Soaring with an Eagle

Every morning at 7:30 a.m., for the past 15 years, men and women from all walks of life have gathered at Pineapple Yoga on the North Shore to practice Ashtanga yoga. Once you get a taste for the transformative power of the practice, many say, you’re hooked.

“Everybody has their own story of how it has changed their lives,” said Mary Wilder, who has been practicing on Kauai for three years. “Physical transformation, spiritual, emotional, it touches all of that.”

Before yoga exploded in the West, it had been practiced for thousands of years in India, where it developed as a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Pineapple Yoga teaches traditional Ashtanga yoga, as passed down by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India.

Because yoga is designed to promote longevity and reduce mental stress, it is known for its therapeutic benefits. Few understand these benefits as deeply as Eagle, Pineapple Yoga’s founder and teacher.

A professional racquetball player at the age of 20, life as he knew it vanished when a fatal car accident left him debilitated. After receiving a 360-degree spinal fusion laminectomy surgery, losing his professional contracts and unable to move, he knew that he needed a way out. He took his knowledge of yoga, developed as an adolescent, and was able to fully recover to a state of health that allowed him to return full time to the men’s professional International Racquetball Tour.

Eagle’s experience of healing his own body through yoga has inspired many over the years to practice with him at Pineapple Yoga.

David Kenny was diagnosed with Crone’s disease in 2008 after he experienced an attack that landed him in the hospital. After years of a slow and painful recovery, unable to use his body or enjoy life, Kenny decided to give yoga a try. Within six months, he was able to reduce his medication. Finally, like Eagle, Kenny had found a way out of his debilitating circumstances and was taking control of his health.

Yoga’s effects are beneficial for all bodies, old or young, whatever the present state of health may be, says Eagle. On any given day, he’ll work with students from a wide spectrum of conditioning, from surfers and gardeners to electricians and computer programmers in a class.

Pineapple Yoga will have its 15th anniversary community appreciation celebration on June 5 at Anini Beach. Info: www.pineappleyoga.com

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