A few days ago, the County of Sonoma announced the ongoing restrictions to businesses would continue, with non-essential businesses (including yoga studios) remaining closed to indoor activity.
When I read about this, I did not have an immediate reaction other than curiosity as to why Sonoma County cannot seem to get its infection rates down. And, looking closer at the numbers, Sonoma County was one of the worst in the nine-county Bay Area and seemed a very long way from being able to partially re-open.
All fine, I thought. I am in no hurry to open the studio. I know there are a lot of people who need yoga right now, but a lot of people don't feel safe to come into a shared space and I don't want to add to anyone's anxiety, discomfort or, God forbid, contribute to anyone getting infected with Covid-19, En Sh'allah.
In these nearly six months that Revolution Yoga's physical space has been closed, I've learned so much about so many things. As a new business owner, new to business and new to owning a business, the complexity and rush of pivoting a brick-and-mortar operation to an online studio has been stressful. We've said goodbye to several teachers along the way, which is hard, and we've lost a feeling of togetherness that doesn't translate in the same way on Zoom. We do our best, but it's just not the same. Although, I really appreciate when you unmute yourself or send me a text letting me know we've already done that side when I've mixed up my right and left, but I still wish you were in the room to tell me that in real time.
I'm grateful that we have the technology to keep going, to keep offering a virtual space, to keep sharing this practice and connecting with one another. But teaching online classes is not why I wanted to open a yoga studio. This was not what I had in mind.
I have been watching, since mid-spring, studios around the country and close to home close their doors or downsize significantly. I've listened to many business owners inside and outside of the yoga sphere who are frustrated and re-thinking what their lives look like and if they want to stay in the game or just wash their hands of it altogether. Truthfully, I've had these same questions flow in and out of my head throughout this time. I grapple with the amount of work and energy it is taking to keep Revolution going, to keep the offerings flowing and interesting, to keep teachers and our amazing students engaged. I try to remind myself why I got into this in the first place, and I come back to two things:
1: I love yoga.
2: I love our community
I wanted a space for us. I wanted this space to reflect my interpretation of yoga, how the practice provides us with guidance to live our lives in deeper connection, in curiosity, in service and committed to making the world a better place. We don't have the desire to become an acetic yogi and travel to a mountain in India to live on an ashram and commit our whole lives to this practice—not yet, anyway. But we do feel the yoga working inside us, as householder yogis. And we continue to evolve, to understand the depth of this practice and the amazing effects it has on us as individuals and as a collective.
I did not get into this for the money...to run a business. I never wanted to run a "business." But I felt like if I opened this studio and ran it in a way that reflected the 8 Limbs of Yoga, then everything would work itself out. As it does. And as it is doing.
Aparigraha, non-attachment, is one of the yamas (ethics/tenets) of yoga. It reminds us that when we grip too hard to something and become attached, it takes control of us. When we loosen our grip and let go, we allow our vision to become more clear. We can see things (and ourselves) for what is there, what presents itself rather than what we want to see or what we hope to see. We become more objective and keen in our awareness, which in turn reduces suffering that may come from holding on too tight and then being disappointed when an outcome is different than what you wanted or expected. In practice I often say, let go of attachment, let go of expectation. I learned this in my very first teacher training and the truth of it resonates every time, because we forget. And the practice of yoga continues to remind us.
So, with this in mind, still needing to remind myself of loosening my grip, I am riding the wave of the present moment. I'm doing what I can to keep the Revolution afloat, to keep the offerings coming, to support the process, but it is not all in my control. Whatever new challenge is presented, I face it, explore it and see where it goes. It feels like I'm on a raft floating down a turbulent river. Sometimes I have the tools to navigate the raft safely through a rapid, sometimes the raft gets stuck on an outcropping of rocks, and sometimes it flips over and I fall out. Thankfully, I'm wearing a life jacket and even when I think I may be drowning I come up to the surface and float for a while to catch my breath before I get back on the raft. It's quite an exhilarating process and very interesting to me.
As we move into the fall season, I'm hopeful no more fires will come our way and we can enjoy living in Sonoma County, even with Covid. I'm hopeful that our outdoor classes will provide more opportunities for the community to gather and practice IN PERSON safely! And, I'm grateful for so many of you who have been generous in so many ways to support the Revolution, knowing that yoga is so important for our well being.
Who knows when we will return to our physical space. But when we do, I want to assure you all that we will be as safe as we can so we can practice together with peacefulness of spirit and peace of mind.
Please join us outdoors:
Monday 9 a.m. in central Santa Rosa near JC
Tuesday 10 a.m. Rincon Valley/Melita — Starts Sept. 8!
Wednesday 9 a.m. Montecito Meadows — Starts Sept. 9!
Friday 5 p.m. western Forestville (Hwy 116 @ Guerneville Rd.)
Saturday at 9 a.m. in Rincon Valley
Sunday at. 8:15 a.m. in Fountaingrove
All specific addresses will be sent out an hour before the class begins with any special instructions by the teacher. Please reach out with any questions!
We also have some exciting special offerings happening this month!
Heart Calming Meditation with Courtney Rohan 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6: Move energy around your heart space, clear it out so you can more fully open to the present moment and find the gift of abundance within yourself. This meditation is 30 minutes, held on Zoom and by donation. Register on Zoom.
New class! Align & Breathe with Elyse Briggs 10:30 a.m. Thursdays starting 9/10: This is an Iyengar-inspired class to fine-tune alignment in postures and explore breathing techniques to bring balance and ease into the body. Great for beginners and experienced practitioners. Elyse is a master instructor and former studio owner who offers deep knowledge without pretense. Zoom only. Sign up.
Drum Circle Under the Oaks with Charlotte Keane 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11. Explore the power of sound and community to connect deeper to your innermost self. Find release through percussion or just let the sound bathe you in healing frequency. No drum required, but you can bring one or another percussion instrument. Social distance measures enforced for this outdoor experience in Rincon Valley. Sign up
Meditation through Mantra with Shoshana Hebshi begins Monday, Sept. 14. This six-week course will help you kick-start, re-start or continue a daily mantra practice that you can use to help clear your mind and bring greater focus and energy into your day. In this online course, we will explore a new mantra each week and meet on Zoom for 15 to 20 minutes three times a week to enhance our practice. Learn more.
Outdoor Yoga with Dawn Justice at Notre Vue Winery Estate, Wednesday, Sept. 16. Enjoy breathtaking views, wonderful yoga and an optional wine tasting following this special experience. Only a few spots left! Sign up.
Restorative Yoga with Dawn Justice, Sunday, Sept. 27 4 p.m. You might not know that you need this until you enter into your first supported posture of this practice and your body starts to unwind from stress, anxiety, tension and uncertainty. Restorative yoga is meant to lead the body into a calmer, softer and deeply restful state to encourage restoration, mental clarity and ease throughout the body, mind and spirit. Zoom only. Sign up.
Yoga + Kirtan with Nat Kendall, Saturday, Oct. 10, 4 p.m. Our friend Nat Kendall is returning for another gathering of movement and mantra. There's nothing but joy that comes out of this experience, and you won't want to miss it. Space is very limited in this outdoor setting, so sign up early to save your spot. Sign up.
See you on the mat, or on the Zoom, soon!