Parties, family, shopping, expectations, full calendars. These are all positive things during the holidays. These are also all things that add to our stress level and leave us feeling overwhelmed, cranky, and tired.
Restorative yoga is proven to relieve stress, balance hormones, initiate the relaxation response and it leaves the practitioner feeling peaceful and more calm. This year I have added several extra restorative classes through out the month of December. Treat yourself this holiday season to the gift of peaceful, quiet, stillness.
Friday December 1st 6:00pm with LMT Alex Payne
Sunday December 10th 5:00pm
Friday December 15th 5:00pm
Sunday December 17th 5:00pm
Friday December 22nd 5:00pm
You must register and pay for these classes in advance. Each class is $18 or purchase all 5 for $75. Space is limited please register early!
I hope to see you soon!
After the family has gone home. After the feast and the foot ball. After the leftovers and one more piece of pie. Join Hanna at Find Your Center Yoga for a Black Friday deal. 9am for $9. 11/24 #blackfridayyoga #yogaeverydamnday #yogaclass #yoga #yogapants #shinebright #yogapantsarelife
We are moving!
Where: 1062 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville GA, 30501 Suite B-11
Find your Center-Yoga will be located on the Terrace level of Thompson Court, behind Blimpie.
From Thompson Bridge Rd: Take Oak Tree Dr. off of Thompson Bridge Rd., (by Blimpie) turn left onto the driveway that leads to charter communications. Our studio is on the terrace level on your left. Use either the parking lot between Thompson Court and Longstreet Café or the lot abutting the studio entrance.
From Morningside Dr: Turn onto Oak Tree Dr. and turn right onto the driveway that leads to Charter Communications after Longstreet Restaurant. FYC is on your left. Use either the parking lot between Thompson Court and Longstreet Café or the lot abutting the studio entrance.
When: Classes at the new Thompson Court location begin Wednesday November 1st, 2017. For the first few days we will start classes 10 minutes late to allow latecomers still getting accustomed to the new location an opportunity to get to class.
Although this change was sudden and stressful, I am certain we will be happy in our new space. Expect our yoga studio to take shape over time, rather like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. This is a conscious decision to avoid a lapse in classes. Over the next few weeks, we will be working on it in small stages to make it home. Your kindness and support has meant the world to us. Thank you, Emilie and Carmen
Aparigraha is the last of the five yamas. Yama’s and Niyama’s are a part of Pantanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga. It is most often translated to mean ‘non-attachment”, non-grasping or clinging.
I guess the universe thinks I need a refresher course in non-attachment because I am being pushed (shoved unkindly) to examine my relationship with change, comfort, and outcomes.
I am not going to beat around the bush....
I have to find a new space for our studio by October 31st. I found about this a week ago today. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and felt ‘off’ that whole day. Nothing felt happy or easy and I was in a funk. I attributed it to grief, because….well, grief has been a major part of our lives for 3 solid years and I have learned it can be unpredictable and messy. It was a hard day even before I got the news that I had to leave my beloved studio. It was as if some part of me was expecting bad news. I wonder if some part of me could start to expect winning lottery numbers?
Spoiler alert: after I wrapped my head around this and grieved for the space, I was able to look at my choices and I think I have a solution. I won’t say more on that yet because it is not a done deal….. that post will come. I promise. This post is about attachment. So let go of the need to know where yoga will be on November 1st ;)
The practice of Non- Attachment, for me, has less to do with things. Obviously, at times I have become attached to objects. I am human after all. For me, the lesson is always more about change and attachment to outcome. If you know me even a little bit you know I am not a fan of change, even if I am the one driving the change. I like things to stay the same. I’m attached to comfortable. This is a problem when life throws you a curve ball. When change happens I expend a lot of energy trying to figure out how to stop the change or dissect what I did wrong or wonder how I brought this upon myself. That’s not altogether terrible; lessons need to be learned after all. But I tend to cross a line into unhealthy self-blame and anxiety. This time, I am working on riding the wave and enjoying the excitement, sort of like a roller coaster, it should come as no surprise to you that I do not like roller coasters.
