Changes

By Linda Oshins

When I started studying and practicing yoga in earnest, there were a handful of yoga teachers in Columbus, 5 that I know of, and most of them taught a small class or two in their home basements or the basements of churches. Thirteen years later, when I started teaching, we could still all sit around one table for lunch and hold a group conversation (13 women by that time). A core of us was known as the Mid-Ohio Yoga Teachers Association or MOYO—Mid-Ohio because one of us was from Mansfield. That was our first professional organization.

Both milestones in my yoga life, beginning a dedicated practice and beginning teaching, were more or less forced upon me. I started practicing after a diagnosis of breast cancer at the age of 40. I called Marcia Miller on the phone and asked her if yoga would give me back mobility in my shoulder after a mastectomy, but I kept up the practice in order to answer the question, “What can I know about myself?” I had just discovered that I had been walking around with a potentially fatal disease for years without realizing it. What could happen if I listened to my body/mind?

I started teaching yoga after selling the business my husband and I began and then losing him to a heart attack in his early 50s. The loss devastated me. Up until that point, I had numerous meaningful activities and discrete but populous circles of friends organized around them—the biking group, the gardening group, the yoga group, the gourmet cooks, the parents of kids like mine, the art appreciators, the old friends from the dawning of adulthood, and so on. None of the activities mattered to me any more. Large groups of people were too much to handle. Life was like ashes in my mouth. And yoga answered the question, “What makes a life meaningful? How can I give something of value to others?”

Now I’m retiring from teaching classes on the public schedule, and I’m stopping without being forced. Change is difficult for us humans and the more rapid the more difficult. Within minutes, I went from forgetting that I was mortal to believing death was imminent, and from waking up every morning loving one man beyond reason to an empty house, again in the blink of an eye. This time I would be pleased if the world turned more slowly, if I worked, and studied and taught, but not full time. I’ll work behind the scenes for Yoga on High, writing, editing, planning and offering up as many talents as I have half-time. I’ll teach in the teacher training programs and in special weekend workshops or short series of evening classes. And I’ll continue my studies and my practice. My path leads more to pranayama and meditation than asana now. Now is the time to read philosophy, write, and offer up what arises out of the moment to the community of which I am a part.

Bittersweet, but with a dash of wisdom in the pot.

And I don’t miss the old days. It was wonderful being a part of the nascent yoga movement and of being part of its maturity. I love the fact that talented yoga teachers are abundant in Columbus (and mid-Ohio) and that the teachings are varied and embrace all limbs of yoga. Instruction on pranayama and meditation in the yoga tradition is much more available now as is recognition of the mind-body connection, and the community of yogis is strong and self-sustaining. Just at Yoga on High, there are 37 talented teachers on staff!

I’ll see you around the Center.

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7 Responses to Changes
  1. Karen Godfrey

    Blessings and Love to you beautiful strong woman! I never really got to know you Linda yet I have always been inspired by your beauty and warmth! Love, Karen

  2. Claudia

    Beautiful. Thanks, Linda, for that heartfelt reminder that change is the only constant. Thanks, too, for embracing change with such wisdom and such beauty. (Also, you will always be a teacher one way or another, even if you’re not up in front of a class. That’s just who you are!)

  3. daphne johnson

    Thank you for sharing yourself with us Linda, I am so young in knowledge of you but I feel how easily you touch lives. You are a special woman and I hope to catch you often at YoHi and I hope your adventures away are beautiful, exciting and fulfilling.

  4. Susan

    Linda– Thank you for sharing this! And thank you for everything else you have shared with me.

  5. Yuka Anderson

    Thank you for sharing this with us.
    It’s a lifetime opportunity to be in your TT program and knowing you.
    I really hope I will have more time to spend with you.

  6. carol singer

    Transition well done.

  7. Linda Chun

    I only just read this and am so touched. Thank you for sharing.