There are days when I think I should change the name of this website. The name fell into place as I was redesigning my former website. It wasn’t entirely intentional to name it “powerful woman yoga”. It felt catchy at the time, it resonated with feminine empowerment, and it was an english variation of my previous Sanskrit name “Shakti Yoga”- the divine feminine in yoga. Honestly, some days it feels pretentious. Who am I to claim this name? There are far more powerful and courageous women out there. Some days it just feels fake. I am a mere white woman- many would consider the classic modern day yogi- a nearing middle- or perhaps fully middle age- white woman who can touch her toes and show off some fancy poses, who sometimes wears flashy looking yoga pants. So for that reason the very existence of it all feels wrong and insulting.
There are more powerful women out there. There are women who are bold activists in equality, in racial harmony, and in fighting for our earth’s health. There are women who have stood up in abusive relationships and faced deep addictions, women who balance work and family as a single mother, women who fight institutionalized racism, and women who fight for Indigenous rights. I am none of those women.
Some people are disturbed with what I do, teaching yoga and leading Kirtan as a caucasian non-Indian, trained by another middle aged caucasian woman. I have had others tell me it isn’t right, that perhaps I have no place. Maybe my pronunciation isn’t quite right, or I take too many creative liberties to the traditions. Perhaps they are right. In fact, they are right. If I offend, I apologize. That is never my intention. I will try harder to be kinder and to understand.
I have considered changing paths entirely, finding a new destiny. Maybe yoga isn’t for me. Maybe Kirtan isn’t for me. Perhaps there are too many rules to break, too many people to upset and offend by doing what I do, and maybe getting a “real job” with a steady paycheck would be a better path. Maybe it is wrong to consider teaching yoga my “job” anyway. Maybe folks are right, that this isn’t what I should be doing. The name is wrong and there isn’t anything powerful in what I do or who I am.
I recently read an article on race and hate and the opening lines discussed how the author felt her approach to the topic wasn’t the most perfect way to approach an issue, that the author was likely to be making all sorts of mistakes, and she might even change her mind later. But she still felt compelled to move forward with it. Starting the conversation seemed important, even if it wasn’t completely correct and others needed to help her see more clearly. Something clicked in my mind as I read those words. Yes, there are doubts along the path. Yes there are naysayers, and yes they may very well be correct. But somehow here I am, and I am treading a path. I feel better taking some sort of step, some sort of direction than to fear doing it wrong and to never take a step at all.
So here are my true confessions: I am fully flawed. As much as I try not to offend other cultures and races, I acknowledge that I do with frequency. Even simply running this site and teaching yoga and chanting as I do offends others, specifically Indians and Hindus. I am aware of this. It hurts. Sometimes those conversations make me quite upset. I loose my temper. I sometimes react unreasonably. I get jealous. I try to justify my actions. Some days, I don’t feel powerful at all and am not interested in taking a stand. But somehow, I move forward with all of my flaws and the hope to do better and to make amends.
So for now the name will stay, if not for the mere logistics in the difficulty of changing the name at this point. But also because it causes conflict. It makes me consider what it really means, because it isn’t perfect, and it very well may not be “right”. I take another step and try to do better, knowing more errors are likely to be made, but not being afraid of the errors. I realize they are the doorways and the opportunities to grow and improve. They are the opportunities to make amends. The errors are the work that is needed to be done, to open the door to those difficult conversations and sensations. We shall see where it takes us.
There will be free yoga classes, food, and a joyous Kirtan! Classes will start at 8 AM and Kirtan is at 12:15. See our full schedule below. Stop by just to say hi and see the space, stay for a class, or stay all day!
Location: 1383 Route 44, Brownsville, VT.
If you are driving from the Springfield/Woodstock direction, it is the large green house on your right immediately before the Post Office.
If you are driving from the Ascutney/Windsor/Hartland direction, it is the large green house on your left immediately after the Post Office.
Feel free to bring food (veggie or vegan please) to share at the event.
This is a FREE EVENT, but we will have a donation bowl for anyone that would like to help support us in the expenses of the renovation of the space.
Please note: PARKING DETAILS*** UPDATED***
We are permitted to have eight cars parked in the drive. For this event, the town recognizes we may go over this amount. Please do not park in our neighbors’ driveways or block their ability to get in and out of the drives. Please watch for parking signs. You may park on the highway across the street from our drive (just past the bridge) but do be mindful of the property on that side of the road.
We have the ok to park at the post office next door. Park behind the building only during the open hours (until 12:30) on the pavement only. The leach for the building is on the grass behind the post office building- do not park on the grass behind the post office. Do be sure to leave the egress clear. There are two spaces on the grass near the open field.
You can also park at the town office building and walk over, it is less than a mile walk. It is the pretty brick building in the middle of town with the flowers out front.
As always, Josh will be around to help with parking. Thank you, sweetie! ♥
We encourage CARPOOLING! We don’t have a student/person limit, only a car limit!
