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Meditate . . . and mind your neighbor

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In the winter of 2015, Laura Shockley, once a 24/7 lawyer for a corporate firm, found herself a long way from her former office on Long Island’s North Shore. She was in Varanasi, India, one of the holiest cities in that country.

She had come to meditate on who she really was, and who she wanted to be. “It was like nothing I have ever experienced,” Shockley, 44, said of the country. “India is like an assault on your senses. In that holy city, I was remembering what I had always know, but had forgotten.”

From that experience in a far-off land Shockley experienced a vision that, she said, showed her she wanted to open a yoga practice, to teach what she had learned, and to help others heal, from emotional, mental and physical distress. Today, Shockley is the owner of Point Lookout Yoga & Wellness, a 1,200-square foot focal point in the tiny Barrier Beach community. The shop opened last July, and now has 10 full-time trainers and some others who fill in. Shockley’s yoga place is not just about yoga.

Cancer patients come free of charge for monthly classes.

The shop has raised over $1,300 to help animals and conservation efforts in Australia, still fighting the aftermath of wildfires.

It raises money for food kitchens in Long Beach

It collected blankets, hats, gloves and scarves for the seniors at St Marys R.C. Church in Long Beach.

“This is what I’m, supposed to be doing,” Shockley said. “I meditated to share this way of life.”

Her journey to this place has been long and not always easy.

After graduating from Fordham Law School, she took a job as an assistant district attorney in the Brooklyn DA’s office, working for the hard-driving Joe Hynes, known for rooting out nursing-home abuses. Shockley worked in the office’s domestic violence bureau. Budget cuts after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, forced her to move on and take a job with Rivkin Radler in Uniondale, one of Long Island’s largest law firms. She stayed a decade, making partner and working on employment litigation, before leaving in 2013.

She was working dizzying hours, and making big bucks. But, she said, the work “became so contentious. My soul said this doesn’t feel right.”

Shockley then took a job with a small boutique law firm in Melville, which left her free time to study yoga. She married and separated, lost a home in Lindenhurst to Super Storm Sandy, before winding up in Varansai.

Her initial yoga shop on Lido Boulevard was not much to look at, or out of, Shockley said. It had no front window. She soon moved a few yards away, into the current, larger quarters, and plans an expansion soon.

Shockley is now vice-president of the Point Lookout Chamber of Commerce.

“She’s a phenomenal person,” said Stephen Merola, the Chamber’s president. “We had a very struggling Chamber when I took over a few years ago. We really had nobody but me. But when Laura and her staff came along, things changed big time. We now have monthly meetings and we’re in touch all the time by phone.” Soon, Merola said, each Chamber member will receive instruction in CPR and the use of Narcan, for the treatment of opioid overdose.

Judy Israel of Point Lookout, a cancer survivor who takes Shockley’s classes, recently underwent a 14-hour corrective surgery procedure. “I had no idea what was going on” during the surgery, “but the yoga training helped me breath. The nurses were very impressed with how I breathed.”

At yoga, Israel said, “You’re in your own kind of zone. Everybody goes at their own pace.” Israel is also a personal trainer.

Shockley said she plans to continue to make her yoga practice more than a place to practice yoga. “This is a place where we all take care of each other,” she said. “We’re all here to walk each other home.”