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My Yoga Connection- Chapter one.

This is the beginning of a great story I plan to continue sharing over time. While this may be jumping ahead in the story a bit- the foreword will come- I wanted to share a rather personal, joyful, and maybe a little bit of a tear jerking memory of My Yoga Connection's Grand Opening. For those reading who came to know and love My Yoga Connection- I miss you and am so grateful for you- I would love if you might share something, maybe a memory or a favorite thing, about MYC either with me in the comments or even just in your own mind. Thank you all for reading. (I apologize for all the grammatical errors; I make up words, I don't spell check everything, I leave it kind of raw.)

January 31st, 2017 would have marked the fourth birthday celebration of My Yoga Connection in Gainesville, Fl. That day has almost always felt like New Years day to me or even like my birthday. In fact, friends would jokingly wish me a happy birthday on MYC's anniversary. We would even joke about how MYC was like my baby on a number of occasions (which I always thought was kind of a weird joke). Like when MYC was "born", or when MYC turned one year old, when I left MYC in someone else's care for the first time. MYC especially felt like my baby when I felt like I was losing MYC or when someone(s) was trying to hurt MYC. So yes, in many ways our businesses are like our babies. They grow up. Many people grow to love and care for them. As they grow, people come to rely on them for help and guidance. They feel like a part of your family. I was and still am protective of what My Yoga Connection means to me and so many others. In so many ways- words can not come close to honoring the love that so many had for MYC but I do feel like all that love, that made so much happen, was meant to be shared.

So, this year, rather than a big party (and I mean big) with 100+ people in a yoga class all "Ohm-ing" together at the end in one big human hug. Rather than live music provided by my very talented friends, raffling off local goodies, and sharing yummy food. Rather than me getting no sleep in excitement and the stress of having to plan a party for 200+ people. (If i'm being truly honest right now- a big part of me wishes I was doing all of these things today with everyone)

Anyhow, rather than all of these things- I'll be celebrating, in my own way, the birth of a community filled to the brim with true connection and integrity of yoga for every-body. I'd like to honor the incredible- at times unbelievable- life of MYC in Gainesville, FL with what I hope will be more than inspiring words. But also an honoring, a thanking, a celebration of our heroic team and community that was built from the deepest parts of my spirit and flourished into this community digging deep for a business that they truly believed in and magic moments that they needed to keep alive. At the time My Yoga Connection opened there was a void in the yoga community that needed to be filled. I did not know of this void prior to opening the studio but came to learn of it as our small studio was getting flooded with yogis. This business was being birthed for higher needs that will be met.

The journey of My Yoga Connection in Gainesville was one of many highs and many many lows. Each moment as magical and heartbreakingly meant to be as the next. In honor of a day that has always felt like a birthday I want to keep it light-ish and focus on a high moment- the biggest beautiful day that My Yoga Connection had it's very first Grand Opening Celebration in Gainesville, Florida.

The day was January 31st, 2013 and there were about 20 of my closest friends, some new friends, teachers, bosses, and my family- my dad was even there! All of us gathered in Gainesville's new 350 square foot yoga studio. It was tiny- like really small. It was all I could afford and it was beautiful. It felt cozy and comfortable- unless there were more than about six people in the room. Ha! There was a tiny front desk area where we had a tiny retail area with stuff my friends made and a tiny shoe rack that could only hold one shoe in each cubby. When the yoga room filled up to it's max, with eight people, folks would roll out their mats to practice in the tiny front desk area where we could fit about four more people. We had beaded curtains to separate the front desk area from the yoga room. The color theme was lavender with gold trim, wood floors, and the trademark was this gorgeous Mandala my boyfriend at the time had painted on the wall. We also had a tiny prop closest and a slightly weird shared hallway to get to our tiny-but beautiful with custom brand new tile that my friend, John, put in the bathroom. (Check out more pictures at the end of the post!)

