Tony Alfano believes in the benefits of yoga. Even on a snowy day, turnout for his classes at Payson Athletic Club is good.
"I've always been health conscious and I've been doing yoga for the last 20 years," Alfano said.
Alfano, who's been involved in assisting developing countries with American business techniques, has been a student and teacher of yoga in Croatia, the Ukraine, all across the world.
But four times a week, you'll find him teaching his American version of yoga.
"I teach American yoga," Alfano said. I designed the three Cs program -- concentration, core and challenge."
Alfano describes the core area of the body as the area from the top of the thigh to the rib cage.
"This is the vital area of the body," Alfano said. "If you keep this area healthy, you'll probably be able to fight off all kinds of disease because your immune system will be strong."
Alfano also stresses the importance of breathing in healthy living.
"A lot of us are very shallow breathers and we don't get the air all the way down," Alfano said. "You have to be able to know how to use the air that you take in and how to expand it and use your muscles in conjunction with it."
While Alfano cared for his ailing mother, who is now a healthy 95-year-old, he wrote a book about yoga.
"After finishing a book about international business, I started a book on yoga," Alfano said. "I had all these ideas and I wanted to get them down so I wrote a book on the 3 Cs program."
After completing the book, with help from the owners of Post Net, Alfano got 50 books published which sold immediately.
Alfano and Keven Rush, manager of Payson Athletic Club, donated the proceeds from the book to Habitat for Humanity.
"Ed and Diane Enos gave me a good break on printing the book so we were able to sell them here for $10," Alfano said. "Back to Basics also helped with selling the book."
Although the book is sold out, Alfano said more will be printed.
"People have been asking me about the book, so I will get more printed," Alfano said.
"Tony's yoga class is important," Rush said. "We find that people are so busy and the part of their fitness program they often skip is flexibility. I get good feedback from Tony's students who tell me that they have increased range of motion and reduced stress after being in his class."
According to Rush, Alfano's yoga class is one of the fastest growing at Payson Athletic Club. While Alfano is pleased with the interest, he enjoys the intimacy of a smaller class.
"I don't want the class to get so big that I can't get to know my students individually," Alfano said. "It's amazing to see the progress that some of my students have made," Alfano said. "I know a lot of my students and their backgrounds."
Alfano now incorporates aspects of Ayurvedic Medicine, an area that has always interested him. He provides students with a questionnaire about their body characteristics and then advises them on the most beneficial yoga postures.
"I go over their self-evaluations and based on the results, I suggest yoga poses that will bring their body back into balance," Alfano said.
At the end of Alfano's class, he turns out the lights, turns down the music and his students spend a quiet moment meditating. When the lights go back on, Alfano wishes them a good day, and his students file out, appearing serene and revitalized.