"It was my doctor that suggested I take up yoga. He practices yoga himself and said that it would do wonders for my flexibility and that a beginning level of yoga would be sufficient. Fortunately the health club I belonged to at the time had yoga classes as part of the membership. That is where I met Heidi.
When I joined the class, Heidi never hesitated and took me on. At the time I was in rather poor shape, at least as far as flexibility was concerned. I was slightly round-shouldered, had trouble bending over to simply tie my shoes without getting red-faced and out of breath, and my hamstrings were so tight that I couldn't come close to even touching my toes. I would get up in the morning with a backache that took thirty minutes to loosen up. With Heidi's coaching and encouragement, I found yoga to be fun, exhilerating, and a very brisk workout.
After a year-and-a-half of yoga: (1) I no longer experience the morning backaches; (2) I can bend over without getting red-faced and light-headed;(3) my hamstrings have loosened up to the point where not only can I touch my toes, but I can nearly place my hands flat on the floor, a remarkable improvement for me; (4) my breathing has improved; (5) my balance has greatly improved ( to my surprise); (6) my shoulders have straightened, and (7) my yoga sessions have improved to a point where Heidi has suggested that I move up to the next level.
Thanks to Heidi, yoga has been a very positive experience for me. But I would like to add one more experience- when finished with a yoga session, I'm always left with a wonderful feeling of well-being. This was an unexpected benefit of yoga. I am now an avid supporter of yoga and recommend it to all."
Paul Jones, Retired, Age 75 (Yoga student since fall 2005. NOTE: Paul's journey in yoga inspired him to embark on a 200-hour yoga teacher training; he graduated Feb. 2010!)
"The affect of Ashtanga yoga on my life? Well let me count the ways:
It's definitely improved the quality of my life by providing me a means to handle stress. My body is in better shape than it's been in for the last 15 years, and without giving myself shin splints doing aerobics or treadmills. I have more awareness of my muscles and can see the changes that are constantly taking place.
As an asthmatic, yoga has helped me to focus on the breath, giving me more awareness that I am unconsciously holding my breath in some situations. Since my asthma attacks seem to be triggered by stress, the breathing strategies I've learned have enabled me to have some control in this area.
I found that yoga can be done alone or with others, you don't need to wait for a court or tee-off time, and it's amazing how many people do yoga- folks that you would never guess. As for the people I have met through doing this, I would have to quote the old Gaelic phrase 'there are no strangers here, only friends you have not met.'"
MaryFrances Honegger, School Teacher (Yoga student since summer 2006)