After 11 years in a brick

Why Did We Transition Online?

After 11 years in a brick & mortar location…

The transition online saved me from hiding endless pain and fatigue.

The Story of "Why"

The story of Evolutions itself is a fascinating 11 year journey that begins with a 20-something girl and a crazy belief she could open a yoga studio… and actually survive. That… she did. For 11 years. This story is not about those syncronistic and divine roots… this story is about the 41 year old woman that made another leap of faith and saved a community for the 2nd time by going online.

It all started at age 39. I woke up one day – literally – with a stiffness and pain in my hands, feet, and spine like I’d never experienced before. I took some ibuprofen and dismissed it as I’d trained contortion-skills too hard the day before. But then every day after that… it got worse. I stopped being able to bend my knees, I lost function of my wrists and couldn’t touch the tips of my fingers to anything without a shooting nerve pain that felt like lightning. I couldn’t lift my leg over the tub to get in the shower, I couldn’t sit down to go pee. I started to lose the ability to walk… and then the swelling started.

I was waiting for a class I was about to teach to start & I felt funny in my legs. I looked down and in the matter of about an hours time… my left leg from the knee down was about 4 times the size it was supposed to be. Some students panicked, telling me I had a blood clot and acting like I was about to die. I had to teach… I had to suck it up and start my soon-to-become-normal trend of hiding what I was going through. 

Over the course of the next year of my life it didn’t get better, I did all the holistic and natural treatments. I did all the auto-immune and low mold diets. I did the CBD fad. Nothing worked. Nothing stopped the pain, even once I understood how to control the inflammation part naturally. People started turning away because I was no longer able to do all the crazy “yoga shapes” and handstand and hand balance. It broke their worldview of a yoga teacher because I had to wear shoes in classrooms – even though I made it clear that was the only way I could stand up or walk from the pain.

But here’s the thing… I have an “invisible disease.” I started the disease with a range-of-motion that was well beyond anything a typical person has so outwardly I looked … normal. Inside, I was in excruciating pain… but to function and maintain the brick & mortar – I had to go into extreme hiding of my disease and of my pain. I willed myself at that moment to take off my shoes and walk regardless of how much it hurt, I willed my body to start getting up and down from the floor like a “normal yoga teacher does.” And once again… people were happy. Well… people except me.

Everyday I got comments – Wow, You’re looking much better… you must be feeling good again. I smiled and said – Yep, thanks. It was a lie… an invisble lie to maintain what I’d built, and invisible lie to protect a community that had their own ideas of how I should be. But then it came to losing function of 2 of my fingers…

I was 40, I’d been told by a doctor that nothing was wrong and the swelling in my left leg (still 2x’s the size it was meant to be) was of all things – MY ANXIETY… WTF?! I was told the body does funny things when its anxious. Now let me tell you, I’ve had clinical anxiety my whole damn life and my left leg being abnormally swollen was not anxiety. Crack pot doctors. In January of 2019, I stood my ground and told the next crack pot doctor that he could go fly a kite and that I needed a referral to a rheumatologist.. that day. He said – Whoa… let’s run some tests and you’ll see nothing is wrong with you. 

2 days later, his nurse called me appologizing and explaining that my RA levels were actually 4 times what they should be and that I needed to see a rheumatologist immediately to get it under control. From there it was 9 months of failed testing because my range of motion exceeds the doctors testing limits for “pain indicators”, failed and life-threatening medicine reactions, rashes, anaphylaxis, ER visits & ambulance rides, and an MI event which injured my heart. I kept it all hidden sans a few blog posts here and there. But in the studio… I smiled and pretended I was doing just fine. That’s what people paid me for…. to hide it, so I did. 

Then one day in the middle of September I decided enough was enough. The pain from the seasons changing was increasing and I could feel my mobility decreasing. I understood one more medical emergency and I wasn’t going to be able to come to the brick & mortar. I understood the stress of the brick & mortar, the stress of the contractors, the expectations of students was all too much for me to heal the damage that had been done to my body, mind, and physical heart over the previous 9 months of medical treatment. 

I made the decision to close the brick & mortar after 11 years. It wasn’t received well. I spent a week trying to find a solution and then after about 4 events that confirmed this was the right decision, I decided it was done. When I finally came to that place, less than 12 hours later – I was nudged into a vision of exactly how I could save it… again… and this time open up to even more people who were in pain. It was time to put all of my global study experience and my 11 year brick & mortar experience together and build a live online studio for adults.

Over the next week I worked round the clock to build this online platform, testing and researching the best ways for exactly what my standards were to build. Offline, I was closing a brick & mortar and dealing with the unfortunate ugliness of people who simply could not fathom my “invisible disease” was that bad. I learned a lot about people, and I learned a lot about my disease over those last two weeks of the brick & mortar. 

Now that we’re fully transitioned online, my body aches like a f%&r every day… but I have the space to rest it. I have the ability to still work with my dedicated clients and teach my classses to those that support the vision and have found they love the transition online. I’m able to cook for myself again, I’m able to go for walks again… all things the brick & mortar stresses had taken away from me. After 12-13 hour days at the brick & mortar I couldn’t stand up any more, my hands and wrists hurt too bad to cut vegetables, and my wrists couldn’t even support the weight to dump a pan of water to drain simple pasta. But now, the transition online is giving me those simple life-tasks back.

It is my hope that our online studio thrives and that we can reach out to more people in pain, any kind of pain that is limiting the function of their lives. To reach those people who can’t make it to brick & mortar places and who need teachers that actually understand how to help the adult body regain practical daily function. We can only make it through the active support of people taking classes just like with any brick & mortar. 

The transition online has been built with a love and dedication to serving people who really need us to be here. After 11 years, I still show up every day… to serve a community. Now that community has gone global.

Join us for classes! If you have any questions, use the links to DM me. Book your class today!

XO,   💕Jenni