Yogis of the month: Kim & Erin Mackay

Kim Mackay:

Ta-Da! (sana)

Two and a half years ago and well into my empty nest phase, I decided to take stock of my life: job fulfilling and secure? check; daughters launched and happy? check; 1/2 of husband’s perpetual home improvement list completed? check; life good? double check. So I began thinking of ways to further enrich my life. I turned to “the Google” and conducted a search for volunteer opportunities in Arlington, interesting sounding continuing education classes, and lastly (cue heavy sigh), fitness possibilities. Mysteriously, I found my fingers typing out “yoga studios in Arlington” and up popped Tranquil Space. Being brand new to yoga, I freely admit that what initially attracted me to the studio was its proximity to my home, its available parking (a huge plus in Arlington!), and the $50, one month unlimited yoga pass. After my first class with Colleen (back then I called it “class”- I have come such a long way…) I knew yoga was for me; I have been standing tall in my Ta-Da! (sana) ever since.

I have grown to really love Tadasana. I love the strength I feel grounding my feet to the earth, extending the crown of my head to the sky, opening my palms and my heart-center to the space in front of me and to the world beyond me. Greater depth comes still when I tuck my tail bone and slide my shoulder blades down my back – for it is then that my core becomes engaged. Wow, what a feeling! And that’s when my internal voice starts singing “I am woman, hear me roar!” Yoga has taught me to honor myself on any given day – to be OK when my “tree” wobbles, when my “crow” does a face plant, or when my “dog” is nothing but a floppy puppy. I appreciate and value that space to be what I am in that moment.

An added benefit of yoga at TS is looking to my left during practice and seeing my daughter Erin on the mat next to mine. I can’t think of any better mother/daughter bonding experience. To hear her breath over mine, catch her small smile as she successfully extends to headstand, or sense her total relaxation during Savasana are cherished moments for me. On the eve of my Level I teacher training course, Erin surprised me with a bouquet of sunflowers and lavender, Ghirardelli chocolates, and a beautiful card which said how proud she was of me. Imagine that – she was proud of me! Yoga really does flip things on its head!

I look forward to many more years of yoga at TS with its amazing teachers, friendly studio assistants, and dedicated students – we are yogis one and all!

Erin Mackay:

I started going to Tranquil Space 13 months ago, after my wonderful mother bought me a $50 newbie yoga pass. This was a big deal. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not an athletic person. I was affectionately referred to as the “spirit” of the swim team (a polite way of saying I was horribly slow). I dreaded grade school field days like most kids stressed over standardized tests. The high school PE requirement to run the mile was so traumatizing, that I cheated one year and asked my mom to write me a note to excuse me from class the next year (thanks mom!).

Given this, I still marvel that I made it through that first month at Tranquil Space – and kept coming back for more. My mom had been practicing at TS for a while, and I think she recognized that I could benefit from the unique therapy that yoga offers – part physical health, part mental, part emotional.

I battled an eating disorder for much of my high school and college years, and while I consider myself to be in recovery, maintaining a positive body image is a daily struggle. Practicing yoga has helped me learn to honor my body, rather than criticize it. The sense of achievement that comes from gradual progress in various asanas has redirected my focus away from what I think my body looks like, to appreciate what it can DO.

I am grateful for the amazing TS Arlington staff who, with their gentle but firm assists, have served as guides along this journey. The role they have unwittingly played in my life, and I suspect in many others, is a testament to the success of the studio’s vision and values. And I feel privileged to have made this journey alongside my mom.

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