A week ago today, one of my very dear friends flew in to NYC from Chicago to take the Karma Kids Yoga teacher training. Cassi was my very first yoga friend. We met at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, FL, where we were both lowly interns surviving on peanuts, beautiful beach sunsets, wine, running, and most sacred to both of us (even more than the wine!), yoga.
I knew we'd be friends as soon as my boss at the time told me one of the new interns was a yoga teacher. At the time I was still a theatre girl and yoga was just a way to try to keep stress and blues at bay, so I didn't really have any friends who practiced yoga as much or loved it as much as I did. When I met Cassi, we were both not in the best of places in our lives emotionally, and we really bonded fast and leaned on each other for support.
Traditionally, in yoga, the student-teacher relationship is a lot more intensely one-on-one. Particularly given that there's a much deeper emphasis on meditation and lifestyle than in modern US yoga classes, the one on one relationship is essential to navigate the scary waters of meditation. Here, however, you're typically just one in a class of 20 or so who show up for the 60 or 90 minutes, get your physical practice on, and then leave - maybe lingering to thank the teacher or to ask for tips on modifying for wrist pain or a bum knee.
For me, having Cassi was my first experience in having someone else to bounce all my yoga love and questions off of. It reminded me that even though yoga is a very personal, solo journey, we're still all connected and there's never any reason to feel you're going through anything alone.
As time went on after I left FST in the spring of 2009, yoga obviously took a more prominent place in my life and I've since made tons of yoga friends and colleagues in the city who are all very special to me. Being with Cassi this weekend, though, not only reminded me of how important she was to me when we first met but how far we've both come in our lives. We've left behind the unsure, melodramatic tumultuousness of our early twenties in favor of more self confidence, more poise, and a stronger ability to roll with the punches that are thrown our way. Something tells me all the yoga has something to do with that.
Cassi had a blast at the Karma Kids training (and I was lucky enough to
join in and play when my schedule permitted) and I don't think we could
have packed more fun and awesomeness into the weekend if we tried.
Thank you and namaste, my beautiful friend! I can't wait for our paths
to cross again.