Student Spotlight: Michele Winship

WHY YOGA?
I absolutely require physical activity for my mental health, and over the years, I have tried just about everything, includ­ing every piece of exercise equipment ever conceived (yes, I had a Thigh Mas­ter). However, yoga is the only movement form that allows me to be totally present, a state that has been difficult for me to achieve in any other way. Yoga has also shown me how to have a compassionate relationship with my body, something that eluded me for much of my life. I call yoga my “moving meditation,” and when I practice, I am having an ongoing conver­sation with my body, asking and listening in mindfulness and giving my body what it needs on any given day. This conver­sation has been critically important over the last decade as I have spent much of it healing from injuries and surgeries.

FAVORITE YOGA STYLE?
My current favorite style is hot flow vin­yasa. I began my practice at Yoga on High as an Ashtanga student, quite by accident. I showed up in one of Martha’s classes (I was one of two students that day), and she asked me if I had practiced before. I told her I had worked with yoga tapes, but never Ashtanga. She was patient and compassionate, and let me stay, guiding me through the poses. I hope to get back to Ashtanga one day, and hot flow is my pathway.

HOW LONG PRACTICING?
I discovered yoga on my own in the 90’s and picked up several tapes (pre-DVD days) that I used off and on. Rodney Yee has always been a favorite. I started at Yoga on High a quarter after its doors opened, and I have been an inconsistent­ly consistent student since then, often using yoga as a healing practice. I had a huge motorcycle crash in 2003 that put me out of Ashtanga, but Hatha and Restor­ative classes filled the gap.


DREAM YOGA RETREAT?
Kauai would be my dream yoga retreat. Unlike the more commercial Hawaiian islands, the residents of Kauai practice ahimsa in their efforts to keep their is­land mother healthy by limiting growth and revering her natural state. There is a beach at the end of the island, where the foothills are often shrouded in mist that would be a most magical place to prac­tice.

GREATEST YOGA LESSON LEARNED?
Mindfulness is the greatest gift that yoga has given me. What I experience in prac­tice manifests itself in my day-to-day life when I can be totally present in the mo­ment, briefly turning off Monkey Mind and breathing into resistance. 🙂

 

FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOHI?
My favorite thing about YOHI is the quali­ty of the instructors. From the very begin­ning, YOHI’s teachers have been welcom­ing, caring and compassionate, and they want to know their students as people in order to help them have the best expe­rience possible, individualized for their particular needs. I am always grateful for the hands-on adjustments that allow me to experience asanas more deeply. Hu­man touch is so healing, and the energy flows through those hands, particularly during savasana adjustments.

WISDOM.
When I turned 50 a year ago, I made the decision to reinvent my life, releasing both external and internal negativity and focusing on healing self-care and spiritu­al growth. The transition has been chal­lenging, and yoga has been my rudder in navigating the resistance. And so…

I continue to breathe. Namaste.

“…yoga has been my rudder in navigating the resistance”

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