not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Photo Journal

From the market the other day...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunshine, Smiles and Heart-Shaped-Sunnies

" Awaken into the steady joy of
That which is always everywhere. "

-the Radiance Sutras #11

Sunshine, Smiles and Heart-Shaped-Sunnies. That sums up my day off. Hallelujah for a day of rest. 

Busted Knees

Shaine Smith (my bodyworker, healer and friend) told me that the knees are associates with fear of change and fear of death. He said that this is why I tore my meniscus in my right knee a few years back. My Dad had received his diagnosis, I came home, became depressed, Dad started to have a bit of a comeback and positive health reports so I jetted off to Asia to plug in and rejuvenate. I had been in Indonesia all winter, surfing the biggest waves of my life. I got home to notice that my Dad was indeed dying, something that I was pretending wasn't true while I was away. The week that I got back and realized this, boom, I tore my meniscus surfing ankle high jersey waves. My foot slipped just a bit and it was game over. Shaine argued that my foot probably slips all of the time, so why did I get injured THIS time? Clearly I was afraid of some sort of change or death. And he was completely right. Fast forward to class the other day. Funny enough, the theme of the class was even titled FEAR. I was fully present and participating in this intention, and it was actively fueling my full-power practice. Go figure, I pushed it too far in hanuman (split pose), which prepped my knee for disaster, and when we came into ardha padmasana forward fold - boom. Actually, POP. I either tore or strained my left meniscus. On a positive note, at least it was my left knee and not a re-injury of my right knee. So now my body will be even in its handicaps. And thankfully I am studying yoga at an Ayurveda Center, so I have been going to the doctor in the afternoons to get a poultice (herbal concoction) of fresh herbs, ground up with warm oil applied to my knee and then wrapped in cotton. And so, here I am at my advanced vinyasa training, and I can't practice asana. I am hobbling around but I'm being mindful of "RICE: Rest Ice Compression and Elevation". Also, this invites me to get REALLY spot on with my verbal cues since I can't demonstrate poses and have to be very clear and articulate. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise! One can only hope!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fear and Quasi-Forearm-Headstands

The theme of today's class was about "FEAR". I thought to myself that I should finally be able to have a tear-free class because I am comfortable and close to my fears, and it's a theme that many teachers focus on. Alas, I was wrong. As I opened up more to my fears, I realized that my biggest fear wasn't the fears themself, the fear is that while I am amongst them and overcoming them that there is no one there to hold me. Ah, the fear hidden in the fear. It is the physical comfort of being held by someone who knows you, loves you and nurtures you...this is the type of touch that I miss when I'm on the road so much. Does that make sense? And then the scariest of it all is that I will never be physically held by my Dad ever again. Duh, this is what happens when someone dies, but sometimes the weight of him being gone hits me hard, and it feels like being crushed by a wall. More than anything he held me emotionally, and no matter what I was going through he just held space for it and whatever I was feeling. He didn't tell me what to do. He didn't tell me what not to do. He didn't tell me not to feel what I was feeling or to feel a certain way. He just 'was', and just let me 'be', but in that was togetherness, which made my fears a bit less scary and easier to face.

I've been thinking about this a lot since this mornings class, and I'm starting to find some comfort as I read back through the teachings of this past week. Tantra, directly translated, means "web" or "loom". And the Tantric path teaches us that we are all part of a web, woven together....because the one decided to become many, so we may be different but we are all the same. Energy cannot die, but only transform, and it cannot leave - it can only be continually woven into the web of life. And so, my lesson for today is that I am held, even in my aloneness, by all of the energies of the world which are woven together. And my Dads energy is a part of that. My mom, my friends scattered around the globe, all of my loved ones...they are a part of that. So, I'm taking an extra long savasana now that I've finished this blog, and I'm opening up to being held by each and every one of you, and I will take this comfort with me throughout my day. Hari Om.

The "fear" posture for today was this tripod/forearm fusion headstand. I gotta admit, I feel super feel power in it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014



RETREAT with me and jump start into a FULL POWER SPRING ❤️ I still have a few spots left on my BAJA MEXICO retreat this Easter April 20th-25th! Rancho Las Cruces is a 500acre private estate, in a uber-luxury villa, overlooking the Sea of Cortez! The price is a steal-- shared rooms $1,960pp or a single room for $2,940. Message me for details! I also have two spots left on my ITALY RETREAT this June 15th-21st!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Give Yourself...

Kalari is a form of martial arts founded in the southern part of India. (As wiki says...)"The word Kalari means "threshing floor" or "battlefield" in Tamil and Malayalam. Training for Kalaripayattu, a martial art of Kerala is traditionally done inside the Kalari.

