Thoughts from a Novice Yogi (part 1)

Thoughts from a Novice Yogi (part 1)

Thoughts from a Novice Yogi (part 1)

This post came from Ted, one of our newer students.  He showed up one day, got his free week pass and he has been with us every day since then.  Ted’s words tell his story so well.  There are three parts and we’ll post a section each Monday.  We thank you Ted for trusting us and for giving us this blog to share.

How Did I Get Here from There?

Having recently attended my 30th yoga class—the 30th Yoga class of my entire life, I should add—at Greenville Yoga, I thought I would share some thoughts about the experience and what my new practice has meant to me. (I will allow ego to intrude a little here and say that I am proud these 30 classes were attended on 30 consecutive weekdays, which was over the brief period of six weeks: I took up Yoga with passion and perseverance.)

First, let me say just a little about who I am (though I hasten to add I do not view myself, most days, as simply the sum of my infirmities). I am a 63-year-old American man, obese, with a history of high blood pressure that is fairly well controlled with medication. I have lived an almost entirely sedentary life for the last decade or so. My right shoulder was injured long ago, and I have pain and restricted movement on that side. I also suffer from mild arthritis in my knees and hands, and am prone to attacks of sciatica. Poor me! Immediately before the seemingly random events that led me to Greenville Yoga, I was entertaining the thought that I had let myself go so very far towards decrepitude, and was so tired and depressed, that I would never have the will to bring myself back to health. I was looking forward to a gradual decline into probable alcoholism and an early death or (worse, in my mind) disability due to stroke, heart attack, diabetes or any of the other myriad illnesses to which those in my sad state of repair are susceptible.

I’d pretty much given up, and was facing the long slide down.

And then, one day like any other, I was sitting at one of my favorite restaurants, drinking iced tea and talking to close friends and to the waitress/bartender, also a good friend. A couple none of us knew then approached and we all struck up a conversation. This wonderful discussion covered many topics, from food (she is an author and was writing an article on local restaurants) to politics to local history, and on and on.

While talking to our waitress/bartender, Elizabeth (for that is the name of the lady in the couple; he is called Dean) learned that our waitress had studied dance, and taught dance still, but did not perform due to specific physical limitations, which she outlined to Elizabeth. Elizabeth then strongly suggested Iyengar Yoga as a means of realigning and healing her dancer’s body, and revealed that she had long been an instructor of Iyengar-Style Yoga in New Jersey, and had personal experience with the healing possible in a Yoga practice. She offered to send some introductory DVD’s for our dancer, and suggested she try to find an Iyengar instructor in the area. After a few hours of delightful conversation, and after exchanging contact information, Dean and Elizabeth left to return up north.

While we waited for the DVD’s to arrive, I did a Google search for Iyengar Yoga. Although there were numerous hits for Yoga in the area, from Hot Yoga to YMCA classes, the only mention of Iyengar, specifically, was at Greenville Yoga, so I checked out their site.

One of the instructors was trained in Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar’s methodology, his “genre” of Yoga, and she offered classes in “Restorative Yoga” (now called Therapeutic Yoga). I thought this sounded right for our dancer, but decided to check it out before I recommended it to her.

I showed up at the class one Wednesday morning, met Janice, and explained my physical condition (though much of what I described was plain to see). She told me to grab a mat, strap, two blankets and two blocks, and to proceed to the studio. After the class, I felt a sense of calm and energy that I had not experienced in years. I checked the studio schedule and, the next morning I went to Liz’s Mindful Flow class. This was more physically challenging, but its concentration on breathing and centering of the mind made it all the more calming and energizing. I also noticed that the sciatica I had been dealing with had evaporated.

Since then, I have alternated between Janice and Liz every weekday and, on week-ends, I look forward to returning to class every Monday.

Namaste/”The Spirit In Me Acknowledges The Spirit In You”

Ted Balk

September 5, 2012

(part 2 coming next Monday)


Aaron Norris