There is a park and ride at exit 7 in Windsor, and at exit 8 in Ascutney. You can also use the trail head parking on Mt. Ascutney as a park and ride to carpool part way from the Windsor Trail head or the Brownsville Trailhead parking located on Routes 44 and 44A. The trailheads are closer to our houses than the park and rides. Meet a buddy at the trailhead and then drive over, we are only a few miles from those trailheads!
Other parking options include parking at the town offices or at the Albert Bridge school in town and then walk over to our studio. To park in town and walk over is just under a mile. Brownsville is a very beautiful Vermont town to walk through!
Doors open at 7:45 – food and mingling
8:00-8:55 – Mixed Level Hatha Flow with Angie
9:10-10:10 – Gentle Flow with Angie
10:20-11:20 – Gentle Hatha with Charleigh
11:30-12:15 – Food and mingling!
12:15-1:15 – Kirtan with Pure Kirtan – Angie, Josh, and friends!
Doors close at 2
You don’t have to be in a class to see the space and visit with us! Stop by, even if for just a few minutes!
Let us know if you have any questions!
Email Angie at email@example.com. We hope to see you there!
A New Home
Josh and I are excited to announce that we have a new home. Not just a home for our family, but for our yoga, music, and art pursuits as well. We purchased our new home and studio almost 4 weeks ago, on July 17. We have been busy little worker bees cleaning, painting, and unpacking our home and studios. If you follow Josh or me on social media, you have seen the intense amount of work we have been doing to get our home and studio spaces up and running. Luckily, Josh has the summer off and I have been on a semi-teaching sabbatical. We have had time to work on cultivating our new spaces before Josh returns to school.
I apologize for being so quiet all these weeks and months! I tend to be single-minded in my focus, and all my energy has gone into preparing our home spaces! I have a strong nesting quality to my personality. It was very challenging for me to not be in my own home for so many months, so when we finally landed in a new home the flood gates opened and all my energy came rushing out to create a new home. I am exhausted and excited at all this new space and our beautiful surroundings in picturesque Brownsville, VT. Our home sits at the base of the western side of Mt. Ascutney. Hiking trails are literally in our backyard. The property sits at the junction of two bodies of water, a sacred location in Indian philosophy! We really couldn’t be happier.
MARK SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 ON YOUR CALENDARS!!!
Everyone keeps asking us: “When will you open your classes again!” Josh and I are working as fast as we can to set it all up. The spaces are 99% finished and ready for classes — we could start teaching tomorrow! But we need to clear the town zoning and state permits. We hope to be ready for an open studio celebration in September. We have a goal of Saturday, September 9 for our ‘Grand Opening Extravaganza’ with free classes, food, music, and free pass giveaways. We will also have a free week of classes leading up to or after the grand opening (depending on how soon we can clear the local permits depends on these exact dates). So please watch for future announcements on these exciting events!
A New Name
With our new home and studios, Josh and I decided to start a new business venture. Because our homes have always included our independent artistic/creative pursuits, we decided to name them and start a new business venture. We are introducing Jai Studios LLC, a yoga, music, art and wellness studio center. Josh and I finally have all the studio space of our dreams, plenty of space not just for yoga, but also for our music and artistic pursuits. This home means so much to us and we wanted to celebrate our ‘victory’ in finally having the space of our dreams! Jai means ‘victory’ in sanskrit and is an expression of great joy and celebration, so it seemed a fitting name.
We hope you will join us for our grand opening celebration, and for the many wonderful events we will host in this beautiful new space. You can see pictures of our labor intensive process below. Thank you so much for your support all these years and we look forward to continuing the journey with you in the years to come in this fabulous new space!
Angie and Josh
Next week is the 4 month mark for my silver hair journey. April has been quite a month of upheaval: we sold our house, moved in with family, and have looked at 3 different homes for possible rental. I don’t have a home of my own and there is an ungrounded feeling with it. All of our belongings are in storage, I don’t have an art or yoga studio or a kitchen of my own. Honestly, I would not recommend two major changes at the same time. While changing the color of one’s hair may not seem like a “major” change, it actually does present some deep rooted personal challenges: acceptance of self, confidence, peer pressure, etc… Combining that with selling and then moving in with parents can be a bit of a personal challenge! I remind myself that all is impermanent anyway, and we can choose to navigate the unknown with grace and acceptance. I am grateful to be spending this time with my family, for large family meals each night, and constant companionship with my parents.
At four months of no dye, my hair is at a stage where it is actually very silver. I have cut it a few more times to a very short pixie, and now it appears that yes indeed, I do have silver hair. It is actually a salt and pepper sort of silver. It feels thick and full of body. It is soft and easy to manage. I think the constant dyeing of my hair over the years made it limp and lifeless. The silver has a newness to it, and it sparkles in the sun.
This month is the month of my birth as well. I turned 41. For some that is old, for some it is young. It is a right in the middle sort of age. I don’t personally feel very old. My yoga, meditation practice, and my healthy plant based diet makes me feel sprightly. My body moves with ease, and I try to accept life’s challenges with grace. That is not to say I don’t struggle, I simply struggle less than I did in my younger years. One thing going gray has made me realize is that I should be proud of each year I gain, each struggle I approach. Every birthday marks another wonderful year of living, almost like a badge of honor. Many people die young so it feels like an honor and a gift to grow older. I don’t think the color of my hair marks my age- I was gray in my 20’s. Instead, letting the true color of my hair helps me to feel I am expressing myself with truth and authenticity, growing more silver with each year I age. I am no longer trying to hide the color of my hair. I am happy to let it sparkle.