How is change related to non-attachment ? For me when I experience sudden change I also become attached to the outcome. See…I grasp not only for an immediate answer but I cling to my anxiety over is it the RIGHT answer. This tendency is not helpful. It takes energy to struggle against the changes. Energy that would be better spent changing my perspective, looking for solutions and finding the positive among the crap. This struggle closes me off to everything and everyone around me. Think about the shape of your hand when you grasp an object. Go ahead…make a tight fist. Can anything (good or bad) get into the palm of your hand right now? How much energy are you expending making that fist? Now, let your hand relax. Allow your fingers to unfurl and the palm of your hand to open. What possibilities could land in the open palm vs. the closed fist? Let yourself be like the open hand. Peaceful, relaxed, and open to whatever goodness is coming your way. This is what I am trying to do. Imperfectly.
This situation forced me to choose between two paths one steeped in worry and fear and anxiety or the other that continues to remind me this is not a tragedy….this is an opportunity.
So yes, I love the space in the market. I will always love that space. It felt like me…perfectly imperfect. Squeaky floor boards, dusty brick walls, and drafty windows. But that space isn’t ours anymore. It’s time to let it go. Wherever our new space is it will be ours to transform into a lovely, quiet, healing space….with excellent parking. I don’t know EXACTLY how this transition will go. I do not have all the details. I have more questions than answers. For example, apparently I woke up in the middle of the night wondering ‘Where will they put their shoes?!” It’s okay to laugh at me. I did. I will certainly have more opportunities to face. See what I did there…I was gonna say ‘problems’ or ‘challenges’…but I changed my perspective and made my problems ‘opportunities’ instead.
I’ll leave you with two quotes and a promise. My promise to you is: I will always be honest and open about the growth and opportunities we as a yoga community face. I will always listen to your thoughts and suggestions; it is your studio more than it is mine. I will try to make our new studio a warm and welcoming space that you feel at home in. It may take some time but I will work towards that goal every day. Remember, it is not the walls and floor that make a studio…it is the energy that you bring that makes it a space we love.
These two quotes and a steady meditation practice have helped keep my head screwed on straight.
“Take the first step in faith. You do not have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” MLK
“We are continually faced with great opportunities cleverly disguised as unsolvable problems” Margaret Meade
I have been home from Kampala, Uganda almost a month now, and I'm not finding it any easier to explain what I experienced. It was all the feelings....exciting, sad, joyful, amazing, bewildering, scary and inspiring. You name it, I felt it. Rather than invent the wheel I have provided a link to the Times article and I've copied my Churches newsletter below.
Neither of these will ever be able to entirely express the magnitude of our trip. Nor, will they ever be able to touch on my gratitude for all of the people who helped me all along the way. Those of you who donated money to me or to the church sponsors. THANK YOU. Those of you who came to special classes or came more often. THANKS YOU. The teachers who kept the studio running smoothly. THANK YOU. My rock star husband and my incredible daughters. THANK YOU. My friends and family. THANK YOU. The kind words of encouragement. THANK YOU. All of you made this trip possible. All of you helped to touch the lives of countless refugees and the people helping them. I will forever be grateful to you. Thank you.
Much love and respect, Emilie xo
Below is an interview that appeared in Grace Church's Evangelist Newsletter
An interview with Emilie Cook who recently returned from a mission trip to Uganda with "Refuge and Hope, International" where she taught yoga to the caregivers who process the refugees that stream constantly across the borders seeking safety:
What is the story that got you to leave your family and join this mission trip?
If I am completely honest, I went because you are not presented with an opportunity to go to another country to teach yoga for a fraction of the cost and say no. That would have haunted me for the rest of my life. Since the death of my sister I have made it a point to say 'yes' to life more, especially if it is something that triggers my fears. I felt like this big, scary trip would be the sort of thing she would push me to do. Without sounding too cliché, I want to live my life for her. Since she can no longer be here, I want to do the things she can't.
What surprised you while you were there?
