OWY Blog

  • Featured Practice of the Month: Pigeon Pose

    New OWY teacher Nikki Schafer demonstrates moderate and advanced variations of pigeon pose!  You may have met Nikki as a sub over the past year.  We are very excited to announce that this fall she is joining our team of regular teachers.  She will be alternating Saturdays mornings in Norwalk with Brian and Andrea - Yoga Flow at 9:30 AM.  Check MindBody Online to see who is teaching each week.  Nikki is up this Saturday, September 14th!

    The poses that Nikki is demonstrating here are variations of King Pigeon, advanced back-bending variations  of pigeon that strengthen the back and open the front of the body as well as the hips.

     Externally rotated front leg and extened back leg create a deep hip opening pose.

    Different teachers have been and will continue to feature this pose throughout the month of September as we explore the theme Grounding.  Come to class and learn a variation of this hip opener that will work for you!

  • OWY's Limitless Project: Andrea Petersen

    Welcome Andrea to OWY's Limitless Project, our final featured artist for the summer!  Andrea is a fiber artist.  Oftentimes pople relegate fiber and fabric work into a seperate category, it considered crafting as opposed to fine art.  This is silly.  As a fiber artist myself, I know how much insiration, creativity and passion come through fiber and fabric... it's LIMITLESS!  Read on to see some images of Andrea's beautiful fiber work and hear some of her thoughs on being a "maker."  Andrea is going to start hosting fiber arts crafting groups at our Norwalk and Huron studios starting in September.  Details at the end of this post.                       -Shannon Leigh

    Andrea's Thoughts on Her Art:
    I have always been a "maker".  I'm not always comfortable with the idea of identifying as an artist. Although I can't recall a time in which I wasn't creating something in some medium.  Glue and paper, melted crayons, paint, fabric, clay, enameled metal, and even food are all things that I have used as the outlet for the instinct to get my hands dirty and create something new and tangible from simple parts.  Yarn checks many boxes for me: it's relatively cheap (depending on the fiber), the colors and textures are endless, it's portable, a project can wait indefinitely while life is busy.  And most importantly, knitting (and now crochet), help me focus and still the incessant chatter in my mind.  It is therapeutic to stitch your anxiety, grief, fear, self doubt, ennui, hope and every other messy emotion into an object like a purge and then you still have a beautiful, handcrafted utilitarian piece to hold in your hands.  You get to look at it and say "I made this" and some part of the restless creative beast is temporarily soothed.  I've only ever been limited by the depth of my skill and that is always something that can be expanded upon.
    It's probably not hard to see a common theme in my projects. I have a deep fear of being cold and apparently am unable to walk away from any purple yarn. I really plan to make things in other colors, but next thing I know..... PURPLE.
    Knit fast, die warm. If we have the apocalypse, I'm your girl as long as you like electric raspberry.

    I have only once followed a pattern exactly as written. The silk lace shawl for my friend Sarah as a wedding gift was a completely terrifying project. I had no prior experience with lace or charts but I was determined to imbue each and every one of the 54,000 stitches with love. It was like a spell made into fabric, full of wishes for her happiness.

    I am completely self taught and just started learning crochet. I'm almost finished with a super weird freeform hat made of many individual small shapes with yarn only from my stash. So, if you guessed that there's quite a bit of purple involved the you get a cookie. But look! There's turquoise and olive green too, just to prove that I'm not incapable of a little change. I've included some work in progress pics.
    NEW OWY offering!  Starting in September. 

    Needles and Hooks Fiber Arts Society
    2nd Sundays 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM  (First Session Sept 15th)
    4th Fridays 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM  Norwalk  (First Session Sept 27th)

    Andrea's OWY Schedule

    9:00 - 10:15 AM  Yoga Flow (Norwalk)
    5:30 - 6:45 PM  Yoga Flow (Huron)
    5:00 - 6:15 AM  Yoga Flow (Norwalk)
    9:30 - 10:45 AM  Yoga Flow (Norwalk)
                      (This class alternates between Andrea, Nikki, and Brian.  See MIndbody Online for details.)

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Erin Percy - Photography
  • An Interview With OWY Teacher Andrea Petersen

    OWY teacher Andrea Petersen, after many years of working as a massage therapist, just branched out to open her own practice.  WEeasked Elisabeth Sowecke to do an interview with her to discuss this recent transition and her yoga journey.  Read on to get to know Andrea.     -Shannon Leigh

    Interview with Andrea

      It is my first time attending a class at the Norwalk studio, and I think I’m meeting Andrea (pronounced “on-DRAY-a”) for the first time, but I quickly realize I’ve met her before. She gave a great workout while recently subbing at Saturday morning Flow in Sandusky.

