Happy 14th Anniversary Main Street Yoga!

MSY logo plain 1

This Thursday, March 1st,  is the studio’s 14th anniversary.

I remember buying the mats and the blankets. Ordering and putting together office furniture, designing a logo and ordering a sign, setting up a bank account as a DBA (Doing Business As).

It was this new, exciting venture, full of risk, full of hope. We were giddy with fear.

In terms of the money, it was a business, but it felt more like a daring adventure. We had a, “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see who salutes” attitude about it.

We had our doubters, too. Especially among our families. There were a lot of good-natured pats on the back, a lot of “good for yous,” a lot of smiles of forced optimism.

Because we were total newbies at this. What did we know?

For my part, all I knew was that I had returned from yoga school on fire. I had found it. My it. My reason for being. My why. My thing. Finally. At 50.

Late bloomer? Yes. But not dead yet. And then this amazing space had appeared, poof! Like that, out of nowhere.

And just like that. We were in business.

I was the teacher. G did the business.

I offered early morning class, noontime yoga, after school yoga, 5 o’clock yoga and 7 o’clock yoga. Five classes a  day. Six days a week.

Nobody ever came. To any of them. Most of the time.

On the days when nobody came, yet again, I’d sit on the big windowsill and watch cars at the red light. Sometimes people would walk by on the street.

Somedays my traffic meditation would be disturbed by the photographer next door making noise with squeaky toys to get little kids to smile for their picture.

One day I watched a man eat a whole Big Mac in 5 bites in the time it took for the light to change.

One day when nobody came I considered going down, unfurling my mat on the sidewalk and doing postures there, to attract attention, and hopefully, interest.  I thought better of that, though. People around here were leery enough of yoga as it was. I didn’t need to go down and validate anything eastern and crazy and contortionist.

Once, the ladies from the public library asked me to come and give a talk about yoga. But please, they asked, could you not say the word yoga?

(I agreed. I even pulled it off. To this day, I don’t know how I did it, but it was my most masterful feat of legerdemain, ever.)

I knew the reason people weren’t coming to yoga was because they had the wrong idea about yoga. I knew their ideas about it were both wrong and nuts. It was going to be up to me to de-nuttify yoga for the people of Mansfield. It was going to be my unstated mission.

I wanted them to understand, most of all, that it wasn’t a challenge to their  religious beliefs.

That was the main sticking point for most people.  At least at the beginning.

They were Baptist or Presbyterian or Methodist. They weren’t into Hindu voodoo patchouli Hare Krishnas chanting om. No. We’ll have none of that.

But, they had also heard that doing yoga  could make them less creaky. And even less cranky. Was it true?

Two people came. Then four. Then a little group of eight started coming consistently and regularly on Wednesdays at 11. They formed themselves into a group. They came to know each other, though they would only see each other at yoga. They came to like each other, and ask about each others lives. They were all retired. That’s why they could come at 11. They’d go to yoga then to lunch.

And then other little groups began to form, and I would ask them questions about their lives and how they felt, and then I’d go and developed classes with them in mind.

And that’s how it came to be that I am still doing this 14 years later. The groups are larger now. Nobody’s worried about yoga clashing with their religion. They kinda laugh at such an idea.

We laugh a lot in yoga theses days.

Yoga has become different over the years, because they’ve become different and I’ve become different. Yoga has to keep changing and accommodating itself to the changing, morphing lives of the people who practice it.

As for me, I don’t sit alone in the window too much anymore. But sometimes before or after class, I’ll sit there and stare out for awhile. Nothing’s changed very much.  People still eat fast at the light, drink, smoke, blare their music on sunny, warm days.

I have a chalkboard on the sidewalk, now, in the spot 14 years ago I thought about spreading out my mat. It advertises Main St. Yoga. I hope people parked or walking by will be intrigued enough to walk up the stairs.

Yoga brings people together. It gets, and keeps us breathing. And laughing.

