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.
Ember is a truly unique yoga studio. The variety and times of the classes offer many options to the student. The "off the mat" happenings from the pot luck dinners to the movies and cooking classes enhance the yoga experience. I have expanded my practice exponentially since coming to Ember. I so enjoy being in a yoga pose, having a teacher gently adjust my pose and suddenly, the pose is just right for me that day. The teachers at Ember are gifted yogis who are passionate and take time to teach us what they have learned through years of study often offering meaningful quotes or thoughts for the day to end a great practice. I have taken classes at five other local yoga studios and none of them have taught or challenged my yoga practice in the way that Ember has and does to this day. Jeff and Margaret have created a special place for each student and I am so thankful.
! first started practicing Bikram yoga in 2010. I immediately loved the whole mind-body experience. Over time I became interested in exploring other styles of yoga. I bounced around between a number of yoga studios in the Atlanta area until I found my home at Ember. The diverse offering of classes and a convenient weekly schedule initially drew me to Ember. But the people (from the teachers to the other students) are what keep bringing me back. I am so lucky to have found this warm, caring, intelligent group of yogis to practice with. Seeing this community in action inspired me to "seize the day" and pursue my 200hr RYT certification via the Yoga Teacher Training Program at Ember. My experience with yoga has been physically, mentally and emotionally transformational. I am so excited to see what else my practice has in store for me and to share that experience with others!
After five years of taking antidepressants I was able to stop taking the medications that were perpetuating my postpartum depression. Six days a week of Hot sequence or Hot core power or Vinyasa was the answer!! I have more energy than ever. I love the inspirational teaching of Astrid, Douglas and Jeff's classes. I have cried in some classes because I have been so moved by the love and the encouragement I receive from the instructors. Every aspect of my life has changed in six months. My husband says I'm a better mother. Oh and I have lost over 40 lbs. Thank you, Ember Yoga, for showing me a better way to live.. My family thanks you too!!! Give yourself one month to see change and you will be amazed!!
I began a journey a few years ago to heal my broken spirit. This eventually led me into Ember Yoga in the late summer of 2011. From the first time on the mat, I could feel the healing power that it had. Now, every time I practice, and then lay in savasana I let go of anything that is not serving me, and bring in those things that strengthen, balance, ground, and uplift me. I literally feel the change happening inside of me. I had a lot to let go of, coming from a very rocky past.
Yoga has been such a revolution in my life. Every day I get stronger in my mind, body, and spirit. It makes it so much easier to make those choices that are altogether healthy for me. Now, I can’t imagine life without it. I am so thankful for Jeff & Margaret, as well as all of the instructors and community at Ember. I have never been happier or healthier than I am right now. I am all in, and looking forward to each new day in this journey called life.
I was always interested in yoga but never stepped foot into a studio. I tried a bit of yoga at home and really liked it. Then one day I decided to check out Ember. I signed up for my month's membership right away and took my first vinyasa class with Jeff that night! I was a bit nervous but excited. Thankfully Jeff was amazing at explaining everything very well so I could keep up. I really liked it and couldn't wait to try another class. My second class was a sequence class with Astrid. I set my mat up in the back to be able to watch the other more experienced students. I was impressed with everyone and did my best to keep up. I wasn't used to the heat, and quite frankly hated the heat, and had to sit down a few times during class. But I survived and even more importantly I wanted to go again and again and again. I was hooked! After only a few weeks I was more used to the heat and actually never even thought about the heat anymore nor all the sweat pouring down onto my mat every single class. It was the sweating that I started to love along with some exhaustion that turned into such an amazing energy. Within just a few classes I found myself more energized, happier, less anxious, and craving yoga! After a class i would go home and practice more on my own. I learned something new in every single class and continue to do so. Previous to starting yoga at Ember, I worked out at home six days a week to an at home fitness program and had done so for over six months. The results I felt and saw from just a few weeks of yoga compared to the previous six months of the other workout routine were amazing. I saw more and better results physically from yoga. My core was stronger, my legs tighter and my arms more toned. But the most amazing part of yoga for me was the mental transformation. Yoga has helped me with anxiety, headaches, back pain, and my energy level. I no longer have headaches, my anxiety is way down, my back pain no longer exists, and my energy levels is higher than I ever thought it could possibly be. And that is important having a three year old. Yoga now has become a very important part of my life! I crave it and if I don't practice it not only can I tell but so can my husband. After a class I am more at peace, more energized and plain feel better all around. Yoga has changed my life and I can't imagine life without it anymore. I find myself applying the teachings in my everyday life outside of the studio. I pay more attention to my breathing, I mediated and repeat little messages from class in my head to myself. Yoga has made me not only stronger physically it has made me grow stronger as a person. Only a few years ago I had never worked out because I thought I had no time. I now make sure to make time for myself and treat myself to a class at Ember whenever possible. I can walk in feeling pretty good and walk out feeling amazing. I have never felt more amazing, energized, strong and happy in my life, thanks to yoga!
I came to Ember on a grey, damp, and cold Saturday afternoon in December of 2010, feeling beyond low that day, discouraged by what life was dishing out to me, well, for most of my years on this planet up to that point. I almost turned back as I was already late for the class, but something called to me to walk through the door. The owners, Jeff and Margaret, were behind the counter and were so kind to me in the midst of my tardiness and probably unbeknownst to them my teetering on the brink of a full on meltdown in every sense of the word. They made me feel welcomed and calm, which was what I needed that day more than anything I think I had needed up to that point in my life. Their gentle and compassionate spirits let me know I could finally feel safe to let that guard down that my ego had been building up for those twenty-eight years. Class began and I thought the breathing was a little funny, but I went with it. Jeff helped to guide me through the poses keeping me centered and focused despite the fact that I was highly unnerved by the heat. He let me know that it was okay to come down to my mat and rest if that was what my body was telling me, he let me know I didn’t have to keep fighting myself, and that taught me about letting go of my ego more in that hour and a half than all of my other hours of studying yoga principles have thus far. There is nothing to prove, things really are perfect in that place between the two extremes of ecstasy and suffering, that space is where you can reconnect, redirect and grow. Ember and all of the teachers there have given me a sense of transcendence from everything I thought I knew about who I was. I am still learning and evolving so much and feel so grateful that my true path on this journey of life really started when I walked through those doors, beaten down and hardened, into one of the literally hottest and most uncomfortable experiences of my life, but for the first time the most real experience. Little by little my walls crumbled. I didn’t talk much at first to my fellow yogis, but overtime I started to trust in people again and I found a group of extended family at Ember that have given me more hope, love, and compassion than they may be aware of and for that I will always feel at home there. To say that Ember changed my life for the better is an understatement, but I nonetheless will continue to let people know how beneficial this practice can be. That is why I am in my teacher training there now under the guidance of John Merideth, who I had the wonderful experience of practicing under for the first time last summer and who has also pushed me to go deeper within, both on the mat and in my life outside of the studio. By learning to teach yoga through the training program I want to spread the life transforming peace and compassion that I received when I walked through the doors of Ember over a year and a half ago to others so that they can be more excited about what this amazing world has to offer them and what they have to offer it in return. Thank you to my Ember family, I love you all!
If you would be interested in writing a few sentences or more about what your experience with yoga has been, please send it in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to attach a picture of yourself (in a yoga pose or not).