I just found myself with 2 hours to burn.
How interesting that my first thought would be to write here. That has not been my first thought in a long time. But I wanted to fill in a little gap in my life lately, the place where a lot of angst has been playing out.
I wrote about the political angst, the uncertainty and the overwhelming layer of horrible that has been covering many of us for months now. But in that same time-frame I had a personal shake-up that threw everything into even more chaos.
On October 2 I went to a staff/teacher meeting at my yoga studio and found out that it would be closing it’s doors for good at the end of that month.
Now, this is no little thing. I have only REALLY practiced for the last 3 1/2 years, and, while I did a lot of studio hopping at the beginning, once I found inYoga I had a sense if home, of sangha that nowhere else gave me. I never looked back after that. I took my Yoga TT there, I made friends there, I taught there, I learned EVERYTHING there. I was settled in and happy and…
then the rug was pulled out from below me, below all of us.
I want to say right off the top, this was entirely a landlord situation that our owners had been fighting for a while. Many yoga studios close amidst scandal and mismanagement. Many studios close overnight. InYoga closed as a thriving, money-making community that was subject to an outside landlord. InYoga closed with a full months notice and with a concerted effort on everyone’s part to get teachers re-situated and students familiar with other studios. all monies were refunded as needed., we had special workshops and potlucks and celebrations…if there could be a perfect ending to an awful situation, this was it. REAL yoga was applied to the closing of the studio, integrity, love and care were displayed beyond measure, and I will be eternally thankful for that.
But, DAMN! My happy place, my rock. The studio sometimes got me out of bed on a bad day and gave me some purpose. It was a microcosm of life….not all yogis are spiritual, liberal vegans and InYoga reflected that. There were disagreements, there were people who left in a huff, there were people who joined at the worst time of their lives and worked through it, friendships were made and lost….it was a true community with a single-minded purpose, which was Yoga. And not just the physical practice. How do we use it? There were meditations offered. There were 3 yin classes and two restorative classes a week for those who wanted to go deeper. There were sound baths and workshops that brought in renowned teachers in different styles. The schedule was diverse enough and planned well enough that there was a class for everyone every day of the week if they wanted to practice like that.
I need to stop. It makes me sad.
I am searching. I am finding that there are a lot of great yoga teachers but that they are spread around. We had so many at one stop. All of my teachers have been teaching for years, and to a person say that they had never had this kind of experience at a studio. (That is both heartening and dispiriting, as you can imagine!) Some of my teachers are taking a break, others have gone to different studios, but economic reality for me is that I need to land at one studio, pay a monthly fee and settle in. A dear friend gifted me with 4 free months at her studio (forever grateful for that gesture!) and that took some pressure off and has allowed me to explore to my hearts content even as I have a base, although a base I am not hooked into yet.
I miss the studio, but the community seems irreplaceable. When we see each other at a class we hug and are grateful. We have a FB page where we can talk about what classes we are taking, teachers can post where they are teaching, and where we can just love each other.
When I first started at InYoga I was shy, unsure. It was very hard for me to reach out to people I could sense had been there for a while. The interesting thing was that I found I didn’t have to. For the most part they reached out to me, and eventually I was part of the community. I was part of that. too, paying it forward. I was at my most sociable there, talking to people I didn’t know, helping them find their way. The owners of the studio perpetuated that culture; you could ask them anything, they went out of their way to help; it was their job but also their passion, their mission.
I’m seeing a little of that, but not much. And I place a caveat on that because I am still reeling from the loss; nothing compares, right? It’s only been a month. Imagine what I would say about someone telling someone else to “get over it” if it involved death? But I hear myself telling myself that…..that mean voice that wants to berate me for feeling this loss. Sometimes I find myself crying in savasana, or when I see someone that I have missed. I respond appropriately, but there is that little voice that wants to berate me, make me feel wrong.
I’m not listening, I know better.
Can you imagine that last month at the studio? We all knew it was going to end. Everyone was frantically going to every class….there were a lot of injuries, I’ll tell you! Lots of laughter and so many tears, every single day. Uncertainty, fear, sadness, and then place the mood of the country on top of that and my general mood as the Holidays approach and it was pretty darn intense. I was on my last straw, so sad, so fearful, in such a dark, dark place, even as I celebrated my community, sucking in every last drop of the nectar of that incredible studio.
I spent part of the last week after the studio closed helping out. Sorting props people were buying (I bought…I now have a lovely yin/restorative set-up for 4 in my home!). Making coffee runs. Eking every last moment out of the studio, even the incredible sadness as we watched it being torn apart.
I am forever grateful for that space. It held my heart. It held my crazy dreams. It helped me find a meditation practice. It assisted me in learning about myself.
I know it was the yoga, IS the yoga. But the delivery system is important too, and that space, the common language, the community is irreplaceable.
A month in I can see the light. And there is plenty of light. Because I was handed yoga in that space, I opened to it and accepted it. And I will never lose that. It’s been a gift beyond measure.
It’s changing forms now and that’s ok. It looks a lot more active in terms of taking it off the mat and into the world. I have a different voice and different priorities than i had 3 /2 years ago and I see how absolutely great that is, both as a gift and as a responsibility.
At the end of every class I teach I remind the student or students that we are not the only ones who benefit from our yoga class, that we can bring it off the mat and into our own worlds, into every interaction we have with others. That seems even more important now. How do we live in this world? Yoga has helped me to feel into the answer to that question
I guess what I am really saying is that Yoga has changed me, and that, because InYoga was the place that all of this growth happened I will be forever grateful to it and miss it, terribly.
But I can see I got the Yoga, and that wherever I practice the bottom line is that it is in me, and will always be. I will land, I will get invested in a new sangha and studio, I know that because this is important to me. In a little while I will head out to the studio that feels like it will be that place to land, and I will take a class with a gifted teacher who will be leaving soon for 2 months to study in India. That is the kind of teacher I want to study with, I am heartened by this. And my dear friend will also be in that class and we’ll go out to breakfast afterwards…the beginning of sangha.
It’s all going to be okay. I’m glad I wrote this because it has come clearer in the writing. I’m going to push publish on this as a sort of free write…a spew.
It’s all going to be okay. I’m going to be okay.
And that’s my day after Thanksgiving gratitude. Hope, possibilities, the ability to change the things I can, to make a difference, and to practice my yoga on my mat and, most importantly, in the world.