By Teresa Dornellas

I have always loved the word grace. In Yoga, I was taught to “gracefully come out of the pose”, especially when doing a balance pose and holding it for a while.

One of my beloved teachers used to say that how you come out of a pose is as important as how you get into it.

That’s a good reflection on life: sometimes we get into situations or relationships with so much joy and enthusiasm, only to leave them stomping our feet in disappointment and cursing our decision to have started it in the first place.

What about the lessons learned along the way? Are they to be dismissed?

I can’t say I navigate life as gracefully as I’d like. Some challenges I can face like a pro. Others, not so much. I may kick and scream my way through them.

Sometimes I start well. Then, somewhere along the way, I lose my cool. But there’s always hope to find it again… if I use grace.

The last few weeks have been incredibly challenging for us all. For me, the hardest part is the uncertainty. How long will it last? Will we ever go back to normal? What will normal look like?

I am usually good at keeping busy and looking ahead in a positive way and I do what I can to avoid overwhelm – practicing Yoga regularly and meditating daily has helped a lot. But from time to time, fear bears its head, and it’s hard to ignore. And maybe we shouldn’t ignore it. Denial has never been a good answer to any challenge.

What will our lives and personal relationships become? What about our livelihoods, our jobs, our businesses? What shape will everything take and can we survive all the changes?

All these questions have been surfacing a lot lately, brought on by the possibility of the reopening of businesses within the next couple of…? weeks? months?

I haven’t been facing my fears with a whole lot of grace, I must confess. I find myself impatient and restless, even angry.

Back to the word grace… I love the name Grace too. And that’s what I named my youngest cat, but she was so tiny when I adopted her, that I started calling her Gracie and it stuck. But Grace is her name.

Gracie is praying that we stay on our path with grace

Just before I started to write this, she was on my lap, and I was telling her how much I love her. Her fur is the softest thing I’ve ever touched, and petting her really calms me when my nerves are frazzled (like now).

If you’ve ever taken a restorative yoga class, you know how much the teachers instruct us to really smooth out our blankets so there’s no bumps and to use materials that are soft and comfortable against our skin. Touching something soft and smooth helps to sooth our central nervous system.

So petting Gracie soothes me. And having her on my lap reminded me to navigate this current reality with a little more grace, and to do what I can to reset my system. This too shall pass. Let’s breathe through this… and keep showing up to our practice.

I will be taking a restorative yoga this evening, because my nervous system needs some support. When we are deeply supported by props, comfortable and warm, that feeling of safety seeps through our entire being like a salve. And we can all use some healing right now.

One Response

Theresa Conlon

Theresa is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (200-hour RYT) who has been teaching since 2013. She is skilled in various yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Meditation. Theresa also brings an extensive dance background to her yoga practice, which includes teaching both modern dance and ballet. She has over 40 years of dance/theater performing experience and currently showcases her choreography as part of Bergen Dance Makers, a dance collective in northern New Jersey. Theresa’s yoga classes offer a calming mix of traditional asana postures and creative movement flows, supported by energy-moving breath. Students of all skill levels are invited to find ease and peace in their bodies/minds/spirits through the joyful bliss of yoga movement.

Carrie Parker Gastelu

Carrie Parker Gastelu, E-500 RYT, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Carrie began her journey when Yogi Raj Mani Finger initiated Carrie into the ISHTA Yoga lineage after training with Mani’s son, Yogi Raj Alan Finger. In addition, she has studied many other yoga traditions as well as anatomy, physiology, movement, and awareness practices to create an eclectic style all her own. She is known for her honest, non-dogmatic yet passionate approach.

Carrie is a regular speaker and contributor at conferences, websites, and print publications and has been featured in Fit Magazine, the Yoga Zone Book, and in the Yoga Zone Video, “Flexibility and Stress Release.”

Lisa Podesta-Coombs

When Lisa found yoga in 2008, she started to find herself again and it set her on a path of health and healing. She received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis, and her 30HR Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate with Anodea Judith and holds a Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification. She is also a Holistic Health Coach (certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition). Lisa believes we’re all on a journey of learning how to trust ourselves; she helps her clients build that trust by supporting them in creating better habits for a better life through various functional movement modalities like yoga, barre, Pilates & strength training, mindset, and whole food nutrition.

Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health, and self-actualization, Lisa is always embracing opportunities to advance her education to better serve; Ayurveda workshops & immersions have been of particular interest as she continues to deepen her knowledge of and experience with food as medicine and she recently completed Unleash Her Power Within, a transformational program of rediscovering our truest selves, powered by Tony Robbins.  

As she continues to give herself space and grace to nourish her natural self and actualize her potential, Lisa continues to share the gift of movement as medicine to inspire authenticity & health in body, mind, and spirit. You can expect mindful, accessible, dynamic, playful, and uplifting classes from Lisa.

Tanisha Sutton

Tanisha’s yoga journey began when she was an undergraduate student studying at university. Changes in her health coupled with anxiety over grades, relationships, and life in general, forced her to search for healthy lifestyle choices she could implement to help manage the stress that she was experiencing as a new adult. A friend of hers suggested that she attend some community yoga classes to help with the anxiety and increase her daily physical activity. Initially, she was reluctant and filled with all these false ideas about yoga and the people who practiced yoga. Like many others, she was concerned that her body type and lack of flexibility automatically excluded her from being a student. Curiously yet hesitantly, she journeyed on to her first class and began laying the foundation for a home and public practice that has supported her over the years.

On this journey, she has discovered that yoga has nothing to do with appearances nor is there anything, but an open mind needed to begin. She intends to provide you with a gentle yoga session that is safe, inclusive, and accessible. Her classes are an expression of self-love and are a deliberate choice to tend to ALL the parts of our being that are neglected, ignored, or disregarded during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Through meditation, deep breathing, and gentle movement we will collectively share space to observe, rest and re-set. Tanisha is honored to share her practice with you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!