“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin
As we journey into the last month of 2004, I find it important to reflect on the year’s lessons and stories. I wanted to relay the continued vision of Tranquil Space with a focus on its creatively humble beginnings. As many of you may know, Tranquil Space began a little over five years ago in my one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Dupont. There was little to no yoga to be found in DC. It was an edgy thing to do, not receiving the interest or respect yoga now commands. I was working as a paralegal, reading The Artist’s Way and seeking a more creative way of life, longing for kindred spirits, and hoping that they existed in DC…but how to find them?
With visions of special strangers huddled around my fireplace, drinking tea, doing yoga and connecting, I began hanging fliers around Dupont. This was a BIG step, I realize it now but it felt so natural at the time. Inviting strangers into one’s living room is not a habit I recommend, but my faith in the practice of yoga and my desire for community demanded it. I continued to surprise myself along the way: they joy that brewing a homemade batch of chai for every class brought, the excitement of watching student’s eye light up when they truly felt a pose, the pleasure yoga was bringing to people who met through class, the love of which I approached the business. With a psychology degree and no clue about business, I began with a focus on the special details: ribbons wrapped around inspirational quotes which greeted the students on their mat, aromatic scents, the blazing fire that welcomed students, the chai served in porcelain tea cups, the homemade business cards and brochures. I loved putting time into making people feel special because I feel that is severely lacking in our society. I wanted students to walk into class and feel welcomed and accepted, not judged. I especially wanted women to find a safe space to work with their bodies, develop a sense of empowerment, and realize the importance of taking steps towards their idealized life. Thus Tranquil Space began.
We have grown by 1000% over the past 5 years and I am constantly amazed by the sacred souls I’ve met which would never have happened had I not hung up that first neighborhood flier. The reason I started the studio has been an important reflection of mine over the past few months as we hit our fifth year. With the weaving of trunk shows, studio décor, lifestyle-focused “off the mat” workshops, the tranquiliT boutique, expansion to Bethesda, my tranquiliT clothing designs, the various charities, the greening efforts, and my writing, I wanted to explore how my initial reason for starting the studio was expanding.
One may have trouble seeing how all of these components are connected but I’m hopeful my philosophy and reason for developing Tranquil Space helps to clarify. I truly believe that yoga for the sake of yoga is powerful, but not as powerful as sprinkling it throughout one’s lifestyle. Yoga serves as my catalyst, my core, that place I turn to when my world is spinning. I was drawn to it for the healing powers that it provided mentally and physically. How unique to actually spend time connecting to the body, surrendering the mind, pushing edges of comfort, and honoring limitations? By thinking of yoga as a lifestyle and knowing how much better I feel when I’m comfortably put together, I traveled around the country to bring some of my favorite stretchy and fun pieces perfect for yogis to our unique boutique. The trunk shows offer female artists a chance to showcase their creativity and help give women the start and courage that they may have trouble finding. How many of us say, “Oh, I’d love to do such and such but now just isn’t the right time”? NOW is the time to begin taking steps to create what you desire. Social consciousness has always been an important component to me with the numerous charities we support: Susan G. Komen Foundation, Humane Society, Arbor Day, My Sister’s Place, TAPS. And Liz’s (read more about her in the community celebration section of December's newsletter) focus on greening Tranquil Space aligns with ahimsa (non-harming) – treating the environment consciously. The “off the mat” workshops help to teach students how to treat their lives consciously. All of these random parts blend to form the focus of Tranquil Space.
My hope is that Tranquil Space serves as an inspiration to anyone who enters its doors. It was created with a whole lot of love, no business experience, an incredible amount of time, energy and passion, and LOTS of baby steps. I truly believe and hope to embody Anais Nin’s above quote. Life is lived by stepping strategically outside of one’s comfort zone to head in the direction of one’s dreams. This direction is not without mistakes, drama, or sometimes failure, but it is filled with authenticity because you are DOING, along with dreaming. I recently read, “the world needs dreamers and the world needs doers but above all the world needs dreamers who do.” May the end of 2004 offer you some time to reflect on what it is you want to create – a family, a screenplay, a dress, a business – whatever it is, listen to your heart and take the simple steps of heading in that direction one flier at a time…..