We moved to Minnesota in 2009. I left my beloved city where I spent my whole life, Kansas City, Missouri. I left my 7 siblings, my nieces and nephews, and a career that started when I was 19 years old. My husband’s job brought us here and to say I felt lost is an understatement. My first morning here, I awoke to searing pain in my back that radiated throughout my chest. I had never felt this kind of pain in my life and I have never felt it since. I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with a diagnosis of stress. I couldn’t believe after spending the last 20 years trading commodities, having 2 children and burying both my parents, I still wasn’t prepared for this move. I fell into a funk that took a long while to emerge from.
In 2013, I was ready for some big changes. I took advantage of my good health most of my life. Now it was time to get real. I quit smoking the 2 packs of cigarettes a day that had somehow become my normal. I prayed, I journaled, I meditated and I quit. Cold turkey. I joined a small gym called The Transformation Club and started working out daily. It is here that I experienced my first gentle yoga class. I fell in love. I learned to quiet my anxious mind and body. I learned to let my stress go. I felt safe to explore what my body really needed. It needed to be loved. It needed to be cared for. It needed some quiet.
When The Transformation club offered Yoga Training through The Yoga Center of Minneapolis, I jumped in with both feet. I loved everything about it. Ryan made anatomy more interesting than I could imagine, Celia’s voice when she chanted gave me goosebumps, and Dr. Asavari’s knowledge of all thing Ayurvedic was astounding. I had found my thing. After receiving my certificate, I took some ongoing education classes with Jennifer Gray. I was studying the transformative curriculum of soul traits when news came that rocked this community I had just become a part of. The news of bankruptcy uprooted us all.
Jennifer was on a trip and came back to the news that her business– the one she had built from the ground up– was essentially gone. It was over. But it wasn’t. Because this community mobilized, and that day we took our broken hearts and put them into action. It was a whirlwind as we readied the space for a special meeting with the yoga community. We cleaned, we set out chairs, and we made a plan to get through that horrible day. There had to be more we could do. The yoga community showed up. It was so powerful to be in that room that day. This community was so strong, so loving, and so resilient. There was laughter. There was anger. There was disbelief. There was sadness. But there was hope. That night, we started our plan for what is now, The Yoga Center Retreat.
What an incredible place we have created. Every single person involved has made this what it is. Every teacher that stayed with us and every student that was shuffled around til we landed has poured their heart into this place we call home. There is so much love in these walls. This is our new home that soooooooo many people built. We are healing, we are laughing, we are making new memories. We survived and we thrive. Come in, have some tea, and find your community. We are waiting for you.