We’re honored to have Paul Nelson as part of our yoga studio community. This August Paul is our student of the month. Here’s a little about why we think he’s so special. Paul wrote this response to some questions we asked to get to know him better. Thank you, Paul for being you!

“I’ve been practicing yoga formally for two years (all at LRY), including formal and spontaneous mindfulness on and off the mat and observing yogic philosophy. Prior to that, I practiced just the physical postures without focused attention on my breath or my body (aka mindless stretching) for many years as a form of recovery when I was a more serious athlete and identified with my ego much more 🙂

Yoga makes me a better person. Self-care and self-discovery is not selfish. It is imperative to be able to serve others.

When I moved to Winooski two years ago, I knew one person in the area. The teachers at Laughing River were the first to learn and remember my name. It’s a small but large act, to remember someone’s name. The teachers at LRY don’t just preach equanimity, acceptance and unconditional love. They practice it. And I feel that when I walk into the studio. If I am having a challenging day, am tired or not showing up as my “best self,” that is OK. All of you is welcome at LRY. Shout out to Emily, Sofi, Brian and Julia who helped me feel welcome in my first months in town.

Ideally I’m always doing yoga—that is living mindfully. As we learned during LRY Yoga Teacher Training, asanas or physical postures are 1/32nd of yoga in the ancient sense of the word. 

The LRY YTT has helped me cultivate lasting contentment and self-love. YTT has helped teach me not identify with my ego and incessant thoughts and to recognize when my ego has taken the wheel. We are not our thoughts, we are the observer of our thoughts. Our true self is who we are when we are living entirely in the present moment. Our true self is already perfect and always had been.

Thanks to YTT, I also feel more connected to the greater Burlington community. Of course, YTT has helped deepen my practice on the mat to alleviate physical and mental suffering. Lastly, YTT has taught me how to serve and share yoga in a way that is sustainable for me.

I just graduated from UVM with a master’s degree in social work and am transitioning into private psychotherapy practice in June where I will surely incorporate yogic philosophy and give the option to my clients to practice physical postures.”

Here are some of Paul’s favorite things to do and eat:

“Physical activity, ideally outdoors with my dog present.

Foods: Eggs with spinach, avocado, sweet potato and other veggies.

Art: Musical Theater”