yogi of the month

Bob and I first met when a temporary housemate of his whom I had been casually dating invited me over to see the house. Bob was painting the ceiling of his sunroom, I recall. There was an immediate attraction. Bob recalls that I was wearing tight yoga pants—I don’t remember that!

When it comes to keeping our love alive, there is no magic. We work at it. We are very different people who are committed to our life together. We have both grown from each other’s interests, strengths, and weaknesses. As a couple, we share some very basic values: honesty, trust, work ethic, a desire to keep learning and experiencing new things, and an appreciation of friends.

Yoga is one of those things that has been an important part of my life for many years, but it has become part of Bob’s life only recently. Most importantly, it is yet another thing we have in common and can experience together; the practice has rounded out our rough edges.

When I lived in NYC in the 70s I became aware of yoga because it was a big “new” thing. That was it for me! The physical aspect of yoga was appealing to me because it was something that I could actually do despite not being particularly athletic. But the biggest attraction was the spiritual, holistic aspect of yoga philosophy.

Without yoga, I believe I would be even more physically compromised than I am. Since I have developed severe scoliosis over the last 20 years, it is yoga that keeps me flexible, helps me manage pain, and keeps my attitude positive. Without yoga I am simply not the same person. Bob keeps coming back to the practice with me for the sense of tranquility and the realization that he is more in tune with his body. He enjoys the physicality of course, but also that the practice allows time for inner reflections. The mindfulness involved in the practice was an unexpected insight. It’s unlike any other activity. I have learned that I am capable of more than I thought.

There are days when I just don’t think I can do it. Or when I get so busy, I don’t make room for my practice. Sometimes I feel inadequate because I can’t do “what the other kids” are doing. Then I tell myself: That’s ok. I will do what I can. Bob’s biggest challenge is sitting with his legs crossed.

My favorite part of the practice is that what I learn about myself in my yoga practice is directly applicable to every aspect of my life. It is “life practice.” Bob’s favorite part is savasana. Ha ha.

Now that I am retired from a business career, I spend my time on what I love: music—particularly working with the Charlotte Symphony—theatre, travel, and time with friends. Bob spends a lot of time with various volunteer groups. He works with Master Gardeners & Green Thumbs as well as with Team Punta Gorda, the boating team.

For people who are just starting out in yoga, I recommend that you find a teacher you are comfortable with. Don’t worry about what you think you can’t do. Listen to what your body is telling you. Really embrace the lessons of yoga that will change your life: breathe, begin to let go of the chatter in your mind, breathe, understand that there is nothing but now, and, oh yes, breathe. Bob recommends that you go to The Yoga Sanctuary or find a studio that is as close to that quality as possibly. And know that it’s okay to acknowledge a thought and then let it go.