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New community room to host yoga
Elizabeth Klarich, yoga instructor at Anytime Fitness in downtown Billings, teaches in a new room at the center.

When Elizabeth Klarich stepped into the renovated room on the second level of Anytime Fitness, she was struck with the possibilities.

Klarich, a yoga instructor in Billings since 1980, will soon launch a new yoga student-teacher program in the space that Anytime Fitness just opened as its community room.

The Yoga Mentor Program, coincidently timed during National Mentoring Month, will give budding yoga instructors an opportunity to instruct at the same time it offers the public a chance to take yoga classes for a nominal fee. Members and nonmembers of the fitness club will be able to participate, said Donnette Roberts, club manager.

But Anytime Fitness has more than yoga in mind for its 1,500-square-foot upstairs room. It's already being utilized for cycling and Bosu ball classes. Roberts and regional manager Gail Harmoning envision such activities as ladies' bridge clubs, fun run headquarters and a meeting location for community-based groups. It will be available to the public at minimal charge or, in some cases, free.

Last spring, when Anytime Fitness opened at 2702 Montana Ave., the upstairs room in the historic Oliver Building (more recently occupied by Colburn School Supply) had been relegated to storage. Several months later, hardwood floors have been laid, the walls have been painted an airy lavender with dark violet accents, and a DVD-compatible audio visual system has been installed

"I've mentored students but never had a place I could launch them," Klarich said. "If they weren't certified, there was no place for them to teach."

That had stymied Kate Roberts (no relation to Donnette), who has studied under Klarich since 2000. She traveled to Colorado for training but still needs to teach eight hours of community service yoga before she can earn her certification.

"Until now," she said, "there was no place to do that."

Likewise, Rebecca Summers, another of Klarich's students, was looking for somewhere to share her interest in yoga. Through her job at Rimrock Foundation, she uses movement as a tool for reducing stress, and she would like to broaden that reach.

"Centered, healthy living, that's really my goal," she said.

Summers will teach a 6 a.m. class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Meanwhile, Kiah Abbey, a West High School senior, is excited at the prospect of using the room for an all-high-school Yoga Club, a class targeted specifically to teens.

"It's cool to do multigenerational (yoga)," she said. "But, we can move differently. I love yoga and want other teens to be involved."

For more information on classes or to inquire about using the community room, call Donnette Roberts at 294-0170.