Purnima joined Yoga District three years ago! Since then she has pretty much been running the show, leading with her heart forward. Even if you’ve never met her, Purnima is responsible for much of what you experience at Yoga District. Seeing the connection between her work and Yoga District’s heart-forward mission, Purnima performs every duty, large or small, with a lot of love. Purnima grew up on an ashram, is a touring devotee of Amma the hugging saint, and might be seen taking a selfie now and again. We hope you enjoy Purnima’s interview and please join us in celebrating her three years of loving service!
How long have you served the Yoga District community?
I’ve worked at Yoga District for three years, as of August 21 (though sometimes it feels way, way longer than that!)
How did you come to your administrative role at Yoga District?
In 2012, I moved to DC to live at Amma’s Ashram (my spiritual teacher and mentor) in Potomac, MD. I had just returned from a two-month tour with Amma around the United States as a seva staff volunteer. I had been living in Philly beforehand with some friends after time in college to figure out what was next. A couple weeks after arriving in DC, a friend of mine mentioned that her yoga studio was hiring an administrative person to take on a big role. Having grown up in Yogaville (an Ashram community in Virginia founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda) with some computer and admin. experience, I reached out to Jasmine. We soon met at Open City in Woodley Park for an interview (though it more felt like two old friends reconnecting over lunch) and voila — before I knew it, Yoga District became of one the most important and valued (and time consuming!;) parts of my life.
How has working with the administrative details at Yoga District nurtured, challenged, and transformed you?
When I first started working at Yoga District, I was on the cusp of turning 22 years old; now I’m nearly 25. Before this role, I hadn’t ever held a “real” job, so the learning curve intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually since then has been extremely varied in scope, capacity, and depth. As I reflect on this now, I’d say more than the daily administrative grind which can itself pose for endless teaching both internally and outwardly, it’s been the progression of being swept into the dramas (both good and bad) and pace of adult life that has added significant value to my life. I’ve been able to learn not only about the ins and outs of of running a small business, but have also gained insight into my own psyche. Every single day at Yoga District is so full of love, chaos, extremity, beauty, endless change (with many, many emails interspersed throughout!) — making way for perfect opportunities to self-reflect and question what we’re doing and why we’re here on earth. I’ve come to realize that the true factors propelling the mission forward ultimately come down to the collective love and compassionate strength of the entire community to look out for each other. Countless times I’ve come face to face with the caring nature in this community and it has been most transformative. I’ve learned compassion towards myself in a sometimes hectic work environment. I’ve seen many changes during my tenure that have provided invaluable insights about life’s constant changing nature, as well as how stability truly comes down to the proper foundation which was laid upon inception (being community love, in this case!). I’m grateful for the opportunity to embrace the details that keep the studios afloat because those have and continue to keep me grounded.
Also, a shout out to the most supportive admin team at Yoga District who have all put endless heart into the every day. Their friendship is forever cherished in my heart.
What is your favorite thing to do around town?
I enjoy walking from Adams Morgan down to the Lincoln Memorial on a summer evening around sunset and then enjoying a yummy meal. I also love the community building aspect of evening yoga classes and dinners with friends.
What is your favorite thing to do?
Travel; I feel that the world is so large and perspectives are so varied that the more we see, the more we understand, and thus the more we can serve. Also, it’s fun to see new places, meet new people, and experience new lifestyles. If the world is book, then I’m trying to read as many pages as I can.
If you had to describe your life in the form of a yoga pose, which pose would it be?
Pigeon pose! When I’m in pigeon pose, I’m working very hard in some ways but at the same time cruising along in a very comfy position. It feels so good! I can relate this very intimately to the story of my life. Historically, I find myself working all the time (no matter where I am nor what I am doing) and it can seem crazy and stressful at times, but in the end, I feel that I’m living a beautiful life with endless opportunities for which I’m endlessly grateful. I also connect with the surrender-like aspect of pigeon pose because for me it’s truly metaphoric for bowing down to the greater consciousness (which in my life has and continues to be Amma’s presence and grace).
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself having a bright and cozy small home somewhere on the beach surrounded by a yoga community. I’d imagine actively participating in community life and enjoying the company of friends for classes followed by yummy dinners. I imagine having received a formal education in mindfulness practices and various yoga trainings by that point, as well. I imagine that my friends and colleagues in our DC yoga community would be a part of this beach yoga town life. We’ll see what happens…
Please share a quote which resonates with you and your life?
“A person who runs away from life is not fit to be a spiritual seeker. That is why Krishna did not let Arjuna run away from the battlefield. Life is a battle. It is not something to be avoided. Furthermore, you cannot avoid it. What will you do to avoid it? You may run to the Himalayas, or to a forest, or to an Ashram in order to escape from life. But life will follow you there as well. Just as you cannot run away from death, you cannot run away from life. Wherever you go, death follows. Wherever you go, life also follows. You cannot avoid either; you can only transcend them.”
—Amma, Awaken Children, Vol. 4 p. 173
Oh, also, to hear more from Purnima about how this quote has moved her, check out her article in elephant journal: Insights from the Quarter Life Crisis of an Unconventional 20 Something!
Thanks for reading!