The level of difficulty I have expressing myself in writing is directly related to the degree to which the topic is personal.  Because of the profound nature of the way yoga has touched my life, it’s one of the most personal of subjects for me. As a result, I’ve spent weeks thinking about how to express my deep appreciation for yoga and, specifically, for Shelley’s continuing help and teaching.

Actually, I’m a little embarrassed.  It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga in an instructed class setting about two years ago that I realized how little I’d allow myself to “feel” my body.  Now this wouldn’t be a problem if I was 30 something, but being late 50 something, I could see that I’d spent (I won’t use the word wasted here) most of my life not “knowing” how I felt. 

I continue to be truly amazed in Shelley’s classes when, having guided us to a challenging position, she can verbalize the way in which our internal body parts and breath should and can feel in a properly executed position.  Light bulbs keep flashing for me.  Because once I “know” how and where a pose can be experienced, my attention moves to the places impacted and the separation between me and my body disintegrates:  In a real way, I become the yoga experience: physically, emotionally, mentally.  The learning has no boundaries; it continues to grow deeper and more meaningful with each shift and subtle change which releases whole knew levels of awareness that I bring with me when I leave a class. 

I’ve had the benefit of instruction from many teachers over the past two years, a few of them good and several of them not so good.  I’ve learned that the not so good instructors consistently model a watered down version of yoga that they equate with a loving experience.  In my humble opinion, the truly loving experience of yoga is one in which, like a Star Trek voyage, the practice takes me to places I’ve never experienced or known before.  With an instructor like Shelley, who thoroughly understands the connections between physical ability, spiritual condition, energy and the emotional complexity of our human existence–and who can express those connections clearly–each yoga session becomes a personal journey from which I invariably return, safely, refreshed, alive, new in some wonderfully unexpected way.


Sharon Sides

If you have a testimonial about how Yoga has changed or enhanced your life and you are inspired to share your experience please email it to:


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