Yogi Spotlight: Michael Thoryn

Hi Yogis! Welcome to our May Yogi Spotlight, organized and written by the fabulous Kathleen Reynolds! Today’s feature yogi is Michael, one of our very loyal daytime students :). Read about Michael and his wonderful practice in his own words below!


1. Tell us about your yoga experience.  When and why did you start your practice?  How has it changed since you started?  

For reasons lost to memory, I did some yoga in my 20s at a Jewish Community Center near Detroit. I remember falling asleep in the “corpse” position at the end of a class and the instructor giving me a gentle kick to wake me up.

Regular fitness center workouts during the past twenty plus years had many un-credited yoga positions so trying a real yoga class in retirement seemed natural. A four-week short course of beginning yoga at my church gave me confidence. So shortly after I retired in December 2012, I researched local studios and found Allay. My first class was gentle yoga. Pam advised me that I was capable enough for Open Flow classes . . . yes, I can, mostly.

2. What are some of your favorite poses (or other parts of your yoga practice) and why?  

I’ve talked to people who stay away from yoga because they know they won’t do it well or won’t like how they look while doing it. I tell them they should give it a try. I’m not afraid to fail while doing the best I can. I am definitely better at balance poses (very important as we age) and my flexibility has gone from horrible to pretty good.

3. Tell us a little about yourself outside the yoga studio.  What do you do in between yoga classes? 🙂  All other wonderful stuff you want to share — family, work, life!

I retired after a career as a communicator/writer/editor at newspapers, a trade group, a magazine, and two federal agencies. The best ten years were spent as the speechwriter for the Administrator at the Federal Highway Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. I’m married to Pat Phillips, a retired physical therapist. We have two healthy, happy grown children, one son-in-law, and two grandchildren. All live near Boston – we visit often. I’m a board member at my church, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist in Bethesda, and make time to travel. Since retirement, our most adventuresome trips were to South American and China.

4. What influence does your yoga practice have on your life “beyond the mat”?  How is your practice a meaningful part of your life?

I love how each class keeps me in the here and now. I listen to my instructor and try to move with the mostly-mellow music. I’ve incorporated yoga moves into my home workouts.

What do you love about practicing at Allay?  What are some of your favorite classes and why?

A long-retired friend advised me to never go grocery shopping on weekends, if you can avoid it. It’s too crowded, she said. I took that advice to heart. My regular time at Allay is noon, usually on Tuesday. I enjoy the small cheery studio, the excellent teachers, and the short drive to reach your door.