It’s finally here… the end of 2020!! We are so ready to let loose (safely) in celebration of the possibilities of a better year ahead. In Japanese culture, the number 8  () is considered very auspicious. The shape and pronunciation of the character indicates a gradual opening, broadening out to prosperity and good fortune. This shape is echoed in Mount Fuji, above. May we think of 2021 as bringing an opening out to peace, justice, recovery, and yes, even joy and optimism.

But before we look ahead, let’s pause. As Angelica said in last night’s Mindful Flow class, we have survived the Pandemic, we have survived the worst US government administration ever seen, and we are so grateful for it. And we carry forward with the spirit of those who have not made it. We will Say Their Names and remember. We will do more, we will transform, for ourselves and in their memory. If you have lost loved ones, we mourn with you. We offer this poem, Epitaph, by Merrit Malloy, to ease your heart.

It is well-known that gratitude as a practice has many positive health benefits. So, a moment to express the gratitude we have for so many supporters who have stayed the course with Breathing Space this year. Thank you, Community!

– Thank you to the Board, Michael, Yolanda, and in memoriam Laura Jacques. Thanks to all for their care and sage counsel.

– Thank you, Angelica, Johanna, and Lorrie – Breathing Space teachers – who give so generously of their time and love of yoga to guide classes and provide insight and advice to the Studio.

– Those who came to our yoga classes and stayed with us, or joined us, after we moved online and out to the park. Thank you for your steadiness, and for inviting your friends and family members to check out our classes. Elaine, Aeryca, Edwin, Marissa, Robin, Stacey, Sharen, Josh, Jax, Catherine, Rachel, Saundra, Zaida, Deborah, Emily, Kate, Jen, Yomy, Frances, Evangeline, Erika, Jean, Robin, Teisha, Audrey, Dora, Mary, and many more of you who shared your yoga practice and support over these months.

– To our Outreach partners at Western Mass Recovery & Wellness Center, South Holyoke Girl’s Treatment Program, Western Mass Regional Women’s Correctional Center, Pre-Release Center, Northampton Recovery Center, Gandara Women’s Recovery House, Holyoke City Parks & Recreation, Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative, Prison Yoga Project, and Community Foundation of Western Mass (who manage the Seed to Flower Fund). A special mention to Lorna Edgar, a mentor and friend in prison yoga work, who took a chance with Breathing Space at the beginning and made possible our Pre-release recovery yoga classes since 2017. You can see the fruits of that partnership in the Yoga in Jail article here.

– The Seed to Flower Fund for Yoga Service 2019-20 grant recipients: Western Mass Recovery and Wellness Center and South Hadley Girl’s Treatment Program. Thank you for allowing us to support pay for yoga teachers to teach recovery yoga classes in your facilities.

– For guidance and training in Anti-bias Anti-racism work: Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Pioneer Valley Project, and Prison Yoga Project, among others.

– Our donors, including people who in some cases don’t even practice yoga or live far away, who connected with our mission and sent their financial support. Your faith is very appreciated.

– Our funders, Community Foundation of Western Mass, Small Business Administration, Commonwealth of Mass Empowerment program, River Valley Food Coop, GoFundMe/Paypal Covid Fund, and others.

– Our email list members, page followers, and online group members, who like and share our posts, helping to support our activities and sending us notes of encouragement.

As we step over the threshold into 2021, in true yoga fashion, may we continually seek balance, connect to our ground, and reach for our dreams. Happy New Year!