    I’m not certain if it’s the gorgeous studio, the inspiring soundtrack or her expertise in health and anatomy, but she is unforgettable. The best part—at the end of both of Andrea’s classes, during Savasana, she provides quick adjustments that make a world of difference. 

    The Essence of Andrea

    Andrea was a child in the Arizona desert and along the coasts of California before settling into Norwalk in the 80s and eventually raising her own family—a daughter, a husband of twenty-two years and a Great Dane—under the open skies of Ohio.

    She speaks of flashing neon signs, pointing her in the right direction along her ongoing path to success and she recently took a significant turn. After working for the same, local spa for nearly two decades, she embraced the signs and opened her own practice. In her endearing honesty, she confesses, “The signs were glaring. To not do it would have been stupid.”

    Getting to know Andrea was like tapping into a wellspring of knowledge about the body, mind and spirit. 

    What inspired you to become a massage therapist?

    When I graduated from high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I wished to be rich, so I could go to school forever and study all the things. I started bartending, and through serving different people, I discovered that there’s always something in someone’s life that is deserving of love. Finding that spark is always inspiring. When my daughter was a toddler, EHOVE opened, and it became possible to take a few classes a week while juggling a family and job. Once I became certified, I was hired by Christian Roberts Salon & Spa, where I worked for 16 years! They supported and encouraged me to pursue my interests, helping me to grow. I always say that massage therapy is a vocation, not a job, and my entire identity is wrapped-up in the practice of healing others. 

    Now you’ve branched out to open your own practice—Balance Body Work Therapeutic Massage

    I was to the point where I was performing dozens of massages a week. I knew I needed a more flexible schedule so I could pursue teaching at Open Way Yoga. Along with many other encouraging factors, a great, affordable space was offered to me so I followed the signs and opened my own business. 

    Do you have a particular area of expertise in massage therapy? 

    I can do all kinds of massage and am a rehabilitative, deep tissue, clinically inclined therapist, interested in the science of healing. Now that I’ve had a few thousand bodies under my hands, I can usually pinpoint a source of tension within one session. I often interact with the client because we are hunting down a solution together. They have the lion’s share of the work day-to-day, but I can awaken their awareness. I am always honest and encourage my clients to take the time to observe how they feel after a massage, and in the days following, in order to make lifestyle changes that compliment massage work. 

    I am also passionate about educating and mentoring aspiring therapists. I am certified to teach Ashiastu—barefoot massage—through Barefoot Masters. I enjoy teaching—both massage and yoga—because it is as much a learning experience for me. 

    How does Yoga fit into the picture? 

    I get on my mat for my head. It has always helped me to relax and maintain my sanity. 

    Yoga has been a part of my life since I was a baby. I remember doing breath work with my mom at age two and shadowing my dad’s yoga practice at age ten. 

    Access to yoga in northern Ohio was still fairly rare until recently. Throughout my Twenties, I would check-out a VHS tape from the Norwalk Library. I borrowed it so often that when the time came to retire it from the shelves, they basically gave it to me. Once the internet became mainstream, I accessed videos online and ventured down the rabbit hole of research throughout my Thirties, reading about the history of yoga, Eastern Philosophy and so much more. Four decades into my practice, I’m now teaching and still learning. 

    What led you to Open Way?

    Even before I studied massage, I explored options for becoming a yoga teacher, but none of the options resonated. I first became aware of the Open Way Yoga Immersion and Teacher Training program, and then a friend invited me to an evening session that worked with my schedule. Everything I ever felt kindred to in my past—people, places, things—had a similar sense, a feel, and when I first walked up the stairs to the Open Way studio in Huron, it hit me like a wall, enveloping me and making me feel at home. After that first class, I devoured my one-week, unlimited pass, sometimes attending two classes a day. By the end of the first week, I thought, “You are stuck with me. I hope you like me.” 

    During your classes, I get the sense that you are truly speaking to me…

    It’s experiential knowledge—being relatable because, well, I’m a hot mess too. We are all hot messes. You are not alone. My greatest hope for each class is to help each student—or at least one student—reach that state of clarity for one instant, the embodiment of right here, right now—no past, no future, just alive. 

    I’m not religious, but I see each practice as a prayer. We’re all a piece of something and we offer that to each other, to the greater good. 

    What do you see in your future? 

    I would love to see Balance Body Work grow while continuing to teach Flow and All Level classes at Open Way Yoga. I have some ideas for new Yoga classes that focus on relaxation. Just 45 minutes of Yoga can recuperate three hours of sleep. For anyone who has ever chased sleep, that’s golden.

