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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Here's to the benefits of stepping it up!

Many years ago I saw a photo of a gray-haired woman in a meditative yoga pose with the most serene smile on her face, and remember thinking, “I want to be like that when I’m 90.” When I attended my first yoga class as a college student, I fell in love with its body-mind-spirit approach to exercise, something new to me. Through the succeeding years I have yoga-ed my way through pregnancy, weekend workshops and drop-in classes listed in the Natural Awakenings calendar. But a regular disciplined yoga practice seemed beyond me.

I’ve often wondered if my free-spirited version of exercise has been my way of balancing the constant discipline dictated by monthly print deadlines. I’d rather walk the beach, ride a bike or hike the woods, almost anything other than show up for indoor exercise. My failed gym memberships are legendary—plus, I found all that equipment intimidating. But recently, an honest review of my hit-and-miss version of exercise showed that I’d better step up my program if I want to maintain the ability to do all the things I want to do in my golden years.

I needed help, and turned to my good friend and exercise queen, Marianne, for encouragement. The first thing she suggested was that I join her for a yoga class at a studio near my office. I felt comfortable with the cozy, friendly atmosphere as soon as I walked in and laid out my yoga mat. After just 30 minutes, I was hooked, and returned again the next day and the next, and kept going back.

My second move was to identify a yoga class at a time of day that worked for me. I discovered that participating in a yoga session at the end of my work day provided necessary stress relief. The bonus of committing this special time in a directed class was that it came free of the interruptions that characterize my multitasking workday. What a gift, to just simply be present in the moment, focused on my breath and body position.

The best part of all was that I haven’t had to discipline myself to keep at it. I crave the release at the end of each work day and can’t wait to show up. I’ve found that regular yoga classes support me on all levels—physical, mental and spiritual—and help me better support others in my life.

It’s no surprise that Natural Awakenings magazines across the country are getting behind National Yoga Month during September. Participating yoga studios everywhere are offering free classes to introduce newbies to the benefits of this Eastern practice in Westernized ways.

Editor Linda Sechrist talked to several local yoga teachers for this month’s feature article about how you can best connect with a style suited to your needs, temperament and personality. In Southwest Florida, you’ll likely find an appealing yoga class nearby in our calendar.

I’ve always loved September for its energy and anticipation of a new school year. It’s a great time to start a new endeavor, whatever it is, by tuning into your own inner rumblings… You’ll find lots of ideas and resources in this issue to spark your enthusiasm.

Here’s to the benefits of stepping it up!

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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