In just a few days, Samdhana-Karana Yoga will be celebrating two years of making Yoga accessible and available to persons of all incomes and abilities. My heart swells with joy and pride and immense gratitude and I am so pleased to see my first “baby” thriving.
It is hard to believe that two years have passed since my co-founder and I opened our doors, brimming with hope and anxiety and unbridled passion, praying fervently that our community would embrace a non-profit Yoga studio. Embrace it they have and I am once again reminded of the immense rewards that come from being willing to take risks, to fail, and to learn lessons the hard way.
It is only when we are willing to fail that we learn not only what we are truly capable of, but how willing others are to join in to help us succeed. Samdhana-Karana Yoga is thriving today, not because of the vision that Pamela and I had, but because of the students and community members who have supported that vision.
So, thank you to all of my students, all of the folks in Tacoma, WA and beyond who’ve shared the yoga love, and especially to Pamela and Kate who keep my baby alive and well so I can enjoy watching it grow from afar.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
My recent time at the Evolution Asia Yoga Conference was, as I have mentioned, wonderful. In addition to spending several straight hours with Dharma Mittra, I also took a two-hour backbending class from Jason Crandell. One of the reasons I chose this particular class was because I’m not a huge fan of backbends. I know some people love them, and I do love them, but only when they’re over. To me, nothing feels quite as great as coming out of a backbend.
Interestingly, Jason began the class by asking who loved and who did not love backbends. I was in the majority, as it turned out. The practice was great, and I was able to enjoy some backbends thanks to Jason’s excellent instruction and suggestions. Indeed, Jason is known for his deep knowledge of anatomy. It is very obvious when you take a class from Jason – he knows how the body works.
The thing that has stuck with me the most from his class, though, was not about backbends at all, but rather about Yoga in general. He said Yoga has almost nothing to do with range of motion or flexibility. We like to make it about those things because they are easily quantifiable. Flexibility is valuable but it does not determine quality. Yoga is really about equanimity – of body, mind, and spirit.
As Jason was saying this I was trying very hard not to come out of the pose I was in and nod my head vigorously in agreement. He put into these few sentences the message that I so desperately try to get across to my students and to people who ask me about Yoga.
Yoga is about balance and unity, not flexibility. It is this fact that makes Yoga something that EVERY PERSON can do no matter their physical condition. It was this realization about Yoga that led me to create,with a partner, Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center.
I was so pleased and grateful to get to spend those few hours with Jason. He has been named “one of the next generation of teachers shaping yoga’s future”. I hope that’s true.