Churnings by Emily Gretz, Board President, PKSYHA

Bodies upon bodies, sacred cows roaming freely through the streets, entire families balanced onto bicycles and mopeds for transport, cars and trucks, gas and manually powered tuk-tuks, and so many people.  There seemed to be no system; no stop signs, directional signals, stop lights or police.  The honking was incessant, aggravating, and infuriating while the scents included cow manure and curry. The physical presence of so many people, the dichotomy of seeing Mercedes Benz dealers housed above cardboard homes; this was my introduction to Varanasi, India.

To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement.  I had no words for how to process the immensity of stimuli that were surrounding me as I was transported through the streets to an even more densely populated area along the Ganges to receive more sensation.    My mind couldn’t filter and file the number of sensory experiences that were flying at me.  By the end of the night I was a combination of angry, sad and nauseous – overwhelmed.

Recently, my business partner, Shelbi Miles, and I sold Crofton Yoga to our friend and fellow director, Kim Murphy.  The sale was everything we could have hoped for: the right person with the right intentions at the right time.  However, the experience was emotionally rocky; twelve years defined me as a studio owner.  At the same time, my family was escalating our youngest daughter toward high school graduation and what will soon be an empty nest; 20 years defined me as primary caretaker to my children. I’m working to launch PK Kids 95-hour program and in the midst of this change, I became the President of the PKSYHA Board.

Do you remember the feelings associated with the first time you held Navasana until your nervous system and mind were screaming at you? Perhaps you’ve had a similar feeling walking through the streets of New York City on a holiday weekend accosted by sensation. Maybe your churnings have come when trying to navigate a new job, relationship or school.

Thankfully, our practice, and the teachings given to us by Yoganand and delivered by our many learned directors have given me the tools to face these churnings.   As Pranakriya practitioners we have the ability to raise energy and hold it and in so doing strengthen our containers.  And, in the end there is a sweetness, bliss, a knowledge that we have what it takes to handle the stressors that are being thrown at us.

As the dust settles on these hectic few months I see the sweetness of pride in having “launched” my children in the right direction, shared my wisdom on children’s yoga, and contributed to PK in a useful and productive way.

As Pranakriya goes through its own experience of chalana I am reminded to sit with the experience; feel and watch – look for the lessons; for there is sweetness and growth on the other side of the churning.

The Board and I are working hard to shift with the times and face the school’s chalana by creating an operational structure that is commensurate with the budget and make the best use of the volunteers who have made themselves available.

We are calling upon you, the members of our community to reach out at if you’d like to contribute in a small or large way to the future of Pranakriya.  Committees are being formed around finance, marketing, curriculum, membership, fundraising, operations and counsel.  Join us in creating a strong future for PKSYHA.