You Call This Yoga?

Last night, I joined Howie Shareff at the Urban Ministries women’s shelter in downtown Raleigh where he conducts a yoga class two evenings a month. This was my first experience with You Call This Yoga (YCTY), a non-profit organization helping physically challenged and under-served communities improve their lives with yoga. I, myself, have practiced yoga on and off for many years, taking classes at local studios and occasionally traveling to a yoga workshop or retreat. This year, after retiring from IBM, I “took the plunge” and completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. Howie is the founder and executive director of YCTY and I was there to shadow him — observe and learn — and, eventually, hopefully, lead some of his community classes.
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Exercise in Hell

doing yoga in hellI have been involved with yoga at varying levels of interest for many years. I have sampled some of the more classic styles, such as Hatha, Ashtanga, Anusara, and Kripalu, avoiding the trendier adaptations that cycle through, like Yogalates and Yoga on Paddleboards. Once, while on a ski trip, friends asked me to join them at a Bikram (Hot Yoga) class. They sang its praises, told me it was serious yoga with traditional poses, left you very relaxed. I agreed. My reaction to the session was so strong that I came home and wrote the poem I share here. (Disclaimers: It was my first time in a hot room, we were at a high altitude, I had skied all day.)
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