Zeynep's Journey

I had all of about 3 people attend my Ashtanga yoga class at Be Moved when I first moved back to Lawrence. It was disheartening to start over BUT I feel so lucky that Zeynep Uner was one of those few people who wandered into my class. Zeynep is kind and thoughtful and I'm thankful she is back in my life & practicing at EYC.

A piece of Zeynep's yoga journey:

Sutra 1.13
तत्र स्थितौ यत्नोऽभ्यासः
tatra sthitau yatno-‘bhyāsaḥ

"When we learned about this sutra in class Wednesday evening, I giggled to myself a little. As Mary knows, I am not the perfect image of consistency. 
As someone who has only been practicing yoga for 5 years, "PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING" is my daily mantra. I was led to my practice for the first time that day simply because of lower back pain I was having from a mild case of scoliosis. What I did not expect was for my back pain to disappear for good, my long-since diagnosed depression to subside, my anxieties lifted, my quality of life better than it had ever been before. I have never felt as connected, grounded, and felt all-encompassing love in my life (for everything!) as I do when I practice.

Being a 19 year old college student with a part time job can make it extremely difficult to find consistency and stability in my life. Two months my practice is strong, one month it's hard to make the time. A few months of travel and being too exhausted for a daily practice, a month spent dedicated to my practice. This is why lately, I have been trying to get on my mat for at least a little amount of time every day - whether I'm actually practicing or just curled up with my dog and trying hard to stay motivated. No matter how long I am able to practice, the outcome will always be the same. I will learn something about my body by listening to it, something about my self by accepting it and loving it, or something about this vast universe, it's occupants, and our preconceptions of it that never fail to remind me how little I actually know - and most importantly that we as humans should never stop learning throughout our lives. That simplicity is enough for me.

I am thankful for all of my past and current teachers who have found a beautiful purpose in spreading this knowledge.

I am thankful that I met Mary 3 years ago when she was teaching ashtanga vinyasa at Be Moved. Although she had only known me for an incredibly short amount of time, she encouraged me to follow my dreams and travel to India to study.

And finally, I am so thankful for everyone at EYC as well as Mary's beautiful studio for consistently creating a space where individuals of all levels and walks of life can come to learn and connect, no matter where they are in their practice."

Geeta's Journey

Growing up in India, yoga was in my blood, most people had some form of a yoga practice, usually a smattering of aspects of basic pranayama, asana, dhyaan and jap. My father never failed in his daily practice of asana, pranayama and medtiation. The journey of yoga in India is personal and free. Each person and their own journey; I saw yoga practice everywhere, in parks, streets, river banks, inside tiny homes, terraces, street benches, but not in classrooms, unlike here. Occasionally though I would hear people talking about what they had learned in an ashram or a workshop.

I remember practicing asana for fun from a young age. I learned meditation as a teenager. Then in the gurukul of my esteemed music guru I got to experience the true connection between voice, vibrations, thoughts and life, the real union or yoking (from root yuj- to join in Sanskrit). This was when the concept of vrittis became real for me, as did my longing to dedicate my music to stilling the mind.

I continued to practice asana and meditation and vocal training through most of higher education years, although not as regulalry. I came to the US 20 years ago for my Ph.D. and my practiced dwindled. Five years later when I concieved Anoosha, my first child, in Tucson, AZ, I knew yoga alone would save me. Although I have improved steadily, a significant hump in my learning curve came after I began practicing ashtanga with Mary. I am 50 this year and I do not aim to do challenging asanas, but am naturally going in that direction. It is quite astounding!

I also am so fortunate to have enriched my yoga journey by becoming a student of Sanskrit in the past few years. I have the honor of continuing to learn each year from various teachers in India and deepen my grasp of yoga's vast ocean. Each moment I am more humbled and appreciative for the opportunity to share my understanding and vibrations. So grateful to Mary and the Eudora Yoga Center!

Saylor's Journey

Saylor Winfrey is 16 years old and has just started her yoga journey at the Eudora Yoga Center. She is a joy to be around and we are all thankful for her youthful enthusiasm and sweet spirit.

A piece of Saylor's journey:

"The beginning of my yoga journey has been very eye opening. I've become much more aware of myself and I've learned how to let go of the past and live in the moment. Yoga is the best mental and physical exercise I've ever done and it is now my favorite part of the day. I look forward to going to yoga as much as I possibly can to meet new people and relax. As I learn and continue I hope to heal old sports related injuries and continue to improve my body and mind. Thank you Mary!"

Jess' Journey

Why asana? Why Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga?

Ashtanga demands your attention and implores you to release expectations so that breath and movement can become one. It is beautiful to witness this practice humble such a gifted yogini. Thank you for sharing your practice with us at EYC Jess!

A piece of Jessica Aranda's yoga journey:

"I began my yoga journey 6 years ago. I was fortunate to be gifted with some natural strength and flexibility, so I didn't "need" an asana practice when it came to physically functioning or being pain-free in my daily life. Therefore, my primary reason for practicing ashtanga (which is a very challenging and athletic lineage that humbles me) with a very challenging and athletic teacher who humbles me, is not specifically to get more buff, or contort my body in crazy positions, but to challenge my nervous system. If I can, for example, do the pose pictured while keeping a steady breath and a calm nervous system, then that physical strength, flexibility, and most importantly, CALM, will transfer to mental/emotional strength, flexibility, and calm in my daily life, because the nervous system does not discriminate between the body and the mind. Our ego is the only thing that discriminates between the body and the mind.

I also immensely appreciate the EYC community (and the yoga community in general) because, although no human is perfect, yogis tend to have this beautiful inner drive to grow and overall better themselves physically, mentally and spiritually (despite the discomfort of growth and change) in order to make the world a better place. That is a quality I highly respect in others, and I love to surround myself with people like that.