Every Kalari has a Puttara (meaning "platform where flowers are kept" in Malayalam). The Puttara is a seven tiered platform placed in the south-west corner and houses the guardian deity of the Kalari. The seven tiers symbolise the seven abilities that each person must possess: Vignesva (strength), Channiga (patience), Vishnu (power to command), Vadugashcha (the posture), Tadaguru (training), Kali (the expression) and Vakasta - purushu (sound). Other deities, most of them incarnations of the Bhagavathi or Shiva, are installed in the corners. Flowers, incense and water are offered to the deity every day. Before starting the day's practice, it is the norm for practitioners to pray to the deity. Not only is the Kalari a temple of learning, but it is also a temple of religious worship with a cult and ritual of its own."

It.Is.Full.Power. ...Whoa.

Danny told us to meet at 7am at the front lobby, dressed in India-appropriate attire (no shoulders showing, no shorts), with a little bit of spending money. We piled into the van and then an hour later climbed out into a not-too-special, busy-little-town in southern Kerala. We followed Danny into a random, not-too-special building and into a little room with a broken door. We walked out onto the viewing area where there were a few random plastic chairs scattered about for any audience. And down below was the small "arena" (that's definitely not what it's called, but I kept getting visions of that movie "gladiator" where he's fighting in the colosseum). There were 4 incredibly strong, incredibly sweaty men in the arena...all wielding bamboo sticks and wearing an incredibly small piece of white cloth that was delicately tied into teeny-tiny-tighty-whiteys. The master, a shorter Indian man with thick black hair and who moved like water, was teaching one of the young men when we first arrived. It was like a dance, and I was unable to pull my eyes away, completely entranced by the way these men moved below me. The blows were intense and fast, the sharp CRACK of the bamboo sticks sending a little jolt through my body each time. The handwork along the bamboo stick (though they also use knives, swords and other wooden paraphernalia) was complicated and constant, a wrong move would have resulted in knuckles being smashed into smithereens. It was like sword-fighting- but more primal, and more beautiful. The feet moved with the grace of a trained dancer and the eyes of the opponents never left one another. And this is what is still haunting me. I don't even have to close my eyes to see the intensity and presence of the young man as he was in the ring with his master. When I recall it, a tear rolls down my face. Practice, Patience, Perseverance, PRESENCE. Full-Power. Both their bodies, young and old, moving in-sync...glistening with sweat, which only helped to emphasize each and every muscle throughout their anatomy - all of which were engaged for the task at hand. I was fascinated, and fully inspired. It reminded me to stay dedicated to my practice, and as Patthabi Jois says, "With practice all is coming". In the States you often hear teachers telling you to 'honor your body' by taking child's, having a rest, or moving into an early child's pose. But I challenge this. Before you do this, take a second to ask yourself if you really *need* to, or instead- is it possible to use your breath and continue on with dedication, patience, perseverance and presence. My Ashtanga teacher Rory Trollen would always say "GIVE yourself to your practice", and I kept hearing that in my head as I watched these men. You have rolled out your mat, you have made the time to be there- give yourself to your practice, and I promise you that you'll be greatly rewarded.

KCS + Conscious Communication

Conscious communication has been a huge part of this training. I obviously have no problem communicating MY thoughts, emotions and ideas...if anything, I'm an over-communicator. I am quite efficient in saying exactly what I mean, and being articulate about whatever process I'm digesting. Alas, there's two parts to communicating just as there are two parts to karma...with the little-known step-child being "listening". Yep, this is the second half of communication that is usually forgotten. And so my challenge these past ten days has been to listen. So far, so good. I have been noticing that my internal chatter begins to fade away as I am actively and completely listening to others. Instead of thinking of what I want to say, contribute or prescribe as someone is sharing, I just focus on listening to whatever they have to say. And then the lesson continued last night after catching up with my good friend (Kelly Croce Sorg) back home, when she reminded me to listen to my(higher)self and to the Higher vibration of the Universe.

"Don't forget to ask up. And then-- shut up and listen."

Listening to my gut is something I have been feeling disconnected from these past few months. I have been existing just in my mind, removed from my heart, but most importantly (or should I say 'tragically'), my deep knowing. The knowing that exists in the belly and in the limbs. I feel that this is an issue for most people (<<<from a conscious communication standpoint, that would be labeled as "projection". I can't speak for you, but hey, I'm still working on this conscious communication stuff so I'm gonna go ahead and project). When was the last time you listened to your bodies intelligence (chitta)? Because our limbs know more than the thinking mind. And our chitta will guide the way if we only allow it to.

My goal for this week is to not only create space to hear others, but to create space to hear myself. "Don't forget to ask up. And then-- shut up and listen." Another grounding conversation with a most wonderful friend. God bless ya Kelly Croce Sorg for keepin' it real and grounding me....