    I love to be busy. I just want enough. 

    The Future is Bright 

    Maybe Andrea didn’t get rich and learn all the things, but it is clear she’s a wealth of knowledge. I was so inspired by our time together that when my sister was visiting form California this summer and expressed the desire to get a massage, I immediately thought of Andrea. My sister (who can be difficult to please) raved about her “amazing” experience. She was so impressed; she gave me a gift certificate to Balance Body Work Therapeutic Massage. I’m saving it for a special occasion because I know it will be life-changing. 

    When it comes to Andrea’s offerings, the possibilities are limitless.

  • OWY's Limitless Project: Erin Percy

    Huron is a beautiful town!  Erin is the second artist (after Brian Henderson) to make Huron the focal point for her art for OWY's Limitless Project.

    Have you ever had a practice that was something as simple as walking to the water every day?  If so, you know how healing and grounding this sort of pilgramage can be.  As Erin has worked her way back to a feeling of wholeness after the death of her twin 3 years ago, a pilgramage-type practice has emerged.  She walks to the water with her dogs almost every morning.  Whenever lake magic appears Erin pulls out her phone and snaps a pic.  These pictures document the life that has shown up for her.  She shares these moments along with authentic and insprational thoughts @erinpercyflows on Instagram.  Check out her IG for more.           -Shannon Leigh

    Erin's Thoughts on her art:
    I've always been interested in a variety of projects. It's just fun to create. Drawing came very naturally to me at a very young age and I drew all the time. I entered art shows and all that, but I guess one day I was onto something else. It's nice creating when it's just for yourself or a gift to a friend bc you get to focus on the joy of it all. Recently I've really been into photography. Nature kinda does all the hard work for you, all you have to do is show up in the right place at the right time, and be willing to get dirty or maybe climb some rocks or trees which is super fun. There are billions of things to snap when you get outside so your options are limitless. Cool sign. Weird log. Fun cloud. I think everyone can be an artist. You just gotta figure out what you want to create. Whether it's words, sand statues, etc. I think the world could be a whole lot more creative once we stop putting others opinions before desire to create.

    Erin's OWY Schedule

    8:30 - 9:45 AM  Yoga Flow (Norwalk)
    6:00 - 7:00 AM  Yoga Flow (Huron)
    9:00 - 10:15 AM  Sculpt Yoga  (Huron)

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts

  • OWY's Limitless Project: Shannon (Leigh) Thomas

    It's strange to be introducing myself in the context of this project where I've been introducing everyone else, but here goes...  I'm generally a creative person.  A lot of my creativity these days is spent running OWY - my partner Brian oversees the operation and the more analytical aspects of the business while I manage the marketing, outreach and creative direction.  I love being able to use my creativity in my work, but it is not enough.  I am also artistic and crafty in a variety of ways (drawing, beading, fiber arts) and for the past few years I've settled back down with my first love: Poetry.  Opposite of what I write for this blog, most of the poetry I write is totally for me.  I vigilantly notice and self correct if I catch myself trying to impress, be clever or get noticed.  I don't write for others.  This allows writing poetry to be part of the relationship I'm having with myself and the world around me; it's a conversation - literally how I make sense of things, and come to understand what I know and think about myelf, others, the world, the body I inhabit, and the life I am living.  The personal value this work has for me is limitless!

    Like Mallory's work, mine is very strongly influenced by yoga.  More specifically my poetry is often rooted not in yoga itself but in exploring and understanding having a body/being in a body - understanding that develops as a result of a yoga practice.  I am strongly interested in the cross-over between spirituality, social justice and being alive -- my poetry often straddles these concepts.  I also write short little meaning driven poems that I share on Instagram (@vitalwild), I am intersperseing a few of these IG poems between a selection of deeper work.                    -Shannon Leigh

    Pledge of Allegiance 

    I do not pledge allegiance to the bottom line 
    of the Corporate State of America,
    or to the laws of a nation
    upon which corporate rights stand:
    By law--Always grow, 
    human needs invisible,
    with grotesque abundance 
    and freedom from consequence 
    for the One Percent.

    I pledge allegiance to wholeness of self 
    and the spanning everything I Am,
    and to the Earth,
    to which I belong:
    One Being, within god,
    with liberty and justice
    for all in me.

    "Pledge of Allegiance" is one of those very rare poems (for me) that came to me in its entirity out of nowhere, like it downloaded into my brain from the universe.


    on top of a waterfall--
    bright blue algae, warm smooth stone--
    I slip.  Going down for sure —
    I become body without bones,
    and slide like water over the fall.

