YOGA AND GUYS
“Yoga? Yeah, Yeah – I’m glad you like it… you should keep up with that” was my typical response to entreaties by my wife to join her class at Harmony Yoga in Stamford on Tuesday nights.
Like most 50 something males, I complain about stiffness, lack of flexibility, aches and pains from seemingly no tangible causes, and of course tiredness & stress. I’m like David Byrne’s Psycho Killer:
I can’t seem to face up to the facts
I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax
I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire
Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire
So one day she told me that I should either stop groaning or do something about it. I figured “hell, lots of people do Yoga, and I’ve heard nothing really bad about it, so what the hey – I’ll give it a shot. So what if it’s all women?”
Well, on my first day it was all women – and that is not a bad thing at all (it didn’t last by the way – apparently other guys like us do this too). Carol, the owner and instructor, gave me a personal introduction on what to expect and she calmed my fears about being twisted up into a pretzel and looking ridiculous. The class incorporated stretching exercises, breathing techniques and best of all – relaxation. Where else can you go and lie on your back, have someone put a scented eye pillow on you to block out the day, and whiff frankincense around you to calm your nerves? I could do that for the entire class if they’d let me!
Well, I left that class feeling relaxed, a bit more limber than normal, and with a little more energy than I usually have at that time of day. And I’ve been going once a week ever since. It’s a great way to wind down after a hard day, and it actually sets you up to handle the rest of the week with a much better outlook. Plus, it gives me an hour or so of quality time with my wife that doesn’t have all the normal life interferences that peck away at you.
So guys – if your wife asks you to go with her to Harmony Yoga – you should do it. You’ll feel better and you’ll be a bit more positive at the end of the day! Oh, and there are a couple of great bars and restaurants right there – we could get a beer afterwards….
– JF Beginner Yoga Student 2017
“I am new to yoga. Carol is very welcoming and her class a great way to get started. Carol’s instructions are clear and she takes time to make sure I am doing things correctly. I look forward to more yoga in my life.”
– TF Beginner Yoga Student 2017
“I have taken many different yoga classes over the years, but I have found a home at Harmony Yoga. Carol Shwidock is truly gifted at her craft and is the “secret sauce” that makes this studio unique and special.”
–KS Yoga Student 2017
“I have been practicing yoga with Harmony Yoga Studio for the past five years and it has changed my life in so many positive ways. Carol is an excellent instructor and the classes are not just about the poses – they are about intertwining positive energy and empowerment, life’s desires (Law of Attraction), focus, spirituality, attitude, peace, gratitude, love and caring for ourselves and others, and so much more. Carol is always learning and growing in her own yoga practice and enjoys sharing all of her knowledge, experience, and insights with her students. The classes and poses allow us to challenge yet accept ourselves as well as handle life’s events and challenging situations in a more empowering and meaningful way. I highly recommend this yoga studio!”
-CA YOGA STUDENT 2017
“For over twelve years, I have been practicing in this boutique yoga studio and it has changed my life in many ways. My yoga practice keeps me grounded, centered and more focused. Carol has a profound understanding of the human spirit. Her yoga classes are comfortable for everyone, no matter what their level is. A beginner can come to class and feel immediately at home alongside someone who has been practicing for years.
Carol always begins her class by checking in with the group to find out what direction her focus should be. She is a Kripalu trained teacher, however she mixes different modalities in every class. There is a lot of heart and soul in Harmony Yoga. Carol always ends the class with a beautiful reading that seems to be appropriate for the moment. She has created a beautiful yoga community of like minded practitioners, that is so special.”
-GG Yoga Student 2017
“I would do this again and will add it as a tool. I encourage people to give it a try, and tell others about it as well. Thanks and Namaste!”
“Healing for Lost and Found Workshop was an extremely positive experience that let me know I am free to go on and live again.”
-Yoga Students from last Healing for Lost and Found Workshop Nov 2016
“These Yoga for Lost and Found Sessions are very useful; not only for participants who are grieving, but for anyone desiring to expand the inner and outer horizons. Well worth it!”
-DM Yoga Student in Yoga for Lost and Found Workshop Feb 2016
Like you, even though I am 75, I had never had surgery, had never even been in a hospital. Then, in a freak accident,* my hip was broken, and I found myself joining in so much that I had always feared–being in a hospital, having emergency surgery, rehab, having to trust and depend upon others.
Home, return, for me was lying in bed each morning, looking at your Kripalu Yoga class, like land toward which I slowly swam. Each morning, I found myself thinking: I can try that; I can try that now. And, little by little, I have become restored.
