Student Perspective: Penny Maus

I first came to Yoga One about a year ago when Sarah Clark invited me to class. I had tried a number of studios around San Diego but none of them compared to the warmth of Yoga One’s instructors and the studio’s beautiful skylights. In the winter, I love opening my eyes during class to see the city lights pouring in and candlelight illuminating the studio.

At the time, I was running 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons so I only came to class once or twice a week because yoga was great cross training. In March, I ran the inaugural San Diego Half Marathon and as I headed up the Washington Street hill in mile nine, I felt a sharp shooting pain in my right knee. I walked to the top of the hill, holding my knee the whole way. When I tried to run again I thought my knee would break in half – the pain was excruciating. My running partner wanted me to stop at a medical tent, but I walked the last 3.2 miles and crossed the finish line.

The next day I made an appointment with the doctor but limped into one more yoga class first. It was the most painful and upsetting practice I’d ever experienced and I left wondering if I’d ever be able to do yoga again.

The doctor diagnosed me with chondromalacia, restricted me from physical activity and sent me to physical therapy. I contacted Michael Caldwell about my membership at Yoga One and he kindly put it on hold and gave me some passes to come back when I could. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t do any of the things I usually do: no more hiking with my dog on our neighborhood trails, I missed a 5K I’d already registered for, I couldn’t exercise the dogs at the Humane Society where I volunteer and no more yoga.

While I was recovering and feeling sorry for myself, Michael emailed me twice to let me know that my Yoga One family was thinking of me and sending me kind thoughts, I was so touched! After months of physical therapy and acupuncture, I was finally able to walk without pain and I begged my physical therapist to let me do some physical activity so she released me to try yoga. In early June, I returned to the studio and was welcomed back with open arms; it felt like coming home after a vacation. I eased back into my practice with one class a week and started feeling stronger both physically and mentally.

Every time I came to class I passed by the Summer Challenge board outside the Nook. It was filled from top to bottom with the names of students trying to complete 52 classes from June until the end of August and I kept thinking, “I wish I could do that.” By the end of the month, I was wondering why I couldn’t and the next time I came to class, I saw that someone had erased their name from the board. I thought, “I can do it! That spot was meant for me!” and I wrote my name in the blank space.

Over July and August I evolved from taking just Sarah’s class to getting hooked on Jen’s rooftop class, Michael’s core craziness and the bliss of Mondays with Amy as the heart of my practice. I attended a class with almost every instructor and I’m amazed at how unique, fun and talented they all are and how I always learn something new. The Summer Challenge also gave me the opportunity to get to know my classmates better and I love seeing my new yoga friends around the studio. I finished my 52nd class on August 28th, three days ahead of the deadline and it was such an amazing feeling, even better than finishing a half marathon!

My body continues to heal and my yoga practice is with me every step along the way. Even though I need to modify poses during class, my practice doesn’t cause me pain – in fact, it makes me feel fantastic. I look forward to every class and I’m even excited to get out of bed early for yoga on weekends and holidays; whereas before I sometimes had the “ugh, I have to run today” feeling. I feel invigorated during my practice, usually get a good giggle or two in and feel calm, centered and refreshed afterwards.

I’m so thankful to have found Yoga One and I’m truly a better person for having this community and yoga in my life!  


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