The Yoga Loft Storybook: Angela & Joe Ippolito
Why/When/Where did you start practicing yoga?
Angela: I began my practice grudgingly about 22 years ago. I was struggling with a new diagnosis and was in the midst of a major health crisis. I found myself in a dark place physically and emotionally. A friend of mine, also a yoga teacher, offered to help. He came to my home and guided me through some simple, calming practices. I resisted and complained that it wasn’t going to help. He kept showing up though. One day I realized I was feeling a little better. Eventually I started taking classes with Elaine Wintman. My practice grew and I could feel how much I was benefitting from the physical practice as well as the philosophy of yoga ... the little yoga pearls of wisdom that took up residence in my consciousness! A couple years later, a friend invited me to a class at the Yoga Loft. That was 11 years ago! I know that practicing yoga continues to play a major role in restoring my health and happiness. I’ll still be practicing when I’m 90, so you guys are stuck with me!
Joe: I began practicing 16 or 17 years ago because Angela was, and I didn’t want to be left out of anything new and exciting!
How has yoga changed/influenced your life?
Angela: Ha! It would be easier to say how it hadn’t……In the early days of my practice, it enabled me to feel physically well again, gave me the energy and mental stamina to enjoy raising my son and more fully engage in my life. My practice was and still is my healer, physically and mentally. It’s my haven from the stresses of life, and the means to find balance and peace. As I developed my practice and grew stronger I discovered how much I loved a vigorous, powerful, flowing practice. I loved the challenge, the joy it brought, the physical intensity and the emotional peace. I felt I kept getting stronger and more flexible. I could ski and cycle and travel, and my practice was always with me. It’s clear to me that the mental/emotional/spiritual benefits of the practice are just as powerful as the physical benefits. The practice itself opens up another dimension of life. My friends and I practice together, plan trips and travel around yoga. I’ve been on retreat with yoga guru extraordinaire Shiva Rea in Costa Rica (thank you Anne), Mexico and Greece. Yoga, meditation, fabulous food, gorgeous island, sleep… and repeat for 10 days is my idea of a vacation!! After 20 years I had practiced long enough to know for sure that I knew nothing! So I decided to participate in the Yoga Loft’s 200 hour Teacher Training with Vito and Larisa, which I completed about a year ago. It felt good to finally scratch the surface! Seriously, this was one of the best things I have ever done for myself, and I am so grateful for my amazing teachers. I have been blessed by new friendships within my beloved yoga community, where we are connected by the common bond of a deeper pursuit and love of the practice. So I suppose its safe to say that my yoga practice has become a permanent feature of who I am, not just what I do.
Joe: Yoga has increased my flexibility and pliability, and makes me feel more “durable”. I feel I’m able to participate in other sports like cycling and skiing at a higher level, and that I’m less likely to get hurt. I also believe that I will be less prone to injury, aches and pains as I get older. If you cycle or ski, I can’t see how you wouldn’t do yoga. It’s the missing piece for durability and longevity (not that I’m old!!!).
What has been your experience practicing at The Yoga Loft?
Angela: The Yoga Loft has been my yoga home for many years. At the beginning, it was Demetri on Wednesday and Anne on Friday, and I was hooked! All these years later, so many inspiring teachers…it’s kick ass classes and deep stretch, it is recovery and restorative, it is my peaceful respite. I’m so thrilled I was able to do my Teacher Training there. It’s my yoga family, its home base. That says it all.
Joe: Friendly faces and new friends, plus anytime I forget anything I can usually find it in the lost and found cubes!
Anything else you wish to share about your yoga journey?
Joe: I love being part of the posse that looks forward to going on retreats! I’ll know I’ve reached a higher level one day when I’m chanting and oming.
Angela: The satisfaction of Joe saying that!!