Interview with Joyce

YDM: What brought you to Yoga Del Mar?

Joyce: Actually, It was late January or early February (can’t quite remember!) of 2009 when I came for my first class. I saw a coupon – I think in the Carmel Valley News – for a free class. I had been trying some yoga tapes at home for a month or so and quite a while ago tried a little ashtanga yoga for a few months. Also, my sister (she lives in Santa Fe, NM) had just started taking at an Anusara Yoga studio there was was telling me how great it was. I was definitely interested in yoga as a form of exercise, but I was also very interested in yoga as a spiritual path. I had read Stephen Cope’s book “Yoga and the Quest for the True Self” and was really at the beginning of trying to get away from just our “western” perception of yoga as exercise and discover yoga in its fullness. I went to the Anusara website, typed in my zip, and up came YDM! So, there I was, with a free class coupon, encouragement from my sister, a basic love of exercise, and a yearn for spiritual development. Everything just fell in to place. Bet you wished you hadn’t asked!!!

YDM: Not at all! I love how everything came together so perfectly for you. How has practicing yoga changed your life?

Joyce: Wow, in so many ways!!! It has been and will continue to be a great journey! From a physical standpoint, it has been great. Exercise has always been a great stress reducer for me. It took a long while, but I finally got my flexibility back (I used to take LOTS of ballet classes). I think the best thing is how improvement comes in little steps, sometimes in an imperceptible way, but all of a sudden I will realize that I am doing something that I couldn’t do before (even if it is just twisting a little farther). I’m definitely trying new things and being “very brave”….stepping out of my comfort zone. After a year and a half, I finally reached the wall for a hand stand! But it doesn’t stop there, get one thing and there’s lots more to work on! I LOVE arm balances! Last year I took the level one immersion and plan on doing the level two course in 2011. There is so much to learn; I had to give myself time to absorb and work on all the material presented. The course was also a perfect way to blend the exercise with the spiritual. Being introduced to the yoga sutras, continuing reading other books on yoga, and learning more about yoga as a life path has allowed me to start to absorb at least a few steps of the eight-fold path in to my every-day life. It helps tremendously to not only enjoy life’s simple pleasures but also to take the bumps along the road a little less reactively.

YDM: What is the the greatest gift that you have found through the practice of yoga?

Joyce: Does it sound to silly to just say that the first two words that came to mind when I read this question were excitement and joy? I just had my 59th birthday last week and my “baby” just turned 20 in October, so no more teenagers! My husband and I have been married for 32 years. Retirement is a ways off, but I am so excited about what this next chapter of my life will bring. I am so grateful that I just kind of fell in to yoga when I did. It has provided a foundation for me to approach life in a positive, balanced, healthy way. It’s my rock!

YDM: What would you say to someone thinking of trying yoga for the first time?

Joyce: I think the best thing about yoga is that it can be beneficial to everyone. I have told some of my co-workers, it’s not about what everyone else is doing, it’s about what YOU can do. The most important thing it taking that first step and giving it a try. I have GREATLY appreciated all the teachers at YDM. Each of them have a special way of presenting the practice that I feel is very complimentary. I always feel so good when I leave every class. Beth’s has been great getting to know my strengths and weaknesses and she has really helped with my little – or should I say BIG – fears (like being upside down!!). With Julie’s class on Friday and Geri’s class on Sunday, I often feel like I have just had a moving meditation practice. Michele always seems to know the right time to come and help with adjustments! Don’t want to forget Jen – I actually did my first handstand in her class one Sunday morning!! I really appreciate each and every one of these fine teachers!

YDM: Thank you so much for sharing Joyce. You are an inspiration to the kula!

“I was struck by how accepting and even inviting yoga instructors are, from the first class I felt I was part of the group. “

- Jim

“Yoga has provided a foundation for me to approach life in a positive, balanced, healthy way. It’s my rock!“

- Joyce