August 23, 2011

Blessings from Twitter

I was tidying up around home last night and in the last week had received three new books in the mail. As I took a moment stacking them, trying to decide in which order to read them I became a little overwhelmed with emotion. As cheesy as it sounds Twitter has done a lot to open up my life.I met my best friends on twitter, have made huge connections, and even consult on using social networking in the yoga and wellness industry now. I have been touched in so many ways and this small stack of books is proof.

The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment by Isabel Losada
This came from the awesome Meredith Le Blanc, @meredithleblanc aka the Pondering Yogi. The only way I can describe Meredith is as a Kindred Spirit. She and I both share a passion for animals, yoga, and yoga books. She has sent me two of her books so far and I have sent her one. She is one of the ring leaders of the Yoga Online Book Club (#YOBC) on Twitter and always a joy to see online. I feel blessed to know her. 

The Handbag and Wellies Yoga Club by Lucy Edge 
I first learned of Lucy Edge via Twitter. Her first book, "Yoga School Dropout", was a hit with all the yoga folks and has been one of the best yoga books I have read. It was one of the few non-textbooks I read during my yoga teacher training and helped me stay true to myself and my path. Even better, Lucy engages with people on Twitter (@yogadropout).  It's rare that you get a chance to talk with an author and while many have a presence on twitter, they don't often interact. Lucy is a real gem.

Ravenous by Dayna Macy
This book signifies my connection to my friend Jessica Durivage, @whereismyguru, co-host of the online radio show "Where is my Guru". When Jessica moved to Denver she happened to be in a class where my teacher mentioned my twitter name and blog. Jessica and I were already connected on twitter and she followed up with a message to me. Since then we have collaborated on business, hung out at Wanderlust, practiced yoga, and had the most amazing mac and cheese together. A few weeks ago I called into her show to talk to Dayna Macy, the guest of the day, and won a copy of the book Ravenous. Just another literary symbol of a special connection.

This morning I am thankful for Twitter. I am thankful for the exposure I gain to all these new people and amazing books. I am grateful for these friendships that continue to grow and blossom. I am grateful.

August 12, 2011

The "Why"

If you live in a city like Denver or Boulder, there is a LOT going on in the yoga community. Every weekend there is a workshop or eight, there are the studio classes, and there are special guests, these amazing yoga and philosophy teachers who come from a far to spend time teaching and sharing their wisdom. Sometimes you feel like you should be at every one of these events. It seems like everyone else is able to make them all, so you can too. Sure you may have a full-time job, children, a part-time job, pets, animals, reading to do for trainings, and homework, but you can fit in three more events, right?

I remember early on in my teacher training, I felt a bit of the panic set in. Maybe I couldn't attend all the events, was I less of a yogini? Did that make me less qualified to teach? I brought up my fears and frustrations with my yoga mentor and Iyengar style teacher and she asked me, "why do you want to teach?". It took me a minute to respond, and then I said something that sounded very much like this, 
Because yoga has changed my life. It's allowed me to live with depression in a way that feels sustainable and it has made the other aspects of my life easier, for lack of a better word. This is a gift and I want to share it. I want to make yoga accessible.
She asked me to write it down. I did. We also talked it through a bit more and the gist was, attend the events and classes that were going to best serve me and my students at this time. While a wealth of knowledge is available it doesn't mean you have to devour it all at once. A teacher who has time to marinate and bring these new elements and skills is a lot better off than a teacher who is too exhausted and over exerted to absorb anything new.

I go back to that piece of paper every time I begin to waver. Recently I took on too much. Not that my goals were too big just too much for one person in a short amount of time. I refined my schedule, re-assessed my offerings as far a teacher and also within my consulting business. A huge weight has been lifted from me. I am happier, I am sleeping better, I have more energy. I sound like a perky commercial.

