June 4th, 2017, marks 7 years of Lila East End Yoga! Seven years ago I gathered teachers, friends, and family together to help vision the future of Lila and its community at large. We circled up in my living room, whiteboard and markers in hand we collectively came up with the list of core beliefs aspired to help shape and mold a space that held a safe container for teachers and community. The list is transcribed on the walls at Lila. They include…
We are rooted in these beliefs:
- We are all whole
- We are all connected by the breath; the breath is our life force
- Yoga is for everyone; we all deserve to feel ultimate health and bliss
- The practice of yoga has healing, therapeutic values
- Yoga from the inside out; moving into asanas begins with awareness and attitude from the inside
- Proper alignment leads to ultimate expansion & long term health of the mind, body, and spirit
- We are all students, continually growing and evolving
- Practicing and living with intention both on and off our mats leads to a deeper experience
- Recognition of our own inner beauty allows us to recognize beauty in all that surrounds us
- The practice of yoga in community is fun, playful, and supportive
- Joy is contagious
These messages have been woven throughout teachings over the years. And what has transpired is the creation of such a beautifully supportive, evolving, and healthy community.
I am ever so grateful for the teachers who shape the space and share their light. If you have taken the time to get to know these teachers, you may discovered that they are full of love, dreams, intelligence, vision, patience, and each invested in their own ways, deeply into living a mindful, conscious, and healthy lifestyle. Behind the scenes this tribe of teachers reaches out to support one another, bands together to help set the tone and culture of Lila, and each of them continues on their own path as a student to keep on growing and learning. They are all awe-inspiring!
I am humbled by the students who show up day in and day out to practice and show their support, your dedication, motivation, and presence is so welcomed. I am tickled with enthusiasm for your bright ideas, thoughts, feedback, and suggestions to make all our lives brighter and more engaging inside the space of Lila and outside.
Together, we have created a space that has been referred to as “home” for so many. A “refuge” away from the hustle and bustle of daily living. A “sanctuary” and “safe space” to lean into breath for support, find ourselves, our bodies, to seek clarity in our minds, and allow our hearts to humbly open.
I recently was turned onto the writings and reflections of Pixie Lighthorse by one of the many beautiful voices that shared the teaching space at Lila. Pixie speaks eloquently about community in her reading:
Thank you for the ones who find their way to our sides:
our brothers, sisters, tribes, and clans.
Thank you for the willingness to take care of one another and value our
contributions as a whole.
Help us to put the good of the whole before the good of the few.
Remove our irrational fears of moving along the road together,
and allow us to look at all options for teaming up.
Inspire in us the creativity required to dream outside of our insular
boxes and single-family homes,
and instead meet out on the table like a feast.
Lean us into one another’s shoulders when we need a little care.
Let us default to great love in times of doubting ourselves and one another
as we work together toward solutions.
– Pixie Lighthorse, Excerpts from Honoring Community in Prayers of Honoring
On Wednesday, I was having a “Very Bad, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” The rain, the temperature, my not so great sleep, the this, the that, etc, etc. I couldn’t seem to get out of my own mucky way. I was impatient with my kids, short with my husband, and making choices for myself that sent me deeper into the downward spiral of feeling sorry for myself… self doubt, fear, anger, etc. As a practiced yogi, I leaned into becoming the witness as this path unfolded for me, I was awake and conscious enough to see where I was leading myself and knew I had a choice on how I wanted to continue to move through my day. But, to move on that path and make those choices alone would have taken a tremendous amount of will power and gusto… and truthfully wasn’t feeling it on my own.
I arrived and opened shop at Lila for my 9:30am Asana Junkies class. This is the class where I too throw down my mat and get to sweat, breathe, and practice with you all. The door opened, and kept opening. The studio was packed and collectively we were ready to practice as community. As Pixie states, “Lean us into one another’s shoulders when we need a little care.” That is just what I did. A few breaths in, my day was transitioning, as was my mind, body, and state. We were laughing, moving, sweating, singing (yes, singing – Justin Timberlake may have been channeled in;). I can not thank you all enough for this opportunity to teach, to play, to be, to grow, to reflect, and to lean into your support. This tribe is amazing!! You all fuel me; we all fuel each other.
This experience certainly isn’t isolated. Many times I have stepped into the studio and felt so comforted and held by the space and the people. I am so grateful. The studio, this path has allowed me to step into a better version of myself. It has guided me to trust in myself, community, and the universe. It has allowed me to be a business woman, a loving mom, and a studious yogini. I truly LOVE what I do and the way I am living out my life. I wouldn’t have any of this without you… the Lila community. I am forever grateful.
And, though 7 years feels like both a blip in time and a big chapter, there are many chapters to come! Collectively, I am so excited to see the many places we will go.
This coming year, I am eager to continue to offer the Lila community ongoing weekly classes. In addition, I hope to expand upon the offerings of special workshops and our talk series… with workshops that will help deepen understanding of physical alignment, emotional alignment, daily healthy living off the mat. I want to engage more with you all about how you are learning, discovering, and living your yoga… how can we, and how are we, each taking what we learn on our mats and bringing that into our daily interactions? How can we collectively, as community, elevate each other so we are supportive in each one of us feeling optimal health? Health for ourselves, our community, and the greater community of Mother Earth at large? These are the conversations I am eager to have with you all in the coming days, months, and years ahead.
For all the OMs, downdogs, pigeons, random acts of kindness, smiles, tears, fears, and joys shared… a sincere deep bow to you all and your luminous lights.