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What's Your Yoga Story?

I've been teaching fitness classes since I was 18. I started at Apollo Diana Health Spa, in Hagerstown, MD, owned by 1969 Mr. America and Sr. Mr. America. That was another lifetime ago. Jane Fonda hadn't hit the fitness scene yet, but she was just over the horizon. I had about 16 years of fitness training and classes behind me when I took another instructor's yoga class in Chambersburg, PA. She was great, still the class was not for me. So, knowing I needed more flexibility, I started learning for myself and became an instructor. I taught at fitness centers, gated communities and senior centers. I loved it. I traveled all over the area and met lots of wonderful people.

That was the beginning of a lifetime of sharing yoga, as I like to say, yoga for the masses. I began teaching people like myself who were more interested in the opportunity to feel better, move better, and slow down the aging process through a fitness practice that embraced our bodies rather than beating them up.

What's Your Milestone?

I wasn't super flexible. I had dealt with pain since I was about 9 or 10 from a fall down the stairs. That pain is what motivated me to continue my yoga. I found lots of relief from pain while teaching Aqua Kickboxing. The water has wonderful healing properties. I've always wanted to teach Aquatic Yoga, and did a few classes, but never really dove into the idea, pun intended, ugh.

My milestone came about 3 years in when I felt I could finally, with ease, touch my toes, and hang in the rag doll, or standing forward fold, Uttanasana, without straining. When I began I was hanging with my hands at about my knees. I was in my 30's then, not young, not older. Still let me say, that we can increase our flexibility and range of motion, at every age. Don't count yourself out.

Another milestone for me was the return to fitness after each of my surgeries. One surgery was my cervical spine, and the other my lumbar-sacral

spine. After each surgery my physician encouraged me to continue teaching my yoga, while cautioning me to wait and slowly return to my dance fitness and weight training classes. He reminded me that as I taught my classes I was realigning my spine. The practice allowed me to continue my work, and treat my body properly for the best healing I could enjoy. Those are two significant happenings as I practiced yoga over the years. What are your milestones?

What's Your Intention?

As I look forward to the years ahead, I hope to continue the practice of slowing down the aging process, continue building my strength, conditioning my muscles and see more flexibility. I intend to care for my spine for a healthy strong back, to avoid another surgery. This means some positions are contraindicated for me. That's okay, because others are out there waiting for me to conquer them. I hope to meet that challenge of more strength, more balance and more flexibility rather than the steady decline aging can bring to a body at rest.

For me yoga is a wonderful way to work with my body, rather than against it. My intention is to continue adding new postures, more challenging postures, that enhance rather than hurt me. How about you? Share your story with me and others. It's encouraging. Often it's inspiring and enlightening. Too often we hold ourselves back and we see what others are doing and it inspires us. Also sharing your intentions publicly will help you be accountable and stick to your plan. I hope to be inspired by you.

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