Reach for the brass ring

Serendipity strikes when you least expect it.

Early December last year, I was looking ahead to a lot of joy in the weeks to come. The new year would be ushered in by two incredible events in just the first few weeks of 2016! Family and friends were flying in from 4 continents for Stefan and my wedding and I was running the Disney Marathon during our honeymoon. (Mind you the last time I tackled 26.2 miles was almost exactly 10 years ago…)

As one of my patients put it: “So, the next time I see you you’ll have gotten married AND run a marathon? You are done for 2016 then right? “

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I couldn’t have been more excited about the weeks to come. However, during one of my favorite yoga classes (precisely 6 weeks ago today), the ever inspiring teacher Sarah Cook asked a very pointed question as we sat on our mats:

“Forget resolutions. As we look ahead to the new year, what are you reaching for ? What is your brass ring? What is the ONE thing you want or you can do for YOU?”

After noticing some confused faces when mentioning “brass ring,” she went on to explain that around the turn of the century, there was a tradition when riding a carousel. During the ride the operator would extend a series of rings, several were iron but one gleaming ring would be made of brass. The riders would REACH for that one precious ring. (No Lord of the Ring jokes my nerdy friends…)

Through time: “Reaching for the brass ring” has been used to describe striving for the highest prize or living life to the fullest. Our yoga flow that day focused on reach and desire and I thought about one thing that I truly wanted in the new year.

Now I’m just going to give you a little bit of background information: About a year prior to this I had applied for yoga teacher training at Charm City Yoga under the mentorship of Kim Manfredi, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I was offered a spot TWICE. However, due to a myriad of external factors I was unable to reach for that goal.

As I rested in Savasana during Sarah’s class, I thought of the incredible events about to happen in my life but I also reflected on how much I wish I had jumped at the opportunity to start yoga teacher training. The deadline to confirm my application had LOOOONG passed and the training was undoubtedly full. So, I practiced the difficult task of letting go. Upon coming home that night, I told (my now husband <3) Stefan about the mini-revelation during yoga, but that it was something that would have to happen another time. The very next day a representative called from the yoga studio saying they were reviewing my application again and although they were full, they would make a spot for me if I wanted it.

Gobsmacked !!!

That night after a discussion, weighing all the crazy (ie starting merely 1 day after returning from above wedding and marathon adventures) and hearing nothing but love and support from my amazing husband …. I reached for it!

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Today, I am a hair beyond one week into my teacher training and I could not be happier or more excited. Each day, I stand on my mat…I think about where I’ve been, where I am, where I am going … somedays my yoga practice flows out of me as naturally as sap from a tree and other days I just lay there and write or draw.  (And in the last week I’ve been practicing my Sanskrit numbers!)

I am so grateful to have this opportunity.

I am reaching for this ring because from the moment I first stumbled onto a mat about 10 years ago, yoga has filled every corner of me with light and love. I have learned (and continue to learn) how to meet and face challenges on and off my mat with grace. I am reaching because I fundamentally believe that movement, serenity, and respect for oneself and other beings is a path to mind and body wellness. And though (blissfully) I will always be a student, I am reaching for this ring because I want to share these things with my family and friends, my patients, and strangers who are yet to cross my path. 

 Over the next 6 months I will walk down this path 32 new friends and a handful of dedicated mentors. As I grow I plan to share a bit about what I am learning and some perspectives on yoga from a physical therapist’s point of view (especially the anatomy bits…you all know how much I adore that! Check out some snippets from some of my early adventures with yoga and anatomy:

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Time to reach my friends.

Namaste ❤

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