Lauren and Grace

At a certain point amidst this pandemic something started to nag at me. I wasn’t able to talk to you. I couldn’t find out what is going on with you, ask you questions about your family and how your body is feeling. I was starting to feel a bit lost.
And then, I thought of all of you! You would all come to the studio and talk with each other, catch up, sometimes see classmates you haven’t seen in a while and enjoy the consistency of the people you do see every week. I felt the loss of our community for myself and for all of you.
My fear is that when we are able to return to the studio safely in larger numbers, that we won’t take the time to share how big of an impact this pandemic has been in our lives. That we will go back to business as usual as we breathe and stretch and focus together.

So, I said to myself, OMG we need to process! We need to hold space for each other, we need to just look into the eyes of our friends and loved ones and be seen. We need to know that even though we are in isolation, we haven’t gone through this alone. I began to ask myself, how do we gather? How do we come together, hold space for each other and still stay safe? And then the answer came. We need to walk. Not to march, but to walk. We need to move our body from one place to another to represent the transition of time, of ground covered and we need to do it together and we need to do it in silence. We need to feel the togetherness of each other and stay safe.
On March 16th, 2020 we were ordered by the State of Connecticut to close our businesses until further notice due to the Covid-19 virus and we haven’t been at full capacity since. We discontinued some classes and took the rest online. We kept the teachers that didn’t already have full time jobs. Then, in the Summer, we did outdoor classes, Paddle Board Yoga classes and Yoga with Gongs in The Courtyard. We purchased more Pilates Reformers so when we could have people in the studio again, we could still offer amazing workouts. We’ve gotten ourselves on a little more solid ground, albeit in a different way. But we still miss all of you!

So mark your calendar!
On Saturday March 20th, at 2pm, we will be gather together for a Silent Walk (#silentwalk). We will walk masked for an hour around town to gather in solidarity and solitude to reflect on the events of the past year. The changes, challenges, losses and lessons learned. We will reflect on the people we know that have gone through those events as well. We will reflect on things we never dreamed of having to face. We will see our friends and our community as we walk and we will know we are not alone.
We do not need to speak, as the heart knows another heart, and the breath joins us as one. There will be time for words, time to share, time to catch up. This Silent Walk (#silentwalk) is for your soul, our soul and the soul of the collective who have travelled with us on Earth during this time in space.
I ask you to Invite your friends, family, co-workers we are all one here. You are not alone and we truly are, in this together.

As much as we all need time off I have to admit a day of non-scheduled time makes me anxious. It’s like a kid in a candy store there are so many tasks to choose from I can’t decide which one to do and I end up not getting anything done. I check my phone 10,000 times to see if there’s something I’m missing, something I SHOULD be doing. But nothing pressing shows up. The last time this happened I realized I should of made a list or at least planned out my day. Structure and order keep us from going off the deep end and yet too much of the same makes us stir crazy too. As we know, we just had a year of it.

In the past it used to get so bad I would sit on the couch and just stare at nothing, not even the T.V.. I was paralyzed and had such a feeling of dread that something bad was going to happen. Opening my own business was helpful as of course there is always something to do. Sometimes not things I want to do but I could fall back on the monotonous tasks if I wanted. Then it was more procrastination and not a deer in the headlights type of feeling.

A recent phone call to my mother (always good to get advice from those who have lived more than you) reminded me that she always had a job jar. That’s a jar of little papers that have a job listed on each one. Then when it’s time to get something done all you have to do is pick a job. It reduces the stress of the decision making.

It’s easy to be busy. To fill up your days with so much work and to do’s and appointments that you don’t have time to just be. Which can be very scary at times. From now on I will make a plan but not plan too much, take a break but not for too long and move my body so I can find time for rest.

