Kate Niederehe (left), Sarah Perez-Sanz and Julie Zender strike a yoga pose at the Youth Garden Project. Certified yoga instructor Kristi Paul will be leading yoga classes at the YGP on Saturdays in September. [Courtesy photo]

Come lay down your yoga mats, blankets, or simply a towel at the Youth Garden Project during Saturdays this month and practice yoga with certified instructor Kristi Paul.

Starting at 9 a.m. every Saturday in September, Paul will focus on specific aspects of yoga, with each class geared to various conditions. The first class on Sept. 3 is for all levels, from beginners to those who are more experienced. The remaining classes are designed either to specifically benefit women who are pregnant, or people diagnosed with cancer, as well as their supporters, and survivors.

“Our mission here at Youth Garden Project is to grow healthy food, kids and community,” YGP Associate Director Kate Niederehe said. “What better way to share our space than to offer a healing practice … I have worked in outdoor education and wilderness training. A lot of healing and learning can happen outside.”

Paul is certified in both Ashtanga and Hatha style forms of yoga. Last year, she returned to India to be trained in yoga therapy as well – receiving certifications in two specialties – yoga for cancer, and prenatal yoga.

“A lot of people have misconceptions – it’s not just advanced, crazy (seeming) postures,” Paul said. “It’s about feeling good, adjustments, wanting more flexibility.”

Paul recommends those who might be hesitant to try yoga come to an all-levels class. She said “amazing, beautiful things can happen,” such as learning how to breathe to reduce stress.

“Tension in the body starts to melt away,” she said. “The classes are designed to help the body open up; and create relief from tension. Everybody can do yoga.”

In addition to the all-levels class on Sept. 3, Paul will offer “gentle classes” on Sept. 10 and Sept. 24 designed for all stages of pregnancy. They will focus on staying fit, learning deep relaxing stretches, poses for remaining comfortable in a changing body, and breath work that can help with remaining calm and relaxed during pregnancy and delivery.

A yoga class designed for cancer patients and survivors, as well as their supporters, will be held on Sept. 17. Paul will focus on breath work, lead a guided meditation for comfort and calming, and show gentle movements to encourage a “healthy, positive and loving relationship to one’s own body.”

Paul also teaches an all-levels yoga class at Moab Yoga, 37 E. Center St., on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., and Sundays, at 9 a.m.

Founded in 1996, the Youth Garden Project is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The garden is located on Grand County School District property on an acre and a- half of land next to Grand County High School, and adjacent to the Mill Creek bike path.

The school district uses the garden as a classroom, Niederehe said, with field trips to the garden each spring and fall, for grades kindergarten through sixth.

The Youth Garden Project also operates a Community Supported Agriculture program and sells greens for the high school’s salad bar.

Additionally, its “Weed and Seed” event invites the community to take part in weeding the garden, followed by sharing a meal prepared from the garden’s produce.

YGP offers outdoor classes through September

“Our mission here at Youth Garden Project is to grow healthy food, kids and community … What better way to share our space than to offer a healing practice.”

When: Saturdays in September at 9 a.m.

Where: Youth Garden Project, 530 S. 400 East

Cost: By donation

Information: 435-259-2326; www.youthgardenproject.org

For more information, call 435-259-2326, or go to www.youthgardenproject.org.