By Linda Oshins
When we began writing this Blog, the three good friends and practicing yogis who started Yoga on High in 2001, Marcia, Martha and Linda, were collectively known around the Center as “the partners.” As in, “the partners think we should do this” or “let’s ask the partners.” Yoga on High is run pretty much as an elaborate exercise in consensus building among all the staff, including the partners. Then along came Jasmine Astra-elle Grace, who accepted the newly formed position of CEO at Yoga on High. You see her touches everywhere—a brighter look in the bookstore, the new website, power hour or “hot” vinyasa classes on the schedule, additional staff members, and collaborations with other businesses like The Nest in Upper Arlington. She’s a great communicator—she insisted on our facebook page, the blog itself, our twitter feed, longer hours in the bookstore ,and fantastic pictures everywhere of YOHI yogis of every size, shape, age, and physical ability. She formalized our mission statement and reads it to us at every Board meeting. Because she was new to the center, we had to tell her about the programs that are currently running and all our hopes and dreams for the future. And in doing this we looked at ourselves and the Center again and were newly inspired.
So of course Jasmine became one of “the partners.” In her case, it means she owns stock in the business and is listed on all the legal documents. We’ve asked you to welcome her in that capacity. And now it’s Four Yogis Walk into a Blog, each telling our own story and the story of life at Yoga on High from our individual perspectives.
People often say to me, “You must be very proud of Yoga on High,” as though I can take credit for it. And I usually deflect that comment to keep my ego in check while acknowledging their gratitude, a gratitude I feel myself. I can’t take credit because partnerships at Yoga on High are the lifeblood of the Center and are of every type. If you could peek behind the scenes you would find that staff members are invested fully in their work and in living life as yogis, non-violently and with integrity. To the extent that fallible human beings are capable, every voice is heard and every one counts. All the teachers are committed to lifelong learning and an honest dialog with their own mind/body and their students’. And the students themselves, who teach us as much as we teach them, are an active part of the collaborative, collective, unwieldy, messy, living entity that is Yoga on High.
If this picture is too good to be true, let me say that there is dissention at YOHI, a lot of it. Mistakes are made, feelings are hurt, and apologies are offered, sometimes belatedly, and accepted, sometimes grudgingly. Courses of action are adopted that not everyone fully embraces (“I can endorse it and accept it but it’s not my favorite idea; prove its worth to me”). Ill-starred initiatives are launched and fail. But the process of partnership, the covenant itself, is inviolable. What happens when challenged makes all the difference. All the asana practice, meditation, non-violent communication, use of clean language, Presence Process practice, Field Center training on intentionality and counter-intentionality, Reiki, and general good will makes for as sane a life at YOHI as possible. The pieces of the puzzle fit together.
So welcome Jasmine, the fourth Yogi in the Blog, and congratulations to all of us for the work we do together at YOHI.
To Be Of Use
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
Has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
And a person for work that is real.