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KATHLEEN'S STORY

I started learning Hatha Yoga at a time when I thought I was getting older and wanted to stay young: I was only 30 years old. That Christmas Day 1976 B.K.S. Iyengar delivered an address to the International Yoga Teachers Association meeting in India. Now, my truly older self is much stronger, flexible, balanced. With yoga as our "teacher", I want to help other older adults to find better health than they ever expected to have … I have!

Overall, I have come to see how our physical characteristics and shapes mirror what goes on mentally and emotionally, as well as in/on the body. Whether we know it or not, the habits of a lifetime are still with us. Just as we learned to walk, or toddle, learning to balance in defiance of gravity at age one or two years old, watching our parents and others & imitating their stance and gait, this is still going on. When I was very young, say around 7, my father recognized in me a rhythmic ability & from that age & for about the next 7 years, I took dance instruction in all its forms. I loved it, although I was very shy and did not like "performing" as we did every year giving a dance recital for our parents. What I did not understand at the time, however, that I eventually did develop because of the practice of yoga, was good posture and the missing self confidence that made my shyness show on the outside. It was my dance teacher in San Mateo, California that first introduced to our acrobatics class the wonder of yoga stretching... I was only 11 years old and I still relish the memory of that first feeling of what yoga can be.

When I turned 30 years of age, looking for a way to stay youthful, my friend from age 9, Gina & I began a search for some form of exercise that we liked enough to stick with. My dance training as a kid did not have much kick left in it, so after we'd taken a number of classes in modern dance, ballet, folk dancing, etc., we stumbled upon a yoga class with a young man who had just returned from an extended stay in India. He & many others from the West Coast had discovered the genius of B.K.S. Iyengar who was revolutionizing the practice of Hatha Yoga from the university town of Pune. Bill M, our teacher, was a carpenter by trade & was making some of the wooden props that are used in Iyengar-style yoga and he & others in San Francisco like Judith Lasater, Manuso Manos and Richard Rosen were beginning to publish the YOGA JOURNAL under the auspices of the CYTA (California Yoga Teachers Association). That would have been around 1976 or so and I had just begun a business career after having graduated from the University of California at Davis with a BA in French, wanting to go into international business. I remember how my yoga teacher, Bill M, had spoken of his disenchantment with the politics of the yoga community & the business of yoga, but never did I imagine that after 20 years of my own successful business career that I would drop out of that stream and enter into teaching yoga as a means of making a living and serving as a restorative to my soul.

Restorative yoga: what does that mean? When I began to understand my own body I learned that there were clinical names for the type of spinal misalignments that I was "laboring" under scoliosis, lordosis, and kyphosis … the last two commonly known as "swayback" and "dowager's hump". Restoring the spine to its natural alignment and extension was a process that began with just using the wall as a prop to assist me in standing up. Yoga poses and breathing done with folded blankets under my neck & spine allowed me to open the stiff areas of my shoulders & upper back helped release the "dowager's hump". Hip & legwork done with a chair underneath me began to release the "swayback".

My business career involved a lot of desk work and air travel and the pains I had been developing from too much sitting and slouching had become impossible to ignore. I was also needing the restorative of a spiritual sort. Being in the business world exposes one to so much compromise that is "part of doing business", or so one is told. All the years from 1982, when I came to live on the east coast until 1990, my business career took precedence and I enjoyed it, but the yoga that I had learned in San Francisco stayed with me in the form of the book LIGHT ON YOGA written by B.K.S. Iyengar around 1966. His concise overview in the Introduction provides a foundation as to how to practice the 8 limbs of yoga. I was unable to locate a teacher until 1994 or so when I started studying in Philadelphia with Joan White.
 Never mind what the business world offered in terms of stability & financial security, in 1990 I had decided to quit the business career and to devote myself to the study, practice, and commitment to the twin sisters of Vedic Philosophy, yoga, and astrology (Jyotish), and by association ayurvedic medicine. I will be a lifelong student of these, but I owe an incredible debt to B.K.S. Iyengar and his personally trained teachers who keep the lineage of his teacher T. Krishnamacharya of Mysore, India, alive and thriving. I was able to open my small yoga studio in Wilmington Delaware, the Very Near Yoga Studio, in 1998 and I am constantly supported by many devoted practitioners who come year after year to pursue with me this amazing Iyengar style of learning the science of mind and body called yoga.

There's more to this autobiography than I can possibly write, but, stay tuned, for the riding of the wave of this lifetime.
Address

Very Near Yoga Studio
Gilpin Place Apartment Bldg.
1301 Gilpin Avenue, Ground Floor
Corner of Gilpin & Franklin
Wilmington, DE 19806

Contacts

Email:  yoga1301@gmail.com

Phone: 302-981-0777