Tony Williamson

Tony Williamson, Elm Island Lake resident and summer yoga instructor at Karmady Yoga in Aitkin.

Anthony (Tony) Williamson is a summer resident of Aitkin; he has also been teaching yoga at Karmady Yoga this summer. Williamson will be at Karmady until Oct. 31 and plans to be available to teach again in the future.

Williamson is a resident of North Palm Beach, Fla., and a native of Augusta, Ga.

Williamson originally came to Minnesota on a basketball scholarship to the University of Minnesota, Morris from 1979-1983.

“It was a major cultural shift,” said Williamson. “I had no idea what I would be getting into, but fortunately there was a pipeline of college athletes coming to Morris from Georgia, so I had friends from my home-town who were also in Morris, and that made the transition easier.”

In 1983, Williamson finished his B.A. degree with an emphasis in accounting and computer science. In 1990, he met his wife Shelleye, who is from Minneapolis and they started an accounting firm. In 2008, they bought a cabin at Elm Island Lake, near Aitkin. The couple sold their accounting business in Minneapolis and bought a retirement home in Florida in 2019.

Life altering diagnosis

Williamson shared that he was diagnosed with chronic lymphoma leukemia three years ago; in addition to going through chemotherapy, Williamson shifted his lifestyle in response to what he understood as a warning from his body. Simultaneously with the conventional treatments, he sought out naturopathic and homeopathic practitioners, started eating organically, meditating and practicing yoga four to five times per week, and doing strength training, swimming, golf and bowling. He wanted to maintain and increase his health and flexibility as much as possible while recovering from his treatments. Williamson has documented improvement in his blood work during the times he was doing yoga and lifting weights.

What does Williamson think caused him to develop blood cancer? His response is that because his father had died of chronic leukemia he had focused so much on his fear of getting cancer that he might have actually manifested it; caused it to surface.

Yoga connection

Lara Parkin, owner of Karmady Yoga in Aitkin, was Williamson’s first strong connection to a regular yoga practice. Williamson was purchasing supplements and natural foods at Gramma’s Pantry and was introduced to Parkin by Pamela Mizner, who is also a yoga instructor at Karmady. Williamson has been weight training with Thomas Mizner for the past two years also. After taking classes at Karmady in 2018, Williamson decided to get his yoga instructor certificate and was able to step in and lead classes at Karmady this year.  He plans to return to Aitkin next summer and continue his yoga practice here.

In response to concerns he hears about yoga being a religious practice, Williamson says, “Yoga is a whole life practice and doesn’t conflict with anything. It should never be perceived as a threat.”

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