Over the years, I’ve participated in various types of ballroom dancing. In the last year or so, I had the good fortune of working with a great teacher and a Professional dancer that has made this nice investment into improving all my skills to the point where I feel like I knew nothing before him!

There is frame and footwork; head angles in conjunction with arm movement; shoulders move in a different direction than the hips; counter body movement; movement itself; there is swing, sway and gosh a whole lot more! And you perform all this with proper pressure and connection to a partner WHILE moving! Some insight into how I react with all this information and maybe the same applies to you but my mind trying to process all this can put me in complete paralysis. I feel fragmented, not put together, no coordination, and as my awesome dance teacher said to me one time “for being so flexible, you look so arthritic” 🙂

BUT eventually, it DOES come together! Through the repetition, commitment, effort, and the conviction that “you know this” a melody returns. All the pieces are synergized and a spirit starts to take you further than where you were before. The “piece” came together.

Your practice is no different. It’s 90 minutes, 26 poses and there are moments that you feel “okay, I’ve got this” but then the more you get into it, it starts to all fall apart! You’ve grown in sophistication and now ready to acquire more but not before you too start to feel fragmented: can’t balance; can’t lock the knee; grip feels weird; breathing in the pose is more challenging; now your shoulders don’t move; backbends make you dizzy; and the teacher is yelling louder than ever, etc.…

Oh dear, it’s all falling apart. This scenario isn’t just centered on yoga but you see it in your work situations, your relationships, and your family life where nothing feels knitted together; pieces are disconnected; no cohesiveness – things are just falling apart.

When I first opened our old studio back in 2003, it started out just fine, 22 classes a week, and few volunteers in place and all systems running smoothly considering the tough time we had in getting it open. But we quickly got busier with more people, more classes, more teachers, more towels, more mats, more water, more money, more emails, and more heat and all of a sudden things began to fall apart. I recall on an Easter Sunday calling my dad to say Happy Easter while vacuuming the yoga room telling him that I’m overwhelmed and I can’t keep up; the heater needs attending; water heater too small; need more volunteers, more toilet paper, etc…

It was shortly after that Chris came to the studio. I did not see him his first class but was told there was this guy that wanted to help around the studio. I thought “great” and he emailed me right away with his request to help out. I was delighted and sent him my usual spiel about practicing with us for the first 3 months to see how he likes it and affords him the time to adjust into a practice and a routine and it helps BYSJ in training someone who already has a commitment to their practice.

Chris completely disobeys any of my requests as the next day I find him behind the desk helping with memberships, making lists of the things we need around the studio, fixing light bulbs, folding towels and diving in to the operations end of the business in a way that BYSJ and I needed. A melody returned and with Chris we were better than we were before. He was the missing piece!

This spirit took over between the two of us and we just grew to 56 classes a week! But then, 7 years into our journey together at BYSJ, it all got overwhelming again. The carpet in the yoga room was gross, we had our “white dust” problem with calcification rotting humidifier and raining into the ductwork, the electrical and gas bills were so high with our inefficient system on the roof, the lines to bathroom were now extending to the lobby and it just goes on – we were falling apart again.

Gosh, nothing was going smooth, it felt like we were chasing our own tail, we couldn’t keep up or get it right! Chris has this great saying that he used often, “let’s just throw the hat over the fence and figure out a way to go get it.” Chris had my back. He loved that I was all in. He was willing to take the risk with me!

We opened January 2012. Here we are. Through your beliefs and lots of work, the melody returned again; a spirit took over and we blossomed even more. Chris’s commitment to the project showed up with insights to place the blue border around the yoga room; use electronic locks for the bathroom lockers eliminating the need for keys or padlocks; ensure a safe and successful conversion from Client Counts software to Mindbody; and the study of the best heating and humidifying system that could suit our exact and unique needs.

In case you are reading this and not aware of whom Chris is, here is some good information. Chris Canevaro from 2005 on has been the Manager of BYSJ. In August of 2013, Chris suffered from 3 seizures embarking on a journey discovering that he struggles with a stage 4 Glioblastoma in his brain. After four surgeries, and lots of ups and downs with medication, radiation and chemotherapy, Chris is now more mobile than ever. It’s his 10 year anniversary this year at BYSJ. Chris lives in this realm of holy confidence! If you don’t know him, make a point to get to know him.

Even with the trauma of realizing Chris’s condition, we weren’t done, “falling apart” again. Expenses were going up. It was now the third year in an audit with lawyer fees adding up. We had some past landlord conflicts that were now being realized, our heating contractor was battling us for money on a job he didn’t do, we were growing at a pace the desk could not keep up with and we had no Chris. It felt all too fragmented again. We were stuck in this holy mess feeling discombobulated with cracks occurring in and throughout this place we call home.

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received and am still receiving.” –Albert Einstein

A member gave me this great quote… It’s so fitting as it wasn’t until we asked for your help that things started to come together again! It was because Chris and I reached out to you that the pledge drive was born. YOU came up with the ideas, donations and creative ways to refinance and resource! You became the missing piece – YOU became Chris!

Our yoga practice is meant to bring ultimate freedom. In my opinion and over the last 12+ months, yoga when distilled to one word brings us in this space of “selflessness.” As you start yoga, the practice is certain to be all about you. As you progress, the expansion widens to those in your life close to you and then you “wake up” and notice and care about your neighbors and peers. Eventually the expansion evolves to a bond you share in community of which you belong. It’s not forced but a natural flow that happens. You open more and begin to see and care for mother earth and global belonging. That is where I thought it stopped. This idea of yoga awakening you to higher levels of consciousness and caring at a global level but instead what I’ve witnessed through you in these last 15 months or so, is the experience of expansiveness turns right around and you give to the very roots that you got you here in the first place!

“Good Leadership is built on love and truth, kindness and integrity are what keep leaders in their position of trust” – and Chris and I are not the leaders here – YOU are. In our vulnerability, we’ve needed to trust and lean on you! You and your kindness and integrity, created a trusting atmosphere to save BYSJ enough to raise over $95,000! We’ve restructured loans; cut expenses; ended lawsuits and audits inexpensively; invited in more volunteers; better resources! We are no longer in threatened to be less than what we know BYSJ to be and will be here for a long long time thanks to YOU!

We are a community that is glued together more than just standing head to knee. Our yoga practice can be called an addiction but the end result is a bonding that can’t be bought or earned. It comes in time with highs and lows and in our case, played out now for a dozen years together. Thank you!