Yearly Archives: 2012

Kula > Community

The summer is almost over and right around the corner is the South East Yoga Conference, formerly known as the Atlanta Yoga Conference. Just as the yoga community has grown, so has the conference, hence the the name change. This year the conference will be held at the W Buckhead. Yogis and teachers traveling from near and far will be in attendance.

I moved here from Seattle in 2005. One of first things that I did was investigate my new community to find out where all the yogis were hiding. Coming from Seattle, I just assumed that there would be a ton of yoga like back home: yoga studios dotted in between coffee shops. (I only slightly exagerate). There definitely was yoga, but very spread out. Today studios all over metro Atlanta are hosting workshops, and city is becoming a regular stop for master teachers from all over. Its amazing! There are yoga studios sprouting up everywhere, as well as teacher training programs. Yoga is taught not only in yoga studios, but cropping up in gyms, dance studios, schools, and the work-place, just as Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda predicted would happen. This year I had the opportunity to teach yoga to the Marietta Highschool Football team as part of their weekly strength and conditioning program. It was such a great experience for me and I’m hoping for them. Besides the obvious benefits of having looser hamstrings and learning how to de-stress, how great is it that yoga is being made available to our youth?

Now with the growth around yoga studios, it’s time to bridge the gap. That’s where the SE Yoga Conference comes in… Nicole Jurovics and Melissa Katz, also local yoga teachers, have made a commitment to the this effort. They are the directors of the conference and key patrons of the yoga community. Their vision is to make yoga accessible to all and to bring more awareness to yoga. Behind the scenes, these ladies work year-round building up the yearly conference and when it’s over, they relentlessly begin again. They humbly and quietly bow out of being ‘seen’ during the conference and make the main focus of highlighting national, regional, and local teachers, as well as local studios. Be sure to say hello to these lovely ladies at the conference and express your gratitude for working their asanas off to make the community feel like one big family.

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As I mentioned earlier, the conference has grown and is now hosted by the W, Downtown. There is an awesome line up of teachers who are presenting a variety of topics, (I’m honored to be presenting!). If your focus is on yoga philosophy or you are working on contortions for the upcoming Cirque Du Soleil, the conference presenters won’t disappoint. 🙂
The marketplace will be the go-to place between classes and an exciting event to not miss is the Kick-Off party… catered by the W, music, and a chance to schmooze with your fellow yogis. (A great opportunity for us yogis to wear something other than spandex and we all get to see each other wearing shoes!).

If you are on the fence about going to the conference, here are some things to consider:

1. Check out what your yoga community has to offer.

2. If you’ve never taken a special theme workshop with a yoga ‘expert’, you have the opportunity in your backyard.

3. Support your community!! I know we tend to park our practice at our studios that we cherish, but go check out what else is happening. Us teachers who have home studios won’t care if you take yoga field trips. We just want everyone to practice yoga!

4. For no other reason, it’s going to be a great time to hang out with like-minded yogis who are interested in spreading the message of yoga. This will be one of the few opportunities outside of our day-to-day routines to nerd out on yoga-talk. (My personal fav)!

Hope to see you at this year’s conference, or better yet in the class I will be leading.


Om shanti, om peace! Jai!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk2V96ArUok

Peru or Bust!

Peru or Bust!

Peru or Bust!

In about 12 hrs, I will be in Peru co-leading a yoga retreat. Its summer here: hot, steamy, sunny, & lush. In Peru, its the start of winter: high 60’s, mid 30’s at night. It was interesting packing for the opposite season as well as wrapping my head around that fact that this is going to be a killer trip.

Why Peru? I spent 5 weeks there in 2009. I was in total awe the whole time. I could try to sum up all the beauty, but it won’t do justice unless you are standing on peruvian soil taking it all in. In sum, its like you just took a dive into a National Geographic magazine. There is an abundance of the most breathtaking geography, beautiful people, food, fauna, the list goes on… What I appreciate the most about my time in Peru, is that no matter where I went, I noticed the common denominator of simplicity. Simple foods, simple people… everything is so straight forward. Even the beliefs of the people. In general, there is a HUGE love of the land and the history- brutal but so true. No matter who I spoke with, every conversation led back to Pancha Mama, Mother Earth. There is a deep, entrenched respect for the environment. I found that everything led back to acknowledging this. Every experience led to a story. I learned so much about appreciating what I have and also how to make peace with the tangible. Peru definitely left an impression on me. When I was there, I knew I’d be back. And, I knew I wanted to take people to experience this for themselves.
This time I head back, co-leading a yoga retreat. We have a beautiful week planned, but will be practicing some serious non-attachment to the itinerary. I’m sure that there will be moments where the experience we are having trumps an agenda. I am so looking forward to practicing living in each moment. It will go by fast; its only 10 days.

