NEW PORT RICHEY
GloriAnne Longton realizes she can scare people off.
She may be all of 5-foot-3, but the yoga instructor sometimes runs people off with the Fitness Yoga class she teaches at the New Port Richey Recreation Center. One session saw three or four people leave before the hourlong class was done.
They claim they're coming back, but Longton knows the class can be a bit demanding.
"I focus on the physical aspect of yoga," Longton said. "We don't do a lot of meditation or relaxation, because we want to work on muscle control and flexibility and strength more so than that other stuff."
Fitness Yoga lacks what regular yoga focuses on: more relaxation periods. Longton's class involves kicks, more squats, more plank moves — anything to get the heart rate going and increase the breathing rate.
"I just think fitness-wise, it's great exercise," Longton said. "Raising the temperature in the body has a lot of healing properties, and this wouldn't be strenuous cardio work, but it warms up the body and helps with flexibility.
"Because when you go to the gym, you have to do all the other stuff like lifting weight and cardio, that you might miss stretching, which means you lose flexibility."
Some participants were dripping with sweat, and others were struggling to get the hang of the moves that push muscles to the limit, trying to gain new strength.
But that's the goal of Longton — a workout from yoga.
"You will get a sweat going on," Longton said. "A lot of the moves are used to gain strength, working to use body weight to gain strength. I don't go on the floor too much, which is what helps this class stay shorter and get the strength training in."