Flowing Meditations Yoga

It’s not me … it’s you

I don’t have anything too long or profound to say today, but I wanted to just remind you. 

It’s not me … it’s you.  

I don’t put you on your mat.  You make the decision to arrive on your own.  

I don’t physically move your body into position.  You take care of that too.  

I am merely here as your guide.  I offer to you a path that you can choose to walk or not.  

So the next time you find yourself giving up credit for your evolution to someone else, pause.  The truth is, the magic is all within you.  I may help you reconnect to it … but it’s been there all along.  

Patience is a virtue …

Never ever has this catch phrase been more important.  With the governor publishing her outline for re-opening the state of Maine, I know many people are starting to get excited about returning to practice as usual.  I hate to be a bubble-burster, but it’s going to take a while longer before we join together for in-person practice.  

We are currently in the middle of a global science experiment.  If you’ve ever engaged in a complex experiment, you know the only way to find a true answer is to move through the stages of the scientific method.   

Round one looked something like this: 

  • Step 1- Question:  How do we slow the spread of Coronavirus?
  • Step 2-Research:  Look to history (i.e. the Spanish flu and contemporary examples)
  • Step 3-Hypothesis:  If we limit social interactions, we can slow the spread of the disease.  
  • Step 4-Experiment:  States across the country put into place varying degrees of social distancing regulations.  
  • Step 5-Observations:  States with early implementation of rigorous social distancing measures have lower rates of Coronavirus than those who started later and/or had less stringent regulations.  
  • Step 6-Results/Conclusion:  Social distancing does appear to slow the spread of Coronavirus.  

These results are important because we, as a nation, have limited resources when it comes to providing medical care for the most critical cases.  While the majority of cases will be mild, a statistically relevant number will lead to serious illness and/or death.  That being the case, I think it’s essential that we do our part to continue flattening the curve and keep each other safe and healthy.  While some may accuse me of being overly cautious … I care too much about each and every one of you to put you in harms way.  In yoga philosophy, we call this the practice of “ahimsa”. 

As a lover of science, I want to see how round two of our experiment shakes out before moving forward with plans to meet in person.  Round two, as I see it, looks something like this:  

  • Step 1- Question:  How do we continue to keep rates of Coronavirus manageable without totally decimating the economy and going totally crazy?
  • Step 2-Research:  This one is hard.  We have no real apples-to-apples comparisons to make.  The world at the time of the Spanish Flu is nothing like the world we live in today.  So we have to learn from those countries that are just a few stages ahead of us (i.e. China, Italy, etc.) who had lengthly periods of closure and diverse re-opening strategies.  They are still on stage four … so that’s really important to keep in mind.  
  • Step 3-Hypothesis:  If we continue to limit social interactions and re-open in stages, we can avoid a Coronavirus resurgence while getting people back to work and rebuilding our communities.   
  • Step 4-Experiment:  WE ARE HERE.  Every state/community will try something a little different.  NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWER YET. 
  • Step 5-Observations:  TBD
  • Step 6-Results/Conclusion:  TBD

While Governor Mills may have included “fitness facilities” in phase two of her strategy (which is set to start June 1st), I am making the very carefully calculated decision to see how things go before jumping into the mix.  I also can’t see how we would practice comfortably wearing masks and limiting our contact.  It just wouldn’t feel right.  

All that said … if you are concerned that I’m planning to close up shop … you can set those worries aside.  With your overwhelming support, the business side of this is really thriving and I have been able to come up with some more innovative plans that will help us avoid snow cancellations and all that jazz in the future.  In all likelihood, you can plan to have more options to expand your practice as we roll through the year. 

So, for now we practice together as a virtual community.  The livestream practices will continue on the following days and times:

  • Mondays at 7pm
  • Wednesdays at 6:30am
  • Saturdays at 9am

If you are not on the invites for the these events, send me an email and I’ll get you set up.  If you would like to access the closed Facebook group to have greater flexibility in your practice, again, email me and I’ll get you set up. We may be separated physically, but we can still breath and dream together as one big community.  

With love,

Flowing through the Corona-craziness ….

I have started to receive inquiries regarding the status of our classes with the ongoing Coronavirus situation, so I just want to take a moment and address those in one fell swoop.  

Mt. Vernon Community Center – we are on hold for a while while the leadership team for the space determines what they would like to do during this ongoing situation. Be on the lookout for emails and other updates regarding our situation here.

