A Big Change at Queen Street Yoga: A Letter from QSY Owner/Director, Meaghan Johnson

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Dear Queen Street Yoga,

As of December 1st, there will be a new steward of Queen Street Yoga. I am pleased to announce that Leena Miller, who has shared her gifts as a teacher and administrator at the studio for the past three years, will be stepping into the role of Owner and Director of Queen Street Yoga. I will be continuing my journey into higher education in Communication, Facilitation and Youth Intervention at Concordia University, in Montreal. 

So, that is the big news! Please rest assured that Leena will honour all of your passes in the transition to her ownership, and we hope you will continue to practice at QSY for years to come. QSY will continue to offer alignment-based yoga classes with thoughtfulness and heart, as well as informative workshops and fun community events.

If you want the longer history of my experience with the studio and how this decision came about, please read on below.

Yours, with love and appreciation,

Meaghan Johnson

I walked up the stairs to QSY seven years ago, and almost instantly thought to myself, “I have no choice, I have to open a yoga studio here!” Two months later, QSY opened, and there was no looking back! My hopes for the studio were for it to become a centre for high quality instruction of yoga and meditation, an inclusive space where people could feel comfortable and encouraged to love who they are, and a community that would celebrate life, with all of its messiness, its ups and downs, its successes and failures. 

I also wanted to stay connected to my earlier work in social work, and for the studio to be a foundation from which we could work with organizations in the community, making these practices more accessible. I also wanted to make a living, where my well-being and health would be taken care of, so I could do the work I felt called to do. I can confidently say that all of my dreams for the studio came true, and then some! 

About two years ago, I started to feel the call of new dreams. My work with youth groups and social work agencies began to feel more exciting to me then anything else. In the winter of 2012, I came back to full time teaching after my sabbatical, with the intention of running the studio full time and continuing these projects on the side. However, through a reflection process with Leena and Emma, facilitated by Jean Robertson (who is amazing to work with and we highly recommend!), it became clear that this was not the direction that my heart was calling me to take. Voicing this truth to them was probably one of the most heart breaking conversations I have ever had. More challenging than any break up by far. We all had a period of time of deep grief, confusion, and worry about what would happen next. I am really proud of us for how we worked through this time in the months that followed.

I had always assumed that when it was time for me to move on, I would have to close the studio. This thought broke my heart, because I love this community. However, my desire for it to thrive and continue, and my desire to go to university were deeply at odds. As Leena took on more of a leadership role in the last year, though, it became clear that there could be another option! She showed passion and heart for the practice of yoga, deep care for her students and fellow yoga teachers, and business and organization skills that I deeply admired. I realized that QSY could continue in the same spirit that it was born out of, and that with her new energy and skill sets, the community could grow in new and exciting ways. With Emma’s support as a facilitator, co-manager, and rockin’ yoga teacher, with the trade program in place, and with some new and talented teachers, I am feeling confident about the future of QSY. 

I will be teaching until December 17th. The Monday 6pm class will be free and open to all, we are going to follow it with snacks, champagne and big hugs. I will also be leading a daylong community retreat of movement and meditation on November 24th. Please save both of these dates and join me! 

Through this process I have been touched by the words of James Hollis in his book, The Middle Passage: 

“Grief is the occasion for acknowledging the value of that which has been experienced. Because it has been experienced, it cannot be wholly lost. It is retained in the bones and in the memory, to serve and guide the life to come.”

I feel soft and sad as I write this, and so incredibly grateful to all of you who have been with me on this journey for all or part of the past seven years. I think about the fact that the body regenerates all of its cells in a seven year time frame, it seems so fitting the whole of the body I currently inhabit has been shaped by my experiences with all of you. This city, this community, YOU, allowed me to live out a very big dream, make something wonderful happen, something so wonderful it will continue long after I leave it! Through QSY I have felt like I have done something of true value with the first ten years of my adulthood. From this foundation, I am feeling confident and excited to create more beauty in this world.

I will carry you, QSY, in my bones and in my heart and in each step of this new adventure.

Yours, with love, Meaghan 

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