Eric Olsen, 63 years young, was one of the first men to walk-into A Gentle Way, and he is still with us to today. He took his very first class with us 13 years ago because of a referral from his acupuncturist.
Eric was suffering from a pinched nerve from an old high school football injury; had four shoulder surgeries and a painful, hurting back from his job operating heavy equipment. Acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care were all helping, but he needed more.
Eric knew nothing about yoga “other than it was taught by fit Barbie dolls” in a gym environment. He didn’t feel very comfortable in that type of yoga class – it seemed like all the students already knew what they were doing except for him. He was open to coming here because his acupuncturist told him it’s a different kind of yoga than what he had experienced before. When he walked in the door, he fell in love with Lanita and yoga because “everyone here is so welcoming and inclusive and because of how Lanita makes people feel.”
Practicing yoga twice a week soon became part of his routine and it didn’t take long to start noticing changes. “It’s not so much about seeing results as noticing ‘oh I can do this now.’ “Yoga is like peeling layers of an onion,” he says. “You’re just not aware of how many hidden layers there are within.”
Eric’s biggest aha moment was when he was in his car and picked something up without thinking about it, and being surprised he could do it. He says, “At first I couldn’t bend over to pick up a $100 bill. Now I can bend down to pick up a penny!”
Eric’s advice for new students, especially men, is: “Real men need gentle yoga. It is wonderful back and hip care. We need to learn how to slow down, relax, and practice breathing techniques. The inclusiveness of this studio makes everyone feel welcome. Give it time – you won’t see changes overnight, but it will sneak up on you in a good way. You always feel better and more relaxed walking out than walking in.”
You can find Eric in Purple MIMSY classes and Green Restorative classes. In addition to his at least twice weekly yoga practice, Eric helps raise his 2 ½ and 5 ½ yr. old grandsons, and enjoys chasing them around when their mommy is at work. His yoga practice allows him to stay mobile enough to keep up with them.
We are so grateful for Eric’s dedication to our studio – Not only does he continue to donate baby wipes monthly to help our feet stay clean, but he walks in a with a check every month, even when he knows he will be traveling and missing yoga. He says: “My wife tithes every month to the Catholic Church, her Spiritual Center. I give to A Gentle Way. I want you to always be around to help others like me.”
We love you, Eric!