• The Anahata Center transformed
By Naomi Klouda
After eight years as Anahata, the distinctive cedar cabin on East End Road takes on a new name, and a new vision as Many Rivers.
Owner Kenton Bloom likes the metaphor suggested by the new name. Yoga teacher Anna Raupp came up with it and a group assembled to brainstorm the rebranding ratified it.
“Each person is a river, each practice a river, too. This is a place where many rivers converge – a mosaic of dharma, a symphony of exploration – all leading to the same ocean,” Raupp wrote for a website, presenting a group vision.
Bloom, an avid outdoorsman and a yoga teacher, counted and found that Homer’s location puts it near eight rivers. A river is as a crossing where “you leave one version of yourself, and fording the challenge, arrive to a new bank, a new self and perhaps a new perspective.”
The center for yoga, meditation, healing, acupuncture and dance is intended as a space to serve the needs of the community and all generations.
The Homer area may be home to more yoga participants and yoga instructors than elsewhere in Alaska, notes instructor Alayne Tetor. Yoga comes in variety from traditional ancient forms dating back 5,000 years like Kundalini Yoga to modern modifications devised by current practitioners to meet specific needs.
“There are ways to take something that originated in ancient India and modify it to today. Modern people are more sedentary – they are mentally focused in a different direction,” Tetor explains. “We need classes to be realistic to the population of this current age with its stress level, lifestyle, diet and consciousness that is changing.”
There’s a higher degree of yoga teachers in Homer to “cope with the challenges of being alive. It makes them enjoy their lives more,” she added.
“Eight Limbs” of yoga describes a catch-all of the practices that lead to the state of yoga, which means union. This comes out of the teachings of India and describes physical postures, mental concentration, application of breath, attunement of the senses and principles for cultivating inner virtue and contemplation of the infinite. Each one of the five yoga teachers at Many Rivers offers a different style or focus within their yoga class.
Ramona Pearce offers sessions for women with “round and aging bodies,” and also beginner yoga where a person can learn fundamentals. Anna Raupp teaches Kundalini yoga which cultivates inner energy and awareness. She also specializes in prenatal and postnatal support. Kenton Bloom practices in the Iyengar tradition and teaches “sports support” to target strengthening, agility and healing after injuries. He also periodically offers men’s yoga. Alayne Tetor, an arts teacher at Homer High School, teaches Family Yoga and “Flow and Refresh” yoga, a Vinyasa class aimed at clearing energy flow and relieving tension. She encourages teens to take the classes to “quiet the mind” to balance against the noise of their multi-media social interactions.
When she returns from intensive training in Bali, Melisse Reichman will be offering flow and yin yoga that focuses on inner healing of connective tissue and joints.
With moms, dads, babies and children all covered in the yoga offerings, the vision is to serve as many parts of the population as possible. Some of the teachers also go to work sites to conduct yoga sessions for organizations, such as one Bloom undertook for the Pratt Museum and one Raupp did for South Peninsula Hospital employees.
Pauli Lida performs acupuncture treatments by appointment, and once a week holds a community clinic welcoming walk-ins for 15-30 minute appointments. Her style has developed from a combination of acupuncture techniques including Taoist balancing techniques, Japanese Meridian therapy, Healing Qigong, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Thai massage.
This time of year she’s been treating patients for pain, insomnia, neck and shoulder pain and for digestive issues.
Robin McAllistar also practices out of Many Rivers as a counselor in private practice. She was traditionally trained in counseling psychology, but expanded over the years, studying everything from addictions to shamanism.
“Sacred Boogie” is free-form dance space held to encourage exploration, expression and freedom in movement to fun, world-beat, spiritual music that meets on Sundays.
The building began to go up in 1989 out of cedar logs that came on a barge from Washington state. Bloom happened across Douglas fir timbers shipped to Anchorage after the 1964 earthquake to be used in supporting damaged buildings.
“The timbers then sat in a yard in Anchorage for 25 years before I came across them,” Bloom said. The building is modeled on a 500-year-old architectural design used in old European constructions with joints locked together. The weight of the timbers lock it all together.”
A cedar thatch roof and hardwood floors complete the building, which gives off an atmosphere of peace in natural surroundings. Through the years, it has hosted Dali Lamas, Buddhist priests and monks, candidates seeking political office, and most all sections of Homer individuals and families.
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