At 51 years old I'd been smoking cigarettes since childhood and all attempts to quit were in vain. On a lark I bought a yoga video. Each day I proceeded to pop in the video, light up a cigarette and watch Tracey Rich do Total Yoga. About the 4th day I realized, it wasn't doing me much good to smoke my brains out while watching someone else do asanas. As I tried to follow along, two things became apparent, first it was impossible for me to go 60 minutes without a cigarette and two, I could not touch my toes. Slowly I began to practice this basic hatha yoga. Cigarettes had kept me so hyped up that the deep relaxation and gentle ways of yoga turned my life around. After 38 years of smoking, I put down the smokes and have been learning yoga these past 9 years. In an effort to share the many benefits of yoga, I taught frail and elderly seniors in a nursing home for two years. This proved even people in walkers or wheelchairs can perform yoga. To see these oldsters fill their lungs with air and open their hearts was such a joy and great incentive to continue practicing. At times I seem to abandon my practice, but will then pick up books and read yoga philosophy which inevitably brings me back to my mat. Yoga has helped me to become more tolerant of myself, my body and others. It led me towards meditation and adopting a Buddhist philosophy of life which continues to constantly shed Light along my path. The moments of deep peace have made every effort worthwhile. As I nurture myself with asana, pranayama, meditation etc., I find myself better able to nurture others in my life. I hope to always be a beginner in this beautiful process.
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