It took me a moment to recall the day as I was blending together other studio celebrations that would happen in the future. Then it all came back like a flooding river of thought. The memory that stands out the most from my business' Grand Opening day was the people that were there. My best friend, her new baby (my god child), and her parents were there. One of my friends there with her new husband and they were expecting a baby soon. My teacher, Richard, from my Yoga Teacher Training came with one of my other teachers to congratulate me. The Doctors from the office I worked at went out of their way to stop by. Many of my closest friends showed up in support and even offered a helping hand that night. The guest that stands out the most to me that was there was my dad. I had no idea that this would be the only celebration of My

Yoga Connection that he would be alive to attend. I was soooo happy he came (with my brother) especially because he told me that he might not feel well enough to come. My dad wasn't getting around very easily at the time due to six herniated discs in his back and another handful of health problems. Even though he was in so much pain he did all that he knew to get his ass to the grand opening of his daughters yoga studio. Which, honestly, meant that he had to load himself up with the Methadone his bullshit doctor at the VA was trying to kill him- oh wait- prescribed him with. So that he could not be in pain long enough to show up in a zombie-like state for about 30 minutes, give me a hug and a kiss on the forehead, talk awkwardly with a few people there, and then have to leave because he is in so much pain. I understood. I knew the great amount of effort and pain that he had to endure just to even leave the house. It would have been okay with me if he did not come. Because I knew, even without him showing up that day, that he was incredibly proud of me. But when he hobbled in the doors that day, walking stick in hand, it became a deep seated memory of joy in my life and I believe his too.

I mentioned that my dad had awkward conversations that night. Funny enough, he had gotten to talking with my best friend's step dad, Michael- who has known me since High School. Michael said something along the lines of , "Wow, you must be so proud of your daughter!". My dad responded in an Eeyore (Winnie the pooh) like manner, "Yep...". I think anyone would have thought that was a shockingly short response to a question like that....I'm pretty sure Michael did. When my friend told me that her step dad mentioned this conversation to her I knew immediately that my dad had no idea what Michael had said to him- because he was practically deaf but would never dream of wearing hearing aids- and had simply responded with a "smile and nod" in efforts to not lead on that he couldn't hear anything. Even though this was kind of funny to me and my friend I still wanted to ask my dad about it. So I did. The next time I talked to him I asked him if he had a good time at the grand opening, I thanked him for coming out, and I asked him how much pain he was in when he got home and the following day. He responded that he had a lovely time, he said my studio was beautiful, he was happy that he was able to come, and that he was in a lot of pain- as usual. I got to asking him if he recalled the conversation with Michael. He said he remembered talking to him but that it was hard for him to hear in there with so much going on, that he couldn't really understand him. I told him that Michael was asking him if he was proud of me and he immediately scoffed a little bit and said, "What kinda question is that anyway?" "Of course I'm proud of you!" We both laughed about it. It was funny because I knew that he knew he had gotten busted for just smiling and nodding at someone instead of telling them that he couldn't hear. This was the last time I will have ever heard my dad say he was proud of me.

It's that moment that sticks out to me on this day. That one along with my teachers, my friends and their babies, my friends without babies, my family, and community all coming together in support of hard work, a dream of self care, and yoga for all. That is what the deepest foundations of My Yoga Connection were built upon. My Yoga Connection opened its doors on this day four years ago in Gainesville, Florida not having any idea what the future years would bring. We opened our doors with the backing of a strong, powerful, believing network of what would become family, to serve our community from the brightest and lightest parts of being. To serve the bright light that is within each and every one of us. We opened our doors to provide a flourishing haven for anyone who needed that in their lives. My Yoga Connection opened doors on this day with a greater purpose than what was known. I couldn't be more grateful for this memory, for the day that My Yoga Connection opened. It makes me feel proud. This day will always be one that fills my heart with light.

The light in me honors the light in you- Namaste.

Happy Birthday My Yoga Connection!!

Pictures From The Grand Opening Celebration

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