It has been particularly moving for me each time Bedside Yoga is aired. While I am fully functional now, I always do it with you anyway, as a prayer of gratitude, for the time when it did, specifically, apply to me and when, I realized, in overwhelming emotion, that something had, indeed, happened to me, and that I was, now, miraculously, alive and well. For your loving presence in this return, I thank you so much.
Love, gratitude, shalom to you,
*My favorite dog, of whom I am also a favorite playmate, had to have one of his eyes removed. One day, when we were out playing, he lagged behind to get a ball. Then, in full play mode, he ran to catch up, and, not seeing me, thunked right into me, bumping me down. (Of all the ways a hip might be broken, a rather sweet one, I think.)
-KJ Yoga DVD owner February 2016
I did the workshop of Yoga for Lost and Found over a year ago. At the time I was grieving about my previous job and leaving my friends behind when I relocated to the CT area. I have found another job in CT but was very unhappy about it. I knew I needed it to change jobs but I believe at the time that nobody will be willing to pay me what I was earning in that job. The yoga classes and the workshop gave me the push I needed to make the changes necessary in my life.
I ended up finding a job that I really like. It is located a few minutes from my home. It pays better than my old job. I had many amazing experiences in the year 2015. I just want to say that I recommend strongly the yoga classes and the workshops from Harmony Yoga.
-SG Yoga Student January 2016
I began my journey with Harmony Yoga Studio in October 2014 as I was recovering from surgery. My doctor recommended that I begin exercising and I decided to try yoga. I checked the websites of a few local studios and they were nice, but none compared to the one for Harmony Yoga Studio. It was not the website in general but the welcoming message that I felt when I saw it and I just had to follow up with a call. And when I called and spoke to Carol, I was sold. She was so kind and welcoming that I had just had to go to my first class and because of her patience, kindness and wonderful energy, I have continued to return for over a year. I started to practice Yoga for exercise but have discovered that it is so much more and has truly enriched my health and life. I learned from Carol that yoga means the union of the mind, body and spirit and for me Yoga continues to be the betterment of my mind, body and spirit both on and off the mat.
Carol thank you for sharing your gifts and kindness with everyone who attends your classes. You always ask the class what we need at the start of each session and make sure that everyone in the class gets what they need and the attention they deserve. I am a grateful member of the Harmony Yoga Studio family.
Congratulations on your 13th Year!
Peace, CM Yoga Student January 2016
This is the yoga class I have been looking for. And you are the teacher. I appreciate the exploration of my body and its capabilities as well as its own desire to move. You create an environment that fosters that deep communion. It just feels good and right.
-CM Yoga Student January 2016
Hi Carol 🙂
I want to thank you again for the class on Tuesday. I was struggling with finding my voice to ask for something that I wanted and felt was important in my life. The class helped me to listen to that, as that was what my intention for the chakra clearing (throat). Yesterday I asked, I realized I had made the story bigger in my mind and it is all good/ I don’t have to think about it anymore and I was able to honor myself with something important to me.
So thank you for sharing your gifts and for your care. You have a way of knowing what it is needed with the group. Every class I have been too I have felt that way…
-MG Yoga Student June 2015
I had the pleasure of meeting Carol Shwidock in my darkest hour when she made one of many house calls as my occupational therapist. Her beacon of light was as strong as our connection. She had me at “hello” and I needed her. That was 18 years ago.
I have just returned from Carol’s first international yoga retreat in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It was as life altering for me as the day I met her.
I am continuously amazed at how moved I am both physically and emotionally from her energy both on and off the mat.
I am proud, honored and graced to be a member of the Harmony Yoga family. Harmony is not a yoga studio. It is a community, a lifestyle and a safe haven.
-DV Yoga Student November 2014
Lunch-time yoga with Carol is a perfect interlude to a hectic work day. In just 45 minutes, you treat yourself to a gentle stretch of the body and mind. Yes, you have to make a conscious effort to disconnect and turn off work-mode in your mind, but it is possible in such a short class. Instead of taking your lunch at your desk, take the time for yourself and join Carol on the mat! You’ll leave class with a clearer head and a calmer attitude.
-SM Yoga Student November 2014
I’ve been practicing yoga with Carol Shwidock for ten years and it has profoundly altered my life! I am calmer,more present,stand taller and have a very deep sense of self and community. I am eternally grateful for being part of a very special group called Harmony Yoga.
– GG Yoga Student Sept 2014
“I learned more in an hour from Carol on the tennis court than I have in the past 5 lessons with tennis professionals. Her insight into what the body and mind need to perform at the optimum level is extraordinary.”
