The new… “normal”???
For over a year, we were basically asked to hold our breath. Our doors were closed to group public classes for a majority of 18 months. We did what we could with outdoor classes and virtual opportunities. But it was over a year of figuratively, holding in, what we come to our mats to focus on. I think that it is important to create a new space after what we have all been through. It will take some time, but as a yoga community and family, we can put together a stronger community that extends beyond the structure of the 4 physical walls we practice in.
A lot has changed...Samantha and I continue to receive questions, try to address the raised eyebrows and concerns, and hope that most of you are starting to explore your new practice in the “new” spaces. I understand that there are still some questions regarding the split of the MI Hot Yoga studio set up. That is a really loaded and complicated one--that will require a really long blog post one day once we have all sorted through the emotions that came with that split. But we are welcoming the opportunity to make some shifts in the way we present, share and practice our yoga at Yoga Connect. And we thought it might be helpful to digest some of that in a less formal way...a way where we can also hear back from you--and take in some of your thoughts on the new direction--and accept some loving feedback on where we can still adjust and move.
Let’s start with our mission statement…
Every individual is seen, heard, and supported where they are. We all are encouraged to watch and observe ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Our studio is where we connect--a brave environment that feels like home; where diversity is embraced and supported; where together we as a community of clients and staff create a shared experience of learning, growth & transformation.
Our staff came together to begin to develop this statement way back in 2020. I reached out to several long time friends, clients--our true yoga family--for some input as well. Our goal as a staff is to return to this statement anytime there is a change or a decision to make, asking--does it line up with our mission? And we encourage you to examine your interactions and experiences--please let us know if you ever feel this isn’t in alignment!
Truly, we want the Yoga Connect studios to feel like a home. Whether you consider it your second home, a home away from home, or truly your home, we want everyone to feel comfortable, brave, seen and heard--on the good days, and especially on the rough ones. Our staff will do our best to welcome you, assist in getting you set up and comfortable in the studio environment and then we will encourage you to practice looking inward. We will at times challenge you to notice your own patterns and edges. We will hold space. We will laugh and I’m sure we will cry (and a lot of you will swear at us under your breath). But most importantly, we will all grow
From our newest teachers who you all accept and welcome into new roles, to the newest yoga practitioner who you suggest puts their mat nearby so they have someone to watch--the growth physically and mentally will happen for us all.
So this brings me to chat a little about some of the changes you may or may not have noticed or experienced. All of this is a work in progress and is focused on growing toward that mission statement. It will be constantly evolving!! And if you haven’t been back yet--some of the things you may encounter and wonder about!
App and Website: The new website and app are working fairly smoothly. If you don’t have the app yet, please reach out to us. We can directly send you an “invite” that has a link you can click which makes it easier than searching. We follow up with an invite code that you need, then you create your account and are all set! If you have created an account on the website, your information is the same for the app! We recommend creating the account before attempting to purchase a package or book a class so the system doesn’t duplicate you.
Community Conversation: Lots of questions and discussion about this! Think about how long some of us were away from the studio, each other--and people in general...we have a lot to catch up on. Also, Community is one of our core values. We truly want to provide a practice that is directed toward what we all are moving, growing and going through! In order to do that, we might be catching up with each other a bit before class. The instructors will want to hear what’s going on in your body and challenges you might be working on. We need to understand why everyone is coming into the studio and get to know our new clients. Please interact with us.
Share with us when you are going through something--we can give you extra love on days you need it--AND know that we need to give you extra space on other days!
Help us “plan” class--let us know if you need some grounding (it’s always “leg day” anyway--lol) or maybe your heart is heavy and we need some supported backbending...please don’t hesitate to share!
Let’s talk about class after--what did we offer that really worked? What are you learning --not just about your physical bodies and attaining a pose that you have been working on--but what did that WORK portion offer you--what did you learn about YOU in the process???
We understand that some clients who come in need some time of quiet, stillness or a less frazzled environment. We definitely want to offer that during class and after with your savasana. We also will try to “rein everyone in” with about 5 or so minutes before class so that we can start to find our way present and ready to practice. I also would consider trying any of our morning classes (people tend to be sleepy and less talkative--lol) or of course our Yin class.
Props & Alignment: Some of you love me and most of you have lots of moments of annoyance with me...so.many.props. I believe a lot of us want to have longevity in our physical bodies for some time...and we may not even realize that the little, subtle adjustments and precautions could actually help us become stronger and safer in our bodies down the road. Throughout the pandemic, I --and many other instructors--had the time to spend in further training. Sometimes we learn that there are pieces of our practice of TEACHING that can help us ensure you all are safer, become stronger and more stable in your own body and practice.
We always remind ourselves that there is no perfect posture or “right” way to do a pose for EVERYone. That said, there are some universal principles that can be applied to most of us that can be adjusted for any individual injuries, challenges, etc. Think about coming out of a restroom and going on your way; you have no clue that you have a long stream of toilet paper stuck to your shoe until someone stops you to show you that it’s there. So if it helps, consider me (and all of our instructors) to be your best friend who will NOT let you just keep walking with toilet paper on your favorite shoes--lol!
Props are not a source of weakness in a practice. Quite often we can move into a pose in a more profound way if we can take the focus off of something where we are exerting more effort and redirect it with the assistance of a prop to a place we weren’t even paying attention to.
In closing - for now (let’s face it, I don’t shut up, ever…) - let’s address the obvious. Yoga Connect was blessed to have received a couple of grants which kept us alive and going up through this past summer. You all have been blessings to us in returning when it’s been comfortable for you. This is a long haul. Small businesses have suffered from closure. We are no exception. We still have to rent a space and pay bills. Our staff works hard and prepares to share space with you. The next several months will be important to the future of our space. I have faith that we all will still pull through this pandemic and its aftermath--exactly as we are supposed to. None of us knows what it will look like, but I do know that there is a strong family bond in this space. I am so so grateful for it. Continue to show up as you have--for us, for each other and most importantly for YOU.