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God's Fool

God's Fool

Laura Jane

Laura Jane

It's hard to believe that spring has once again come around to greet us. “God’s Fool” is sometimes the message I get when I remember opening Yoga Among Friends on April Fool’s Day in 1998.  I somehow question how our little community has continued thriving and enjoying 19 years of being a steady home of yoga for so many wonderful souls.

The community at YAF is why we are still here in a landscape that keeps changing. With so many alternative places to practice and families moving away. Yet, we are a constant comfort for so many that walk through our door with a sigh and a smile, thanking us for being “authentic” and “real”.  I guess our lack of corporate funding gives us a pleasant throwback to what it feels like to be original.

When our doors opened in 1998, there were no yoga centers anywhere in the suburbs. No one understood that we would be here for “drop-in” classes when there is no guarantee that anyone would actually show up. As a yoga teacher, I always shared that our commitment is to the teachings, not how many students show up to join in. A concept that the standard business model would not encourage! Yes, I always say I am not a business but a service! And teaching yoga is not a career path but a deeper calling of the soul.

Somehow in the last twenty years we have survived the hot yoga centers, the fitness spin centers and the lack of a sign that allows anyone to really know we still exist. We have continued to shine because of you, the students, and of course the amazing teachers that have given their love and energy to inspire and motivate the lifestyle of living with compassion and kindness and what it means to be a friend. To share in conversation, to hug and to be able to listen when silence is needed as a space of comfort.

In 2018, we will celebrating 20 years. In celebration of this milestone, we are putting together a book on the importance of community and how the teachings of yoga inspire to cultivate compassionate kindness in a busy, distracted world. That true commitment is living mindfully with open hearts.  We would love to hear from our students as we collaborate on the joint endeavor in celebrating you and YAF.

We are blessed as move into this new season and hope that you continue to practice with us both on and off the mat. Tell your friends about our sweet home; and if so inspired, please email us with a story or testimonial about how YAF (or about your teacher or a friendship that developed) over the years. Share a story that might have happened on one of our many retreats or venues.

Thank you from all of us as we celebrate this turn around the sun and enjoy each day with love and light,
Laura Jane

Are we disciples of fear or of wholeness and love?

Are we disciples of fear or of wholeness and love?

Life is filled with paradox today as I struggle to be a director of a yoga center, a teacher, a spiritual aspirant of the teachings of love while struggling to balance my personal relationships and roles as a wife and a mother.

Modern life today can be ruthless in the tensions it asks us to reconcile in our hearts and in our living. In the last year, I have seen the opposites of bias opinion play out in all sorts of angry confused moods. Friends are losing the ability to communicate by not listening. Listening is a most valuable tool of being human.

In the integration of such tensions, taking time to listen deep in our bodies is the great elixir. Our bodies understand such tensions, if only we don’t live too fast. Slowing down is the key. We need to give our minds a rest, to take time with ourselves to meet the beloved in our hearts. "Slow down" is the great cry coming from our souls.

It takes courage to change the habit of distraction and turn off the Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. The paradox here is not necessarily doing less, but rather it is the place where our doing comes from.

Are we the disciples of fear or of wholeness and love? Finding time for our souls is so precious. If I lose the sense of this inner being in myself, I cannot be the teacher of love in my work or my life. I cannot make a wise choice of the deeper intelligence.

This month delink from the noise in your mind and link into self nourishing by committing to being courageous in silence. Ask yourself, "is this the wisest choice of the highest good or my need to defend an ideology of fear?" Slow down, go inward and remember life is a blessing and love is the highest call.

"I'll play my heart for you"—Laura's Wish for the New Year

"I'll play my heart for you"—Laura's Wish for the New Year

Listen to your life. See it for the beautiful mystery that it is. Touch, taste, smell your way to the hidden heart of it. Life itself is grace.

However, when the intellect gets in the way, I spent too much time distracted and confused. I fall into a bias opinion that has been learned and accepted as my identity. So I must turn inward and de-link from that thought of fear and breathe life into my heart. I feel the pulse of my humanity. One beat at a time. I am more than that thought; I am more than that learned habit. I am the witness of the thought. I am pure essence of conscious awareness. I am love.
Stilling my mind is a challenge when my emotions start to stir in agitation. I turn off the news, unplug from the internet, and sit in the dark. And at times, I cry, moan, and shake. I let go into a vibration that has no meaning other than expansion and light. I let go and fall in love with life again. My aliveness is enough-just be present to my essence, my radiant heart of light.

When I was three years old, I fell in love with a song on the radio that whenever I heard it I had to smile. I hear it every holiday season, and its become my song: The Little Drummer Boy. As I listen it today, something still resonates as truth.

"I am a poor boy too
Pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gifts to bring
Pa rum pum pum pum...

Shall I play for you
Pa rum pum pum pum
On my drum..."

Today, the inner gift--I'll play my heart for you. Beat, beat, beat of my drum--is my heart beating for you.

I am not religious. I am only a yogi dedicated to each heart that beats. Every soul matters. Take off your labels, your identity of personality, and take away your doubts of being enough.

I don't teach exercise; I do not care if you can touch your toes. I care that you connect to community and that you are seen without your label. I am not perfect. I get tired and confused and overwhelmed with this world of doing and of running a business that is only a service for the soul to get nourished.

So I am renewing my commitment to sharing these tools of yoga. With a new, signed lease on our space, I plan to keep our doors open, and we will embrace the courage to walk into ourselves together. 

May this new year, 2017, bring us closer to that space of love. May we accept our differences. The place we meet is a place of acceptance where all beings everywhere can awaken their heart and quiet their mind's agitation. We are all on this earth together!  

with love,
Laura Jane