Monday, March 24, 2014

Karma (and Lila)

In lecture this week we have been covering Karma, from a (Rajanaka) Tantra point of view. From the tantric perspective, we actually study two words that create the whole...."Karma & Lila". Karma is something that we often talk about, but Lila is the (neglected) red headed step-sister. They are different sides of the same coin. Ya dig? Karma is the invitation to take responsibility and Lila (pronounced Lee-La) is the idea that anything can happen at any time, for no reason whatsoever. The three considerations of karma are causality (the relationship of cause and effect), accountability (if you strike a match, you'll get fire), and consequence (taking responsibility). The Tantric view of Karma believes that good things can happen to bad people, and bad things can happen to good people- and there's no rhyme or reason to it. This is Lila. The belief is that there is no one keeping track of the good and the bad, no karmic "tally" determining your rebirth. You could be a great person in this life and you could come back as a rat or horseshit in your next life.

Let's get back to Karma. We do have a certain "karma" in this life, as in, we have certain innate gifts that we were given. Alas, it is up to us as to whether or not we want to cultivate, hone, and pursue these skills. Notice that effort must be put in to co-create the life we want to lead. We live in an entropic Universe....where everything is falling apart. [Therefore] we have to actively and skillfully engage and participate in the world to create our existence.

So my Karma is to be a teacher (my innate gift). I'm a kind, fun-loving, outgoing person- which opens a lot of doors for me (this is an example of causality: cause and effect). I teach a great class, so my classes are full (accountability: trusting cause and effect to create results). And I work damn hard (consequence: responsibility), which has helped me to get where I am today.

The other side of the coin is Lila. Oh Lila, you little bitch. Again, Lila is the understanding that anything can happen, at any time, for no reason whatsoever. On a light hearted note, it's just like synchronicity, or serendipity. There's three elements to Lila which are entanglement (the Universe is innately playful, and everything is connected), randomness (stuff just happens...without reason, cause or purpose), and the lucky (sometimes life simply lines up). Lila invites us into uncertainty...which, if you asked me one week ago, I would tell you freaked me out. But now I don't look at uncertainty with as much anxiety. "Maya" means illusion, and it was always used in a negative context- but tantra sees it as good. Maya (Illusion) is an example of "rahasya"'s an opportunity for some truth to be revealed. Basically you can bake bread every day, using the same ingredients and same oven, but every once in a while you're going to have a loaf that turns out a bit different than the usual. Yes, the ingredients were the same. The process was the same. You did everything correct. There's no reason for it...simple that anything can happen at any time for no reason whatsoever. And this brings me comfort. Tantra says yeah- ask up- engage the higher power- but know that sometimes shit happens. Sometimes the bread doesn't turn out fluffy and chewy and delicious like usual.nAnd you're not being punished, or rewarded. It just is what it is, and in this entropic universe in which we are trying to create order, sometimes shit just happens. Just because. And today, this brings me comfort. To know that when things go wrong it's not because it's the will of God. It's not because I'm being punished by the higher powers that be because I was an a-hole in a past life, or speaking more presently, that I was having negative thoughts about someone I knew. No, sometimes when things go wrong they just do. So kudos to me for keeping it together in a world that's naturally falling apart. And hooray for the good luck that has simultaneously fallen into my lap. Life is amazing!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thank god for good friends.... I had the day off yesterday and I got to catch up with a few people who are very important in my life. I was able to have a long talk with one of my besties for her birthday! I miss her like crazy, and especially missing her beautiful daughter Isla (who is growing so fast), but I'm grateful for technology and all the tools I have to stay in touch. Feeling so grounded after connecting with "home". ❤️

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Continual Revelations....Rahasya.

We had a lecture on the "6 Stages of Consciousness" in class a few days ago, and it's been swirling around my brain every since. I want to exist in a higher state of consciousness, so to understand the layers that make up consciousness helps me to dive deeper. I believe that to completely understand and accept these stages that we are able to start to make a shift to exist on a higher vibration.

The 6 stages are:

1. Chitta : Intelligence
2. Svatantrya : Freedom
3. Purnatva : Fullness/Perfection
4. Kula : Community
5. Shri : Abundance
6. Rahasya : Secreting

Let me begin by addressing "consciousness". The long definition (taken from "The Reality of Being : The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff by Jeanne De Salzmann) is : "A special kind of perception independent of the activity of the intellectual mind, a perception of oneself: who one is, where one is and then what one knows and does not know. In the moment of consciousness there is the immediate impression of a direct perception." In plain English, consciousness is EXISTENCE. So our existence has six stages, or layers and I love them all! But, I am particularly intrigued by Rahasya, which honors the process of *continual revelation*. Rahasya is the layer of existence that is 'secret'; In our existence there is always 3/4 concealed and 1/4 that is visible for us. Does that make sense?

