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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Letter From The Publisher

The above words always bring a smile to my face. It calls to mind my favorite Christmas.

My former wife, Pam, was carrying our first child, and on Christmas morn, I gently woke her and she found herself surrounded by our menagerie of stuffed animals. We had quite the collection back then, and the fact that we had developed full-blown personas for seven of them was the clearest indicator that we needed to have children.

There was an abundance of panda bears, as my nickname for Pam was Panda Bear. Poppy was the biggest, the poppa bear. Clarice was the medium-sized mother bear. And Ogie was the small baby bear. But he was hardly innocent. Named after James Oglethorpe, as we had picked him up in Savannah, Ogie was brash, loud, sarcastic and decidedly sexist. He was the acknowl- edged leader of the pack, which also included the environmentally conscious lamb named Garcia, the egotistical “I’m perfect” bunny Pav—short for Pavarotti Always Falls Down and Makes a Big Splash, and two other named animals, Raffy and MC, neither of whose appear- ance or personality I can recall. Hey, it was 25 years ago.

So, on Christmas morning 1992, these seven critters, along with several other unnamed fur balls, serenaded

the Panda Bear with a host of holiday songs rewritten to reflect their various personalities. Pav sang “O Perfect Me” to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree,” Poppy crooned “It Came Upon a Panda Bear” and Ogie kicked things off by barking “Park Your Butt,” a rethinking of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing.)

Park your butt the Panda barked, time to get that Christmas spark!

Why you ask, because I said so, You won’t blow my Christmas glow.

The “Panda” in this case refers to Pam, because she was all about Christ- mas whereas I always had a little bit of “Bah! Humbug!” in me.

It was not only my favorite Christmas, but Pam’s as well, and that was all because the love was palpable. I have no idea what I bought for her that Christ- mas, or most Christmases for that matter, but I’ll probably always remember the words to “Park Your Butt.” Gifts of the heart have their own memories, and from my family to yours, I hope that regardless of which holidays you celebrate you’ll create a moment this season that you’ll remember a quarter century from now. Happy Holidays to all.

With this issue, it is with great pride and pleasure that I announce the launch of a new section and introduce a new editor.

For the last three months we have been soft-launching our new yoga section. September was our annual yoga issue, but this time, bigger and better than ever—we had a nine-page spread! October and November featured the continuation of a three-part series on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that we started in September. We are now ready to turn over the monthly reins to a veteran of Atlanta’s yoga community, Graham Fowler, founder and owner of Peachtree Yoga Center in Sandy Springs.

I felt fortunate beyond reason when Sarah Buehrle agreed to join Natural Awakenings as managing editor, and now, doubly so to have a luminary such as Graham join us. Graham, E-RYT 500, founded Peachtree Yoga Center in 1998, and since then he has personally validated more than 800 yoga teachers in more than forty 200- and 300-hour teacher-training courses.

As rich as that experience is, his yogic journey actually began further back: 44 years ago. And despite the fact that I just began practicing yoga this summer, we connected immediately over a shared vision of what we want this new section to do: to meet Atlanta’s yogis wherever they are and to help deepen their practices to discover greater peace of mind, experience more joy and enlarge their capacity for love and compassion.

Dear readers and yogis, please welcome Graham to these pages and enjoy the goodness and wisdom that will flow from his pen. May we all be the better for it.

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