The resiliency of the people I met, their true, complete, faithfulness even in the face of unspeakable horrors. I was surprised by their strength, and what seemed like an effortless ability to be open, welcoming, and loving. When you come into someone's space there -- whether their office or their home -- you are greeted with "You are welcome" Or "You are MOST welcome". And they mean it. Every single time they say it, they mean it. Another thing that surprised me was the level of not just tolerance but complete acceptance of different religions, backgrounds, and beliefs. There was a Muslim family who was served by the center several years ago that now work and serve alongside the Christian ministers. There was zero fear or distrust between the two families. The Christian family considers the Ali family as part of their family. The workers at the Center all invite each other to celebrate religious holidays as their guests and, in turn, the guests from one tradition become the hosts at the next celebration of their holy days. This easy exchange of hospitality seems to stand in stark contrast to what I have experienced here. We have much to learn. Peaceful co-existence is not impossible.
What made you sad?
I want to say that the same things that surprised me also saddened me. I was saddened that they had to become so resilient under such trying circumstances. I was, of course saddened by the conditions of some of the neighborhoods. The stark differences between how we live and how the people I met live. My own privilege still makes me sad. And my family is not that privileged by US standards. The stories of the trauma they experienced, their trials. But it is hard to stay sad for long when you see their ability to overcome. Helen Keller said, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." That quote ran through my mind the whole trip.
What part of you do you think you "left" behind in Uganda?
I hope I left behind tools for the staff at Refugee and Hope International to use with the people they help and themselves. I hope I left inspiration with one young woman in particular to write. I hope I left them knowledge of the importance of rest and self-care. I hope I was a rock thrown into a calm lake and the ripples will continue to spread....ripples of love and care and rest and awareness.
What did you bring back home?
I brought home a clear perspective. I will no longer sigh and lament my small house, my old car, or my lack. I now understand that what I experience as 'lack' is riches beyond compare to most of the people I met. Okay, so I might sigh and lament....but only temporarily. I also brought home a desire to really look at people, to look deep into their eyes and show them that I do really care about them. I have always been able and willing to talk to anyone I meet, much to the chagrin of my teenage daughters. Now, I am unstoppable. Today at Walmart, while college dorm shopping I spoke to our Kenyan cash register clerk about Africa, the people of Africa, her family and my trip. My daughter asked why I had such a lengthy conversation. My answer was easy. I may not go around telling everyone I meet that I am against hate and racism (thinking on the recent events in VA). BUT I can make sure that every person I come in contact with -- especially those who might look different from me -- knows by my smile and my eye contact that I will stand with them against hate; and that I love our differences. I can let them know that they are MOST welcome.
Where did you see God?
I saw God when I looked into S's eyes. S is a 50-something counselor who works every day with the refugees. I also saw God when I looked into M's eyes. M is a young woman who escaped from her country and walked to Kampala. And I definitely saw God in the sweet baby that I held in my arms, the daughter of her mother's rapist. The baby's name means blessing.
(to protect the people I met, I've left their names out of this posting)
If you are still reading and want more information about the group we worked with I have posted a link to their website and a link to their Amazon wish List.
September calendar, newsletter, and email about to hit your inbox. If you don't receive emails from Find Your Center-yoga, and you want to send me a message with your email and I'll add you.
***please note*** the date change for
Sunday September 17th 4-5:00pm $15
rsvp by 9/15
Mommy and Me Yoga: open to all babies and their caregivers.
Friday September 15th 10:45am
rsvp by 9/14
1 class on September 4th, Labor Day.
All levels with Carmen 11:00am
Call me to set up private session today!!
Later This month, I set out on an adventure....I am going to Kampala, Uganda to teach yoga at a retreat center for the workers who run a women's refugee shelter. The group is Refuge and Hope International.
While I am away, I have assembled a fantastic group of women to help keep the studio running at full capacity.
Carmen Chambers, Danita Hamilton, Faith Ferguson, Hannah Croft, Karen Murphy, Stephanie Long, and Lynn Kearns have all stepped up to teach my classes so that you don't have to miss a beat! Please thank them when you see them and help them feel welcome.
Please support me in this endeavor by keeping up with your yoga practice while I am away. You are the heart and soul of our little studio, we could not be the teachers we are without you, our dear students. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I cannot wait to share my experience with you when I return!
With Love and Respect,
Jen lives in Philly with Greg and their dog Lyla. She is a licensed massage therapist, MELT method instructor, wellness specialist on the Lindbald and NatGeo cruise lines and tap dancer extraordinaire!
Just a yoga teacher. Doing my thing.