SO EUPHORIC IS Laura Maurice about the physical, mental and emotional improvements she has found in her practice of yoga—power yoga in particular—that she is now a passionate disciple, proselytizing on its benefits to the uninitiated.
The legal support staff recruiter at Connect Staffing believes it has calmed her inner demons while strengthening her body.
"I'm a total Type A personality," she said. "I can have a propensity to be Chicken Little and worry the sky is always falling. Now through my physical activity—and especially the power yoga—I'm about a Type A-minus personality who is calmer, more positive and views life as a glass half full."
This was not the case as the year 2009 dawned in January, and Maurice had just turned 47 in December.
"I thought I looked 50 in the face," she said. With all three of her kids in college, she experienced empty nest syndrome. "In addition, my husband, who is a financial planner, and I were totally stressed about the recession," she recalled. "It was a time of transition. And I determined by age 50 I would try to be in the best shape of my life."
Maurice recently talked about her transition and her new positive outlook on just about everything.
How did you begin this change—this transition?
First, I joined a gym. I had been a moderately active person before—maybe working out with some cardio, a couple of times a month. This time around I began with cardio and the elliptical machine and then I added some spinning classes, which I had never done before. After about two months I tried Pilates. I liked it and added that to the regimen. It was at about the threemonth stage that I took my first yoga class— I guess in March. I'm in much better shape now but I think the power yoga is really the biggest difference.
I think most people have the wrong impression of yoga, that it is all about calming and relaxing.
That certainly is true, but it is so much more.
I find that I'm sweating within 15 minutes with the flowing and holding of postures. These are very difficult and require muscles I never knew I had before. Now I do as much power yoga as I possibly can.
I practice power yoga two to four times a week, and it is the one class I try to make sure I get in, even if I'm away visiting with my parents, I get to the yoga class.
Do you still work out in other activities?
I ran the Peachtree for the first time this year. I did it in a little over an hour. I'm not a speed demon but it was a tremendous experience. I try to get in a long run, maybe seven miles, during the week.
I still like the spinning classes or the elliptical maybe a couple of times a week and one weight session, but it really depends on the yoga classes. For the first time in my life I'm going because I want to go, not just because I have to. If there's any spare time I try to fit in another yoga class.
You prefer the power yoga?
It really is the core now of my physical activity. I think there are so many misconceptions about yoga.
For example, the music; I think many people believe there might be the sounds of a monastery or something. But in our classes our instructor features even music such as Earth, Wind & Fire's "September."
My advice now to everyone I know is try it. You really don't know—even though you think you do. And don't just try one class. Commit to three to five classes.
Where are you doing yoga?
I found what I love with Lisa Flynn [Yogabylisa.net] at LA Fitness in East Cobb—Vinyasa flow style of yoga. But she teaches in several places so I can follow her around. Wherever she goes I'm following! She's got a love of the practice that is very contagious, so much so that I want to spread it around. In the fall, I plan to have some of my office administrators and maybe some clients come to try yoga one evening after work.
That way I'm spreading the gospel of yoga.
Do you think you've lost weight since starting this?
I was not overweight when I started. At most I've lost 5 pounds. I have changed clothing sizes almost two sizes. I've gone from a 4-6 to a 0-2 now.
I love to eat and what's nice is that when I really want something I can usually have it. I eat a lot of chicken, fish and veggies. It's interesting, my husband is much more the meat and potatoes guy and I just cooked a tofu recipe and he liked it. He also started taking the yoga classes about two months ago [he's 62] and he likes it. I think he will make it a part of his life too. He's definitely noticing the changes.
Do you think it is helping with midlife changes?
Absolutely, it is helping me with hormonal changes. This is a time of transition including a physical transition; that's why a discipline like yoga is so unbelievable.
"Just breathe." Fulton County Daily Report (2009). General OneFile. Web. 2 Nov. 2009.
United States Judo Association - USJA
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