Glorious Gloria!

Today on the blog, we talk with the lovely Gloria Gaynor, who teaches Bedtime Yoga at the Studio. Gloria is in her 60s, but you’d never know it. She’s fit, positive, and proactive about her health. And, would you believe it, Gloria didn’t start exercising until she was past 40! She tells us all about her fitness journey in today’s post.

How long have you been teaching yoga, and how did you get started doing it?

I started practicing yoga about five years ago. After the first class, I decided I would never go back because I felt so inflexible – everyone was “better” than I was! Eventually, I returned to yoga because I realized I felt so much more relaxed after yoga – both physically and mentally. In May 2009 I started training to run a half-marathon. One day, as I was running with my run-coach, it was as if I had a revelation – I turned to him and said: “I am going to retire and teach yoga.” Two years later that is exactly what I did.

I have been teaching yoga since January 2012. Of course, since that first class, I have learned that yoga is a journey – no one is “better” or “worse” – everyone is just at a different place in their journey. I also realized that I teach yoga not just for the physical aspect but also for the mental relaxation and the mind-body connection.

What was the inspiration behind bedtime yoga?

Bedtime Yoga grew out of this desire to offer everyone the opportunity to relax, restore, spend time within, and to become aware of the movements of their bodies.

What has your fitness journey been like? Have you always been active, or is this something you’ve started doing in the past few years?

I was not physically active, unless you count running after two growing children, until the year I turned 40. Again, a revelation! I decided I did not want to be “fat and forty” so I joined Weight Watchers and started walking. I eventually took classes at Washtenaw County Recreation Center, my favorite being kick-boxing. I lost over 50 pounds and have stayed physically active ever since. On my 60th birthday I held a five-minute plank and that record stood for several years at YpsiStudio. Last August, 2012, I held a 10+ minute plank as a part of the YpsiStudio/Infinite Iron StudiOlympics. Plank is somewhat like yoga for me, it is less about the physical and more about the mind-body connection.

What might you say to someone your age looking to jump-start their fitness routine?

Ypsi Studio is a place of refuge for me. I like to be there, not only for the physical challenges I experience when I am there, but also the community of people. Julia Collins is an inspiration and a motivation. I treasure my experiences teaching yoga as well as staying active and fit in so many other ways. I will be 65 this coming August and I would say to anyone who wants to begin a journey toward physical fitness and self-awareness, be they 20 – 40 – or 60+, find something you enjoy doing, find a place you enjoy doing it, and people you want to be with and then, do it for yourself. There is no one in your world more important than you!