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Snowga to make debut at Larkinville Ice Festival this weekend

Sue Kincaid plans to get into the yoga groove this weekend on the Larkin Square boardwalk, whether it’s snowing or not, and hopes lots of others join her. Kincaid, a local singer and Southtowns YMCA group fitness instructor, has taught yoga outdoors before but never “snowga.” She’ll take her first crack at 2 and 2:30 p.m. Saturday during the second annual Larkinville Ice Festival, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Larkin Square and nearby businesses. For more info, visit visitlarkinsquare.com. Other yoga instructors will teach snowga and related outdoor classes from 11 a.m. to noon Sundays at The Ice at Canalside (canalsidebuffalo.com). Looks like they may do so this weekend, at least, without the white stuff.

“Yoga can be universal, helpful – so why not do it in the snow,” said Kincaid, who lives with her husband, Christopher Shively, and their two children, Bryce, 15, and Brooke, 13, in Orchard Park. Both of the kids are competitive alpine skiers.

Kincaid started singing out regionally in the 1990s and is an independent recording artist with PLJ (Peace, Love, Joy) Records. She performs original songs and pop at, among other spots, Hamburg Brewing Co., and Parings Wine Bar in Williamsville with Doug Yeomans and Mark Winsick.

Q. How important is music to your yoga instruction?

There’s this wonderful quote from Tony Bennett, who was an artist first but he loved music and someone told him, do both. What you learn from one vocation you take to the next vocation. For all of the songs I’ve sung, I needed to breathe. When you’re on stage, if you’re really into it and really doing it, it’s a physical experience. And yoga is very physical, yet the mental ability you need to move through presenting yourself, the expression of what you’re feeling, and control it in the present – it’s meditative. So in music, you give it up. You let it happen. The muse just kind of takes over. With yoga, when you move to get all the adrenaline out and you stand and reflect for a moment, you kind of surrender. You give in. One complements the other.

Q. What do you make of snowga?

It makes complete sense. ... There’s a trueness to yoga. You can apply it to cooking, to eating, to walking. To dancing, to snowshoeing, to curling. Anything that you do, you can apply the fundamentals of yoga. I don’t think we’re going to have snow but it will still be an outdoor experience. There’s a different energy when you’re outside in a park than when you’re inside in a studio.

Q. How is what you’re going to teach Saturday different than what you teach at the Y, and at Delaware Park in the summer?

The vinyasa, the flow, will be different. It’ll be mostly a standing practice, or a supine practice where you’re on your back or perhaps seated. But nothing on your belly. It’s easy to do standing and there’s a lot you can do.

Q. If it’s raining, is this something you’ll do under cover?

Sure. If there are people there and they’re willing to do it, we’ll do it whatever the circumstances.

Q. How hard will those who participate work?

It will be a multilevel class. When you’re teaching this long, you can modify them if they’re at a beginner level. Those who are more advanced – and you can tell – I can move them deeper in to the posture.

Q. What should folks wear?

Just like in the ski world, dress in warm layers. The best thing out in the snow is Lycra or nylon. When you’re really into it, you get a layer of down somewhere in the middle. So you’re looking at a turtleneck and sweater and a light jacket and maybe a liner under your snow pants, not a pair of jeans.

Q. What days do you teach in better weather at Delaware Park?

10 a.m. Sunday mornings at Hoyt Lake. I’ve had probably 70 people at max. It was usually between 40 and 50 people on a beautiful Sunday morning. It’s a really rewarding experience. A lot of people would never come to an indoor yoga class but this is free, so my intention as I instruct is educational. I tell folks I’m giving you a vocabulary list of posture. Some of these may work for you and some of you may not. For the person who’s listening, just to be able to stand there for two minutes and breathe, and not have to worry about the next moment – will I have to pay for this next week or can I make it – changes the relationship a lot.

Q. Is snowga something skirrs and snowshoers should consider before or after they go out?

Sure. After a workout is when you’re going to stretch the best. ... There is an element to warming up. Probably if we were perfect , after 10 minutes of getting the blood moving and your heart rate up, you’d get into some yoga postures, then do your workout. Snowga can complement the activity that you’re doing.

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