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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Letter from Publisher

“He has like this five-foot radius of zen around him. And it just spreads to everyone.” –Shellie Du Bruyn on Graham Fowler

We began by sitting down, cross-legged, across from each other. I gazed at the master with anticipation, curiosity and complete trust. I could not stop smiling.

After a year of talking about it, I was finally getting together with Natural Awakenings’ yoga editor, Graham Fowler, for a private, two-hour session.

***** 

When I started searching for a yoga editor over two years ago, Mandy Roberts of FORM {yoga} made some suggestions. I told her that my vision for the yoga section was to take yogis deeper into the seven limbs beyond the asanas. In the list she gave me, one name jumped out from the others: Graham Fowler.

I knew of him by reputation and immediately wished he would say “Yes” to my request, but I also immediately dismissed the idea because of his stature—the founder of one of the most established and respected Atlanta studios, Peachtree Yoga Center, would not have the time or inclination to write for my little publication. 

After striking out on the first three candidates I interviewed, I approached Graham. To my utter surprise, he loved the idea!

Two years later, we have all benefited from Graham’s experience and wisdom. Even better, I have a new spiritual friend, and, in a way that I always felt would be the case, I also found a new teacher.
 
*****

I told Graham numerous times how I’ve lived most of my life in my head and how I had very little body awareness. Heck, I wasn’t even aware that body awareness was a thing! That’s how he decided that our session would not be about asanas.

“The body closes down around pain,” Graham explained at the start of our session, “but prana follows awareness, so we can facilitate the release of unconscious contraction.”

What followed was a series of poses that Graham placed and held me in. More than anything, the session reminded me of Thai yoga. In every moment, my job was to keep my mind focused on my body to detect what arose.

Toward the end of the session, something happened. Shortly after he placed one hand on my chest and the other on my back, I burst out in tears. For a few moments, I didn’t know why it had happened. But then a scene from childhood started playing in my mind, and, all of a sudden, I understood.

In those few moments, I experienced a physical sensation of release, my heart opening, and a lightness around my heart when I thought about one person in particular. It was a real, authentic, genuine healing. I know that because the next time I saw them, there was lightness in my heart instead of the dullness that had been there for decades. Rather than love feeling stuck, I felt it flowing for the first time in decades.

*****

I knew from the beginning that, with Graham’s partnership, Natural Awakenings would get the yoga section I’d been dreaming of. Through every conversation and interaction with him, my initial image of him as a deeply knowledgeable, wise, compassionate and thoughtful teacher was reinforced. But that single session with him was something entirely different. I received a gift of a lifetime, and there is no end to the thanks that I offer. To my friend “Peter:” I love you.

*****

And so it is with this issue that Graham’s tenure comes to an end, and I am beyond pleased to announce that Sheila Ewers, founder and owner of Johns Creek Yoga and Duluth Yoga, is our new yoga editor.

I don’t remember when Sheila first appeared on my radar, but it was many months before we had our first conversation about the position. Her response was immediate; she offered to write about the Yamas and Niyamas. Upon receiving her first article, we ended our search.

In a recent meeting with Sheila, I could not stop smiling. She will not only build upon what Graham started—she did receive her 200-hour certification from him—but she is brimming with new and exciting ideas.

So, welcome Sheila Ewers to Natural Awakenings! We look forward to your truth, your wisdom, your words and your direction, just as much as we embraced and cherished all of Graham’s gifts.

And Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and Season’s Greetings to All!

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