Sacred Core – As of now, there are no changes to the schedule in Bangor and I plan to be available to help everyone flow through the stresses of this unprecedented situation.   In order to slow the spread of germs, I recommend the following:

  • If you have your own yoga mat, please bring it.  While we wipe down community mats on a regular basis, the most hygienic option is to use your own.
  • Same goes for props (straps, blankets, blocks, etc.)
  • If you have a head cold, you are more than welcome at practice, but be sure it’s just a cold and nothing more.  
  • Check the website and/or Facebook before heading to class – I too will be particularly cautious when dealing with head colds and other illness during this period of time and will communicate cancellations as they may arise. 
  • Wash your hands (I know, I know, common sense, but it has to be said)

If you are sick or just uncomfortable attending community classes and would like to get set up with access to our online community, please send me an email (imke@flowingmeditationsyoga.com) and I’ll help you get that rolling.    College students who suddenly find themselves displaced will be offered access to our online community at a discounted rate.  

Be sure to check on your neighbors.  Please don’t hoard supplies.  Practice good hygiene.  Breathe. 

Sending love and light and an extra dose of sanity in these strange times. If you need me, I’m here.

Practicing what I teach …

If you didn’t already know, in addition to all of the other things I do, I am also a stay-at-home mom.  I wear many hats at one time.  Some days they come together as a beautifully coordinated ensemble.   Other days … well … not so much.  Today was a mixed bag and I found myself with the perfect opportunity to practice what I teach.  

After coaching my son through some of his frustrations (all stemming from a desire to make overly complicated Lego creations) and being a sounding board for my hubby, I was tapped out.  At one point, all I could do was laugh.   I looked … dare I say … slightly deranged.  Here’s where the yoga comes in.  

I put myself on a mommy time out.  

I could have had a meltdown myself.  I was definitely close.  Instead, I decided to head into a quiet space to breath.  I flopped onto my bed to get that initial release of energy.  With my forehead resting on my hands, I closed my eyes and began to slow my breath – inhaling for a count of 5 and exhaling for a count of 8.  I didn’t count cycles or set a timer – I just let myself slow down and be with the moment.  Thoughts moved in and out of focus.  I listened to the sounds of our house (which included my son explaining to my husband that I was on a time out) and … before I knew it … I was surrounded by refreshed energy.  My little dude had come to terms with the impossibility of the task he had set out to complete and my hubby took a break from his irritations to regroup.  We all had a giggle and were able to move on with the day.  

This, as basic as it may seem, is how we move yoga from our mats to our daily lives.  We use the practice to fill our proverbial backpacks with a host of tools that will help us manage stress, cultivate energy and strength, and move through our days with grace.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.  It doesn’t need to fit a certain mold.  Just dig and do the work.  The end result is certainly worth it.  

Keeping it real …

Teaching Tip for the New Year: Avoid the “detox” talk. 

We aren’t toxic dumpsters that need to be purified and cleansed of sugar and alcohol. 

We are enough. We are whole. And we are the embodiment of divinity, itself.

Let students delight in the joy of being alive, even if that means a few too many Sugar ‘n Spice cookies.

~Margo Rosingana, Maine Yoga School~

Oh how I love this!  It is so easy to fall into the habit of self-punishment during this time of year to “make up” for the indulgences of the holiday season.  What if, instead of punishing ourselves for what we’ve done, we celebrate it and then just move on?  If you’ve been away from your mat or other routines, try not to dwell too much on it.  You can always come back – that’s the beauty of it.  

Of course, it’s really easier said than done.  Let’s keep it real – I do this every year.  During the holidays my entire schedule gets messed up and I spend the first half of January trying to claw myself out of the routine-less hole I’ve dug for myself.  I feel lethargic and bloated and kind of gross.  The lack of regular schedule has my mind in a state of total vata derangement. I am tired.  BUT, for the first time in a long time, what’s missing from this re-entry into normalcy is regret.  I binged on yummy food and cookies and booze and movies and late night visits with family and friends.  I practiced less and celebrated more.  It was a thing of beauty.  

So yes, I am ready to get back into rhythm, but I don’t need to “cleanse” myself of the good times I had … and neither do you.   

Landing place …

If you have spoken with me lately about anything yoga related, you have probably heard me say that I have good feelings about 2020, and I’m happy to report that those good feelings are already starting to manifest themselves into awesomeness.

I have been back home in Maine for a little over five years now, and in that time I have had the opportunity to teach in a lot of lovely spaces.  Some are still around.  Some have closed.  Some just didn’t work out (for various reasons).  It wasn’t until recently that I finally found a landing place and, I have to say, it feels pretty good to find solid ground.  Don’t get me wrong – existing exclusively as a traveling yoga instructor has been AMAZING.  The relationships I have cultivated through this journey have helped to reaffirm my love of teaching and kept me motivated to press on with the somewhat daunting task of making a living as a yoga instructor.  However, without roots everything felt tenuous – fragile – temporary.  Now, with a home base, things are starting to feel more sustainable.  

