Lenny Willis - Notice Your Life!
Interviewed by Tracey Miller
Lenny Willis graduated from the YogaLife Institute's 200-hour teacher training program. He now runs Gathering Yoga and teaches classes at the Pinnacle Leadership Institute in Kensington, Living Mantras in Stratham and other studios in the seacoast. He is the father of a ten-year-old son and lives in Exeter.
Lenny Willis doesn't designate a specific time for his yoga practice, instead he integrates it into his day. "I'm the fool in the bank line standing on his toes and rolling his shoulders back," he said. Yoga is never far from his mind whether he's sneaking in 10 minutes to meditate or do some side stretches for a few minutes out on his deck.
Although he just finished his teacher training in June, yoga is not new to him. He has been practicing it for 28 years starting with a class at the Unitarian Church in Portsmouth.
The reason he chose YogaLife Institute for his certification was because he liked their focus on the classical aspect of yoga that exercises both the body and the mind. They give people a well-rounded introduction to yoga through their teacher-training program. "They teach you about postures and what's safe, but the larger piece of it, the classical piece of it, is the meditation and the pranayama, the sensory master," he said.
Lenny said he also loved the community. "I go into those classes and I want to hug everyone I see. It's a really loving space."
As a teacher, Lenny felt pressure about being in front of the classroom. To take the pressure off one of Lenny’s instructors, Lisa Rochemacher, helped him by saying, "We're just trying to awaken in people what they already know, we’re just trying to help them notice it."
Real Men Practice Yoga
Lenny wants to see more guys doing yoga and offers classes just for men. "If guys can see that a jamoke like me is willing to do this stuff, maybe they will give it a try. They must be curious," he said.
Lenny thinks guys can benefit from yoga. "Maybe it seems like a weakness to some, because they have been taught to muscle through things and not pay attention to their pain and suffering. You’re likely going to be confronted with uncomfortable realizations. And it takes guts for anyone, especially guys, to step out of their comfort zone into such an alien environment.”
"I'm not afraid to ask guys to look inside. Yoga is not all about postures or the fear of falling out of them. It is about trying to take a look at the nature of your mind," he said. "We all need to ask ourselves if we can harness our minds and be still for a little while."
No effort is wasted
For guys thinking about trying yoga, Lenny says, "Just come and try it. It's probably not what you think. There are some postures that you're probably not going to be great at, but it doesn't matter. As long as you can pay attention to what is going on no matter how deep or shallow you are in posture, you're going to get some benefit. "
He explains that yoga might not "take" to everyone right away. "Yoga is something that will help you notice your life a little more and notice the important things in life instead of constantly striving to attain whatever material stuff you want. At the end of the day, when it's your time to check out, the material stuff is not going to be what you are thinking about."
For more details on Lenny's classes go to www.gatheringyoga.com or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gatheringyoga1/?fref=ts.
One of Lenny's favorite quotes from the Bhagavad Gita.
"On this path no effort is wasted,
no gain is ever reversed;
even a little of this practice
will shelter you from great sorrow."