I am also feeling grateful to my fellow yogi-studio-owning-friends who are covering classes while I am gone. Thank you. I’ll be sending you tons of love south of the equator!

I’m enjoying my last french press at home. Spending some QT with my pups. I’m all packed up and set to jet. See you all when I return! peace.

xo
~is

 

Judgement & F-Bombs


Judgement & F-Bombs!!!

A judging mind stifles authenticity.

My judging mind surfaced in an instructor-friend of mine’s workshop. I will refer to this instructor-friend as Potty Mouth (PM).  PM bombarded us with f-bombs, dropping them one after another in this workshop.

Rattled, my body reacted to the f-bombs with the sensation of hot strikes of little lighting bolts. My mind began to chatter. I was deep in analytical mode. If any of my teacher trainers were here they would be floored, I thought. Then my mind began to mechanically process useless thoughts. The space for mindfulness was gone. I was lost in my head.

Suddenly, I came to a realization. I snapped out of it. Eureka, I got it! The f-bomb worked its magic. PM was not trying to offend anyone in class, but teach a lesson in judgment and authenticity in a colorful way.

In this moment, I saw how conditioned we allow ourselves to be.

We believe that using swear words is wrong. That in itself is a judgment, right?

Let us consider the other side. Have you ever had an experience of deep joy like biting into the most sumptuous feast? The only appropriate expression to punctuate the moment was, “f*ck me that was delicious!” Maybe you haven’t said it, but I’m sure you’ve felt it. So what’s the difference?

“Dork, dorky, nerd!” my siblings and I would banter liberally and playfully back in the day. “Knock it off!” my dad would reprimand my siblings and I. Was this crass and offensive?

What is the lesson? What is the mantra?

We give things meaning and believe it. We believe we need to do certain things in order to live a complete life. We believe we need to fit into some kind of projected image. The words are not the issue here. How we use our words is what really matters. Colorful words are merely my authentic, momentary expression. What you may hear as my truck driver’s mouth is actually a decoration. I am decorating my sentences with little gems that paint robust pictures to convey joy, excitement and my passion.

I shared my realization with PM. We came to the conclusion that our students understand the point of us using colorful language in class. If it’s authentic to you, then own it. Who gives a f*ck what people think. Got it? Seriously, we do spend a ton of time focusing on what doesn’t matter and giving things meaning. I really got the message.

I am liberated.

I feel great about who I am and what I bring to the yoga table in my life and my work. I am creating good karma. Look into your yoga community for authentic intentions and non-judgment.

As students, we are ripe and receptive to learning. We act upon the teachings and begin to integrate them into our lives. We create space and clarity about who you are.

Yogi beware. Judgment can send us back down the slippery slope to staying the same. Judgment reverts us to old thought patterns. Judgment can make us try to be something that we are not. Defy judgment. See your words before you put them out there. Pay attention to what creates your actions. Ask: “Do I need this? Does this new way of thinking support who I really am and where I am on my path? How are you using your words? Are they weapons? What is my intention behind this?” Respond positively and be content.

Yoga teachers are not sage-like beings who live off the grid, drink kombucha, and chant themselves to sleep. Okay maybe some do, but that does not make you less of a yogi.

The illusion of trying to create the perfect yogic life has the potential to leave students feeling alienated, disconnected and defeated. As instructors, it is unrealistic to hold the flame for everyone. We are there to share our experiences and perspectives and who we are. Own it! If you are a teacher demo something that is challenging for you, maybe fall out of a pose.

Indeed, the student is the real teacher. There is no need to put yoga teachers up on a pedestal. To practice non-judgment let go of expectations, be authentic, be real. After all I am who I am and you are who you are. Why does it have to change when we lead a class or take one?

I am just me. You get me. I don’t wear a yoga teacher hat for 75 minutes, then switch gears as if I’m a completely different person. When I’m outside the studio you get me. You get that I am breaking through ideals and expectations of what one should be like.

I love Nirvana and Kirtan. I love being in the moment. I rock checkered Vans and yoga pants all the time. I love passionate conversation. I love sharing things that I’m learning or have learned. I am humble. I practice non judgement. And I truly love when I am in the presence of others who allow their authentic selves to show.

This is who I am. Don’t judge me.

Published on elephantjournal.com, on Jul 3, 2012