Carmelo Palazzo’s Yoga Story

Yoga Story – Carmelo Palazzo
When I was asked by Erin and Christine, if I would like to write about my personal experience
with practicing Yoga, I agreed. It was to be published in the Liberty Yoga Monthly Newsletter.
Last month, I read the stories of two other classmates, who were featured. After reading
their stories, I was inspired to write my story. My first thoughts were what do I say that best
describes my experience? I thoughts about, how and when did I first learn about Yoga as a
healthy exercise program and who encouraged me to take my first class? I began searching for
some clues to those questions and found the answers in my old file calendars & journals. I
guessed that year 2006, might be a good journal to begin. It was in it that I found an entry for
Wednesday, January 31, 2006, Yoga class, Awareness Center, 10:00 am. Wow, that was 8
years ago. I liked it from the beginning, taking one class a week. We had a very capable and
knowledgeable teacher, who was trained in the Iyengar method of practice. I found his classes
very helpful and meaningful. I didn’t realize how little I knew about my body. I didn’t realize
how poor my ability to balance was. I don’t think I ever gave it a thought about the importance
of breathing was to my exercise program and how these simple things helped one to deal with
physical and emotional stresses of daily life. For me, this was of most importance, since the
passing of my wife, Joann, on Oct. 27, 2005, That was our 45 anniversary together. I was learning
to deal with living a lone. Our son and daughter live in Texas & Hawaii, I learned a lot about
the problems of aging, and being a primary caregiver, and the need for physical activity. It
was in these Yoga classes, that I became aware of my balance, breathing, stretching, body
alignment etc. I was surprised that using an assortment of simple props, no machines, was
helpful in doing so many poses. After that first class and observing how much attention to detail,
Robert Gadon, took with the individual students, I knew that this form of exercise would be
beneficial to me. I had to rearrange my personal calendar to fit this class in. I already had
been attending an exercise program at the Newark Senior Center, about 3 days a week.

While searching further through my journals & calendars, I also discovered when I first
met Erin Sweeney, the Yoga teacher who was to take over the classes Robert taught at the
Awareness Center, since I began about five years ago. I had been use to having him as our
teacher, so I knew I would miss him. I wondered what now? Will there be another teacher with
the caring personality and professional qualities that we were accustomed to? When Erin first
arrived, she worked along with Robert for a few weeks, observing classes taking note of the
limitations of each of us and what we were doing. It was during the month of June 2011, that
Erin began taking over teaching the classes. I couldn’t believe that we could be so fortunate to
have another teacher working so well with this class. The transition was smooth with Erin, who
wasn’t only teaching at this studio, she had classes in other locations around the Newark, Elkton
area.
The next change in my Yoga practice came when Erin began considering the possibility
of opening a Yoga studio. She announced that she and another Yoga teacher, Christine Shaw,
found a location, and were going to open a studio in the Liberty Plaza, not far from the center of
Newark. When that became a reality, about December 2012, Liberty Yoga studio was open for
classes. What a surprise to see the inside of the studio. It was a newly renovated studio, with
windows, hardwood floor, and storage area and plenty of floor space and most of all, a familiar
Erin and for me the first time, I met Christine. Together they have accomplished so much in
such as short time. I can’t help mention that both have done this, along with the responsibilities
of raising their children, working second jobs and keeping up with a challenging schedule of daily
classes. As word spread, Liberty Yoga class enrollment increased, hence the need for additional
staff, such as Lorie Leone, who has been a fine addition to the staff. There are always
workshops announced, taught by expert teachers for the basic and more advanced skills.

I mostly participate in the Therapeutic and Restorative classes. Since I have a variety of activities
during the course of any month, I have found that the Autorenew, monthly payment plan,
works best for my budget plan and allows me flexibility to schedule my times for classes.
In conclusion, I find that being part of this Yoga program, has made me aware of the importance
of exercising regularly, helping me with each of the aspect of my life, body, mind and spirit.
I’m grateful to be a beneficiary of this fine practice. I have met many male and female
classmates, and always look forward to attending each class. Congratulation Liberty Yoga, on
your First Anniversary. May you continue to prosper and grow.

Namaste,

Carmelo Palazzo, Retired Arts Educator, Cecil County Public Schools- 38 years

Written by