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A mother-daughters trio finds a family bond in yoga.

Our family's yoga story began 12 years ago, when my mom, Jill, started exploring hatha yoga and invited my sister and me to join her. Mom became a certified yoga teacher in 2005.1 trained to be a Bikram teacher in 2007, and my sister, Leanne, went through training last year.

We all try to take each other's classes or practice together at least once a week, and our dad's a regular in Mom's classes. In class, we can share our struggles and encourage each other. We each hit a wall at different points in our practice, and when we do, it's nice to have someone there who supports us, who understands what we're struggling with, and, most important, who can make us smile.

My mom and sister and I used to bond over activities like shopping, but yoga is a deeper, more authentic way for us to connect. When we practice together, we see aspects of ourselves in each other, both in our physical alignment and in our personalities, and we feel the strong family bond between us. We know that no matter where our paths take us, we will always have yoga to bring us back together.

As an instructor, I tell my students that their physical and mental health supports the relationships in their lives. When you learn through your yoga practice to treat yoursclfwith compassion and understanding, it opens you to feeling empathy and love for those around you. It works the other way, too— I believe the love and support I've felt from my family throughout my life has set me up for success in my own exploration of yoga, and has helped me to find true alignment in my heart, body, and soul, shauna tomanek all now

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Yoga Sutra in Action Kate Holcombe is the founder and president of Healing Yoga Foundation in San Francisco. Her teachings apply the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali to daily life.

spread the light

Patanjali's Yoga Sutra teaches that the only person you can change is yourself; your practice is to create change from within by clearing your mind, connecting with your true Self, and acting from a place of wisdom. But the beauty of this seemingly "selfish" practice is that when you do your inner work, others around you, particularly those you are closest to, experience the positive effects of your work firsthand.

Our loved ones are often inspired by the positive changes they see in us to start their own yoga practice. As you continue with your practice, you can inspire others on the path of yoga, creating a community, or sanqha, of support and encouragement. What better way to create positive change in the world than through your own quiet but powerful example? kate holcombe

Leanne Tomanek

Jill Tomanek, 55, and daughters Shauna, 32, and Leanne, 29.

Leanne TomanekHistory Yoga

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