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  • From Vulnerability to Community: 5 Years as OWY in Huron

    In curating the Vulnerability Project last month, I learned that our secret insecurities get in the way of us moving towards what we want in all kinds of ways.  One major way our perceived inadequacies block some of us is in our connections with other people.  In deep, often unnoticed places, we believe if others truly knew us, they would agree with our secret self-judgements and not like us as we are.  On this subconscious level, many of us feel like our personal challenges make us unworthy of love, friendship and companionship. Our process last month involved encouraging each other (and you) to get a little more comfortable with this “shadow” side by writing on paper or speaking insecurities out loud, allowing them to be seen instead of keeping them hidden.  This process can be key to unlocking a sense of belonging.  You have to reach out and connect as you are, not wait until you become some idealized version of yourself. 

    OWY's Purpose:

    “We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is more than to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is more than simply to generate profits).”  Ed Freeman 

    At OWY, our purpose for being here is and always has been community.  When Brian and I started Open Way Yoga 5 years ago this month, the idea of yoga community was foremost in our minds.  Over the years, many students and staff have spoken to us about their experience of a deep loneliness, a sense of isolation, and a feeling of disconnect as life rushes by. Some of these same people have described finding a sense of community at OWY.  That’s what we’re here for.

    Our dream to create a community inspired by the evolving traditions of yoga, mindful movement, holistic health and the arts has flourished.  We hope you already have a sense of this by just coming to the studios and meeting our fabulously community-oriented team, or reading about us online, but we’d like to emphasize this even more as we continue to grow and evolve.  

    A few of our team members:  
    Valerie Parker, Julie Huntley, Jamie Fitzgerald, Shannon Thomas, Jamie Bishop,
    Sam Vettel, Erin Percy, Mallory Saunders, Sherrena Bilgen

    Over this month, we are celebrating community! 

    OWY Studios:

    Community Celebration:  5-Year Anniversary of OWY in Huron  
    108 guided Sun Salutations, followed by dancing and socializing.  
    This event is free for all pass-holders.  (Non-pass holders $13.) 
    Date:  April 13th 
    Time:  2:00 - 5:00 PM
    Full details are on the website.
    *NOTE:  You do not need to be able to do 108 (or any) Sun Salutations.  You are welcome to stop, take rest breaks or meditate throughout.  You will not be the only one! 

    Focus Pradctice:  OM!  Come to class and OM.  As a focus practice for the month, many of our teachers will be offering the opportunity to OM during their classes.  This is a chance to lift your voice in an affirming community setting, something that many of us haven’t done since childhood.  Come give it a try, or feel free to opt out - just sit and feel the vibration.

    OWY Online: 
    We’re going to be sharing some lovely photo blogs of the people and places at the center of our community, as well as inspiration and information to challenge you to examine some of your patterns of thought as they relate to the broader idea of community. 

    OWY Up and Coming: 
    Watch for more opportunities for engagement throughout the rest of the year!

    Mind Stretch:  Mindful Conversations  (Second Saturdays starting in May)
    Huron Studio:  May 11th 10:30AM - 12:00PM
    I will be hosting a monthly discussion group for people interested in deeper conversations around living the experience of yoga philosophy and spiritual  concepts, including the ideas touched on in classes and OWY’s Teacher Training Program.  Depending on group interest we will also discuss books and draw inspiration from the podcast On Being, but it will not be necessary to read or listen to participate in the topics of discussion. 

    Needles and Hooks:  Fiber Arts Society  
    Norwalk Studio TBD September
    Starting in September Andrea Petersen will be hosting a fiber arts get together once a month in the Norwalk studio.  This will be an opportunity to connect with other artist and crafters in the lovely light of our Norwalk space.

    We thank you more than words can express and we appreciate you as a part of our community.
    -Shannon Leigh