My journey with yoga began when pregnant with our first child, over 16 years ago. I thought that I had better get “healthy” since I was going to become a mom. I went to a prenatal yoga class and thought the whole thing was a little too “wooo wooo.” Talk to your baby in your womb before it was born? CRAZY!!! But I did it. I didn’t love yoga but I tried out many different classes. I took some classes at the YMCA where basketball games were going on in the same gym at the same time. Not too relaxing. I had no idea what yoga really was, but I began to get curious.
Fast forward two years and we were pregnant again but this time I was told I also had cervical cancer and needed to have an abortion and a radical hysterectomy. Say what? That was quite a summer! My husband Jerry and I cried a lot. I thought I was going to die. I think Jerry did too. I was only 32-years-old and I made a big decision to keep the baby, deliver her at 38 weeks gestation in the cancer ward of John’s Hopkins, and have a radical hysterectomy (keeping my ovaries) immediately following her birth. Luckily, the cancer did not spread to my lymph nodes during the 9-month period my body was making a baby. Riley was a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I was able to nurse her and I did not need to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. To what did I attribute my luck? Slowing down and taking care of me. With Reiki, a mindful diet, massage, yoga and saying “no” to a lot of the things in life that kept me too busy and exhausted, I gave my immune system a break. Some Ease, if you will.
Almost 8 years after Riley’s birth, we moved our whole family- Jerry, myself, and our 3 kids (our third child was adopted from Korea)- to Nosara on the Pacific of Costa Rica. Call it a midlife adventure to avoid a midlife crisis. Life in Alexandria was busy and full but we were missing the fun and adventure we had enjoyed in our years before children.
Nosara Yoga Institute (NYI) was right around the corner from the house we rented. I decided to sign up for the yoga teacher training they offered in the month of November. Before leaving for our Costa Rican adventure, I had been working with a wonderful healer who challenged me to “answer the big questions in life.” Questions like: Who am I? Where am I going? Where have I been? And What is my purpose? On the first day of teacher training, I walked in and saw right there on the wall a phrase written by my teacher: “Yoga is inquiry…Who Am I?” I knew then that I was in the right place. This intense month of two-hour yoga at 6 am, meditation on the beach, more classes in morning and afternoon, lectures, and in the evening two more hours of hands-on experience, changed my life. I laughed, cried, explored, shed and grew. Prior to this experience, never had I imagined that I would teach yoga let alone open a yoga studio.
So here I am today. A beautiful day in April. Our first born, Baker, turns 16 this week; Riley is a thriving 13-year-old teenage girl who may never understand the intensity of that year before her birth; and our son Tae brings love and light to our world. My new expression in life is Perfectly Imperfect. Life is busy and fun. Jerry and I continue to work on marriage and being in relationship while raising a young family.
Ease will open in a month. It is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Yoga has taught me to invite in the paradoxes of life and to truly feel them. All of my demons come up as the opening of Ease gets closer. Why am I doing this? Is it ego? I really hope not. Will people like it? What if no one comes? What if I fail? Well, it’s too late for all that, the lease is signed. I must go forward. Be quiet, mind!
Ease will be much more than just a yoga studio and juice bar. My hopes are that Ease will attract those of you who, like me, have many blessings in your life but who are curious about what life is all about and how we can live it fully and authentically. Ease is meant to be a place to drop your shoulders and begin to slow down and explore the relationship between the mind and the body. Our space is called “Ease”—the opposite of “Disease.” I believe yoga offers more than stretching and breathing. It offers the chance to slow down and notice what is happening in your body. It calms the nervous system. We all need this. If we do not slow down, our body gets out of sync and we are no longer at Ease, but rather there is dis- Ease in our body. Our thoughts and emotions can begin to rule us.
So, thank you for reading. This blog post is motivated by the cartoon below, where a stick figure says, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” (and they reveal their hearts). I hope that by sharing a little piece of myself, I have encouraged you all to share a little of yourselves when you enter Ease.