My Yoga Journey: A Beginner’s Story

This is a personal story of healing shared with us by Linda Risse, one of our yoga students.

These are my initial thoughts upon being introduced to yoga.

Linda Risse performs a low lunge pose.

Linda Risse performs a low lunge pose.

Yoga has become part of my life only recently. In January of 2013, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and by Spring of this year, I knew I would need to find an alternative to my treadmill and other exercise. I have always been attracted to the concept of yoga, and when the article regarding Lee (Lorber, owner of Equipose Yoga Studio) and Equipose Yoga appeared in The Fauquier Times, I called her.

I have chosen to take private lessons for the first few months so that when I join a class, I will not be a complete novice. Since I am so new to yoga, I cannot report milestones yet, but let me report on the headway I have made. Most importantly to date, I have learned the correct way to breathe and through my classes and practice I have already increased my lung capacity. If you have read about breathing, you know about its importance to an individual’s health.

Second, Lee and I have done a lot of sorting out on what will help my RA and what I should avoid. This will be an ongoing process.

Third, I have come to realize that I am becoming a student of yoga in addition to attending classes. There is so much information at your finger tips. One book I am reading is Structural Yoga Therapy by Mukunda Stiles which was recommended by Lee. It is packed full of information, and often I find myself going back to read parts again.

Lastly, and this is by no means a comprehensive list, are the stretching moves and poses. We are doing joint release work, and in some cases, I am using a chair for floor work. Since I was in relatively good condition when I began, I have not gotten much bounce from the stretches yet, but I am coming along. And, of course, RA has prevented me from tackling some of the moves I would like to do. The poses, themselves, are where I have made the fewest strides.

If you had asked me at the beginning of this journey what my number one goal was, I would have said performing “yoga poses” which I have listed last in progress. That may be because I am from Missouri, the “show me” state, and am curious as to how things fit together.

The poses remain my first priority, but I am simply not taking a straight line to get there. I have enjoyed the private lessons which are fun and very focused. The physical aspects of the classes leave me refreshed and with a sense of accomplishment; however, mentally I find myself on information overload as I seek to develop the context and framework for what I am learning.

Lee says not to try to remember everything she covers because the material will be covered many times going forward. I cannot imagine a better teacher than Lee with whom to take this journey which is even complicated when factoring in RA.

I would call Lee a student of yoga. Some might wonder why I say this since she is an instructor with so much training on her resume, but along with this, I find her continuously striving to learn more and develop new ways to help her students.

Even with my being new to yoga, I am convinced it is helping me. My belief is that yoga would also be very beneficial to individuals with other kinds of disabilities because it appears to have something for almost everyone. It is the sum of its parts that makes yoga so powerful.

Linda Risse
Retired from Business Management