The Mmmmmm Phase

The big news of the day from my neck of the woods is that Luma Yoga, the centre that I called home for four wonderful years in downtown Santa Cruz, CA, is closing its doors on February 14, 2021, permanently.

You can read Val’s message here. She puts the truth of the situation and her emotions around it so well. I encourage you to take it all in.

I stopped teaching at Luma in August of 2020, and that was a really hard decision for me. I have always loved teaching group classes, and Luma was such an incredibly special place. But teaching on Zoom just wasn’t my thing, long-term. I needed to pivot into just serving my simple yoga + movement teaching practice, so opted to focus on my private students and offering a couple of small group outdoor classes on my deck and on other people’s decks.

Lately, I’ve been fantasizing about the time that Luma would reopen for our wonderfully-full, breath-infused, chatty, joyful classes.

The bustle in the lounge area of families, of couples heading out for errands and a snack downtown after class, of girlfriends mingling. The general chatter of getting to know one another off the mat and the cultivation of life-long relationships.

I met many of my friends at Luma quite naturally. And to face the fact that the space will not be there when we are all vaccinated and ready to roll back into a studio….well, it sucks.

But it’s reality. A harsh reality of this pandemic that has devastated so many of us. At its worse, taking family members from us forever, and even in its mild form, stripping us of ways of feeling alive and connected to one another. And yes, exposing the bitter truth of how our system just doesn’t work for so very many of us due to economic inequalities and racial oppression.

I’m grieving this loss of Luma today.

Val talks in her email about the Hindu concept of Trimurti — the cycle of creation, maintenance, and destruction.

These parts of existence are said to be represented by the letters, AUM, which are often chanted in yoga practices together in groups. You might think of it as “OM.”

If you say the letter “A,” the sound originates at the back of the throat with the mouth open. This is the “creation” of the sound. Then “U” moves the sound to the middle of the mouth, and the lips are coming into a smaller circle. This is the “maintenance” of the sound. And then “M”…the sound is at the front of the mouth and the lips are together.


One of my teachers, Christina Sell, talked about this when she closed her School of Yoga in San Marcos, TX several years ago to move to Colorado to care for her ailing mother.

The MMMMMMMmmmmmmmm phase.

We tend to skip over destruction and dissolution. But this phase is one third of the cycle of the universe. Might we try to BE in that MMmmmmm phase a little more intentionally and really soak it up for what it is?

A contemplation, at least. It helps me. I hope it helps you.

So…Where do we go from here? Well, in my family with teenagers (who pretty much hate life right now but are surviving), we talk a lot about “putting one foot in front of the other.”

This is a game of stamina. We are being ask to hold on for a little longer. To wear masks. To keep our distance. To wait for the vaccine.

And yet, we are still connected in the stamina. Across the layers of how our lives have changed and will continue to change.

I still believe that the practice of yoga — breathing, moving, connecting our bodies, feeling our bodies on the Earth, mindfully watching our thoughts, and yes, getting through the hard parts of practice with breath and focus and cultivated strength — is absolutely helpful and actually crucial for us, more than ever right now.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to do that out there in the world. Either on Zoom if that’s your thing, or with a pre-recorded class, or with a teacher outside with the standards of safety established. Please, avail of these offerings as a way to help yourself and to have a ripple effect on everyone around you.

Yoga classes will resume someday,  in the way that we remember them. I’m pretty sure 🙂

For now, though, I invite you to soak up the Mmmmmmm of what was, dissolving. To be in the grief that’s there, and to gather your strength so you can work with the stamina that it will take for us all move to the creation of what’s next together.

Yours, in the Mmmmm,

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