Linda  H

I am a teacher. In May, I will retire after nearly 55 years of teaching secondary and college German classes. I have two sons who were married this past year and now have two granddaughters. I am divorced, but have been in a committed relationship for the last eight years.

I started yoga two years ago at the Yoga Sanctuary. My California son was an enthusiastic practitioner and he encouraged me to enroll in the introductory class at The Yoga Sanctuary because I had been struggling with rheumatoid arthritis. I attempt to attend a class each weekday at the studio, and when I don’t make it, I do some things at home. I am guided mostly by the time of day the class is offered. I prefer the early morning classes and vacillate between Gentle and Yoga I.

Before I began practicing yoga I realized that I was becoming less flexible and active. After two years of practice my arthritis is not as much of an issue. I was able to stop arthritis meds and was told by my rheumatologist recently that I don’t need to return for periodic check-ups as long as my health remains as it currently is. Perhaps the biggest surprise benefit of my practice was gaining an awareness of the physical body. I never really took the time to listen to what it was telling me. I enjoy the quiet peacefulness and the focus on me.

I still find some parts of the practice challenging. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do Tree pose without losing my balance. I dread it when a teacher says that we are going to do that pose, yet I know that I need the practice in order to gain better balance. I tell myself that there are other poses that were once challenging and that now I have come to enjoy—for instance the Downward Facing Dog pose. I find it amazing that my arms struggle to maintain my weight in that pose at the beginning of practice, but by the end of a session I feel like I am floating above my arms. I would have thought that fatigue would set in later in the practice, but I have the opposite experience.

I keep coming back to yoga because of the knowledgeable and helpful instructors, of course. But what really motivates me is the accomplishment of other students—I look around at them and say to myself, “I want some of that.”

Outside of yoga, my favorite pastimes are travel and reading.

My favorite pose is during warm up. I love the Cat/Cow stretching. I can almost hear the unkinking of my spine as it I become unglued.

My favorite quote is a motto that I’ve always subscribed to: “You can do anything that you set your mind to doing.”