My name is Ellen Mackay-Furlong, and I’m a retired labor and delivery nurse. I am a caregiver of my parents, married to a great yogi named Ricki, and have two awesome children, Fraser (who just finished med school) and Joanna (who is finishing up fifth grade). I am also an artist, and enjoy making murals.

I began practicing yoga on June 6, 2011 because of chronic back pain due to five back surgeries. I take the gentle classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as a private class every other week. When I came to yoga, I was hunched over while walking and had no core strength. I was very depressed. I felt stuck!

Now my posture is better, I can reach for things that I couldn’t before, I can sit on the floor, and then get back up. Balance is still a challenge, but my endurance is better-I can hold poses longer, as long as I remember to breathe.

Benefits beyond the physical practice are priceless. I don’t know how this happened, but I feel great love and faith after each session. This has helped me in so many ways. My sister Patty mentioned the other day that she noticed I was more detached, not getting sucked into dramas. Jennifer has given me a meditation practice for home, and music to enjoy. My home practices are pretty wonderful too. My favorite posture is warrior pose. As its name implies, it is very empowering. I really look forward to standing poses.

I keep coming back to yoga because I know that I will be nurtured and challenged by it. I am inspired by my teacher Jennifer, who has guided me through some tough times. Also, the Tibetan bowls and chanting classes were terrific!

My favorite quote:
Be a joyful participant in the sorrows of the world.