Scott and Jeanie Lee were high school sweethearts and have been happily married for 29 years. They grew up in Sylvania, Ohio and have lived throughout the United States in Michigan, Texas, Alaska, and Kentucky, and they now travel the eastern coastal states as full-time cruisers on their sailboat. Scott pursued a career in computer programing with his final job as the database administrator at St. Clair Medical Center in Morehead, KY. Jeanie made a career as a trombone performer and teacher, most recently as a professor of music at Morehead State University and trombonist with the West Virginia Symphony.
In 2008 they retired from their jobs, sold their house, and decided to live and travel aboard their 42’ sailboat Joie de Vivre (Joy of Living). Sailboat life certainly required vast changes in their lives by downsizing their belongings and learning how to do without some of the conveniences that we all take for granted (long hot showers and constant Wi-Fi access, for example). But at the same time sailboat life allowed them the freedom to travel and taught them to slow down to appreciate life and each other more. It was well worth the swap!
We started yoga in 2003 in our mid-30’s while living in Kentucky. Our first yoga instructor, Susan Thomas, started the class in the basement of a church as a benefit for the local food pantry. Entry to the class was a food donation. Susan was a fantastic instructor and really gave both of us a sound foundation to start our yoga practice. Scott started the classes first as a way to gain flexibility and upper body strength to improve his cycling. Jeanie soon followed too see what the classes were all about and learned that the flexibility and stress relief were both beneficial to her trombone playing.
Our practice varies a lot depending on how much we are travelling. As soon as we get settled into a new area, we like to find a yoga studio to attend three to four classes per week. Sometimes it is difficult to find the motivation to practice on our own so we are always happy to discover an active yoga community. We’ve practiced yoga in recreation centers, park pavilions, amphitheaters, soccer fields, city waterfronts, on the deck of our boat, and even on beaches in the Bahamas.
Here at The Yoga Sanctuary, we most often attend the Mixed Level and Level II classes. In our travels we’ve been privileged to study under many great teachers. We are very thankful to now include Jennifer in that list!
Before doing yoga, Scott had noticed that his flexibility had deteriorated over the years. After gaining some experience with yoga, the flexibility improved, but he was also very pleasantly surprised to see noticeable improvements in his strength and balance—areas that he had not even been aware were weakening as he grew older. As a trombonist, Jeanie often had back and arm pain from the long hours of practicing and performing. She didn’t specifically try to use yoga to “fix” these problems, but after weeks and months she noticed that yoga poses gradually became less painful as she gained flexibility, and this transferred to her musical activities as well.
Yoga has been beneficial for us in mind, body, and spirit. These words might sound cliché, but there is great truth in them. We both notice a profound negative effect when our yoga practice gets interrupted by our travels and always eagerly return to classes when the opportunity arises again.
For Scott, his newfound increase in flexibility and strength has allowed him to tackle the physical challenges found on a sailboat without as much danger of injuring himself. For Jeanie, the greatest unexpected benefit has been the stress relief that comes from yoga. The calmness that is gained in class carries throughout the day and allows her to face unexpected challenges without the anxiety or stress that might normally accompany them. This might be called a “marriage-saver” benefit.
As life happens, it seem that one or both of us often has some new physical issue to deal with, more often than not it is a pulled muscle or injury doing everyday sailboat activities when we haven’t been practicing yoga regularly. The tough lesson that we keep re-learning is to keep the practice going.
We both enjoy sailing, cycling, hiking, and camping. Just this summer we were introduced to pickleball by some of our sailing friends, and we now have a new favorite pastime to add to the list.
Scott prefers the extended side-angle pose because it offers a challenge, and he seeks constant growth through yoga. Jeanie enjoys the triangle pose. It allows her to feel the stretch and energy moving in all directions through all of her limbs at once and seems to embody all that yoga is about.
We both keep coming back to yoga to maintain our strength and flexibility so that we can continue our current lifestyle. Sailing is often long periods of non-activity interrupted by intense physical activity, and yoga keeps the body in tune for these sudden shifts.
Scott – “Not all who wander are lost.” ―J.R.R. Tolkein
Jeanie – “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” ―William Shakespeare