I just received an email from the Bainbridge Yoga House celebrating my anniversary — with the Yoga House — which made me chuckle. It didn’t tell me how many years it’s been but that’s okay. I’m certain of those dates. It will be ten years at the end of this year since the little house in the woods opened its farm doors and cranked the heat. We were there before fancy software that sends Anniversary emails and when I would email each yoga inquiry with specific directions on how to get to my house and about the unique parking “situation.” It became a sweet sanctuary for friends and then friends of friends. Almost five years ago it moved to where it is now on Day Road—quadruple or more the size, over 30 classes per week, more than a dozen teachers, lots of workshops and still the same old occasional parking “situation.”
All in all its been a magical ride. I feel happy to call BYH my yoga home. Whenever I arrive and walk through the doors I feel a little happier, more relaxed and more spiritually connected. Just like that — Shazam!
Of course the experiences owning the studio, teaching yoga, and continuing to be a devoted student of yoga have humbled me, lifted me, triggered me and transformed me into who I am today. For this I am so deeply grateful. I’m learning learning learning learning and hopefully now with just more kindness.
The congratulatory email received made me take pause and reflect. It also prompted me when asked if I had any comments or suggestions.
I thought I’d take a stab at responding to my own question (or the software’s question) and offer up a few suggestions and comments to the Yoga House (aka me.)
Dear Bainbridge Yoga House ( Dear Jen)
Thank you. You have observed so much over all these years without judgment or fear…you have witnessed healing, reconciliation, heartbreak, grief, confusion, forgiveness, joy, stillness, silliness, challenge, health, catharsis, art, beauty, release, community connection, divine alchemy, inner peace, song, friendship just to name a handful.
Don’t get caught up in the yoga hype, social media blasting and self promotion. Keep it simple. Just be it. Remember the old little house in the woods. Stay true to your deepest yearning for you and for all the students—cultivating a daily practice. Show up, practice and live your life.
Be yourself. Bainbridge Yoga House is not a cookie cutter yoga class; every class is hand- crafted, home-grown, and delivered with heart.
Less is more. Offer enough classes but not so many classes and workshops that makes us all feel dizzy and overwhelmed and showing acute signs of FOMO (fear of missing out of a guest teacher or some chakra advice.) You don’t want to burn yourself out nor do you want students to feel like they are burning out. A little goes a long way. Savor it and stay the long course.
Offer YOGA…just that. No need for special species yoga with all kinds of names and iterations. Just offer yoga. well, okay, some classes with HEAT because it feels so good to sweat. But, yoga is all you need. That way we all come to class with what you call a “Beginner’s Mind” That way we have to really work in the practice to let go of our expectations of who is teaching and what sequence is being taught. How about we all come with what young kids these days are learning in school called a GROWTH MINDSET.
Remember what you learned many moons ago: a healthy yoga studio and a healthy yoga practitioner may love your studio but they are (or should be) detached from any one (or more) particular teachers. When students say they just love your class, know that you have some work to do to get them to love the yoga more than the yoga with you. You can embrace social media because it’s the way people communicate but stay true to who you are. Organic, natural, healing. Others can try to glamorize the yoga lifestyle; stay true to who you are, dear Jennifer.