Ronnie Arond has been a part of the Cross Island YMCA since the doors first opened in 1965. The Y has become her second home, and this is where Ronnie – now 91 – teaches yoga.
Hank Arond, Ronnie’s husband for 71 years, encouraged her to try a yoga class in 1973 when she was working as a nurse. Ronnie didn’t like it much, but eventually it stuck. Ronnie began teaching yoga 40 years ago, and she began teaching yoga at the Cross Island YMCA 20 years ago.
Ronnie developed the ABCE approach to yoga: Awareness, breathing, creative care, and enjoyment, and she infuses her classes with these principles.
In this interview, Ronnie talked to me about her yoga practice.
Ysmay: What brought you to yoga? Do you remember what your first yoga class was like?
Ronnie: In 1973 my husband, Hank, encouraged me to come to a yoga class. I didn’t like the class but went to one more class because I didn’t want to disappoint my husband.
Why did he want you to try yoga?
[I was] a nurse. I was very physically active, but my husband really encouraged me to try yoga. And I’m thankful for his pushing. I’ve never had such a special movement in my life. It was indescribable what I felt. It was on such a level that was so deep and profound. It was life-changing.
What has yoga done for you?
Personally it has reminded me of my mindfulness, making choices and to live in the moment. But to be in the moment is the most difficult of all. Yoga reminds me stay to TRY in the moment. I ask my class what time is it, and the answer is always “now”. I start my class with a chime and I remind my class to take a deep breath, to open up the body, and when they blow it out – stresses will be relived.
What advice do you have for someone who may be struggling to stick to their yoga practice?
When you don’t feel like doing yoga, that’s when you need it the most. We all aim to be perfect, but we’re human. I encourage people to identify with yourself. Yoga opens your mind to things you never thought you could do. It’s a wonderful way of art. It gives you a fresh outlook on life. You become in touch with your inner-self, become aware of your breathing, alignment, and your creative path. But most importantly the enjoyment you get with how you feel about yourself reflects to others.
Try yoga at least two times. Speak to your doctor. You have to be able to laugh at yourself – trying new positions that you never tried. Yoga is of the heart, not the physical, but the emotional heart. Use yoga in your daily activities.