A chatham woman expounds on a newfound passion—yoga

Setting new goals

According to many who practice yoga, the benefits go well beyond increasing flexibility and tightening one’s core. From improving balance—both physically and philosophically—to reducing stress and bringing more peace and harmony into one’s life, many view practicing yoga regularly as synonymous with healthy living.

Chatham resident, Laurie Dickey, took up yoga nearly two years ago after noticing the positive impact it was having on her 24-year-old daughter, Rachel. “She had come home from California for a visit,” Dickey recalls, “and I could see that she had become so mature and philosophical. I could see a physical strength in her as well as a strength in her character. She was so grounded. I was inspired.”

The owner of High Pointe Properties real estate agency, Dickey, 51, says she feels yoga can be practiced by anyone at any time in life. “What I really love about yoga is that you can start practicing it at any age and anybody can do it,” she says. “Men and women of all ages and shapes can do yoga.”

Yoga is a form of physical, mental, and spiritual exercise in which participants are challenged to stretch their muscles by working through—and holding—a variety of poses. Participants are encouraged to focus their minds, and to breathe deeply and rhythmically.

Starting with an initial goal of performing a “simple” headstand, Dickey began attending classes at Dharma Connection in Sandwich in 2013. Practicing regularly, she mastered the pose within a month. “I’m always setting new goals for myself,” she says, “and I like that yoga doesn’t have us competing against other people. There are people in my classes who can do amazing poses but I don’t view them as my competition—I look at them as an inspiration.”

On a given day, Dickey can be found practicing yoga positions such as the “tree pose” or “standing bow” by a local pond or beach. Exercising outside and in beautiful surroundings inspires her. “There is a lot of energy coming from the Earth,” she says. “When I am doing a pose on the beach or on the grass, the energy from the Earth travels through my hands or my feet, and I use that energy to unblock emotional stresses in my life.”

Many who practice yoga feel that as they proceed through the various stretches and movements, they undergo a psychological change that can be as powerful and as healing as any medicine. “Yoga teaches us to live in the moment,” Dickey says. “When I am focused on living in the now, I don’t worry about what will happen tomorrow, and I don’t dwell on what happened in the past. It can be very de-stressing when you focus on living in the now.”

Dickey says practicing yoga has also allowed her to bring more joy into her life. “You have to work,” she says, “but you also have to have fun in your life, and yoga teaches us to keep those things in balance.”

The word Namaste, which is derived from Sanskrit, is recited at the end of each yoga session; yogi say the phrase serves as a reminder that everyone is connected to one another. “Namaste means the divine in me salutes the divine in you,” Dickey says. “It reminds us that we are all equal.”

Dickey is reflective when thinking of the benefits her relatively new health regime has bestowed upon her. “Yoga has brought a peace of mind and calmness to my life,” she says. “It helps me to pause and think about a situation. When your mind is quiet, it allows the solutions to come. I am a better mother, a better business woman, partner, and friend.”