It’s very bittersweet to be sitting down at my laptop and writing Mind Body Flow Yoga’s last newsletter. I’ve thought long and hard about what to write. In doing so, a friend’s recent words of comfort came to mind. This friend said, “Marina, you have achieved so much in the near-decade that you’ve owned your yoga studio. Focus on all of your achievements and let all the sweet memories live on in your heart.” I thought to myself, that’s it – that’s what I’ll write about to conclude Mind Body Flow Yoga’s newsletter – a newsletter that’s been going strong since it first released in October of 2012.
When I think about all that I’ve achieved over this near-decade, I really see my achievements as “our achievements,” as none of what I’ve achieved would be possible without each and every one of you.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane and celebrate our sweet memories…
Mind Body Flow Yoga opened its doors on March 12th, 2012. I was thirty-one years old at the time and a new mom to my precious daughter, Malania, who was a year old at the time. I’ll never forget her and my dear husband, Magezi, standing to my left as I cut the red ribbon for our grand-opening party and carrying my sweet baby girl around in my arms as the grand opening celebration took place inside the studio.
*Click on any photo to enlarge
Does anyone remember this look? The studio’s facade looked like this when we first opened in 2012:
My inspiration and dream of opening a yoga studio not only came from a strong calling from God to share the practice that had changed my life in immeasurable ways with others but also from my teacher, Baron Baptiste. I am forever grateful for studying directly with and learning directly from this amazingly gifted teacher, whose teachings are the foundation in which Mind Body Flow Yoga was built upon.
In my Baptiste studies, I later came to meet one of Baron’s Faculty members at the time, Kiersten Mooney, who has been extremely instrumental in my development as a teacher and leader. I am humbled to have learned from Kiersten as well and to have her not only as a mentor but a very dear friend. Kiersten once taught a class virtually for Mind Body Flow Yoga from Florida and her teachings later became the work in which Mind Body Flow Yoga’s teacher training program was built upon.
Three months into opening Mind Body Flow Yoga, my husband (Magezi) and I, learned that we were expecting our second child. The adventure really began from there. 🙂
It was just me and one other instructor for the first several months of the studio’s existence and just eight classes on the class schedule. We were also closed on Sundays for the first year.
In February of 2013, my husband, Magezi, and I welcomed our second-born child – our son, Makai, through an all-natural home birth.
In March of 2013, Mind Body Flow Yoga celebrated its first anniversary. We had a celebratory class and a party. This would live on to become a Mind Body Flow Yoga annual tradition for all anniversaries to follow.
It was also in March of 2012, that a number of lululemon Buffalo staff showed up to my class one night. After class, I was surprised beyond measure to turn my back for a few moments – only to turn back around and find them holding up signs that read, “Will You Be Our Ambassador?” Being given such an honor is something I’ll never forget and a title I’ve held with pride for all of these years.
At the mark of year one, the studio’s class schedule expanded with the addition of many more classes. My team of teachers expanded and continued to expand over the years as well. I am forever grateful not only for my AMAZING team of 6 at present but for every teacher who has ever been on my team. They’ve poured their hearts, wisdom, and passion for this practice into the Mind Body Flow Yoga community over the years and our Mind Body Flow Yoga family wouldn’t be the beautiful community that it is without them.
It was in May of 2014, that I teamed up with my dear friend, Pino Rizzi, of Power Yoga Canada, to shoot footage for the creation of a power yoga DVD. This project was shot from a Friday – Sunday, by my dear husband, Magezi, and the very long journey of editing (all by my dear husband, Magezi) then began. This project was truly a labor of love.
In May of 2014, I was also honored to have been asked to teach at the lululemon store in the Galleria Mall for their grand opening. This is a moment I will never forget. Me teaching in the store was also captured on the Channel 4 WIVB news coverage that aired on the store’s grand opening.
In May of 2015 (after just 3 years in business), Mind Body Flow Yoga was mentioned in Business First, as a recipient of the SBA’s Small Business of the year award. I was honored and recognized at a luncheon at the Buffalo Convention Center, hosted by SBA, Business First, and SCORE Buffalo Niagara.
In June of 2015, I was honored to have been asked to be one of many talented teachers to teach at lululemon’s first annual Namastadium event at the Ralph Wilson Stadium. While heavily pregnant with my third baby, I will never forget the sheer exhilaration I felt as I stepped on the field with a mic in my hand and taught to hundreds of yogis. This event was to benefit Children’s Hospital and $17K was raised. So amazing!
In August of 2015, my husband, Magezi, and I welcomed our third-born child, another son, Mateo, through an all-natural home birth.
In the latter part of 2015, Mind Body Flow Yoga’s facade was renovated and given a new look. If you started practicing at Mind Body Flow Yoga in 2015 and beyond, you probably remember the studio’s facade looking like this…
The month of January 2018 was a very busy and exciting month at Mind Body Flow Yoga. Not only was it the start of a new year, but the studio was mentioned in Buffalo Magazine as one of the more popular yoga studios in Western New York.
Furthermore, it was the month in which my dear friend, Pino Rizzi, of Power Yoga Canada and I, finally launched our power yoga DVD – “Power Yoga Ignite.” A project that was nearly 4 years in the making had finally come forward to be shared with our Mind Body Flow Yoga community and the world. In January 2018, Mind Body Flow Yoga was also featured in the Buffalo News, as I was interviewed on the launch of the DVD.
In March of 2018, Mind Body Flow Yoga was featured in Buffalo Magazine, as I was interviewed yet again for the launch of the power yoga DVD.
