YOGIS OF THE MONTH
March 2016 - Liliane and Michael Merrill
What first brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?
Lilianne: I am new to yoga although I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time but never made the time for it. A friend at the YMCA suggested to Michael that he should try Breathe & Stretch. I was excited to give it a try, and here we are, new yogis and loving it!
Michael: Over the course of many years, Liliane suggested that I try yoga to no avail. One day at the YMCA, one of the Breathe & Stretch yogis suggested I try it. That was six months ago. I swallowed my inhibitions, cranked up my high hopes, and started Breathe & Stretch, adding Basics soon after.
What is/are your intention(s) for your yoga practice?
Liliane: My intentions are to leave work behind, to achieve a sense of calm, concentrate on each pose to increase flexibility and strengthen my back. I leave practice with a sense of rejuvenation, well-being and new energy.
Michael: I get unique value from it, so I pay close attention to Susan's instructions and extend them to other activities, watching for areas of improvement.
What is your favorite pose and why?
Liliane: I like down dog because my goal is to be able to have my feet flat on the ground when I do this pose. It’s a personal challenge.
Michael: My favorite is child's pose because it seems so simple, but is hard for me. The plus side is that I can see improvement.
What is your favorite class at InsideOut Yoga?
Liliane: I like both the Breathe & Stretch and Basics classes. They complement each other and I feel benefits from both.
Michael: Breathe & Stretch, because it provides insights about relaxation and calm reflection that are helpful in many different contexts.
How has the practice of yoga influenced your life?
Liliane: Going to yoga is teaching me the importance of taking some time off to take care of myself, physically and mentally. It is a wonderful way to control stress and definitely helps with core strength and balance. I often find myself slumping at my desk, and immediately correct my posture thanks to what I’ve learned in yoga class.
Michael: A big plus is better sleep. Instead of cranking up my mind, I tune it out and listen to Susan's voice guiding me into relative non-thinking. Her advice also helps me benefit from my physical therapy sessions and my "homework" on a nagging hip injury.
What advice would you have for a beginning yoga student?
Liliane: Stick with it, you’ll get better more quickly than you think and you’ll love it. Be patient and learn the breathing techniques, it is so helpful with any stressful moments throughout the day.
Michael: Be humble but optimistic. Listen to your teacher and clear your mind. Concentrate on signs of progress and watch for collateral benefits.
What is your occupation?
Liliane: I’m a travel consultant. I operate Island Travel in Irvington and have been sending people on wonderful trips for over 35 years.
Michael: Thirty-plus years of complex litigation followed by an unanticipated disability retirement.
What activities do you enjoy?
Liliane: Travel is my passion. I also enjoy reading, cooking, gardening, walking and, of course, yoga.
Michael: Cooking, walking and exercising at the Y.
What is your favorite thing about living in the Northern Neck?
Liliane: Peaceful rural lifestyle and the friendly people we’ve met
Michael: Great friends and a quiet, rural environment.
Is there anything you want to add?
Liliane: I feel very fortunate to have access to an excellent YMCA (another nice thing about the Northern Neck) and to have taken Susan’s yoga class. Susan is an excellent teacher and my husband and I look forward to her classes every week.
Michael: After 74 years and a series of motorcycle, parachute, bicycle and airplane accidents, plus lots of arthritis, I was dubious about being able to participate meaningfully in a yoga class. I am definitely not "bendy" but am making progress. That, plus the mental benefits spell success for my limited expectations. Susan is an effective and articulate teacher and I'm hanging in there!