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Time, Contentment, Money: A Personal Mission Statement

Several months back, while discussing our career paths, someone asked where I want to go. I replied quizzically, “Go…?”

"Yeah, where do you want to end up? What's your goal? Where do you see yourself in 5 years…?” 

Honestly, I had no idea. I’d been so absorbed with the journey, I hadn’t considered a destination. 

Over time, however, the question silently repeated itself in my mind. I closely examined the microcosm contained within my wide-eyed overview of the macrocosm, then I let it marinate. This is what I formulated: 

Three Career Factors to Consider 

1) Time.  2) Contentment. 3) Money. 

Three Questions to Answer

1) How much time will it cost? 

2) Will it encourage contentment? 

3) Do I need the money?

 

Conclusion: Decide what's more important; quality of life or quantity of money.

Base all of your educational aspirations and career choices on your conclusion.

 

After coming to my personal conclusion, I made the choice to cut back on teaching public yoga classes and private lessons. 

I'm content, less stressed, and I'm present for my loved ones. I have more time to do creative work, to study philosophy and history. I have less money, but I have everything I need. 

As far as my teaching career goes, I'm officially announcing my intention to transition toward my goal to work exclusively with incarcerated youth.

My personal mission aligns perfectly with Transformation Yoga Project's macro-vision for "all people in the greater Philadelphia area who have experienced, are experiencing or are at risk of losing their freedom" to have "free and easy access" to yoga.

TYP empowers me to do my part - however micro it might be - to bring awareness to dualistic injustices within the justice system. TYP empowers my efforts to subvert the school to prison pipeline, a state sanctioned system that is systematically stealing and silencing a generation. Someone has to take a stand. TYP - built upon a foundation of yoga and personal empowerment - is the platform where I am taking mine. 

At every fork in the road I...

Pause. 

Breathe. 

Create space. 

Notice. 

Observe. 

Interconnect with consciousness. 

Adjust with awareness. 

Repeat as needed.

 

These practices apply to every asana practice I've ever facilitated. These principles are what I teach. Outside of the classroom, this is how I live my yoga.

It hasn't come to me easily and it will never be perfect. It's a practice. But it's a practice I learned through practicing asana. 

This is how a physical exercise evolves into mindfulness and transforms lives. This is how #YogaHeals people. I know this because this is how yoga healed me. And this is why I'm going all in. 

Peace, Love, Yoga,

Alexis Donahue

Transformation Yoga Project, Instructor, Digital Media Marketing Director 

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Meet Your Instructor: Elizabeth Sherman

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Meet Your Instructor: Elizabeth Sherman

Transformation Yoga at Evolution Wellness

77 W. Baltimore Pike Suite 500, Chester Heights, PA / 484.800.8930

Wednesdays at 7:30pm, no need to pre-register! Just drop in. Donations accepted, not expected.

Elizabeth Sherman, Transformation Yoga Project Instructor

Elizabeth Sherman, Transformation Yoga Project Instructor

Elizabeth is a pediatric occupational therapist, yoga instructor, and active dog-lover in recovery. She completed her 200-hr YTT with Alison Donley at West Chester University and has deep gratitude for the opportunity to find peace and serenity through yoga practice. She has been invited to speak for graduate level OT students and peer-reviewed state occupational therapy conferences on the benefits of yoga techniques and trauma-sensitive practice. She enjoys working out, long trail walks, fermenting food, and snuggle naps with her dog Hunny.

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Meet Your Instructor: Erin Hanna

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Meet Your Instructor: Erin Hanna

Mondays, 7:30-8:30pm

Beginning on April 17, 2017

Purenergy 

21 Plank Avenue | Paoli, PA 19301

Donation Class
Instructed by Erin Hanna

Erin Hanna, RYT-200, Transformation Yoga Project Instructor

Erin Hanna, RYT-200, Transformation Yoga Project Instructor

 
 

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Erin graduated from Lock Haven University in 2014 with a B.S in Health Science concentrating in Community Health and a minor in Anthropology. She fell in love with the therapeutic side of yoga and went through 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training at The Light Within studio in West Grove, PA and registered with Yoga Alliance in May of 2016. Erin has a passion for giving back to the yoga community and loves seeing the healing effects through everyone it touches on and off the mat. Meditation is a practice Erin enjoys weaving into her yoga teaching and daily life.

