It was the summer I was working as a call steward for the open air concert venue where I went to all my first concerts. I was responsible for making sure all the shifts were staffed. So. Many. Shifts. There are lots of moving parts in the fast paced environment of rock and roll production. I also had a modest welding shop in the garage of the half duplex I rented in East Providence. There was a two week break where the shows were slow, so I had excitedly taken on the commission to repair some animatronic zombie armatures, and other oddities in my friend’s Halloween Store. Dream. Gig. I love welding, zombies, and Halloween! But Some of the creatures fought back. I was re-fabricating a creepy clown leg in my garage one July day when I realized I had just filled my only chance to go camping that summer with a welding job. I was hot, dirty, and frustrated. Steel grit mixing with sweat was forming a special exfoliating mixture on my skin.
I had been on a sunset SUP paddle a few weeks earlier, having always wanted to try those cool Stand Up Paddleboards I used to see people on when I was kayaking! The owner of the rental shop casually mentioned a group of yogi’s who used his boards to do SUP yoga, and demonstrated how he could do a headstand on his board! I was intrigued, and had filed this information away for later. This moment was the later. So I did it! I set down my flame cutting torch, shut off the gas, and went inside to sign up for the class. I overcame my weird social anxiety, because I knew it was the thing I needed in that moment. I HAD NEVER EVEN BEEN TO A YOGA CLASS! I knew that was atypical, but now it strikes me as even more funny. I have since met a few people in my classes who were taking their first yoga class in this crazy environment as well, and I feel like we are part of a special tribe. In case you are wondering, it was magical for me. I fell in love from the first paddle. I did a crow pose that night. I had no idea how hard that was, and spent months trying to do it again! I remember the teacher explaining the cues, step by step, to get into the pose, and muttering under my breath ‘you want me to WHAT??’. Then I did what she said, and it was amazing! I was balancing on my hands on a floating board, in Wickford Harbor! I went to that class every chance I got that summer. It was a way to experience the magic of summer in small pockets of time; that inexplicable feeling of sucking the marrow out of life on a beautiful summer evening, warm skin wrapped in twilight, colors splashing against the sky, and the soundtrack of birds and peepers.
Needless to say, I was hooked. I never would have imagined at that time that I could become a yoga teacher, and teach yoga on Stand Up Paddle boards myself! But life is funny sometimes. That summer got me hooked on SUP Yoga, but also yoga in general. I craved that block of time where someone instructed me to relax! The opportunity to slow down, breathe, and move my body in a way that felt both nurturing and strengthening trickled into other aspects of my life when I was not looking. Yoga became more and more important to me, and eventually I signed up for a teacher training. I still didn't know if or how I could become a Yoga Teacher, but eventually I stopped telling myself I couldn't, and started thinking, 'What If?'. What If I changed my whole life? What If I became one of those people who followed their dream and did the thing they love more than anything? What If I could share the magic I found with others and it went on to change THEIR lives???
In 2018 I landed the job I believed I had been working toward my whole career. I was the Head Electrician at the newly reopened Colonial Theater. Nine months in and I was crying in my car for most of my two and a half hour commute into Boston, and on every meal break. I would stay at my brother's apartment during the week while I was working, and get home once in a while. I was so sad from not having time to spend with my loved ones. I felt completely depleted, and I am sure I was not fun to work with, or live with. It was hard to walk away from a great job that I had worked so hard to get, but I knew it was not going to be sustainable for long. Changing your whole life is terrifying. I had still not imagined starting my own business when I left my job. I was scared to even dream it. But the What If started creeping in.... I am still terrified and in awe of this new like I find myself living. I have made space in my week to teach a regular class in a studio here on the Cape, which I am loving. (Find me at Evoke Yoga Monday nights at 6:30 year round for Spa Yoga!) I still work as a stagehand in Boston every chance I get because being a yoga teacher does not pay what it is worth to society yet... But I am so excited to do some indoor SUP workshops this winter, and get back on the water this summer! I know it will be here before we know it! Even though I had crazy anxiety from starting a business all summer, I had the best summer of my life. I got to see all the sunsets and full moons from my board, was joined by humping dragonflies and baby ducks, and shared some the things I love the most with so many people. I am truly grateful for every person who came to a SUP Yoga class or Guided SUP Excursion. This experience has transformed my life, and I can't wait to see where it takes me next!