Anyone who has taken a yoga class at Fresno City or Fresno State in the last 30 years probably is familiar with the voice of Yogi Shalom filling the room from his recorded hatha yoga sessions. The founder of Yoga of the Old Masters and The Yoga Center here in Fresno, Yogi Shalom has dedicated his life to helping other people find balance and live healthy lives. He's all the proof that you need: he practices what he preaches and it gets the results he promises, at almost 88 years old he's in better shape than most twenty-somethings I know.
If you've ever been to one of his classes at The Yoga Center, you're familiar with the comfortable, comical atmosphere that he brings with him wherever he goes. More times than I can count he's cracked jokes before class starts, or sometimes in the middle of a session, but it never detracts from the relaxing feel of the class. In the last year he's stopped making the bi-weekly trek down from Auberry to teach, but he's still living a holistic lifestyle and spreading the gospel of Yoga and healthy eating from his yoga studio he's set up in his home.
Something that makes Fresno super-ultra-mega-rad in this situation is that the local learning institutions have been using their yoga curriculum from someone who is also from the community instead of ordering yoga sessions from somewhere else.
I also probably should mention here that Yogi Shalom is also known as Charles Schoelen, or in other words, my grandpa. This makes day 19 special for two reasons- one being that I absolutely love yoga, the Yoga Center and his CDs, and two being that Fresno is a place where my whole family lives, and that makes Fresno important to me. This is a place that he and my grandmother chose to settle down with their family, and I am so happy that they did. I love a city that supports their local yogis!
(Photo from The Yoga of the Old Masters website. So are these photos:
Totally awesome. Yeah, can YOU do that? Well, you can if you do yoga, I guess...)