hey kids…wanna go for a ride
and so it began…19 years ago tomorrow (i write all my posts and blogs in advance) i took my first yoga class. it started with rodney yee’s yoga for abs and suzanne deason’s gentle yoga vhs tapes…within three weeks i knew i needed more than gentle yoga and abs… i fucking hate abs and if you’ve taken my classes you know i never teach abs. you know why? because if you engage your uddiyana bandha like you’re supposed to, you don’t need to do abs-and because gentle abs were not enough:) my dad gave me bryan kest power one. two. three. on vhs. and that’s when i got hooked lol… i began to practice with him in my den on the carpet. with my kids running around me…never ever letting me take savasana :)…and the kicker of this whole adventure i was embarking on was bryan and my little brother were not only good friends…they looked alike. like really alike…bryan is a little shorter…has a smaller nose…and a heavy detroit accent… i used to have to close my eyes when i first practiced with him for reals bc i could not have my little brother as my yoga guru lookalike guide…thank g-d they sounded so different… they will both tell you that they are brothers from another mother… anyway. i needed something to quiet my mind and control the spinning. the chatter… the vritti… and yoga was it.
i practiced every day on that carpet. my children were almost three and six. i didn’t have a mirror. i had no idea what i looked like practicing or even if i was doing it right…it just felt so fucking good…so i Iistened…because that is what you are supposed to do…listen to what your body tells you and go from there. when he told me to turn my back foot flat and align the heels i just did it… i didn’t think about it…when he said “flex your foot” i did that as well…when he told me to focus my attention on the tip of my nose and the breath moving in and out. i did that too. then the monkey mind comes in to distract you and you gotta just keep doing it…focusing on your breath. because if you’re not breathing…you’re dead. and if you allow distractions to rule your practice then you’re not practicing. and that is all it is… a practice…a beautiful journey into the soul…with an fbomb dropper as my guide. i was in heaven…or was i?
it was shortly after i found yoga that i left my marriage. it wasn’t that i didn’t love my husband or our family…but we were clearly not meant to be together and the only thing that made me brave enough to leave was the strength i gained from my yoga practice. i was not athletic as a kid. or…maybe i was never given the opportunity to be…who knows… but when i started moving my body and quieting my mind… i became physically stronger than i had ever been. my body started to change. i had no idea i had all these muscles…that i could do loads of pushups and be graceful as well… i have had so many people over the years tell me they love watching me practice…it’s not an ego thing… i know i am strong and graceful and live my yoga which is why i chose to make teaching yoga my life’s work… i wasn’t hurting anyone… i was helping everyone i could…see what i could see….feel what i could feel
i’ve always been a teacher in some capacity…maybe because i had no choice as a child/teen but to take care of things… i love helping people… and now i was given incredible opportunities to help lots of people… to share what i’d been through and how i made it to the other side…yoga saved me over and over… i failed communications 101 at KU because i refused to speak in public…that is how shy and not strong i was back then… yoga took me for quite the ride… and i realized today that most of my children’s lives… at least what they can remember has been following me on this journey. and you know what…given that sometimes i did fuck up as a mother, i am grateful i found yoga when i did… because i may have fucked up more…
day care at health clubs… teaching while they were at school and with their dad… leading retreats when i could sneak them in… i was a single mother with no family and no help working as full time as i could…i loved teaching. i LOVE teaching yoga… there is nothing better than hearing a room filled with deep full breath or students chuckling or laughing out loud at the same stupid jokes i’ve been telling for years…it filled me up like nothing else ever had…why would I ever want to stop?
i became strong emotionally as well having come from a childhood that wasn’t idyllic… i felt loved. i felt powerful. i finally felt as if not only i belonged but was leading the pack…. i was a good teacher (school) i am a good yoga instructor… again. not ego. just facts. ask the thousands of people i’ve taught over the years. yeah i’m sure i have some haters… but. fuck them;) mostly i don’t… and that’s because i am authentic. i not only practice physical yoga. i practice ethical yoga. i live yoga. i do what i say i’m going to do. and i stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves and i always will…
so here i am now…looking back at over almost three decades of teaching in some capacity. my babes are grown… they are not completely fucked up… i did ok…we did ok… i am incredibly proud of my children/adults…. they are my two favorite people in the universe… and as the day to day taking care of them is over and i am still trying to navigate an illness in the middle of a pandemic… again i find myself with no family and no help… i have some pretty great children but they are too young to have to take care of me… it is time for them to go live their young adult lives… i have thought long and hard about this and i don’t make decisions lightly.
it is time for me to retire…
i need to take care of me now. i have zero regrets. i have had a beautiful career. life saving. life changing. no words for how fucking lucky i feel to have met thousands of epic humans… taught thousands and thousands of classes. led eight yoga retreats. five in hawaii. three in the mountains and desert of az… i was one of the first lululemon ambassadors in phoenix… i could not BELIEVE my picture hung in lululemon at the biltmore for a year… i always joke with my kids that i am almost famous LOLOL
the list goes on…practicing next to michael franti…leading events with girish…leading events and retreats with some amazing teachers…teaching hundreds of yogis on the lawns of the biltmore lululemon and mountain shadows resort multiple times…teaching on rooftops…for charity…for teacher trainings…for fun…i loved every single moment…because that’s all we have…moments…and then my yoga community stepped the fuck up when others that should’ve couldn’t…(insert five middle finger emojis:) when i was diagnosed. i don’t think i’ve ever felt so loved in my life…people i had only met a handful of times…or even just once and something i said resonated with them…or those that have been with me since the beginning… i have a few of those:)
i tried to keep the boundary between student and teacher sacred…considering how many people i’ve taught i did a damn good job. but there were some i let cross that line and they are my dearest friends…what can i say…all the cool kids are doing it;) i am grateful for every breath i take and every breath i’ve heard… i am grateful that my kids got to experience all the people that surrounded us as they grew up without family here. and some of my people…you are family…when virtual strangers envelope you in love because you get it…you see them…and they see you…for after all we are all just seekers…it is the most incredible gift ever.
i will no longer be a part of any schedule… i am hopeful that ashley from sweatshop on central will keep me on the sub list… i will continue to lead my 108’s…spring is coming soon (I HOPE) this ms warrior prefers the heat… not this silly 30 degree bullshit… summer one is at the beach… i will lead anything for charity…just ask… i am good with a crowd. one thing i know for certain… i will continue to practice yoga at home and at sweatshop and maybe i’ll see you on my mat in your classes in santa monica… i will never give up being a student… i am open to what’s next and i do believe i am not done here in the yoga world… it’s just going to look a little different.
seva…the art of selfless service
made me the person i am today
It’s been my honor pleasure and privilege guiding you all these years…
from the light
that is deep
i honor the light
that is deep – divine
and truly precious
one of you
january 2 2022