You may be thinking geesh, that’s a silly question, of course I am!
But really, how many times do you push gifts away and say, “I can’t take that”, “you shouldn’t have”, or worse, reject compliments by saying, “you don’t mean that”, “that’s what you say to everyone”, “stop lying”. If this sounds familiar to you then it’s time to love yourself more. And that is no easy task.
We may have received messages from our family, friends, culture or religion that we are not worthy of love. That we are innately flawed and that we need to do more, and be more, in order to be loved. That we must fit in a tight mold in order to be loved. That love must come from accolades outside of us or from other people. This belief is destroying us. It’s destroying our relationships, communities and our families. People in our life want to love us, but if we don’t love ourselves we will reject their expressions of love (i.e. gifts, adoration, kindness, wanting to spend time with you, etc.) and they end up feeling hurt and rejected.
The mere fact that you exist means you are loved, and we simply must practice deeply loving ourselves. That doesn’t just mean booking a massage in the middle of the day. It means looking at how we treat ourselves. It means looking at the quality of our self talk. It means looking at our reactions. It means looking at our habits or addictions, whether they be eating, drinking, exercise, or work. It means looking at why we push good away, why we can’t take in a compliment.
It’s so easy to be critical of ourselves or others and becomes downright habitual. When was the last time you challenged your thoughts or beliefs?
Why do I feel unworthy of that? Why can’t I just say thank you to a compliment? Why do I believe I don’t deserve………..? Why do I think they deserve it more than me? Why am I jealous they got it?
So this Valentine’s Day let’s focus on loving ourselves profoundly by trying some of the following;

  • Write a list of all the things you don’t like about yourself. Then on the same paper write a list of the things you do like about yourself. Which list is longer? How would you feel if this is what a friend that you loved and cherished list looked like? You might feel compassion, love, empathy. Can you feel that way towards yourself?
  • Write down the messages you received throughout your life that contributed to the belief you are not good enough to be loved. Were they subtle or direct? Subtle would be listening to your mother body shaming herself. Direct would be listening to her body shaming you.
  • Spend some time doing eye gazing with yourself. Find a place you can feel comfortable and begin to look at yourself in the mirror and watch what messages or thoughts arise. You can even write them down. Then look at yourself as if you are looking into the eyes of your younger self. What are the messages that arise now?
  • I would even encourage you to do some of these items in tandem with someone else. Find a friend who will do them as well and share what you’ve discovered.

I wouldn’t tell you any of this if I haven’t done it myself. Loving yourself is not an easy road, but if you are truly committed to wanting better communication, better relationships and feeling more grounded in your life, I highly recommend it.

Pain can play a BIG ROLE in your life. More than you even know. Pain affects your physical health, your mental health, and your relationships. It can also reduce the amount of enjoyment you get out of life.

Pain can show up once in a while, or it can be a sharp shooting pain that comes out of nowhere, or it can be a dull ache or a chronic mind numbing, “I can’t think of anything else!” pain.  

Pain doesn’t just live in the body. Pain can make you cranky and short tempered. You may find yourself angry or irritated when your loved ones ask, “do you know where the toothpaste is?”

When you have constant pain it can take over your whole life, your relationships and your ability to work. When the body is in pain it is a messenger that something is wrong or misaligned. It is an alarm, a warning signal. It can be from years of neglect, mis-alignment, an old injury, or a position that we take for long periods of time such as sitting.

At Fuller Yoga Pilates and Massage we know about pain. We know about chronic pain. We have lived with pain. We have worked diligently using yoga, Pilates and other modalities to reduce, eliminate and learn what steps to take to get out of our pain.

So have our students. Some of them come with tears in their eyes because of pain and leave seeing hope and feeling better than when they walked in. We see relief as their bodies get back into alignment, the muscles start working properly again and they learn which bad posture habits got them there. We’ve seen how high quality yoga and Pilates can make a huge difference in relieving pain.

When the pain starts to dissipate and we can breathe again, we no longer hesitate with the anticipation of pain when reaching for something or getting out of bed. We can smile again and more importantly we can get our life back and be with our loved ones in a much more loving way.
Although yoga and Pilates are not a cure all we know that whether you have neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain or hip pain, creating better posture and alignment, strength and structure through the bones, muscles joints can make a big difference in alleviating pain in the body and we’d love to help.

Book a private today either in person or via Zoom for 20% off your first session. Call 860-430-9642 or email to reserve an appointment.

As much as this year has brought sadness and tragedy it has also brought gifts, revelations and new ways of being in the world.
For me, I’ve learned that my heart is the guiding light to building a web of connection and community that will literally last a lifetime. I’ve learned it’s ok to let my lighter, playful side out. I’ve allowed myself to laugh more, take more emotional risks, and that, even if I fail, I grow by trying.
My practice of yoga over the years has taught me to let go of attachments, to soften when it feels hard and that I must hold both the light and the dark at the same time to be whole and human. I’ve learned to release judgement of myself and others as much as I can and that my journey is both unique to me, and at the same time holds the general human story of misfortune and blessings we all experience.
What have you learned abut yourself or life from this year and your practice of yoga?
So, it’s with nervousness and vulnerability I announce that moving forward I will be resuming my legal birth name, Lauren. Justine is an amazing alter ego that I cultivated to protect me from life events that, as a young person, I wasn’t ready or able to handle on my own.
I know it can be hard to change how you address someone you’ve known for many years, but I am excited to get to know Lauren and rediscover the innocent, light, compassionate young person I remember myself to be.
I don’t know what 2021 will bring, but I am ready for more success, more joy, more love and more fulfillment as I have been given the gift of being a conscious human being on this planet, aren’t you ready too?
With a light heart,
Lauren Justine Fuller

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Happy Thanksgiving!

