Todd is one of those amazing volunteers that steps up and does far more than is asked of him. Each week, he comes in the evenings to help us clean the lobbies and restrooms, always doing so with lightening speed!
Whenever we try to thank him for his help, he always says how he can never repay us. Todd’s story is the very reason why we exist. As you’ll read in his interview, he started coming to the center when he was between jobs and our donation structure made yoga possible for him. Now he offers help however he can like cleaning up after classes, doing the nightly cleaning and whatever else to support the center!
We hope that Todd’s story is an inspiration and reminder to everyone that even if you aren’t in a position in your life to donate a lot or even donate at all, we encourage you to still come to classes. The heart of why we exist is to make sure the benefits of yoga are accessible to everyone. We trust that once a student is in a position to give, they will.
How did you find Asheville Community Yoga?
“Leap, and the net shall appear”. Attributed to several sources, this expression is a succinct description of how I have chosen to live. I have taken several large-scale, calculated risks through the years. Though several chapters have been a bit shaky at times, the strategy always works for me.
I moved here in 2015 with no real employment prospects in the works. Armed with two advanced degrees and a strong resume I expected that something good would come my way in fairly short order. What I was doing professionally had lost its appeal, and I had the resources needed to get by for a while. Besides, I had done all this before. What could go wrong?
Months went by. More months went by. The stress mounted exponentially as I burned through savings. It became difficult to keep it from consuming me. Sleepless nights were followed by days of unfocused lethargy. My professional identity and my confidence were taking a pounding.
During a conversation with a dear friend, the topic of Asheville Community Yoga came up. In a light hearted almost off handed fashion, she suggested I go take a look. The idea resonated with me. Though 25 pounds overweight and proper diet and exercise but a distant memory, I pulled out some loose fitting clothes and found my way to ACY. What happened next changed everything.
I had never been inside a yoga studio. In fact, I don’t know whether I had ever consciously driven by one. I was met at the door by warm smiles. The atmosphere was inviting and comfortable. My ACY greeters were not yoga salespeople. They were not yoga evangelists. They were clearly yoga ambassadors.
They breezed through the ACY not-for- profit status, the contribution-based philosophy, and encouraged me to take a class. I found the instructor to be engaging, accepting and nonjudgmental. I was completely at ease. Actually, I had a blast.
I took as many as five classes a week for a while. As I learned to be mindful and at ease with what was on the mat, I learned to be mindful and at ease with what was in my world. As I learned to recognize physical stress and limitations in the studio, I learned parallel lessons outside the studio. I found myself more focused, slept better and experienced far less stress.
Paradoxically, I was more at peace than I ever was when surrounded by the trappings of success at the top of my professional game. In many traditional martial arts it is customary for students to clean the dojo. This serves two purposes. First, it is a sign of respect for one’s instructor and appreciation for what is being taught. Secondly, cleaning bathrooms and sweeping floors does wonders for the ego. It’s rather difficult to remain self-impressed and prideful while scrubbing sinks or pushing a broom.
As life came back on track, cleaning was a way for me to express my thanks for my yoga journey. Cleaning also helped me embrace the fact that I am more than my job description or professional identity… even as the ego complained mightily at times.
The tag line for Asheville Community Yoga is “Freedom Through Service”. I’m reasonably confident that I now know what that actually means. I could volunteer with ACY every day for one hundred years and never pay back what I have been gifted. Gentle warriors of Asheville Community Yoga; you have my heartfelt thanks.
Thank you so much, Todd, for helping the studio in any way you can with such a positive attitude. Students like you are the reason and inspiration of why we do what we do!