Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

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.

The Power of the Porch

The front porch.

It’s the welcoming threshold into our home. The porch is a magical gathering place where we learn, socialize, celebrate, mourn, reflect, observe, confide, and just hang out.

Front porches stir memories from childhood. I grew up in Knightsville, an Italian neighborhood in Cranston, and it seemed like everyone had a porch. And not only did they have a porch, they practically lived on it during the summer and early Fall.  I asked my Dad about it and he said years ago, before tv, everybody sat out on their porch. It was their entertainment and a voyeuristic glance around their particular corner of the world.  “You would see your neighbors as they walked by to go get ice cream or some treat, wave a warm hello and sometimes stop and chat.”

I fondly remember my childhood porch; it was the gathering place for family and friends on summer nights. We raced home to make curfew and then plopped down, telling outlandish tales of the day to make ourselves laugh. You’d never know who’d show up to visit, and better yet, bring something sweet.

Laughing Elephant has a porch too. A big and breezy one with adirondacks haphazardly arranged, remnants of the last conversations that took place here. It was the selling point for us; we knew it would be an ideal gathering spot for our community and we were right. Students come early and stay late to sprawl on the steps and watch others mastering  handstands in the front yard.  The porch just draws you in, the perfect spot to savor a moment, to just be in the moment.

The front porch is like a yoga class. It’s home. It’s where we come to learn, socialize, celebrate, mourn, reflect, observe, confide  and sometimes just hang out.

Need a reminder of the magic of the front porch? Or a reminder of how wonderful yoga is? Please come and experience both at Laughing Elephant.

 

Summer Sol to Soul

Breathe it all in. Can you smell it? Summer has finally arrived in southern New England. It’s like Mother Nature is turning up the brightness in our corner of the world, a brightness that peaks on June 21st. It’s one big natural recharge,  physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Summer is a creative time for many of us; ideas we planted in the Spring may be starting to come to fruition, and we actually have the energy to see them through.  There’s also a feeling of rightness in our Summer Soul, a stirring that almost anything is possible as long as the sun is out.

Wherever your path leads you this summer, personally or professionally, let it be an adventure. Soak it in, soak it all in!

Rumi wrote: ‘And still, after all this time,  the Sun has never said  to the Earth, ‘you owe me.’  Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the sky.’

Amen.