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Retired & Progressing On My Wellness Path

This story is about my journey from meeting Michel Gribble-Dates to becoming a member of the Fruitful Living community and how the Fruitful Living course has changed my life for the better, especially “Ritual 2: Early to Bed”.

In November 2017 we had a program at my church in which Michel was invited to talk about small steps to simplify and de-stress the Advent season. I knew that she was a yoga teacher and that she had created a Story and Stretch program for the preschoolers at our church the summer before. I teach a specialized style of yoga for pain, Svaroopa® Yoga, and I was curious. So, I attended the program.

Afterwards, I introduced myself to Michel. We discovered similarities on our paths to teaching yoga and both mentioned that while yoga practice is essential to living a healthy life, the practice itself does not help one to reach all her health goals! Initially, I experienced so much relief from pain in my Svaroopa® Yoga practice that I assumed all of my issues would be solved with just it. At the time, I was also working with an alternative health practitioner and had learned a great deal from her. I knew A LOT of techniques to improve my health, I just didn’t do them consistently!

I scheduled a Wellness Strategy Session with Michel, a conversation in which you share your current health issues and how you want to feel in the future. Based on where you’re at and where you want to be Michel helps you identify the next small step to take toward your goals. My deepest desire at the time was to strengthen my immune system so that I could visit my daughter and family at their mission site in Liberia on the continent of Africa. After our conversation Michel knew I was a good candidate for the Fruitful Living Community. The next quarter was not scheduled to start for a couple of months, but I was eager to get started so Michel helped me make a plan that would positively affect my health before I officially started in the course. Based on my behaviors at the time and my goal to build my immune system Michel suggested that the first thing I do was back up my bedtime in small increments.

I had labeled myself a “night owl”. I stayed up until 1:00 or 2:00am playing computer games, working on projects, or chatting with my daughter in Liberia. Since I am retired, I figured this was fine because I was sleeping later in the morning and still getting in my eight hours!

Here’s what I didn’t know:

Your body is healthier when you live by nature’s clock, or the Circadian Rhythm. In Ayurvedic thought, the body works best when aligned with the cycles of nature. I learned how going to bed after 10:00pm negatively affects your health because it is between 10:00pm and 2:00am that your natural clean-up crew comes out to do it’s job! Thus, you are robbing your body of it’s deepest rest, detoxification, and ability to rejuvenate and feel refreshed the next day if you don’t have the “early to bed” ritual automated.

I now know I have better clarity of thought and vision and a stronger immune system if I settle in to sleep before 10:00pm.

There are so many benefits to the Fruitful Living course and I am a walking example! I am a retired Kindergarten teacher of 38 years who now teaches Svaroopa® Yoga to 24 students weekly and shares yoga therapy with a few more. I feel energetic and motivated - most of the time - to practice Ritual 2: Early to Bed. But then, this is where the Fruitful Living community comes in! Our Fruitful Living companions help keep us on task as we take the incremental steps to greater and greater wellness.

- Rhoda Joyner


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