December 20, 2020

Wow! What an amazing year!
As I sit back and reflect on this year I have to express how incredibly grateful I am to all you, our students, teachers and colleagues who have supported us over the last 9 months. Not only with your memberships but also asking us how we are doing and checking in to see if the doors are still open.
It’s incredible that all of you made the pivot with us as we took the studio online and navigated our way to safety this year. The fun part of it is keeping in touch with you and being able to offer many different workshops and classes via Zoom.
This Thanksgiving let’s open our hearts to those in need and those who have lost loved ones. It will be a hard holiday season with so many people grieving. We know we can’t make people feel better or take away their sadness, nor would we want to as it’s part of the healing process. But, what we can do for those we know and even those we don’t is hold a space of compassion and empathy so that they can heal, so we can heal, so our country and the world can heal.
Be grateful you are here. Whatever this year has brought you, you are either stronger for it or wiser or happier but none the less you are still here to love yourself and each other.
Get centered to start your holiday.Join us for our 10th Annual Thanksgiving Yoga class!Share with your friends and family
With big gratitude,
Lauren Justine and the Fuller Yoga Family

“I do believe we’re all connected. I do believe in positive energy. I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe in putting good out into the world. And I believe in taking care of each other.” Harvey Fierstein

Here in the Western world we think the purpose of yoga is to become flexible, stretch our bodies, tighten our cores, get a yoga butt and if we’re lucky maybe even reduce stress.  But, the truth is…that’s all wrong!  Although these are the positive-side benefits of a yoga practice, they are far from the true purpose of yoga postures.

You see, the true purpose of a yoga pose is to create an environment in which we experience sensation.  In this case, physical sensation.  By doing so, we can then observe how we react around that sensation.  What is our approach to that sensation?  Do we get angry, feel like giving up, start giving the teacher the evil eye?  To be aware of our responses to sensation means we can open the door to being able to make choices.  Because we become aware, we can take that moment to decide how we want to react, or if we want to react at all.

Now, how is this relevant to daily life you might ask?  Well, when your kid is screaming at the top of his/her lungs, and you notice your body begin to tighten up, with the practice you’ve put in on your yoga mat, you can then have a choice on how you want to react.  Say someone at work says something demeaning and disrespectful.  Your body begins to feel hot and angry.  Upon noticing that, you can now choose how you want to handle the situation.  So then, our children and our co-workers become opportunities for us to awaken.  These gifts help free ourselves from the automatic responses that may cause more trouble than just blowing off steam.

And how can this awareness around sensation help our relationship with ourselves?  Well, when we put ourselves into a warrior II pose and begin to complain to ourselves about how weak we are, or tell ourselves we could never hold it that long, then we get the opportunity to change the self-talk to something more positive like, hey, I’m here aren’t I?  Or well, THIS is how we build endurance.  In opposition, if you are the type of person to always push too hard, you might notice yourself feeling the burn in warrior II and your first response would be to go deeper than everyone else, stay longer than everyone else.  Around this awareness you may choose to give yourself a break, do something differently, or even back off a bit and avoid injury. This can lead to real self-care and compassion.

The ancient philosophers knew “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  All the external things in the world won’t bring you lasting happiness, but having the consciousness to choose your thoughts and actions… well, it just might get us close.

I’ve been hearing it from the teachers at the studio.  They feel lost.  Not sure what to do.  How to plan their lives.  With 5 yoga/Pilates studios closed since this all began the reality is sinking in.  But here at Fuller Yoga, we are hopeful.  We just purchased more Pilates Reformers so we can have the most comprehensive workouts available to those of you who want to come in.  And with only be 3 people per class and plenty of social distancing it’s the perfect way to stay in shape and out of pain.  We have a select number of classes on our schedule for you to come into the studio so you can get a change of scenery and a little sacred space.  We are social distancing, cleaning, wearing masks and since everyone will 6ft apart you are not required to wear them during yoga.  Not only that, we have Courtyard Yoga at the back of Glen Lochen every Friday night at 5:30pm which is incredibly lovely with the warm weather, shade and just enough breeze to cool you off.