In October of 2019, together with my dear friend, Derek Waddy, Mind Body Flow Yoga began the journey of its first-ever 200-hour yoga teacher training. Derek and I facilitated the teacher training and in May of 2020, we graduated and certified 17 yogis from the teacher training program. This by far is my most treasured and beloved goal brought to life, in the journey of Mind Body Flow Yoga.
WOW, look at all that we have accomplished, Mind Body Flow Yoga!!! We have accomplished more in our eight and a half years together than many businesses accomplish in years that stretch far beyond ours. I don’t know about you, but these sweet memories make me smile and make me feel proud that I was a part of something so beautiful and special. I didn’t even mention the hundreds of workshops that took place in the four walls – many of which were with some of the most world-renowned guest teachers. Or the countless talented musicians that graced our outdoor yoga classes in the summer months and the four walls of the studio for our LIVE music classes.
Look at all that we packed into eight and a half years!! We sure have been blessed, Mind Body Flow Yoga!!
I would be lying if I said I’m not terribly sad and in a state of mourning the ending of the Mind Body Flow Yoga studio. At the same time, I keep reminding myself in the midst of my sadness and tears that every ending is always a new beginning. When something ends, something new begins and a new beginning is always a new opportunity. Learning to see the end of something as an opportunity rather than a punishment would help to change our whole life experience in the moment when we begin a new chapter in our lives.
Every ending that I have experienced in my life was because something better was coming. If my life had never been filled with endings and changes, everything that I have experienced in my life would have never happened. I am where I am now because something in my past has changed. Something that has ended in my past has allowed me to have new opportunities and challenges in my life, and the outcomes I got were always positive. In order to birth Mind Body Flow Yoga, for instance, the chapter of my career at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as their Donor Relations Manager (the job offer that moved me and my husband from Massachusetts to Buffalo in 2009) had to end.
If you look into your past, everything that has ended has allowed you to be where you are now. In my case many things have ended: relationships, jobs, projects – and those endings have led me to the place I am now. The life that I have is the result of many endings. Every single new opportunity and new challenge that I have experienced was possible because an ending had taken place in my past. Some by choice and others completely outside of my control.
The problem is we normally see the end of something as the end of everything – especially when we were not looking for that ending or didn’t ask for that ending. In those moments when something ends, it is very difficult to see a new beginning. For instance, when a relationship ends, we normally do not see that as a new beginning or as a new opportunity. Instead, we see that as a painful ending, and the sorrow and frustration we feel in our hearts in those cases consumes our spirit, making it impossible for us to see that as a new beginning.
Endings are most of the time very difficult to accept, even if we were looking for that ending because it is always hard to start again. Some endings are easier to digest and other endings are so painful that they seemingly tear our heart apart. Those kinds of endings paralyze our world, and nothing in our lives seems to make sense. But there is always a reason why things happen in the way they happened. Every ending, no matter how hard it is, it is always a new opportunity in disguise.
But how can we see an ending as a new beginning? How can we see an opportunity in the midst of so much sorrow, frustration, and uncertainty? The answer is: by living in the present. We know from our yoga practice that there is no other way we can live. The past is gone and the future has not arrived yet. The only place where we can truly live is in our present. Therefore, we must focus all our energy not on trying to change our past but to focus all our energy on creating our present moment. This very moment is all we have, therefore, we must focus our mind on the things we would like to experience in our life rather than on what we do not want. We cannot change what happened, but we can change how we experience what is going on in our present moment.
When something ends, something new begins. We must remember that when a door closes, others open. When a chapter ends, another begins and the possibility to write a new and most wonderful story is in our own hands.
Mind Body Flow Yoga, look at the beautiful story we have written. Look at all that we have accomplished. Look at all the accolades, breakthroughs, transformation, joy, and happiness that we created together in the four walls of that 1,200 square foot space! We’ve written a beautiful story. May its sweet memories live on in our hearts forever and always.
Life is always changing, and that is what makes this life so rich and wonderful. Today you can make two decisions: You can decide to live tied to an end, drowning in the sorrow and pain of it, or you can decide to choose to carry the sweet memories in your heart, live in your present, and use all the tools you have learned at Mind Body Flow Yoga as a canvas, to create the life that will bring you happiness and joy.
My beloved Mind Body Flow Yoga community, I hope that after your tears are dried – you will choose the latter along with me.
Thank you for an incredible eight and a half years. Thank you for the sweet memories that will remain in my heart forever and always. Thank you for being a part of my dream come true. Thank you for your continued love, support, and loyalty over the years. And thank you especially for changing my life and giving me and my team of teachers the opportunity to share our passion with you. From the depths of my being, thank you!
Go forward now and carry the practice, the tools, and the Mind Body Flow Yoga legacy that lives on in the inside of you and is greater than four walls could ever contain.
I love you all. God bless you all. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
*I chose handstand for the very last Mind Body Flow Yoga newsletter, because just like owning Mind Body Flow Yoga for eight and a half years – this pose has been a journey for me. It’s seen strong days and it’s seen weak days. It’s seen days of nailing it and days of falling flat out of it. This posture is my favorite because it embodies and is Tadasana (Mountain Pose) turned upside down. And isn’t that what our practice ultimately teaches us? That even when life is turned upside down and we are faced with hard things – that we can still stand tall as a mountain, fully aligned, fully in True North, and fully in grace. You are a mountain, yogi – upright and especially upside down. For it is in the upside-down that you learn to root and rise again.