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”A Brief History of Yoga: Its Meaning and Context” will be the subject when Debra McCormack speaks to the June 16 meeting of the Emerald Coast Meditation Society.

The free meeting will start with a silent 30-minute meditation at 6:30 p.m. at Christ the King Episcopal Church parish hall, at 480 N. Co. Hwy. 393, Santa Rosa Beach, one-half mile north of Hwy. 98. The ECMS is ecumenical and follows no religion.

This presentation will touch on the 6000-year-old history of yoga, said McCormack, from ancient beginnings to the present-day applications, incorporating the essential teachings of Kripalu.

McCormack says she had retired from a 25-year career coaching gymnastics on three continents, Australia, Asia and the U.S., when she turned to equestrian competition.

At the suggestion of her riding instructor, she began taking vinyasa yoga classes to help maintain balance when her horse was clearing jumps and obstacles. “It helped my riding immensely, not only with balance but hip flexibility, posture and breathing,” she says.

“Remaining calm through a challenging jump course is key to a successful round. If I remained calm and focused, it gave my equine companion confidence to do his job efficiently as well.” She has found that the mind-body connection gained through yoga follows one through all facets of life. “That’s how I got hooked,” she says.

McCormack says a turning point in her life occurred when she attended a 200-hour residency program at The Kripalu Center in Lennox, Mass., the largest yoga and holistic center in No. America. She is currently working on her 500-hour certification and she continues to broaden her studies, attending clinics and workshops, most recently at the 2016 Yoga Journal conference.

McCormack has worked as a surgical technologist at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast for the last 13 years. She and her husband, John, own and operate Serene Farms, an organic farm operation in DeFuniak Springs.

The evening will conclude with a short guided meditation. Anyone who needs meditation instruction should arrive by 6:15 p.m. Contact nancyjames@embarqmail.com for information.
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