I was born and raised in Wheaton, IL as a fifth generation Irish Catholic. My mother still lives there. I have two brothers and a wonderful husband of 36 years, Paul. I unexpectedly retired from the telecommunication industry after 32 years of service due to multiple sclerosis (MS).
I started practicing yoga in the early 80s to relieve job stress and the tolls of everyday life in the fast lane. I was really looking for a way to clear my mental “sludge.” I practice yoga daily albeit not an entire segment at a time due to some physical constraints.
I have been taking private lessons at The Yoga Sanctuary for six years. I first studied under Bonnie and then ultimately with Jennifer. They are both so totally amazing and provide a non-structured practice with me weekly depending upon the condition of my MS at the time. They both think quickly on their feet, and we always have an interesting practice as a result.
Before I started practicing yoga, I could never shut off my mind while climbing the corporate ladder. I learned how to breathe and meditate to calm myself while increasing my overall flexibility and mobility. I was an athlete growing up, so yoga seemed like a natural progression into the adult, meditative, heal “thyself” world.
For me today, my greatest yoga benefit is the ability to learn how to move and manage my MS spasticity and pain. Jennifer and Bonnie have shown me how to do this successfully. I honestly feel that I would not be able to manage my disease as naturally as I do without using yoga in my daily life. It not only improves my movement issues, but greatly calms my mind as well. When my father was losing his battle with Alzheimer’s, yoga was the only thing, along with my faith, that got me calmly and emotionally through that time.
Of course, I continue to face daily challenges with my MS. However, continuing my yoga journey is a large, satisfying challenge too. I feel exhilarated when I am able to accomplish new and/or difficult moves. Jennifer will tell you that I am always concerned with my posture correctness! Probably my biggest challenge is working with my new service dog, Crystal. She comes to my private lessons and helps me to move around and keeps a watchful eye on my yogi so she doesn’t hurt me!
Yoga inspires me and makes me appreciate my level of wellness. I could not accomplish this journey or have come so far without Bonnie, Jennifer, and Anna. I thank them all and love them dearly.
Outside of yoga, I am very active in non-profit fundraising in the community. I am an MS mentor for several organizations and doctors. I also support the fundraising and training of New Horizon Service Dogs.
My favorite pose is Downward Facing Dog. I love it because my dog Crystal does it so well and I cannot!
Favorite quote: “Try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.” —Maya Angelou