This post is the result of an informal interview I had recently with Rob Schware, Executive Director of the Give Back Yoga Foundation. Rob is a friend and Avita practitioner. He was part of the guidance, there for me at all the right moments to coach and assist with Yoga Loft’s transition. We thought it would be helpful to share our conversation that came together over a recent lunch meeting.
Rob: Nothing stays the same, of course. But you could have kept Yoga Loft open another decade. What did you observe when you were deciding to move in a different direction?
Thank you, Rob. What a gift it has been getting to know you!
I loved Yoga Loft. I loved that space. With the view of Boulder’s Flatirons and the vast amount of natural light, I considered it one of the best yoga studios in the world.
Yoga Loft sailed along for years. Twice we expanded into space that became available at the right time. It all felt Guided and natural. Then Covid, the first sign to move in a different direction. I went from teaching sixteen classes per week to none (during the lockdown) and then to 4 after we transitioned online. We aimed to get back into the studio and rebuild quickly. We thought Covid would last a few months, but we all know how that prediction turned out. Covid was a massive reset on our psyche. It went deep. We subconsciously questioned our lives and realized that our patterns and rituals could change and we’d be okay.
From March 15, 2020, the business of yoga became more uncertain and effortful. What was once joyful and easy now required determination and ambition, which are not traits of true Self. We know we are in the flow of Divine Guidance when we are innately happy and things fall into place without much effort. Our boat rows gently down the stream.
Here’s the question that answers your question. When the signs and symbols point us in a different direction, do we avoid and resist or listen and follow? The cost of not listening and following is enormous–even when it’s painful and feels like we are stepping into unknown territory. I resisted the prompts and tried to redirect them to meet my plan because I loved Yoga Loft and felt a huge responsibility to my students. I thought Yoga Loft would go on forever, but the more I prayed and asked for help, the more I could hear Spirit nudging me in a new direction. I had to listen and follow.
Rob: You often describe the Avita practice as resolving restrictions and limitations. How do you personally interpret that in light of your decision to close Yoga Loft?
How do we resolve restrictions and limitations as we perceive them in the body and life? We tend to push against them, manipulate them and correct them in form with the assumption that everything will get better once we do so. But those fixes are always temporary and don’t get to the source of the problem. It’s like Groundhog Day. The only way Phil, the weatherman, got happier was to reflect the perceived issues back to his mind where the real change could occur. There’s always resistance to this kind of deep change because resistance is the ego. And so, the way to happiness and freedom is always gently through–not around–not by avoiding it.
In Avita Yoga, we use shapes to bring the limits to the light so we can mindfully work through them. Live events are no different. They show us our limitations, fears, and self-imposed restrictions!
It took time to realize it, but Yoga Loft had become a restriction for me. It had run its course, and my resistance to change was enormous. I had a strong desire to keep it open for everyone else. I had to work through my wishes and see them as limits on my healing journey. I didn’t avoid, and I didn’t shortcut the solution. I would never have admitted it before because I couldn’t see it, but my self-construct had been wrapped around Yoga Loft. I had to acknowledge the inner prompts for change, get out of my way and ask for help which always involves humility and forgiveness. I kept the relationship with Yoga Loft as long as it took for me to get clear, and when I did, the universe stepped in, and it went away as quickly as it came in.
Rob: You’ve also repeated in class that we’re not there to perform or get a shape perfectly right. How are you embodying the Avita practice in the transition you are in?
Great question. Getting it “right” is like chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It’s exhausting, unobtainable, and dare I say, delusional. “Getting it right” was beginning to be the problem with me and Yoga Loft. I was looking for the solution in all the wrong places, and the ego loves that! It wants us on the treadmill, pushing for more but going nowhere. Sometimes we obtain “it” and get it “right,” but always with great cost. It’s fundamental to the ego’s need to succeed. We see it in our school systems. We see it in business, and we see it in today’s yoga and fitness trends, often resulting in injury and disappointment. What’s the goal of yoga? Heck, what’s the goal of life? Not a better body, business, or career, but a unified mind and the peace that comes with it.
How does this relate to my decision with Yoga Loft? I could organize others to “get it right” and bring Yoga Loft back, but ironically that would not be listening, trusting, and following my heart. I could make others happy and adjust myself, even manipulate myself into the role of studio owner when that ship has sailed. It wouldn’t feel right. I am maintaining an online presence, and it feels good. There will be in-person events again, but they cannot get in the way of my undoing and evolution. We can’t understand it, but we can feel it–when we heal for ourselves, we heal for all.
Avita will evolve the way it’s supposed to, not how I want it to. I don’t know what that will look like. I do know Spirit, or true Self, always has our best interest at heart, and it often has us moving in surprising and spontaneous directions that initially don’t seem to fit. But when there is a quiet and robust “Yes” behind them (we could call Intuition), we cannot fail. The outer is always a direct reflection of the inner, so peace must be the goal. It’s how we heal the world.
Rob: If you were to make a pledge to your students right now, what would it be?
The pledge to my students is the same pledge I make for myself: Ask Spirit for help, then listen, trust and follow. The Guidance may come from within, but it also comes through others and our surroundings. We just have to be open to it all.
Every class I taught at Yoga Loft demonstrated what I needed to learn. If we pause and reflect, we can see how every moment in every encounter is perfectly designed for our own learning and healing. The insights have been extraordinary! We learn what we teach. And what do I want to learn? How to make more money? How to get what I think I want? How to set reasonable worldly goals? No! I want to wake up. I want to remember Who I am! Unless repurposed, everything else is a deterrent to knowing the truth.
Rob: Pick a word or phrase that describes what is spiritually uplifting for you now.
Listen, trust, and follow.
Serendipitously, Rob enrolled in a class the same day this post was published. Check it out here. It’s a great class to work with shoulder and low back restrictions.