Our Yogi of the Month, Dr. Marjorie Arca, moved from Wisconsin to Rochester about a year and a half ago to become the new surgeon-in-chief at Golisano Children’s Hospital. She might be newer to breathe, but she’s not new to yoga and has been practicing for a long time!
We are so glad she discovered breathe and we also want to express our gratitude for Marjorie and the rest of our community working in the medical field, especially during the pandemic. Thank you!
MARJORIE’S YOGI OF THE MONTH INTERVIEW:
“COVID kind of pulled the rug out from under us, right? So our usual places to go for comfort, our usual places to go for peace, somehow [weren’t] there anymore. Thankfully breathe said, ‘Okay, we'll try online.’ I love the fact that we all learned together. Like [when breathe started online classes] the teacher said, ‘Okay, last week, this kind of worked for me, but this week, it didn't, so let's just try this another way.’ And I think it showed that they were learning with us. It showed that they're as vulnerable as we are as well.
I would say that COVID changed us, it is changing us, it's still not over. But I think having the practice -- it is a constant. It is the time for you to just kind of say, ‘I will do this for me for an hour or an hour and 15 minutes, and I'll be a better me. I'll be a kinder me, I'll be a less-stressed me.’ And then hopefully I can send that along to other [people], whatever peace there is, whatever you got out of it.
In March, as you remember, everything shut down and at that time, I was by myself. I have a husband who's an internal medicine doctor. My daughter is graduating this year [from] college, and my son was graduating high school. So we made a decision that my husband was going to stay back [in Wisconsin] while my son is still in high school. And so I was by myself [in Rochester]. For months I did not see my family. Like celebrating birthdays, Mother's Day, anniversaries, Father's Day, not seeing them at all. And that's why my virtual community of yogis really was life changing.
I will tell you though, I'm old enough, and I've been practicing long enough, that this is not the first life altering thing, right? My biggest tragedy in my adult life was losing my mom about seven years ago. And I remember being on the mat and holding onto it like a prayer, where, you know, you just try to go through it. You go through the moments, and then you get to savasana. You just feel like everything is collapsing, and you just go, ‘breathe in, breathe out.’ [You] find grief and sorrow and face it for five minutes on the mat, just saying, ‘Right, this is my heart. It's broken. And, I'll come back.’
I feel like during those times, when I lost my parents, I needed to go to the mat. Just like I needed to go to church and pray and rage and whatever, I needed to be on the mat because I feel like that's when you are at your barest. You don't have to be strong for your family. You don't have to be calm for everybody else, right? It’s just you. It’s just raw anxiety, fear, joy, grief. For that five minutes, or whatever it is, where you can just be empty.
The other thing too is there's COVID, and, you know, all the unkindness that is out there, and I don't think that's going to go anywhere. And somehow, somewhere, you just need to find peace. Because otherwise, it's all over you. And then the self that you give to yourself and to people around you is not the best self. Just finding that time to re-center, refocus, and then the world can have you. But for that particular time, it's you, being kind to you.
I think that breathe is a palpable part of my life in Rochester. I think it's an incredibly welcoming community. Sometimes I'd see my nurses there and I'm like, ‘Hey, if you don't tell anyone how gross I look right now I'll get your latte!’ breathe is that friend that you have that doesn't ask for much. But whenever you see this friend, you feel better. You feel more than what you were before. It never takes away. And at the end of it, you're like, ‘I need more. I'm glad I did that.’”