Yoga Story: Jess Dods

Ten years ago, my wife Pamela was a student at Smith College, in their program for non-traditionally aged students. I was a 59 year old man, a self employed career coach, as I still am.

Pamela  asked me one day if I would like to attend an on-campus yoga class. I said yes, without knowing why as I look back on it. The class was taught, as I recall, by the wonderful Amy Reed, who was also a Smith student.

There I was, the only male in a room full of women with great flexibility. While I have been very athletic and physically active in my life, I was not prepared for the flexibility that yoga seeks. But I stayed, and attended several classes there.

Then one day I showed up at the Main St. Yoga Sanctuary, across the street from the present location. I attended classes regularly there and developed a routine schedule.  There was something about the practice that called out to me, both from the physical perspective and something like a combination of philosophy and spirituality. I had spent several years meditating in the Buddhist tradition, but left that unsatisfied. Yoga was for me. As the Sanctuary moved to Thorne's, I moved with it.

So from this random beginning, I have continued to practice at the Sanctuary, with many of the wonderful teachers. Some have moved on, and some have recently arrived. I am 69 years old, looking forward to 70 in January 2017.

In recent years, I have attended a 100 hour Yoga Intensive with Amy Reed and a 100 hour Teacher Training. The teacher training was taught by the wonderful Sara Rose, owner of the Yoga Sanctuary, and her amazing assistant, Lisa Leizman. I took these classes with the idea of deepening my practice, and this is certainly what happened for me.

In another area, as is typical with males starting at age 40, I had lost about two inches of body height. Then at an annual physical, the doctor mentioned that I had regained about 1.5 inches of height. We agreed that this was due to my yoga practice. The takeaway for me is the health and stability of my spine and all that it represents.

With my practice, I continue to grow in many ways. I have come to know myself in much different ways than in other times of my life. The Sanctuary has welcomed me, and as Sara Rose has said to me so many times: "There's always more." Understanding that I am the "more," as it is for anyone practicing yoga, is a wonderful path to follow.