Meet the Members
Michael "Mick" Shumway
Yogi of the Month
1. What drew you to the mat?
I first started practicing yoga as a way to help me physically with other athletic endeavors and to address low back pain. I quickly realized the benefit of mental release as well.
2. How does it feel to be a part of the Monona Yoga community?
I really enjoy MYC and the people that I continue to meet, instructors and practitioners alike. I have enjoyed taking classes from various teachers and dabbling in various forms of yoga that the studio offers. It is fun to banter with the community before and after class. Whenever I am talking with friends in other environments, my friends ask how yoga is going for me and I always talk about how great the studio is and have interested others in checking it out sometime soon.
3. Outside of the yoga studio, what do you like to do?
I am fortunate enough that I get to spend time with my loving family daily. Also, I really enjoy reading books on American history. I enjoy watching movies, listening to music, and playing board games. I like spending time with other military veteran friends from the group Team RWB, which seeks to form bonds after our time in service in healthy endeavors.
4. What are your favorite yoga poses, your least favorite?
Favorites: Plank (High, Low, Side), Thread the Needle, Flip Dog, Chair, Happy Baby, Tree
Least Favorite: Triangle
5. What do you do to help stay motivated to come back to the mat?
No matter how rough I am feeling physically or mentally, I know that I can benefit from taking a yoga class. I can sweat out my troubles and after 60-75 minutes I can leave it on the mat. I know that there are countless poses that I cannot do at this point but I am willing to find my edge and continue my practice in hopes of making gains and having instantaneous gains mentally with every session that I complete at MYC. For anyone wanting to find a way to treat their body and mind, I would strongly encourage them to give yoga a try.
Dr. Elizabeth Gust
Teacher of the Month
1. How long have you been practicing? What brought you to the mat?
I came to the mat in 2013 due to radiating neck pain while in physical therapy school / postural habits and stress compounding on an old high school nerve impingement injury. Alignment Yoga with Andrea Russell helped manage my postural habits and stress holistically to aid in my relief. I stayed on the mat ever since and went on to get my certification to teach Alignment Yoga following PT school.
2. What is yoga/what does yoga mean to you?
Yoga is a practice that balances my mind, body, and spirit. I love using subtle anatomical awareness practices to find concentration and ground my mind and to inform my postural and movement awareness. I also love the spiritual aspect and the ability to honor the divine nature of being through setting aside a quiet space for meditation & reflection.
3. What impact has yoga has on your life? How have you been changed, evolved, &/or transformed?
I think the transformation occurs little by little. The mindfulness practices are now entrenched in how I perceive the world. The practice opens you to a new level of self-reflection, compassion, understanding if you allow it to. The practice can foster a spaciousness and receptivity in your demeanor and lessen the amount of reactivity in your day to day.
4. What is your favorite style of yoga to teach? What is your favorite style of yoga to practice?
I have always practiced and taught Alignment Yoga. I feel it honors my knowledge of anatomy obtained in PT school and the physical form and capacity of the human body in a balanced & healthy way. I always ask whether a pose is Win-Win for the body and neighboring regions, one of the key parts of Alignment Yoga. To me, yoga serves best as a movement meditation rather than an exercise class. Through this practice you can learn where you are in space, how to optimize your movements to take this understanding and apply it to other exercises, daily tasks and activities. It is an intelligent and informed practice.
5. What has been your biggest challenge on the mat? What has been your biggest milestone?
I have had bunions developing on my feet since 3rd grade related to excessive ligamentous laxity and the practice challenged me early on to grapple with mechanical control and strength in my feet. This has led to a milestone of greater understanding of how my feet mechanics influence my posture and mechanics all the way up the chain / even my neck. Learning the mechanics within your own physical form is so important in making deeper connections within yourself. Yoga often is used as a passive stretching practice, I rather use it as a movement information and stability practice to learn where healthy / middle ranges of movement are for my already bendy body. It’s all about finding the middle path in body, mind and spirit.