And Rahsya supports PURNATVA {-We are born in perfection and fullness
-We are invited to embrace our perfection and where we are at in this moment while at the same time honoring our desire to grow and evolve-There is always more. As we expand so do our boundaries. We are not limited.} We are full and complete, but there are always things hidden from us, opportunities for growth. And today, this is what I've come to discover most in this training: That as full and complete and perfect as I am....and as much as I know, contain, and am able to contribute.....that I don't know shit! But I honor both of these: I honor that I am powerful and amazing, and simultaneously honor the fact that I really know so little..... 1/4 revealed, 3/4 concealed... Every day I am discovering something new about myself, that I was unaware of for the past 27 years! Every day I am understanding the relationships in my life in a whole new way, as layers are slowly falling away as a result of my open heart and heart work. Understanding, exploration, inquiry and discovery. But I am still full, complete, perfect (purnatva). Some things are concealed to us, and that's okay! We don't need to experience EVERYTHING to be complete! There are positives in things being concealed- It is the ultimate guarantee that there is always more. Did you hear that? IT IS THE ULTIMATE GUARANTEE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS MORE. As soon as you think that you know all of the adjusts for child's pose, boom - some teacher shows you another. As soon as you think that you know your mother, boom- she busts out some magic that you didn't know existed within her. As soon as you think you understand WHAT yoga is, you do a training that makes you question every thought about yoga that you've ever had, and open your eyes to a completely different path. As soon as you think you know yourself, another layer of your powerFULL and amazing being is revealed. As soon as you write someone off as being a total twat, you understand a bit of what has shaped them into who they are, and then you soften with this understanding and compassion. Stay open. There is always more!

When I think of Rahasya, I think of the magical life of being a child...where so many things are new, and there is excitement in the discovery. I find that I have tendencies to be a bit jaded sometimes, or unimpressed when certain things are revealed to me. It is my desire to bring some freshness and gratitude into my life by honoring these revelations and allowing these discoveries to humble, educate and inspire me!

(Photo by Sharon McKenna:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Prayer and Puja

The family ventured out to the temple tonight for prayer after a long morning and afternoon of sadhana and study. We had all gone to the tailor and gotten saris made. After several hours, lots of sweat, and many safety pins- we were locked, loaded and looking fresh from a Bollywood film! Jai Shiva! Aum Gung Ganapataye Namah!

All the Hemispheres


All the Hemispheres -- Hafiz

Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out


Like a welcomed season

Onto the meadow and shores and hills.


Open up to the Roof.

Make a new watermark on your excitement

And love.


Like a blooming night flower,

Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness

And giving

Upon our intimate assembly.


Change rooms in your mind for a day.


All the hemispheres in existence

Lie beside an equator

In your heart.


Greet Yourself

In your thousand other forms

As you mount the hidden tide and travel

Back home.


All the hemispheres in heaven

Are sitting around a fire



While stitching themselves together

Into the Great Circle inside of


(Photo cred to the beautiful Josephine Edmondson. Check out her blog

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Desert Jewel and Danny

Holy mackerel, what a day!

Our class started at 6:30am, and the tears started for me by 6:31am....not stopping until well after breakfast. Danny Arguetty has a way of coaxing your deepest, darkest, most sacred and secret pains, fears and joys out of their hiding place and placing them directly in front of your face. Boom. Or, should I say "WHAM!" When Danny guides me through class I feel like he is writing poetry, with my body and my breathe becoming the most beautiful, intimate and authentic poem. He is very calm, articulate and gentle with his lesson plan as well as with his delivery. A good teacher will have a great warm up, a balanced, inspiring sequence and an intention woven into class. A great teacher is one who lives their yoga, and this shines through into their teaching. It's one of those things that's unspoken, but is incredibly tangible. Danny is one of the very few teachers who actually lives yoga, and therefore being in his presence you cannot help but to be inspired, transformed and challenged to rise up to your highest self. His classes nourish a part of me that has never been touched by another. And this mornings class had more healing and nourishment in it than all of the yoga classes that I've taken this past year combined. Wow. Mind blown.

And so, I cried. A lot. From the start of the practice until my last sip of tea at the breakfast table. It was exhausting, but necessary, and I am so grateful that the flow he created and the space that he held was able to help me move through and get rid of some of this grief that's just been *stuck* inside of me. As he's teaching us in this Advanced Vinyasa and Tantra training- vinyasa is a way to help us to reconnect with the rhythm of feel fully. To reconnect with our innermost workings....

