Celebrating Eight Years of Shri
I was NEVER going to open a yoga studio. When I moved to Brisbane from Chicago 9 years ago that kind of responsibility was the furthest thing from my mind. But when the Universe lights a path and makes it clear that you’re supposed to start walking, what else can you do? So eight years ago today Shri Yoga was born from a well-lit path and a desire to serve. The mission was to create an oasis for yoga in the city; a hub for education, creativity and community that would make yoga accessible to people from all walks of life.
When someone tries yoga for the first time, they experience their body in a completely different way. They may not be able to articulate it but when they practice, they feel something. It feels good. It feels right. Yoga’s explanation for this goes beyond the physical. It’s a coming home, a remembering and reconnecting with the goodness and love that lines the innermost parts of every soul on the planet.
Humanity’s fundamental wound seems to be a collective sense of unworthiness. It’s an indescribable moment of joy when you can see yourself with clear eyes and compassion, and have a moment of deep connection to this essential part of your nature. And once you connect with this light inside yourself, you begin to see that it exists everywhere, and in everyone.
Community is critical for growth. We are tribal by nature and we need to be around other people who help us see the goodness and love at the very core of our being. When you have a group of people practicing together there’s a bond that develops. You trust that you’re there to help each other grow.
Education is another passion of mine. In my early teaching years I was blessed to be able to sit under the teaching of some truly extraordinary teachers. In the warmth of what at the time was a vibrant community, I’d show up for a training and there would be a surprise guest, often a brilliant mind on yoga philosophy or meditation. I sat under the teaching of scholars like Paul Mueller Ortega, Dr. Douglas Brooks, or Carlos Pomeda. There would often be Kirtan with artists like Krishna Das, Dave Stringer or Shantala. At the time many of us didn’t understand the depth and value of the education we were receiving. With hindsight I can see that it was an extraordinary moment in time in the remarkable era of the exploding growth of yoga in America in the early 2000’s.
Once I opened the studio I wanted to attempt to give my students in Australia something similar to what I had experienced. The goal was to create a hub for education of a similar calibre. I had a solid network back in America, so I started inviting my friends to come and teach. One of the first calls I made was to Noah Maze, who taught the very first weekend workshop at Shri two weeks after we opened. Since then Noah has been back many times, and we’ve hosted other master teachers like Carlos Pomeda on philosophy, Dr. Lorin Roche on meditation, Elena Brower working her yoga magic, Dave Stringer and Shantala offering Kirtan. We’ve welcomed Sianna Sherman, Ross Rayburn, Desiree Rumbaugh, Lizzie Lasater, and so many more. We had over 100 people attend a weekend workshop with John Friend shortly after the floods of 2011. It’s been quite a ride!
The word shri refers to the radiance, lustre or splendour that exists at the heart of everything in the physical world, including you and me. Yoga has played a key role in my life, and throughout my career I’ve strived to share the fullness of the practice in a way that makes it accessible for people in the 21st century. We are here to help each other grow, and Shri Yoga is for all of us who forget from time to time who we really are. May we see the shri in ourselves, may we reflect it back to each other, and may we all dare to embrace, express and fully own our this radiance as our true nature.
Happy Birthday Shri!