    In the shallow pool at the bottom:  
    A miracle.  99.9% unhurt,
    I nurse a tiny cut.  My chin
    gave in to a sharp edge
    flowing over the top shelf.

    I look up in a mirror
    and remember the hidden scar.
    Each time, for a moment
    I’m water.

    Hours deep in the mountains— Red rock.
    Ancient Utah sun and blue--
    Warm mineral water from the hot spring
    tumbles over a ledge and pools.

    "Surrender" is one of my most recent poems.  One of the personal themes of my summer has been surrender.  I'm not doing very well with embodying surrender, but this poem came out of considering the moments in my life when I have truly surrendered.  Turns out, as this poem shows, things often go better when I find surender.

    6:00 PM, July 7 and July 21  

    Sirens came earlier, now 
    helicopters weave a pattern
    searching for the body
    (or the person)
    still unnamed.

    Lakefront-neighborhood close
    the news moves fast,
    even as we’re pushed back
    from access to the lake.

    We wait--
    everyone does --
    to hear.

    Local lore -- we know 
    the wait will end.
    Within days,
    if no person is found
    a body will float.

    At our house we sit 
    and eat -- summer grill.
    Silent thanks:
    We’re all at the table.

    Helicopter blades 
    thump back around.

    We talk in low voices,
    we remember our dreams.

    For most of you who live local, "6:00 PM July 7 & 21" needs no introduction, it came out of feeling the quiet that settled over our lakefront neighborhood on these tragic evenings this summer.  For those of you who don't live locally, both of these missing persons drowned at our local beach when they got caught in structural currents off the pier during a strong ENE wind.  
    Plants Teach Posture 
    (Among other things)

    ki: animate it.  as in: Look at that flower.  Ki is radiant. 
    kin: animate plural it.  as in:  Look at those flowers.  Kin are radiant.
    as defined by Robin Wall Kimmerer

    Bloodroot shows me 
    how to pull my shoulders back, 
    shine from the heart out and hold.
    At first, I don’t know kin is teaching me 
    how to be in my body.

    Then the Sunflowers start.
    Before the weight of their fertility
    pulls them to face gravity,
    they lift their chins to the sun.
    I imitate and align. 
    Truth in my physical structure:
    My spine, a stem assuming posture.

    I start looking everywhere:
    Who else has something to say?
    I stop learning their names 
    and start observing their ways 
    how they stand and where they grow,
    what they do and what they know.

    Bee Balm, long friend, Monarda Fistulosa,
    Breathe spicy red-violet and take a look closer.
    Sink to the center where your feet meet ground.
    Radiate up and out, as if you wear a crown.

    Imitate.  Align to arrow-like spine.
    I reach out of the tall grass. 
    I grow toward divine.

    I love plants and this poem came out of a shift in my thinking.  I've always been sort of a "learning naturalist", with nature journals and plant id books, etc.  This way of looking was interesting, but ultimately too objective.  Around the time I was having the realization I describe in this poem, I started to feel the plants as beings and recognize them as individuals.  I started to understand "plant language" which came out of and applied back to my understanding of body.  

    Spring Green 
    seeps up from the ground first.
    Green grass, growing up past
    last year’s brown.
    Willow leaves from pussy willows,
    silky grey to vital yellow,
    verdant undergrowth between.
    At last, sap sucked up to the tips by sun
    swells, and the forest top flares green.

    Sap rises same as this in me.

    "Spring Green" doesn't really feel relevant to this time of year, but I wanted to share it for local interest.  It won 3rd prize in the Huron Library poetry competition this past spring!

    Shannon's OWY Schedule

    9:0 - 10:15 AM  Inner Core  (Huron)
    10:30 - 11:15 Gentle Yoga (Huron)
    4:30 - 5:45 Inner Core (Sandusky)
    10:00 - 11:15 AM  Yoga Flow (Sandusky) 
    9:00 - 10:15 PM  Yoga Flow (Huron)

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Erin Percy - Photography
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts
  • OWY's Limitless Project: Mallory Saunders

    Of the artists we've seen so far in the Limitless Project Mallory's is the most yoga focused.  Mallory has divided the art into three sections.  A series of paintings, a series of collages and finally 2 photographs of bead malas.  The vibrant acrylic paint series is featured first.  
    One of the points of yoga and one of the reasons it makes people feel so good is how the physcal postures and breathing exercises activate and work with the subtle energy body.  The subtle energy body is feel-able in all of us - ever had a broken heart that left an ache in the chest?  That's the subtle energy body manifesting in the physical body.  In life we often interact as if the suble energy body is not there, the physical body is so much more obvious and present.  This series flips that idea, these paintings capture the subtle energy body as primary and show the physical body not quite as an after thought, but as a containter or a vehicle for the energy that is our life force and the art's dominant focus.  I love how this series shows an energetic truth:  The physical body is limited, but the subtle energy body extends outward limitlessly. 
       -Shannon Leigh

    Acrylic Paint Series                           

    I create art because art helps me make sense of this world. Intense emotional life experiences on earth can’t always be captured, expressed or even comprehended through words alone. I’ve used art and creativity my whole life to express my emotions and to better understand who I am and what I’m going through. Life is traumatic and beautiful and indescribably weird and Art is a platform I can use to process, develop and express my perspective. 

