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Wind Wisdom

Some people’s asshole tendencies come out when they drink tequila. The wind is and always has been my tequila. (Why, again, do I live in Reno?! LOL) It’s been an alcohol free hangover for me every morning for the last week.

It’s not just the relentless pressure in my head but the feelings of irritation and frustration and anxiety.

But it’s easy to blame the damn wind. And all the while, the wind doesn’t care. If it did care and could speak, maybe the wind would say: “Hey, if I stir up irritation and frustration and anxiety in you, don’t blame me, but look at the real source of those feelings in yourself.”

Hm. I’d say the wind has a point. 

Somehow we expect this very unstable world to give us stability. And we expect this very imperfect body to be reliable and even be a source of comfort. And most of all, we expect the mind’s default setting, the ego, to lead us to peace, when the ego itself is an attack on peace. 

I can very well walk around with a headache and jitteriness and still be at peace. The secret that’s not a secret at all is that I have a choice whether I identify with my body, and its master, the ego. If I do, I suffer. But I don’t have to suffer because I have the absolute freedom to unbind my mind, moment to moment, from this thought to the next, and one windy day at a time.

As A Course in Miracles teaches: “The power of decision is my own.” If we fully accepted this truth, loss of peace would be impossible. But if you’re like me, you may still need many lessons, which will look different on the surface but will all teach this same simple truth because truth IS simple: I’m either at peace or I’ve chosen not to be. What a relief it’s always up to me.

Ramana Maharshi said: “Everything in the world was my guru.” And I agree. The wind included.

Clear and Open as the Sky

May my mind be as clear and open as the sky today. 

How I show up, no matter what seems to show up for me, is up to me. May I choose against the insanity of the ego and show up with love, in love and as love.

Love is not only our deepest connection. It’s our only connection. And love is already and always there, underneath the dust of the person.

May I gracefully shift from person to presence, from illusion to truth, from fear to love.

May you see the light in me and remember that the same light is in you. 
May we all wake up and see that ultimately, there is no you different from me. 

Rishi Yoga: A New Chapter

Rishi Yoga: A New Chapter

It may sound strange to say that I’m as happy and excited about the future now that I just sold Rishi Yoga than I was when I opened my studio in June 2014. Not even five years later, and I’m selling the studio I put so much love and work into? That’s the question I’ve been hearing for months, while the ownership transfer process was going on, so here’s a little bit of background on why and how I made the decision to sell Rishi Yoga and focus on just teaching my classes (at Rishi Yoga, of course).

The first thing to get out of the way is: This is a good thing! A great thing, really! I’ve been hearing reactions that range from shock to tears to disbelief to the occasional sigh of relief (the latter coming mostly from people who have owned small businesses). See, I never really wanted to own a business, or run one, or (gasp!) manage people. If you asked me five years ago what my worst punishment would be, being a business person and manager would have been in the top five, and I’m not kidding.

So why in the world did I open a yoga studio then?! I woke up in the middle of the night on my 36th birthday and just had the thought that I must open my own studio. I know, it sounds airy fairy, but it’s the way things started. I knew better than to ignore that call, not that it would have been possible to ignore it. When I was 30, about six months after I started a regular yoga practice, I had a similarly crazy and intense thought that seemed to come out of nowhere and practically forced me to become a yoga teacher, which I did, about a year later. Becoming a yogi and then a yoga teacher had been the most transformative and grace-infused experience I had in my life, so how could I have shut down the inner voice that told me to open my own studio? By that time, I had learned the hard way that trusting my intuition would certainly behoove me.

There was no way going around it: I had to create a yoga studio that would fit my standards of what a yoga studio should be. Because otherwise, I wasn’t going to teach at a studio at all; not because of the way the existing studios were but because of the way I am. I wanted a place that would offer warmth, compassion and friendship without the annoying new-age spiritual-sounding platitudes that more often than not turn out to be a lot of talk and not so much walk. I wanted a place where all of us, teachers and students (is there really a difference?) can be real, raw if we have to be, honest with ourselves and one another, and laugh and cry without fear of being judged or overlooked. I wanted my fellow teachers to be nothing like the run of the mill Instagram yoga Barbies and wannabe celebrities, but to genuinely care about people first, and be badass yoga teachers second. I wanted to create a place that would draw in people, students and teachers alike, who are tired of looking outside of themselves for themselves (and that’s not a typo). I wanted a studio that treated yoga like the sacred, inward looking practice that it is, rather than a new exercise fad. I knew I wasn’t going to have a trendy yoga studio, and that was exactly the point.

