12 Years of SHY: Lessons from a Full Chinese Zodiac Cycle

Today marks a completion of one full cycle of the Chinese  Zodiac for SHY: 12 years. On this day, 12 years ago, I opened the doors to the first class. 4 people showed up. It was miraculous.

Every year of the Chinese Zodiac is assigned an animal with attributes to bring luck, good fortune, and prosperity to those who pay attention, and maybe also to teach a lesson and provide guidance in difficult times. 

Here are a few of my lessons from building the studio these past 12 years:

2007: We opened in the final months of the year of the Pig, whose overwhelming attribute is a kindness that can change the world. I don’t know that I set out to change the world, but I certainly needed to change my own world, and wanted to do so through the love and practice that is yoga. 

2008: Year of the Rat, whose attributes are creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. I certainly needed to channel the Rat in this first full year of business to keep the doors open!

2009: Year of the Ox with loyalty and friendship. I focused on building relationships this year, holding SHY’s first teacher training to build our staff. (Lori trained in this very first training and is still here sharing her wisdom with us!)

2010: Year of the Tiger with sensitivity and justice. I remember this being a difficult year both personally and professionally, feeling unsure of both the studio’s future and my own. 

2011: This Rabbit year, which embodies a friendly and personable nature, brought Yanni, also a rabbit, into my life. 

2012: Year of the Dragon, who knows how to dream big. We hosted our first international yoga retreat in Rhodes, Greece.

2013: Year of the Snake, who strives to give and receive unconditional love. We recommitted to our students and our mission when we re-opened in our current location in July of 2013.

2014: Year of the Horse, characterized by a strong work ethic and leadership. We restructured the studio’s offerings. We introduced the Barkan Method Vinyasa to the studio this year and made the shift away from 90 minute classes. 

2015: Year of the Goat, who is quiet but strong. We hosted our first Costa Rican Yoga Retreat in this year. (Our Spring 2020 Retreat marks our 4th Retreat to Costa Rica and our 6th Retreat overall!)

2016: Year of the Monkey, intelligent and playful. We kept moving onward, steady and strong.

2017: Year of the Rooster with progressive thinking. I published my book in this year to commemorate our 10 year anniversary. 

2018 Year of the Dog, a faithful protector of loved ones. I was challenged to trust in the years of building the studio and the continued faith of our students, looking ahead to see what we all needed to stay challenged and keep growing together.

2019 provided us a full year for the Pig with a kindness to change the world. We embraced two huge undertakings for the studio this year. The first was our Teacher Training collaboration with Jimmy Barkan last spring, and the second was our epic Know Thyself, Odyssey to Delphi, Greece Retreat in September. I hope these two experiences empowered all who participated to unlock and channel their own power to change the world, starting with their own.

I continue to learn from every one of you how to be a better person. 

You inspire me to be a better teacher and to do my best each day.

And as we now embark on our 13th year together, I really do believe that we have changed the world, or at least our own corner of it. I am blessed to know all of you. Let our best be yet to come.

Peace and blessings to all who have adventured through these doors and to all who will in the years to come.