This piece was written by Kathleen Hannah, writer, yogi, moonchild, and enthusiastic karmi at TYB. She is a lover of learning, sunshine, good vibes, large bodies of water, wine, reading, and hugs. 

From time to time we’ll hear Rachel use the phrase, “our sangha” when she speaks of the Yoga Bar community. Thich Nhat Hanh describes sangha as a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and maintain awareness. He eloquently states, “The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha, and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.” Over the whirlwind of the past year, The Yoga Bar has enveloped me into it’s loving community, and as I’ve nestled into our sangha I’m invigorated to welcome more beings into our fold.

When I was younger I felt community and it’s sense of love and belonging were elusive. I couldn’t conceptualize what it must be to trust that a group of people a) genuinely liked you, b) cared about your wellbeing, and c) supported you through ups and downs. I moved back to Cincinnati after spending some time in my hometown of Indianapolis rather abruptly, and as anyone who has ever moved to a new city knows, it can feel lonely. Navigating things like careers, finances, relationships, faith, romance, etc. are a hundred times more manageable with a tribe. Last year I found myself in desperate need of a tribe.

When I started karming at The Yoga Bar I didn’t notice that I was becoming a part of the community. It was a lot of little things. I would find myself with a brunch buddy after class, and think, “I’m glad this person and I are friends now.” I would become curious about a pose, or a Sanskrit concept and engage one of the many talented teachers and think, “I’m glad I have this person to help me on my yoga journey.” I would have a really shitty day and vent about it before class and without fail the yogis downstairs would have me laughing before we went up to practice. I didn’t notice, but after hundreds of these little moments I had a tribe who knew my imperfections as well as my virtues and hugged with both arms.

One thing I told myself I would do when I accepted an Americorps position with Catholic Charities in the Refugee Resettlement Department was network, so when my contract was up I would have a job. Not only did I successfully avoid networking all year, but I found myself unceremoniously without a job two months before my year was up. I sat at home feeling frustrated, wondering what to do with my days, and regretted not networking. In the midst of the winter blues (and unprecedented political fuckery), I felt the familiar tugs of depression. Thankfully, I had unbeknownst to myself, had a secret depression-slaying weapon: my tribe, our sangha. They, unbeknownst to themselves, offered love, compassion, and more support than I can adequately express gratitude for.  I was able to face the job hunt, which was made much easier by the fact that I found work right away thanks to the relationships I had built through TYB.

Our sangha gave me roots. One of our most fundamental needs as human beings is a sense of love and belonging. This life was not meant to be walked alone, we are meant to connect, and intertwine, and grow together. We’re meant to be family. With our sangha the challenges don’t devastate us and the joys are shared. I am blessed to be able to walk my spiritual path with people who will also stick around for that third glass of wine. To have people I don’t feel I must hide my flaws from. To have people I can celebrate this life with! #blessed.  If you find yourself in need of a community, a sangha, a tribe, come to us at The Yoga Bar. We’re pros :)


Gratitude List

This piece was written by Kathleen Hannah, writer, yogi, moonchild, and enthusiastic karmi at TYB. She is a lover of learning, sunshine, good vibes, large bodies of water, wine, reading, and hugs. 

As we get older does time speed up? How did the year since last Thanksgiving go by so fast? As I write my 2017 Gratitude list I think back to the year I first learned that these were a thing. It was 2014, and I was living in Washington State. I was going through a rough patch, and I was goofing off on Facebook with a glass of wine when I saw various TYB squad listing their gratitudes for the year. Not feeling particularly grateful myself at that time, I wallowed in nostalgia for Cincinnati, more specifically for the sense of belonging I feel here.  It feels divinely orchestrated that I find myself back.

By no means has 2016 been an easy year-  I’ve referred to it as a giant dumpster fire and meant it on several occasions. However, just as the gratitude lists I read in 2016 from women who certainly had grievances as well as gratitudes, I can see everything I have to be grateful for, despite my grievances. In yoga we have a text called the sutras, which is a collections of short verses that make up the principles of our practice. One sutra speaks to abundance (aparigraha in Sanskrit). It states: “Acknowledging abundance (aparigraha) we recognize the blessings in everything and gain insights into the purpose for our worldly existence." I interpret this to mean that we must become aware to the blessings all around us, become aware of the abundance even when things are not as we would wish. If we focus on what we lack, we suffer. I want my mind to see the abundance around me and within me, and the best way to perceive abundance is by being grateful! It is always around Thanksgiving that I think about my blessings, but really- in terms of gratitude lists, I could do one every day :)

