by Sila Miller

Gretchen Hein and Marty Klein have teamed up to deliver yet another helpful tool, “Beginning Yoga for the Blind and Visually Impaired.”

Some time ago, Gretchen and Marty asked me to listen to and critique an information-packed five-CD series about yoga. Being a complete novice where yoga is concerned, I had no idea what I was in for. However, I have long been an advocate of people who are blind finding freedom to get moving with confidence and safety, and was glad to take part.

Yoga is a gentle, low-impact form of exercise and stretching which increases flexibility and endurance and helps to lubricate joints, ligaments and tendons. I found “Beginning Yoga for the Blind and Visually Impaired” to be a very inclusive and helpful series of yoga instructions about poses, attitude and finding your wings toward good health through yoga fitness. It feeds both body and mind. The Hein-Klein duo has covered everything, from a message to potential yoga instructors about having a blind student in class, to information about orientation to the room and yoga mat, and from pronunciations and different yoga traditions and practices to suggestions about developing your own routine.

Marty shares some of his difficulties regarding balancing without sight, which is helpful and makes it all right for us beginners not to be perfect with each and every pose. I truly appreciated the statement “might isn't always right.” The analogy of "creating space to breathe into" is a very helpful explanation, as it truly is amazing how difficult to remember to breathe it can be when you're really concentrating on a pose. On disk 4, the phrase "smile from face to heart" is absolutely awesome and right on time! The CDs are easily navigated and the instructions are easy to follow. Gretchen's voice is like a verbal massage, and I think she may be a mind reader, reminding us to breathe and bring our minds back when they wander.

I first met Gretchen and Marty when they were residing in Tallahassee and it was my privilege to get to know them while they were here. When I think of them, several things come to mind: gardener, rhythm class instructor, book author and disability awareness social hour (DASH).

Gretchen has been a yoga instructor for many years, is an avid gardener and has an infectious laugh that sounds like a bubbling brook. She is a wealth of knowledge regarding good nutrition, health and well-being, not to mention a genuinely sweet and gentle person.

Marty is a counselor, musician (playing drums, harmonica and guitar), and a massage therapist. He is the prolific author of such books as “Blind Sighted: One Man's Journey from Sight to Insight,” his autobiography, and “Emotional Cleansing,” a collection of ideas and strategies drawn from his vast experience to help anyone raise their consciousness and enjoy a happier life.

To learn more about “Beginning Yoga,” contact Marty Klein at [email protected] or call him at (845) 679-7532.

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