    Growing up when I wasn’t given the time or space to express or felt that I couldn’t, art was there to assist me in holding space for myself.

    My emotional struggles and traumas deeply impact all of my creative expression. They are the raw authentic dark nourishment from which my roots feed. My awareness creates knowledge of self, light and clarity, clearing stuck energy and transforming it through inspiration and creative action. I have and continue to work through resistance. Judgment and insecurity. Creating to please others, Attachment to the outcome. approval seeking. Wanting to be seen as “good.” comparing myself to others. Negative self talk. Doubt. Lack of self compassion and self love. Fear. All Emotions that have held me captive, that have slowed and prevented me from creating and expressing myself. I became repressed. Unable to communicate my truth. Paralyzed. Traumatized from loss. Trying to comprehend life and death. It has been a process learning how to be persistently holding space for whatever arises. Even when you hate it. Confronting Ego. Expectation. Frustration. Disorganization. The rushed messy Lack of planning. Skipping steps and not making time. Ungrounded. Unstable. Chaos. Lacking structure. Laziness with no direction. immobilized. 

    Art just like Yoga is a self study, developing awareness of the true self through disciplined practice. The discipline is not about the outcome, the finished artwork, the perfect posture, it is about the journey of self discovery, presence through the ups and downs along the way. We develop knowledge of our truth, our core values and beliefs as we shed layers, limits and boundaries letting go of the weight of what is not us and moving deeper inside. Through continuous practice we develop intent, focus, direction and creativity. We become resilient, empowered and proficient. We grow from our struggles and learn from our mistakes. The more intentional and focused I am the more crisp and clear the results. I create to honor the divine. I create to honor myself. Art and creation have helped me to comprehend and understand life in my own way. Seeing the interconnections through a visual representation helps me understand concepts on a different level. I use art to learn and grow. 

    This acrylic painting series I’ve been working on for about 2 years now has been a slow process of evolution. I’ve started these paintings on separate occasions but have progressed into working on them together, several paintings at once, building up layers and refining edges. The series is an attempt at me trying to find a more personal understanding of the deeper philosophies of yoga and exploring their connections with modern science. Subtle energy, the subtle body, Electromagnetism, the Nadis and Chakras/ energy centers, Prana, the Vayus, Balancing feminine Ida Magnetic energy with masculine Pingala Electric energy and drawing Kundalini the creative life force energy up the spine through the Shushumna. Activation of the higher energy centers. Connection to the divine. Enlightenment. What does this all mean to me? What is my own experience? 

    Much like my current teaching it is an intuitive series with a vibrant style that honors the elements. It has been a journey and unfolding of sorts into myself. I have learned through it all, shifting beliefs and perspectives opening my mind and making new connections. When I work on these pieces I feel it affecting my own energy field as well as positively influence the collective energy field. This creative endeavor has honed my senses helping me to focus, sharpen, perceive and remember the more subtle layers of life. It has helped me to shift my focus, bring my attention to neglected areas and break through blockages. If I’ve learned anything through all of my practice and self study it is that INTENTION IS EVERYTHING. Through creating this series It was my intention to honor the divinity in all and to allow spirit to work through me. I became a witness to a visual documentation of my own energy imbalances and density. It has been challenging uncomfortable and interesting to witness the process take place, and I mean process because I have been processing the life experiences, the memories and shedding the emotional weight of whatever arises within me by choosing to holding space, to create and work through it all I releasing the fear and resistance and I grow and evolve. 

    Collage Series

    I consider myself a multi media artist I love exploring different ways of using and looking at materials. Collage was always one of my favorite ways to create as a child and remains something I always come back to. This 3 piece collage series titled Rite of Passage was an artistic exploration of my emotional transition from pregnancy, through childbirth and postpartum into new motherhood. These collages were created on Plexiglas over extended periods collecting little moments, experiences, pieces and scraps of my life during these different phases. 