After class and brekky, we went on an excursion, hopping a push-boat, slowly cruising through the famed "backwaters" of Kerala. We made our way to a shanti little beach where we all sipped on fresh coconuts and had a dip in the Arabian Sea. And this dip was perhaps the most exciting part of the day, because it was Jo's **first ever** swim in the OCEAN! So a bit about Josephine...Jo is without a doubt my best friend here, and I think that the most important thing that I will take away from this training will be her friendship. As amazing as Danny is, I know that this experience without her here with me would be incredibly, incredibly different. We start talking before the training, having met on our TT's private Facebook page. We hit it off instantly and conversation flowed freely and deeply via gmail as we got to know one another- her in Arizona, me in Jersey. When we met it was like being reunited with an old friend...warm, familiar and safe. Jo is a desert jewel, having lived most of her 29 years in the dry, vast, mysterious desert- raised by hippy parents and surrounded by cactus and country folk. I, on the other hand, was raised on the sea- in the sea- and feel like I am *of* the sea. As we all prepared for a swim today, I could tell her hesitation. She asked me if I wouldn't mind helping her...explaining the waves, comforting her fear and assisting her with her first ever swim in the ocean. It was magical! I cannot wrap my head around 29 years without a relationship with the sea! But here she was! She was so scared, but equally excited- and completely trusting in my promise to help her along the way no matter what came up. She's been glowing the whole day, and so have I (or maybe it's all the sweat?!). We both overcame big fears today, and we couldn't have done it without the support of one another! I am so grateful that I am able to be here, in this beautiful country, with this amazing teacher and to journey deeper within- uncovering layers, discarding layers, and creating new layers- all with the loving support and friendship of my desert jewel, Jo!


Cruising on the backwaters of Kerala....

Getting down...

Getting down and dirty with some badass advanced sequencing...building from the ground up. Prepare yourself for some seriously BADASS retreats, workshops, classes and trainings!!!!

***STILL A FEW SPOTS LEFT FOR MY APRIL EASTER YOGA RETREAT APR20-25th at RANCHO LAS CRUCES in Baja Mexico**** Message me at with questions or to reserve your spot :)

Monday, March 17, 2014


I am studying Advanced Vinyasa and Tantra (of the Rajanaka Shakta path). When I tell people this they respond with "So, you're studying sex?" or other things along this line. And I don't blame them, I wasn't quite sure what tantra was before this training either. So, for everyone who's asking- this is, in my own words (and those of my dear friend Josephine) a short journey into the definition of Tantra Yoga:

Rajanaka (Sanskrit)
: prince/princess
"Instead of trying to be top dog, the rajanaka simply wants to do enough to still be sovereign but to also honor the natural uncertainty of life. Receptivity. Holding space for possibility. 

Tantra (Sanskrit)
: loom, framework. Invites us to stretch, expand, spread. To bridge, connect. 

The tantric path is about empowerment,  and embracing this beautiful life as a gift. Other schools of thought teach that life is a problem to be solved, and experience to "survive"- but Tantra is the opposite - it's not about getting OUT of the human experience- it's about getting IN to it...actively participating with the life you want, and shaping your own destiny. Whereas other lineages of yoga preach renunciation of desires, emotions and people- Tantra teaches us to embrace these- they are a tool for our continued evolution. Use relationships to help the process of self-discovery and self-inquiry; Bringing awareness to our attachments and (mindfully) keep what serves you and detach from what does not. Desire is not a bad thing, but instead desire is there to guide us. 

There is no "end goal", no "awakening", and no "arrival". Life is simply moments- a series of moments - each a blessing to be lived and savored...for us to experience and enjoy. In these moments we are open to our continual evolution, to the process of life, and to all of its infinite possibilities- while simultaneously embracing our [current] perfection. Tantra is about owning our self-worth and recognizing that we aren't limited. There is no destination, arrival is an illusion; the process is celebration not purification.

My beautiful friend Jo wrote a lovely definition for what Tantra yoga is, which I want to share as well...

Freedom is your birthright, woven one you and me and everything. Finding the fullness in each process, feeling fully, the sweet, the pain, the mundane. There is no end point, only more to see. We take turns leading, letting go of control and proceeding through boundaries. Whether you sit or stand, walk or run, they are all worthy states of being. You are not alone, I am you, you are me, we are everything. 

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, March 16, 2014

500 hours.....

