1301 Lafayette Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802

10329 Illinois Rd, Fort Wayne, IN 46814

Phone: 260-627-YOGA (9642)


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Student Feature-Kathleen Byerley-Yoga On and Off the Mat.

Although Kathleen had practiced on an off for years, her yoga journey may have began back in 1999 with her diagnosis of cancer and surgery. The practice of yoga has helped her stay centered and calm in the midst of challenging times, such as metastatic cancer in 2005 and then again in 2013, both with complete remission. 

Kathleen found her way to PranaYoga back in January 2010, just for Leah (Walker) IIse's class each week. She had been taking private yoga instruction from her, and Lea strongly suggested that Kathleen explore the pranayoga community. Until then, Kathleen had taken various yoga classes, but says she was unaware of the holistic approach to yoga, until she began classes at Pranayoga. When Kathleen began yoga 101 with Dani she knew she didn't want it to end, so she continued her studies in our 200 hour teacher training program, which she completed March of 2011. 

Kathleen enjoys the Yoga for Cancer Classes hosted by the Pranayoga Foundation on Fridays at Pranayoga Institute at 11am, and Mondays at Northeast Indiana Cancer Services at 5pm. Kathleen has experienced these classes as being very beneficial to her journey and explains, " I know that my physical body goes with the flow of various discomforts much more easily by participating in these classes.  The real asset to me is the quieting of my mind that I sense." She also loves the group involvement of these classes, and says they are a celebration of the "real principle of yoga; Union." Occasionally,  when her schedule conflicts with the yoga for cancer classes, she attends one of our pranayoga's chair or restorative classes.

At times our path is full of obstacles, and our ability to move through them and around them is a skill that can be learned on the mat and applied to life when the foundation seams shaky.  Kathleen was most challenged to live in the present when she had a torn retina with five surgeries between 2011-2012. She came to realize that it was no longer safe to drive a car.  "That certainly gives ways for new communication to open, and new contentment," she says.

Kathleen's husband Wayne supports her by driving her to classes, which she is very appreciative of. She says her desire is to attend many more yoga classes and seminars, as she did during the teacher's training, however "life goes a lot slower now," she says with a warm content smile.

We are always searching for the perfect pose both on and off the mat. Kathleen says her medical challenges have allowed a constant exploration of her favorite pose, an opportunity to always listen and flow with life's seasons. She finds the restorative and relaxation postures the most beneficial and healing, and recently found an appreciation for the improvement she felt in tree pose(vrksasana-pictured below)

 "I could sense much more stability since my perception and balance with the eye journey is constantly challenged. This gives me such a sense of joy to know that the "inner me" can grow even if the physical has changed."-  

Celebrating Tree Pose

Kathleen reflect back to her 200 hour teacher training, and Dani speaking about "Yoga Off the Mat." along with recommending several books on the topic.

 " I never realized at that time, how much that would come into my life.  I will work with Dani at Pranayoga in many ways to allow the opportunity of yoga to be given to many people in all ways that I can. Yoga can give you what you need, when you need it, if you learn to quiet and listen to the inner self.  The secret to learn is to be very gentle with yourself, sometimes going to the edge; but never causing pain.  If that edge is crossed, again, it is a learning situation to connect more with one's own body. If someone felt compelled to begin yoga, I would say to quiet yourself and sense from where this drive seems to come, and then "GO FOR IT!!!"  Start with the beginning classes and progress slowly.  Yoga is more than physical.  It is mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, if you want it to be."

Article by Dani McGuire
Photos By Ashley Le Tourneau Photography