There are just a few more days left to wrap up 2018.  For me, this week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is always an opportunity to reflect on the past year and to look forward to what’s coming next. It’s a chance to get ready to make a fresh start when that last page of the calendar goes into the recycling bin!

2018 was a big year for me. Moving back to Sarasota, FL from Thailand was really a big deal. It’s been wonderful to reconnect with friends, students, family and teachers. It’s been a great opportunity to fully recommit myself to the yoga center, and to yoga in general. I think many of us go through waves of uncertainty- we ask ourselves, “what am I really doing? Am I making a difference? Does any of this matter?” I know I can have the tendency to get caught up in my own shadow of self-doubt, but it only takes a little spark of inspiration to rekindle the flames of passion, dedication, and commitment to what I know is worthwhile and important.

One of my yoga teachers once told me of a dream she had where yoga teachers were small candles, each a single flame in the darkness, lighting up the candles of other teachers and students around them. In the end, I think that is really the ultimate job of any yoga teacher, to inspire others to find and shine their light. It’s truly not about touching your toes, nailing a handstand, or holding a plank pose. It’s about finding yourself, and it’s really hard to do that when you’re alone in the dark.

I am grateful to my yoga teachers who have helped me find myself in the dark places, including Betsey Downing, Jaye Martin, and Todd Norian. I am grateful for my family and friends who put up with me when I get weird and hunker down in the darkness for a while. (They always help to pull me up!) I am grateful to the GoH community for holding everything together while I was away. I am looking forward to a beautiful 2019, which will be full of joy, discovery, inspiration, and the inevitable sadness and frustration that comes with living in the world! I’m excited to be here with you, and hope that we get a chance to connect more deeply this year. I look forward to spending time celebrating our bodies, minds and hearts in this never-ending yoga of self-discovery.


With love and best wishes for a bright new year,


Cheryl Chaffee, Director, Garden of the Heart Yoga Center