JOY OF YOGA
Joy Of Yoga is a warm and welcoming studio. We offer Hatha yoga classes as well as Vinyasa, Open Level, Basics, Meditation, Yoga For Athletes, Donation Based Classes, Yoga for Mental and Emotional Health, Prenatal, Gentle, Chair, Senior, and Restorative Yoga classes. Our classes are for every body. We offer many alternative solutions to healing as well such as Massage, Reiki, Theta Healing, Sound Healing, Card Readings, Nutritional Coaching, Life Coaching, Consciousness Coaching, EFT, Essential Oil Classes and so much more.
Through the years of studying and teaching yoga, and owning a studio, I’ve heard a lot of yoga stories. Most all of them, including my own, contain a component of searching. When we come to yoga, we’re often in search of mental, physical or emotional well-being, flexibility, strength, weight loss, the list goes on and on. I start there too. In 1994, living in Portland, OR is when I first heard of Yoga and Buddhism and that they could help tremendously is the easing of mental and emotional suffering, that they could also raise awareness and consciousness and help connect me to spirit. I was searching for those things too- looking for an escape from all the limiting mental chatter that used to consume me, creating a limited view of my entire world. Portland is a magnificent place for many reasons, but the one that endears me to it the most is the culture, it’s vast resources and practices that cultivate consciousness and spiritual connection. It was the perfect place for me to be.
I added a yoga class to my course load that year at Portland Community College. The teacher was in her 70’s and had created her own yoga manual complete with stick diagrams for the course. I remember her fondly, she was very knowledgeable and passionate about yoga. But I remember feeling disappointed after the course because the class was too slow and I was bored. And I was no closer to spiritual enlightenment! Looking back, I had no idea what Spiritual Enlightenment was. I had no mentor, guru or teacher showing me the way. I was just soaking up bits and pieces here and there from books, classes, conversations and experiences.
Simultaneously, I was studying Buddhism. For years after my first experience with yoga, I studied Buddhism. I read any book I could get my hands on, went to any lecture or workshop on the subject I could find. But I could never cultivate a meditation practice. Still, I had no teacher .
Fast forward to 1999, and so much has changed. My daughter Ava was born in 1998, the whole family moves back to St. Louis from Portland, and I’m a college graduate. So much change and so much stress that I thought I no longer had time for a practice! I feel further aware from purpose and my spirit at this time than I ever have. When I look back at that decade of my life, I consider it to be the most challenging. I didn’t realize at the time that I was dealing with a ton of shame and stress that I did not know what to do with and allowed to manifest in some pretty unhealthy ways. There was no awareness. So much shadow was surfacing and all I wanted to do was run the other way. What I didn’t know at that time either, was that my soul was being churned. All the painful experiences and the shadows it brought to the surface, turned out to be the greatest teacher. And through this teacher, I am shown that the freedom, peace, compassion, unconditional love, and connection to spirit that I was in search of, all pour forth from within.
This decade of challenge also brought me back to yoga. And since then, the deepest love for yoga has taken hold. As I continue to learn, to show up on my mat or cushion day after day, the complexities and vastness of the practice continues to reveal itself. To me, it is nothing short of miraculous all that is unearthed and revealed. What a beautiful gift! But just as fascinating is the simplicity of yoga. I realize my first teacher was trying to show me this, the simplicity, but I wasn’t ready to hear. All anyone really need do to gain the vast benefits of this ancient and wise practice is; roll out your mat, step inside, listen, unfold, repeat.
Here at the threshold of Joy of Yoga’s 6 Year Anniversary, I look back at this more recent part of my yoga journey. I sometimes marvel at how I got here. I never even imagined one could enjoy work so much! When dreaming and envisioning your life, don’t forget to add, “That, or something better”. Sometimes the universe has something so much more magnificent in mind!