Friday, June 5, 2009

South Hills Yoga Grand Re-Opening!

After a year-long sabbatical to resolve my health issues, Luna Anita Perkins is feeling great and ready to share the joys and benefits of Yoga with you again!

Maybe it was all that begging God for mercy. Maybe it was the handfuls of nutritional supplements, or eliminating dairy products from my diet, or the endless cups of licorice tea. Whatever it was, I feel better. I've been feeling well for a few months now -- well enough for long enough that I no longer fear an impending relapse. I am healthy again -- hurray!

As I've felt better in my body again, for the first time since my year-long sabbatical began, I have become restless in my mind. For an entire year, both my mind and body were incredibly busy just taking care of my own health, my home and family, researching potential remedies, and struggling to get well. Doing anything else besides self-care and child-care was not an option. But now, with my health revitalized and my body pain-free, my mind has begun searching for ways to focus my renewed energies.

I never wanted to quit teaching Yoga. Letting go of teaching was an extremely difficult process for me. As the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia increased, I was forced to drop classes one by one, until my usual 10-12 classes per week became 4 or 5. Still, I felt a commitment to my students' well-being and to the practice of teaching. Then, a major bicycle accident last June left me unable to use my right hand, and subsequent, sudden-onset vulvodynia left me unable to sit down without unbearable pain. I had to quit teaching. I must admit I became depressed.

Even after my pain and illness subsided last winter, I still felt unhappy. I love my home and family, but I need to work! I feel fortunate that my husband was able to support us, both financially and pragmatically, while I healed and rested. However, unemployment left me feeling lonely, bored, and unfulfilled, as I sat home knitting or reading while my family went off to school and work. I felt restless and disconnected, and I craved the social and creative outlet of my career.

Yoga teaching is my purpose in life, and my source of fulfillment. I just finished reading Edward Hollowell and John Ratey's excellent book, Delivered from Distraction, about living with ADD. One chapter quotes Hollowell's The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, which outlines five elements we all need to feel happy and fulfilled:

Connecting with other people and with something greater than oneself
Exploration and enjoyment evolve from feeling secure into a state of flow
Self-improvement through repeating an activity you enjoy playing at
Achieving a level of ability at the activity you've practiced, enhancing self-esteem
Sharing your mastery with others leads to recognition, which enhances feelings of connection.

I realized that teaching Yoga is so important for me because it provides all five elements of happiness and fulfillment. I began Yoga practice in 1992 out of a feeling of connection to the Divine that emerged from mystical experiences. I "played" with yoga for many years, practicing on my own, reading books and attending classes at times, but only doing what felt really GOOD in my body. After many years of practice, I began to feel a level of mastery. I attended Yoga Teacher Training in 2002 and began teaching. I kept connecting, playing, and practicing, and teaching stayed enjoyable, creative, and flowing. I completed Yoga Therapy Training, and began my Yoga Therapy practice in early 2006. I began getting positive feedback and glowing testimonials from students. I was actually helping people! I felt more connected than ever. And then my body started hurting….

What can I learn from having been ill?

To appreciate being well!

To have true empathy and compassion for anyone who is ill or in pain

To understand the depths of pain and suffering

To trust that I can be very ill and then be well again

To never give up on myself or on anyone else

To appreciate my husband's support

To let go and trust the process of Life

Yoga teaching also provides all five of my personal career needs -- the five elements I need to enjoy and sustain a job or career:

Every student and every class are wonderfully different. Plus, being self-employed, I get to use all of my various skills -- creating lesson plans, reading and researching, counseling, teaching, coaching, marketing, graphic design, web design, and communications -- so I stay busy!

Setting my own hours helps me balance work and family in a way that minimizes my stress. And of course Yoga itself relieves stress! When I teach, ideas, words, and poses flow through me, and all is ease.

I get bored easily. My mind craves stimulation. The variety and challenges of teaching all levels, and of specializing in teaching students who need individual attention, are endless. Every class is new and interesting, with something for me to offer and something for us both to learn.

I spent many years working in offices and retail stores, hiding my spirituality and my flamboyance in order to fit in. As a Yoga teacher, I get to be myself. I share freely of myself with my students, and I feel truly accepted and appreciated by them, just as I accept and appreciate every one of my beloved students.

This can be elusive, for sure. I believe the previously-stated five elements (connection, play, practice, mastery, and recognition) lead to fulfillment. For me, fulfillment comes from doing something meaningful that helps others and the world in a positive way. Teaching Yoga is filled with meaningful opportunities to promote healing and human development, as well as joy and peace. How fulfilling is that!!

I feel grateful to once again be able to sit in the seat of the teacher and share the blessings of Yoga with everyone who feels inspired to come to me. Starting now, South Hills Yoga is open for private classes and Yoga therapy sessions (the South Hills Yoga website is back online!).

I find private classes, especially one-on-one, to be the most rewarding -- this is the traditional root of Yoga teaching, and it really works. I can tune in, listen, and provide the personalized instruction that each student needs, without the competition, distance, or distractions of a group class. I enjoy helping students develop a home Yoga practice that works for them. And I keep the price reasonable -- only $40 for a full hour, and if that is a hardship, you are welcome to bring up to three friends or relatives and split the cost.

To my friends, family, and loyal students, I thank you so very much for all your loving support through the hard times. And to everyone, I look forward to seeing you at a South Hills Yoga class soon!

Luna Anita