Diets, Ranch Dressing, and Exercise

*The Story of How Tranquility Yoga Came to Be....Or Diets, Ranch Dressing, and Exercise"
Jeanne began practicing yoga in her home in rural northeastern Oklahoma in September of 1995 with the show Yoga Zone.  She loved how despite all other forms of exercise, yoga made her feel calm and peaceful even while she was preoccupied with the busyness of raising teenagers on a farm and living in chaos.  Yoga was foreign to her experience, actually, she had never heard of it.  Her "go to" pose, and the only one she could do, was Cat/Cow or flexion/extension of the spine on all fours.  Child's pose was even difficult.  Downward Facing Dog was impossible because it hurt her wrists/hands and her hamstrings were too tight with a knee injury.

Yes, she walked.  She tried running in short intervals and enjoyed the stress release it provided, but Jeanne kept returning to the little Yoga Zone show.  Peaceful and calm despite the knee issue and hating down dog.  There was no mat.  There were no blocks, blankets, straps, and/or bolsters.  Just the living room floor and 1990's type of television.  

The teenagers grew up and went to college, one married, and Jeanne was still practicing yoga at home, lonelier than ever, depressed, but busy as a teacher then principal of public school.  The weight was coming off slowly, and the hamstrings were better.  Occasionally, she would venture off to Claremore to practice a yoga/Pilates class with a girl named Debbie* (cute, blonde, and funny with amazing flexibility).  Jeanne only dreamed of one day being able to do a shoulder stand, but alas, the hips were not ready to invert.  So, she kept dreaming and exercising.

In 2003, her life took an abrupt change.  Concentration was difficult.  Her powers to stay focused were challenged, and her anxiety level increased.  She just kept working and working and working because that is where the nice words were.  Yoga Zone was no longer on the television; in fact, she did not own one any longer as she moved away from the farm.  So, Jeanne found a place at a church in Tulsa where she regularly went to a yoga class twice a week.  Yes, she ran every day (about 5 miles), but Jeanne longed for the peace and calm that the yoga class offered.

The weight came off, even more slowly, and Jeanne began going to the YMCA where she lifted weights and liked it.  The Thornton Y in Tulsa also offered yoga classes where Downward Dog became her friend, blocks, blankets, and straps were available to help any time she needed them (which was a lot because she went to as many classes as they offered).  Her favorite teachers were Jenny and Janet.  Janet told her that they were thinking of starting a yoga school in Tulsa, but Jeanne knew that she did not have the funds as a school teacher to take the training.  In fact, she even dreamed of someday offering the same tranquility she felt to others by becoming a teacher with a weekend class called Yoga Fit; however, she did not have the money for that either.  

Inversions scared Jeanne to death.  She was sure she would break her neck or worse, embarrass herself beyond belief.  Arm balances intrigued her, but they were too hard because she still lacked the core strength needed.  Jeanne continually just fell on her face every time she tried Crow Pose.  So, she got into the habit of when the Y teacher said, "Today we are going to work on headstand, handstand, arm balances...," she would sneak out and go upstairs to do the elliptical and more weights.

One bright spring day in March, she met a nice guy who asked her to dance at her church's single group activity (Christ United Methodist).  He was fun, friendly, and a good dancer.  They became friends, and he met her at her weekly two step class to be her friend and dance partner.  Amazingly enough, he talked as much as Jeanne did, and they never ran out of topics to converse about, but he hated exercise, diets, and Ranch dressing on salads.  He went with her faithfully to the Y because he only needed to get in shape for his yearly physical at the Air Force National Guard.  This nice guy was named Brian, but Jeanne had made a VOW to herself NEVER to become romantically involved EVER again.  He even went to the yoga classes with her.

A year and a half later, one evening Jeanne made dinner for this handsome friend, and he came into her house from work, laid his full weekly paycheck down on the counter next to her stove, and said, "Here is my paycheck."  Jeanne was shocked.  Why would  he give her his pay check, for goodness sake?  Then, he said, "I believe in you and your dream to someday become a yoga teacher.  If you need more money to take the training, let me know."  Side note:  And...there has been a whole lot more.

After her first training was completed, the following day, Brian asked her to be his forever wife.  She cried.  Never had she know such kindness or someone that she enjoyed being with 24 hours a day.  Four days later, her best friend  stood beside her, one of her best former students took pictures, and they were married at De's house.

In 2008, this handsome man deployed once again to Kuwait, for there had been many deployments since the day of the dance when she met him.  This one proved to be the longest overseas deployment.  Jeanne taught fifth grade all day long, taught yoga at the Y and All American, and continued taking yoga training.  One November evening, two of the ladies in her yoga class asked if she might teach yoga in her home on Monday nights.  With no one else there, why not, she wondered.

One class has become over 30 classes each week.  Eight years later, she still loves the peace, calm, and tranquility she feels in every class.  No longer running due to knee injuries, the bike has become her cardio exercise despite the saddle soreness, and her forever friend, Brian, diets, exercises (sometimes), and eats Ranch dressing faithfully.  

Each day Jeanne prays for tranquility to be experienced by every person who walks through the door.  She no longer teaches math and science, but in a way she does, because she loves to study anatomy and does bookkeeping to keep the small business with a BIG dream to make a significance difference in the lives of its people.

*The cute blonde at the Claremore Rec Center with amazing flexibility now works with Jeanne at Tranquility as a sub teacher.  Her name is Debbie Gunkel.  (:


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