It’s nine degrees below zero. The first light of the northern sunrise casts a periwinkle hue on snow, paths of ice, as I head my truck in to teach morning classes at my studio: Sun Moon Yoga in Mankato, Minnesota. Am I dreaming of traveling to India? Saffron, tablas, saris, vindaloo curry . . . .you betcha! I dream of colorful Mother India. I rerun memories of living in sunny laid-back California as a young woman. I imagine visiting my childhood home in tropical Singapore. But I am here now – and this is The Work.
I set out blocks, and prepare for the farmers, college professors, and retired people who will attend class. It will be full despite weather. This group cares to avoid back pain and depression more than snow and cold. And I am here, to light a candle, and hold the faith. I believe in the power of yoga. During studies for my Master’s in Community Health, I began to see how yoga classes, teachers and studios are grassroots, preventative community health. And that yoga has the potential to be helpful with mental and emotional stress as well as improving fitness.
As I set out, both in frigid, dark winter mornings and evenings to teach classes, I know more than a hundred other yoga teachers I have trained over two decades are doing the same thing. Other believers in the power of yoga to be helpful to their communities have traveled to train with me from Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and all over Minnesota. In some rural communities, there are few health resources. In church basements, school gyms, parks and even one graduate a mortuary, they are sharing all the good yoga can do for mind, body and spirit right where they live.
Yes! I dream of India. Especially this April, with yet more snow and cold predicted I want to go everywhere, anywhere. It’s been freezing, mountains of snow, ice everywhere and unusually grey (no lie) for MONTHS. We need yoga! And students have been grateful, appreciative, and financially supportive of my rooting yoga practice in their lives, and the community.
My studio’s Mission: To enrich our community’s health through yoga education and classes.
It pulls at me – the time is coming for me to travel the big outer world. But for today, India doesn’t need another passionate believer, and my Midwest Minnesota community does. If you also believe you can contribute to benefiting your community’s health through yoga, come train with me to share it with others you care about. I take participants twice yearly: Spring and Fall. You can make a difference. You can transform lives and offer solutions and hope. And like me, you can do all this, in totally white frozen tundra whilst dreaming of the colors, sights, fragrances and sounds of India.