Carmen Larson enjoys many different types of yoga, and she also loves the outdoors. On Mondays, and by special request on Wednesdays, she can be found teaching trapeze yoga – TraPoga – in her studio. On warm weekends she and her fleet of paddleboards travel the short trip to Kokomo’s Wildcat Creek Reservoir where she is a stand up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. In addition, she leads yoga-themed special events at local breweries and wineries.
Larson is originally from Tipton and a graduate of Tipton High School. Her family owned and operated Ben Franklin craft store. Later, they stepped away from the franchise and named their shop Gifts Plus. While growing up she was always interested in fitness. Currently, she works full-time at a dental office and teaches yoga during her off hours. TraPoga gets its name not only from trapeze yoga, but also because Larson teaches other varieties of yoga.
“I’ve gone to the gym my entire life,” Larson says. “In 2005 I got cancer. When I got well, I took up yoga. It’s a great exercise to benefit your health, and exercise is the best thing you can do for mental health. Besides being good for you, yoga is fun. There are so many different kinds.”
When she first became an instructor, Larson began by teaching kids yoga. She later became involved with trapeze yoga, which incorporates a bit more pulling, pushing, twisting and bending. It is especially good for increasing strength and flexibility. All ages can participate. Larson is 54 years old.
“Trapeze yoga is not like you would see in a circus,” she says. “It’s actually a form of Total Body Resistance Exercise. It strengthens arms and legs by the resistance created by a sling. This type of yoga has a lot of versatility and is low flow.”
“In the summer I want the chance to be outside as well as in the studio,” Larson continues. “I really like paddleboarding and I’m a Level 1 World Paddle Association instructor. I went to Key West to be trained. We had to do a live-person rescue, and saw sharks and stingrays. When I decided to teach SUP yoga, I thought about going to Cicero, but Morse Reservoir is so packed there. Wildcat Reservoir is only four miles from town but people don’t know how beautiful it is.”
To sign up for one of Larson’s weekend SUP yoga classes, individuals send her a private message on the TraPoga Facebook page. Participants can rent one of her boards or bring their own. Everyone paddles into a sheltered cove where the group anchors in 3’ of water. Each board is equipped with a life jacket.
“We do the hard part first and paddle against the wind,” Larson says. “Then the wind helps us paddle back. We anchor the boards and lay back. The water is like glass and we’ve even seen an eagle. It’s easy, fun and like a mini vacation in your hometown.”
Private classes to learn how to paddleboard are also offered by Larson. Participants have the option to pack a lunch, and all enjoy the beauty of Wildcat Reservoir. The boards rent for $25 an hour. SUP yoga class is an additional $20. Trapeze yoga at the studio is $25 per class for walk-ins, but most people buy a package of classes at a lower rate per class.
“Kokomo is a great place to live,” Larson says. “I’m so glad to spread the joy of what people can do to keep healthy while living in their hometown. I love the way yoga makes you feel. Yoga is an active practice but it calms you down. Try it!”
TraPoga is located above Sunspot Natural Market at 3717 South Reed Road in Kokomo. View them on Facebook for information on upcoming classes and special events in the Kokomo area, and email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
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