Pause:  If you’re reading this and getting that sinking feeling that I’m going to abandon any of my communities (yes, I’m speaking directly to you, Mt. Vernon yogis), you can take a deep breath.  I’m not going anywhere.  As a matter of fact, the ability to ground myself in my teaching career greater ensures that we will be able to continue building our community for years to come.  

With a home for my business, I can:

  • Have a stable schedule
  • Offer additional workshops/trainings/etc. (because I have space!)
  • Finally think about the logistics of a yoga retreat
  • Market in a more robust fashion
  • Grow our community

It’s that last bullet point that is most important to me.  Maine is a big state geographically, but we are small in numbers and I think there is a great need for us to feel more connected.  I see yoga as a wonderful tool to make that happen.  

If you’re wondering what took me so long to get to this point … well … I just hadn’t found the right space (physically and energetically).  Sounds pretty simple, but that’s just the truth of it.  It has taken these years of traveling and experimentation, an abundance of patience, and sheer determination to arrive here.  Now, I am not a big endorser of products, but a big “thank you” to Mantraband for providing me with my wearable mantra for the next decade: “she believed she could, so she did”.  

What comes next?  As of now, there are no big changes to report.  I’ll be nesting in my new home within the sanctuary that is Sacred Core in downtown Bangor.  We are working on improvements to the yoga space and exploring ways to collaborate and support one another.  I’ll be playing with some new class times and surveying students about what is wanted/needed in terms of offerings.  Along those lines, if you feel inspired to make your voice heard, you can speak with me in person, send an email, or reach out in any other way that works for you.  

If you’re curious to explore, you can join us at our Open House on January 25th from 10am-3pm at 139 State Street, Bangor, Maine.  


When worlds collide …

As many of you already know, prior to dropping my nine-to-five gig, I had a pretty stable career in the field of communication.  It was a fast-paced, challenging, relatively lucrative, and everything I had worked towards as a college student.  I was on my way to becoming exactly what I had envisioned and I was miserable.  After years of sitting at a desk, I felt physically and emotionally stuck.  It was not the prettiest of times, so I sought out a career change and here I am.  Mom.  Yoga Instructor.  Communication Professional.  Juggling these three roles can be hectic at times, but it is manageable if I keep things a bit compartmentalized.  Here is where the problem lies; as I near the end of my latest round of training and seek to make my journey in yoga instruction sustainable, I need to bring two worlds together – communication and yoga.  Ugh.  

I don’t want to market my yoga classes … but I have to.  UGH.

As Andrea Jain notes in her book Selling Yoga (2015), as a means to success, “Yoga entrepreneurs and organizations seek to disseminate yoga to the general populace.  To do that, yoga needs to stand out in the marketplace among available products and services, by being branded or ‘packaged’ in ways that make it seem valuable, accessible, and unique” (p.75).  The very notion of putting yoga into the “products and services” category makes me cringe.  This is due, in part, to my overall disdain for many tried and true marketing techniques.  More importantly though, to market my style of yoga practice and “stand out” requires me to market myself.  Essentially, I have to turn myself into a commodity.  UGH

Of course there are many yogis who have done this successfully throughout the years, but at what cost?  I often wonder if those most high-profile yoga instructors (the ones who make the big bucks offering workshops, trainings, lectures, etc.) truly enjoy teaching and sharing the practice anymore.  When you (and/or your name) become the brand available for sale, I imagine that has to have a significant impact on your overall identity and ability to function in society.  So no, I don’t want to become a brand.  There will be no “Imke Yoga”.  That’s my line in the sand.  

Unfortunately, I cannot pay my bills with fairy dust and happy thoughts so I will have to spend some energy increasing the visibility of my “product” Flowing Meditations Yoga.   To do so, I have created a list of “yes”s:  

  • Yes, I will promote classes and events 
  • Yes, I will create flyers and social media campaigns
  • Yes, I will adhere to branding standards
  • Yes, I will sell swag (cue shameless plug to go purchase some merchandise) to increase brand recognition
  • Yes, I will remain committed to self-study and teaching in a way that is authentically me

I also have my list of “no”s:

  • No, I will not allow my name to be used as a brand
  • No, I will not compromise my standards to meet market demand
  • No, I will not teach fad yoga classes (a la goat yoga) to attract students
  • No, I will not spend every minute of my day worrying about the success of a marketing campaign
  • No, I will not allow myself to see my students as $$$

Like everything else in my life, I want this to feel balanced.  So what can you all do to help?  If you enjoy practicing with me, spread the word.  Don’t be shy.  Tell your friends.  Tell your family.  Wear your Flowing Meditations Yoga swag (cue second shameless plug to go purchase something) and get people talking.  This is how we build a community and that’s really what I’m looking to do here. 


Jain, A.R. (2015).  Selling yoga: from counterculture to pop culture. New York: Oxford University Press.