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Yoga Offers Freedom, Even From Internment Camp Hardships

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Yoga Legacy, Phyllis PilgrimWhat can yoga do for you, especially if you face challenges, stress, and negative forces? What if you had spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp as a child? Could yoga help rid your mind and body from such experiences? Yoga and meditation master teacher, Phyllis Pilgrim is living proof of the healing power of yoga.  Her story is so inspirational that we interviewed her for our Fun and Fit radio show.

Rancho la Puerta entry door

Enter Rancho la Puerta through these doors to Balance, Compassion, and Yoga

We met Phyllis 28 years ago when we were newbie guest instructors at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, located just south of the border in Tecate, Mexico. At the time we knew her as the Group Fitness Director and well loved and respected yoga teacher. But we knew very little about yoga except that it seemed for the fringe and oohie woohie sorts, nor that Phyllis had lived in many countries and through war horrors. She was always so nurturing, funny, warm, and positive that we never imagined her history. That fact alone bespeaks the effect that yoga and meditation can have.

The Hidden Passport

The Hidden Passport

Bring some of those same positive feelings into your practice by listening to Phyllis’s story.  Can’t wait to listen?  Click on the radio episode and finish reading this post later. Not only will you appreciate what yoga can do to improve your life, but also you’ll get a kick out Phyllis’s sense of humor and English “elocution.” Then read the book she wrote of her childhood prison experiences, The Hidden Passport, which was easy to read and fast paced.

Given the hardships and cruelty she faced as a child imprisoned in Japanese war camps, Phyllis is especially appreciative of the ways yoga brought joy and awareness back into her life. “Yoga offers Balance, Compassion,and Gratitude,” she asserts.  “Yoga is not just what you do; it’s also who you are.” Some of the benefits yoga or meditation include:

  • finding more compassion for yourself
  • appreciating your body and mind
  • embracing change more effectively
Find Your Way

Find Your Way at Rancho la Puerta

Looking for the ultimate yoga or guided meditation treat? Head to Rancho la Puerta, a place we hold near and dear to our hearts. Take Phyllis’s classes in person. Discover an entire range of fitness classes, hikes, cardio workouts, art classes, and top quality instructors. (Side note: if you are thinking of going to “the Ranch” let us know as we can save you $250).

Please click to visit us at, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit.  See our instagram pics at: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. We follow back!

We were not compensated in any way for this post.  Our goal is for you to listen to our radio show and have a healthier, happier life.  For more on yoga, take a look at our post, Yoga: For Flexibility? Weight Loss? Animals?

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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14 Responses to Yoga Offers Freedom, Even From Internment Camp Hardships

  1. Lisa @ RunWiki March 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Oh what I wouldn’t do to take one of Phyllis’s classes at the Ranch. It sounds like heaven and I love Mexico!
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..A Healthier Strawberry MilkMy Profile

    • KymberlyFunFit March 6, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      When I was last at the Ranch I took Phyllis’s meditation class – somewhat trepidatiously as I don’t usually last long holding still and quiet. It was PERFECT. I got so into it that I now have two meditation apps on my phone. How far are you from the border? A good running distance?
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Yoga Offers Freedom, Even From Internment Camp HardshipsMy Profile

  2. MegG March 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Sounds beautiful! I’m thinking about trying yoga again. So far I haven’t had great experiences, but I’ve been told that Iyengar may be the answer for me. Thanks for introducing me to this ranch!!
    MegG recently posted..Get Fired Up!My Profile

  3. Pamela Hernandez March 7, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    Wow, what a story. And what great vacation idea!
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..Monthly Workout Playlist March 2013My Profile

  4. Miz March 7, 2013 at 4:19 am #

    I NEEEEEED (not want!) to go there…
    Miz recently posted..Im a crowd pleaser!My Profile

  5. KymberlyFunFit March 7, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Call us! Now that you’re in CA maybe you can drive down and join us on our next visit. One downside – tornado free (as in guests must be older than 16).
    KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Healthy Heart: Improve Your Circulation and FlexibilityMy Profile

  6. Jody - Fit at 55 March 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    I definitely need this!!! I want to take yoga but NOT at the gym.. a more intimate place & just can’t do the $ now… amazing!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..How Old Are You? What Do You See in the Mirror?My Profile

  7. Calla Gold March 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story. It’s amazing that she was able to find so much happiness and joy in yoga, and thus life.

  8. Mike March 8, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Yoga makes you more flexible, but it’s not common knowledge that it also makes you strong, develops balance and coordination, and even fixes longstanding aches and pains. Yoga is an ideal addition to any health regime, and if you understand what you’re doing you can get a lot out of a very small amount of practice
    Mike recently posted..Water and Weight LossMy Profile

  9. Lisa Trenton March 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    My goodness, this literally almost lays out the passion of Yoga to look like the amazing healing magic that it truly is. It’s amazing to see how many lives it changes and transforms in ways that are way beyond the physical. The reminders here are powerful and Phyllis Pilgrim makes it so obvious. Really opened my eyes!
    Lisa Trenton recently posted..Yoga Instructor Salary By StateMy Profile

  10. Eldon April 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Firefox.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d
    post to let you know. The layout look great though!

    Hope you get the issue solved soon. Many thanks
    Eldon recently posted..EldonMy Profile

  11. yoga teacher training NYC May 2, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises (and prayer if one is so inclined) are not only excellent ways to help reduce teen anxiety but also go a long way in helping them develop in balanced and integrated adults. Enjoyed your article, and am forwarding it to people I know who will be interested.

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