Rye Y Story Project: Michael G.

Michael-GoWhen I was 35—I’m 62 now—I started taking yoga and meditating, and became a vegetarian. It put me on a path that allowed me to accomplish my goals. I met instructor Carol Stefanelli approximately twenty years ago at a yoga facility. When Carol moved from that location, I lost track of her. Over time, my physical condition began to deteriorate from what it had been when I was exercising in her classes.

I heard about the Rye Y yoga program and registered for the classes at Wainwright House. To my surprise, it was Carol Stefanelli who was teaching my class. I joined the Monday and Wednesday sessions and paid the daily rate. Over time, I observed that everyone else in the group was checking the column on the attendance sheet to indicate they were Y members. This prompted me to come into the Y, where I met the friendly staff and became a member. It not only made economical sense to be a member, but I started using the whole facility. This membership has changed my life.

I was running out of breath when walking up a flight of stairs. I intended to do something about this. The first program I enrolled in at the Y was tailor-made for me and others like me in my age range.

Diane Negvesky introduced me to an exercise program that made a difference. Today, Laura Laura works with me on maintaining the progress I have made. My first goal was to lose weight and be able to comfortably climb up three flights of stairs. My overarching goal was to develop a lithe body and now, thirty-eight pounds lighter, I am flexible and in excellent physical condition. Besides the rigorous program I was on, it’s amazing that this goal was more quickly accomplished through an exercise that I never thought I would do. Zumba. Now, I say, “Real athletes do Zumba”. I not only lost weight, I gained flexibility and endurance. There is nothing like dancing Zumba while listening to music.

I sincerely thank my three YMCA Zumba teachers: Junixsa, Angelica, and Martha. The folks in Zumba are like a family. The fact I most want to share (especially with the YMCA guys) is that I can now spend an hour comfortably on a treadmill and I’m wet, or I can spend fifteen minutes in Zumba and I’m wet down to my socks!” I never accomplished this result in any other exercise I have ever done.