    Rapid Growth

    The first collage Rapid Growth depicts the range of emotions I experienced after finding out I was pregnant. It was unplanned and I made the decision early on to go through the pregnancy on my own. This piece shows the evaluation of my life and choices. It shows immense frustration and grief as I let go of the life I thought I would have for myself. The uncomfortable, gut wrenching, feeling that your life is being ripped away but also just starting at the same time. Fear. Inadequacy. Excitement. Instability. Chaos. Divinity at Play. 

    Light of my Life

    This second collage Light of my Life The euphoria of birth and bringing new life into the world mixed with a complete identity crisis trying to figure out who I am as a person in this new role as mother. Surrender to the divine. Adjustment. Feeling lost and unimportant. Finding a new Balance. 

    Love the Land

    My third Collage, Love the Land is about grounding and reconnecting to the mother earth through becoming a mother. The feeling of being rooted and stuck. Taking on the softer more gentle role of nurturer and caretaker. Radical self acceptance. Patience. Blossoming into motherhood 

    Japa Malas

    I have also recently began creating affirmation bracelets and Japa Malas which are traditional prayer beads used for mantra. By incorporating a mantra or affirmation into a breathing practice which energizes the intention you can create one pointed focus which calming the nervous system and begins to transform the subconscious mind shifting old beliefs and programs. Mantra Yoga has completely altered my practice into one of more intention and devotion. I use my bracelets everyday to give thanks for and affirm the reality I choose to create. I am grateful for this tool and love to share it with others! I am currently working on some custom orders but more pieces will be available soon at the Open Way Yoga Studio in Huron. 

    Mallory's OWY Schedule

    8:30 - 9:45 AM  Yoga Flow  (Sandusky)
    9:00 - 10:15 AM  Yoga Flow (Huron) 
    5:30 - 6:45 PM  Yoga Flow (Sandusky)
    6:00 - 7:15 PM  OWYoga Flow (Huron)

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Erin Percy - Photography
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts
  • OWY's Limitless Project: Patricia Hecker

    I love that Patricia's chosen medium, stained glass, has so much interplay with light.  It is interesting to me that her chosen art form is literally about letting in the light.  

    Below Patricia shares her story of discovering that receiving validation from others was a block to her creative flow.  In Patricia's case, validation for a job well done ignited her fear of failure, a fear of letting people down.  The opposite happens even more often - you pour your heart into something and no one notices, no validation comes.  When this happens, if the creator was basing the value of their work on whether other people value it, they feel stunted, limited.  Patricia's story shows us that validation can be a block to the limitlessness of our creativity whether we receive it or not.  Becoming enlightened to this tendency in ourselves can free us from the desire for validation, releasing us back into the limitlessness out of which creativity springs.  This seems like what happened to Patricia when she let the light in!                         -Shannon Leigh


    Favorite Quote: "Art much like yoga brings our souls out of the darkness and into the light."

    Hometown Pride:  The colors used in this piece are the high school colors of Fremont Ross and here the glass comes together marks the town of Fremont. Fremont is not where I grew up but this area is beginning to feel more and more like home. It's where I landed my first yoga teaching position and its currently where I sell my art.

    About Patricia:
    I had never considered myself a creative person until this year, actually two months ago to be precise. In May I took a leap and showed off my stained glass work for a chance to be part of an artists’ co-op.  It was the first time I had considered that possibility that someone would want my creations in their home and on top of that they would value the time and energy I placed into the piece enough to be willing to give me their hard earned dollars for it. In June we [the artists’ co-op: Buckland Arts] opened. I was nervous and intimidated, but some pieces have sold and others have not yet (or may never will) and all are okay. I have been encouraged and am embracing stepping out of my comfort zone and am willing to create whenever and whatever speaks to me- and somethings that don’t.

    I have dabbled in all sorts of expressions of creativity ranging from the written word, pencil portrait sketches, cartoons, papier-mâché, forged metalwork, stained glass. These have changed with age and what materials have been available to me. The younger me would dabble in whatever media up until someone gave me “good” feedback “that’s beautiful”, “you should do more”, “can you make one for me?” etc. and for whatever reason I would stop and give it up. Maybe because I thought I could never amount to the quality others thought I was capable of and thus effectively gave up on myself in some traverse idea that I would not be letting them down. I still limit myself and struggle with identifying as an artist or a creator.  I think “oh I could never make something that beautiful” or “I’m not talented”.  I’m realizing that my fear of failure and my fear of exposure has limited me from not only from self-expression but also from my own growth. 

     Looking back, creating has always allowed me to be fully enthralled in the present moment. Creating (without my knowing) was my first meditation. When life felt chaotic and confusing, the act of creating silenced the external world and allowed me to explore my own internal world thru a visual and physical medium. The truth is that if what you do connects to the expression of your soul- it’s art. If what you do doesn’t feel like it connects with your soul but it connects with someone elses’- it’s art. We may limit our expressions or our willingness to create, but when we create we experience and can share the ability to be limitless.