I have to express my endless gratitude for my husband, Daniel, my best friend and biggest supporter, without whom this whole yoga studio thing would have been much harder or, might as well be honest, impossible to pull off. Here we were, two introverts and semi-hermits, neither of whom wanted to run a business or manage people…But my heart said I had to and his beautiful heart said he had to carry me through it all.

I’m so very proud of what Rishi Yoga has become. Sometimes it takes leaving town for a week and coming back to really be reminded of the enormous amount of love that’s packed in that little space. That love doesn’t come from me or any one particular person or thing in there, but from all of us who have been baring our souls on our mats in there for the last five years, infusing the space with realness and truth. There is definitely no other place I want to go to teach my classes.

Just like the urge to become a yoga teacher, and then the knowing I just had to open a studio, it became perfectly clear to me one day during last summer that it was time to let go of the business side of things and focus on my love for and dedication to teaching. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the business side of things didn’t wear me out…not because it was hard work but because I never wanted to spend my days doing that sort of stuff. And I didn’t want my frustration with the business aspect to affect my love for teaching yoga, so the answer was obvious. Lucky for me, the perfect person, Carol O’Brien, just came into the picture at the right time. I know Carol and her husband, Eric, will do a much better job as owners and managers than I did (that won’t take much!), while maintaining the vibe that has become the signature of Rishi Yoga.

Back to my point that this is not just a good thing, but a really great thing: How can I not be overjoyed now that I get to simplify my life by just teaching yoga, and do that in the studio that not only feels like home but IS home to me? I may have just found a way to have my cake and eat it too!

Some of the common questions I have been asked in the last six months now seem almost silly to answer, but I will do it anyway.

“Aren’t you scared the studio will change?” No. I don’t live in fear and have been actually working hard to undo fear in my mind. I do get scared by rattlesnakes, but that’s a separate point : )

“Are you going to teach yoga elsewhere?” No way. I don’t want to be owner because I don’t want the owner’s responsibilities, not because I don’t like Rishi Yoga. I love Rishi Yoga! But I think that’s clear already.

“Will you stop teaching yoga?” Not for as long as I can physically show up to teach my classes, and that’s looking pretty good for the foreseeable future!

Thank you ALL for being my teachers in the last five years (or longer). I could write another (way too long) post about how grateful I am for having made so many friends in Reno, pretty much all of whom I have met through my yoga teaching. May we all continue to grow in love and gratitude for ourselves and for one another.

Winter Solstice 2018

Hello darkness, my old friend…

The winter solstice is the acknowledgement and the celebration of the darkest night of the year. Yet most traditions and most people focus today on the return of the light. Why are we uncomfortable with and afraid of darkness?

Yes, light is what we are in reality. And in reality, there’s nothing but light. But within the illusion of time and space and separation, we have made darkness real and therefore it is real for us.

And it will be so until we stop repressing and denying our shadow and start simply looking at it with the eyes of patience and compassion.

The darkness in us is not an evil force but simply parts of ourselves that we mistakenly judged as bad and sinful and wrong, and out of fear of facing those parts, we threw them into the basement of our being and locked the door.

Going back into the basement and turning on the light, we see that there are no monsters there at all. 

But to get to the point of turning on the light, we have to first face the fact that there is a basement to begin with, and then go into it and face the darkness. Only then can we turn on the light and see that the monsters were real only in our imagination.

Darkness is not the problem, but our denial of its existence is. Darkness is not to be integrated, but simply looked at from a different perspective. Once the light is turned on, darkness is gone, just like a dream is gone once we wake up.

As A Course in Miracles teaches, 
“The light is in you. Darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out.” 

There’s nothing to fear. Time to start the uncovering.

Confusion and Clarity

On this last day of fall, contemplating confusion and clarity.
On the heels of the old, at the threshold of what’s to come…
Do I give in to restlessness or simply rest in ambivalence?
Do I take the mind’s haziness as a mistake, something in need of fixing, or do I stay patient and trust this soul incubation process?
Does the heart really care what thoughts pass by, when the heart only knows the gentle embrace of compassion and love?
I’d rather wait in confusion than bask in the false glory of my fear based conclusions.
Clarity doesn’t come from the mind that so fervently seeks it, but from the heart that surrenders to the end of seeking.
Is clarity then really much different than confusion?
The mind that separates those two is the cause of all turmoil. The mind that separates anything in two is the devil on my shoulder.
But that same mind, provided it yields to the guidance of the unbound heart, is also what sets me free.
I can see a coin with two sides. Or I can just see a coin.
Maybe clarity is nothing but the total acceptance of confusion.
What could love do, other than see through the veil of illusion and separation and love it all?
What will you and I do, once we see through that same veil? 
What else will be there to do but let love be, no matter what form it seems to take?
Clarity at last.