Grossmann practices yoga to maintain a healthy lifestyle

By Piers Rim '12

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Many people confuse yoga with poses (asanas), but for those that practice yoga, there’s a lot more to it. According to West Deptford English teacher Venise Grossmann, it’s “a means of achieving a healthy lifestyle, a less stressful life, and a more positive attitude.”

A strong yoga advocate, Grossmann is living a well-balanced life. Dedicated to her practices, she wakes up every morning to perform her ritual of Sun Salutations, which is a regiment of stretches and calisthenics to “wake the body up.” She also meditates, using mala beads and chants a mantra.

However, she didn’t become seriously involved with yoga until about two years ago, “At first I thought of it as just a workout at the gym. I developed more of an interest in it as I was preparing for a trip to India,” said Grossmann.

While on a month-long trip to India, Grossmann met with various yoga masters and performed yoga on the roof of a hotel at sunrise and sunset.

“I liked the local people I met,” says Grossmann. “They were inspirational. I realized that there is so much more to learn.”

After working with a meditation teacher in New York, she visited India again last summer. One of the highlights was meditating in an ancient Buddhist cave.

Even in her busy schedule at school, she still finds time to do yoga. Sometimes she takes five minutes to work on breathing or stretching exercises in between classes.

Grossmann also goes on yoga retreats in her free time. She has visited some of the most famous ashrams on the East Coast: Kripalu, Omega, and Ananda. “I meet the most amazing people there,” said Grossmann. “I also enjoy hiking in the Berkshires and Poconos and eating incredible vegetarian meals.” She has even used a labyrinth to do walking meditations.

In addition to retreats, she also visits local yoga studios such as the Laughing Buddha to do hot yoga at 105 degrees and local gyms like Bally’s and LA Fitness that hold yoga classes. She especially likes taking the online video classes that are offered through the Himalayan Institute and on yogaglo.com.

Grossmann filmed one of her friends doing pranayama (meditative breathing) at the Himalayan Institute. The video is available to view on You Tube: Pranayama with Michael Farnolo.

To practice yoga, all you need is comfortable clothes and a desire to try something new. Mrs. Stewart, Mrs. Verneault are also teachers who practice yoga as well Mrs. Basile, a secretary in the main office.

Yoga has been growing in popularity in the United States. It’s a 22.5 billion dollar industry. Almost 16 million people (6.9 percent of the population) practice in the United States alone. For Grossmann, yoga will be a life-long practice. “I’ve seen so many positive changes in my life—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s an exciting part of my daily life.”

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Grossmann practices yoga to maintain a healthy lifestyle