For The Love of Stuff
Over the past month, Josh and I spent nearly every day either packing up every item we own into a box, or deciding it was no longer needed and was to be recycled or junked. Every single item in our house. Luckily we had been downsizing and decluttering since we returned from India in March of 2014. We had reduced our book collection by 3/4, our clothes by about the same, and had removed many furniture items, children’s toys, and so much more. We thought we wouldn’t have too much to move and we didn’t have that many “things” left. Well, nothing brings the reality of your belongings right up in your face as much as having to pack them all up and move them.
After we packed, over the course of just under two weeks, we moved 98% of our possessions into a 16′ x 17′ storage unit. We are staying with family while we continue our house hunt. Moving your belongings into storage is a humbling, and very tiring, experience. Most of our belongings are sitting in a quiet and lonely storage facility. At least there is central air. Josh has said he has dreams of taking everything out of the unit and reorganizing it so it is packed more neatly. That is about the last thing I want to do! But I do think about certain items that would be better served by moving them on than by continuing to store them. I think when we finally get to taking them out of the unit, I might have two piles: one to keep, one to get rid of.
Why do we love our stuff so much? What drives us to purchase and keep so many things, from big furniture and appliances to little trinkets and items that we never use or don’t really need? What are we really holding onto? When I think about the energy and resources that go into making all these items, creating facilities to sell them, and then moving them about, I wonder what we are really trying to do. There are about 400 storage units in the facility we are using, and 90% of them are full. Our society is drowning in its own stuff, and we are stripping the earth of its resources just to spend more money on more things that we do not really need.
Sure, I recognize that we do actually use some of these items, and that some items may improve our quality of life or even be very necessary. But then I think about other countries where they make do with very little resources and seem to get by just fine. Maybe there is a middle ground out there? Maybe we could find a way to manage with just a little of what we need — think of all the time we would save by not purchasing, fixing, storing, and moving all of those unnecessary items. Maybe we could start examining what it is we own, what it really costs us, other cultures, and the planet to have those items, and perhaps start to envision a new way?
Let me ask you: When was the last time you went through every item you owned and questioned its true need and value?
I finally went with the pixie hair cut. Unfortunately, I still have dyed ends as the gray hasn’t had a chance to grow out very long. I might do a few more hair cuts, or I might let it be as it is. I am a bit impulsive I haven’t yet decided. Eventually, I would like to grow out my hair long again but I don’t want the two toned dyed and gray look. I would rather go for the all silver mane of hair. Meanwhile, I have taken to wearing a hat or head band most of the time. I guess that is my own insecurities showing through.
Josh told me the other day that he can finally see my gray. I wasn’t sure what he meant, and he clarified that he couldn’t really see the gray before and now he can tell that it is gray. I think this was simply an honest observation. But it did make me realize that at the 8 week mark, I am moving into new territory. It will be much more obvious to others that I am letting those gray hairs grow. Most people in my circles know what I am doing, and they either are in total agreement and encouraging, or they are staying quiet about it. But I realize that there are plenty of folks, mostly other women, who have strong feelings about their own gray hair. I have not yet experienced rude comments and criticism, but from the various gray hair groups that I am in, I see that sometimes other people are not as supportive as my own family and friends. Going gray brings up all kinds of insecurities for ourselves and for some folks around us. The comments others seem to get from their unsupportive loved ones are: “you look unkept and unwell with gray hair” and “your gray hair makes you look so much older,” and “you look like shit.”
How sad that people feel the need to say unsupportive and negative words to people they supposedly care about. To me, this is like going up to a pregnant woman and saying ” geesh, you know that baby you are growing makes you look so awful and fat.” We know that pregnant women gain weight, it is a necessary and healthy transition step. Ditching the dye and going gray can be done in several different ways, but at some point it will be obvious that those gray hairs are coming in and something different is happening. Seeing the “line of demarcation” or those gray hairs coming through, is a necessary and healthy transition step. Ditching the dye is essentially ditching the poisoning of our own bodies and of the earth. This is a healthy step and to me it is one of beauty.
Old is a perspective of the mind. If we feel old, we project old. Guess what? We are all older than we used to be! Getting older is a healthy and necessary transition. “Old” is not about your age or years, gray hair or wrinkles, those are inevitable and you can’t control the years you gain. You do have control over your vitality. You can eat healthy, exercise, practice mindfulness like yoga and meditation, and feel good about yourself. Let’s stop pretending to be what we are not, let’s stop harming each other, the environment, and our own selves to meet some marketing standards, and let’s start being real. Gray hair means being free. It means thinking for yourself, letting go of false standards and superficiality, and embracing what is real and true and good. Nothing is more beautiful than that.