My name is Donielle Bailey and this is my yoga story. I am a wife of 26 years and mother of 2 children (a 24-year-old daughter & ER Nurse and a 16-year-old very active son).  I have always been very conscious about my physical health.  In the past, I had done step aerobics, running, kickboxing, and spinning class to keep in shape.  Then in a matter of weeks, everything changed.  

In 2010, after a long period of neck and shoulder pain with numbness and weakness in my dominant hand, I was diagnosed with congenital spinal stenosis of my cervical spine with multiple herniated disks.  My life was completely turned upside down.  After recovering from a two-level spinal fusion, I knew I needed to get back in shape and get the weight from steroids off.  My Neurologist had told me that I should keep my weight down to prevent undue strain on my neck and back.  When I mentioned how I would do that, she promptly informed me that she did not recommend running, spinning, kickboxing (or any contact sports) and that I should do walking, swimming, and yoga.  I will admit at first I thought, “Yoga?? How am I going to burn calories at yoga? Isn’t yoga just for stretching”.  So I started walking…then after 20 plus years of working at a computer desk, which my Physical Therapist informed me was the worst profession for someone with my neck condition, I was continuing to have flare-ups of neck/shoulder pain and numbness.  My Physical Therapist said have you tried a stand-up desk and yoga.  Yoga, again??  So I switched to a stand-up desk and started going to monthly massages. I started feeling better and felt I could take on strength training.  I lifted too much and ended up in pain again.  Frustrated and discouraged, I once again went back to physical therapy, and guess what…”Have you tried yoga?”  Fine I will try the yoga!!

Not wanting to embarrass myself in a yoga studio, I started doing yoga at home via an online program.  Now I have to admit, yoga was much more challenging than I thought.  It also allowed me to modify or do a completely different pose to prevent strain on my neck and shoulders.  In no time, I was feeling stronger and better about myself physically and mentally.  Until life got in the way and I found myself doing something other than my yoga while at home.  After COVID restrictions were lifted, my husband was on his way to Tractor Supply when he noticed the Piper Moon Yoga studio.  He came home and told me about it and said I should go.  Not wanting to go by myself, I drafted our daughter into going with me on a Saturday morning.  Brenda Hickley was my Vinyasa Flow instructor and I loved it.  I bought the new student package and gave it a go.  My next class was with Kim Setteducati-Mann and I felt like I had found a home away from home.  I could not wait to go to my next class.  Piper Moon Yoga made me feel welcome and comfortable at my level.  I did not have to be perfect or do every pose. It was my practice and my time to shut out the day, the week, and the drama of life and just be in the moment.  I could feel the strength I was gaining with each new pose I tried and eventually accomplished.  

It is hard to pick just one pose that I like the most. Chaturanga, Boat/Canoe, and Crow challenge me to get stronger, while balance poses like Warrior 3, Half-Moon and Half-Split make me feel grounded and accomplished.  Pigeon, Lizard, and Eagle wrap stretch my muscles, tendons, and joints keeping me limber and removing the aches and pains of an active life.  Then there is everyone’s favorite Savasana….that time of quiet and reflection at the end of the practice (with a cool lavender towel for your brow) gives me the time to tell myself “good job”.

I can’t say enough good things about Piper Moon Yoga.  I am so thankful for this studio, the instructors, and the opportunity to meet other yogis and hear their journeys.  Thanks to Piper Moon I feel stronger than I have in a long time with little to no pain in my back and shoulders.  The numbness has gone and while still not as strong as my nondominant hand, my dominant hand is much stronger than it was before yoga.  Oh and the burning calories….you burn them!  It may not be the equivalent of running or aerobics but the strength you gain mentally and physically is worth every pose.