There’s something in the air today … In my community, it’s the first day of school for most children. It’s the first day of the fall schedule at Life Yoga. For me, it’s the first day of a new chapter of my personal and professional life. For the first time in the eight years since opening Life Yoga, I am not on the drop-in schedule and I don’t have set office hours. This was always part of my long-term plan. As my teacher training programs and the workshops that I created are taking me all over the world, it is not reasonable to hold space for myself on the schedule and in the office when, at least half of the time, I am travelling and would need to disrupt any routine and regularity that I’d developed with a substitute. It makes more sense to fill in all the gaps with loving, dedicated, capable individuals. Don’t misunderstand this to mean that I am less connected to Life Yoga. I am still very present in my studio – my first baby. In fact, this space in my schedule will allow me to return to the mat as a practitioner and immerse myself within the Life Yoga community, which is a regularity that I crave.
A few years back, as the studio grew and I began thinking about starting a family, I hired Studio Managers to allow me to step away from office duties and think and act more broadly in the role of Studio Director. I no longer kept office hours, so I could do website updates, payroll, long and short-term planning, outreach, etc. from anywhere and at anytime. This was fulfilling as I find business, marketing, and expressions on social media a form of creative outlet and I still held space a few classes a week on the drop-in schedule.
That is until my second baby (my actual child) came along. Very quickly it became apparent that I could do my job anytime and anywhere, when I was not fully tapped out from baby rearing. That first year of Isabella’s life was a year of adjustment where I learned to trust 100% in the Studio Managers and capable teachers at Life Yoga to keep the ship afloat because after a day of learning how this mother thing works and facing the emotional ups and downs of adopting a child, it was sometimes difficult to do much else.
After maternity leave, I found myself back to the role of Studio Director and Yoga Teacher, but with several tasks and classes off my plate after a year of others taking them over. With a little space, I was able to invest that time to my yoga school, Yoga Teacher Training Kingston. I had assisted in a teacher training program during my mat leave and discovered two things: first, I loved teacher training; and second, I was very good at it. A winning combination!
As fate continued to unroll before me, just a few months later, I was teaching my first 30 Day 200-Hour Teacher Training intensive in Bermuda. This was nine hours a day, six days a week, and I loved every minute. You’d think that I would be exhausted at the end of the long days, but I had so much energy and felt so invigorated. It wasn’t just the beauty of the island or the love I found for my Bermudian family, I saw that I was truly living as my fullest self and blossoming into this role. Deep down, I knew that I needed to follow my heart and follow this path, which was a daunting idea because I knew with certainty that I needed to make some changes back home. Space between me and my routine created a sense of clarity that I had been avoiding. It was one of those times when you see something or understand something and then you can’t go back, no matter how uncomfortable or unsure it makes you. You can’t unsee or unknow what you see or know. But, there is a comfort to routine. There is a sense of safety inherent to never taking a risk. I knew that, to honour what I truly knew was my path, I needed to disrupt this comfort and normality.
So, here I am, just a few months after Bermuda and my dear friend and previous Studio Manager Pamela is stepping into my role as Studio Director at Life Yoga. The blocks on the drop-in schedule that used to be filled by me are now filled with other beautiful offerings and I am left with space. I have successfully manifested and worked my way out of a job. LOL!
Not really. This space was created mindfully, lovingly, and with intention for all of our highest good – including my own. You can still catch me at Life Yoga most of the time, connect with me through my online studio (which is undergoing a HUGE makeover this very moment – eeee!), share space with me in my master classes and workshops, or dedicate time to Yoga Teacher Training. I will be in Kingston, Innisfil, Roslin, Bermuda … and we’ll see where else … that’s what the space is for. For what is space if not possibility? There is no room for growth or change without some space.
Space is perspective. Potential. Clarity. Presence.
And, sometimes, you’re right, it’s really scary.
Why? Because space requires trust.
For a Type-A like myself, trust means total acceptance that nothing is under control. More and more, I am embracing this idea as a whole-body notion. I hold on so tight that my neck, shoulders, and back lose all potential for movement. I stiffen up. Letting go of that need to have everything under control is something I am practicing on the mat and in the world and back again. Take, for example, the breath. In. Out. In. Out. Right? What if I told you that there was potential for pause (about 20,000 potentials per day, give or take)? In. Out. Pause … In. Out. Pause … What keeps us from having this experience of our breath? Maybe it’s just not how we were taught, so we haven’t realized this experience is possible, sure. Maybe, on some deeper level, our need to always be doing something and our inability to let go of control (and to trust) have a role to play. I have to always be in-out-in-out because what happens when we stop breathing? We die! Then what? You don’t know. I don’t know. But I don’t want to find out! In. Out. In. Out. Always in control. I have this theory that all of our fears can be filtered down to the deepest fear that we all share: one day we’ll breathe out and there won’t be another inhale that follows. Lights out. So, what? So, I am going to do everything I can, while I can, to outrun the inevitable. I am in control. I have all the answers. In. Out. In. Out.
I am choosing to walk into this next chapter leaving plenty of times for perspective, potential, clarity, and presence.
In. Out. Pause … In. Out. Pause …
The hardest part for me is that I will miss the regularity of dedicated practitioners that joined me weekly on the mat. I have learned so much from this little family of students, teachers, cheerleaders, advice givers, storytellers, jokesters, and biggest fans. I hope to continue to bear witness to your growth side-by-side with you when I am in Kingston and I trust that I have left your practices in the most capable and compassionate hands. I trust that this stability is more important to the studio, as an entity, than one individual’s inconsistent presence. I am eager to grow my online community as the online studio gets a big makeover. Stay tuned for my workshops and masterclasses to be available digitally, so we can continue to practice together in the pockets of your life from wherever your journey takes you.
So, here is a moment in time. There goes another. And I stand on the precipice of a new phase. A great adventure. The path before me is clear and is sure to be incredible, but I am leaving lots of space for detours. Nothing is under control. How boring would life be if we had it all figured out all of the time anyways?
There are times that naturally create a pause in our routines when you look for them. Your daily commute, a moment just after waking or just before sleeping, the few minutes spent waiting – waiting for a bus, for your kids, for your turn – or, even, simply and perfectly, the space after this next exhalation. If you look for them, the opportunities to pause are there and they become more and more plentiful the more we utilize them.
Wishing you space this week.