cathyMy first yoga class was in 2002. I remember one pose in that class, Viparita Karani, known in English as Legs Up the Wall. It struck me as being very relaxing and not at all what I expected. In 2003 I retired and found myself with time to devote to a more fit lifestyle. The convenience of the twice-weekly yoga class that followed the aerobics class I attended at the fitness center helped me meet my goal to integrate a stretching routine into my workout. It soon became apparent that there was more to this yoga discipline, and that Legs Up the Wall was really a meditative, quiet, inward posture for me and not just a nice hamstring stretch.

Two days a week became not enough, so I found Bonnie at the Punta Gorda Club, along with two additional teachers, and drove to town every day for class. At first I was looking for strength and balance training as well as the benefits of stretching. Then I became interested in the philosophy and did some reading. My husband Jim and I travelled to southeast Asia and China, and I became aware of the legends and stories associated with the ancient Hindu traditions. (Listen carefully to those CDs playing while you are in a TYS class.)

Bonnie opened the studio in 2007. I was there on the first day. The program was much different than “health club” yoga. There was Sanskrit, chanting music, and a quiet, inward focus. There were eye pillows during Savasana, bolsters, blocks, and straps—and no clanging weights! I really enjoyed practicing a more structured routine devoid of the chatter, and I realized that I was changing so much that I could give up the aerobics and running. I wanted to do it all, and so I took lots of classes—two each day was not uncommon. My practice at this time was also based on my desire for proficiency in the poses. It took a while to realize that in my late 50s I was never going master Pincha Mayurasana!

Today I come to the studio for the inward time. I struggle with the wandering mind, especially in Savasana. I’ve had a couple of injuries and learned to let my ego go a bit regarding the “perfect” posture. I’m back to some exercising outside of my yoga practice. My teacher training was a turning point for me. Hopefully now I have found more compassion in all of my life, not just on the mat. My greatest lesson is to embrace that we are all doing the best that we can do and to step back and focus on that when I am critical of others. Unfortunately I fall down on that one too, but my goal is to keep coming back to it as a lifestyle mantra.

My Retail Manager duties began in 2010 in preparation for the opening of the current studio location. I have been blessed to be a part of our TYS family and all of our wonderful teachers and students. I sincerely hope that we can provide our clients with a selection of excellent products for each individual’s yoga practice. I welcome the comments and special requests for yoga props, books, and clothing items.

So, as we head into 2015 and my 65th year on the planet I am thankful for being a part of this welcoming, growing, diverse Yoga Sanctuary family. Many blessings to all of you and wishes for good health and happiness ahead.