HAMPTON — With an 80th birthday on Friday, Sept. 25, Tom Quinlan maintains his upbeat personality, and thanks to yoga, he’s centered and fit, a message he’d like shared with others.
“I can’t imagine a better birthday gift for my father than to know he’s sending a message to other seniors about the benefits of yoga, especially in these challenging times,” said daughter Lissa Quinlan, who contacted the Hampton Union about this story.
Quinlan and his wife, Tricia, are long-time residents of Boar’s Head and together make a dynamic couple. For decades, Quinlan ran his own business, one he sold only a few years ago. Even in retirement, anyone who’s ever met Quinlan immediately recognizes a significant life force.
“His laugh is infectious,” said Teresa Quinn, Quinlan’s yoga instructor at Ride the Wave studio at Seabrook Beach. “No matter his age, Tom’s a vibrant and intelligent guy who’s into consistent yoga practice.”
During the pandemic, when exercise options all but dried up and older adults found themselves secluded at home for days on end, Lissa Quinlan believes yoga helped her parents.
“My dad got into yoga a few years ago, my mom too,” she said. “He became so calm, and centered and relaxed, he’s become a new person.”
Quinn said yoga can help in that way, especially if practiced regularly. The Quinlans, she said, started with her a few years ago at a former yoga studio on Rye. They moved with her to Ride the Wave when Melinda Scrivano Fuller and Rebecca MacDougall opened the fitness salon at the Seabrook Beach Village District’s precinct building at 210 Ocean Blvd.
Quinlan previously engaged in amateur sports like running and triathlons, Quinn said, which caused some old injuries. Yoga helped with that, she said, and keeps him actively engaged.
“Tom’s done quite a bit of yoga and it’s helped him heal some of those injuries,” Quinn said. “He’s come such a long way. He’s really learned to focus and it’s calmed his mind.”
Tom and Tricia Quinlan take classes three times a week there, Quinn said, and Tom also takes private lessons. During the pandemic, private sessions helped many who wanted to maintain their regiment without mixing with too many people.
Since the worst phase of infection passed, exercise studios have been able to reopen, while adhering to regulations. Ride the Wave opened June 1, according to Fuller, and the studio’s location helps provide a safe setting.
Ride the Wave offers its clients a choice. There are outdoor programs both on the studio’s back deck beside Seabrook Harbor and at the beach itself. There are indoor classes, Fuller said, but the groups are small to allow for people to be the correct social distance apart. Most bring their own yoga mats, but clean mats are available for beginners.
For example, Quinn said, when working with a small group inside, she opens the windows at the salon and runs fans to keep the air fresh and moving, everyone wears a mask and she sanitizes everything both before each of her indoor classes begin and after they end.
“I mean everything, the floor, doorknobs, light switches, mats, toilets, everything,” she said.
Fuller said the pandemic was hard on many, but in particular the older segment of the population who were encouraged to be cautious due to their vulnerability to the potentially fatal new coronavirus.
Yoga can also be practiced virtually for those who’d like to remain home a bit longer, said Quinn, who has nine years as a yoga instructor and trainer. Those wishing to get on board with Ride the Wave’s virtual classes can do so by downloading the “Mind and Body” app, she said, and take her “gentle yoga” classes at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday.
“People, especially senior (citizens), have been so isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lissa Quinlan. “Knowing my father’s given people his age hope is the best gift he could receive for his birthday.”