Nurture CEO.

I am directing my first board meeting today. 

It has been a twenty-year hiatus for me from the business sector. I was busy building a house, making a home, forming strong friendships for myself in the community. I raised two wonderful human beings. I farmed a bit: horses, chickens lots of dogs. I dabbled in fund raising and board work. Mostly I did yoga. Lots of yoga.

I had a vision a year ago, while in a training with Yoga Behind Bars, to start a yoga service organization here in Maine. I met my first founding board member there and we bonded. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to bring the healing power of yoga to underserved folks here?” I followed my vision to more yoga trainings; on trauma, eating disorders and addiction. I followed it to philanthropy workshops, conferences, into prisons and treatment centers and countless meetings in coffee shops to talk to like- minded people. The vision grew. The mission grew. It started to become a reality when I was able to convince seven extremely talented and accomplished individuals to join my board and to help me grow this organization.

I am now the Board President, and Founder of Sea Change Yoga. We are in the business of bringing the healing power of yoga to people who need it most. It's an actual business with by-laws, officers, financial statements and strategic goals. We have work plans, fund-raising strategies and we cultivate partnerships. We train people about trauma sensitive yoga and teach people in prisons and other settings and track results. We write grants. We change lives. We have come a long way since that original vision.

Yoga practice has helped me through a lot of rough patches. It has provided me with the equanimity I have needed to roll with all of the changes that inevitably come to every life. It made me a much better parent, partner and friend. And then yoga provided me with a direction for my next chapter as my kids left for college.

I spoke to my son this morning. I told him I was running my first board meeting today. He assured me I would be great and not to be nervous. "Stick to your agenda, Mom, and keep things on time.” That's almost exactly what his father said, too. When I confessed that it was weird getting back into the business world after two decades focusing on family he didn't skip a beat. "That gives you a really powerful perspective." What a kid- how did he get so wise?

Yoga keeps me on my toes. Just when I get comfortable it brings me face to face with sides of myself that I am not comfortable with. The challenge for me, both on and off the mat, is to have faith in myself and in the process as it unfolds. It's easier to turn away from things that are not natural to me. I am a nurturer. I am learning to be CEO. In order for my dream to become reality I have to be both. Yoga is peeling me like an onion- just the way Patanjali predicted. It gives me strength and flexibility. On and off my mat.

This is why I do yoga and why I want to offer it to others.

Diana Lee