July 2015 - CJ Carter

What first brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?

I started practicing yoga with Susan when she started a "beginners" Monday evening class at Saint Mary's White Chapel in 2010.  The 5:30 pm class fit my schedule.   I'd been walking two miles a day but thought I needed to do something more.

What are your intentions for your yoga practice?

Now that I've practiced for 5 years I am more interested in staying strong and flexible than getting svelte....although svelte is still a goal.

What is your favorite pose and why?

Honestly?  Savasana because if the class is smaller Susan comes around and stretches you to see if she can make you two inches taller and it feels soooooo good.  In terms of a more active pose,  I'd have to say Warrior II.  There's so much to think about...pretending to be a flat board between two panes of glass...tucking in your butt......sucking in your gut....twisting your upper torso so it faces to the side while your head faces straight ahead....aligning your feet....aligning your knee over your second toe...making sure your back leg is straight and strong...remembering to breathe....and doing all of this in the span of two seconds.

What is your favorite class?

Steady flow, I like the pace.  But Slow Flow fits my Tuesday schedule , and occasionally I have a Wednesday morning free so it's Power Flow, which for me can be very humbling.  Basically I try and get to at least one practice a week and be the best that I can be.

How has the practice of yoga changed your life?

It has made me more agile and more fit.  I feel stronger on a sailboat and on a hiking trail than I did 10 years ago.  It has also taught me how to instinctively "yoga breathe" in a stressful situation.

What advice would you have for a beginning yoga student?

No one is judging your practice because your fellow classmates are too focused on their own.  So with that in mind, practice freely and do the best you can do.  Commit to take eight classes before you decide if this is the right form of mental and physical activity for you.

What is your occupation?

Retired department store buyer.  Everything from gas grills to men's pants to bras; but eventually intimate apparel became my specialty.

What activities do you enjoy?

Jamie and I love to travel.  We got the bug 40 years ago when he began a long career in the airline industry.  I enjoy sailing, hiking, gardening  and playing mah jongg.   As a couple, we love sharing a good meal and good conversation with family and friends.

What is your favorite thing about living in the Northern Neck?

I really do say to myself every day "Geez, am I the luckiest person on the planet, to be able to call this place home?" The pace really suits me and I love the sights, the sounds and the smells of country life...small town parades, people who you don't know but they wave at you anyway, navy blue skies with a million stars; the sound of geese honking as they migrate, church bells, the drone of a deadrise on the creek; the smell of roadside roses in spring,  oysters roasting in the fall, bonfires in the winter.  And when all the sights, sounds, smells and pace become a little too peaceful,  we jump on a plane and head for a city.

Is there anything you want to add?

I feel like Susan is a gift that I was so fortunate to stumble upon.   I love her mantra at the end of each practice as well... be grateful for your health, your loved ones, and the infinite possibilities that surround you in each moment.