But wait!  I told you that there was one thing you needed to do to not feel SO LOST.  So what is it?

Consistency!  Now is the time to nail down that committed time to join a yoga, Pilates or barre class. Fire up your laptop and take a Zoom class with us.  Pick your days Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30am?  or will it be Monday at Wednesdays at 6pm?  We even have Monday and Fridays at 11am.  Whatever time works for you, put it in your schedule, RIGHT NOW!  Here’s the link.  I mean it do it now otherwise you, like most of us, you will put it off.  Although we do have an on demand library of videos I still believe that holding yourself responsible for showing up every week is exactly what we all need to feel grounded and not lost in the sauce.  Turn off the news and turn on your intuition.  Start identifying what you like, what you really want and what makes your heart sing.  Put the classes in your schedule, don’t cheat yourself and commit to the gift of loving yourself with a consistent yoga and Pilates practice.  I mean it do it TODAY!

Thank you to our dedicated teachers and loyal students!

In the era of Coronavirus who knows what the answers are?  Here in Connecticut our Governor Ned Lamont is telling us that gym/studios can open as of June 17th.  However, we must be 6 ft apart and wear masks.  Or, we can be 12 ft apart and not wear masks.  I prefer no masks.

So, that leaves us with a max capacity of 5 students to a class and a whole lot of cleaning to do.  And, since we have been financially impacted I have to ask, will it help pay the rent?  Currently, we have 20 classes online and most folks are feeling pretty safe with that.  Plus, we are putting together a video library for students who can’t make the live classes.  Not to mention the warnings about the cases getting worse in the Fall.

No one wants to have to think about all these things.  I’m exhausted.  My brain is exhausted.  I’ve made more decisions in the last 3 months than the last 3 years!  As I hear of yoga studios closing due to Covid-19 I don’t want us to be one of them.  How long will we have to socially distance?  Can we  sustain financially month after month after month?  We want to stay in business!  We want (when it’s safe to come out) to have a sanctuary, a place to process, space to decompress and restore our bodies and minds.  We want our community to re-connect with the people they have bonded with over the last 9 years.  That will be our path to healing.  And, in years to come we can say, “do you remember when…….” and the new students at Fuller Yoga will say, “what was that like?”

Since we have the green light to open here is our solution.  Students can book private and semi-private classes from 1-5 people for you, your family or friends either in the studio, outdoors or via zoom.  We will open some group classes limited to 5 people and specialty classes will slowly come back on the schedule.  And our favorite new class will be Courtyard Yoga, a donation based class every Friday night at 5:30 pm starting July 3rd weather permitting.  Look out for free Intro to Yoga classes as well as fun workshops online and outdoors throughout the summer.

We’ll get through this, together.

The word yoga means to yoke to bring together.  So it’s fitting to look at bringing yoga and the black community together.  When I talk about yoga to those who don’t practice I always hear the same things.  Oh, I can’t do yoga.  Isn’t it hard?  But I’m not flexible.  Do I have to chant om?  I can’t be in class with those skinny girls.  Is it a religion?  And this is just from “white people”.  So I asked my yoga trainees of color, how can we break down the stereotypes of yoga for communities of color?  How can we make yoga more inviting and less intimidating?  I hear others in the yoga community talk of making yoga more affordable to people of color and I think now that’s stereotypical.  To assume just because of the color of someone’s skin that they don’t have money?  So, if they are Jewish we should charge them more?  Everyone needs a break now and then but it shouldn’t depend on the color of their skin.

I appreciate the #yoga5BLM and all the Caucasians standing up for people of color and yes we DO need to raise our voices.  It HAS gone on too long.  It IS injustice.  But, I have to ask, who among you has a black friend?  Who among you have reached out to your black co-worker to find out “how are you with all this?”  Does your child have black friends?   Maybe their aren’t many people of color in your area but if there are, are you really reaching out where you can?  Are you really there to emotionally support those you know of color?  Have you really been a true neighbor?  Have you asked, do you need anything?  Because, until we are together as friends and neighbors this #yoga4BLM is only a moment. Where those people posting slick Instagram images get to feel powerful for standing up for something, which is great don’t get me wrong, but back it up.  Put some muscle into it.  Don’t let it just be the statement of 2020, the post on your feed, that time period when…  Let your commitment be real.   Take a virtual class from Afro Flow Yoga™, or somewhere else that looks interesting, start making friends and neighbors of color, for now and all the days to come and your life will be much much fuller.