Reliable Support

Eric Stewart

Over the years, due to home ownership and business expansion, I’ve stumbled my way into a number of demolition, construction, and reconstruction projects. While I’ve done a lot of this sort of work, I’m very aware that it’s far from what I’m best at. I’d say it’s more on the side of what I’m worst at.

Still, it’s good to stretch oneself, and sometimes venture into tasks that lie outside of what’s comfortable.

On the other hand…

Relying on one’s limited skills to pull off a big project without support is asking for trouble.

So I am beyond grateful that my brother, Michael has been along for the ride through all of the Solaluna restorations we’ve done over the years. Because of his knowledge and experience, we’ve saved a lot of time, money, and heartache.

There’s a parallel with yoga: developing a personal practice involves learning to draw on one’s inner resources; it necessitates not always relying on the help of others. This is a vital, essential part of practice.

Yet when unknown, uncharted waters emerge on the journey, it sometimes helps to have a guide, someone to ease the way.

Seeking Support?

If you are looking for some support on your path, check out our schedule of classes here. We can offer guidance and resources whether you’re just beginning or you’ve been venturing awhile.

The Overlooked Satisfaction of Incremental Progress

Eric Stewart

There are times when progress with a project happens in dramatic bursts. At other times (and I would say, much of the time, actually) progress is incremental, slow, and more difficult to detect. This is as much the case with learning and refining a yoga asana as it is with restoring and rehabbing a space or a house.

Sometimes, it can even seem that things go backwards for stretches.

It might be easy to see the dramatic developments and the incremental plateaus as separate states, disconnected from one another. And it can also be tempting to want more of the big, noticeable changes to happen more often.

Most anyone who has ever learned a skill (such as playing a musical instrument, learning to ride a horse, or learning to swim) can understand that plateaus build and lead to the more obvious developments.

Slow progress that’s harder to detect is still progress (and still detectable). What gets in the way of seeing this progress is often just mental noise and impatience. Letting go of these can lead to a simpler, deeper satisfaction. Satisfaction that’s embodied in taking the many small steps that support the big changes.

The Yoga of Restoring a Space

Eric Stewart

Solaluna has gone through three major renovation projects. The first was in the fall of 1999, when the studio opened. The second was 10 years later in 2009, when we renovated and expanded into the office and the little studio. Now we’re in the middle of the third, working in the lovely space on the north side of the building.

With each project, there have been periods that can best be described as uncomfortable-waking-up-moments: instances of becoming aware that the scope of the project is more than imagined. In 1999 when Solaluna hadn’t yet hosted a class, we struggled to find a solution to the gaps in the studio floor, which delayed the project for several weeks.

In our current project, the past few days have involved mulling over options with the ceiling and the walls. While the scope of the renovation has grown bigger (and therefore I’ve felt a few checking-with-the-gut-moments) I’m happy to say we’re getting a clear picture of what’s involved, and what we’re going to end up with. Overall I’m super excited for the Solaluna community!

Different Sorts of Discomfort

I’m struck by the similarity between the discomforts I’ve encountered in the renovation process and those I sometimes encounter in practice. The discomforts I refer to here are not the sort that indicates I’m losing support or straining joints. Rather, it’s the discomfort that arises because a status quo is being challenged. Inertia is being challenged. Preconceived expectations are being challenged.

Many people encounter a period of initial resistance at the beginning of a practice. By meeting the resistance and moving through it, the resistance itself leads to a greater opening, and it can be a signpost for the direction to head (i.e. to stay with the practice).

This is also true when someone is just beginning the journey of doing yoga, and it can happen when people return to practice after being away from it for some time. Resistance is often churned up in these moments due to the recognition of what the practice asks of us, and the differences involved between doing yoga and not doing yoga.

I look at this kind of yoga-generated resistance as a sign of an internal conversation. The conversation goes something like, “OK, if you’re going to do this, do it fully. Otherwise, we’ll just stop now.”

With the renovation of the new space, the parallel is that we want to do it right. It doesn’t make sense to do a sloppy job and put band-aids over the blemishes. While that bigger commitment can stir up apprehension and questions, those things can sometimes be a sign that it makes sense to move forward, to commit to the bigger thing.

So we’re looking at early May as a rough opening date. Projected openings are always tricky with projects such as this, but I think we’ve got a good chance of making it. We look forward to sharing the space with you when that time comes!


Eric & the Folks at Solaluna

A New Way to Pay!

Hello everyone,

We are excited to announce a new payment option that replaces the $15 drop-in. We think it will be an appealing alternative for a number of our students.

For individual classes, we are shifting to a pay-what-you-can system. This means that people can determine an amount to pay for a class based on what they can afford and what the class is worth to them.

10- and 15-class packages will continue to be available for those of you who find it convenient to purchase classes ahead of time. As of this writing, we will no longer offer any 6-class blocks.

At the beginning of October, we will likely consolidate our payment options further, but we want to see how things progress before deciding what changes to make. As part of this process, we welcome your input.

Whatever additional changes we make, you can be certain that we’re committed to this new donation option, and we will also continue to offer packages of 10 and 15 classes.

Effective, Now

If you’d like to pay for class by donation, you can start doing it now, or at any point going forward. You can purchase a class this way whether you attend Solaluna on a frequent or infrequent basis.

Teachers and staff have begun announcing the change during classes. This email is a chance to get the word out to more people and give a fuller explanation of our reasons for doing this.

The Main Reason

At the most basic level, we see this as a more effective way to support and express some of our most basic values.

In particular, we want our classes to be accessible, regardless of people’s financial circumstances. We also want to see Solaluna thrive financially, and we believe that this system offers the best way to accomplish both of these objectives. Here are a few factors that we see as essential to succeeding with this:

First, there are yoga studios and other businesses that have prospered using a donation-based payment structure. We’ve studied several of them and have utilized elements from different systems with the basic intent to create a structure that works here for Oberlin and the surrounding area.

Second, we have a solid and loyal community of people who support Solaluna, who appear to be receptive to the intent of this change. As we’ve communicated our plans to staff, teachers and students, the response has been enthusiastic and encouraging.

Finally, for this to work well, it’s essential that people have a framework for choosing what amount to pay. We have a clear process in place for this.

The main reason for a framework is to communicate the needs of all parties in the exchange. The framework defines the conditions that will allow students, teachers and the studio to mutually benefit.

Our structure for determining what to give is simple and flexible. It balances the needs of students and teachers. It involves three basic pieces of information:

  1. Consider what you can afford.

  2. Consider the value of the class to you.

  3. Consider the teacher’s time and energy.

If what you can afford is a determining factor, give more weight to that in making your decision. If the affordability of the class is less an issue or not an issue, give more weight to the other factors.

More Awareness

One of the main reasons we are enthusiastic about making this change is that it invites awareness into a monetary exchange. It moves away from buying a thing as a commodity and toward mindfulness of the exchange as a relationship.

This supports the possibility that paying for a yoga class can itself be an aware act, a kind of yoga.

Now for the Nuts and Bolts

When you attend a class, if you choose to utilize the donation option, you can write a “P” to the left of your name on the class sign-in sheet at the desk. This just lets us be clear with who is using a class block and who is doing a donation.

There is one donation box located at the desk and another in the southeast corner of the big studio. Your donation may be placed in either of these boxes. No one but you will know what you pay unless you write a check or audibly count your money before depositing it into the box.

That’s all there is to it!

One final note: in addition to classes, we will be extending the Pay What You Can option to workshops and intensives. What’s involved for those events is a bit different compared with classes, and we’ll be rolling that out soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the new system, don’t hesitate to contact us.