Mary Newell is Living Yoga
Natural cures, movement, stories, and helping others excites me. Combining these is how I make a living, raise my family, and live my life. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, yoga teacher, yoga student, personal trainer, Ayurveda enthusiast, volunteer, runner, reader, tea drinker, and blood donor.
Early childhood is when my interest in natural cures got underway. I surreptitiously placed cucumbers in the grocery cart, not for consumption, but instead to reduce eye puffiness. Lavender leaves from the yard were crushed in my hands to expose the aroma of relaxation. Steaming my face over a pot of hot water infused with rose petals became a Sunday evening ritual. After drawing a bath filled with rosemary, sage, and thyme, I would scour my mom’s magazines searching for natural remedies.
This enthusiasm for a holistic approach to wellness lured me toward Ayurveda—a 5,000 year old system of health that reconnects people to their true, balanced nature. My appreciation for movement came later in life.
Relief from stress in college included walks with friends and group fitness classes. Yoga brought calm and peace when I was new to motherhood. Completing the Chicago Marathon with my husband five months after our third daughter was born remains one of my proudest moments. The rhythm of running and the awareness of yoga are what my body craves. Yoga and movement will always be integrated in my life. Sharing my passions with others is pure serendipity.
Stories, fables, and parables stick with me. Teaching a life lesson is easier with a trip to the library. A favorite story of mine is that of the monkey in the tree:
It seems a typhoon had stranded a monkey on an island. From the safety of his tree, he saw a fish swimming against the current … It seemed, to the monkey, that the fish was struggling. So the monkey left the safety of his tree to reach down and pluck the fish out of the water. For a few moments, the fish showed excitement, but then settled into a peaceful rest. Joy and pride swelled up inside the monkey. He had successfully “helped” another creature.
Lesson learned: Discerning the needs of others is the first step when lending a hand.
Actions speak louder than words. As I raise my three daughters this is my motto. My children don’t listen to a word I say; scarier, they mimic my every move.
So, I try my best to be a good person and show love, kindness, and acceptance to all who cross my path. When feeling low, I look for ways to make a difference in someone else’s life. When wallowing in self pity, a visit with someone less fortunate snaps me back to reality.
My parents demonstrated loving friendliness through interactions with family, friends, neighbors, and strangers. I was taught that when others suffer, I suffer. Happiness and peace for one is happiness and peace for all. No one person can exist in isolation.
Currently my students and clients range from age 5 to 94. My days include hissing like a snake in a preschool yoga class, choreographing a class for college athletes, leading a group of women through sun salutations and working on improving memory, and preventing falls with the aging.
I look forward to sharing yoga knowledge, Ayurveda tips and stories that will help you grow, thrive, and evolve.
Photo by Tony Frantz