This Wednesday, July 31st, manifest your healthiest self with Moonlight yoga on the Detroit Riverfront, at West Riverfront Park.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy have partnered for yoga by the river, just in time for the new month—new moon, new you! Lead by Michelle Moten of Detroit’s Urban Solace, Moonlight Yoga is the collaboration of a yoga instructor, a neurologist and a health coach.

They might be onto something.

Yoga will grant you flexibility and help you keep your mind sharp, and when struggling with certain conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, it’s proven to be an absolute game changer.

Curious? We caught up with health coach Grace Derocha to learn more about the power of stretch.

CV Henriette:  Let’s start with you. Tell us about yourself. 

Grace Derocha: I am a registered dietician, certified diabetes educator, and health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. I love to remind people of different ways that they can live healthy through nutrition, activity, mood, mindfulness, sleep and yoga.

I’m Asian, so I’ve been practicing yoga ever since I was a child with my family.

CVh: Tell us about some of the benefits of yoga.

GD: With yoga you learn to be mindful about your thoughts, so hopefully you can release some stress and anxiety. Research shows that in can improve circulation and breathing as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Doing things like strengthening and toning muscles to improve lean muscle mass help you get stronger—which helps with balance, core strength and decreased risk of injury from exercise or everyday living. Especially for older adults.

Yoga improves sleep quality.

And, my favorite: it provides me time. There’s so much hustle and bustle—whether it be our work, our lives, our apps, our watches, our phones, everything is going off—that moment to just be with you, is so important.

Finally, the reduction of inflammation in the body. This is huge. Especially in America with, a lot of times, the way we eat, the way we stress, the way we don’t sleep enough, we have increased inflammation in the body that can lead chronic conditions and issues, especially as we age. But even when we’re young.

CVh: Someone who’s never been to a yoga class, they see the benefits and want to try, but they’re nervous—what do you say to that person?

GD: Come, try, soak it in. The great thing about Michelle, the instructor that teaches this class, is that she gives variations for all levels, so that everyone feels comfortable. Plus in an open area, with a lot of people, there’s less intimidation—and it’s getting dark, so no one’s looking!

Dive in. It could be your introduction to something great.

CVh: For the person who falls in love with yoga! Advice on choosing a studio?

GD: For someone who’s just getting into yoga, try many different studios. Don’t be shy. Finding the right teacher and style is crucial. I remember the first time I took a Bikram class, I threw up because it was too hot for me…

Maybe Bikram isn’t for you. Maybe you just want a hot room or a slow flow. There are many types of yoga. If you don’t like one, try another. A lot of studios will offer a class for free or some sort of introductory discount. Take the opportunity to explore.

The good details.

Moonlight yoga is hosted by Grace Derocha, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and J. Matthew Voci, MD, board-certified neurologist at Michigan Neurology Associates & PC, and is a collaboration with the Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation and Kirk Gibson Foundation.

It takes place Wednesday, July 31st, at West Riverfront Park, 1801 W. Jefferson, Detroit, Mich. 48216. Please arrive by 8pm. Guests are asked to register in advance with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

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