I recognize it's scary taking on new endeavors, both for myself and for my students. In order to honor them I have to honor myself. If you're evolving something in your life, beginning a new training program or project, or just want to do better for yourself I really encourage to put it down on paper. Write down the "Why". You're "Why" may change and develop and come back to its orginal iteration over time. However, in the darker times of doubt, worry, fear, the "Why" brings a bit of light to your path. After all, we can all use a little light to guide our way.

August 5, 2011

Trip Report: Wanderlust California

If you don't know about Wanderlust it can be summed up as a long weekend of yoga, music, wellness, amazing food, and the opportunity to make new friends. The Festival began in Squaw Valley, CA in 2009. In its third year it has expanded including offerings in Vermont and Florida as well as various 'Wanderlust in the the City' events throughout the US. This year I was fortunate to attend the original Squaw Valley location as a volunteer and attendee for four-amazing days. Typically trip reports break down the experience by day, but I would rather talk with you about the various components. So here we go!

Photo Courtesy of Carl Kerridge
The Classes
There are a ton of yoga classes offered at Wanderlust. There are about 4-5 time slots per day with about 6-8 classes offered during each time. It can be very overwhelming to choose which classes to take. Sometimes the draw is experiencing new styles of yoga, or maybe practicing with that celebrity teacher, or maybe adding to your asana experience. There were a lot of combinations of running/hiking and yoga as well as meditation and lectures.

I'll admit most of my classes were with the "celebrity" teachers, Seane Corn, Schuyler Grant, and Kathryn Budig. As a new teacher I was very curious, are they worth the hype? I definitely learned some new information from them and they all held great energy. Since this is a festival format the classes tended to speak to a specific theme, like Detox yoga, or be a workshop style. So while you got a taste of what it was like to be with these famous instructors it's not quite the same as it might be to practice with them at their home studios. I think next year I will try to balance it out a bit more between the celebrity yoga teachers and the lesser known but also excellent teachers.

Photo Courtesy of Carl Kerridge
The Atmosphere
Wanderlust was pretty much like any other festival but with a wellness spin, like the Farm to Table Dinner, fresh organic food just fit the yoga vibe. There were a lot of great vendors with clothing, yoga accessories, supplements and supporting non-profits. In addition to the vendors in tents the area is full of great dining and little shops. Being in the Squaw Valley area things were a bit pricey, but hey, it's a resort area and it's in California, that is to be expected.

One of the best parts was the Anusara Village. This space is an amazing combination of asana, the YogaSlackers and thought-provoking art installations. Everyone was really nice, I mean REALLY nice. There wasn't pushing or shoving or the rudeness you may see at other events. People were just blissful.  I was very fortunate to run into Jessica from "Where is my Guru" and Carl Kerridge, her awesome beau and exceptional photographer. Through them I met more wonderful people and the bliss kept on going.

The Music
I may get blasted for this, but definitely my least favorite part of the festival. The music was GREAT, Michael Franti was awesome and I loved hearing the music interspersed throughout the area during the evening hours. What I don't love is crowds and having beer spilled on me and being repeatedly hit in the head by a hula hoop from the girl behind me. I know for many this is their favorite part, it's just not my thing, however honoring that part of myself and walking away before I became too frustrated was a big achievement for me. So in a way, I was treated to a new way to practice my yoga off the mat. Honor thyself and walk away from the hula hoop bashing.

Photo Courtesy of Carl Kerridge
You can read a more detailed account of my Volunteering experience here at the Wanderlust Blog. I can sum it up and say it was a great experience. As a volunteer, you get one free day of yoga for working three 4-6 hour shifts. During that time I met some fun people and working in the yoga rooms I got a chance to also observe other teacher's styles and adjustments. It was an excellent learning experience. Also a unique factor, the volunteers are treated really well across the board at Wanderlust. Not always the case at a lot of festivals.

I am really glad I went, I would love to go again. Being solo I had a lot of freedom to learn a lot, meet new people and grow. I would recommend checking out the festival near you or making a big trip out of it. I think next year I will try to go with friends but I would still go alone again. It's the type of festival where you can be solo but not feel lonely. To learn more about my experience and what fellow attendees though, check out the Wanderlust Blog!