Archive for the ‘just be’ Category

Blessed Are The Flexible For They Shall Never Be Bent Out of Shape.

My whole life is based on movement.

I crisscross the country as a sports producer for ESPN,  joining my merry band of tv misfits along the road to creative brilliance.

I also co-own a yoga studio in East Greenwich, RI, a way station for souls who come for the physical  and stay for the spiritual and community acceptance.

So what happens when that movement comes to a grinding halt? When you have to find other ways to be flexible?

In March 2014 I was slowly coming off the road and got sick. Like strep throat and mono sick. Like I’m so sick and tired I can’t move sick. And then I couldn’t raise my left arm.  Countless tests, doctors appointments, PT appointments later and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. Until I went to the neurologist, who diagnosed a brachioplexus injury brought on by the mono. Apparently mono, an autoimmune illness, can attack nerves. Recovery time?  Two years. Two. Years. Try lugging a bag of heavy tapes cross country with the use of one arm. Or try to chattarunga when you have no feeling in your left arm and you collapse on the way down. My best friend is an amazing yogi and my favorite teacher, and she listened and lovingly argued with me as I struggled with not being…enough.

What. The. Freak.

I was mortified when I was asked to be a Lululemon ambassador; crap, I couldn’t do anything; how could I represent!  I hid when I went to the NYC Yoga Journal Conference and took Seane Corn’s class.  I love this woman and was embarrassed by my clumsiness.  I would fall off my bike…ALOT…  because I couldn’t hold onto the handle bars tightly and it would throw off my balance.  I refused to give in to any of it.  I would lie on my mat every Tuesday night in my friend Sharon’s class. I would do some sun salutations and then, exhausted, lay down and silently cry. Rivers of tears. God love my friend who was so encouraging and let me just soak it all in from corpse pose, appropriate because I felt like death most of the time. I did this for months. And over time, I slowly gave in. I put my beloved bike away, rolled out my mat, and leaned into the stiffness, stillness, numbness, the quiet, and the not knowing.

And that’s where the magic began.  The tiredness started to ease, and while my arm remained numb and wouldn’t move, my lower body could. When I realized I didn’t have to be perfect, I could be good. Enough. And it was enough. So I modified. And modified. And modified. My legs got strong and by focusing on the things I could do as opposed to the things I couldn’t, I became more flexible. Also, within the movement, I prayed. Really hard. I dove into my reliable Catholic standards of Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s and Acts of Contritions. And I threw in my favorite Hindu chant for good measure: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha. Ganesha, my hOMe boy, is the remover of obstacles and the bringer of new beginnings. I used it all. It became a body prayer. I started to peel away the layers and removed those things that no longer served me. And I became me again. I realized it was okay to be vulnerable and to rely on others. And I didn’t always have to live up to the ESPN producer/yoga studio owner/yoga teacher persona.  I became strong again, in different ways.  I didn’t have to be perfect. I could be good. And it was enough.

Almost two years later, I have regained 85% of the movement in my arm, but it’s still numb.  It’s also a reminder of how far I’ve come.

When there is no struggle, there is no strength. Amen.

Things We Learned This Summer to Carry into the Fall…

In no particular order:

Beach days are a necessity for peace of mind.

Never give up, even on your darkest days.

Keep pushing those creative edges…flirt with boundaries.

The cure for everything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. ~Isak Dineson

Listen more.

Read.

Good friends are priceless.

Magic just..happens.

Finish what you start.

Self care is not selfish.

Learning to just be is really hard.

Breathe.

Change is inevitable.

Strength is not always physical.

Just keep moving.

Never, ever stop believing in your dreams and most of all never stop believing in yourself.

xoxo

 

 

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.