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Promoting the power of yoga, healthful living

Jocelyn Kowalczyk and Cheryl Scheff learned while throwing two big yoga retreats last year that the practice unifies, uplifts and inspires. Next weekend, they also aim to show it empowers.

The co-founders of HEAL Bflo will feature several popular regional yoga instructors as they host their third retreat Feb. 28 in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. They also will feature a new national force in the yoga community: Dan Nevins, who took up the practice about two years ago after enduring more than 30 surgeries from injuries he suffered during the Iraq War. Nevins lost both legs below the knees in a bomb blast near Fallujah. He felt reborn when discovering yoga, and has led classes of hundreds of students across the country since becoming a certified Baptiste instructor. He will lead an afternoon class at the upcoming retreat. To register and for more info, visit A portion of the proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Q. The Baptiste style of yoga tends to be on the powerful side. Does that suit you?

Scheff: I was a runner. Anyone who told me to do yoga, I told them they were crazy because it wasn’t going to be strenuous enough for me. Cardio was all I cared about. Now I don’t do anything else except Baptiste. My first day, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s scary. Once you’re in the door, the whole thing changes.

Q. What has the reaction been to landing a sort of yoga rock star for the latest retreat?

Kowalczyk: We talk about it in every yoga class we attend and people say, “What? This doesn’t happen in Buffalo. There’s no celebrity yoga.”

Q. What will the upcoming Heal Bflo yoga retreat be like?

Kowalczyk: It will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the classes will be in the Hyatt Grand Ballroom and the vendors in the Regency Ballroom. An all-day ticket costs $60. The public is welcome free to drop in, watch the classes and visit vendors. There’s 30 vendors in health, wellness and art.

Q. How were the HEAL Bflo III local instructors chosen?

Scheff: Not because they’re the most popular but because they’re passionate.

See related story here about Ret. Army Staff Sgt. Dan Nevins and the Baptiste class he will teach.

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