I have practiced yoga for nearly 20 years now. Tapping into this ancient art in a way of self study, compassion, and integrated life moments into is the my path of practice. Yoga has helped me heal from a major eating disorder, find self love and compassion; and kept me on a short leash, as “i” have tried my hardest to wander.
The leash is short but the path is vast.
I have had many mystical experiences as a child until the “people pleaser” in me blocked that fierce medicine momma that I have discovered through this practice, which has given me the courage to ask “who am I.”
It was no different when creating my “brand” of yoga. What is my message to the world? And, please God do not let me be a “poser”. I have been cynical with brands and franchises of yoga, because it is not something to be boxed. Yoga is as evolving as this moment and the people that show up along the way. The same old people pleasing story was also showing up in my teaching for many years.. “I am not worthy,” to share my message. Thankfully there was a deeper echo within the soul. Yoga is both who I am and what I do.
I distracted myself from sharing my message while I took over 3000 hours of teacher training in advanced asana, ayurveda, and yoga therapy. Maybe this was the soup cooking and the prep for what I have to share, but it was more than simply my passion for learning.
How my brand finally appeared, like a baby on a doorstep.(on the way to doula training coincidentally)
I was boarding a plane to NYC to get training as a doula. There was a flight delay, so I visited the airport pub and shared a Guinness with a man who was waiting as well..
Finally the time had come to board and I was back in line waiting for my next adventure and training! A familiar face flashed a smile at me from the line. I thought I recognized this person, so my smile lit up too, but then I realized I was mistaken and unlocked eyes.
I boarded the plan and settled into my book. There was a little dance between the guy from the airport pub and the guy I thought I recognized, and they seemed confused about whose seat was next to mine.
The guy with the familiar face sat down confidently after their awkward exchange. I thought I better explain myself for the overly exuberant smile, but he immediately started commenting on me being the only person that was smiling in line for our delayed flight, and that nobody smiles any more. He said it was refreshing and that I was a bright light. I immediately spewed, “I am a yoga teacher,” before I could rein myself in. Always selling the practice and how it “appears” to be working. He lit up with enthusiasm and started asking questions, warning me that this was not going to stop during the whole 3 hour flight. My knee JERK reaction was to not talk much so I could go back to my introverted ways that I indulge in when traveling.
He said , “When student is ready the teacher appears”, and informed me he was planning on taking advantage of this chance meeting. I was hesitant, resistant, un-trusting, and self-indulgent, but only for a breath. I exhaled..because yoga looks deeper.
His wide open heart-mind and my insight wouldn’t let me stay in our too typical closed off ways as Americans. Their is a fierce presence in a compassionate heart. Both his and mine.
The teacher had appeared and He was sitting next to me. He wanted specifics of what I did to gain balance and what yoga really meant to me. How did I put it in to action and what was my intention really for going to NYC?
He showed me pictures of colored landscapes and prayer flags from his recent trip to Tibet and told me of the ancient Chinese characters that made up the word peace consisting of the forms for balance and harmony. He asked me what those words mean to me and how to I achieve this. It was through this conversation that Sattva Vinyasa and Sattva Therapy became clearly defined to me.
I have always been a unique in my style of teaching vinyasa, with my experience as a yoga therapist, and in philosophy and ayurveda. Rather than a mixed bag of tricks, like many vinyasa classes can be, I desired leaving students with something that left them nourished. Vinyasa means specific instruction, like a recipe. It is important to be clear on what we are doing and why, and also timing is everything. How ripe and entwined are the student and myself to reaching this goal together right now.
I started thinking about balance, which for me is Ayurveda. The word Dosha means to be unstable. It is in our nature to go out of balance, so that we seek out the tools and one another for support. Ayurveda gives us the evolving tools for a balanced body mind through constant change, like the ever shifting earth beneath our feet. Yoga gives us solid ground. To me, yoga means harmony. Yoga is harmonious relationship, like two chords weaving into one, in a vertical motion.
The man in the seat next to me, gave me his bodhe seed wrist mala and I pulled a sandalwood mala out of my bag for him. Then we parted the way we met, with a recognizable smile(Namaste’). I hope I was as much of a muse to him as he was to me. Sattva vinyasa has been an evolution over the past 20 years and a culmination of everyone whose path has intertwined with mine and this was a spark for what is currently igniting. Through our teacher training programs at PranaYoga Institute and retreats we are passing on the light.