Thursday, February 23, 2012

Goin "Coastal"

Give Thanks!!!

Hello to you, fellow travelers of life. I trust this post finds you healthy, happy and free. Today was what I would call a "chill" day. No classes, no appointments, no demands, no expectations. I woke up late, got out of bed late, had a late breakfast and then hit the beach. Today was pretty glorious, as far as days go and I used it to read and prepare for THREE workshops this upcoming weekend: an arm-balancing/inversion workshop,  a workshop based on the concept of Dharma, and a workshop for teachers focusing on flowing transitions. This coming on the heels of a weekend spent in Charleston, SC, where I taught the free community at the Lululemon Showroom and followed that up with a two-hr master class at Serenity Now Yoga. I also managed to squeeze in some practice for myself, visiting the Jivamukti Yoga School of Charleston last sunday. All in all this trip, excursion, journey, expedition - whatever you want to call it - has provided me with the opportunity to visit, talk to, teach, learn from, and just be constantly in the presence of other yogis and yoginis. It seems as though my entire world is an ashram and everyone I meet is part of my "sangha", my spiritual family.

Below are some new members of my extended family and the latest stop along the way:

After two hrs of Vinyasa, the students were all smiles

As I continue along this path, I've been continuously asking myself why I do what I do, and why did I choose this particular route, at this particular time. It has not been easy, yet it has been less that two months. That's not nearly enough time for wondering "what if" or second guessing. I've been thinking about my Dharma, and how I can best contribute to making the world better. I've been trying to figure out how can I become a better teacher, a better leader, a better father. The quiet and seclusion (well except for the live streaming b-ball. Thank you internet) has afforded me the chance to really get to know who I really am, and really observe closely the areas in my life that still need a bit of "touching up".

And what have I learned? We are all works in progress. We are all searching for what is True for us, and (hopefully) how to best reflect that Truth in such a way that is to the benefit of our fellow Being. My truth is I teach yoga. This is the vehicle that I have been given to help spread love and joy to whoever needs it. Yoga is my teacher. This is how I connect, how I reach out, how I serve. And I'm happy to do so :).

Peace and Love from the Mat,


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Welcome to J'ville!

Its been only two weeks since the last blog post, yet it seems like two years. Much has happened since that last post. Here's a recap:

-left RVA on 1/6/12
-taught workshops in Blacksburg, Charlotte, Huntersville and Raleigh
-visited Greenville, Asheville and Carrboro
-took classes at wonderful studios: In Balance Yoga, Be Yoga Charlotte, 8th Street Studio, and Southern Om
-returned to RVA and moved out of my home of 5 years, and placed most of my belongings in storage

And now? Now the Traveling Mat has landed in Myrtle Beach, SC for the month of February and I find myself practically living in a yoga studio called Yoga In The Forest, which is the sister studio to Yoga In Common. Both are owned by Linda Phillips, an energetic visionary who does not seem to know the meaning of impossible. As has been the case since I began this journey, she has opened her doors and given me shelter. And what better place for my "wilderness" experience than Yoga "in the Forest"? I have begun to call this place my Ashram or Asrama, aka J'ville.

But first....

I have to revisit the past for a moment and highlight two yoginis I met along the way. The first is the lovely and silky-voiced Christine Navarro of Charlotte, NC. She is the co-owner of Be Yoga Charlotte. Her vinyasa class is a wonderful collaboration of hard work and gentleness, and her teaching style flows like some hidden waterfall in a magical place. I had the opportunity once before to take her class, and it was at that moment I decided that whenever I'm fortunate enough to be in Charlotte, I should visit her space. She is a phenom.

Christine Navarro
me an Christine
The second teacher is Phyllis Rollins, who opened the first yoga studio in Charlotte, the Yoga Center, back in 1993 during what she called "the dinosaur days" of yoga in that area. It is now currently located inside the 8th Street Studio, which recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Her method is Iyengar. What can I say about this person? Simply, her teaching and instruction are exquisite. Her cues are like subliminal messages. Her class began with a 10 minute reading and discussion from the sutras of Patanjali, and the studio is one of the most beautiful I've ever been in. And she is one of the best.

me and Phyllis
 AND NOW.... and now, in the back of this yoga studio, my hermitage, my ashram. In two days I have finished more that half of The Ramayana, I have begun to ease into a morning meditation practice, I attended a ribbon cutting by the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the one year anniversary of Carolina Power Yoga (another studio that will be like a second home to me while I'm here), and have had numerous conversations with yoga teachers old and new about yoga, life, and Dharma; our truth, our mission, our work. I have begun to understand what my own dharma could be, my mission in life, and how to best live my truth. Some time ago I realized that I wouldn't be completely happy unless I was being useful, or being used in a fulfilling way. When I began teaching yoga, I knew that this was the way I would be able to make the biggest contribution to the world. Yoga has given me the opportunity to make the most positive difference in the world. And on this traveling mat, I intend to make the most of that opportunity.