This is Yoga. Meet Jim Fisch.



This handsome man needs no introduction, but he does deserve a standing ovation. Practicing at Reach regularly for the past 4 years, this always “happy to be here”, 85 years young man really is something pretty spectacular. When he’s on the mat beside you, he reminds you why we are all there, and what yoga in this community is all about. Let me allow him to share for himself. 

 

When I walked into Healing Power Yoga in Highland Park accompanied by a former student I had supervised for the past year doing psychotherapy, she introduced me to Lourdes Paredes, a master teacher and prominent figure in yoga circles. Lourdes greeted me warmly and asked about my prior yoga experience. When I said this was my first practice ever, she gave me a strange look, which I soon came to understand. My student was an experienced yoga practitioner who came to our sessions straight from her yoga practice with Lourdes. She had often suggested I try yoga, which I politely declined…it was too slow, too spiritual, too weird. When our supervision ended she gave me a gift of a yoga mat, so how could I refuse? So, at age 71, I unrolled my mat and prepared to follow instructions. Turns out, this was a master class, and everyone there was a yoga instructor or in training to become one. My student had thought I might be bored by a beginner class, which is probably true, but had neglected to advise me regarding wardrobe and not eating before class, so I arrived in heavy sweats after a full breakfast. I watched, tried to imitate what others were doing, and after a few downward facing dogs I could feel my breakfast starting to return. With the heat building up and the nausea, I came close to throwing up and passing out. Somehow I survived, and when I returned the next week wearing proper yoga clothes and an empty stomach, I really enjoyed it. There was something both peaceful and challenging, the group connection was wonderful, and I’ve kept coming back twice weekly for 14 years.

Having discovered the joys and benefits of yoga it was natural to share it with my family. Now all five kids, their spouses and ten of the grandchildren are practicing yogis, with Noa, the oldest grandchild , now a certified instructor. One of life’s great joys is bringing kids and grandkids to Reach to share the practice with those terrific teachers, and there have been times when seven Fisches are on their mats side by side. I’m glad I took it up when I did, and now the strength, flexibility and balance yoga provides is therapeutic for this aging body.

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