Easeful is different than Easy

No longer. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

This is the first time in a long time where I do not feel the need to take immediate action on my dreams. Oh how I tried (#PittaAF), but my heart lately has helped me to discern emergence from forcing. It's let me know that I'm on the right path, even if it's wildly different than what I expected. And, I struggled with those expectations I set upon my own Self. I see that so clearly now. I’m sure you have strong expectations of yourself, too, yes? How does that really make you feel?

Dearest friends, I’ve started a new role. And, it’s not yoga necessarily. And, I cried at my desk and in the bathroom the first day and the second and the third - a) because I’ve gotten used to longer days with my baby and b) because this means surrendering some liberties I had before. But, it came so easefully, which is different than easily, and felt so right that I had to say yes.

I am now serving as the Development Director for Foster Forward, a wonderful organization with amazing people that serves youth, children, and families touched by foster care in Rhode Island. Did you know I had a former life in development // fundraising? Before Yoga Dear?

Courtesy of Jenna Honeycutt Calligraphy

Courtesy of Jenna Honeycutt Calligraphy

Here’s the thing. I adore yoga. You know this. I am dedicating my life to sharing the truths of yoga, particularly to nourish the feminine (this exists in men, too). But, I’ve heard this whisper that my work needs to reach beyond yoga studios. I wasn’t sure what that meant. To a degree, I’m still not. But, what I do know is that yoga has a branding problem. Yoga is not “fitness.” It is not fancy poses practiced in 100 degree temperatures. It’s purpose is not to make your tush look better (although that could happen). Yoga is the teaching of wholeness. Of recognizing our Divinity and our beauty and our gifts and our worthiness through a time honored and tested technology.

And, so I’ve started to pull away from certain settings. I’m starting to have these images and these dreams. I long for space where we learn + DISCUSS the essential elements of our practice - the ethics, history, meditation, subtle anatomy. I long to chant mantra and dance to live music. I long to teach people about how movement and yoga (inherently its philosophy) can nourish the body and the mind, and in turn heal the soul. I long to share ayurvedic ways of living + eating as a reflection of nature.

I long to utilize the teachings of yoga to help solve the world's greatest problems and connect with great thinkers. I long to help women uncover the wildness and sacredness of their femininity supported by real life community. I long to support play, imagination, respect.

***

No longer. Not yet.

In this moment, I’m choosing to honor the closing of a chapter and the seeds of creation for another. I’m not sure if the above vision is a physical place or a digital one. I’m not sure how often we meet (because, yes, I still want to teach you) - monthly, quarterly, yearly - or if it’s person or online or both. I’m not sure if anyone is even interested.

And, so when this new role came along (and met my negotiation to part-time work) I said yes. I said yes to emergence, rather than forcing an outcome based off of expectation. I said yes to a new challenge and the chance to bring my yoga practice into a field that I think will deeply benefit. I said yes to allow myself time to actually study, experiment and play with yoga education, and continue to work with the handful of beautiful souls I see every week for yoga therapy. I’m trusting what has felt easeful, undeniable, peaceful, sattvic, even with its challenges.

I write all of this to acknowledge your own spaces of in between, too. I know that you have your own places of no longer and not yet, and how hard it can be to allow for that. Rather than forcing, how can we step into the flow of our lives? Can we trust what feels like calm, steady energy even if it’s not what we envisioned for ourselves? What do you think? If you have a moment, please pass this message along to a friend who needs it…perhaps a friend who’s life feels uprooted or steered in a new direction. And, as always, I’d love to hear from you and how you are (I respond to EVERY comment and message.

Why yoga therapy?

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We often come to yoga for more than the movement. We're searching. We want relief from anxiety, depression, loss, overwhelm, pain. We crave purpose. Connection.

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Letting go {and other lessons}

Dearest yoga friends,

After many, many months (even before our move to Rhode Island), I have felt the pull towards a new path for me and for my family. And, I'm finally surrendering. I have made the decision to transition out of studio ownership at Yoga Dear. I could share the many reasons, but simply it's time.

As I type with slightly trembling fingers, I realize that some of you reading may never have stepped foot into the central PA studio and that, for others, this space has been a deeply healing and community filled spaceHowever you are connected with Yoga Dear or Yoga Dear Mama, I hope you will read this post. I wish I could tell each and every one of you this in person.

***

Trusting my intuition and opening the Yoga Dear studio was one of the best choices I have EVER made. It was scary. I had never taken one class in business. It didn't logically make sense to leave my career at the time. However, I felt like I just had to build a dynamic, supportive yoga community in central Pennsylvania. I felt the calling to teach and share and learn and grow with fellow yoga students, some who are now teachers themselves. I hoped to facilitate the growth and healing of a handful of students, that then became hundreds. I wanted to look back on my life and know that I had tried. And, together, we've created something beautiful.

And, now it's time to let go. For a few months now, I have explored selling the studio portion of Yoga Dear, and believe the next studio owner may be out there. In the event a sale is not made or a buyer not identified, we will be closing the studio on April 30, 2019. Read more in the "P.P.S." below for how this might affect your membership.

Of course, I hope you're reading this so that you are aware of the state of the studio (especially if you're an in-person student), but I also hope you are reading this email to recognize that it's okay to really listen to the inner knowing that's always within you...even if it's scary. It's okay to take risks. It's more than okay to believe in yourself. It's okay to honor curiosities and gentle nudges. It's okay because as a human and spiritual being, these are signals of growth and change, and growth and change aren't always painless.

