“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
Yoga came to me over 10 years ago when I was feeling all of THAT! I was managing and serving at restaurants in my hometown of Seattle, working long hours, double shifts, late nights, 7 days a week. I had recently ended a verbally abusive relationship. And I was NOT moving ahead with the life I wanted or pursuing my real love of singing. I was stagnant, constantly tired, behind on my bills, and naturally – unhappy.
One day, after MONTHS of nagging, my sister dragged me to a yoga class at her gym. I told her I would go if she promised to stopped bugging me. I finally had a night off and the last thing I wanted to do was spend it at a gym – the very place that made me feel unattractive and lazy. Let’s be clear: I hated working out and I was not interested in this yoga thing.
I did not like the weird, stretchy poses the teacher told us to do. I compared myself with everyone in the class, despised looking in the giant mirror that reflected all of my flaws, felt weak and rigid, and had decided by the end that this would be my first and last yoga class.
We lay down and Patti, the instructor, guided us to relax every part of our body. It wasn’t until then that I realized how tense I was, in my body and mind. I let go of months of stress and anguish in those magnificent few minutes. And that night, I slept better than I had in a long time.
The next week I came back, did the horrible yoga practice, and waited patiently for that relaxation. And the next week, and the next. I started going twice a week and started loathing the other parts of the class less and less. I even noticed that I was feeling a little more emotionally balanced in between classes and found myself relaxing my chronically tense shoulders, being aware of my posture and feeling a little more content with my life.
But this is not a happily ever after story. Like a lot of beginner yoga students, I pushed myself too far in a pose within 6 months and injured my shoulder. And I quit going. Ah well, I thought, I didn’t really need it.
That summer I moved to Boston to live with a college friend and to apply for graduate school in music. I had already applied and been rejected once, but I thought living on the east coast would inspire me to work harder, find a new music teacher and really focus my life on singing again.
I found a job at a restaurant, the thing I knew how to do, and starting working long hours and double shifts again. And so the pattern continued. Coffee to get me out of bed, wine to help me sleep, most nights spent at bars with bartender friends and the same monotonous schedule that had left me feeling unsatisfied in Seattle.
My cousin came out to visit for Thanksgiving and dragged me to a Bikram Hot Yoga Class. For the whole 90 minutes in that 110 degree room I felt like I was on the verge of puking, crying, laughing and passing out. And perhaps death. It was so much more horrible than the gym classes. And the savasana was oh-so-much better. All of my tension and stress melted away in those glorious moments of doing nothing, soaked in sweat and tears.
So what did I do? You guessed it: I went back. Again and again and again. 6 days a week for the next 4 months. I also found a Baptiste Power Yoga studio and alternated between Hot Vinyasa and Hot Hatha. And slowly I lost the need for coffee to open my eyes and alcohol to help me sleep. I felt energized through my 12-hour shifts, I slept well, and I started being more conscious about my thoughts and what I put into my body.
More and more styles of yoga popped up in my neighborhood and I started attending a Saturday morning Restorative Yoga class with a bartender friend, trying to practice meditation by following Yoga Journal articles, reading the Yoga Sutras and uncovering the rabbit hole that was this yoga thing. Each type of yoga I studied revealed a new layer of me to get to know. I uncovered more and more aspects of myself that had been hiding away. I started making conscious choices about how I wanted to spend my life.
In other words, I started living authentically.
I understand that you’re craving a shift. And I want you to find the practices that will meet you where you are right now. Whether the healing begins with your body, your heart and mind, or your relationships, we can work together to become more whole and happy – to become more of yourSELF and live each moment authentically.
Because, as Swami Vivekananda Saraswati says, “Happiness is our birthright. Happiness is the treasure of our soul.” Happiness exists inside us. It is there waiting for us. Through the process to authentic living, we can each uncover our whole self, and discover and experience happiness every day.
I work with students age 3 and up. Children don’t need to be taught how to be authentic. They need to learn to keep their authenticity as they grow up. We grown-ups might remember a time when we felt free to be exactly who we wanted to be and could easily show up happy to whatever life offered us. If you’re living in a modern society, it’s probably been a long time since you thought that was possible.
But it’s not too late to discover that your greatest calling in life is to be YOU with no excuses for being otherwise.
Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.
If you could spend today doing anything, what would you do?
Learning to live authentically doesn’t mean we can stop going to work, eat whatever we want and quit planning our days and weeks. Authentic living starts with adopting routines and practices to bring our desires into focus, to heal the body, heart and mind, and to train us to believe in ourselves and go after what we want. It takes work and being very honest with ourselves, maybe more than we’ve ever been before.
My passion is introducing a path to my clients to reawaken their own understanding of themselves and help them uncover, discover and recover who they want to be. Using ancient wisdom – like the Yoga Sutras, Ayurveda, Tantric practices, Buddhist mindfulness and Yogic techniques – as well as modern tools, I offer clients a guide to looking inside, sifting through the mud and finding the gorgeous flower blooming underneath.
I want you to love what you do too. Not just what you do for work (although that is important), but to love who you are and how you show up to each moment of your life. I want you to feel empowered to do the work, persevere through the challenges, recognize who you uncover and let that authentic voice become your own.
Over the past 12 years on my path of becoming more whole and happy, I have met countless mentors, teachers and inspirational beings. I have read the work of hundreds of spiritual teachers and gotten to practice in the flesh with as many. Each of them are a part of my teachings and I give humble thanks for their words and how they have shaped my journey.
I am also grateful to be the product of a family on a collective journey into authentic living, whether they’d call it that or not. My sister brought me to my first yoga class. My cousin inspires my daily practice and study of Ayurveda. My mom challenges me to find new ways to teach for different audiences. And I’ve practiced, discussed and lived mindfulness and yoga with nearly every member of my family. I extend my gratitude to each of them and to the Divine Consciousness who inspires each breath.
*May all beings know happiness and freedom*