– Yoga student May 2013
“I’ve been taking yoga with Carol at Harmony Yoga for about seven months. I have also been studying martial arts for fifteen years and crossfit for two. I never thought much of yoga until I joined Harmony, and in just seven months, I find I look forward to yoga with Carol the most out of all the other classes. Yoga has become a lifestyle for me. It is a workout for the body, a cleansing of the mind, and insight to the soul. It should be a mandatory practice in schools, jobs, and just a part of everyday life! The world would be a better place with yoga, but for now, my world has become a better place.”
– Yoga Student April 2012
“Whether you are an experienced yogi, or have never practiced before, Carol makes you feel comfortable and right at home in her classes.”
– HB Yoga Student Feb 2012
Working with Carol Shwidock of Harmony Yoga Studio has helped me with my pain and in turn i did not have to stop my other activities. Yoga has strengthened my whole body.
– SA Yoga Therapy Student
I feel like I have had a massage after every class.
– GL Yoga Student of 10 years
I just wanted to thank you again patience, knowledge and professionalism in helping me on my journey of improving my health.
In late 2008 I was experiencing fatigue, dizziness and difficulty in breathing just doing moderate physical exercise and/or work and my blood pressure had jumped significantly to an unhealthy range. After running numerous tests the diagnosis was a leaky mitral heart valve. The cardiologist doubled the dose of one medicine and advised me to get started on a physical activity program, emphasizing that yoga would be good.
It’s been 2 years since I started yoga and it’s hard to explain all the great changes that I have experienced both physically and emotionally. My blood pressure has decreased to a very low healthy range, I was removed from cholesterol medication, the blood pressure medication has been reduced in half and now I have no limitation on physical activities. In addition, I had injured my back several years ago and I had been given pain killers, went to physical therapy as well as other treatments and 3 years ago I was scheduled for back surgery. I decided I did not want surgery so I cancelled the appointment and elected to go with the pain.
I had given up yard work since any work or exercise that required flexibility, including running. Within a few months of yoga the back problems cleared up and I have not had any back pain since and the flexibility has returned which enables me to participate in activities I long ago had given up for good. Other annoying neck pains and the other “little” pains and aches that seem to come and go are now gone. Yoga puts more “harmony” in your life. I suppose it’s the deep breathing associated with the yoga poses that directs more oxygen into all areas of the body allowing the body and/or brain to “repair” itself. On my latest checkup the doctor said “my breathing” is like an athlete.”
Why did I pick Harmony Yoga? I did not know any yoga schools or instructors or anyone who was in a yoga program. I searched the web and telephone books for a local yoga instructor. I spent a lot of time evaluating the yoga ads and promotions and finally selected Harmony Yoga because unlike most they did not insinuate “instant success” or “instant healing”. How fortunate I was in my selection. I am now doing various yoga postures including handstands with no difficulty.
Carol Shwidock, the director, is so knowledgeable of the body (she worked as an occupational therapist for over 20 years), dedicated, enthusiastic, patient and most of all she just loves what she does. A true professional, you would think that after 30 years she might just want to “go thru the motions”. Not Carol, even after conducting 2 to 3 group or private sessions she is just as excited and energetic about holding another session that same day as she was at the beginning of the day. She really cares about the progress of her students and at every session she has everything planned to take you to the next step. She intuitively knows each students’ limits and she keeps pushing but not until your body and brain are ready to go “higher”. Carol Shwidock is the best and Harmony Yoga Studio is the place to go.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I am 80 years old but feeling 50.”
– Bud Farris
“I felt like I’d left everything buttoned up at home, so I really could decompress in the workshop. So, I cranked the music up in my car really loud for the drive down there, and belted out Hot Chelle Rae like nobody’s business. The location was nothing to write home about, sort of tucked behind some industrial buildings, but I had a good feeling. Even if it didn’t turn me back onto yoga, the workshop was sponsored by ProMindful, and it was offered to participants for free. So, at the very least, it was 2 quiet hours for free, in my normally not-very-quiet life. But, oh, let me tell you, this was a treat, far surpassing any hopes I had. No, “treat” doesn’t even do it justice. The instructor, Carol, was gentle, thoughtful and uplifting. For two hours, she transcended a packed room into a den of calm. I actually cried when I thanked her at the end of class. It. Was. That. Good. And when I came home to the kids, just about ready to crash and burn after a day if writing, building, gathering, concocting, painting, gluing, stashing and messing, I felt eerily calm and happy. My patience and love were back.”
– Written by Blogger Eila Johnson after Restorative Yoga Workshop 1/8/12