There are a couple of things you might not be aware of: April is Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month, and New Bedford is home to SANGHA, a vibrant yoga community that's starting a special program for people with early Parkinson's.

The program begins on Friday, April 15, from SANGHA's downtown New Bedford location across from the Zeiterion Theater.

Well known on the SouthCoast for their decades of health, fitness and wellness instruction, the program will launch from the SANGHA studio, co-founded by Jeff Costa and his husband Howard Klein, and set in motion by Nanci Winterhalter, a yoga teacher (E-RYT), certified yoga for cancer teacher, certified physical and yoga therapist.

"Supported by a grant from the American Parkinson's Disease Association, Massachusetts chapter, Jeff and I will lead a small group of about six people who been diagnosed with early Parkinson's," Winterhalter said. "That will include functionally-based movements on and off the mat, standing practices on the mat, yoga postures, breathing exercises, balance and flexibility, specifically tailored to address the challenges Parkinson's may pose."

Participants for this class should be able to get up and down from the floor safely without assistance.

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What is SANGHA's overall mission?

"To provide a welcoming, inclusive, affordable and and accessible safe space that supports the diverse community in New Bedford, with embodied experimental practices in yoga, meditation, movement and the healing arts," Winterhalter said. "Thank you to all the people of this area for your support over the last three decades."

For more information, call (508) 990-0178,or email nanciwinterhalter@gmail.com or jeff@sanghanewbedford.com.

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