Yogi of the Month - September 2017!

We have so many incredible yogis as part of our community, that we just have to tell you about some of them.  It's time to meet some of the superstars that make our community so awesome!

September 2017

Meet Beth Eustis!

with Saint Francis June 2014.jpg

Beth is such a key member of our yoga community!  She has been a student of mine since before Serenity was born, she was the first student to purchase our annual membership this past year and she has attend over 235 classes since 2012!  

Beth's enthusiasm for life is infectious!  She has an incredible attitude toward life no matter what it brings.  I love having her in class because she always laughs at my jokes (even though she's heard them a thousand times!) and she is extremely welcoming to new students.  Her warm smile and kindness puts them at ease within minutes!  I'm incredibly grateful for the love and support she gives the studio and I'm happy to call her a friend!  

In her own words:

How long have you been practicing?

I started practicing yoga a decade ago at this studio, back before Serenity was Serenity.  The studio was under different ownership at the time but Michele was my very first teacher and has been my primary teacher most of the past ten years. I was delighted when Michele purchased the studio in 2012!

How did you find your way onto your mat?

As Michele always says, the hardest part is getting here [to the studio], and in my case that was especially true. I walked past the studio, looking at the schedule on the door, for about two years before I ever took my first class.  I was afraid I wasn’t flexible enough to do yoga which now seems ridiculous but at the time I made the excuse not to try because I might not be successful at it. In the end I found my way to the mat because I was struggling for several years with a difficult to diagnose celiac-type illness related to my immune system. At one point I was in the hospital, very ill and scared, and I said to myself, I really need to try yoga to deal with some of the anxiety and depression brought on by my health problems. I took my first class to find emotional and mental strength during a time when my physical body was ill. Thankfully I am in good health now but my yoga practice remains vitally important in helping me deal with whatever comes my way in life.

What have you learned on your yogic journey?

I have learned how intertwined our physical health and mental/emotional health are with one another. Some people take yoga for the sake of conditioning their bodies but for me the mental and emotional benefits are at least as important. I love working on balances in the studio because I think any balance pose is a perfect barometer of how I am doing physically and mentally. If my focus is off, so is my balance! I also love that yoga revealed to me some very practical tools for addressing tendinitis pain in my feet and for building my strength and flexibility. I have also learned some helpful breathing techniques. I love it when I am in the middle of a busy day, and I suddenly remind myself to breathe or to sit up straighter or to flex my feet to relieve some pain.  Each year I spend much of the spring and summer months growing and maintaining a large organic vegetable garden (my source of food for about half the year) and perennial flower gardens around my property. I do all the physical work myself so no doubt yoga helps me maintain my strength and flexibility. And I have also learned how asymmetrical our bodies are! That was a real surprise to me.

What advice would you share with someone who is new to yoga?

Don’t do what I did by telling yourself you can’t do yoga! There are classes for people at every level at Serenity. At many of our classes it is common to find new students practicing alongside people with more experience, and people of every age group in the same class. If you are new to yoga, try a variety of beginning or gentle classes to see which one fits you. Every teacher has a different teaching style so try a variety of instructors. I am a regular at Michele’s all-level Classic Yoga Sunday morning class and at Heather’s Mindful Yoga for Women class on Wednesdays, but I also take a variety of other classes including yin and restorative yoga, taught by Taylor on Monday nights. I especially like yin yoga and have done a number of workshops in that style. I think most people can find a class that fits their style at Serenity almost every day of the week. Earlier this year I invested in a yearly membership (a real bargain!) so I now take class 2-3 times a week. Also know that yoga is completely non-judgmental. You will not be compared to anyone else in the class, and in fact most of the time you won’t even be aware of what others are doing around you.  I think a lot of the damage we experience in ourselves, and in the world around us, can be linked to an unhealthy focus on competition. Competition is viewed all too often as a virtue, though it’s often not. At Serenity there is no competition whatsoever. The only important thing is what you bring to your mat each day and what you want for that particular practice.

What’s your favorite thing about practicing at Serenity Yoga?

Laughter, for sure!  We laugh in almost every class. I also love the sense of community we have in the studio.  I have had a wonderful 30-year career in international education, facilitating overseas study experiences around the world for college students, so I spend a lot of time traveling in the US and abroad.  I have friends and colleagues all over the world but when I am home I love meeting people in my community through Serenity Yoga. Not only do we take classes together but some of us also participate in workshops at the studio and, on occasion, take trips to Kripalu, one of the jewels of the Berkshires!