Celebrating 50 Yoga Practice Years

Feb 11, 2021 | Uncategorized | 9 comments

Eve in a photo of a one-arm balancing pose, her leg in lotus pose.

1990 Yoga Conference Demonstration


Personally, I think it is necessary to celebrate special days and meaningful anniversaries. I try never to let a family member’s or friend’s birthday go unacknowledged. Imagine your life if that special person hadn’t been born. And, it is such an easy thing to make a phone call or send a message. Besides, whether you like Facebook or not, it will remind you.

And so, with this post, I’m acknowledging and appreciating the fact that I have attained 50 yoga practice years.

The beginning

I’m forever grateful that my dear girlfriend, Mary Lou, came up with the idea of us doing yoga. She thought we could lose some weight and learn to relax by participating in a 10-week course at the local YMCA.

I was a no-nothing regarding yoga, but I trusted my friend. If I had been able to google the word ‘yoga’ in 1971, I would have found references to the Beatles and Mahreesh Mahesh Yogi, Ram Dass and psychedelic drugs, and television shows with women in Lycra leotards and stiffly sprayed hair. 

Mary Lou and I arrived at the YMCA class and took up our cross-leg seated positions on gym mats. I sneaked a peek at the fifteen or so other students–not a man in sight. That part of yoga has not changed much.

Leading the class was a slim, lively yet calm woman in her mid-sixties. Dorothy Tomarelli told us by way of introduction that her husband had died a few years previously. As a result of her grief, Dorothy went into a rapid emotional and physical decline. Her muscles atrophied and she lost strength. Her doctor, seeing her depressed state, advised her to take up yoga. Dorothy decided that she had nothing to lose and searched for a class. It turned out to be so much of a lifesaver that she decided to teach yoga. 

This is often the way a seed is planted for future yoga teachers. We are inspired by a teacher. As I listened to Dorothy, something stirred in me. I saw a glimmer of hope in Dorothy’s story–the possibility that health, happiness and even longevity could be mine.

That first yoga class was so much fun for me! Dorothy did something that as a yoga teacher now I would never do with a raw beginner. She encouraged us to stand on our heads. Up I went. I stayed up with perfect balance. The tumbling child and teen-age gymnast in me came alive. If the truth were told, so did the show-off. It was going to take years of yoga practice to tame the attention-seeking me.

However, in the beginning especially, I discovered doing physical yoga was something I could shine at. I needed that confidence boost.

The continuation

I wasn’t able to continue the YMCA classes so I bought Richard Hittleman’s book, Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan.

Then I did something that I’ve rarely heard any replicate. On 3 x 5 cards, I wrote down stick figures of poses from the book, along with their names. Then, I was able to put the cards together in different sequences, although I wouldn’t have called them that at the time.

That was it. I was off and running, so to speak. Through thick and thin, major surgeries, cross-continent moves, marriage break-ups, and all the stages of a long life, yoga has been my constant companion.

Has my practice changed? Of course! And that is the absolute beauty of yoga–its breadth and depth and malleability. If you’d like a peek at what my practice is like now, check out this link.


  1. Congratulations Eve. We must have started in the same year. Along the way I purchased your wonderful book “Teach Yourself Yoga” when it was first released. You were one of my first ‘mentors’ of understanding ’embodiment practices’ It’s so inspiring to read your journey of the wisdom & grace that you are. Namaste.

  2. I love you

  3. This article reminds me that I should celebrate the fact I have been a yoga student for 30 years and a yoga teacher for 22. Thank you for reminding me that we should celebrate those important people and things in life that we can’t imagine living without.

  4. I loved reading this Eve! I do know more about my lineage now.
    You are a true inspiration and I thank you for that. Every time when I begin my practice I think of you, I honour you and I feel you. Your yoga love affair has reached so many corners of this planet and with that so many hearts. The world is a better place because of it.

  5. Carol and I practised with Richard Hittleman’s book way back in the pre-children days. Then suddenly… it’s all a blank until we started regular yoga again in (e) 1999. With you, and Maarit, and other excellent teachers in Chatswood and Crows Nest at that time.
    Your, and their, teaching has been a gift we treasure still.

  6. On impulse today I googled my grandmother’s name and “yoga” to see if anything came up and this article floored me. She may have been your Dorothy. Would really love to know when/where that class was so I can verify if my grandmother was your first instructor. She probably mostly taught in PA, but it’s possible she moved around a bit depending on the era. The 70s would have been the right time period. Maybe the 80s too. Not sure if the writer of this article can see my email but I’d love to hear from you directly if so!

    • How remarkable, Nina. I’m sure your grandmother was ‘my Dorothy’.

      I learned yoga from her at the ymca classes in Pennsylvania, perhaps it was Pottstown around 1971. That course with Dorothy turned my life around and gave me joy at a dark time in my life. Kind regards, Eve

      • It makes me SO happy to hear about the kind of impact my grandma had on your life, I cannot wait to share this article with her children, they will be delighted. I have recently started my own yoga journey, and my goal during quarantine was to learn headstands (mission accomplished for Dolphin and Tripod!) so seeing you talk about headstands felt like a call from the universe. How incredible. <3

        • Hi Nina,

          It would be lovely to have a chat. Would you like to? It could be video or just audio. I’d like to learn more about your grandmother.

          Have you had a look around my blog site ‘Yoga Suits Her’? There’s much information on different aspects of yoga there.

          Kind regards, and Namaste,


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Archives