Today I got an email that took my breath away.
Noorish Yoga is closing. My safe place.
I’m stunned to the point of not really having words.
When I found Noorish, I was falling apart. My heart was in pieces, shards that I couldn’t place back together, and my knee had been freshly destroyed. I don’t even know if the bruises from my fall had healed. My ex had moved out but hadn’t stopped calling. I needed a place to stretch, a place to declare MINE as I healed, both heart and body.
A Groupon showed up for 10 classes at Noorish. I checked the schedule out online, and signed up for a candlelit yin class. It was on Wednesday night, at 9 p.m. I showed up with an old mat and low expectations.
That was the only class I attended at Noorish for a full year. And I was there every single week that I was in the city. Every single week, for a year. Maybe a year and a half, even.
Have you ever been to a yin class? It’s a slow, deep practice, where you get into relatively comfortable positions that you hold for an extended period of time. Have you ever reclined in pigeon pose for 5 minutes? You start comfortably and then descend into an angry, emotional pit where all you can think about is MOVING GODDAMMIT BECAUSE THIS ISN’T COMFORTABLE ANYMORE AND FUCK YOU FOR MAKING ME SIT IN THIS PLACE FOR SO FUCKING LONG. Yin is designed to stretch the fascia of your muscles – making it more intense than usual. However, because of its intense nature, and the targeted areas, it becomes an emotional practice. You hold your anger and sadness, your fears and frustrations in the fascia, so when you work through it, you become very emotional. I found myself weeping after releasing these positions, and not knowing why. Was it sadness? Relief? Healing? Whatever. As long as I’m not in fucking pigeon anymore.
The instructor was stunning. She seemed to intuitively know what part of me needed breaking open on Wednesdays – sometimes it was hip work, sometimes it was heart opening – and I’d leave her classes feeling relieved and moved. She’d bring in musicians to play beautiful music as we suffered. I’d often end up in tears that I couldn’t explain as she spoke. I loved, loved, loved my yin practice.
I never brought people there during that time. Noorish was MINE, my safest place. It was where I learned to be me again. Where my heart healed. Where my knee healed (kinda sorta, stupid stupid knee).
After a few years, I signed up for a yoga challenge – the Get Your Glow On Challenge, which I wrote about here. As I detailed, it was a game changer. Gluten free, dairy free, meat free, alcohol free, caffeine free, and sugar free for 8 weeks, and 5 classes of yoga a week. I experimented a lot at Noorish, coming out with defined loved (and hated) classes, and a brand new community of people.
I started volunteering there right after the challenge, on Thursday nights, as a karma yogi. It became more than my safe place, it became my church. I had moments where angels visited me, moments of stark clarity and logic, and rarely my anxiety attacks. I was devoted to Noorish, and I loved the work. I mean, I loved the free yoga as well, but my heart belonged to Noorish.
During that really really dark summer two years ago, Noorish became my anchor. The manager hired me as the assistant manager, and I got PAID to be at my safe place. What? Even as I worked there, it never lost that beauty or safety. Even with my second unemployment stint, Noorish had my back. I worked a lot, the paychecks from there keeping me afloat as I struggled to find work in my field. At one point I was even offered the manager’s position to cover a maternity leave.
When I discovered the job I’m at NOW, I decided to keep Noorish as my second job. I made it work for awhile – taking the train to University station and then walking to make my shift. Then, several things happened at once.
I was needed at a work event on a night that I worked at Noorish, and told that if I wanted to succeed where I am (in my field), I’d need to prioritize this place over Noorish. I started the Jenny Craig diet and couldn’t eat at Noorish (and I am one hangry human). My manager left on maternity leave. I adopted Nox. All at once. It was June. And all at once, I thought “I need to resign from Noorish in order to do right by me,” and my heart breathed… “Yes. It’s time.”
So I resigned after 2.5 years of working for Noorish – 4.5 ish years of being at Noorish steadily. I do admit that my heart broke at the lack of recognition from Noorish at that time (I wrote my resignation…. And no one spoke to me after that), but it didn’t break at the thought of leaving. It was time. I knew it was the right decision immediately.
I’ve been back twice since I left. Both times have been okay. But not the same.
Lately, though, I’ve been craving the feeling and the community I had at Noorish. I found peace there, fell back in love with my body there. It’s this magical, beautiful place that makes my heart so full. The place I learned to breath through the pain, the place I’ve wept countless times on my mats (true story, I went through 5 mats during my Noorish years, and all of them had been wet with my tears more than once), the place I felt like the best N I could be. The feelings of loss I’m currently experiencing are beyond anything I could have imagined – I took for granted that Noorish would just always be there.
I am so grateful that I found Noorish. I’m so grateful that I’ll be able to spend some time there before the doors close forever. My heart breaks because this special secret gem is closing… but I am so grateful that I was given the chance to learn there. I’m so grateful that I learned so much about myself there, grateful for the journey and support Noorish has always provided me, both on the mat and off. I’m so grateful that I will be able to say goodbye.
If anyone wants to join me there this month, please let me know. I will make space for you in my haven.