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Conference’s mission to empower women

PROCTORVILLE — Say the word, “yoga,” and visions of mats, leotards and intricate poses come to mind.

But, as those attending the second annual Women’s Conference at Ohio University Southern Proctorville learned, that’s just the beginning.

Or as instructor Joan St. Clair told the women, “there’s much more to yoga than meets the mat.”

Yoga takes in physical poses, breath work, meditation and codes of conduct, St. Clair said.

“There is self-study and self discipline,” she said. “You learn to treat yourself with respect and others with respect.”

St. Clair’s hour-long demonstration of yoga was one of a day’s worth of seminars especially designed to empower and inform women.

Before demonstrating a variety of warm-up and strengthening poses, St. Clair discussed the many benefits of the discipline.

“We can use yoga as a way to expand our spirituality,” St. Clair said. “And everybody can do yoga, regardless. If you are sitting in a chair, you can do yoga. If you weigh 300 pounds, you can do yoga. We provide modifications to suit every body.”

About 100 women participated in the Friday conference and had a variety of choices of workshops and lectures to attend from self-defense to improving self-esteem to nutrition to consumer rights.

One of those lectures was given by the co-organizer of the event, Miki Crawford, whose mother was a Japanese war bride. Crawford discussed her recently completed book about the subject and a documentary of interviews with war brides.

“There’s a lot of energy here,” she said about the conference. “This is the time for women to celebrate being women.”