And so I'm here, at Soomatheram Ayurvedic Resort and Spa in Kerala, India to (continue) my yoga education...working towards a 500hour certificate. My teacher is Danny Arguetty, whom is based out of San Diego and is a friend and colleague of one of my most inspiring teachers, Katie Brauer. Pardon me, but this place is *fucking luxury*. It is definitely far different than the India that I have experienced. Soomatheram was actually voted the best Ayurvedic resort in southern India for the past ten years in a row. It's spread out over a cliff, with green plants, trees and herbs all around, creating a "secret garden" kind of feel...looking out over the Arabian Sea. There aren't your typical sounds of India (bus, horns, shouting, spitting, etc,.), just the gentle sound of the ocean and a few birds singing. My room has a proper toilet, toilet paper, hot water, and a shower head (no bucket showers!), all of which are luxuries that I'm not quite accustomed to. Needless to say, I still use the "bum gun" over tp, and a cold bucket "shower" instead of the shower head. But the best part of all has to be the food. I made quick friends with Ramesh, the man who runs the show in the dining hall. Meals are served buffet style 3x a day...with water, fresh juice, tea and herbal concoctions available throughout the day. I have been visiting several times a day to get my chai fix....after all, I paid a small fortune for this training so I'm going to get my money's worth of chai! Ha! And because this is a 'proper' Ayurvedic resort I was a bit worried that id miss the "real food" of India that I love so dearly. But alas, it's here! And better yet is that it's cooked with ghee instead of vegetable oil (which the local stalls have been using to save money), as well as really high quality spices. I've already set my food mantra as "just because you can, doesn't mean you should", and I'm trying to eat slowly slowly. They have fine silverware here, but I find that eating with my hands is what I enjoy best. You eat slower, savor more- and it just tastes better this way.

I'm off for training now but will be sharing as much and as often as is possible. The training has only 7 people which is ammmmmazing. I look forward to the connections and transformations that are ahead. Jai Saraswsti! God bless.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Last day in Varkala, last day of Ayurvedic treatments! I have been having so much fun relaxing by the seaside. It was a nice surprise to have my friend Dorf (we are friends from Sri Lanka) come visit these past few days, filling my time with extra laughter and swimming adventures. And now...I'm off to start my 500hour teacher training!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hari Om, Haridas.

My teacher
I bow to you
Folded hands".

It takes a while to find your teacher, but when you did find them, you just know. And so it was with Haridas. I had taken a few classes here in Varkala, with "well-known" teachers and "the best", but I knew that there was something out there that was a better fit for me. Haridas teaches in a no-muss, no-fuss, quasi-basement "studio" in the Hotel Green Palace. It reminds me a lot of the sterile, random space where my beloved teacher Surinder Singh teaches in Rishikesh. There were only four of us, and damn- we were the luckiest, happiest four people in all of southern India. Haridas teaches a Sivananda style Hatha class, and he gives some badass adjustments and assists (which I will definitely be sharing with all of you students of mine!). I practice two hours in the morning and two in the evening. It takes more than a half hour to walk to his class, so there's 2 hours of walking too, which is a nice physical and mental warm up for my practice. I start my 500hour training on Saturday, but I feel like my training has already begun! Hari Om, Haridas!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wonderful Waxing!

Big ups to my girl Lakshmi for the best waxing experience that I've ever had in all of Asia!! As some of you may remember, I have compared getting waxed in the East as a bit like playing Russian never know what you're going to get, which makes it exciting and slightly terrifying. I have had some traumatizing experiences getting waxed in Asia, but I still find it to be better than shaving with the shitty one-blade razors that they sell here (yes, they still MAKE one blade razors, who knew!), which don't even remove hair, they just trim it! In Cambodia I lost some skin with a bikini wax, in Sri Lanka my beautician tried actively NOT to touch my yoni or anywhere near it for that matter- which made for an interesting experience considering it was a bikini wax, and in Thailand I had an odd experience that involved three women staring at my yoni talking about how they were going to wax. Ayeyaya. You get the jist, yea?

And so, I'm here in India, hairy as a monster, and I came across Lakshmi. Jai Lakshmi! Maha Shree Lakshmi Namaha! As soon as I walked into her tiny "beauty shop", with the fake flowers out front and incense burning, I KNEW that I was in good hands. Lakshmi just has that "warm, mama energy". It was insta-love....

I laid on the table and she said "pain first"...and so it was, bikini wax. It actually wasn't nearly as painful as other experiences I've had, and was nearly identical to the experiences I've had in western studios back home (yet, for a fraction of the price...bikini wax with Lakshmi is 350rs which is $5.75). She did a PROPER bikini wax, and then proceeded to make her way through my incredibly-long, almost-a-dirty-hippy-underarms. Finally, threading. I never get my eyebrows done, and I've never tried threading- but I was keen to give it a go, and I simply LOVE all of the Indian women's eyebrows. It hurt a bit, but goddamn, don't mind if I brag-- but my eyebrows look beautiful!! So incredible. After I was finished we just sat and talked for a long time. I whined about who would do my eyebrows once a left, so she gave me a tutorial on how to thread. It's actually super easy, but I don't know if I would trust myself.... We went through family photos and some of Lakshmi when she was a young girl. She asked me how long id been living in India, which I took as a compliment, and just as my little Aysho said, she complimented me on looking very Indian- with the exception of my blonde hair. Such an enjoyable afternoon of luxury hanging with the lovely Lakshmi. Anyone passing through Varkala should most definitely stop in a get beautified by this sweet soulful mama.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Alone....All One.