    Amethyst Cluster Bookends- The only Disney princess I ever wanted to be was Belle and solely to be surrounded by books. I have books in every single room. I wanted to add a little flare to my books and decided what better way then to create a my own personal bookends inspired by amethyst crystal clusters.

    Origami TRex- Not only is my home full of books. It's garnished with an array of plants. If i can't be outside all the time, I'll bring the plants in to me. But my plants seemed lonely which thus resulted in the creation of my plant buddy stakes like this origami inspired T-Rex
    Sunrise Monolith- Some people awe to catch the sunset. I am a sunrise person. Being around Lake Erie inspired this "sand below, sun above, water as far as the eye can see in between" monolith.
    Water Life- There's something about cattails and dragonflies that reminds me of family. Maybe it was all those childhood memories of the 4 of us fishing, kayaking, or walking in creek beds but one day I was reminiscing and day dreaming and this piece came to be.  
    Patricia teaches at our Sandusky and Norwalk Studios. 

    6:00 - 7:00 AM Yoga Flow - Sandusky
    10:30 - 11:45 AM  Gentle Yoga - Norwalk
    6:00 - 7:15 PM  Gentle Yoga  - Sandusky

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Erin Percy - Photography
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts
  • OWY Limitless Project: Kara Myers

    Welcome Kara Myers to OWY's Limitless Project!  Kara's contribution explores visual representations of verbal communication and fragmentation in a display of limitless expression and reflection.  Kara contributed more art than any of our artists so far, so I broke it into two loosely defined groups.  

    One of the primary theme's in the first group of Kara's work (The Voice Series) is self-expression.  Even the best of communication is limited by the form of communication itself, and this selection of pieces isn't about the "best of communication", it's about the most difficult.  To me it captures the choking weight of that which cannot be spoken or expressed verbally.  Words don't capture everything and images say some things that language cannot.  Kara captures the feeling of verbal expression being limited, cyclical and occasionally poisonous in her art.  I like the juxtaposition of the limits of verbal expression shown up against the unlimited power of witnessing.  

    After the images that primarily reflect voice, a second group (The Purple Series), held together by their purple backgrounds, takes a look at fragmentation and compartmentalization.  The images are mostly dark, they capture parts of the struggle or the journey that we hope will lead us to wholeness, though there are no guarantees.  The moment or feeling captured in many of these images feels like moments in time or mind that were severely limited, then freed in the process of creating the art.          
    -Shannon Leigh


    Kara's thoughts on her art: I caught the art bug long ago and much like my yoga life, I had a little something and managed to have some of the best teachers guide me in my craft. For me art has always been having the ability to remove the yuck from inside and throw it on a "canvas." My art has really been mostly guided by trying to heal the things I needed to at times when I had no idea how to even process or form sentences about the things. Blank, stark white canvases give me anxiety, so I love to utilize scrap paper, card board, whatever to throw my feelings on. Art, much like yoga, allowed me to take my trauma give it some space to breathe without judgement and allowed room for healing. Both my expressions of art and yoga really allow me to break through my own confines and find little bits of moment where I feel completely free. Limitless.

    *R.I.P. Chorba. Without you're teaching, I would not have had one of the only coping mechanisms that got me through some of the worst things in life. Gratitude, always.

    The Voice Series: Contemplating Self-Expression

    The Purple Series:  Contemplating fragmentationFinal piece  Self Portrait in Marker.  Because so much of Kara's art can be dark, she offered this piece for a bit of light-hearted fun.

    Kara teaches at our Sandusky and Norwalk Studios. 

    9:00 - 10:15 AM  Sculpt Yoga - Norwalk
    4:30 - 5:45 PM  Yoga Flow - Sandusky
    9:30 - 10:30 AM  Yoga Flow - Sandusky
    7:30 - 8:45 AM  Yoga Flow - Sanduksy

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Erin Percy - Photography
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts

  • OWY's Limitless Project: Larry Smith

    Inspiration comes to us in limitless ways.  Larry doesn't just expore the limitlessness of his own creativity, he also inpsires and nurtures it in others.  Larry is a poet/writer who has worked throughout his life writing, teaching and promoting creative writing in a variety of ways.  Not only does Larry write his own poetry, but he runs a small publishing company where he publishes the work of other writers and poets.  Along with weekly Converging Paths meditation sessions that he hosts (with his wife Ann) on Tuesdays evenings in our Huron studio, Larry hosts a monthly poetry reading followed by an open mic at Mr. Smith's in Sanduksy on second Saturdays.  The first poem that Larry is sharing was inspired during a Converging Paths session.                                 -Shannon

