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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Special interest groups: Together again - Hoping to reconnect, Five Mile Prairie couple offer yoga classes in their garden

Mary Ann Corman, foreground, Linda Leavell, center, and Julie Moyer-Nesbitt participate in a morning garden yoga class on Five Mile Prairie at the home of Moyer-Nesbitt and her husband, Bill Nesbitt, on July 14. The class is geared toward those over age 50.  (Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Mary Ann Corman, foreground, Linda Leavell, center, and Julie Moyer-Nesbitt participate in a morning garden yoga class on Five Mile Prairie at the home of Moyer-Nesbitt and her husband, Bill Nesbitt, on July 14. The class is geared toward those over age 50. (Libby Kamrowski/ THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

A soft wind whispered through the garden, stirring wind chimes. Birds chattered, bees buzzed among the perennials, and butterflies fluttered through the rose trellises.

Across the grassy lawn, a small group of yoga enthusiasts pressed their palms together, lifting their arms toward the sun.

Every Wednesday morning the group gathers in Bill Nesbitt and Julie Moyer-Nesbitt’s garden for an hour of gentle chair yoga led by Emily Carter.

The couple’s garden has twice been featured in the “Spokane in Bloom” garden tour sponsored by the Inland Empire Gardeners.

After the isolation of the pandemic, the couple longed to reconnect with their neighbors on Five Mile Prairie and decided to host a weekly yoga class throughout the summer.

“I met Bill and Julie pre-pandemic and taught private classes in their home,” Carter said. “We didn’t see each other for a year. Late this spring we reconnected and thought of a way to bring the community together.”

Participants pay $9 per class and bring yoga mats if desired. There’s plenty of seating, and a gentle mister keeps folks cool on extra warm mornings.

The garden features two rose-laden trellises, as well as perennial shade and pollinator gardens. An array of pots filled with perennials attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, and 40 birdhouses offer refuge to a variety of birds. The property is a certified wildlife habitat.

“Planning this ‘garden of pots’ was my survival tool for the pandemic,” said Julie Moyer-Nesbitt.

Carter appreciates the natural setting.

“The fresh air and beautiful things to look at helps take the focus off yourself,” she said. “There aren’t any mirrors, so it’s relaxing.”

Bill Nesbitt agreed.

“Being outdoors is much more nurturing,” he said. “The whole idea of yoga is to dial things down. The cerebral calming has been wonderfully amplified.”

For Julie Moyer-Nesbitt, adding neighbors to the mix made it even better.

“We learned to value friendships and being together during COVID,” she said. “Now, we’ve made new friends. There are about eight of us 50-plus seniors, and we have great camaraderie.”

She grinned.

“I call our age group older, wiser and less mature.”

Neighbors Chris Smith and Joanne Welch are new to yoga.

“I’ve never done yoga before. It makes such a difference in flexibility,” Welch said. “And Emily is positive and sweet.”

Smith nodded.

“She’s not your high school gym teacher.”

Ann Davey agreed.

“I like what Emily does,” she said. “At the end, I feel relaxed.”

Maryann Corman brought her two adult daughters with her to a recent class.

“I love it because it’s all about stretching and relaxing,” she said.

Opening their garden sanctuary to friends and neighbors, and embracing their new fitness practice has proved rewarding.

“I love to share my flowers,” Julie Moyer-Nesbitt said. “But the best part is feeling like we’re taking better care of ourselves while building community.”

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