End of an era: Yoga Public is closing Oct 4, 2022.

All things come and go.

It is with great sadness to share that Yoga Public announced on Friday Sep 2 that it is closing its downtown doors on October 4, 2022, after 10.5 years. This is the home where I have met so many wonderful people and where I’ve devoted so much practice and teaching since its inception. I am deeply grateful to each and every person who has ever contributed their time and energy to that space.

All of this comes as a bit of a shock (teachers were told the news on Friday too), and unfortunately this means that my remaining time at Yoga Public is very limited. If you would like to come to my class(es) there while you still can, please check the studio schedule.

And, life goes on after October 4th. If you are interested in taking my classes, consider signing up for the October livestream session, purchasing my online yoga library / courses, and reading my newsletter for updates (subscribe here). It means a lot to me as I figure out what’s next.

Thank you for allowing me to do what I love for so many years.

This is not the end. It’s just a moment after the last.

Love,
Adriennelivestream yoga

Listening to our needs

Since summer is really taking her time to arrive, I’ve been biding my time with some *light* reading, namely the book, Living Nonviolent Communication: Practical Tools to Connect and Communicate Skillfully in Every Situation, by Marshall Rosenberg. Not only is it helping to quell my meteorological impatience, but I’ve been finding its lessons – of listening and how to ask for one’s needs – to be sage and perennially relevant.

Much yogic wisdom espouses that the solution to our problems coming from within. Angry? Let go of your anger. Need to reduce stress? Take deeper breaths.

Certainly, we can do a lot for ourselves. And we do do it! I am grateful to witness and support one form of this do-for-ourselves-ness, in the classes we share both in-person and online.

And yet through this, we must tread with care.

The concept that an individual is the sole arbitrator of one’s needs can become twisted. For instance, when it places all responsibility (i.e. blame) on the sufferer and conveniently sidesteps any critique of the instigator’s responsibility. (E.g.: if only you didn’t get so upset when they slapped you. You must’ve done something to deserve being hit.)

It can justify a sort of pseudospiritual apathy, because apparently the magic (or…magick?!) of your glorious self transcends all economic, social, and climate factors, rendering these issues ultimately meaningless, and if only you took some deeper breaths, you would realize that belly breathing would dissolve all your problems.

Worse, it can justify a self-centredness that believes that everything in the world exists to serve you. It’s all about you, Dear One! Sigh, if only you could transform the pain into lessons, and then into a self-help book / brand / speaking tour, you’ll find freedom and bliss – !

We must remember another aspect of yogic wisdom: awareness.

When does our can-do attitude cross into ableist tyranny? Where does our drive for evolution / improvement come from: self-loathing, or generative faith in our ability to flourish? What is it, exactly, at the root of our actions and words?

In Rosenberg’s book, he states that our goal is to always be attuning for the question, “What are the needs here?” When you speak, you are stating your needs – consciously or not, skillfully or not. When I speak, it is the same. In life, our conversations and actions are a constant relay of “I want” with some “thank you’s” thrown in every so often.

Challenges arise when we don’t hear the needs of others. Maybe we are rigidly wed to our worldview, or taking things personally, or simply not paying attention. Whatever the case, the insularity of our lives means our needs go unmet and the suffering persists.

In some ways, the pandemic has made us more individualistic and isolated from eachother’s needs. When summer finally arrives and brings its energy of light, heat, and movement, my hope is that we can gather again and begin to really see and listen to one another.

So I’m really looking forward to summer! To the sunshine, the cleansing rain, the local produce. To nourishing conversations with friends, to watching the sunset with my partner, to feeling less anxious. To the possibility of a war ending, to us all learning our lessons and not forgetting them. To taking the time to ask myself what are my needs. To asking for help. To listening. What are your needs?

With deep gratitude for you,
Adrienne

Control issues and working with our blind spots

I’m writing this on a crisp April day and, while there is blue in the sky, there are warnings of a huge blizzard coming to disrupt our wavering steps towards spring.

Cue panic!
Cue despair!

If there was ever needed another reminder that we can’t control everything, then here it is (again). We really can only do so much!

It’s interesting to observe how much energy we spend on worrying about things we can’t control (like clouds, or say, the past). How much time do we lose wondering what others think of us? How much brain power do we expend trying to stop the inevitability of change itself?

We all do this. Maybe we just get caught up, or it’s a distraction from dealing with our own things, but we leak energy over this and that as we try to control what is beyond our personal control – until we don’t have enough energy for what we really want to do, or what we actually have control over.

anxiety is information - adrienne shum

Practice is a way to regather energy, to plug the leaks. We can get both rest and power from our practice. When I’m on my mat or cushion, there is nowhere else to be. And when I rise, I ask: where can I be effective? Where can I serve?

We all have blind spots. Through practice, we can learn to see them, bit by bit. We hold ourselves in compassion as we uncover embarrassing and vulnerable things about ourselves. We hold ourselves in our human-ness. And then, whenever we know better, we try to do better – this to me is the definition of maturity and wisdom.

Here’s to uncovering our blind spots with humility and grace,
Adrienne

Yoga practice for grief and loss

A few weeks ago when the deep winter cold was still here, we brought home a small flower pot of daffodils. My partner carefully unwrapped them and transplanted them into a clay pot. Their little yellow faces were a small but cheery pick-me-up. We gleefully pointed out the new buds coming in!

Now, they have sagged. Their thin leaves droop and streak haphazardly. I can’t tell if I watered them too much, or too little. Their faces are grumpy and shrivelled. I talk to them and ask what they want. They stay silent and sullen. We decide it’s best to give them space. They still have their verdant leaves, so not all hope is lost.

We just need to give it time.

As spring inches its way in, the energy of transformation and renewal comes flooding forth. Sometimes the pace of change feels right: we are ready to lunge forward and grab what’s next. Sometimes, we aren’t ready – perhaps it’s overwhelming, and we haven’t dealt with the past. Sometimes we need to give it more time.

grief isn't a problem that needs to be solved

 

Frankly, I am feeling both: ready to relish in positive change, yet also hanging back, because there has been so much grief and loss to process. It is a complicated time, replete with complicated reactions.

My daily practice helps to ground me within this polarity. It gives me grit. How fortunate we are to have the knowledge and opportunity to cultivate understanding and compassion. There is beauty and grace amidst the confusion and struggle – if only we reach to embrace it.

Wishing you grit and grace,
Adrienne