• Congratulations, Gloria Landholt!

    Please describe your yoga journey.

    I don't remember my first yoga class but I think it was in a gym; probably a vinyasa class. I thought of yoga as a stretching class to complement my gym exercises. Discovering much later that it was invented for meditation practice, I was curious about meditation but thought I would never be able to sit still, let alone quiet my thoughts. I did love the inspirational quotes at the beginning of class and savasana at the end. Feeling at peace with the world and my monkey brain gave me hope I could one day meditate, but I was never ready.

    My sister lived in San Diego and had a yoga instructor from India. He made up asanas (movements ) and introduced me to chakras. He told his class you should be able to meditate in a busy market. My ideas about meditation were changing.

    I discovered Pema Chodron an American Tibetan Buddhist nun. She related a story about hearing the temple bell at the end of meditation and her thoughts had never stopped. Ah imperfection, I decided I could meditate. I discovered pranayama breathing, walking meditation, chants and more.

    I recently retired and decided I would join a yoga studio. Grace Yoga had meditation, gentle yoga, Iyengar, restorative...I could try it all at one studio. I became a regular at the Tuesday/Friday meditation classes; Anjlee and Dana were my first mentors for my imperfect meditation practice. I still enjoy different teachers meditative practices.

    This month, we are focusing on how meditation and mindfulness benefits not only your general wellbeing, but also your brain. What changes/improvements have you noticed with our meditation practice over the years?

    I thought meditation was just feeling calm with no thoughts. I rarely stop my thoughts but I have learned to observe my thoughts without getting caught up in the story line. I can sit for longer periods of time. When I am upset I can use pranayama to calm down but also have breathing exercises to give me more energy. Meditation has taught me to ignore, no, hear, outside noise but treat them like my intrusive thoughts, Yes I hear you but I don't have to exchange and get upset something is disturbing me. I notice when I get upset, angry , sad, anxious I can pull back and observe my emotions and sometimes remember my breathing.

    What additional benefits have you gained from your yoga practice that may not be offered in another form of exercise?

    Yoga is an exercise in concentration and mindfulness and balance. It is a wonderful community and can be spiritual. I find people in yoga, as opposed to other exercise are working on body, mind and soul.

    Do you have any helpful tips for fellow students to stay committed?

    Try lots of classes and lots of instructors.

    Tell us one fun fact about yourself.

    I was on TV in San Francisco called Romper Room with Miss Nancy show when I was about 6 y.o, I was hoping to get a copy of the tape but it turns out they taped over the shows every week.