Monday, August 27, 2012

Unexpected Bliss

I had the privilege of attending Wanderlust, Squaw Valley for the second year in a row this year. What an amazing event Wanderlust is to witness…even if you aren’t a yoga enthusiast. There is something for, art, dance, yoga, slackline, paddle boarding, good food and amazing connection.

Last year when I attended Wanderlust, I was on the brink of divorce, deciding if I wanted to relocate, sliding into a new life that involved complete independence and surrender. Every class I attended made me weep! My body hurt every single day because of the emotional trauma it was holding onto.

This year was very different indeed. I had shifted the gears of my life and wandered into Squaw a new person…for real. I felt alive, connected and very sensitive to the energies around me. I felt as light as air and ready to absorb new information as opposed to hiding my tears in the deepest holds of Pigeon Pose.

I am, admittedly, a Vinyasa Yoga snob. I love my flow practice! So much so, that I have not really gone off the beaten path in the past year to try anything new! I think it’s because my practice served me so well during such a tumultuous time, I wanted “more of THAT”! If it’s not broke, don’t fix it right?


I learned a valuable lesson this time around…one that coincidentally I write about in my teacher training program. It’s about the value of trying different styles of yoga and different teachers. Now the various teacher thing, I got this year. Last year I played it safe, attending classes by well-known instructors like Seane Corn, Giselle Mari, Kathryn Budig, Shiva Rea and Johnny Kest. But this year, I went outside of my box taking classes with instructors who were new to me. I took “teacher only” classes… knowing I was going to get my ass kicked… and I did.

But my biggest lesson came when I decided to take a Yin Yoga class with Johnny Kest, music by Rara Avis. I took a Yin class once…I didn’t like it. It was too slow, there was no music, and the instructor’s cues were only to breathe…and breathe some more…and then some more while the clock ticked backwards in my head.

I felt so strongly about how the music was going to affect my experience, that I decided to tell Johnny Kest (who by the way, is one my very favorite yogis out there!), that I was not attending this class for him, but that I was there for the music of Rara.

What did I learn during this process?

A few things…..

That Yin Yoga is very therapeutic when taught authentically with knowledge and connection. Johnny had a story for every long asana hold. So every time we were in a posture, for what seemed like forever, we were entertained with some fun anecdote, designed to keep our mind off the fact that at some point, we had to release this body twister. In fact, one of the stories he told, was about my inconsiderate admission prior to class starting. What did that do?

Well, it taught me that during these longs holds we are offered that true stillness I speak of often in my own classes. That space where we can not only release muscle tension, but we can also re-evaluate what we really want to say; how we really feel and how we would truly like to act. It gave me some stillness to reword what I really wanted to say to the man I am inspired by in so many ways.

What else? Well….it completely confirmed that music, when played with intention and heart, truly acts as sound therapy. Holding uncomfortable postures for 8-10 minutes, breathing and allowing music to soothe over your sore muscles, heals and opens you up to the deepest layers of your being.

I have never, ever left a class feeling so open and expanded…ever. Before Johnny’s class, I had attended 8 yoga classes in the span of three days and danced the night away in cowboy boots. My body hurt! The day after Johnny’s class, I could do postures I had never done before and I had no pain.


Music….most definitely.

Johnny Kest is an amazingly gifted instructor and Rara Avis and his music...let’s just say that the two together proved to be a match made in heaven for my body, mind and soul.

Many blessings.

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