YOGI OF THE MONTH
June 2016 - Dan Grohowski
What first brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?
I remember seeing some Hatha yoga on TV as a kid and playing around with shoulderstands and such with my siblings in the 60’s. I also remember reading Autobiography of a Yogi (which I’m now rereading) by Pramahansa Yogananda in the 80’s and discovering yoga as the yoke of unification with the divine. I learned that we can practice seeking that unification through the service of Karma yoga, or by practicing the devotional disciplines of Bhakti yoga, or pursuing the knowledge through Jnana yoga, as well as engaging the myriad effective meditative practices, or the physical disciplines of Hatha. I got started with Vinyasa flow much more recently, maybe 6 or 8 months ago. I tried other classes, but felt lost in the verbiage and couldn’t seem to follow the instructors as well as I could with Susan.
What is/are your intention(s) for your yoga practice?
My intention for my practice at IOY is to improve my fitness and flexibility. I aspire to sit cross legged with my knees resting on the ground one day, and to be able to bend forward from there. I was diagnosed with type II diabetes a couple years ago, so crushing the weight pile in the gym, or galloping my (now) 235 pounds across vast tracts of pavement just wouldn’t be kind to my 1961 vintage carcass. I usually stop in at the YMCA after class, and on a few off days, I spend a half hour walking the tread mill and pushing and pulling on a few Nautilus machines.
What is your favorite pose and why?
Thread the Needle is my nemesis. Aaand I’m always afraid of what may happen if my 6’3” Tree-ness comes crashing down through an innocent student forest. Aaaaand I don’t think Down Dog is the rest position it’s cracked up to be. Alas, there is no growth without resistance!
What is your favorite class at InsideOut Yoga?
I’m glad there were beginner’s classes I could attend, to learn the language of the positions, with others just as bewildered as I was. I’m comfortable in the Slow Flow classes now and I’ve put a toe in the waters of Steady Flow.
How has the practice of yoga influenced your life?
We are all interconnected, a part of something much larger than ourselves, but although I’m trying to see rush hour traffic as fellow travelers instead of impediments to my progress, it’s easier said than done. I continue to practice.
What advice would you have for a beginning yoga student?
We will never be able to start where we think we should be. We can only start where we are.
What is your occupation?
I’m a Paramedic/Firefighter for the City of Hampton. I’m also a member of the department’s Technical Rescue Team. I’ve been certified to the Technician Level in Rope, Trench, Confined Space, Vehicle Extrication, Structural Collapse, and Swiftwater Rescue.
What activities do you enjoy?
I like camping and hiking and I like to ride my Triumph. Most of my time is spent in service, working with other recovering addicts. I’ve been in long term recovery since March 25, 1984. I sponsor a few guys and I help keep a few meetings in Gloucester open.
What is your favorite thing about living in the Northern Neck?
I actually live on the Middle Peninsula, on a quiet 2 ½ acre lot of weeds and woods in the Dutton area. My wife had the property before we met. I have it now that she’s gone. One day I’ll sell it and share the proceeds with her adult children, but for now it seems functional that I stay here.
Is there anything you want to add?
I felt kind of weird about being asked to be Yogi of the Month, since I really haven’t been practicing with Susan for very long, and I don’t consider myself particularly adept at the Vinyasa flow practice. Then I looked around, and noted that there are only a finite number of students to choose from. OK, I’m getting my turn out of the way early on. I can’t wait to see who’s next! Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.