Oh and also also, I practice yoga because it's fun! Can't forget that part."

Karen's Journey

Most days during practice Karen Lane tells me she doesn't like me...and I love her honesty.

A piece of Karen's journey:

"I decided to “do yoga” because I was bored with my exercise routine, wanted to increase my flexibility and maybe decrease my stress level. So a couple of months ago I wandered into EYC to give it a shot. At 52, being fairly fit and having done a few random yoga classes at a gym, I arrogantly thought, I’d be able to jump right in. Little did I know! Yoga has humbled me, tried my patience (which I have little of) and challenged me to the core, both physically and mentally. It has also given me a taste of inner peace I’m not sure I’ve ever really experienced before and I feel more focused than I have in years. I feel a real sense of community at EYC stemming from Mary and the amazing people who practice there. I am constantly motivated to accomplish more, learn more and strive for a better understanding. My practice is in its infancy and I am truly humbled by how much I don't know about both the spiritual and physical aspects, but I am excited to see where it takes me!"

Yvonnes' Journey

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As you can read below, Yvonnes Chen thinks deeply about her practice. Her wonderful writing reminded me of two things:
1. A quote from Pattabhi Jois
2. The klesas (obstacles) presented in the Yoga Sutras

“Anyone can practice. Young man can practice. Old man can practice. Very old man can practice. Man who is sick, he can practice. Man who doesn’t have strength can practice. Except lazy people; lazy people can’t practice yoga.” 
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Yoga Sutra II.3
avidyasmita-raga-dvesabhinivesah-klesah

The klesas (obstacles/impediments/suffering) are ignorance, ego, attachment, aversion, clinging to life.

A piece of Yvonnes' journey:

"Yoga, for me, is a spiritual practice. It teaches us so much about life. As humans, we naturally seek pleasure and avoid things that are difficult to us. But Ashtanga yoga doesn't let us get away with this pattern. In every practice, we face every asana head-on—be it easy or difficult—and we also learn to embrace every endeavor with grace, tenacity and persistence."

Kathy's Journey

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Most of the practitioners have come to EYC because someone else told them about it - including our dear yogini Kathleen Riese Wismer. I am extremely grateful to those people who have helped our community to expand. The growth is slow and I am well aware I am a completely ignorant / stupid business owner... but I love our small family and appreciate when each one of you are able to come practice. Your practice is what gives me the strength and energy to continue on. Thank you Kathy!

A piece of Kathy's yoga journey:

"A friend introduced me to Eudora Yoga Center seven months ago. I had recently turned 50 and told her about my long-time desire to practice ‘when I had enough time.’ After 45 years of riding and competing with horses, I dealt with the results of old injuries. I was fit but not flexible and had no regular exercise regime. I joked that I had the body of an old cowboy.

After only seven months of consistent (okay, somewhat consistent) yoga practice, I can actually see a return of flexibility, strength and focus. The more I learn and witness my body respond in positive ways, the more I want to keep improving. If I miss a week of practice, I start to feel a twinge of my old creaky self set in. The subtle changes in my posture and core strength while riding horses is quite noticeable also.

Thank you Mary for your wonderful studio and kind teaching style!"

Mike's Journey

Michael Kirkendoll and I laugh every time someone asks him "Do you do yoga?" I used to push him to go because I thought yoga would be good for him. Now I realize that practicing yoga is my interest and I'm just happy he supports my path... and likes to do headstands!

A piece of Mike's journey:
"I'm really bad at yoga and I like that that's ok. Usually when I come to class I'm the one in the back moaning while Mary yells at me to keep going. I once held my headstand for 18 counts and she asked me why I came out early!?! Regardless of how bad I am at it, I still really love the way I feel after class."

Charlie's Journey

Charlie J Randazzo is exceptionally curious, driven & supportive. Curious about yoga, life & finding new ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Driven to learn, grow & push himself each time he comes to practice. He is so supportive of me and the Eudora Yoga Center and has made many efforts to try and promote the studio. I am extremely thankful for his practice and his friendship.

A piece of Charlie's journey:
"After taking a few months of introductory yoga, I was looking for aninstructor that would take me to my edges. I wandered in to EYC last August to practice with Mary...and I was not disappointed! 
I have always been impressed by her strength with the practice, both physically and spiritually. As a mentor and friend, Mary has helped me find the strength within to work past my own edges. In so many ways, I am thankful to have such a beautiful soul in my life! :)

Katie's Journey

When I moved back to Lawrence 2 amazing Ashtangis Katie Tree & Todd Wyant invited me to practice with them. I am honored to practice w/Todd, my very first Ashtanga teacher & with Katie who also has an incredibly strong practice.

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Katie is now teaching a Deep Stretch class on Tuesday evenings at EYC which I look forward to each week. My flexibility has been stuck for some time now and this lovely little yogini is pushing me out of this stuck zone. I am thankful for her dedication to her practice and to Ashtanga yoga.

A piece of Katie's journey:
"I am currently experiencing a transformation in my practice, specifically in my shoulders due to an injury 3 months back. I have been practicing yoga since I was 19yrs old and I have experienced many transitions with this one standing out as profound to me. I stopped practicing ashtanga's first 2 series all together for 2 months but now I am able to practice and I have new props to help, thanks Mary. The transformation is in my flexibility, shoulder health, and in the feeling of opening new space in my body. I am so grateful for my regular practice that keeps me in alignment and I am so happy that I'm back to it. I am also grateful for the time I spent taking good care of myself and honoring my body, moving slowly back into intense practice only when my body was ready, and discovering new strength and flexibility in my shoulders. The principles of Sthira & Sukha, steadiness and ease have been my guideposts. Props to the sutras!"