    About my work:
    I call these photo-poems because they blend the arts of writing and photography. I often partner with my son Brian's fine nature photographs...take them in  sensing the moment, then become moved by something that speaks to me and others. It's a kind of meditation in itself. Besides ignoring genre limits, the poems open a new shared vision.
    To me poetry and photography seek to say what can't be said and yet we try, through steady attention and clear intention something emerges. Brian took the candid photos of Ann and me while standing at the boat house out at Marblehead Lighthouse. They capture a moment of presence. The one of the floor boards of Open Way Yoga studio speaks itself, just as the floor did that night as we walked it in silence. 
    One more thought, for me, the poet needs to disappear in the work...ego vanished, the images speak. 

    A bit about Larry:

    Many of you know Larry Smith from around the studio.  He regularly attends Gentle Yoga at the Huron studio and, along with his wife Ann, Larry hosts the Tuesday evening Converging Path's meditation group which gathers in our Huron Studio at 7:30 PM.  He taught Creative Writing at Firelands College for 35 years before retiring and he is the founder and director of Bottom Dog Press in Huron.

    Converging Paths Meditation Group:
    Tuesdays at OWY Huron 7:30-8:30 PM 

    Coffeehouse Reading Series
    Mr. Smith's
    Second Saturdays at 2:00 PM

    July's meeting will be on July 13th and will be a general open mic, readers are encouraged to start with a poem about summer, either their own or by someone else.

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Brian Henderson - Painting/drawing
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Erin Percy - Photography
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts
  • OWY's Limitless Project: Brian Henderson

    Unlike the other artists in this series I have an inside view of Brian and his creative process.  To me he really is the embodiment of limitless creativity because, as he describes below, there is much about inspiration and very little about intention in his creative process.  

    The biggest limit Brian faces when it comes to creativity is one that is common to most of us, he owns a home and a business which leaves him with little time to create.  Finding ways to express the limitlessness of creativity within a life or time structure that feels limited can be a huge challenge.  

    With constraints on it, sometimes creativity doesn't come out the front door, but it can come out in other ways.  In Brian's case, he finds ways to express his creativity through his work.  Screen printing and painting the studios are his main methods of creative expression these days.  He does all of the OWY screen prints, and much of the installation art you see in the studios was either painted by Brian or inspired by his vision.            -Shannon Leigh

    Brian on his process:  I like to make stuff, really out of anything.  I'll pile rocks in a design, alter my clothes, decorate my bike, etc.  

    I didn't start making art until I was in my 30's, and truthfully I'm not even comfortable calling it art.  It started out as an overwheling urge to stand against the bombing in Afganistan.  I started by spray painting anti-war slogans on anything, even used clothing.  I was interested in up-cyclying before up-cycling was even a thing.  

    Because I am not an artist in any of the conventional ways of thinking about it I don't have any constraints - meaning, it doesn't matter to me if anybody likes it, I don't need to sell it, or show anybody, or create on permanant materials, it doesn't matter if I improve, or even if anyone knows it was me who made it.  This gives me the limitless freedom of creating what I want when I want to.  The down side of this is that I often get things 80% finsihed and then stop.

    Since I was a child, I've always been facinated with the Huron Lighthouse.  10 years ago I spent one summer sketching and painting images of the lighthouse.  I've included several pieces from that series in this post.  My favorite part of painting these was working on the abstract backgrounds.

    The following painting used to be part of the water wall in the Huron studio.  It has since been painted over and photos are the only record.Brian's Bio:  Teaching, learning, and most importantly practicing yoga continue to be the main foci of my life. Although I incorporate many different modern styles, as well as Tai Chi and dance into my personal practice, I am predominantly an old school yogi. In addition to the postures, a large portion of my yoga consists of breathing exercises, cleansing exercises, chanting, meditation, and studying philosophy. When I’m not teaching yoga, you’ll most likely find me being quiet, growing food, petting dogs, getting paint on my good clothes and walking in the woods. 

    Below is a self- portrait I painted during the same period as the lighthouses.  I have a lot more grey in my beard now!

    Other Limitless Project Posts:
    Keelie Suzann - Painting/drawing
    Larry Smith - Poetry
    Kara Myers - Painting/drawing
    Patricia Hecker - Stained Glass
    Mallory Saunders - Painging / Collage / Beads
    Shannon Leigh - Poetry
    Erin Percy - Photography
    Andrea Petersen - Fiber Arts