Yoga in the Heights has such a vast demographic community! That’s truly one of the unique things about our Wellness Center. In every yoga class, we’ve got all generations, all colors, all shapes and sizes. We are the community that breaks the myth that yoga in not for everyone! And we LOVE when a new yoga student transforms before our eyes! One of those students is 63-year old Roger Heitmann – a local and very active resident of JC Heights who started yoga with us almost 2 years ago. Read how yoga has changed his life for the better…


Written by Roger Heitmann

First of all, here are a few details about me so you can decide, perhaps, whether or not this is worth the read.

I am a 63 year old male and recently retired ex-banker. I worked behind a desk for the last 30 years or so, staring into a computer for much of that time. I am 6’2″ and weigh 192 lbs. I mention that only because it might be relevant to others concerned about whether or not they can take up the practice of yoga based upon their age and body type. My answer to that is: You really won’t know until you try it. It so happens that Yoga in the Heights offers an introductory new member plan with unlimited yoga for 30 bucks. Sign up and find out if yoga is for you. Oh, and make sure you actually go as often as you can. Make it your religion for that brief 30 day period.

I should also mention that I have had my share of surgeries and injuries to my muscular skeletal system over the years too. I had micro surgery (radio frequency ablation) on both heels for heel spurs, two bulged disks in my lower back and various and common twisted ankles and a sprained knee from my days as an avid hiker and walker. None of these things keep me from doing yoga, although they do make certain poses difficult.

When I first retired two years ago, my weight ballooned up to 205 lbs, which is fine if you play corner back for the NY Giants but not so good if you don’t. My doctor finally told me I needed blood pressure medication and that I needed to lose at least 10 pounds and exercise.

I began a brisk walking program (almost each day) of a mile or two and I expanded my gardening hobby to include my own garden and two community gardens in the Heights. It helped but there was something missing that would improve my flexibility, balance, coordination and strength without getting beat up in a regular gym. Running was not an option for me either.

Yoga first caught my eye after seeing a lot of women walking around New York City with yoga mats. The yoga craze was clearly visible. It occurred to me that it might be the perfect exercise program for someone like myself.

When Yoga in the Heights opened on Central Avenue, I decided to sign up for the new student introductory plan back in December 2014.

It also interested me that the owners and two local residents, Stephanie Kumar and Bridget Fujioka had the drive and brains to open a new business in the heights. Not an easy call to say the least. They are the heart and soul of this business and they emphasize the importance of community in an inclusive and nurturing way.

I have taken about 50 lessons so far on the monthly plan and even though my practice is that of a true novice, it has definitely improved my flexibility and coordination and has given me the organized workout that I needed. I continue to take the basic yoga class and also the core vinyasa flow class which emphasizes building strength in your core. There is also a restorative yoga class on Sunday which helps with any old injuries and teaches relaxation.

You will need to find out for yourself what your goals are and measure the improvements you notice to determine if this is for you. The more lessons you take, the more benefits you should see.