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Profile: Yoga for the people:Cheryl Slader

Cheryl Slader  Instructor, Blue Sky Yoga

Who takes Cheryl Slader’s yoga classes? A better question: Who doesn’t? In an age when Yoga Inc. has become corporate, packaged and accessorized, her yoga practice welcomes students of all skill levels and backgrounds. Indeed, on any given afternoon, her class hosts lawyers, professors and nurses on their lunch hour. “I don’t ask people what they do for a living,” says Slader. “We’re all the same on the mat here, where doctors and starving artists come for guidance.” Slader herself took a curious path to the mat. She moved to Vegas in 1990 and worked on the Strip as a showgirl-dancer in productions such as Jubilee! and Folies Bergère. She began studying yoga when she was pregnant with her daughter. She eventually became an instructor and founded Blue Sky Yoga in 2007 (107 E. Charleston Ave., blueskyyogalv.com). But she can’t help but stretch herself to spread the yoga gospel to unlikely clients.  She’s taught at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, which offers chronic pain treatment and addiction recovery services. At University Medical Center, she’s given free classes to senior citizens and for babies and toddlers. More recently, she helped boost kids’ test scores. Guidance counselors have enlisted her to come in before an exam to teach students to breathe and meditate before filling in those bubbles with a No. 2 pencil. “State-testing scores were proven to be higher for students who took a moment to relax beforehand,” says Slader. “Who knew 15 minutes could do so much?” But her most rewarding  students? Pregnant moms — and their future yoganauts. Once the kids come out, they recognize Slader’s voice. Now, many of these young ones take her classes. “To see them on the yoga path is rewarding. I love how yoga brings them obvious flexibility. It also keeps them healthy, calm and clear to make good decisions.” Another unique thing about her populist approach to yoga? She runs the only pay-what-you-can studio in town, a great way for someone to try out yoga without having to sign a contract. Slader also rents out the loft space to local artists, which means every month her studio showcases new work by Vegas artists. “My students and I love being surrounded by positive, creative energy.”

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