Thursday, September 20, 2012
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth
Our students voted Camarillo Yoga Center “Ventura County’s Best” yoga studio in this year’s Ventura County Reader Newspaper Poll. Some have never been to another yoga school, others have been to many- all who voted cared enough to spend the time writing in 30 categories of local businesses they appreciated, including Camarillo Yoga, and including me as their teacher. In our case, I think the idea of “besting”anyone else isn’t the sentiment that motivated us. When I sit on my block at the front of the room as our classes begin, I often say it feels like Romper Room… “I see Rose, and Andy, and Francine and …. “ so many familiar faces, many who have been in our classes since we opened 11 years ago. And new faces, smiling with nervous anticipation, whose evolving yoga practice will often bring me to tears as I see physical pain dissolve over weeks and months, as I see their guard come down, recognizing that they will not be judged or humiliated for what they can or cannot do, and instead be recognized for the beautiful and absolutely unique qualities they bring to our community.
Every day, I feel like I have “The Best” job in the world, and “The Best” students to share yoga with. Although we have a roof to pay for, I am so grateful that our relationship is not one of “service provider” and ”client” but instead yoga practitioners and friends together in this life journey, even if we have just met. I am particularly fortunate as a teacher of so many classes, over so many years, with so many students, that my own faults and missteps are forgiven, and I have permission to grow as a human being too, secure in the love and kindness of those I spend my days with.
We live in a town where the weather is darn near perfect, we are not lacking for any of the necessities of life, and we have the extreme luxury of spending hours together each week, keeping our bodies healthy with the physical practices of yoga, calming our minds with breathing and meditation, and nourishing our spirits with the cameraderie we share before and after our practice begins. I believe we recognize that we have “The Best” lives anyone could hope for, despite our inevitable ups and downs, and Camarillo Yoga is a place we gather to remember that.
I think it is unique that each of our teachers has chosen to teach yoga not to make a living or show off their own skills, but to share the gift of yoga with others, because it has made such a difference in their own lives. You couldn’t find a kinder, more compassionate and less pretentious group: Allison, Andy, Bette, Christi, Cynthia, Darci, Francine, Janet, Jennie, Julie, Margot, Michele, Mike, Nicole, RRRRRoni!, Susan & Tara… your loyalty to the intention of the work we do, and the inclusiveness of our community is what makes CYC ”The Best” for all of us.
For me, CYC is also “The Best” because we have joined together so many times in the practice of ’Karma Yoga,” or ”Paying it Forward.” Over the years we have worked together, our community has astounded me with their generosity and efforts to make a difference in the lives of others. We come together as a community again on Saturday September 29, to celebrate our 11th anniversary and to raise much needed funds for RAIN Transitional Living Center for Homeless Families in Camarillo. There is more information about our special day on our website home page, and on our workshops/events page.
May our hearts all find peace amid chaos. Together in our small pond, may we float like the lotus, at home in muddy waters.