Posts Tagged ‘community’

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.


BreaktheRules is a month-long, community driven Instagram/Facebook campaign, open to the Laughing Elephant Community and beyond. Participants will showcase their uniqueness and beauty by breaking rules, conventions and social mores through photos.

Why has this happened? Because at Laughing Elephant Yoga we believe in more than the asana. We believe in the creativity of the individual.

Laughing Elephant is first and foremost a community, who cherishes its members, and strictly upholds values. With that in mind, we’re going out on a limb, and saying that the yoga is secondary.  While we truly value the meaning of yoga (‘to yoke’, to bring together), it’s always been more about the people, and what we can do to become stronger. While we love yoga, we love our peeps more.

We want to help you bring your true self to the forefront.

That’s why we are starting a campaign on May 1st.


By being you.  We are going to give you key word every day in the month of May, and we want you to show us what they represent to you. Post your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Use the hashtags #laughingelephantusa and #BreaktherUles . Or send them to lori@laughingelephantyoga and we will make sure they get seen.

Get creative.

Get involved.

B U.









by Lori Mancini in Change Happiness with 6 Comments

‘Courage is a love affair with the unknown.’

Change is good, right?

Change of seasons, change in jobs, change in relationships,  change in feelings.  The end result of moving forward into hopefully something better is the good part, but there’s that in between time where we perseverate on whether we are making the right decision. There’s comfort in the familiar, so just the thought of moving in a different direction  can conjure up fears and anxiety and cloud our decisions. Why do we sabotage ourselves?

For some, it’s just part of who we are, the self doubters. It’s in our DNA. For others, it’s how we were raised.   And for still others, especially the creative types, fear and self doubt are just part of the process.

The topic of change came up as I was wandering  New York City recently with my good friend Dave. We meandered through Times Square and talked about change and the challenges of change. The buzz  of the Big Apple on a late autumn morning was palpable as the bright sunlight sharpened all the edginess that NYC has to offer. You could see the vibe that this amazing city has to offer. Dave and I had both hit a crossroads professionally and new opportunities were presenting themselves. What to do?

Follow your heart, go with your gut.

Dave stated that ‘If you’re good, invest in yourself.’ (thank you, Shaka Smart)  Dave has a brilliant basketball mind and is one of the kindest, most genuine people I know. Good things SHOULD happen to him.  While one door closed for him, another one opened with the San Antonio Spurs. Yay! So change for him, while initially jarring, totally took him in a different direction, one that he is very happy with. And me? This tv sports producer opened a yoga studio in East Greenwich RI a year and a half ago on a wing and a prayer. Literally. I surrounded myself with people who were better than me, cultivated the most amazing community, and held space for everyone. Laughing Elephant  now thrives as a home for those looking for hOMe.  Oh, and laughter. Lots of laughter. Has it been easy? Heck no! But I never stopped believing in myself,  my yoga family, and my original idea, which was to cultivate community through creative movement.

That leads me to this blog. I’ve always been the voice here, and I’ve decided to open it up to our community.  There are so many beautiful voices here who would like to contribute and I am happily giving them space to do so. The title will also change,  to The Watering Hole.

Change is good, right?

Yes it is.