Whilst learning from Anita Grace of Smiling Heart Yoga, I sat across from a seminarian named Mallory. We were invited after a time of stretching and yoga poses to take a few deep breathes and focus our gaze on each other’s eyes. Mallory’s strength became evident to me. My creative mind began to create large cosmic themes to represent Mallory. I saw her clothed in strength, standing firm. And my own eyes poured out tears. And more tears. And I wept with deep pain and the grief my body carried, and the burdens of my soul- the child of my hurt- seemed to lift and be healed. I felt as if Mallory could see into my pain and the cloudy grief that I have tried to bury underneath distractions of busyness and trying to control everything. And catharsis came. Perhaps it was some post conference glow, but Sunday I even attended a church of my heritage and did not go into hysterics when someone spoke wrongly about LGBT issues. I did not judge them. I had compassion on this person. I felt at perfect peace. No offense, no rejection. Just Jesus.
— Bec Cranford Smith
My first yoga class ever was such a positive experience. Anita, Leah and the other ladies made me feel so welcome and they seemed truly happy about me coming to their special faith-enriched yoga class on Good Friday. I felt curious, relaxed, stretched, safe, pampered and healthy. I would definitely do it again and I highly recommend this to anyone who would like to incorporate our Christian faith into the wonderful physical and meditative benefits of yoga. It’s a beautiful way to honor ourselves and others who want to participate in a strengthening and restorative yoga community.
— Anne Paoletti Bayna
At a recent seminar, whose purpose was to offer strategies on ways to change the world for the better, I wandered into a lunchtime conversation about mind/body connections. I was hoping to get some tips on how to increase my flexibility but little did I know that I was about to have, not just a physical workout, but a profound and moving spiritual experience as well. At first, all I could think of was: What in the world was I doing in a room with a dozen women, listening to someone whom I had never met, opening herself up to a group of strangers in as honest and profound a way as I had ever heard. I should have felt uncomfortable, being the only male present, and yet, the openness and acceptance that emanated from Anita placed me completely at ease and more, allowed me to be vulnerable in a way that I had not expected. That hour touched me deeply and I am only sorry that I do not live nearer to Anita. I know that I would benefit greatly from regular association with this wise, compassionate and deeply spiritual individual. If you get the chance, spend time with this lady - you won’t regret it.
— William Carpenter Wesley Theological Seminary
I am thankful today for our very own Yogi, Anita Webster Brown. Not only is she showing us how to practice yoga, it is her empathy that helps us through it. She is one of the gentlest souls I have ever met. I am very thankful to know her.
— Nancy Keys and daughter Alexandra keys Dolby
When Anita starts leading a meditation in prison, a quiet settles in the room. It seems to happen every time. Her voice and presence and energy and direction combine to help us all settle. What a gift!
— Stephen Michael Tumolo, Executive Director! Heart-to-Heart: Comienzos East!
While I don’t consider myself a traditionally religious person, I have found that a deep –rooted spirituality has been awakened since practicing with Anita. Many of my thought –obsessions which have plagued my mind, no longer do so. Meditation and yoga have helped me to still the “monkey mind” and develop the passions that have been beneath the surface of everyday distractions. The best is yet to come! Thank you Anta for giving me the tools to transform!
— Barb Prince