I am absolutely obsessed with Clarissa Pinkola Estes' book "Women Who Run With the Wolves"!!!!! It's amazing, empowering and totally inspiring. Every woman (AND man) should read this book. Not now, right now. I love all of the stories that it contains, but the one that I identify most with is in Chapter 9 Homing: Returning to OneSelf and it's called "SEALSKIN, SOULSKIN". It's too long to share the actual story, plus I hope that's an incentive to go and buy the book, but I will share the commentary and insight that Estes goes into after the story....

Where is HOME?
Home is an internal place, a place somewhere in time rather than space, where a woman feels of one piece. Home is where a thought or feeling can be sustained instead of being interrupted or torn away from us because something else is demanding our time and attention.

"The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating an incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.

Every creature on earth returns to home. It is ironic that we have made wildlife refuges for ibis, pelican, egret, wolf, crane, deer, mouse, moose, and bear, but not for ourselves in the places where we live day after day. We understand that loss of habitat is the most disastrous event that can occur to a free creature. We know that for creatures to live on, they must at least from time to time have a home place, a place where they feel both protected and free.

We traditionally compensate for loss of a more serene habitat by taking a vacation or a holiday. But for the soul-self-psyche, vacation is not the same as refuge. "Time out" or "time off" is not the same as returning to home. Calmness is not the same as solitude.

Most of woman's depression, ennuis, and wandering confusions are caused by a severely restricted soul-life in which innovation, impulse and creation are restricted or forbidden. maybe we stumble around in the dark for a while trying to find what calls us, but because we have managed to not talk ourselves out of being summoned by the wild one, we invariably stumble over the soulskin. When we breathe up that soul-state, we automatically enter the feeling state of, "This is right. I know what I need." For many modern women, it is not the driving about in the dark looking for the soulskin that is most fearsome. Rather it is the diving into the water, the actual return home, and especially the leave-taking, that are far more formidable. Though women come back into themselves and are all ready to go, it is hard to go; really, really hard to cede, to hand over whatever we've been so busy with, and just leave.

An incompletely initiated woman in this depleted state erroneously thinks she is deriving more spiritual credit by staying than she thinks she will gain by going. Among wolves there are no such divided feelings about going and staying, for they work, whelp, rest, and rove in cycles. They are part of a group that shares in working and caregiving while others take time away. It is a good way to live. It is a way to live that has all the integrity of the wild feminine.

It is right and proper than women eke out, liberate, take, make, connive to get, assert their right to go home. Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from worry, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. Although there are many physical places one can go to "feel" her way back to this special home, the physical place itself is not home; it is only the vehicle that rocks the ego to sleep so that we can go the rest of the way by ourselves. The vehicles through which women can reach home are many: music, art, forest, ocean, sunrise, solitude. These take us home to a nutritive inner world that has ideas, order and sustenance all of its own. Whatever revivifies balance is what is essential. That is home.

Deep home is evoked by silence. Utter Silence with a capital U and capital S. Regardless of your home time, an hour or days, remember, other people can pet your cats even though your cats say only you can do it right. Your dog will try to make you think you are abandoning a child on the highway, but will forgive you. The grass will grow a little brown but will revive. You and your child will miss each other, but be glad when you return. Your mate may grump. They'll get over it. Your boss may threaten. They will get over it too. Staying overlong is madness. Going home is sanity. If you can, it is better to teach your people that you will be more and also different when you return, that you are not abandoning them but learning yourself anew and bringing yourself back to your real life. Most of us cannot always go for as long as we want, so we go for as long as we can. Now and then we go for as long as we must. Other times, we go until we miss what we left. Sometimes we dip in, dip out, dip in again in bursts."

Taking some time for intentional solitude....

"Long ago the word "alone" was treated as two words, all one. To be 'all one' meant to be wholly one, to be in oneness, either essentially or temporarily. That is precisely the goal of solitude, to be all one. Solitude is not an absence of energy or action, as some believe, but rather is a boon of wild provisions transmitted to us from the soul. In ancient times purposeful solitude was both palliative and preventative. It was used to heal fatigue and prevent weariness. It was used as an oracle, a way of listening to the inner self to solicit advice and guidance otherwise impossible to hear in the din of daily life. If we establish a regular practice of intentional solitude, we invite conversation between ourselves and the wild soul that comes near to our shore. The purpose of this union is for us to ask questions, and for the soul to advise."

