For many years I was a 'solo-yogi', practicing at home as there was no studio nearby. One cold winters day I decided that if I wanted to have a studio nearby to practice in, then it was up to me to make that happen. I did my research, attended a yoga teacher training program, and opened Paradigm Yoga in Jasper a few months later.
There are many things that a yoga teacher training program prepares you for; poses, anatomy, history, theory, how to breathe and different ways to meditate. We even discussed the business side of opening and operating a studio. However there is one thing that I wasn't expecting, that wasn't (and can't be) taught, and that you can't make happen.
The studio has now been open for two and a half years, and in the last year I've noticed more and more the amazing personal connections being cultivated in the studio. There are true friendships being formed and a support system that I could never imagine.
We share our victories and excitement about adventures and family successes, and we shed tears and share the burden of when life isn't quite going to plan.
Some days we hear about an experience where yogic breathing found a place in daily life and that a stressful situation was handled with grace and ease instead of anger and irritation. Yogis who have struggled with insomnia share their joy at practicing techniques learned in relaxation and drifting off effortlessly into a full night of restful sleep. At times there are high fives at the achievement of a yoga pose that has been long out of reach, showing the increase in physical strength, balance and flexibility that is a direct result of a yogi's hard work and dedicated practice, and we hear about wonderful experiences during meditation. These are some of the most rewarding parts of being a yoga teacher. But I'm so thankful that together we have created a supportive and loving environment where it's also ok to not be ok, in which there is always someone who cares, who will listen and is there to give you a hug and support whenever you need it.
It's been just over 4 years since I moved from England to Texas. Anyone who has moved any distance, either across the country or across continents, knows that being away from family and friends can be hard sometimes, especially when really good or bad things happen.
Recently I hit one of those little bumps in the road where my body hasn't stuck to the plan of overall health and wellness. Rather than try to hide the anxiety & stress of a serious health scare, I decided to speak my truth and share what was going on with my yogi family in the studio. The love and support I have felt from everyone is overwhelming and makes me feel at last like this is home. While my family and long time friends are there on the phone, my yogi family have come through with the in-person support, love, chats, hugs, sweet messages and cups of tea.
I can not express the gratitude I feel for being a part of this community. What we have in the studio is a magic I never anticipated or imagined, born from the simple practice of rolling out our yoga mats together day after day.
Every cloud has a silver lining, my current cloud has led me to a wonderful realisation about the studio, our yogi community, and this place I now call home.