March 2016 Feature Story: Spiritual Health

Spiritual health and the answers within

Nancy Pfeil, board president for Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center, Adams Center, in the yoga studio., Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Nancy Pfeil, board president for Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center, Adams Center, in the yoga studio. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

By Joleene Moody, NNY Business

Nancy Pfeil is a warrior. At 75, she has faced adversity that most of us can’t even begin to imagine: a broken neck and back, the death of her husband, two bouts of breast cancer and an aneurism on her liver that made her incredibly ill.
She was able to overcome these challenges, she said, because she did what most people can’t: She trusted her inner voice.

“As I experienced more trials in my life, I listened,” Mrs. Pfeil said. “I didn’t run in fear. We have all the answers to life within. I go within in tragedy.”

Mrs. Pfeil attributes her ability to overcome to many years of practicing yoga. For the past four decades she has been a familiar face at the Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center in Adams Center, both as a Yogi and President of the Board of Directors. It is here she finds solace. It is here she helps others find the same.

“Yoga is a science that works on the whole body, not just the superficial muscles,” she said. “It works on the body, mind, and emotions. We work with the body through the postures, the mind through meditation, and the emotions with the breath. We slow down all of these so we can hear the answers within.”

For many, hearing that still, small voice to find answers is a challenge. It is overrun by the noise of our fast-paced and often negative culture. When we are bombarded with beliefs and voices that take over our own (especially when we doubt ourselves and the life we are living) this is when we struggle the most. So that we can hear the voice within and begin to make the shift, Mrs. Pfeil said, “We just have to slow down, breathe, and listen. You can’t just do it once and expect results. It takes a while to slow down. Change doesn’t happen after one try.”

The idea of listening to the inner voice is a spiritual tradition that has been written about and practiced for centuries. Mrs. Pfeil calls it ‘listening to the guru within.’ During the most difficult times in her life, she has used this practice to heal and overcome. From meditation to yoga to simple breathing, she saw how this spiritual way of health changed her life for the better.

“Yoga enhances any beliefs that you have, whatever they are,” she said. “It makes them clearer. I’m not particularly religious, but I am very spiritual. I was brought up with a devout belief system I thought was narrow-minded. When I got into yoga, it expanded my awareness. I got into my heart center the more I did yoga. It has guided me very well in my life.”

Mrs. Pfeil said she had to have a lot of faith during the difficult times. Her faith may look different from someone else’s, but how one’s faith looks doesn’t matter half as much as how it is practiced. Without practicing a way to trust and go within, little else will matter. Fear will take over and shut you down.

“What you fear, you bring to you,” Mrs. Pfeil said.

Now in the wisest years of her life, Mrs. Pfeil said she knows how crucial her own spiritual practice was and still is to her health.

“With all that has happened, I’m still here,” she said. “I feel I’m supposed to be here and I think the yoga center is a big part of it. I have a purpose. For me it’s serving the community around the yoga center and giving people a chance to open themselves and look at themselves a little deeper. You have to have a purpose, too, and that is to serve the world around you.”