Posts Tagged ‘Laughing Elephant Yoga’

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.

BreaktherUles2

by Lori Mancini in BreaktherUles with 1 Comment

Our #BreaktherUles campaign is halfway through. How many rules have you broken? Are you breaking rules set for yourself or standards set by someone else?

Strong. Silly. Uncomfortable.

We’ve been offering a word a day and your vision of that word has been absolutely inspiring.  Easy words on paper, sometimes hard to visually and verbally explore and explain.

Grounded. Stiff. Adventurous.

What do these words mean to you? What do they say about you? Who you are? Who do you portray yourself to be versus who you want to be?

Happy. Adventurous. Sexy.

This campaign has gotten people thinking and opening up in a way they haven’t before. We are told the best part is knowing someone actually is listening and seeing through to them.

Grateful. Supported. Smart.

Sometimes the quietest words sneak up on you. They speak to a place in you that you protect, that most people don’t know exists because you’re not sure it’s safe to share.

Vulnerable.

Snap.

As we continue on through the month, one day and one word at a time, let’s continue to challenge ourselves and each other.

BreaktherUles

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.

BreaktherUles.

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.

 

BreaktherUles.