We usually come into situations with preconceived notions. More often than not, these assumptions do not serve us well. In fact, they can hold us back from joy and transformation. Before I moved to Arkansas, all I knew of it was what I had heard, and none of it was good. The poverty. The lack of education. The closed-mindedness. The racism.
Living in Arkansas, though, has changed my life for the better in countless large and small ways. What I didn’t hear about before moving here was the freedom of this place. The isolation of rural and small-town Arkansas has a way of making a person really see themselves. When facing that truth, we have to decide either to hide from the things we don’t want to see about ourselves, or face those things and grow. And what amazing liberation lives on the other side of growth!
I also didn’t hear about the refreshing honesty of the people who live here. With some exceptions, of course, they are who they say they are and feel no need to hide behind false exteriors or pretenses. Yes, if they are racist, they will not hide it. But at least we know what we’re dealing with up front...unlike folks who say one thing in public and another in private.
Because of my preconceived notions, never did I think that I would find a thriving yoga community in Arkansas that would help transform who I am for the better. I'm not sure I would have felt comfortable enough to join a yoga community anywhere else. Arkansas, with its closeness to nature, with its highs and lows, its ambivalence toward what other states think it should do, its rugged individualism, its reliance on neighbors when things get tough, its humility, its peace for hundreds of miles…to me, this state is yoga. Imperfect, passionate, raw, humble, glorious yoga.
By the way, that's me in the center of the picture above, next to the phenomenal yoga teacher Diana Vitantonio--with the brilliant yoga technique teacher Matt Giordano on the far left--during Gina Caputo's class at Fayetteville Yoga Fest in 2017. Younger me would have said of the me in this picture, "Who is that person? And how do I become her?" That is the transformative power of yoga.
Fall Yoga Events and Festivals!
Wednesday, September 22nd, 6:30pm: Fall Equinox Yoga on Mt. Nebo. Celebrate the arrival of autumn with a special sunset yoga class up on Mt. Nebo. We’ll meet on the lawn by Sunset Point for a flow led by Forca’s yoga teachers. Class will end at the sunset fades, and we’ll have Savasana under the stars. Nebo Nutrition will be providing us with teas to quench our thirst.
Fall yoga festival season is upon us in Arkansas. Here are two of the bigger ones. Come see what Arkansas yoga is like. You will leave a different person.
October 10: Little Rock Yoga Festival. The yoga studios of Little Rock and North Little Rock are coming together for a one-day festival featuring 13 yoga and meditation classes to choose from. Do all the yoga your heart desires, peruse local vendors, and have some food, all at Wildwood Park for the Arts. Buy tickets and see the schedule at www.lryogafestival.com
November 5-7: Yoga on the Mountain. For years, every fall the yogis of Arkansas have gathered at this festival on top of Mount Magazine. Three classes to choose from every hour in the Lodge, and an array of vendors to shop from. Food is available at the Lodge’s restaurant. Book the entire weekend and stay up on the mountain, or get a day pass for Saturday and drive in. Tickets and schedule can be found at www.yotmfestival.com
Show your Arkansas yoga pride and confound people’s stereotypes of The Natural State.