Newport, Oregon: The Town of Quirk and Dreams

I’ve never been instructed upon checking in to a hotel to not cook shellfish in my room. Yet, that’s precisely what happened as I arrived in Newport, Oregon. After 3 minutes of uncontrollable laughter at how odd this requirement seemed (there wasn’t a stove or anything remotely capable of cooking shellfish in my room), I pulled myself together and my weekend began.

The next morning, the amusing eccentricities continued. I was told by a disturbingly excited local, “You don’t understand, it reaches 70 degrees here maybe 2 times a year!” I was standing outside of the cute Nye Beach Cafe in the center of Newport shivering in a light jacket as the locals around me stripped down practically to their skivvies. That afternoon, it reached 71 degrees.

This town of about 10,000 people smack dab in the center of the Oregon coast is breathtaking. It sits high on a bluff overlooking endless sandy beaches. The distant roar of crashing waves is inescapable and peaceful. This place, despite the 80MPH wind storms in winter and the interminable chilly weather, is dreamy and quirky.

      

I was here to teach at Harmony Yoga Center, owned and run by Beth Williams. Only two years old, this studio is already well established and a gem along the sparsely populated coast. Walking into the studio is almost like walking into a large family’s living room. People know each other here and if you’re new, you’re welcome with open arms.

Beth has done an amazing job of training local teachers and students to be attentive and knowledgeable about yoga. A teacher of 14 years herself, she’s dedicated to continued education and bringing in teachers for her and her students to learn from. You can tell that because of her studio they’re many people here that would’ve otherwise likely never done yoga.

My teaching over the weekend revolved around the philosophy and stories of the Buddha. However, there were times it seemed I was preaching to the choir. The students here exude presence, joy, and gratitude. They were teaching me about life while I taught them about the head of their arm bones- a reciprocal relationship made of pure gold.

Yoga has become alive in smaller towns like Newport thanks to dedicated yogis like Beth and her team of strong teachers (all of whom were present for the workshops). So I dedicate this, my first blog post, to the many local studio owners and teachers in more rural America who bring yoga to people who now have Sangha and access to this rich practice. Thank you for all of your work and thank you to Newport for making your home mine as well for the weekend.

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