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August Newsletter: Letting Go

Hi friends, welcome to August! Last month flew by, and I spent most of it perfecting my margarita recipe, wrapping my head around the fact that my little baby M turned 1, and working on letting go.

While re-reading one of my favorite books about the Yamas & Niyamas (the 5 restraints and 5 observances outlined in the 8-limbed yogic path) I was struck by the following story: back way in the day, people used to capture monkeys by placing bananas inside small cages with narrow bars. The monkeys would come along, grab the banana, and begin the impossible task of trying to pull the banana through the bars. The interesting part is that up until the catchers showed up, the monkeys were actually free to go…all they had to do was let go of the banana. And when they didn’t, they got caught.

Besides the fact that I do not support capturing monkeys, I find the moral of the story pretty powerful: it’s often not the cage that’s the problem, it’s our attachment to the banana.

This month I decided not to renew my lease for Yogaleena HQ. I’m going to be honest, this one stung. I had high hopes for that beautiful space, and it was heartbreaking to walk away feeling like all of the energy, time, and planning I had invested in it wasn’t going to bear any fruit.

But saying goodbye to the HQ loosened my grip around a much bigger banana – control. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been struggling to surrender control of a situation that I obviously have no control over! I’ve been spinning my wheels and burning myself out trying to do more as a way to soothe my anxiety about the future of my business. It’s been more exhausting than productive, and zapped a lot of creativity and fun out of my work. Packing up the HQ made me stop and wonder: what if instead of resisting change, I simply let the change, change me?

“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”

Surrender, the kind that’s grounded in faith that things will unfold the way they were meant to if we let them, leads to freedom, and freedom leads to inspiration, innovation, and joy. As soon as I let go of my banana, new ideas and opportunities started popping up everywhere!

I saw an email come through from Georgetown University about their new initiative to raise money for student financial aid by hosting “Alumni Virtual Experiences.” I didn’t think twice and emailed the coordinator about teaching a virtual class…which I really enjoyed doing this past weekend. I received a newsletter from Unwind Meditation Studio announcing their weekly schedule and a light-bulb went off. I reached out to owner Laurie Maloney and over a socially distanced cup of coffee (ok, several cups coffee) we came up with the idea for a combined unlimited membership for yoga & meditation. We’re also partnering to offer a 30 min yoga + 30 min meditation class every Thursday at 10:30am in August (join us!)

On a similar note, I went into Athleta to buy some new tops a few weeks ago and noticed a sign above the register describing their commitment to women empowerment (#POWEROFSHE.) I felt goosebumps and a deep sense of knowing that THAT was a mission I wanted to be part of (in my own way, not necessarily with Athleta.) So I went home and googled organizations in Houston that support and empower women/girls. A few emails later, I met with the coordinator of Girls Empowerment Network and agreed to teach a yoga class to high school seniors prepping for college as part of their awesome Pathfinder Summit. A few days later, I randomly came across an article on Stephanie Tsuru, founder of a new co-working space designed specifically for women, called SheSpace. I reached out immediately to see if there was any interest in collaborating, and as of today, I have a meeting with her and her team on the schedule for Aug 18. I have no idea if anything will come out of it, but I’m pumped!

Our partnership with the beautiful Houston Arboretum continues to grow (we’ll have some cool stuff going down in September!), and I’m currently working with the badass women of Frame Dance to collaborate on workshops for the Fall. In addition, Leanne Peterson (amazing Houston-based therapist and one of my very favorite people in the world) and I are planning to co-lead a few more solo retreats in the months to come – stay tuned for that.

So yeah, I’ve been as busy as ever, but in the best of ways. Nothing on my calendar feels forced, or like something I need to do in order to be “productive” and take control over the current situation.

Y’all, I’m learning to surf. And I’m doing it with some pretty amazing people!

When we let go how things should be, we can re-imagine what they could be. We can stop asking what we should be doing (which is usually an energy drain,) and focus our time, resources, and talents on what we really want to be doing.

If you’re feeling stuck, I invite you to consider what bananas are holding you down. COVID-19 may have placed bars around our old way of life, but it’s our attachment to what no longer is that’s keeping us trapped. I know it’s hard to let go of the banana, but when you do, I’m confident you’ll find something even sweeter on your way to freedom.
Namaste,
Carolina

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