Archive for August, 2014

The Soul of a Studio

It starts with attitude.

And ends with bhavana. (feeling)

And in between? An ever evolving  energetic imprint of a community that calls this practice space home. Our hopes,  fears, triumphs, failures, tears and laughter. It’s all here, left on a mat. But when the mat is rolled up and neatly put away, the energy of the practice  remains, seeping into the floors and walls to form the core of this Sangha, this community.

This is the Soul of a studio.

Every now and again, a member of our community mentions “soul.” It’s because it is clear to our veteran members and newest visitors– there is something special about our yoga community. Without dogma, studio rules, a prescribed methodology or a standard sales pitch, this studio in a small town in a small state thrives.

I think it is because our studio community has Soul.

I sit at the front desk and greet the steady stream of students filing in, and hear their stories fill our space with laughter and sometimes tears  and the studio comes alive. Mavericks and mystics, badasses and babes, teachers and students alike come to move and be moved. We unpack muscles and stretch out the issues in the tissues until, rung out, there’s nothing left but space and…you.  How freaking scary is that? There’s no granola crunchy here, just a rawness and honesty that will take your breath away.

This community has a mountain of a man who has perfected the pick up hug,  a fisherman who once got knocked off his boat and swam for three hours before being rescued. There’s the girl with the weary and wary look of abuse who tries to silently heal. There’s the transgender woman with the most beautiful inner light who has found acceptance within these walls. There’s oh so wise Doc who loves Led Zeppelin and the back row. There’s a talented personal trainer who loves to laugh in class while mystically floating from asana to asana . And there’s the roller derby queen who is covered in tatts that tell her story and just oozes sweet determination. As students start to creatively and individually move within the practice, they slowly flow and become one.

These are snapshots of our community that nowhere near complete the picture.  Their stories all spill out, without fear of judgement  or shame. There is unity in diversity and authenticity in vulnerability.

This is the Soul of a studio.

It is not the physical  structure or the decorations that give a yoga studio soul.   It’s individuals coming together…each part to make the whole. Our Seva (service)  here is to hold space, listen and do what is needed. . Allow people to be heard, so then they in turn can listen.

The soul of a studio is ALL of these things, community, diversity, charity, space, kindness, love– oh yeah, and don’t forget about the yoga.

Surrender

by Lori Mancini in Uncategorized with 3 Comments

Lori Mancini is writing this one…and the opinions in this piece belong solely to her.

Depression kills. In light of the recent passing of Robin Williams, we are confronting this topic once again.

Depression kills your spirit, dampens your light, and douses your fire. Depression is insidious, a slowly seeping smudge at first, and  then a spreading inky stain that blurs the window of your soul. This darkness is debilitating, and reminds us how flawed and fragile we are.

Some of the most talented people we know flirt with this darkness; they believe it feeds their creativity. I’m not sure, maybe it does.  But there’s a fine line that is continually being pushed to keep that darkness at bay. Sometimes we can control it. Others times, we can’t. We resign ourselves to the darkness instead of surrendering. Surrendering to accepting and seeing what is, acknowledging and being open. Asking the question, ‘how do I make the best of this?’ And having the strength to receive…receive  light, love, and help with pushing it all back.

Depression is a taboo topic, and so subjective. One in three suffer from depression and or panic/anxiety attacks  once in their lifetime.Naysayers think depression can be turned on and off. They question its existence. Start feeling better, now!  It doesn’t work that way. Most people who suffer from depression hide behind smiles and are exhausted from trying to remain strong.

A wise woman recently told me that the darkness is temporary and should be considered a stepping stone. Take it one day at a time, one moment if necessary. And carve out time in your day to reflect on what you are grateful for. 5 gratefuls every day. Even if it’s just opening your eyes and having the ability to put your feet on the floor. Even in our darkest hours, we need to seek out the little slivers of light. Collectively those little slivers become  a beam and slowly we can thankfully turn our faces to the warm beam of hope.

Breathe.

Start to acknowledge your self worth.

Start to receive the support of the outstretched hand of your community.

Start to be seen.

Start healing…healing is starting…the beginning of a new beginning.

And shame on anyone who ridicules the process along the way.