Group photo of yoga studio owners

Learning from Yoga Leaders

Highlights from our 14th Annual Meeting of All Studio Owners

Hello Mokshies and Modies everywhere!

Hope you are enjoying a great start to your summer.

Our summer, here at team Moksha/Modo International, was prefaced by our 14th Annual General Meeting (AGM). One owner from every studio attends this 3 day meeting focused on co-creating our year ahead in community. The AGM is the one time a year that all 83 studios come together to discuss challenges, solutions and dreams. We look back on the year to learn, and we use that learning to plan for the next. We ask ourselves how we can improve, how every student in our community can be welcomed more fully into a yoga life!

But we don’t only plan, we hang, we practice asana (postures) together, we practice seated meditation, we sing into the wee hours of the morning at the campfire, and most importantly we remember our roots, and use these roots to envision our dreams.

Do we sleep?  Well, not so much.

Since the AGM, I’ve been mulling over all that was discussed, and thinking about it like a recharge. It’s kind of like attending a community party at a studio, or attending a big reunion with old friends. It’s a plug in – for mind, body and spirit. My heart is so full of inspiration that I thought I’d share a few of the most important take-away ideas from the studio owners – an amazing group of Live to Learners.

Family photo of Moksha & Modo studio owners at our 2018 AGM

Studio Owners Care Deeply
This may seem like a given to anyone who’s ever walked into a Moksha or Modo Yoga studio, but I’ll risk redundancy to say that I am blown away each year at this group of people that care SO much about every little detail. They care so much about each of you.  Trust me, from the depth of my heart, studio owners could be working less and likely earning more in many other jobs in their respective, pre-yoga, fields of expertise. They chose this path less traveled because they believe in promoting peace and creating a more sustainable world. Every owner in the room expressed such deep gratitude for their communities – for students, teachers, the magnificent energy exchangers, and the communities beyond.

So just in case you have wondered – you are vital to your community. Studios owners see and love you… even if they haven’t met you they love you. They see and appreciate that everyone who walks through a studio door, or looses a drop (or thousands of drops) of sweat, is contributing to the feeling of family within the studios’ community.

We humans always find it so easy to share the good, and so damn hard to share those vulnerable pieces of ourselves and our life experiences. But when we do share the hard stuff – we are so transformed because of it. One exceptional Moksha teacher, the leader of the Expanding Awareness training, Julia Gibran has said that, in a way, telling our stories is a path toward letting them go.

A couple of years ago it was pointed out to us that as a community we were falling into the positive-only trap. So we began to share the tough pieces alongside the triumphs.

I am so honoured to be a part of a community that knows how to kick-it-up and be ridiculously fun, and at the same time creates space for people to be authentic, vulnerable, and all around not-perfect. To me these are the people I find most inspiring; the people who say I want to be better, or I made a mistake, or I’m finding this hard. How on earth can we grow without vulnerability. I will take this reminder into my year whenever I judge myself for not being perfect!

The Little Things Are the Big Things
One owner spoke about a student who very tragically took their life – may we remember them with love and celebrate then always. The owner stopped briefly to let the tears fall as they shared how she felt so deeply discouraged that yoga wasn’t able to stop this from happening through surrounding the student with so much love in community.  She asked herself, how could I have done more? But at the memorial, the student’s son expressed that his parent had struggled with mental illness their entire life, and that he believes it was their yoga community that kept them alive for so many years.

It is so easy to think that going to a yoga class is only that – personal, private, the action of a single person. But every time we step into a hot room with other people, we are affirming our place with and among each other. The conversations that happen before and after class with a person you’ve seen but never talked to before, the coming together to share space – these are the things that create community.  Even on a tough day, that smile you passed along to someone while spraying your mat, or that moment you took to move over a little to create space for someone in a packed room. These moments matter to people. You are touching people. To so many hundreds and maybe even thousands, being part of a community is a life line.

The State of the World and Our Role in It
Climate change expert and co-owner of the NYC studio, Rebecca Foon, shared with me recently that all reputable climate scientists agree that if we continue to consume the way we are consuming in the West today – we will have 100 years of habitable existence left on Earth before human beings will become extinct.

3 deep breaths.

This means that for those of us who know children or have children, their children will see the end of human life on earth. We need to change now, today. Nothing is more important.

We must work together toward creating significant change to reverse the effects of our consumption.

We need to seed regenerative forestry. We need to pressure our local governments to end all single-use everything. We need to limit our use of fossil fuels and advocate for alternatives as a community. We need to know that each of us has a voice.

My voice is never more clearly me than the few days after the AGM when I plug so deep into the source of my life’s purpose – this shared mission in community – shared with you, all of us, our practice, our power, our dreams for peace and change. What is our mission:

Moksha/Modo yoga ignites human potential in community to create vibrant health for people and the earth.

When we speak about returning to our roots I mean to say that the goal of all of this yoga is to change the world, and I know that we can. Change is possible when each of us claim our power as a voice within this community, and use it for something greater than ourselves. We support each other in going within, digging deep, excavating our true nature so that we can remember why we came here, and remember our lives are sacred.

It is easy to forget,

and so nourishing to remember.

Hope to see you soon in a sweaty room one day!

With love, Jess


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