Acupuncturist incorporates strength and flexibility training into her services

After each yogi partners with another to help their fellow practitioners with back bends, Miranda Knox challenges each member of the class to push into an unassisted stretch.

Even here in the Middle Keys, there are a wide variety of yoga teachers and serene studios in which to hone your practice.

One of the most unique yet is the third floor studio overlooking Boot Key Harbor and the Sombrero Country Club golf course.

Dr. Miranda Knox is offering an hour and a half of ashtanga yoga instruction every Monday and Wednesday beginning at 5:30 in the conference room at Sombrero Resort on Sombrero Boulevard.

Commonly referred to as power yoga, this practice combines a series of (seemingly) seamless movements that coincide with relaxed but calculated inhalations and exhalations. In other words, there isn’t calming music, and the practice isn’t just about breathing and relaxing. The constant motion helps heat up your body and rids the muscles and organs of toxins that can slow the body down.

The result was not only a calmer mind and increased flexibility, but after an intense hour and a half of pushing my body’s boundaries, I felt, even though I was tired, a bit lighter in my step.

It’s like after an intense workout at the gym when you’ve sweated out all the stress and purged your body of negative energy and the things that worry you – work, bills, family, life – you’re exhausted, your arms and legs feel like jelly, but you somehow have a weightless bounce in your step.

Just before beginning the class, we watched an approaching rainstorm blow over Boot Key Harbor and head towards the resort. Knox took the opportunity to open the doors of the conference room doubling as a studio to let some fresh air and peaceful calming energy into the room. An hour had passed, and I glanced around to see if other yogis were sweating as profusely as me – the air was on, so I knew this wasn’t unintended Bikram!

I caught a glimpse of Chris Coonfer as he focused on holding a position while beads of sweat dripped off his nose – at least I wasn’t alone! Coonfer imparted that he’d only recently begun practicing yoga. His flexibility and muscle tone were impressive, but then he imparted that he’d long been a practitioner of multiple martial arts as a means of staying in shape.

Ryan Bliss, a long-time member of the Dolphin Research family, said he’d intermittently practiced various types of yoga to manage the pain of herniated disks in his back.

I laughed with the seasoned yogis, including Maria Urgel, at the end of class that I hoped I wasn’t radiating an envious energy; even Knox admitted that her power yoga class isn’t one for beginners.

Miranda Knox (back) supervises an assisted back bend near the end of the power yoga practice. Maria Urgel and Chris Coonfer help Ryan Bliss (in back bend) increase his flexibility.

Yoga instruction is only part of the services Knox offers as part of her preventative Oriental Medicine practice that aim to ensure a better quality of life with less pain, less emotional stress, more energy and restful sleep.

Ashtanga “Power” Yoga classes are held Monday and Wednesday beginning at 5:30 pm at Sombrero Resort on Sombrero Boulevard in Conference Room 335. Classes are $10 each. For more information, please call (305) 747-8382.


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