Epic Ending

In a year of loss on so many levels, the sad news I received yesterday caught me off guard until I realized I was a reason for the ending.

My lower back betrayed me in the spring of 2014. I was in pain. I could not find relief or answers. It hit the point where It was hinted that I was a hysterical female whose pain was in in her head. I was told that if I hurt so badly that I needed a cortisone shot and possibly surgery. That is when I realized that I had to take control of my pain as no one else would. I start seeking out information and talking to others who have or have had back problems. I started seeking out PT professionals, massage therapists and acupuncturist. I had lost all connection to my body. I was not only not listening to what my body needed, I could not tell if I was or was not aligned.

When I walked into Epic Yoga that fall I was a physical and emotional wreck living in pain. Equipped with a $15 yoga mat and old gym clothes I was ready to try anything for relief from my pain. I committed to showing up three times a week during my month-long, reduced fee introductory month. I hated it. I sucked at it. It hurt.

I still have trouble with Crow pose

I signed up for a second month and then a full year. I kept showing up. I made friends that are still part of my life. I sweated. I cried. I bought yoga clothes and a yoga mat. I began to heal myself physically and mentally.

It was at Epic where I created the vision board that pointed me to new directions. I went to the red rocks of Utah for a hiking and yoga retreat where I met a yoga teacher that blew up my limited knowledge of yoga and stoked a new desire to expand my practice. I took an introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding class. I started going to Sunday night social paddles to improve my skills. I ended up in yoga teacher training.

Arches National Park, Utah

I was in and out of Epic over the last three years. I let my membership go for the last time in June 202o when I had to return to my office after working from home for three months. Work and yoga class times were not compatible. I was no longer going to rush and stress myself to make square pegs and round holes work. In recent months as restrictions begin to ease, I am not comfortable returning to a studio to practice regardless of having been vaccinated.

Yesterday in my email feed I saw, “The email I never wanted to send.” It was from Epic. The doors are closing in May due to lack of clients. Other studios have already closed. Other studios are in danger of closing.

I am sad that Epic is closing as the practice and people have impacted my life.

Epic yoga retreat

I have mixed feelings about my role in the closing as I was no longer a paying client. I am now all on-line with the teacher I met in the red rocks of Utah.

I have spent the last year digging in and learning more about yoga history, styles of yoga and cultural appropriation. I have been thinking about what I want to teach, who I want to teach and how I want to teach. I have been exploring yoga as a way to both prepare for meditation/prayer and to bring my physical body into my spiritual practice. I have been thinking about the business models of yoga studios which are often based on expensive teacher trainings. I think about the what the images on studio social media accounts say about body size, race, gender, cultural appropriation and affluence.

Because of Epic, I am curious about all aspects of yoga. Because of Epic, I helped myself heal. Because of Epic, I am in my body. Because of Epic, I became focused on my True North.

Epic, thank you for the 400 plus classes, body alignment and breathing cues, laughs, experiences, sweat, life lessons and community.

21 thoughts on “Epic Ending

  1. leelah saachi says:

    i bow to you, Sarah. Its is wonderful to read about people who have used their bodily pain to grow in spirit and embodiment. Blessing to Epic, I dearly hope they will find a way to go on

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Cannady says:

    What a beautiful acknowledgment of a chapter in your life in which your yoga community played such an important role. I’m also glad you’re thinking about the models and assumptions about these kinds of services. There is so much to be gained in being a part of a yoga community in person and yet we have learned in the pandemic that we can adapt to an online class. Not ideal…and it works for a while. I appreciate in person coaching and group facilitation and have had to do that via Zoom. Looking forward to the time when we can safely gather in shares space again. Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections says:

    Such an interesting story. You stayed persisted, persevered, and grew. Thumbs up for that. It’s been a tough year for small fitness-related businesses – probably tougher than I realize. But I like you how acknowledged Epic’s role in your life. After all, without them, the odds are slim you would be where you are today with yoga. Well done, Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cindy Georgakas says:

    Epic story Sarah!
    Yoga is so healing for the back if done correctly. I have a history of back issues and when I got certified to teach yoga my back actually went out due to my L 4/5 vertabrae but over time I found variations. Yoga is my go to and teaching is a moving meditation for me which I am so grateful to. I’m sorry to hear about Epic as I’m seeing more and more gyms and yoga facilities close here as well. So sad and yet the gift is that Yoga lives in you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ally Bean says:

    I’m sorry your favorite yoga studio is closing. Same thing happened to me a few years ago. I know you’ll find your way without them, appreciative of how they helped you. Maybe some of their philosophies will underscore how you teach yoga? Kind of keeping them with you in your own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres says:

    Endings always are hard, and unintended endings can be even harder. I’ve watched business after business close during the past year; some will come back, others are gone forever. But, we’re still here — and you’re here with your pain under control.

    I’ve never explored yoga and have no desire to do so, but I’ve had a similar experience. After years of varnishing and repetitive motion, my L4/L5 started giving me so much trouble I couldn’t walk even a block without having to stop. When I went to an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in backs, he looked at my xrays and rather than suggesting shots or surgery, he sent me to a sports therapist who taught me a few exercises to do. Lo and behold, in a month or so I was pain free, and have been for several years. If I ever feel that ‘twinge’ I pull out the exercises, and take care of it myself. No matter how body-wisdom is communicated, it’s well worth having!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. MariaTeresa says:

    What a touching and beautiful tribute to your yoga spot. I too can relate to the transformative magic of yoga. I discovered a place near where I was visiting recently in R.I. to practice at while I was there. The studio owner and community patrons enlightened my soul, welcoming me with open arms. It’s truly amazing what we yogis an do for one another. Pain creates deep and lasting change when we least expect it. May the community at Epic live on. Thank you for sharing your truth here Sarah, Namaste my friend 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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