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58 Years Young(er) …. Richard’s Story

My Yoga pathway at Fire Shaper Oxenford

My name is Richard van der Velde and on the 2nd November, I turn 58 years. With the years sneaking up and I guess partly due to my life style over many years, I was definitely starting to become less agile and a little creaky around the joints.

Over the past 12 months I have had the pleasure of practicing Yoga at Fireshaper Oxenford and for reasons about to be explained, I am keen to offer my story on my Yoga journey as it stands so far.

What prompted me was the fact that on the night of the 7th August, I was in the shower and had this epiphany. (Love that term – always makes me smile)

During that shower, I suddenly became aware of just how easily I was bending from the waist and washing my feet. No lower back pain, no hip pain and no thoughts about taking the bending a little slower as I used to do.  Pain is like a headache – you don’t realise that it’s gone until you think about it.

I know this doesn’t sound like much, especially for those lucky enough to still be “young” and those lucky enough to be naturally flexible but as flexibility goes, I am like an old piece of Teak and would seriously challenge anyone who can compete with me on a lack of suppleness.  Saying that I have always been very active in sport all my life over many different sporting codes and love being fit and well. What I did not realise was my gradual loss of flexibility.

I was fortunate enough to begin my Yoga journey due to the fact that my wife, Tonya was doing Yoga and convinced me to give it a go. Initially this was at another centre before Rod started Fire Shaper in Oxenford. My experience at that centre was not hugely positive and had all but decided to quit Yoga because I just did not enjoy the vibe. I am a very chatty person and found the lack of personal interaction quite disturbing and disappointing.

Luckily for me Rod and Joeanne opened Fire Shaper in Oxenford and my wife Tonya joined almost as soon as they opened. Under considerable duress, Tonya eventually got me to give it another chance and try a few classes and after trying a few different types of classes I have found my passion is YIN Yoga for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes I think it might be the fact that I totally relax before class because I have found somewhere I can shrug off the pressures of work in an almost meditative state. I love that time!

Mostly though, it’s because YIN has and continues to do me so much good even though I was not aware of just how much it was affecting me in a positive manner. Without even realising it, YIN has been slowly opening my joints, adding to my flexibility and improving my overall mental and physical well-being.

I must be honest and say that, about 8 months into my Yoga journey, I sort of felt that I was in a slump, was not really going anywhere and very nearly gave it away. Luckily, by chance, I spoke to Sammie about my feelings and she pointed out that this is quite normal and maybe just give it a bit more time. Being trained to be obedient like most husbands, I luckily listened to her and have to say, that was some of the best advice I have had in many years so thanks Sammie! In reality, YIN was doing me a lot of good but it does takes time and something like the epiphany I had in the shower to realise just how much good.

I cannot finish this without a special mention about the management and staff. As you will all know Rod, you also know he is a great guy, full of cheek and bad humour and I thoroughly enjoy walking in the door because of that. Every person that is involved with Fireshaper is friendly, helpful and supportive and every person that has helped in my journey can sit back and think they have made a positive difference in someone’s life and I thank them for that – I reckon that is pretty cool!!


Fri, 25 Aug 2017

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Posted by oxenford


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