LYW: What initially brought you to a yoga practice? How long have you been practicing?

JG: I’d tried yoga a couple of times in my life, though my primary forms of exercise had been walking, swimming and dancing. So I’d say I’ve practiced off/on for many years, but consistently for the last 10 years.

LYW: What brought you to LYW? And what keeps you here? How often do you practice?

JG: When I moved to Marina del Rey in 2010 I reconnected with an old high school friend who was a LYW member, and she invited me to try a class.  I started off going on Saturday mornings as I was still working full time, but slowly took classes on other days. The last year has obviously been extremely challenging, but since we’ve transitioned to Zoom I have been able to take classes 3-5 times per week. Practicing yoga that often has truly helped to save my physical and mental well being.

LYW:Are there any observations/comments/anecdote from a class you attended you care to share?

JG: A few months ago I was taking Deanna’s Thursday morning class and we were attempting tree pose.  She told us that steadily holding the pose wasn’t actually the GOAL, but rather the ‘falling in and out of the pose’ is what most mimics life, and is thus the true benefit of the practice. She’d probably said this hundreds of times before, but that day I was ready to hear the wisdom of her words.

I also incorporated this lesson into my work as a coach/consultant/mentor for caregivers dealing with dementia. My hope is they can eventually see that getting it ‘right’ (for example, always being patient with their loved one) isn’t the goal. Rather the work is the ‘showing up’, trying again and again while continuing to fall in-and-out of balance.

LYW: Please share with us the benefits you receive from your yoga practice.

JG: Because I can practice from home several days a week, I’ve really gone slower and deeper – beyond just the poses to be more attuned to the unity of mind, body and spirit.  I had no idea of the depths of where yoga could take me, or the wisdom being offered by our teachers.

This mindful attention in class has been illuminating and truly transformative, and I strive daily to take these lessons off the mat and into my personal and professional life.

Are you a caregiver dealing with dementia?

In the US alone, more than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. The vast majority of these folks are cared for by family members, and over time the lives of caregivers can become wildly out of balance.

LiveYoga Wellness member Janie Grauman, LCSW, has more than 25 years of experience helping individuals and families who are dealing with dementia. She has worked as a psychotherapist, geriatric case manager and support group facilitator, and she has recently launched a private practice to address the specific stressors related to caregiving.

Via phone or Zoom, she provides one-on-one sessions that include education, strategies, resources and support. For more information, please contact her: janiegraumanlcsw@gmail.com