***

art by @ineslongevial

art by @ineslongevial

Now, my own inner voice is nudging me down a new path in my yoga career, and I wish I could tell you exactly where it ends up. But, that's the evolution, right? Sitting with the uncertainty, allowing it, accepting it, and continuing to surrenderYoga will always be a huge part of my life, and I will continue to share its gifts through writing (the Yoga Dear + Yoga Dear Mama letters will continue!), yoga therapy work, future retreats + trainings, the sky's the limit and I'm letting it unfold. This is only the beginning of my own yoga journey. I'm so grateful it began with you. YOU are a tremendously important person in my life whether we've shared a practice in person, chatted via email, or you simply read from afar. I hope our relationship continues to unfold, and I hope you realize that it's okay to accept change as you grow and evolve, too. 

With so much love,
Leanne (and Eugene + Bodhi)



P.S. I want to make sure it's clear that Yoga Dear is multifaceted, and the studio is a piece. While I am transitioning out of owning a yoga studio, my work and commitment to yoga, yoga therapy, writing the regular letters and Yoga Dear Mama letters, teacher training, and retreats will continue (aka there will still be a www.YogaDear.com - ahem this site). So, this is truly not goodbye. Yoga and its teachings are too precious not to share. With love and big hug to you.

P.P.S. If you are a member of the studio currently, please read this: In the event a sale is not made, all auto-pay and yearly memberships will be turned off on April 16, 2019. Yearly Members will have access to studio classes until the end of April regardless of when their contract "ends" each month. Drop-in's for the rest of the month will be discounted to $14/class. Gift Cards must be redeemed in APRIL. We will not be offering refunds on any unused gift card purchases.

While this sounds very official, we do believe there may be a new studio owner stepping forth to carry this community into its next evolution, but I want to make sure we are including you in the conversations here and preparing for what may come if not. I believe that central PA needs a place to gather, meditate, practice, connect, and am hopeful a new owner will come forward. Please know that I am forever touched by you, by this place. You've changed my life beyond measure. I bow to you. Namaste.

Don't forget about the mother.

Hey there,

There’s an interesting shift that happens when you become a mother. It’s been shocking to me, and I never really said anything (until recently) because I felt as though I were whining, needy, or selfish.

Here’s the thing: Mothers need attention, support, and love, too. Mothers are not invisible. Dear Mama, you are not invisible. I see you.

Mothers are doing a great big job that many of imagined, but also didn’t imagine. Raising a tiny human means all of the beautiful things you SEE - the snuggling, the beautiful babies wrapped in soft swaddles, the sweet bathtime moments, the rocking, the first bites of food, the excitement over rolling/sitting up/taking first steps. And, it also means the incredibly messy parts you MAY NOT SEE - the crying because it’s so hard to get baby to latch, the sleep deprivation, the loneliness after your partner goes back to work, the incessant mess of bottles/food prep/your own lunch that fills the kitchen sink.

And, aside from that, mamas are going through a rebirth of their own. I know I felt it. We still have these desires in our careers, in our relationships, for intimacy with our partners, to travel, whatever it may be, while also still trying to figure out how to be a mother. Can we do all things? Can we be all things? Are we the same? And, who can we talk to about it? Who will listen?

This is the kicker. Who will listen? Who will listen to your experience without trying to solve it for you? Who will listen to your struggles and see you still for the grateful, beautiful mama you are? Who will love on your baby, and also engage with you, too?

Even as I write this I feel selfish, silly. I remember when our son was born, how so much attention shifted to him. Of course it does. Babies are so precious, snuggly, cute little beings and they are essentially helpless needing our loving care and attention. I remember desperately wanting someone to ask me how I was doing. And, to really want to know my answer when it wasn’t “fine.” What’s been challenging for you? Do you need to talk about your birth? And, I still want that. I still long to be seen, yes, as a mother, but also as a human.

I still have career ambitions, interests, desires. I want to make friends and deep connections. And, I know little man is pretty cute, but I’m pretty awesome, too. I want to talk about more than diapers and daycare and sleep, and I’m finally realizing that’s totally not too much to ask (although yes I love talking about all of the above, too!).

If you’re feeling this way, maybe slip this message along to a partner or family member or friend. ;) Share with another mama. I think the way to help others feel seen is to practice giving what we want to bring into our own lives. Ask your mama friends questions about them: What are you reading lately? Have you thought about taking a new adventure with or without your baby? What do you want to talk about today? Look into the eyes of another mother when you’re out and about, simply saying hi. That connection is real.

I’m forever grateful to the women in my life who did help me feel seen. Becoming a mother doesn’t mean that’s our only role. It’s that AND. I’m a mother AND a business owner. I’m a baby food making whiz AND I run yoga teacher training programs. I love reading books to my toddler AND I love writing a pretty successful blog. I’m a mom who cleans up poo AND I still love to feel beautiful on date nights with my husband. I’m allowed to be seen. I’m allowed to want to be seen. I am not invisible. You are not invisible. You are incredible.

During pregnancy, you might have been showered with affection and attention (the good and the…not so good). Once baby was born, you may have felt all of that attention turn to him or her. It’s common. But, it doesn’t have to be. We can express our needs. We can get intentional with our relationships. We can be that person for other mothers in our lives. We can remember that all mothers need attention, love, and support, too.

Sending you a big hug today. You’re doing great, mama.
With lots of love,
Leanne

P.S. If you didn’t know: #1. I really love hearing from you. Emails from these letters make my DAY and I respond to every one. #2. In addition to sleep consulting, I’m studying to become a yoga therapist, essentially where we use yoga philosophy, breathwork, and postures to help heal the body and the mind. Yoga Therapy recognizes the link between body and mind, and using both to ease anxiety/stress and find lasting peace and contentment. Why am I telling you this? Because I’m specifically studying how yoga therapy supports women during pregnancy, postpartum, and fertility. If you’d like to continue to read more, send me a message at leanne@yogadear.com and I’ll put you on a special list about Yoga Therapy.