga is relaxing and good for range of motion. Following Sherry’s instruction, seniors can feel secure in what they are doing. Residents enjoy that.”
Each class is limited to 10 people to maintain safe distancing, Baker said, and Duquet’s yoga video is now part of the weekly campus activity schedule.
Because the video was produced in a comfortable outdoor setting in Florida, the class offers residents a welcome contrast to Michigan’s cold, wintry days.
“Yoga allows you to do as much as you feel you can and to think about what your body is telling you to do,” said resident Pat Ald, a longtime yoga enthusiast. “I love the breathing part and when the teacher reminds me to breath in the middle of a pose. Sherry is a good instructor.”
Shortly before moving to Beaumont Commons three years ago, Ald shared that she had suffered a stroke and added, “We need to keep our muscles moving.”
While Ald in Michigan and Duquet in Florida have yet to meet and talk in person, their love of yoga is not the only thing they have in common. Both revealed they suffer from arthritis.
For Duquet, another tie is strengthened and may explain why she closes each session with “The teacher and student in me honors the teacher and student in you. Namaste.”