It has been a busy summer here in Shelburne Falls. In addition to teaching our ongoing daily classes, I enjoyed hosting the Clay, Yoga, and Art Camp students, beginning a certification training in Thai Yoga Massage (more info about this coming soon!), and traveling with my son before sending him off to a new school for his sophomore year. It was a pleasure to work with so many new and familiar faces in recent months, and, for those of you who have been traveling or otherwise occupied of late, we very much look forward to welcoming you back this fall!
You may have noticed that you haven't received a letter from us is a while... I was taking a marketing break for several months while meeting and speaking with colleagues from around the globe to discuss potential changes in yoga teaching, training, and the marketplace. As always, these ongoing discussions are invaluable in helping me continue to refine the services offered to you here in the village.
In this setting, I recalled a piece of widely circulated business advice to yoga studio owners I encountered when I had recently taken ownership here at Shelburne Falls Yoga. The advice:
Don't care too much. And don't integrate the philosophy that underlies your teaching into your business practice. These should be separate.
These words speak to an all too common perception that we can create such artificial separations, between our actions and their outcomes, between that which we do for money and what we truly believe, between such a mindset and the suffering it so often causes. They explain why it is so prevalent to find yoga studios defying the supposed aims of the practice with subtle and not so subtle messages about perfection, sexuality, and endless youth in their advertising. They explain why it is common to find teachers attempting to use criticism, striving, or even veiled aggression as a means of achieving opposite qualities like balance, health, and peace of mind.
In the end, will this ever really work?
When I look at these dichotomies, I am reminded of some simple words from Gandhi that have been on my through recent months:
As the means, so the end.
No further explanation needed! And these words continue to define our activities here at Shelburne Falls Yoga within the studio walls and beyond.
So, as we work to create clarity, compassion, and integrity through our practice this fall, be assured that these qualities will also be present in the teaching and other activities you encounter here. It is my aim that, in this way, each of us will continue to practice together and enjoy the radiance of good health and balanced strength for many decades to come.
As always, please feel free to be in touch with any questions or comments you may have, and I look forward to seeing you all soon!