So, as I type with my cat snuggled next to me and Spotify on shuffle (reggae), among incalculable other gratitudes for moments, smiles, sleeps, afternoons, sunsets, yoga classes, conversations, kisses, cups of tea, and glasses of wine that have made up this past year, I am GRATEFUL for…

  1. My people. In all the shit that has gone down over the past year, I always had my people show up for me. My family, friends, strangers who later became friends, sometimes even I showed up for myself… the point it I have had precious support from the people around me and that’s been huge for me believing in myself, pushing forward when I started to sink, balancing out when I felt myself flooded, and reaching new levels of bad-assery. My people have loved me, supported me, held me up, laughed at my jokes, and overall made everything good and beautiful. I’m grateful for you.
  2. My work. In my first grown up, 9-5 job I get to help refugees. It is challenging, and inspiring, and I love it. Service is a value I grew up with, and I am privileged to serve this community of new Americans (sidebar: I am also grateful to mom and dad for helping me make rent those first few months <3)
  3. The Yoga Bar. Coming back to Cincinnati was made a million times more amazing by getting to karmi at the Yoga Bar. I get to learn from some of the best teachers in Cincinnati, and practice at one of the best fucking yoga studios. Yoga has become very important to me over the past few years, and being a part of this sangha, this community, is one of the great blessings of my present.
  4. My tribe. I bow to the sisterhood. There have been many things over the past several months that I leaned on my sisters to get through. It is impossible to hide from them, as I often would when I was struggling with something. I used to try to keep things inside, thinking that my struggles with anxiety or self-harm made me someone that people wouldn’t like. I tried my best to bury my imperfections, and the consequence of that was I started to believe that I was someone I didn’t like. The women I’ve met this year have, like archeologists, dug up that which I was ashamed of and loved the broken pieces, just as they love the rest of me. They’ve taught me to love myself, and I can never say thank you enough to the women that have helped me get to where I am now.
  5. Writing. I started writing articles for different forums this year, and as a creative outlet it couldn’t be better for me. I’m learning to exercise my voice. I’m horrible with confrontation, and was never great at engaging confidently, and so I just became quiet, or funny, or sexy. But I’ve got a voice, and I’ve got to use it. Writing has become my platform for authenticity, and confidence. It’s helped toughen me up- I can handle criticism now; I don’t scare as easily. I don’t mind not being liked- I still feel like I’m shining inside. I’m grateful <3
  6. My cat Nala. I’ve fostered different cats in the past, but she is mine- I’m a cat momma. She is curious, and fucking adorable, and sometimes annoying, and learning boundaries, and a little, chubby, snuggle muffin. She licks your face like she’s a dog. She comes down three flights of stairs when she hears I’m home. She walks on my back to wake me up in the morning when she wants breakfast. She is a wonderful pet- I’m grateful :)
  7. My home. Bellevue manor is the eighth house I’ve lived in over the course of 2 years. I could never really get settled anywhere, maybe because I wasn’t settled myself, but no house was really right until this one. I grew up sharing a bathroom with five other people- now I’ve got my own :) There’s a yoga space, and not just netflix, but hulu as well. Yeah. Having a comfortable, safe space to call home is something I don’t take for granted. I love my freaking house.
  8. My roommates- see above. They’re pretty cool.
  9. The Globe. I’ve never grown with a business from the beginning, and I feel a sense of pride and ownership in participating in the success of our little bar. I’ve learned so much in just the few short months since we’ve been open. Team Globe is the shit.
  10. Other gratitudes in no particular order: Spotify, almond milk, autumn leaves, Eden park, the fountains at Washington Park, Salazar and JP, hugs, Chris Evans’ biceps, Jess Meyer’s head rubs, white chocolate covered pretzels, kisses, duvets, live music, podcasts, Google, HIllary Clinton, UberEats, journaling, incense, massages from Mattie, sweet handwritten notes from my mom, lunch, Sam for leaving the Britta when she moved to NYC, yoga pants, Audible, Amazon, snow, themed playlists, Logan and Brad for helping me find Ayurveda, Chelsea for making my hair look good, Darren’s cherry sours, ugg slippers, and my giant old navy scarf.