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For the month of February, we are featuring moments of LOVE, COMMUNITY, & BALANCE. You might be wondering, how do we actually build community? Read our latest opinion piece by our Full-Time Teacher, Tanya.
Community has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Since the day I left home at the age of 18 to pursue a career in dance, I have been traveling the globe in search of my community.
Landing in New York was a start after years on the road with the touring production of Lion King, but I quickly found myself feeling like many do in the city of dreams… very lonely while being squished between strangers on the subway and living on top of each other in apartment buildings.
In April 2013, I had my daughter and a lot of things started to naturally shift and change. I didn't have time to take yoga classes and work 6 days a week. I was juggling being a mom, a wife, auditioning and performing. The sense of community that I found with my broadway peers was shifting and I was looking for a community that reflected more of who I was as a new mother and an artist.
That's the funny thing about communities.
We change, and by nature, our communities change as well.
After many years on the stage, I decided to step back and begin what felt like the biggest transition in my life to date.
I met a yoga teacher and mentor who began to show me yoga as more than a practice but a way of life. Although I had a very strong practice, becoming a teacher had never been of interest to me.
After meeting and working with her, I decided to start training with her and to finally become a yoga teacher. At this point my daughter was 3 years old and becoming a little more independent.
Not long after graduating from my 200-hr Teacher Training, I met ,Evelyn, who ran a yoga class at a women's shelter in midtown called the Dwelling Place.
As part of my seva project for my training (seva meaning service in Sanskrit), I was excited to work with these women and learn from their community as well as leading them in the healing power of yoga.
A view from the (GW) bridge
I have to highlight one of my favorite communities that I teach for with hOM.
A kids fit yoga class at Hudson Lights in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
When I first started teaching there we did not have a kids class, but very quickly the adult classes were being filled with parents and their kids who excitedly wanted to join in the fun.
The kids wanted an opportunity to work out and get together as well.
Hudson Lights has a beautiful common space where the kids often meet after school and hang out. All ages playing together, from Bella (18 months) to Aamir (9 year old).
I was so inspired by them that I took the idea to hOM and quickly we had a kids class on the schedule.
I even bring my daughter (5 years old) every week and she now has a new set of friends that she looks forward to practicing yoga and hanging out with weekly.
The (Hudson) Light in me...
We start each class with a question. Here are few conversations that we have at the beginning of class one day:
It has become more than just a yoga class, it has become a sense of family and a safe space for the kids in the building to grow and learn together.
If you're interested in Kids Community Classes or want to speak directly to Tanya feel free to
reach out to us!
Tanya is an instructor for hOM as well as a freelance writer, facilitator, choreographer and movement director. Through her organization SoHumanity, Tanya holds space for courageous conversations that stand at the intersection of embodiment, Social-Justice and Art.