Tracy will be honest, many years ago she didn’t find much value in doing yoga, “I’m a high energy person, I was teaching 15 classes a week and going hard with high-intensity workouts. I thought yoga was a joke.” That was 36 years ago. Now Tracy teaches multiple classes of yoga at the South Spokane YMCA in addition to her weights and fitness classes.
What made her change her tune on yoga? “I realized it had a lot to do with breathing and the structure of your body. It had a lot more to offer than I thought.” She recalls working at a retirement facility helping seniors with limited mobility be more active. Tracy was tasked with developing a yoga routine that would work for seniors who maybe couldn’t stand for long or were limited in what they could do. She attended yoga classes and sat in a chair in the back of the room, working through what each pose would be if you were confined to a chair. Her special Chair Yoga class was born.
Over the years Tracy has changed and adapted her classes and now teaches Bench Yoga at the South Y. The class is designed for seniors and anyone else who has physical limitations. “I know what it’s like to be held back physically, through knee replacements and other things, it’s not easy getting started again,” Tracy said.
Bigger than the impact of yoga, Tracy has fostered a community of seniors who support and inspire one another. Her classes regularly feature over 30 seniors from around Spokane, all looking to share in a community. “My classes are full of amazing people who help others.
It’s friendly, open and inviting to seniors.” Tracy has class ambassadors present at each session. These ambassadors help new attendees feel welcome and help answer any questions they might have.
These special relationships have continued even when they walk out the doors of the Y. Tracy has developed special “Senior Social” events consisting of hikes, kayaking trips and Christmas parties. Creating these bonds inside the Y and expanding on them have had profound effects on the seniors, “when a person comes in alone and they connect, that connection can lead to so many other things.” Tracy says she is lucky to have a group of people who care and support each other in this stage of their lives.
When she’s not teaching yoga or helping on the wellness floor, Tracy keeps herself busy. She plays pickleball at least three times a week, serving as the ambassador for the USA Pickleball Association in Spokane. She volunteers at Manito Park and has earned the title of Master Gardener for her work in horticulture. Tracy and her husband have six kids and have many grandchildren.
Tracy has developed a welcoming, nurturing and dynamic community of seniors at the South Y. She emulates what they YMCA is all about, and we are thankful for her impact on our Y family.