I was lost and looking for home. Newly married, moved to a new state for my husbands graduate studies, I felt lost. Then I stumbled into Grounded by Yoga and met Sandy Hicks.
The studio was hushed, painted in calm neutral colors, pillows tossed about, fountain bubbling. The muted lighting set an ambiance for reflection, for devotion, and reminded me much of church. The hushed silence with a slight thrill of expectation. I was in love. I had taken yoga before, and never took to it, but this was different than those college days classes. This was real, and you could feel it.
Sandy is an impressive woman, with a calm and nurturing vibe about her, incredibly talented and intelligent, as well as intuitive. She immediately made me feel at home in her second home of the studio. I still remember that first class with her. It was mixed level, and I had never experienced meditation quite like it. It was a guided meditation for a “safe place”, to imagine the coming spring and a place that made you feel at home. Naturally, homesick as I was, I thought of the roses my Oma plants, the sounds of water rippling in the lake, and the tractors roar as my Opa mowed the lawn.
Never before had I been so deep in a meditation that I could taste the grass. Sandy assisted, which was a new experience for me as many teacher’s do not do that, and during meditation came with essential oil and touched the temples. I know the movements, even utilize it when I teach, but she unlocked this sensation of “something” and I cried. Of course, I hugged her and immediately asked about training with her. I was hooked.
I quickly learned the traditional path of yoga through Sandy. I’m talking true yoga, not exercise. The focus was on the history of yoga, its development, the language, the eight limbs. It was an awakening of my mind and soul. When I taught a class and saw the relief and peace on the faces of my students, the intrigue and “light” turn on, I knew that this was something I could do not just for myself, but to heal others. I learned that it was important to bring unity to others through mediation, through yoga, through simply and softly asking the right questions. I taught for a year in upstate New York before moving to Ohio, and I loved it.
Maybe I am still stuck in New York, maybe I haven’t found the right studio just yet, or the right place, but I haven’t found that in Ohio. I’ve found some yogi’s who are almost like what I found in that small farm town, and maybe it will take them aging and growing in wisdom before I find it. One thing I didn’t think I would do when I moved to Ohio was to quit. I taught for a year on and off privately, and a month in a studio. I hated it. Whether it was the students who were only interested in it for the physical benefits and constantly talked during class, or the “Yogis” who fancied themselves enlightened while drinking their teas, or those who thought the dirtier you were the more yogic you were…none of it struck home. It came away lacking, dull, and frankly very inauthentic of what yoga is. After teaching a class I found myself frustrated, thinking of ways to reach people.
That’s not yoga. Acro-yoga is not yoga. Yoga is not for losing weight. Yoga is not like Pilates. Yoga is not showing up to class as one student put it, “cute as fuck”, and marginalizing other students because they “are too fat”. It isn’t about looking cute, or fit, or being in a click. So why, after everything yoga teaches, is this happening? Why do these students refuse to see the truth of yoga? Are they that blind to their own truths?
So I quit. I wont teach. I wont lecture. I wont preach. Maybe one day I will teach again. Maybe the passion and love I found, the peace, will return when teaching a class. I don’t know when, and it might not ever happen, but for now, Ohio, I quit.