BRIDGEPORT — Call it the Downward Daley.
A McKinley Park mom is hoping to bring the ancient but trendy art of yoga to old school Bridgeport.
Joanna Quealy has started a weekly practice inside a common area at Unity Center, 3339 S. Halsted St.
In typical neighborhood fashion, there are no frills in the makeshift studio. You won’t find pulsing trance music or a juice bar.
Her classes at the center — typically home to a social justice and community organization — are geared toward those who “want to try yoga or just take some time to stretch and breathe, close to home, without a lot of hoopla.”
Quealy, 36 and a mother of one, will teach two sessions each week, an all-levels practice from 6-7:15 p.m. Wednesdays and a second “Gentler Yoga” class suitable for the 50-plus crowd — or anyone looking for a mild challenge — that takes places on Fridays from noon-1:15 p.m.
A free monthly class is also in the works.
Quealy was trained to teach yoga at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif. Most recently, she’s taught yoga to Columbia College faculty but left to raise her son, who’s now a little over 1 year old.
Now, she’s back and has picked Bridgeport to “spread the yoga word and vibes.”
So far, her students have included plenty of everyday people — not superfit yogis. Quealy said she adjusts the pace and tempo of each class to suit their needs.
“It’s kind of like being a musician or DJ. You play to your crowd,” she said.
Quealy said skill level or range of flexibility don’t matter all that much in her yoga classes. What does matter, she said, is taking time for yourself.
“It’s guaranteed relaxation, which is what everybody needs,” she said. “If you get nothing more than that, it’s great. If you only take that, you’ve taken something.”