yogi of the month

I was born in California and raised in a military family, the oldest of three kids. My father was an officer in the Air Force, and we had the great experiences of traveling and living throughout the United States and Europe. I moved to Punta Gorda 14 years ago with my two children, Maggie and Ryan, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, looking for a new adventure. Being the older, bossy sister that I am, I persuaded my two younger brothers to join us in Florida. My parents are still in Albuquerque, for the time being, until I can hopefully persuade them to move here also. So if I had to call a place other than Punta Gorda my home, Albuquerque would be it. I met my husband Douglas through work many years ago and in March we celebrated six happy years of marriage. He also has two boys, so our house has been very loud at times when everyone is at home.


I first tried yoga at the PGI Civic Association when I moved to Punta Gorda, but I never had a consistent practice until I came to The Yoga Sanctuary three years ago. Working as a salon owner and hair stylist, I have a very physical job being on my feet most of the day working with clients. I feel yoga is a great way to balance the physical and mental aspects of my career.


I don’t have the discipline to do yoga on my own, so I try to make it to The Yoga Sanctuary for classes at least three times a week, sometimes more if my work schedule allows it. I think I have tried all the classes at The Yoga Sanctuary at one time or another, but I am an early bird and really enjoy the Sunrise Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. It is a great way to start the day with the sun just rising in the quiet of the morning.


When I first came to the Yoga Sanctuary, I had just been diagnosed with rather painful arthritis in my hips, most likely from the years of working on my feet. Trying to not be dependent on medication to ease the discomfort, I went to physical therapy and then continued my “therapy” with yoga.


Some of the greatest benefits of practicing yoga are, first, the obvious physical ones: strength, flexibility, and ease of discomfort in my joints. The benefits continue with the not-so-obvious-from-the-outside ones: a sense of calmness and less whirring of activity in my brain, especially when we do alternate nostril breathing. That is really cool.


Yoga has changed my health and life by giving me a sense of wholeness. I enjoy the physical challenges, the quiet atmosphere, and the strength my body has gained. I have also lost over 20 pounds these past three years In part to being more mindful of what my body needs (or doesn’t need). If my dinner choice involves a drive-thru, it’s probably not the best for my body!


Some of the challenges I face are just part of being human. I need a push once in a while when I get complacent. I try not to compare, and I am getting better at that. I like that The Yoga Sanctuary doesn’t have mirrors. When my husband and I went on a cruise last year and I took a yoga class in the mirrored gym, I saw what my mirrored-self looked like vs. the mental image of myself. Ha-ha! I just had to laugh at my thinking and I’m going to try and stay focused on the mental image of my true self! Also, being focused and staying in the moment can be a big challenge for me—making my grocery list while resting in Savasana is not ideal. It is progress, not perfection, though.


My favorite place right now outside of the Yoga Sanctuary is being at home on our mini farm. This year we have raised a dozen chicks that are now sharing with us their fresh eggs. We also have six Nigerian dwarf goats with one mama goat that possibly has babies on the way. This is in addition to our three dogs and one hamster. I really enjoy sitting outside, being surrounded by these creatures and feeding them by hand. All of the animals have names and are like pets to us. When I am surrounded by this beauty, I have the greatest sense peace with the world and myself.


Some of my favorite poses, because I don’t have just one, are wide-legged forward folds because they feel so good in stretching my lower back, and I also like Pigeon Pose. I remember the first time I really got into Pigeon Pose, it was such an emotional release for me; tears ran down my face. It just seems to squeeze out the bad stuff in my body, both physically and emotionally. And of course, I really like Savasana!


What keeps me coming back to yoga is the routine that I am comfortable with and the not knowing what to expect when I get there. All of the teachers are amazing, and each is unique and blessed in the gifts that they have to offer their students and the community. I am continually inspired by the other yogis at The Sanctuary and their personal stories of victory.

Favorite quote: Rule 62, “Don’t take yourself too seriously.”