On Surrendering and Finding Connection: An Interview

January 18, 2021

Aside from face-to-face girl time, the thing I miss most about being able to go and stay with my best friend in Oregon City is our commitment to visit Thrive Yoga & Wellness. I reached out to studio owner Marci Jory and invited her to share her experience as a businesswoman and yogi during a tumultuous year.

How have you and your staff had to adapt to keep Thrive Yoga open and provide support for your students and community with COVID-19 restrictions?

Like most yoga studios, my staff and I had to pivot so fast that our heads were spinning. We really had to let go of any perceived notion of being able to create a "perfect" atmosphere for our students, and we are still learning and implementing new systems and processes. Largely it has been trial and lots and lots of errors! Knowing that the need for live stream and video options is here to stay, we brought in a consultant to help us fine tune our streaming in an attempt to create a top notch experience for both teacher and student. Most of all, these shifts have taught me so much about the importance of community and grace. My teachers and I have felt completely held and supported by the Thrive community and I feel that our Thrive family has become closer through this.

Marci Jory

Let's just greet the elephant in the room--how has all the tension in Portland affected you and your studio, being in Oregon City? From your experience, are things as bad as the media has made it out to be?

While the political climate has shifted and changed our entire nation, the tension in Portland has only indirectly affected the studio. As a community, we have supported peaceful protests and a lot of our community members have participated in local Black Lives Matter protests in Oregon City and other smaller towns. I can't speak for the businesses in Portland but in my direct experience, it seems that pockets of areas, rather than the city as a whole, were most directly impacted. The news media made it seem like the entire city was up in flames. Most of the activity seems to have been peaceful.

What about you personally? Tell us what 2020 taught Marci Jory.

I am definitely a student of life and I try to see all experiences as opportunities for growth and learning. This year feels like it has offered decades worth of growth and learning at hyper speed. I feel like the events of the year, from the pandemic to the political and social unrest, have catapulted transformation and, for many of us, it's as if a veil has been lifted and things are a little clearer (even if uncertain) right now. Finding the language to describe the lessons this year is difficult, so I'll try to sum it up in a few main lessons.

  • Connection is Sacred.

Connection to others:This has been a huge lesson for me, personally. I have often taken my family and community--and our ability tophysically connect--for granted, and this lack of real, human, in-the-flesh connection causes many to fall into depression and even back into addictions. Our connection with the whole is so important to our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

Connection to Nature: Don't discount our connection with nature and with Mother Earth. I feel myself called to the trees and forests that we are lucky enough to be surrounded by in Oregon. Connecting with nature is like a salve for my soul.

Connection to Self:My meditation and breath practice have really been a saving grace for me. As someone who has dealt with chronic anxiety for most of my life, these practices have really been amazing for my mental health. I love doing and teaching guided meditations as they can really get us into a great heart and head space.

  • Surrender. The lesson of surrender teaches us that we must go along with the flow of the universe. This is one of the reasons that I love practices like Yin Yoga. The practice teaches us to surrender into the now. To settle in, and be present with what is in the moment.
  • Control is an illusion. The more I try to control life’s outcomes, the more I realize that the unpredictable will occur. All I can control is how I choose to react. This is a hard one for me as a business owner and especially as a mother of young adults. Isn't it wonderful that yoga teaches us the importance ofaparigraha, non-attachment?

Do you have a favorite yoga sequence or pose that helps ground you, especially during this uncertain era in history? Please share!

Oh yes... I'm normally a vinyasa person and love the way a Sun Salutation done over and over again creates peace and connection. It is my moving meditation and prayer with my body. Lately though, I have been very deeply connecting to the lunar practice of Yin Yoga. I mix it up with the poses I do depending on what I need that day but I never skip Sleeping Swan (minimum of 5 minutes on each side) and Reclined Butterfly with a heart opener. I place a rolled up blanket across my mat to support my shoulder blades and blocks under my knees. I practice with lots of props to feel supported and surrender into the shape.  

Reclined Supported Butterfly

It's such a fine line between being responsible and protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19 and not losing the essential human connections that make our lives full. What advice do you have for those who may be struggling to cope during these times?

My advice is to take opportunities to connect to other people in whatever way feels safe and right toyou. If you feel safe doing so, grab some coffee and go for a distanced walk in the woods with a friend or two. It's easy to stay far enough apart that way and still connect with each other and with nature. And don’t give up on your yoga practice! - whether it’s Zoom/online classes or small, socially distanced sessions where safety precautions can be met, or on your own. What medicine for the heart!

Heidi Drake l Mukha YogaBy Heidi Drake; All Rights Reserved @2021

Interview was edited and condensed for clarity.

Heidi Drake l Mukha YogaBy Heidi Drake; All Rights Reserved @2021



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