I’m sitting in my home office watching the golden leaves rain down from the trees. Taped up around my desk, I can see a school photo of my son when he was 2, a small Ganesha statue to remove obstacles, a “Do Your Job” New England Patriots bookmark, and a Winston Flowers card that reads May Your chosen work bring you fulfilment and success – Buba. This was written by my grandmother, who was 95 at the time. She sent the flowers on 11/11/11, the day we opened Health Yoga Life, at 12 Temple Street Boston, MA. You can see the bouquet in this picture of me waiting patiently for our first students.
Like many other businesses, we shuttered our studio doors due to Covid-19. It was uncertain with the guidelines at the time if we could or would reopen the physical yoga studios. The team immediately jumped into action virtualizing Health Yoga Life. Without missing a beat, the co-founders, teacher training faculty, class instructors, and manager worked to transition Health Yoga Life to a fully online yoga company. We already had online programs, so it didn’t seem like a stretch (no pun intended).
I want to deeply thank the teachers at Health Yoga Life Stephen Allison, Amy Dipazza, Kim Fallon, Rachel Ferry, Robyn Gimler, Liz Hosman, LeeMarie Kennedy, Lea Luniewicz, Maggie Woodward, Gina Molinari, Purvi Patel, Ashley Powers, Julian Yun and Customer Experience and Social Media Manager Chelsea Cameron for supporting our physical studio locations and then moving onto an online virtual platform. Their commitment to learning new technology, showing up and prepped on Zoom, and their persistence at improving their audio-visual equipment for optimizing customer experience was remarkable — quite unbelievable. Full of optimism, they show up to create a virtual yoga studio community, and are present to their students who show up for them.
I also want to thank our students who committed to their practice. I know sometimes it is not easy to show up. But, once you do, you do not regret it. In addition, I wish to thank the new students who have joined our community. I know you will feel at hOMe with us.
My life has been a fusion of my family and my business, Health Yoga Life. We are not a large company with deep pockets. We are Bostonian, local, family- and women-owned.
Over these past 9 years, so much has happened in my life. The co-founders worked the business tirelessly, 7 days a week. I felt so energized after teaching a powerful hot vinyasa class. I knew it was a good class when the windows would be dripping from humidity and you could feel the vibration in your heart when everyone chanted OM in unison. I felt so honored to be a lead faculty member at the yoga teacher trainings along with my sisters. My favorite part of the job is working side-by-side with them. I am also just so delighted that Health Yoga Life trains and graduates amazing teachers! Everyone on our team right now is a graduate of our training. I was so happy to hear that when Ryma (co-founder and my mom) took Rachel Ferry’s class, she said it was wonderful! Rachel is a recent graduate of our virtual yoga teacher training, having learned from Purvi Patel, LeeMarie Kennedy, and Stephanie Jones—themselves graduates of Health Yoga Life’s Advanced Yoga Teacher Training.
I have gained so much, even though the past 9 years have also brought a lot of loss to my life. The biggest loss was my precious older sister, Aida. On June 30, 2019, she tragically passed away during a program. She was leading a session, sitting in lotus pose, and then was gone. My grief is too raw to express anything about her passing. I am heartbroken that she is not physically present with us on this anniversary.
Losing my sister; losing the physical studio locations; losing a sense of security; remembering those who have fought and died for our freedoms on this Veterans Day; seeing the whole world suffer such immense loss in the pandemic… these bring up a lot of powerful emotions.
My strength and stamina to keep going come from my family, my practice, and the Health Yoga Life community. The past 9 years have had hurdles and victories, sadness, and love.
I hope you find your way to your mat in our virtual bubble. The light in me honors the light within you. Namaste.