I became interested in yoga through the tapes by Jon Kabat-Zinn and his work at University of Massachusetts. I had seen him on a Bill Moyers PBS special on body-mind interaction. I sporadically tried doing the exercises at home. Then, our director of nursing (I'm a chaplain at a general hospital) offered a weekly yoga class. At the end of those sessions I found myself so relaxed that I often fell asleep as we finished in the "corpse pose." My sense of balance and of flexibility improved. One "aha!" moment came when I had both arms stretched above my head and my teacher told me to relax. I was amazed that I could be in the pose and hold it without the tension I usually had. One of my teacher's major "mantras" for me was "Let your shoulders drop down from your ears." I heard those words so often that they became a part of my life and I would check, find the tension, and then relax, throughout the day. It also helped make me aware of other places where I stored tension in my body. Seven years ago I suffered from a ruptured disk and to my surprise, the physical therapist had me doing "exercises" to help my back which I already knew as yoga poses. I do not follow a regular practice of yoga, but the awareness remains and there are stretches I utilize to help relieve tension and discomfort. I remain aware of my posture, coaching myself to stand straight, shoulder blades back, and shoulders down from my ears. I enjoy reading about yoga, particularly Yoga Journal and the Kripalu newsletter.
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