For 16 years, Laura and Adam Weiss led a typical American corporate lifestyle, commuting each day from their home in Tenafly, New Jersey, to their work in Manhattan. But on September 11, 2001, when Adam saw the Twin Towers fall five blocks from his office, everything changed.
"That day, Laura and I reevaluated our priorities," Adam says. "We realized the most important thing is to live in the present." They left their jobs at a corporate hospitality company (Adam was the CEO, and Laura was the pastry chef) and turned their country house in Woodstock, New York, into Pike Lane Bed and Breakfast—a three-bedroom getaway devoid of televisions, stereos, and computers. Laura, who had practiced Iyengar and vinyasa yoga for several years, completed a 200-hour teacher training course and began teaching vinyasa yoga to their guests and at a local yoga studio, where her students have included town officials, librarians, shopkeepers, and landscape artists.
Adam, who began his own yoga practice after the move, says his practice has become an essential foundation for living in the present and has redefined his idea of success. "Yoga allows me to continually be open to changes, to live in the present as best I can, and to be grateful for all I have in my life. When I was a CEO, success for me was defined by the profitability of the company. Now, my success is about helping people have a wonderful experience, cultivating friendships with guests, creating an environment where people can relax and open and reflect."
Today, the Weisses feel as though they're part of the greater community of Woodstock. "When someone needs something—money for a yoga class, emotional support, a physical hand—we give on any level that is needed. We just do what has to be done," Laura says.
"I knew that giving of time and self is truly a way of being in this world," she says. "I wanted the next step in my life to go beyond my small self."