Good day dear Shree community,
I write to you at the closing of the year and from a tender space in my heart. It’s time for me to take a recess from teaching yoga. It’s time to go inside and rest, rejuvenate, and prepare. Sometime in the coming weeks my family can expect a baby. The whole concept of “expecting” is one that I have railed against for years : expectations lead to disappointment, thus having no expectations has been the solution I have consistently designed for. Orion and I are making best laid plans for the birth, and flexing our muscles to let go the forecast and accept what comes.
In general, being pregnant has been hilarious and totally awesome. I feel like I’ve lived most of my life with a healthy dose of wonderment about these bodies, what they can do and how messy and limited they are, but this is a whole new level of awe. The growth, the stretching, the surrender, and the feeling that something is literally bubbling beneath the surface of my skin full of verve and personality, waiting to be revealed is wildly entertaining to this body-nerd. I sit humbly at the feet of creation. And I am terrified.
It’s not the birth I am terrified of, though there are plenty of things to logically look and feel a lot about when considering the life and death proceedings of bringing a child in. I am educating myself as best I can, trusting that my healthy and strong body is prepared to do the do and that whatever the outcome, it will be the right piece of my and my child’s story on the planet.
I am not terrified of being a parent, though it is such a mystery with no reference that you could say I am uninformed and catapulting into the unknown, willingly. From the mouths of people I trust, I hear that is a good way to go about parenting. I know from experience it is a good way to go about life: continue to choose the boundary-stretching inspiration-filled options and go in with an open heart. All of this speaks to the basic principles of the yoga practice I’ve been doing all these years. I am ready to give it my best, for my child, for the next generation, for all of us. It will probably be messy and I like knowing that, too. At least I’m not trying to stop the train. There is no stopping this train.
I am terrified of stopping working. It feels ridiculous to type and sounds totally absurd when I say it out loud. Nevermind that it’s been known to happen that I take home under $5 a yoga class and offer in exchange hours of my time and very personal material. It’s not about the money. Though I have worked for the last decade and a half to try and figure out how to “make a living” teaching yoga, I, like most people sharing the practice, do it for the love of being in the yoga space, being with other people who are hungry to better know and love themselves, and being a part of student’s healing stories.
It’s bigger than being identified as a yoga teacher, which I have always found awkward and rather icky. I have been hellbent and hung-up on being a contributing member of society, of being an independent, sovereign woman who breaks the mold of capitalism’s ideals and busts ass to live a life of value, defined by me. Next level of cultural deprogramming: quit the grindstone to tend the inner venture of caring for family. At the risk of getting real political, I will simply acknowledge that I am floored and delighted by the discomfort I feel at the prospect of not going out to work and instead, focusing on myself and my family wholeheartedly, 100%. We deserve it and this realization is fun and sticky for me to swallow.
What follows is a long list of thanks. I know, it’s dramatic, but it feels like the next right step. Read on, if you wish.
Thank you to each of you who ever attended a class with me, it was my honor to work with you. Teaching yoga is a great risk, really. Yoga teachers often begin with minimal training and share our passion for the practice with extremely limited resources for deeper support. Perhaps you have been in a public class and injured your body (I know I have), or had an emotional break-through (read: break-down, also a yes for me). I hope the teacher at the very least provided a safe space for you to do what you needed to do to take care, and at best was able to notice and offer what they had to give: a smile, a tissue, a reference for other kinds of professional aid. If it was me teaching, I hope I did as much, though I know there have been plenty of opportunities missed.
Along the way I have kept plenty of other jobs to pay for my life, most recently graduating and becoming licensed as a Massage Therapist with a focus on the magic of fascia and biodynamic craniosacral methods. To the handful of people I have had the blessing of offering treatment as I have been simultaneously growing a human on the inside, thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting in me and my hands. Every session has been a life-altering lesson, and marvelously fun. The combination of yoga and massage are a delicious pair and I so look forward to seeing where all of the incredible training I have received will lead me in the future. In the kindwhile, thank you to all of my teachers – who are all of you – but especially the ones I signed on to sit at your feet and study, digest, and be in information osmosis with. I respectfully now carry on my interpretation of your traditions and teachings and I feel so blessed to have studied with you all.
And dear Shree Yoga, thank you. The studio has been both a place of respite and intensive growth for me. I have learned to express and stand up for myself, to earnestly try to do no harm and to humbly accept that I cannot control everything. Being a part of the ownership team at the studio has been wild and seriously improvement-inducing. Genevieve and I were young when we opened Shree, driven by devotion for yoga that may have at times blinded us to a bigger picture. We just loved the yoga so much we wanted to share it with everyone! It took me a long time to realize that we – and the style of yoga we had to offer – aren’t for everyone and to drop the supercilious, albeit unintentional yoga-savior complex.
Enormous thanks to Genevieve for creating something great with me. We’ve learned oodles and made tons of mistakes along the way to 10.5 years of a living breathing yoga studio and in this industry, that is something of a marathon. Never mind that we are still friends that love and respect each other. Great success.
Thank you to Liz Fox, our superrad manager who has stepped in to tend the project of the studio as both Genevieve and I step back and into new ventures of our own. I am so grateful for Liz’ tireless efforts to understand the enormous list of funny procedures we came up with out of necessity and on the fly to keep the doors open. She has brought new, way better ideas to the Shree table and I trust that you all, teachers and students alike, are in good hands.
Great gratitude to everyone who has walked through the doors of Shree since 2009. Thank you to each of the teachers who have contracted with us and an extra-deep bow to the exceptional team on the schedule right now. You are the lifeblood of it all and your commitment to share what you have to share is beautiful, special, and so valuable.
For the long haul, I promise to continue to do my work of peeling away the layers of what-all lies beneath the surfaces and am committed for the time being to steeping in the brew of ushering in a new tiny human. If you want to connect, please reach out, I’m not going far. And I’ve two more scheduled classes this week – Wednesday roll-around on the floor and discover functional anatomy, gentle strength, and deep breath in Restorative Yoga at 5:30, and Thursday Noonplay: some standing, some sitting, some lying down soaking in the midday sunshine. I’ll definitely be off the regular schedule for the winter season, we’ll see what spring 2020 reveals!
Thank you, Big blessings to you, and Big respect.
Love, Suki Ola