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Familiar Faces: Lorraine Yasinski

Familiar Faces: Lorraine Yasinski

Yoga Center Amherst: Who are you?

Lorraine Yasinski: I am one of the small-ish women in the back row.

YCA: What brought you to yoga?

LY: A more accurate question would be “what brought you to golf” and the answer to that question would be… this wise and faithful body brought me to golf, which brought me to yoga and meditation. I like to think I was called to the path of Golf. I had never even held a club before my mid-fifties. It was an entirely new movement for me and a difficult, complex movement which requires a deep and easy focus. Anyway, I started down the path, a very painful path as anyone who witnessed the suffering of the first five years of my golf career would tell you. I was a mess, physically and emotionally. My first golf teacher told me I had one of the worst swings he’d ever seen. Every part of my body moved in a different direction. I was full of dread every time I tried to look at the ball; and, I couldn’t look at the ball (which is a big problem in a ball striking game) for more than a few seconds before my mind skittered away into past and future failures. I became hyperaware of how unintegrated I was physically and emotionally, and that my past strategies of pushing and thinking myself through a challenge simply were not working. I didn’t have the deep supports necessary to embody my intentions.

But I persisted. And persisted.

I think now that I was trying to break out of the vault of my thinking mind and into my body. I intuitively knew movement was the way and I chose this particular swinging movement in which relaxing and catching the wave of momentum was critical for an easy, powerful swing. It was hard. Finally I got the idea of doing hypnosis and that turned out to be fantastic. I began to learn how to trust something that wasn’t my thinking mind. And I took a yoga class at the Y with Courtney Wulsin, who had done the 500-hour Embodyoga® Teacher Training with Patty. She had us do that caterpillar undulating thing on the wood floor and I was curious and excited. So between the hypnosis and Courtney I found a way to soften and release into the body and through the body into the wide open universe and, more mundanely, into the yoga center. I took a few classes, a daylong workshop with Patty, and the four-weekend “Intro to Embodyoga®” program. I really couldn’t get enough. I did the 200-hour teacher training, and then the first half of the 300-hour. I’m just about to begin the 300-hour first half again. The teacher trainings were transformative, are transformative.

By the way, I kept golfing. As I inhabited my body-mind more fully, and developed a “calmer and more mobile spine,” I began to find myself in a relationship with the club, so we could just swing. Together.

YCA: Tell us about your experience on the Auroville trip.

LY: Happily, I did go to Auroville with Matthew and Patty. It was a special and wonderful trip. I loved India and plan on going back, someday, somehow. Being there is a total sensory experience: the colors, the smells, the noise and the silence, the feel of the heat, the taste of the heat in the food, the rituals. A felt sense of devotion in the air. I very much liked the people in the group, and really all the people I met. There was an ease that allowed us to ride the waves of our everyday activities and experiences, and to enjoy one another. A lot of that ease was because of Matthew’s great equanimity and depth. He did a very fine job organizing and tending. That trip will get better and better I’m sure, but I loved being in the first wave.

YCA: How does your practice make you feel? How has it changed you?

LY: When you ask how my practice makes me feel, the first thing I want to say is full of life. Awake. Grounded and spacious. Supported. In the always deepening yield and push and reach, in trusting and opening to support from inside and outside, you find a wonderful letting go of the gripping, the hardening, the clenching and then… that rushing in of fluid and space and love and imagination. Blissful.

And when you ask how my practice has changed me, I would say ongoingly and immensely. It has been, my teachers have been, Embodyoga has been the greatest gift to me. I am inhabiting this body and this body is the temple of enlightenment. That seems amazing to me. Sitting here, thinking about this, I’m in awe. I’m also thinking: Better late than never.

If you’d like to introduce yourself to the YCA community with an interview, or know someone you think we should feature, you can email

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