July 23 • 05:39 AM

Reality is better than the dream!

October 11, 2017
Friday, 5:35 p.m.

I'm at the new studio. I feel like I have to pinch myself. Is this really real? Was it just a mere year ago that I was torturing challenging conditioning my body in yoga teacher training?

And today, am I standing inside Studio 3 in the brand new Extreme Dance Studio Inc. location where the Fashion Bug store used to be in the Kroger Plaza? Do things like this really happen when you resist nothing and just keep following the path that winds through all of the fear and uncertainty right down to the middle of your soul?

I shake off the question and get back to the task at hand. Preparing the space that was created especially for the Peaceful Moon Yoga practice and the students who have graced me with their energy, their support, their humor and their helpfulness.

We're still in the 'under construction' phase but the spaces are ready enough to use. From the exquisite and gorgeously appointed lobby to the mirrored studios within the walls, this new space is bursting with the positive energy and good vibes of people doing what they love.

Sue Howard, who opened Extreme Dance 15 years ago, has created a community in which it's difficult to tell friends from family. Everyone feels like family there, and when everyone feels at home and welcome and at ease, there's the sort of easy-going merriment and joy that you'd find around the kitchen table at a good friend's home.

In fact, the whole thing feels like going home. Or getting home. This place, this moment, this new adventure as a yoga teacher fits. And I'm in love again.

5:40 p.m.

Cindy Fuller is the first student to arrive. She's been a student ever since I opened Peaceful Moon in May of this year. She's also an outstanding example of the small world syndrome that affects a small community like Imlay City. Cindy is married to Chris Fuller. Chris Fuller is an amazingly gifted woodworker and was the subject of one of my columns in this space a couple of years ago as he sold the exquisite crosses and other items he made at the Imlay City Farmers Market. He and I became friends, and he ended up doing some custom work for my aunt—making her vision of the 'Peaceful Plant' cross a reality.

I knew none of this until Cindy signed in for her first class. Today, she says she's become 'hooked on yoga,' so she drives from North Branch to attend.

Soon after Cindy's arrival, Deb comes in. She's full of positivity and compliments about the new space. Jackie from Dryden soon follows. We laugh about the mirrors in the studio, wondering when someone will design one that will make us all look young and thin.

Tammy—another of my faithfullest practitioners who is open to all sorts of fitness adventures. An Imlay area resident, Tammy's flexibility and ability to tackle some of the more challenging poses has been an inspiration to me, and to other practitioners too. I mean she actually does pushups after we've held plank pose for one full that's amazing.

Kathy Murray follows, as does Dave Watterson, the lone male who faithfully comes to class. Again I find out I've known him before. He and his wife used to operate The Queen's Cottage, an eclectic gift and decor shop in downtown Imlay City. I loved that store, as did my colleague Tom 'Tommy Boy' Wearing.

Two newcomers join the mix—another Debbie and Angelica. I am beside myself with gratitude and joy.

Is this really real? Feeling good and strong and centered and balanced, teaching yoga inside a studio that was created for my practice? Is this happening to the woman who just a mere year ago wondered if she made the right decision by entering teacher training and lamented if she'd even get through it?

6 p.m rolls around. The lights are dim. We sit with eyes closed, drawing in deep inhales and letting go with every exhale. Finding peace and perfection in the present moment.

Email Catherine at

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
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