Yoga as peeling the layers of an onion

Picture of Linda Brown

Linda Brown


My journey with yoga started 14 years ago and over half of this time has been with Ketna Shah as my teacher. My practice began as a physical practice and it has developed (with Ketna’s guidance) into both a physical and spiritual practice.

My path to the Divine Spirit has been through the awareness of breath which is emphasized in Ketna’s classes. The practice is profound in its simplicity. Once you connect your breath with your movements, “Breath Yoga” becomes a moving meditation. This has changed my life as Ketna’s influence and encouragement has led me to the next step in my yoga journey. This is called Kriya Yoga.

Yoga has enhanced my life as I have become more aware of the Divine Spirit through conscious breathing which has helped illuminate my path to God.

A yoga teacher once told me that the practice of yoga is like peeling the layers of an onion. The more you peel away, the more you realize you don’t know. The journey of yoga is infinite. God blessed me when Ketna Shah entered my life.

Linda Brown is a student of Ketna Shah and has been practicing yoga for 14 years.

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How I came to yoga

Picture of Heather Morton Yoga teacher

Heather Morton

I came to yoga with no understanding of its meaning or history. Wearing a full-length fur coat I took my first yoga class with a friend at university. I cringe at the picture of this in my mind today. What I remember about the class was lying on the floor and laughing like a hyena. I later became remotely interested in yoga when I was able to take free classes at a yoga centre in exchange for working as a receptionist. I had no “real” interest in yoga and would describe myself as ignorant.

By “real”, I am referring to being interested in the theory behind the practice. After a brief introduction and dabbling from class to class it fell to the way-side. Like many people, I was drawn to yoga for physical reasons; I thought I might get a great workout. I did not consider yoga as a way of life or a body of theoreticial implications. My ‘real’ interest in yoga was ignited when I left Canada and moved to South Korea; a pivotal point in my life. I lived and worked in Seoul for 2 years as an English teacher including living with Korean families. Living amonst the natives allowed me to have a first-hand experience of daily life in the context of their traditions.

While in Korea, I wandered in and out of Buddhist temples. I sat for hours in the temples watching people doing the sun saluations, praying, sitting and/or looking at me looking at them. One of the main temples in Seoul had Buddhist heads on the back wall; looking it one could almost get lost. Other wonderful moments were siting on a crowded bus and looking out of the window at the biggest sun I had ever seen. It was exactly like the picture books of an orange ball blazing in the Asian sky. Continue reading

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Yoga got me back to gardening!

Picture of rose that is signature of Marilyn Wells
I have worked with Ketna Shah for a little more than 2 years, practising my special yoga daily with her guidance and instruction. I have a hip joint condition that inhibits me from working with regular classes of yoga. When I began working with Ketna, I complained of a lot of leg muscle pains, shin splints, that I was taking Motrin daily, that I could hardly garden any longer (my favorite long time hobby).

Two years later, my leg muscles are so much improved that I am enjoying gardening once again with no severe aches and pains and no Motrin! This is a miracle, in my eyes, and means so much to me – I want to keep practising for a long and happy life.

Yoga has definitely improved my life. I also eat a healthy diet, much inspired by Ketna as well, which includes recommended spices, and tons of fruits and vegetables!

This story was submitted by Marilyn S. Wells. She is an artist and teacher of art. She can be found at http://www.marilynwells.com/

Has yoga had an impact on your life or the life of somebody you know? Please send us the story at: info [at] mylifeyoga [dot] com

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A lesson in deep listening

Hilary Lindsay

Hilary Lindsay


In the mid-eighties, before I practiced yoga regularly, I often sought the help of a chiropractor for a chronically stiff neck which was the result of a skewed pelvis.

I awoke one day with paralysis. I couldn’t lift my head from the pillow, could not turn my head. My husband got me out of bed and I was able to get dressed and ride with him to the chiropractor who told me there was nothing amiss in my spine. He suggested I have a session with a fellow who was doing a new kind of therapy based on yoga and offered no further explanation.

Open to learning new modalities of healing but somewhat suspicious of a yoga therapy that would correct a phantom spinal problem; I agreed to meet the fellow in the office the next day.

I was greeted by a white haired fellow with a quiet demeanor who also gave little explanation other than he would assist me in some yoga postures.

At the time I was a dance teacher who inserted yoga postures into a balletic form. I was fit and extremely flexible. I thought I was very much in command of my body. It seemed ludicrous that this man who reminded me of the character Peter Sellers played in “Being There”, an innocent simpleton could offer me anything and I was slightly annoyed.

He assisted me through a series of postures and with each posture he asked me how I felt. Then he repeated my words back to me. He urged me to come up with more than the first description. He kept repeating what I offered. It seemed ridiculous.

As I remember it, when the session was over, he asked me how it went, wished me luck and said goodbye and not much more. I was dumbfounded. What was that! I wasn’t pleased with the chiropractor who set me up for this. Continue reading

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I saw how yoga helped others and I was hooked!

Stacie Dooreck Picture

Stacie Dooreck


I was blessed to be born into a family that was already introduced to yoga as it came to the west. My father took a yoga teacher training with Swami Sachidananda ( Guru of Integral Yoga) and was involved with Siddha Yoga. He took us to meet Swami Muktananda for ‘spiritual awakening’ when I was a young.

My mother and father became full vegetarian after learning its health and non-violence benefits from the Gurus. They ate no meat, poultry, or fish by the time I was born, so I was also raised vegetarian and I have never tasted meat or fish in my life. All this planted the seeds for a lifelong journey of teaching and practicing yoga.

As far as hatha yoga (the yoga of postures) goes, I saw my father doing shoulder stand in his meditation room as I grew up, but didn’t start myself until I needed it, at age 17.

In high school I had neck pain (from working out in a gym and waitressing). My chiropractor suggested yoga, a VHS tape by Lilias Folan in fact. I tried a 30 min class via VHS and by day two of it all my neck pain was gone. No MRI needed, and I was hooked. The feeling of deep peace and relaxation I felt at the end was like nothing I had experienced before. I did that video daily through my senior year in high school and as a freshman in college.

As I entered college I started meditating per my fathers suggestions and learned the Sivananda hatha yoga sequence from “Sivananda Companion to Yoga”. Soon after I took my first hatha yoga class in NYC at the Sivananda Yoga Center. I practiced that sequence almost daily for 1-2 yrs. As a teenager it was the practice of postures that I liked best, challenging myself with the more advanced ones. The practice of yoga postures helped me become more flexible and balanced. And the practice of breathing exercises helped me through anxiety attacks at certain phases of college and gave me a tool for stress reduction. And both of these combined helped open me up to deeper spiritual realms and strengthened my connection with the vast and deep universe. I felt such amazing shifts on every level that I wanted to dive deeper in my own practice. So I took the Sivananda teacher training, living for a month at the yoga ashram in Canada. The experience was challenging and ‘different’ for a 20 yr old, but it was life changing too. It planted further seeds for my lifelong practice and eventual teaching of yoga. I saw yoga as something that put you on a spiritual path, gave you discipline, and was a tool for wellness and balance of body and mind. I felt that I had to share this amazing gift with others. Soon after I returned to my college dorm, I started teaching yoga to my friends and conducted relaxation workshops for my dorm mates. I watched with fascination how yoga helped others as it did me, and I was hooked. Ever since the learning and sharing continues.

Stacie Dooreck is now based in Miami, teaching and sharing yoga with others: www.sunlightyoga.com

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