INSPIRED YOGI…WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Lisa H-Johnson

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How long have you practiced Yoga? How often per week? I have been practicing Yoga for about a year now. I had thought of trying it through the years and even managed to register for an intro class through the county in 2006. However, this was yet another example of my OCD (Oddly Competitive Disorder). Who would sign up for a yoga class 2 weeks post OP from having a titanium plate and six screws put in their neck…I would. The intake form at registration class indicated any recent surgeries to which I answered yes……needless to say I was dropped. So indeed the next opportunity would present itself when my sister said, ”Hey did you know there is free Yoga at the National Harbor?” I tried it last summer and started going religiously. My favorite instructor by far was Cathy; it was like my mini challenge with myself to try to do everything and with a major sweat as well. I even ran my first 5K last fall! I now am a devoted Cathi-ite, having followed her to her classes at the Fort Washington YMCA. Due to thigh injury last December, I have mellowed back to 1-2 classes a week. It’s rough to nurse a leg injury and try to keep up, very rough. But there is so much more that Cathy’s instruction is bringing me…it’s a mental challenge as well as a challenge for the body, but also a sense of much needed inner peace.

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What made you decide to practice Yoga? The initial interest was general curiosity in 2006 (which would remain unfulfilled). However in 2010, I had the luxury of seeing an executive coach through my company. What’s an executive coach?…A high priced psychologist who works with business executives to capitalize on their best attributes and leadership style. Hmmmm…I think this guy took it a bit further. In a few weeks, he deduced that the impact of both my personal and work life, led to a level of self-compartmentalization of which he had never seen before. He proceeded to walk me through my first chakra exercise (very interesting indeed). And he strongly suggested that I would benefit greatly from Yoga. I learned a great deal from this individual and vowed that I would indeed try it.

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What do you like about practicing Yoga at National Harbor? Where else in the DMV area would be better? If someone had said 15 years ago, I would be “doing yoga” in good ole’ Oxon Hill, I would have laughed for 20 mins. I am soooo very proud of what my county has done with the National Harbor project and support it endlessly though (business meetings, dinners, lunches, family parties, events and YOGA). My son and I had the best time attending the FIFA World Cup events at the Harbor. Again, where else would be better? Second of course are the Fort Washington YMCA and other events as planned by Cathy (always in beautiful locations)
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What is your favorite Yoga pose and why is it your favorite? I think all of the poses are beautiful, having both spiritual purpose and definition but overall I would have to say any pose that intends to protect, deflect and ward off any threats (be it physical, mental, self-imposed). Warrior poses, any standing poses with hand positioning suggesting confidence and the rejection of fear. I have found that when Cathy is instructing to the class during our flows and positioning, that those are the words which resonate with me…sometimes I don’t even know I need the mental release but it comes naturally with Yoga. The pain of Yoga is real, especially if I am really challenging my body, but the mental reward is very fulfilling for me.

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Describe how Yoga has enhanced or changed your life: Yoga has been my $250.00 an hour therapist!! I didn’t think I needed one but it would appear it has greatly enhanced my spiritual wellness. I use the word spiritual because I needed to connect with myself in a language Lisa could understand. I am a very driven person, somewhat over confident by nature. So I needed something to ground, challenge and intentionally force me to calm myself. Appreciate Lisa. I have always been a strong person, but I needed to be able to turn the inner volume down and listen to my inner thoughts. By doing so, I have been provided an insurmountable internal support system; one that I can rely on immensely. I have ended a 28-year marriage, stood my ground with many disruptive forces and I feel extremely optimistic every day. This inner peace is a direct result of Yoga! Thanks Cathy!

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PHOTOS BY GREG…THE FOREVER YOGI

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