Technically speaking, I work at URU Yoga & Beyond…I sweep the floors, I teach the yoga, I collect the paychecks. But despite this being my “workplace”, it always feels a lot more like home, and the teachers and students that form the community feel a whole lot like family.
This morning I had some time between classes, but couldn’t think of anywhere I would have rather been so I came to the studio a few hours early.
I found a comfy spot to squat underneath a large oak tree in the parking lot and ate an apple while ants and spiders crawled across my bare foot.
After this simple breakfast I reached into my pack and found my copy of “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chödrön. I love the feel of this book, it’s small, the words are simple and wise, but most of all I love that it was recommended to me by a dear friend and fellow teacher, Justin Nutt. In fact, I wouldn’t have this book at all had Justin not ordered it for me. Recently, Justin and I began a book club at URU called the Svadhyaya (Self Study) Book Club. As I read, I relished in the wisdom provided by this sage monk, and began a simple meditation outlined in the chapter.
This meditation was so unlike any other meditation I tried thus far, and brought me into a deep state of ease and joy. I know this isn’t the goal of meditation and sometimes the practice can a be difficult, sitting with troubling emotions and thoughts. But today I felt joy. I felt joy for the safety and sanctuary that the studio provides, for the welcoming community within, and for the simple gift of breath that I was reminded to embrace.
Some time later I felt it was time to draw this sit to a close, and began to rouse myself just as a man I did not recognize was leaving the parking lot. I waved a friendly hello and to my surprise he stopped, and got out of his car to come speak to me.
He said he was just speaking to Amber about our studio, and that he was interested in a class focusing on meditation. As we talked I realized that this was no chance meeting; I told him that I felt he had been there to remind me of the importance of meditation in our yoga practice, and to include it in the classes that I teach. At that moment he said something so profound and simple, that it inspired me to write the story of this meeting. He said,
“When I am on the cusp of an awakening, sometimes it helps to have another part of me, another person, come to speak the truth of that moment. To help me wake up with a strong cup of soul coffee.”
I’m writing this, not so much as an advice column, but a simple (perhaps a bit long winded) expression of gratitude for John, for Justin, for the Svadhyaya book club, for the entire URU community, and for all the yogis past, present, and future who remind me what it means to be a part of a family.
Looking forward to seeing you around brothers and sisters. Namaste!