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Yoga part of healthy lifestyle
Michele Flores

Yoga isn’t just for women.

So says Michele Flores, the longtime Manteca instructor of the system of physical and mental practices that originated in India some 3,000 years ago.

“These days you’re seeing more and more men do Yoga,” she said. “But you wouldn’t know that based on the stories and (newspaper and magazine) articles – there’s always women featured.

Flores added: “It’s also difficult to find Yoga clothes for men.”

She currently teaches nine classes daily, including one in Tracy.

“That class is 50-50, men and women,” said Flores, who teaches ‘Hatha,’ the most widely practiced form of yoga.

In contrast, she only has three men in her Manteca classes.

She describes Yoga as a series of body postures or ‘asana,’ with conscious breathing or ‘Pranayama’ contributing to the mental focus while developing awareness, strength and relaxation.

“Breathing is everything (in Yoga),” said Flores of the latter.

She was involved in Yoga in the 1970s, re-dedicating herself in the 1990s.

Flores, who teaches at Yoga Soul & Jiu-Jitsu, has been a certified instructor for the past 14 years.

Yoga Soul & Jiu-Jitsu recently moved from its downtown Manteca location to 1030B W. Yosemite Ave. (next door to Hafer’s Home Furnishings).

Flores also practices healthy eating habits, with her diet consisting mostly of steamed vegetables and Asian dishes. “I haven’t had meat in 30 years,” she said.

Because of that – coupled with Yoga – Flores doesn’t worry about her weight. She recently calculated getting 3 ½ hours a day of exercising.

“I walk my dog about 1 ½ miles a day, seven days a week. Add that to the Yoga classes I teach,” said Flores, who strongly believes that Yoga can help bring strength, balance and a sense of well-being to those involved.

She has an exercise tip to bring in 2012.

“Do something. Do anything. Do whatever you have to do to move that body,” Flores said.

— Vince Rembulat

staff reporter