One year ago I had back surgery due to a herniated disc. The reasons are many, and typical: bad posture, weak muscles, not doing what I was suppose to do to honor and strengthen my body. Because I worked two full-time, physical jobs, I was told to expect to be out of work for 6-7 months.
After the surgery, when I was cleared to start rehab, I went to ONE PT rehab session, and hated it. After that one session, I decided yoga would be a better fit for me (even though I had never been to a single yoga class ever), and with my surgeon's approval, began researching yoga studios in my area. Here was my master plan: "try out" all the studios using the introductory prices, jumping from studio to studio... which would get me through at least a few months at discounted prices. After researching, I was pretty sure I was going to end up at Ember as my yoga home, just because of the feeling of strength and serenity I got from the studio. This was during this year's "Snowpocalypse" - and when the roads were clear enough to drive, I started my trek from studio to studio. Many had (understandably) cancelled classes... without telling any of their students, posting on their websites, or even posting on the front door! After much frustration, my first class was at Ember - and I was hooked; I never considered another studio after that. My master plan failed me... or did it?
For the last 9 months, your studio has challenged me and supported me in ways I never thought possible. I've increased my strength, lost 35 lbs, and my chiropractor says my posture and back have never been in better shape. Physically, I still have a long way to go, but I can't believe how far I've come already. My real surprise has come in other, intangible ways: mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I have found a way to connect with myself. Each of your instructors, in their own unique way, leads the class to a deeper understanding, the "underneath" that is underneath yoga. Of course, you are all familiar with this, being that it is your chosen path in life. And I was hoping for this possibility to manifest, but did not understand how it would. So this long, rambling letter is to say thank you. Thank you for my new strength - physically, mentally, spiritually. I returned to work in 5 months, not the 6-7 originally projected. When things feel overwhelming at work (I'm a hospital RN), I go to a back room, find tree pose, and breathe. I then feel rooted and flexible, and able to face whatever might be thrown at me. Thank you for for all of this.
Jeff and Margaret, what you have built at Ember goes beyond simply a studio. The physical space is inviting, relaxing and serene. The challenge is available to all levels. I have never felt judged or self-conscious for my lack of balance and strength. Each instructor brings their unique energy to a class - I've never had a bad class! I came in for a sequence class one day on the edge of a full-on meltdown... I left smiling, cleansed, serene. When my body feels wrung out, and my back begins to hurt, I can look at my calendar and see that it has been over a week since I've "Embered" myself (how I think of it), and I get my butt back to class.
So thank you, to each and every one of you, for all you've done for me, and for all you continue to do every day. This is something I've wanted to say for so long, and I'm just too shy to express myself face to face. But after passing my one year anniversary yesterday, and seeing how far I've come, I couldn't keep it to myself any longer.