Hi Yogis! Welcome to our April Yogi Spotlight, organized and written by the fabulous Kathleen Reynolds! Today’s feature yogis are Jody + Cindy, two yogis who have been with us since our very early days! Learn more about Jody + Cindy and their wonderful practices in their own words below!
Meet Jody Krieger:
I was a true beginner when I walked through the doors of Allay Yoga in October of 2011; I did not know one single yoga position. Not even down dog. I spent that first month or two looking around the room mimicking others. I was such a novice in that first class, that when Pam told us to lower ourselves down to our belly from the plank position, I chuckled to myself thinking “You want me to do what?!?” Little did I know that this was the basis for so much of what we do in yoga.
The other position I remember so clearly from that first class was savasana. Not because I was thankful that I had survived a class where my body had been asked to do things I don’t think it had ever done before and now I could go home and have a glass of wine, but because I was thinking to myself (I thought to myself a lot in those first classes) “Okay, I’ve rested long enough, time to get up. Why are we still lying here? Let’s go. Time to leave.”
I read somewhere that for some savasana is one of the hardest positions. It certainly was for me. I’m impatient. I’m ready to move on to the next thing. Quieting my mind is not something that comes easy to me. It took me many months to love savasana. But I did learn to clear my mind, to lie there and be still, to truly just breathe. Pam’s strong, gentle hands massaging my upper back, neck and head during savasana is one of life’s great pleasures.
A year or so after starting yoga, my daughter was home on her winter break from college, and we were driving on the highway. She asked me why I was driving so slowly (I think I may have been doing the speed limit.) She said her mother always drove fast. It made me think, had my yoga practice affected my driving? Was I learning to slow down; to not be so impatient?
I think we all tell ourselves stories about ourselves. And we come to believe them. For me, in my yoga practice, it was always “I don’t go upside down.” Whenever there was an inversion position, I always modified so I didn’t have to go upside down. But then we started doing downward dog on the wall. I watched the first week. Everyone was laughing trying to do it. It certainly looked like fun, but there was no way I was going upside down. And then the next week came and I decided to try. Everyone was having fun and I wanted to too. Couldn’t do it, but I was partially upside down for a few seconds and I survived. I’m not sure how many weeks it took before I could do the position, certainly over a month of trying, but I kept trying and I kept going upside down.
And now I love ending my practice in supported shoulder stand right before savasana. I just seem to be able to let my body go and relax into my shoulders. Kind of funny that being upside down is now one of my favorite positions.
This morning I was driving behind some really slow cars. I must confess that I yelled out loud to my empty car “Why are we driving so slow people?” I guess it’s time to get back to my yoga practice; I’ve missed the past couple of weeks.
Meet Cindy Frank:
Yoga is power. Power is strength and control, and yoga gives me both. I am not a physically imposing person, but my weekly yoga practice has given me the strength to carry more groceries than I used to, and my abs don’t scream out from boat pose or plank anymore. When one of my daughters was younger and especially frustrated with another person, I would ask her, “Is that person the boss of you? No. That’s right, you are the boss of you.” (I often wondered why none of my daughters ever said to me, when I asked them to do something, “You are not the boss of me!” So far, that hasn’t happened.) My yoga practice, and weekly class with Pam or Marisa reminds me now that I am the boss of me, and that is enough control for my life. This was especially true when I sat through certain meetings at work last summer and fall, when my job was in flux. Yoga reminds me to take that breath, straighten my spine, lower my shoulders away from my ears and move forward.
I came to Allay thanks to my friend Jody; about three years ago, she invited me to a beginner class with Pam and that was that. The focus on mindfulness and learning all the basics while listening to what your body wants is so calming. I love the challenge to balance just a little longer, or sink a little deeper. There is also the laughing. Outloud. I mean, really, you want us to raise one foot and eagle arm ourselves while focusing on that spot on the wall opposite and breathe and smile???
Besides the sheer fun and work benefits I get some health payback as well. The nurse who checks my bone density and measures my height announces that I am not shrinking – she tells me women who practice yoga tend not to get shorter as they age. Other benefits include kitchen yoga, which means a forward fold, a halfway lift to step back plank while waiting for the tea water to boil; also dancing around the house yoga to whatever is on the radio (Tay Swift included), and focused breathing during those moments when everyone around me is trying to get a word in, or pout and be cranky. There is no shame in tuning others out while you focus on your breath.
So Jody, thanks for inviting me, and Pam, Marisa, Kathleen, Nicole and all my class mates, thanks for sharing your practice!