On October 15th, 2006, Annie and I made the biggest, scariest, most radical decision of our lives. We stepped into leadership of this great community. And in becoming the studio owners, we had no idea what we were getting into. We were only twenty-four and had no experience running a business of any kind, and we had only a short history of participating in the Yoga Union community. But Julie, the previous owner, insisted that we be the ones to carry the flame, and we took her approval as a great honor, embracing the opportunity to jump head first into a new life together.
Only a half-year earlier, we each had migrated to Portland separately; me from my hometown in Eugene and Annie from Sand Point, Idaho. Our two worlds united in the sacred space of Yoga Union’s main studio. I can still remember where I stood, a relative newbie to the practice, trying to balance and stay inside my body. I can still remember where Annie stood teaching from the front of the room. I remember nothing other than the two of us in the yoga studio; no other faces, no specific postures we worked on, and no grand revelations from that practice aside from the feeling of something triggering inside me, urging me to become the best person I could be. I remember a vague but powerful feeling, inspiring me to commit to the practice of yoga.
It’s impossible now to differentiate the vow I made to Annie and the vow we made to the Yoga Union community. We had been dating for only a few months when we took a leap of faith and bought the studio. I knew at the time that promises to Yoga Union were promises to Annie. So, on October 15th 2006 we didn’t just buy a yoga studio, we got married. It was unspoken, but it was as real as anything that has ever been promised in words. Among the promises were the following:
- To search for the best in each other and ourselves.
- To honor the inner work we still have to do.
- To keep life in context by viewing it as the ongoing yoga practice.
- To trust and jump ever into the mystery of life’s grand unfolding.
I do forget these commitments from time to time. It’s in my nature to forget and to remember. For this reason I am grateful for the anniversary that comes each year as the leaves fall, revealing their branches, the supporting structure of their existence. I am reminded of the commitments I have made and how integral they have been. Only through committing do we build the consistency necessary to support growth for ourselves and others. Just as the bark of a tree forms layer upon layer, each passing year reinforces the promises of our past and we grow stronger, more dependable, and more capable of holding up life and love. This is a rebirthing of our purpose in life.
In order to be sustainable, yoga requires commitment. The scriptures tell us once we’ve started down the path of yoga, the inevitable result is the complete revelation of self – enlightenment. It could happen now. It may take lifetimes. But once we begin, there is no turning back. There is only recommitting, reinforcing, and growing our resolve stronger every day through the practice.
Every time I recommit myself to the practice of yoga, I am refreshing my commitment to my lover, my work, my community, and myself. I feel grateful beyond measure for all of you who serve as steady reminders. As though there are post-it-notes stuck to your foreheads, you (Yoga Union Community) kindly remind me why I am here. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to practice recommitting, day after day. And every time I renew my commitments, is with greater strength and meaning.
Living is yoga!