Laurie Burnaby CYT

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The demands of contemporary life have created a need for therapeutic yoga. In an atmosphere that is conducive to healing, people respond to their bodies innate inner wisdom.  It means simply slowing down, quieting the mind and listening.

Yoga has been a part of my life since discovering Richard Hittleman on public television in the 70s.  From that early exposure to yoga, I found a powerful connection to my body and mind, right there in my living room, as I mothered two small children. That planted the seed and after transitioning out of a life as a dancer, I began to delve more intensely into the study of yoga. Concurrently, I was supporting myself as a massage therapist utilizing various healing modalities. My study of yoga brought me in touch with a wide array of teachers, styles and forms. Teachers that inspire, inform and influence with love, humor and dedication and others that teach through strict discipline. I’ve learned from them all and honor each one of them. The teacher that transmitted the essence of yoga to me was Pattabhi Jois. I was able to travel to India to study with him at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India.  It was a life changing experience. I made a point of being in his presence whenever possible whether in New York or Los Angeles on his world tours. Guruji, as Pattabhi Jois was known to his students, instilled a love of yoga, a reverence and a discipline that has molded my approach to practice and teaching. There is a wonderful documentary about Pattabhi Jois called “Ashtanga NY”. It captures the energy and dedication that ignites the Ashtanga yoga practice. I was fortunate to be interviewed for the film and to be a part of yoga history.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with needing a hip replacement. Quite a shock, because I thought my lifestyle of yoga, daily walks and healthy eating would prevent something so dramatic from occurring. After absorbing the information, talking with friends and family and doing copious research on the web, I decided to have my left hip replaced in March of 2010, and the right hip followed in September of 2011. The experience has left me humbled and wiser. The surgeries gave me a different perspective on my self and my approach to yoga. It was like going through a dark tunnel and coming to light at the other end. Then, I felt self doubt, anger, sadness and a lot of questioning. Now, I feel more comfortable in my own skin. Now, I have a deep well of wisdom filled with teachings and experiences that have accumulated since that first glimpse in my living room many years ago.

Through my experience with hip replacements, and as I get older, therapeutic yoga has become the focus of my interest and study. I encounter more and more people with injuries and illnesses that require a different approach than more active or yang forms of yoga.

"...deep breathing, stretching, movements that release muscle tension, relaxed focus on being present in your body, allow the healing mechanisms to turn on." -Richard Faulds