Confessions of a former skeptic

True confessions time. I’ve been preaching this mind-body transformation stuff–yoga, meditation, etc.–pretty much nonstop lately. A friend was surprised when I mentioned how I was a recent convert. Even five years ago, I eschewed all but active exercise: walking, swimming, racquetball. I openly scoffed when someone mentioned yoga. It sounded passive, boring, useless. I simply wasn’t interested, prey to the stereotype that yoga was nothing more than sitting around, maybe stretching a bit. I hated stretching. And meditation? That was what my dad claimed to be doing each afternoon, snoring away under the newspaper, stretched out on the couch.

Then I developed what I dubbed “therapist’s neck and shoulders.” Kind of like tennis elbow or housewife’s knee, where the affected body part is constantly sore from overuse. After six hours daily in “attending posture,” i.e. leaning forward, shoulders hunched forward as I listened attentively, my neck and shoulders were chronically sore. I even developed “frozen shoulder,” making me unable to reach my own dress zipper. Five months of physical therapy ensued, with exercises, (including that hand-bicycling machine that made me feel like I was 90,) stretching by the physical therapist, smelly creams, X-rays, hot pads, and weird devices sending electricity into my shoulder. My therapist finally released me, recommending acupuncture since he could not help me any further. Since health insurance didn’t cover acupuncture, I tried chiropractic. More stretching, cracking, hot pads, creams, and electric devices. I was a bit better. Then the chiropractor suggested I try yoga. I was already doing pilates, which I did enjoy. I succumbed–yoga was offered at my health club.

Surprising bottom line: yoga cured my shoulder problem. I can tie the release of those constantly knotted muscles to one particular stretch, extended child’s pose. Before I knew it, I was hooked. Yoga was the best part of my week. My eating became more mindful. I lost 25 pounds–and have kept it off for almost three years. My cholesterol dropped from 335 to 220. Friends raved about my new look, and I wowed a few at my 35 year high school reunion. I felt calmer.

That led to exploring yoga’s cousin, meditation. I got hooked on that as well, completing the Chopra Center’s 21 day meditation challenge. (Another round begins next week–check it out.) Just as davidji, who leads those meditations promises, I was moving through my life with greater grace. I had more patience. I could let go of the pain that accumulates through my work more easily. I’d seen the research on the value of these mind-body practices, and now I was living the benefit.

That’s the back story, which I’ve shared in hopes of inspiring my readers. I’m now a certified yoga instructor. Beginning in February, I’m launching group meditation training in my office. I hope to lead wellness retreats this year, integrating these new passions with my focus on teaching others to take better care of themselves.

Let me know if I can share any of these passions with you. Just email me at ann{at}anndunnewold.com. You, too, could share these benefits.

5 thoughts on “Confessions of a former skeptic

  1. Karen says:

    This is all wonderful news, Ann. Coincidentally last week I watched Dr. Oz show with Deepak Chopra, and they did a meditation together with audience which I did too, inspiring me to want to start a med. practice. So now you’ve inspired me to sign up for the next 21-day meditation challenge! As for yoga, I’ve been doing water yoga for about 8 years, and it is blissful.

  2. Kathy Yank says:

    Seeing is believing, and I know how wonderful yoga and meditation have been for you! I signed up today, and sent those I love the information to sign up too. Thanks for being the inspiration!

  3. Deb B says:

    I guess I’m still in the skeptic stage. Yoga has been a part of my life since 2000 and while I have found it a useful tool it has never been more than a chore to me (except when I was pregnant and it was all I could do) -I’m trying to give it another go, you started from the same place I am so maybe I can be a convert!

  4. Vivienne McNeny says:

    I too was a yoga skeptic until you, Ann, taught five fabulous classes on our writer’s retreat in November. Now both I and my hubby, the blue eyed cowboy, are hooked and unknotted.
    I want to learn more about group meditation training in your office. You know where I am!
    Down Dog On! (Can’t spell the other poses!)

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