What Happens in Yoga doesn’t stay in Yoga

We had a sweet practice last Sunday, with the underlying theme being Seva, the practice of Selfless Service. To live intentionally asking “What can I give?” rather than “What can I get is   one of the greatest freedoms a human can attain.

Your greatest talents and gifts are not yours to keep; they are yours to share. They exist to serve others.

Debra Stark, founder of Debra’s Natural Gourmet is one who lives in service and shares her gifts. Her store and her 23 employees nourish and inform our community on so many levels…

As the Sunday before Christmas class ended at 10:30 a.m., I expressed my appreciation for all those present, for coming to class, and took a moment to appreciate our local businesses that
exist only because of our support.

I encouraged everyone to have a cup of tea at the bakery and afterwards to visit “Debra’s” for any last-minute needs, when they open at Noon. Debra smiled and thanked me for the mention.

In a recent class we renamed Tadasana, The Mountain Pose. It became “The Standing in line at Debra’s” pose: a reminder that in seemingly ordinary moments we can become deeply aware, and that by simply noticing more, we can unslump our whole lives.

The only ordinary moments, are the ones we allow to be ordinary.

The following Sunday as class ended, Debra told me she had decided to open the store at 10:30 today AND that the soup was already hot!

I repeated her announcement louder so that everyone could hear, and then asked her if the new store hours were just for the holidays? She responded warmly, “No, those will be our new hours going forward….. because of your Yoga class.”

What awesome news! (and, for the record, it’s not ‘my Yoga class’, it’s OUR Yoga class: it exists because you come.)

One of the reasons I chose to end my long engineering career is because I was tired of living the myth of The American Dream which is, in short, to get all you can get and to be a Winner, whatever the consequences. Instead, I only wanted to participate in deals that were not just “I Win!”, but rather “Let’s All Win Win Win”, a game of sorts in which everyone involved is better for the deal at hand, or else, I walk away. Practicing and teaching mindfulness and happiness certainly allows for that.

Debra’s opening 1.5 hours earlier is such a deal:

Her employees are happy to get more hours, and.. she’s choosing to pay them overtime. Win!

Yoga students and teachers are happy… we can pop in after class and see our friends, fellow students, and the always smiling and helpful staff, while getting what we need to nourish ourselves. Community grows. Win!

Though it was not the motive, Debra’s balance sheet will be that much stronger, along with the healthy food producers she sources from. Win!

Debra stocks many locally produced products, and much in-season local produce. A Win for the farmers and our local economy!

Students have told me that they would drive all the way home after class, only to come all the way back to West Concord to shop Debra’s in the afternoon. Less gasoline burned. Win!

So we have a Win Win Win Win Win!!!!! Fantastic. But wait, can we trace this awesomeness back to its root cause? You might have thought you were just going to a Yoga class on Sunday Morning, but look at all the goodness that came from that.

Steeped in the philosophies of Yoga is the knowledge that every action (or non-action) has powerful repercussions that ripple out, forever… and the root cause of this particular win-win-win comes from beyond the original founder of the Yoga studio, Elizabeth Bunker, and even beyond what inspired her to create Yoga for Life…

What Happens in Yoga doesn’t stay in Yoga….

Here’s hoping that our collective and skillful actions will tip the scale towards serving goodness in our world.

Please spread the word about her new hours, and if you’ve not been to Debra’s, make it a point to stop in and be nourished. It’ll soon become one of your favorite places to shop.
Yoga with john in West Concord
Om Shanti, and thanks to Shari Rose for helping me sort these words…



I’m happy to announce that I’m adding a new class to our schedule. By request, Starting February 2nd. On Sundays at Noon, we’ll be gathering at On Your Toes dance studio. 77 Powdermill Road, (rt 62) Acton MA. Just across the street from Stop and Shop supermarket. It’s a beautiful quiet space, with a wooded view overlooking the Assabet River. Plenty of easy parking, but please bring a mat, and anything you may need for practice.

4 thoughts on “What Happens in Yoga doesn’t stay in Yoga”

  1. Thankyou so much for these wonderful words of wisdom John, I love that about our gifts or talents being ours to share. I have been practicing yoga for years, but it took me some time and courage to come to the realization that I had to share my passion for yoga with other like minded people. Through Sankalpa, and meditation, listening to the still small voice within, I discovered what my heart’s intentions were, hence I did my yoga teacher training with the British Wheel of Yoga. I agree, the act of selfless service can be so powerful, and it can start off with simple things, starting with those nearest and dearest, the neighbours and our community, the ripple effect can be enormous.
    thanks again John for your inspiration, I always look forward to your emails.
    Namaste Michele

  2. Great article. I love hearing about that Hundredth Monkey. What a wonderful explanation of how the ripples continue to grow, and what great PR for Debra.


  3. Hi John! I really LOVE the two sentences you added!! ….re: ordinary moments by choice AND what happens in yoga doesn’t stay in yoga. …so great!!!!
    I honor your Light♥ -S

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