Ageless Yoga with Marnell Farley

Yoga in the desert for everyone

Today is
Marnell relaxes at home.

What yoga is not...

During our study and practice of yoga, we should remember that it's purpose is not limited to improving some chosen aspect of our lives – yoga and sports, yoga as therapy, yoga for this or for that.

Yoga can help us reach these worthwhile goals. But they are not yoga's purpose.

The poses, essential as they are to hatha yoga, are not its purpose, either. Their practice is only a tool used by hatha yoga.

...and what yoga is

Hatha yoga is a way of learning to be completely in our selves in the present, of quieting our too-distracted, unquiet minds. It is a physical meditation.

With time and practice, we learn to focus and to integrate and balance the different aspects of our selves. We begin to overcome some of our self-imposed limitations and delusions.

If we then re-examine yoga's purpose, we find that the goal of yoga is yoga.

To begin solving that riddle, remember that the word yoga means "union." The ultimate purpose of yoga becomes union with the object of our ultimate desire, whether spiritual self-knowledge, or our growing knowledge of a universal spirit.

Updated for Summer 2014.

A little of Marnell's history

FOR THIRTY YEARS I'VE STUDIED AND PRACTICED HATHA YOGA, the school of yoga that emphasizes body work and meditation. I've been most influenced by two of my teachers, the yoga masters Ana Forrest and B.K.S. Iyengar. In 1999 I completed formal teacher training and certification with Ana Forrest.

AT THE SEATTLE HOLISTIC CENTER I continued developing my skills as a senior yoga instructor, working with Collette Crawford. I taught using a variety of different yoga styles and methods, from classes using the Iyengar method to the popular yoga workshop Heal Your Back.

SINCE BEGINNING MY WORKING RETIREMENT, I've taught at a number of public and private venues in the Palm Springs area. I'm currently offering classes at the recently reopened Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage and the JW Marriott® Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert.

While teaching, both back in Seattle and here in the Valley, I have continued my own formal training, attending workshops, master classes, and certification programs.

I COMPLETED LAKSHMI VOELKER CHAIR YOGA CERTIFICATION in 2009. Since then, I've taught Chair Yoga at a number of locations in the Valley. I'm currently offering its benefits at Inter Valley Health, Gilda's Club, and Atria Senior Living.

I COMPLETED TEACHER TRAINING CERTIFICATION at Yandara Yoga Institute in 2013 after taking their intensive 26-day course. It covered human anatomy, yoga techniques, philosophy, teaching methods, and a lot more. Much of this program was a refresher for me, but it provided me with a fresh approach to the teaching of yoga.

AND I COMPLETED TRAINING FOR CHAIR CHI this past April, offered through Atria Senior Living. Chair Chi is the slow, gentle exercise of traditional Tai Chi, but developed to be done while seated. It adds a new dimension as I integrate its routines into my Chair Yoga classes.

My teaching style

I ENJOY BRINGING THE BENEFITS OF YOGA to real people with real needs, both beginning and seasoned practitioners, here in the Valley.

DURING MY YEARS OF TEACHING YOGA I've witnessed people's struggles with body issues, including my own. From these experiences, I've become committed to helping my students become aware of those hidden injuries and physical patterns commonly caused by trauma or simple habit.

I ENCOURAGE MY STUDENTS TO WORK TO HEAL THEMSELVES in a safe, supportive environment. I carefully watch to ensure that they do not push too hard and risk injury. The poses they do should never be uncomfortable — yoga is always done with mindful control.

IF SOME OF THE YOGA POSES LOOK DIFFICULT, TAKE HEART. Our yoga is suitable for all body types and all ages. I am a grandmother and a mother of three grown children. You're never too old to begin!

The benefits of yoga

YOGA'S BENEFITS ARE MANY AND WELL-DOCUMENTED. (Browse a few of the links on my resources page.) Physically, you will find yourself with improved posture, flexibility, strength, and stamina. Following from these are psychological benefits, including improved energy, stress-handling, concentration, and tranquility.

YOGA IS NOT ABOUT PUTTING YOUR FOOT BEHIND YOUR EAR. It is instead a rejuvinating process that will lead you to a new awareness of yourself and fresh view of the world.