I just can't keep the details all to myself any longer so I have GOT to spill the beans about the most exciting (and scary!) thing I've ever, ever done:
As most of you know - I'm opening the very first ever Body Positivity Yoga studio. That's right, an entire studio where the driving philosophy behind ALL classes is creating a safe and welcoming space for ALL bodies. The very first of it's kind in Canada. And it's going to be pure magic.
Not that I'm biased or anything.
For those of you who are local, the studio is going to be right in the heart of downtown Maple Ridge, BC - about 15 minutes (or less) away from the Langley via the Golden Ears bridge and about the same distance from the Tri-Cities area and a bit longer from the rest of the lower mainland. If you know the Maple Ridge area, the studio is going to be located about a block and a half away from Haney Place Mall/Lougheed Highway.
It's exactly what I always dreamed it would be. It's a cute little space and class sizes will be small and intimate - which means that no matter what class you take, you will get personalized attention. No generic mall yoga. No huge classes. No mats jammed up against one another so that you don't feel like you have enough personal space. Just sweet Yoga in a space where you know, without the shadow of a doubt that YOU BELONG.
I am creating the space I dreamed about when I was new to public Yoga classes. I'm creating a space from the heart that embraces the kind of Yoga that completely transformed my relationship with my body. This is the stuff dreams are made of, people!
The hardest part about all of this is really the waiting!! :) I've been working on this for months and with this space, there's still some red tape to trudge through before we can begin so I haven't been able to get in to start renovating yet. I am chomping at the bit - seriously. We have picked out what we think we're going to want to do for our lighting, I have paint chips for the walls and an idea of what I want for flooring. When we get the green light from my landlord that we can go in and get started it's going to be full steam ahead!! In the meantime, I've had my hands surprisingly full with paperwork, systems setup, and - most excitingly - meeting and interviewing other teachers so that I can bring a team on board, right from day one.
For those of you who are also eager for the studio to launch, we're aiming to open by no later than April 1st - and hopefully a little bit sooner - so stay tuned (this is going to be so epic)!! We are going to have a wide variety of class times available in a number of styles for you to choose from. Gentle Yoga, Yin, Restorative - and more!!
And because I can't contain myself, I thought I'd share with you a sneak peak of the studio's vision and mission:
A world where Yoga is available for Every Body.
Body Positivity Yoga's mission is to provide a safe, supportive, accepting and nurturing environment for all people to learn and enjoy Yoga and other forms of mindful movement without judgement or assumption. It is for this reason that Body Positivity Yoga studios, classes and workshops are always 100% diet-talk free spaces.
Our mission is to meet you where you are and compassionately guide you "on the mat" as a means of providing the tools you need to walk a path of empowerment, self-acceptance and self-care "off the mat".
Our primary objective is for all students of Body Positivity Yoga to understand that each of you are an integral, welcome and priceless part of our collective community and that you have a unique gift to offer the world - exactly as you are.
THIS IS GOING TO BE SO AWESOME!
I can't remember where I first read or heard this fabulous quote by Albert Einstein... but I know that it immediately resonated with me.
The thing is, that I've always approached my life with a very child-like wonder. In many cases, it's been something people tease me about. Throughout my life, people who know me well, and some that don't have told me I am naive.
And, I suppose I am, in a way.
The thing is, I really think most everything has a sort of magic to it. A wonder. I think people are, inherently good. I think that there are more things that make us LIKE one another than make us DIFFERENT from one another. I tend to trust first, and become suspicious only when given sufficient cause.
And yes, this has caused me to get hurt. A lot. And the part that is so hard to explain to people is that in spite of the ways this naive approach to life has hurt me, I don't regret one moment or one decision made from that place.
Why should I? I choose faith, and wonder, and goodness as my guiding lights and when I turn out to be wrong, I see these experiences as learning and growth opportunities. Each of these experiences helped me to become the person I am today. The good experiences, and the bad experiences both were a part of my growth learning, and they still are.
You can look at life and see it for it's darkness, despair, loneliness, cruelty and you can live your life trying to avoid all of those things. Some might say to even attempt to avoid all the pain life has to offer would be a futile effort.
Or, you can look at life for it's beauty, it's wonder. You can choose to see every setback as an opportunity and every bit of life from the smallest plant to the brightest shining star as a miracle.
These aren't rose coloured glasses, I'm wearing. They're crystal clear, but still, they sparkle like the stars.
What do your glasses look like?
I can't believe how time has been flying!! It seems like just the other day that I was planning for the holidays. Now, they've come and gone and we're at the beginning of a brand new year!
2013 was a big, and a hard, year - both for me and for Body Positivity Yoga. I launched my public group classes at the beginning of the year under a model of offering what I could, where I could.
Before I knew it, I was teaching all over the place. At one point I had ongoing classes in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Surrey, and occasionally elsewhere! Phew! It got exhausting but I also found that it was hard finding good, stable locations to offer classes.
Every space I got came with its own unique challenges. In the process, I learned a lot about what I found to be a really great space to teach and practice Yoga in and where the challenges to that space arose. I also learned that there are an awful lot of people out there looking for a gentler, more accessible Yoga practice - and only one of me! :)
And so, much much sooner than I thought I'd be ready, I began looking into the possibility of opening my own space. A place that could grow... and a place that could be a place to teach the Body Positivity Yoga method to other teachers so that I could offer MORE. And thus, a long term goal was put into place, hardly without realizing it had even happened.
My dream is to see Body Positivity Yoga grow and grow so that we can serve all the students out there who are tired of only finding Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga, and athleticized varieties of Yoga. Gentle is the new Advanced and the people who need Yoga most are not always looking to get the most extreme workout they can - they come to the practice looking for something else.... less stress... more connectedness with self, a way to manage chronic pain or heal from injuries.
And so I am very excitedly taking the first step to growing. And I'd like you all to come along for the ride!! :) Watch this space, my newsletter, and my Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates. It's going to be epic. Just you wait and see!