JR Smith is our Volunteer of the Month for June! JR continues to give so selflessly to our sweet little community. He created the breathtaking stained glass in studio C and generously donated it to the space. It has been adored by all who have seen it and has been a great source of positive conversation. Its beauty is inspiring and it has been incredible to watch students admire it as they practice. We appreciate all that JR have given and continues to give and are grateful that he has made ACY is yoga home. To learn more about JR and the beautiful stained glass in Studio C read on:
1) Experience with yoga that got me hooked:
My yoga practice actually began with my martial arts practice a very long time ago. The warm-up stretches we did in martial arts were all yoga related. Years later, a friend asked if I would go to a yoga class with her and I was into it from that moment on.
2) What inspires me to continue:
An accident confined me to a wheelchair for a few months. The whole mind/body/ spirit connection within yoga’s philosophy is partly responsible for getting me through the ordeal and walking again. I believe we are not what has happened to us, but what we do with it.
3) Favorite pose:
Mountain pose (Tadasana) — when you do it right and you’re grounded, there’s a flowing connection through the entire body. It becomes a physical meditation. Another favorite I like doing my Shavasana in is Reclined Bound Angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana).
4) Challenging pose:
There are a few challenging poses for me. I have a metal plate and several screws in my foot, so my left foot has limited flexibility. I have to modify poses to accommodate my body.
5) Favorite time/place:
Sunrise outside on a beach or any body of moving water. That always provides a peaceful moment in time for practice.
6) How has ACY changed my life:
ACY embraced me from the moment I walked through the door. Everyone there makes you feel like family. After dealing with the troubled world we live in during the course of a day. ACY feels like a safe place to land.
7) Favorite book:
Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhanta Henepola Gunaratana
8) What are three words you would use to describe yourself:
Creative, Adventurous, Optimistic
9) Recurring theme:
Embracing the moment. Your life can change in an instant.
10) One practice that helped me the most:
Back/Spinal Care with Wendy was the jumping off point for getting back into my yoga practice. After my accident I did not believe I could do yoga any longer, and after that first practice, I knew we are only limited by our own minds. Modify when our bodies tell us to.
Onoro la luce de Dio in tutti le persone (Honor the light of God in All People). It’s a tattoo I have written in Italian. My maternal Grandparents were from Sicily and the language is a nod to them.
13) Passion other than yoga:
Blowing glass. I have blown glass for over 25 years. Most times, its a team effort with everyone moving with purpose as one, and when you’re in the moment, you’re completely absorbed by the process. It’s an immediate and consuming art. Taking a molten liquid and creating a form with it is mesmerizing, focused and mindful… a form of flowing meditation.
14) How did I find ACY:
A friend mentioned ACY to me and I knew I had to be proactive getting back into a practice so checked it out.
15) Spirit animal:
Wolf. Wolves as well as dogs are loyal to their pack and yet remain an individual within the pack.
16) Great class or workshop:
Kundalini practice on Saturdays with Martha is awesome!
17) Embarrassing moment:
Doing downward facing dog and having the back seam of my shorts rip open. I found it funny, and so did those behind me, but I finished practice and had a good laugh.
“Thank you for the kind words. I have been gifted many times over with positive comments on the stained glass. The window is my little contribution to the great vibes of Studio C. So glad I was able to give something to all those who practice at ACY. Such an awesome community to be a part of.
Window information: I came up with the concept then drew out the design and blew it up to full window size. Two copies of the full size paper pattern are made. One is cut apart along the design lines with a special pair of scissors that removes the width of two pieces of copper foil. The other pattern is used as layout for the cut glass. Each pattern piece is laid on the glass, sharpie penned around then the glass is cut, edges are ground to the exactness of the paper pattern. Each piece is cleaned then copper foiled around the edges. When all pieces are cut, ground, copper foiled then the window is ready for soldering. One side is soldered, cleaned, patina applied to change the silver solder to a coppery look, cleaned again and then a polish is applied. The window is framed in a zinc half inch frame then turned over and the solder process begins anew. Then I acid etched the back areas. There are around 100 pieces in this window.
The green mountains and iridescent clouds are Bullseye handmade glass. The clear and blue areas are not entirely clear. They have small striations (lines) in the glass that catches light and bounces it around. It’s called antique glass, not for the age of the glass but the technique used to make it. Its blown into a long cylinder then reheated in a large kiln and opened flat to make a sheet. Had hard time finding the clear and tougher finding the blues I wanted to use. The OM is actually two layers of the clear antique with the OM sandwiched in the middle. The OM was sandblasted in and then blackened… the back is metal silvered. The four red/orange/yellow pieces I had to make myself. To achieve some opacity radiating out from behind the OM I acid etched the back then faded it off to both ends… so the clear is more opaque around the OM but I used less and less acid as the opacity graduates out to each end of the window into clear areas. Think that is a good overview but if you need to know anything else give me a shout.” – JR