Deborah Reiter (left) Salvation Army drop-in centre co-ordinator

Deborah Reiter (left) Salvation Army drop-in centre co-ordinator

Get fit at the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army wants to get bums on their yoga mats.

The Salvation Army wants to get bums on their yoga mats.

The organization, more commonly known for helping those in need with food and other vital resources, has been offering exercise classes to the community for at least a year.

In September, Ellen Paynton, a local fitness instructor, kinesiologist and rehab therapist, took over the twice weekly sessions with a plan to provide yoga and strength training. She hopes community  members will embrace this idea and come through the army’s doors.  Paynton holds a yoga session on Tuesdays and strength training on Thursdays.  Although that’s the general structure, she says she’s flexible and more often than not will see what the attending public wants or needs.

“It’s whatever people want it to be,” Paynton says. “I tailor the class to the people in the class.”

The other attraction of the classes is they are open to the community at large and are offered free of charge.

“This fills a need in the community,” Paynton says. “We have private classes; we have the community centre and this is another thing to give people an option.”

She describes the yoga as Hatha-style that combines dynamic and static postures.

Paynton adds the classes help to break down barriers and perceptions around the role of the Salvation Army.

The classes occur downstairs at the building on Borland Street in a large room furnished with weight training equipment, mats, exercise balls, and free weights.

Paynton is hopeful about the program’s future and says, “I’d love to be able to see this grow into a community program.”

The free classes run every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Paynton invites community members to come and check it out.