I was 7 months into my unplanned pregnancy and about to be dragged to Pennsylvania for the last obligatory family gathering that I attended, which happened to be a baby shower (for me). I got a call from a yogi in the area that I was only mildly acquainted with, and I’m pretty sure I was her last shot at trying to get a yoga teacher to rent the space that she had renovated into a yoga studio 7 years prior.
I was naive, I was hormonal, I was open to anything, and after hearing a ton of idealist commentary regarding the potential of this opportunity for me as a relatively new yoga teacher, I decided to open a yoga studio a month and a half later. I had no real student base, I still happily have very little business sense, I was just trying to get through my pregnancy by plugging more and more into my yoga practice, and the crossroads came before me in a way that I thought maybe it was something I needed to do. If only I knew then what I know now… 🙂
A small group of people that wanted to be a part of it all helped me do the work that would lead us to open an Ashtanga yoga studio with natural birth education and massage services, on August 20th, 2011 inspired by ELA Sports . We held a magical, potent and spiritually-charged Ashtanga demonstration attended by about 20 people in awe where I assisted and adjusted a small group of people with a giant pregnant belly. My first official class was a few days later and no one showed up for it. That happened a lot in the first two years.
I had started to get a few students coming on a regular basis, things were going okay, and my water broke on my yoga mat. Bodhi was 10 days early, born on October 19, came out screaming and continued this trend for about 10 months. He didn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time until he was almost 2 (so neither did I…), but my practice and the studio were waiting for me, and so as soon as I could, 2 weeks later, I got back on my yoga mat. I worked up to be able to do sun salutations and standing poses again, and I took a 4-week old Bodhi to practice with me on a Wednesday morning, in hopes that I would be able to get back to the studio floor in another 2 weeks. I wasn’t about to teach without grounding back into my practice first. On December 3, 2011, I was back on the floor for my Saturday class, exhausted and holding my stress in my hips, shoulders and belly. A few of the students that were coming to my classes weren’t coming anymore and the energetic output was understandably getting very difficult for those who had subbed for me in my absence. All I wanted to do was practice yoga and find more lightness, but the heaviness of the situation along with the general lack of support and compassion made me want to call it quits on a lot of fronts. I was a terrible studio owner and I wasn’t trying to pretend to be a good one.
It didn’t get much easier for another year or so. Truly, that first year was the worst of my life, and I was no stranger to strife. But, after about two years, Bodhi started sleeping more and screaming less, which helped me practice harder, but the 2-year mark offered difficulty with the loss of my beloved yoga sangha, which was a tremendous blow to the overall outlook of things for me and again I very seriously considered closing the studio.
But the student support came crawling out from the woodwork for me to continue the work that we had begun, and that was gaining momentum with each passing day. With little help for me on the home front, criticism from every corner, an audience watching/waiting for me to fall rather than fly and no help in the studio, I strapped on my britches and took it one breath at a time. I dug into my practice and the student base started to grow. My practice and teaching had never been better and through student energy and raw grace, I had found some insane store of goodness to move the train forward through the tumults of immense loss, lack of emotional support, and a marriage that was quickly going downhill. All I had was my practice and my students. It proved enough, and we were on the up and up.
Our 3-year anniversary marked the beginning of a beautiful journey into the Yogastha Sadhana method put together by my teacher. After a year of digging deep into himself, Todd came to me with a beautiful system of yoga by which students are now safely and beautifully deepening their practices every day, pushing themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually, accessing the depths of themselves and finding ever-increasing lightness that is the true journey of the seeker. It is rare, it is amazing, it is profound, and somehow I’m a part of it, and immensely grateful. They are my world, my family, and the loves of my life. Now a much more solidly adjusted little person, and the marker of the 4-year anniversary of the studio, Bodhi asks constantly when he will get to hang out with the yogis at the coffee shop again, and is growing up in the yoga studio and learning right along with the rest of the family. It’s a beautiful thing to have a sangha once again and to be a part of something profound.
With all of this fresh beauty and depth, our Yoga Studio was born this year for yoga, as a true home of traditional yoga instruction anchored in right knowledge through direct experience and classical yoga scripture. It seemed fitting based on the energy, love and dedication that has been the state of the Shala for the last 2 years. A lightness, a wonderment, an incredible experience all around. A true illustration and experience of the lotus flower growing up out of the muck and the mud to blossom into all its radiance.
As we go into our 5th year, we can know that staying present and living one breath at a time has brought us here and will keep us fulfilled and on the Upanishads – Lead us from the unreal to the Realcontinued path of growth, expanse and lightness. We can know that beauty lies around each corner, that bigger strength and openness leads to more ease in the world outside the Shala, that more energy is to be found through the breath, that more love is to be found within through the exploration of the mind and that Grace has most certainly been placed upon our little bubble at ELA Sports non slip yoga in the most awe-inspiring way.
There can never be enough gratitude in the world that can be expressed in words to share ELA Sports Pilates . I am intensely humbled and thrilled to be able to unabashedly share my whole self in the most vulnerable way, doing what I love, sharing my passion, my life and all that I have, with people who do the same and are in it for the love. ‘Cause lovers gonna love 😉 Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Here’s to 4…can’t wait to see what 5 brings.