By Carol Grigson
Interviewed by Marlene (Matrikaa) Gast, Yogaratna
During the pandemic, I took some online Svaroopa® yoga classes through Downingtown Yoga & Meditation Center. But I really prefer in person classes at DYMC. I get more out of them. In person, I know my teacher can clearly see my pose angles. If realignment is needed, she will give me hands-on assistance, a pose modification or extra blankets. My DYMC teachers take care of me!
Plus, I appreciate the camaraderie that develops in an in-person yoga class. We’re all from different backgrounds and know one another only by first names. Yet a spiritual element, a bond emerges as we all release spinal tension together. Class is always a positive experience. In this day and age, that’s worth a lot. I can arrive nervous about things and leave feeling terrific — calm. And after my Monday evening class, I sleep really well.
Nothing succeeds like success. Because of the way I feel afterward, I continue with this yoga. Friends who see its effects in me are inspired to try it too. From a friend who joined me for a class recently, I heard “You’re right. I slept really well!” I had encouraged her to speak up in class if she needed any help. She did so when her hip was hurting. Our teacher provided extra propping. At the end of the class, my friend couldn’t believe how good she felt.
Four years ago, I began yoga at DYMC at age 76. My first class was in response to a postcard invitation. Addressed to my deceased husband, it was for a free class. With 20 years of caregiving completed, I was poised to start my life anew. It was time for me to explore and figure out who I am and where I’m going. The yoga has become a doorway.
A longtime dream was to climb Machu Picchu. My teacher emphasized regular Ujjayi breathing practice. She promised that consistency with it and other Svaroopa® yoga practices would be the key. Ujjayi breathing got me through a day-and-a-half flight that should have been only seven hours. I realized my dream of trekking the site of that ancient civilization at high altitude.
I now take two DYMC classes weekly and just completed 10 weeks of yoga therapy. Last year I required back surgery to address discs pressing on nerves in my spinal column. The surgery was successful, and after yoga therapy I can walk without pain. And more — I feel newly invigorated.
My daily home practice comprises 20 minutes of Ujjayi plus 20 minutes of spinal release poses. If I’ve had a stressful day, I feel that I’m starting over after this 40-minute practice. I have new energy, a clearer head and greater insight. I am so grateful to have shown up at DYMC.