You never know how you affect others – usually – but this past summer my fellow yoga teacher and I received a heartfelt email from a woman who had attended some of our “Yoga on the Beach” sessions. One of the themes I often talk about in yoga classes is how we all are setting an example to our friends, family, and others in our sphere of influence. Like the pebble thrown in the pond the ripples fan out to touch people in small and big ways. Sometimes these are major events in their lives and we had a part in the course of their life, unknowingly.
Go back to June 2012 when my friend Barb and I met while taking yoga teacher training. It was a pivotal experience for me, as I was searching for my new path after a stressful eight-year sales management job had suddenly ended earlier in the year when the company closed. I was cast adrift, but not unhappily, as I had increasingly felt like my inside and outside were not matching and wondered how long I could go on in this competitive and aggressive environment. I was thrilled to be released and I soon recognized a chance at re-invention. Yoga was my first step, and when we finished our training we decided to host a free day of yoga on our local beaches for July 1st. We never intended more, but after people asked – “When is the next beach class?” – we put together a little summer plan for a couple of morning yoga sessions each week in the summer.
Like many beginnings, we had started something which grew into an annual summer event which we now run 5 days a week outdoors every summer. It is all by donation and we donate part proceeds every year to community charities. We make the classes accessible to everyone. Our goal has always been to provide a way for people to get in touch with their spirits and bodies and many who come have never been to a yoga classes. Somehow, out there, in the open air, all seems possible to these folks. There are out there trying something new, or sharing their practice, and we often remind them that they are setting a healthy example for all who pass by.
As I said before, you often never know what impact you have on others:
“I just wanted to reach out to thank you for yoga on the beach this past summer. My family and I were in Parksville for two weeks in August, and I was lucky enough to attend your classes several times, once with my sister as well. As we were saying goodbye, my sister said, “We wish this could be our life!” You were so lovely and encouraging, and assured us that it could be.
Since that experience, we’ve taken that advice to heart. The two of us — who have never practiced yoga before — have made a point of practicing almost every day. It has truly been life changing for both of us. We’re both parents with six kids between us and busy full time jobs, and haven’t paused for a breath in twenty years. Finding that space now to focus, breathe and become stronger has been such a gift. Sending heartfelt thanks to both of you.”
This is not to shout out accolades to ourselves, rather to remind you that what you do matters SO MUCH in life. Sometimes people feel that they don’t matter, that no one pays attention to them, that they aren’t making a difference. This is the thing – we are all connected – we are the stone in the pond, never ever forget this. Know that something you said or did has affected someone’s life in a significant way.
Charlotte Crowley completed her yoga instructor training in 2012 and began teaching outdoor “Yoga on the Beach” that summer, as a community health project, and then began offering indoor classes that fall. Her love of health, fitness and nutrition came together when she found the field of holistic nutrition, and spent 2 years studying to attain her diploma as as R.H.N in 2015 (registered holistic nutritionist). Charlotte has been in practice for the past year and love helping people regain their health. She added her Bellyfit Instructor Diploma to her offerings this year and is now teaching classes in her community. Her passion is to help people enjoy great health, heal naturally, and live a long and happy life.