Happy Anniversary, Main Street Yoga. Long may your freak flag fly!

The 150th Post

We are in Rochester for the weekend. G wanted to check out a catcher, and I tagged along.

I really had no idea what recruiting involved, but now I do, and it’s pretty deadly. And boring. And today, hot and humid. We watched half a game and G said we could go. She had seen what she came to see.

Now we are resting at the Double Tree before dinner. After dinner we are going to the movies to see Trainwreck with Amy Shumer.

Jennifer said I should celebrate and this seems fitting.

Now I have to shower, meditate and figure out what kind of food I want to eat. There are so many choices here! I think some quality tequila may be going down, too.

Yeah. It feels like a Patron kind of day. image

Be back Monday.



Dear Brynne and Jesse,

G and I wish for you what we have:

Someone who sees us as we wish to be seen  and not necessarily who we are…yet.

Someone who sees our best self, the self we are cultivating, the self we are striving to be.

Someone who forgives our shortcomings knowing that we all mess up, fail, and are stupid. But even when we fall short of our own, and the world’s expectations of us, they still love us.

This evening I watched my beautiful friend Brynne marry her soulmate. I wept as she walked down the aisle in her backyard, on the arm of her father, in a dress her mother stitched with love.

I remembered her as a little 7th grader in my English class that I wished I could spirit out of there and say, “Look. This is a complete mess and you don’t belong here. I wish there was some way we could just get out of here, go somewhere and talk about books. I could teach you a lot if I didn’t have to put up with this ridiculous school.”

I remembered her coming to my early morning yoga classes before the school day. Her father dropping her off.

I remember her teaching the most amazing yoga class in my studio. Brilliant,  inspired yoga.

And now, she is partnered. And I love her partner. He is worthy of her, and she of him. Today they vowed to live respectful of each other’s differences and to live a life of excitement and adventure.

I danced to “Uptown Funk” with her and her friends. I hugged her mother.

I feel so good tonight. This is a happy day. I can’t wait to see what this partnership grows into.

Namaste, darling Brynne.  I love you. I respect you. I honor your path.


Date Night: The New Wednesday Ritual

We’ve decided that since I don’t teach on Wednesdays in the summer, that Wednesday will be “date night.”

G recruits every weekend, so Saturdays and Sundays will find her in a sack chair with a clipboard watching terrible high school softball, while I sit home and binge watch Property Brothers.

So we’ve decided that every Wednesday we will take turns planning “Date Night.”

Today was the first one. Her date to plan.

The morning started off with us training together with Vince. Then we stopped at Night and Day for a coffee, and then it was home to our separate work.

I holed up for 3 hours with the book. She mowed and did other housework.

At 3 we took off for Corning. First stop: Driving Range.

I have not swung a golf club in YEARS. How many years? 6? 7? 8?

So we took drivers and split a bucket of balls. Her drives were things of beauty: straight and high and long. (She is a really good golfer.)

My first few drives almost beaned the cars parked in the lot behind me. But then I settled in and a few went straight. Not far, but the balls started to have a nice arc.

My form isn’t bad:

IMG_5077Head down, arm straight. Could use some more turn on the backswing.

Then, after we warmed up on the range, it was on to the main event: The blood sport of Mini Golf.

The greens were lightning fast on some holes, and super slow on others. A bunch of boys and their babysitter let us play through, but not before telling us that if we got a hole in one on the last hole, we got a free ice cream.

I told them we were playing for beer. The babysitter gave me a look.

It was neck and neck for awhile, but in the end, she won. I took it very seriously, though.

IMG_5079After golf, it was off to dinner. Tried a place we’ve never tried before in Corning called Hand and Foot (which I always want to call Hoof and Mouth, but that is a disease, right?)

It was fine. Nice ambiance, weird, but not bad little menu. They need to invest in proper stemware, though.  G’s IPA came in this:

IMG_1842Now the pressure is on for me to beat this next Wednesday.