 

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The only moment I was in was the moment I was in.

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The only moment I was in was the moment I was in.

We started our detention yoga class with mats in a circle, stress relieving pillows in hand, energy all over the place. After explaining how we could experience being in the present moment by focusing on the pillows and taking deep breaths, the girls committed to do the practice for 1 minute. 

pillows.jpg

The gym was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. When 1 minute was up, I asked what they noticed. The girls begin sharing their struggles, worries, the thoughts which have been haunting them since their incarceration. We discussed noticing how a single thought can lead to thinking. We talked about experiences where our thinking sparked feelings. We shared about times when our feelings impacted how we reacted to situations and how we interacted with other people.  

I explained that it's possible to use breathing, movement, and focus to experience something beyond our constant thoughts and the subsequent feelings. As an example, I told them about the first time I did yoga. 

Essentially, I got my ass handed to me. I'm not sure what I expected, but it certainly wasn't quite that level of exercise. It was one of the most challenging situations I have ever put myself into (purposely). But I didn't quit. It took every bit of my focus, but I was able to finish the class. When the end finally came and final resting pose was queued, my body went SPLAT on the mat and my mind was silenced. I had achieved my first of many yoga highs. It felt like heaven. 

During the class, because I had to be so focused on every tiny detail of what my body was doing - for the first time in my life - I was able to be completely free of the constant stream of seemingly uncontrollable thoughts which were always racing through my head. And THAT'S what got me hooked; the first taste of what it's like to be fully present in the present moment. No thoughts of yesterday, no worries about tomorrow, just the right now. The only moment I was in was the moment I was in. Wow, what a rush.

“You mean... I don't HAVE to think? Holy shit! Give me more of that!"  

In time, with continued practice, more was revealed. For so many years, I had allowed my thoughts and emotions to rule my attitudes, dictate my actions, and impact my relationships. Yoga showed me another way. Now I know that my thought process is just that, a process. I can allow this process to enslave me or I can choose to override it. I learned how to use breathing, movement, and focus to make my mind a servant instead of allowing it to be my master.   

The girls were curious, asked questions, and offered insightful observations. By the end of our open discussion, they were eager to experience the power of yoga for themselves. All three girls committed to do their best to breathe, move, and focus. They agreed to back out of anything that caused pain and to challenge themselves to keep going, even when their thoughts told them to give up. 

35 minutes later and the gym was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. The girls were splat on their mats in their own unique ways, eyes closed, breath calm, bodies still. Perfect exactly as they were without having to change a single thing. Their final resting pose was accompanied by a guided body-scan meditation and the gentle sound of Tibetan singing bowls. 

Conversation at the end of the class

Girl 1: Where did you go during the rest?

Girl 2: I was remembering when I had my baby. I don’t know why, but that’s where I was. 

Girl 3: I didn’t go anywhere. I wasn’t thinking about anything. For once! I’m so relaxed!  

Me, turning to Girl 1: So, where did you go?

Girl 1: I was sitting on my porch. 

Me: Is that something you like to do? 

Girl 1: I don’t have a porch. 

Me: Wow. How did that make you feel?

Girl 1: Real good. Even though I don’t have a porch, I was sitting on it, and I knew it was mine. It felt real peaceful. 

Immediately after her response, the detention center staff announced it was time to get up, get quiet, get in line, and get back to the cell block. As they walked away, I invited them to use what they learned from this experience any time. I smiled and waved goodbye.   

Though I will return to the facility next week, due to the transient nature of the juvenile justice system, I know I will probably never see any of these girls again. There is no sadness for me in this statement, only a sense of peace and acceptance. This is my purpose. I will continue to serve it.

 

Transformation Yoga Project, a non-profit (501)(3), serves people impacted by trauma, addiction and incarceration though trauma-sensitive yoga.

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