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Cape Cod teacher seeks 365 yoga poses on video

By Eric Williams
Cape Cod Times / March 25, 2012
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BARNSTABLE, Mass.—She may show up while you're having coffee and ask you to do a downward-facing dog.

Meet Diane Kovanda, the yoga whisperer of Barnstable County. When she's not teaching yoga, she's out in the community, working on her ambitious project, Yoga Everywhere. Her goal is to record 365 videos of regular folks doing different yoga poses over the course of a year and post them on her YouTube site.

"I started on Jan. 1," said Kovanda. "So far I've had a person every day."

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the mind-body therapy of yoga "involves physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to improve overall well-being."

Kovanda, who provides yoga teacher training at her Centerville-based Kind Yoga school, has been practicing yoga for more than 25 years. "Yoga moves your spine in every direction, opens your lungs up, gets you curled up and squeezes out the intestinal tract and gets you detoxed," she said. "And gets you focused at the same time."

Sometimes a random stranger is drawn into Kovanda's flexible plot. Sometimes Kovanda knows the poser and after a bit of sweet talk, a headstand blooms.

On a recent pose prowl, Kovanda popped into the Yarmouth Police Department and convinced Sgt. Walter Warren to do a warrior pose, in full uniform.

Warren nailed it, and you could tell he knew a little something about yoga. Turns out, he has incorporated the practice into his fitness regimen.

"I like everything about it," said Warren. "Mostly what I like about it is what I call the core strength that you get from it -- from the shoulders down to about the waist."

Kovanda left the police station and headed over to a Hyannis gym, home to the Cape Cod Boxing Club and UK Sports Development. Trainer Lee Docherty was hitting the heavy bag when Kovanda talked him into doing a plank pose.

Still wearing his boxing gloves, Docherty was happy to give it a go. He is a relatively new convert to the world of yoga. "If you asked me five years ago, I would have just laughed at you and said there's no way I would ever do that," said Docherty.

But after giving yoga a try, Docherty changed his mind. What does he get out of it? "The ability to stay focused and be in control of your mind, and obviously the flexibility that it brings, is something that gets forgotten about, not just with boxers but with all athletes across the board," said Docherty.

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