•  Congratulations, Joe Hunziker!

    First of all I feel quite humbled and honored to have been requested to share my yoga experiences with the devotees of Grace Yoga Studio.

    I took my first yoga class after experiencing a surgery related to my passion for long distance running in December 1987. It was obvious to me that I needed to balance my marathon running with more mindfulness about stretching. I was very fortunate to find a convenient class that was taught by Donna Farhi, who was just beginning her teaching career at that juncture. I now realize how fortunate I was to have been her student for 6 years. Donna at that point was teaching the Hatha/Iyengar style of yoga which afforded me the knowledge of the importance of precise body alignment and that a true yoga practice was much deeper than simply doing (asana) physical poses. Donna has gone on to be world renowned as a yoga practitioner, author and teacher.

    Over the many years that have passed since that introduction, I never forgot that yoga spoke to me and offered an integral inroad to my wellbeing. But life, becoming a Father, work and many other distractions often took precedence over attending class regularly. It was after other events manifested in my life that I returned to the yoga mat with a renewed curiosity and sense of importance in January 2014. That led me to attending my first class at Grace Yoga in January of 2015, and I have attempted to immerse myself in this community of likeminded yoginis since.

    Yoga has blessed me with many benefits other than stretching and being mindful of my body. The biggest being that I choose to slow down, be conscious of my breathing, and attempt to be acceptant of where I am at that moment, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    "Slowing down is the precursor to Yoga practice because this simple act allows us to consider our thoughts, feelings and actions more carefully in the light of our desire to live peacefully. Coming home to the body through asana practice can be a joyous reunion. As the discursive mind moves into the shadows of consciousness, the body is allowed to speak its mind. As a result of these newfound insights we may decide to make changes in our life."  --Donna Farhi, "Bringing Yoga to Life"

    I wish that I could inspire others to commit to yoga, yet I have already mentioned that as much as I have known the benefits, I also get busy, sidetracked and FORGET. Hence it has taken me 27 years to once again make the personal choice to strive to make YOGA a key element in my life, to get to class and begin a fledgling home practice.

    I love that the theme this month is GRATITUDE, in that is an emotion of which I feel is so important to peace of mind, a positive attitude and faith in this journey of life. I strive to live my life that all who come in contact with me will hopefully feel better for it.

    "Of all of the qualities that can transform a life practice, gratitude and faith stand supreme. I have access to spiritual teachings, teachers, fellow students and the time to practice. These are indications of extraordinary good fortune. Recognizing these facts and contemplating their significance is a good way to start the day, helping to erase cynicism, and bringing freshness to each new day."  --Donna Farhi, "Bringing Yoga to Life"

    I will be turning 57 this month, am now single and have a 19 year old daughter in college. I was born and raised in Minnesota and moved to San Francisco in November of 1984. I swim daily and bike a few times a week as substitutes for having given up my running. My career is working with the aged, both in a senior center setting, but more so in a program called Adult Day Care. That program assists individuals with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and the other issues of life aging, receive compassionate care in a community based setting. Allowing the participants to continue to reside in their homes for as long as feasible, and offers needed respite for the primary caregivers to have time to tend to their needs and wellbeing. I got involved in this work due to my Father being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1970 when I was 12 years old. I deal with the realities of aging, physical and mental decline and death on a daily basis. My profession has taught me once again to be very grateful for that which we have.

    I spoke earlier of my past devotion to distance running, and often grew introspective about why? Was I running away from something in my life? It is only in the last few years as my yoga practice has evolved that I have shifted my thinking to that I was most likely running towards a greater understanding of my true self. As I strive to embrace the multifaceted yoga life, spending time on my mat has taken on a deeper meaning, and helps tether me to a sense of connectedness. I truly enjoy becoming a member of the Grace Yoga Studio, the community that it offers, and the opportunity to continue my personal pilgrimage to become a better human being.

    I wish all a meaningful and joyous Thanksgiving Holiday, we are indeed very blessed.

    "When this feeling of gratitude begins to build, it will naturally generate a faith in your practice, the purpose of your life, and your own abilities. Gratitude and faith go together, hand in hand. So before you begin your practice, take a moment to reflect on your exceptional circumstances. In the spirit of this gratefulness, let your practice begin. --Donna Farhi, "Bringing Yoga to Life"