Religions and Spirituality

Mt. Irenaeus Coordinator Mary Schlosser Demonstrates Yoga at St. Bonaventure University

Souper Monday coordinator Kathy Boser and Julie Hall who works in Field Services or the School of Education follow Schlosser's lead. Credits: Taylor Kickbush
“With yoga, you don’t ever want any pain,” Mary Schlosser said while teaching yoga to St. Bonaventure employees during a Souper Monday. Credits: Taylor Kickbush

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — “With yoga, you don’t ever want any pain,” Mary Schlosser said, bending her waist backward into a "reverse warrior" pose during the Feb. 27 Souper Monday presentation at St. Bonaventure University.

Fifteen years earlier, Schlosser was filled with pain as she became a widow with a 2-year-old son.

 “I was not equipped for that type of loss. The grief was so insurmountable that it was beyond anything I could handle,” Schlosser said of her husband’s death.

Sign Up for E-News

However, the then-41-year-old promised herself she would find the strength to provide happiness for her son.

“As my husband was dying, I made the promise that I wouldn’t be the mother that couldn’t get off the couch afterward. I wanted to be a mother that could enjoy life as much as I could and give as much happiness to my son as I could give,” Schlosser said.

Schlosser attempted to cope with her angst through her faith and through counseling, and although helpful, nothing seemed to work.

Then, she heard a voice.

“I was at the YMCA one day and I heard a voice in my head that said, ‘You should do yoga.’ I heard the voice again on several other occasions. Then, the Olean YMCA started losing staff, and I was asked to teach a class. I told them I didn’t want to teach any classes unless it a yoga class. They said they were starting yoga classes that fall and said they’d train me to teach yoga,” Schlosser said. “It felt like God was speaking to me.”

Schlosser began teaching yoga when her son began kindergarten, and 13 years later, boasts a large variety of yoga experiences. She has traveled the United States, attending yoga classes and utilizing what she considers to be a "tool."   

 “I have this tool, yoga, that has allowed me to find acceptance and has allowed me to share it with people. Your tool may not be yoga,” Schlosser said to the Souper Monday attendees, “but I think there are tools for each of us out there to find love and acceptance.”

The now-56-year-old is a yoga instructor at the Olean Meditation Center and is a coordinator of development and volunteers at Mt. Irenaeus for St. Bonaventure University. Faculty and staff welcomed the "gentle yoga" Schlosser offered in the University Club, demonstrating how to do a "downward dog" and balance in a "warrior two" position.

Schlosser concentrated on just two of the eight branches of yoga: breathing and movement. She invited the group to relax, to breathe in and out through their noses and to release stress from their bodies.

“There is no judgment in yoga. You just be,” Schlosser said, “The body holds stress that we become so accustomed to that we don’t realize it. Yoga helps unravel that slowly.”

Despite some aching moans, the university faculty and staff willingly twisted and turned in their chairs under Schlosser’s yoga instruction. Several employees chuckled when trying the different poses.

Schlosser laughed with them, stressing the importance of acceptance in yoga.

“There is a philosophy to yoga, and to me that philosophy is acceptance,” Schlosser said before ending her presentation in a traditional yoga salutation.

Schlosser placed her palms together with her fingertips facing upward, symmetrically aligning her hands and core in a prayer pose. She bowed, saying "namaste," symbolizing a goodbye.

“Namaste means many things, but I believe that it means that the divinity in me sees and honors the divinity in you,” Schlosser said.

“Namaste,” the attendees responded, joining their hands together in the prayer pose and bowing in return.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Grandpa Practiced Sustainability

My grandpa was of the Depression Era. Sustainability wasn’t “a thing” back then — it was just the way you lived. Though he was raised in a time when you were thankful to be able to put a good meal on the table, he likely had a standard of life that we would consider average or middle class today. He didn’t grow up in a slum or shanty town, but he did understand the ...

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Bonnies Historic Season Will Give Community Source of Pride Years to Come

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball season came to an end earlier than the team had hoped. Coaches looked disappointed, and players covered their faces with towels. St. Bonaventure’s (26-8) loss to Florida (21-12) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament left many thinking what if?

However, the Bonnies historic season is nothing for the team to ...

Two Joes Scholarship Fund to preserve legacy of community businessmen

May 25, 2018

For many, a memorial scholarship is a living way to continue the memory of a loved one.

For Hank Certo and Louis “Ledgie” DeRose, the Two Joes Scholarship Fund is a way to remember two people who left a huge impact not only on both them, but also the entire community.

Certo and DeRose recently established the Two Joes Scholarship Fund in the name of community-minded businessmen ...

Golf “Fore” Heroes Fund supports Wounded warriors through golf

When he takes to the course on July 7, CJ Mackey will do so with a smile, but he will also know that there is a whole lot more to the day than birdies and bogies.

As a member of the Golf “Fore” Heroes Tournament committee, Mackey has been a part of organizing the annual tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which has now raised over $17,000 since 2016.

This ...

William D. and Catherine Griffin Fraser Fund established at CRCF

Nothing can replace the kind of love that persists and flourishes for 43 years, but William Fraser has found a way to preserve the name and memory of his late wife, Catherine Griffin Fraser.

Fraser recently established the William D. and Catherine Griffin Fraser Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to make possible an annual scholarship and grants to the Olean General Hospital ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...