By Katharine Raczkowski
My yoga student Kris and I are both aircraft mechanics, building planes for an aerospace company. I am also a Svaroopa® yoga teacher.
Spring 2020, I noticed Kris wasn’t breathing. That is, he was hunched over his workbench, and his belly didn’t move. One day, I lightheartedly asked, “Are you breathing? Do you have room for your lungs?” Later he responded, “You asked me if I was breathing. So I sort of wondered about that.”
Kris had noticed that when work required standing, I stood with my feet side by side and parallel. When he asked me generally what I did, I asked, “Can I show you something?” I taught him Slow Motion Dive and Crook’t Leg in the Chair and later showed him Tadasana. I was amazed at how quickly Kris’s spine elongated. Right away, he had to adjust his car seat as well as rearview and side mirrors.
In September 2020, a fall down a flight of stairs seriously injured my hips. I had to use two hiking sticks to walk. Fortunately, my Embodyment® therapist is close to my work. So I could conveniently have sessions before starting the second-shift. When I would arrive for work, Kris noticed I was no longer using the hiking sticks nor limping. “You don’t look at all like you’ve fallen!” This was the big kick for Kris to schedule a class at his home for himself and his wife. Plus, since Embodyment® healed my hips, I canceled the hip surgery my doctor had recommended.
Early 2021, Kris had another class. He learned some Foundations poses and Ujjayi Pranayama to do at home. In October 2021, I enrolled in Foundations Review, YTT 1 and Embodyment® training. After that Ashram immersion, I returned home in a whole different place. Kris scheduled a private class in December.
Now he is working through YTT 1 poses in his home practice. Before Svaroopa® yoga, Kris couldn’t raise his shoulders much and one arm only 30 degrees. He no longer protects that arm now, and his joints move together fluidly. Last week he asked to review Seated Side Stretch. He explained, “I just love the movement. It feels great. But there are a lot of steps.”
Early on, I measured his height at 5’8”; it’s now 6’1”. His blood pressure came down 20 points in 6 months; medication is no longer needed. He gave up snacks and went from 220 to 175 pounds.
In a session, he released traumatic memories. His level of worry and “spinning” has decreased, a change evident to his wife and daughter. He used to write about his spinning. Now he’s writing a children’s book about dragons learning how to use their fire appropriately. He is excited about moving forward and dropping his past.