Any ideas would be welcome.

Tending Things

We tend gardens. And children. And some of us tend to the sick.

Today I tended to my bills, my accounts, my business. I watered the plants, switched the pictures around on the walls, dusted the sills, folded all the blankets and lined them up neatly on the rack.

I tended my meditation practice, and my yoga practice.

I tended my students, and then, afterwards, my friendships.

To tend things is to watch over them, to protect them (when possible), to keep them from harm.

To tend is to pay attention, to mind, to watch.

To tend is to be human, and kind, and appreciative.

Today I tended things.

“Have You Always Been This Way?”

I assumed (and hoped) he meant friendly, open, interested, and together.

He stopped me as I was walking Boomer on campus. He wanted to know how big this place was.

He said he had been lured off the highway to come and explore. He just couldn’t get over how beautiful this area was.

He was driving from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg. He stopped in Bath to ride his bike for a few hours. He wasn’t in a big hurry. He was listening to Eckhart Tolle CDs as he drove.

He asked me what I did here (in Mansfield) and I told him. We talked about a whole number of things, he sitting in his car, me, dealing with Boomer who wanted to WALK, GODDAMIT!

The conversation was simple and easy and light and friendly. I felt a real sympatico connection with this fellow just passing through, stopping to check out this crazy little college in the middle of nowhere.

Earlier in the evening I had the polar opposite experience. I found myself trying to find some common ground with an extremely tense person who thoughts boinged  from thing to thing like a pinball.

I wondered to myself: Have you always been this way? meaning: tense, overly talkative, guarded and defensive?


When the “accidental tourist” man asked me if I have always been this way we had just had 20 minutes of an easy-breezy, open-hearted, back and forth dialogue about the environment and yoga and his children and mine and India and travel.

It was fun, and both of us said so as we said goodbye.

I think a lot about “vibe” and I am supersensitive to the vibe of all the beings I encounter in a day. I always hope my vibe comes across clear and strong and positive and amped.

To his question, “No, I haven’t always been this way.”

But I’ve been this way for quite a while, at least as long, or longer than I’ve been any other way.

And that thought made me feel happy tonight as Boomer and I traversed the rest of campus on our walk this gentle May evening.

Namaste, Brian. I really enjoyed our conversation.


The Bed Is Bigger Than The Kitchen

 The first day in a new place. 

Where to get food? 

How to organize time? 

What to do first? 

Who are these others? 

How to fit in?

Mostly, how to fit into this kitchen. Holy closet! (I am writing in the WordPress app for Ipad and I am having a little fit with inserting pics, so if they are huge or microscopic –sorry.)

This is G’s elbow to elbow wingspan in the kitchen.

Fun, right?

The bed is huge, though. What doees this say about where to spend time?

The day is hot and soft and quiet. The water is bathtub temperature, shallow and clear. Shells everywhere.

We went for groceries, and for breakfast.

Florida is weird.  By weird I don’t mean “bad” just not my tribe. But I wasn’t expecting that. It’s not a hip, vibrant, exciting place. It has a decidedly “Grandma” vibe. We didn’t come here for the vibe, though, we came here to be soft and quiet and warm and contemplative. And to drink gin and tonics (me) and beer (her).

We came here to rest and re-set, to get back to some deep, warm, elemental place. We came here to talk and read and nap and sup and walk and ride bikes everywhere. 

We came here to notice things, both exotic, and ordinary. 

At the entrance to the grocery store there were these huge cages scattered under towering palms,  each one housed an exotic colorful bird. The bird at the entrance said “Hello!” to everyone who passed his cage. Another one wolf-whistled when you walked by. 

We brought lots of books, and very little work. I kept my FaceTime appointment with Jennifer, and then I started a new book and then we went for lunch, and then we took naps, and now it’s time for dinner, and then a drive out to Bowman Beach to watch the sunset.