Last night when I was writing this, I picked an oracle card from my Goddess Guidance deck. The Goddess was Sige, advising "Quiet Time", which is exactly what this week is all about!

I am so grateful for my life that allows time to return home, so that I can nurture my soul and spirit!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Incredibly, Incredibly Naked.

I'm going to skip ahead with my story, and then work my way back to the beginning, but I have to share.....
Have any of you had an Ayurveda massage? Let me paint a picture for you:

Imagine a huge, [in-ground] pool of warm oil....
And your swimming in it.
Only you're not swimming,
Because you're on a table,
Being aggressively stroked by little Indian hands,
So you're sliding.
Yes, you're sliding in an in-ground pool of oil.
And it's glorious.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that you are completely naked.... in as-naked-as-the-day-you-were-born!?

I didn't want to fess up about it last year, but now I don't mind sharing....when I was in Goa (Jan 2013) I received a tantric massage from a tantrica. It was totally fucking weird, duh, but I was laughing to myself as I was getting my rub down today, because it wasn't too different from the erotic massage I'd received one year ago! This afternoon, after my consultation, I walked into the room and got completely undressed, which just seems so odd because this culture is so incredibly conservative (I was scolded on the train today but an older Indian woman because my tshirt slipped down and started to reveal my shoulder....meanwhile I was in long pants, sneakers, a tshirt, and a scarf in 95 degree weather!). Aysho had me sit down on a chair and then she drizzled oil into my hair, proceeding to give me the BEST head massage ever (as I sat there, in the middle of the room, on a chair, butt naked). Then I was put onto a table where I held on for dear life so I didn't go sliding off the table and across the room, for the next 90 minutes as I was doused with oil and rubbed down. I really enjoyed the bit where she used an herbal compress and HOT oil to pound my body and scrub, pound and scrub, pound and scrub. Perhaps the most interesting part of the massage though was the shower afterwards. I stood, naked, as little Aysho scrubbed me clean. She used a paste made of chickpea powder and water, which was brilliant in removing the oil...leaving me with super soft skin. She scrubbed every inch of me, and then washed my hair...which was glorious. Once I was clean, dry, and no longer naked, we hung out and had a little girl talk. Aysho is 19, has a boyfriend, doesn't want to get married anytime soon, and she's convinced that if I had black hair that I could be an Indian. "The shape of your face, your beautiful teeth, your long hair....everything about you, very Indian. Very beautiful." She even mixed up pigment to give me a proper bindi on my forehead, proclaiming "There, now Indian woman".

And so....I can't say that I would necessarily recommend an Ayurvedic massage, nor would it ever replace my love for deeper (both physically and energetically) massages like Thai and Shiatsu, but it serves a purpose. I don't have the time to do a full "panchakarma" cleanse, which needs a minimum of three weeks, preferably five. But I am doing a mini week-long Ayurvedic treatment which involves daily massages, a few enemas (done with warm oil and hot compresses on the belly!), some supplements and medicines, and a few other oil-based treatments.

And now, I'll start at the beginning. I got lucky. After a few days of music making in Marari with John de Kadt, I hopped a train just after dawn to the hip beach town of Varkala. My tuktuk driver and I covered every inch of this damn county....the north hill, the south hill, black beach, back to the north hill, and eventually to Odayam Beach. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but I knew that I would know once I arrived. And so it was. I walked into Sea Splendour and instantly had a good feeling in my belly. I checked out the rooms and then cruised upstairs to have a peek at their small restaurant. Sitting at a table was an older [German] woman whom I later came to know as Ula. I asked her what she thought of the place and she lit up, grinning from ear to ear, shaking her head ecstatically, proclaiming that this was the best place in all of Kerala! Say no more. I paid my tukky, carried my bags to my room, and I was home. Ula has been staying here for the past three weeks, and has spent up to 3 months here in the past. She has been traveling to India for the past 28 years, and owns a store in Germany that sells Indian treasures. Though most of the coastline has been bastardized with bad music, all-night raves, cheap shop after cheap shop, and quasi-hippie bullshit....Odayam is still a slice of heaven. The North Hill was infested with hippies and hipsters, overpriced juice bars, yoga shalas and discos. I wasn't really sure what I was going to be doing in Varkala, but I knew that I didn't want to be involved in that scene, and was looking for something shanti shanti close to the beach. As I sat talking with Ula, she told me all about the Ayurvedic treatments that she'd been getting done from an Ayurvedic doctor up the street, and she highly recommended it. There are many charlatans in this country, preaching that they practice "Ayurveda", but most are false's hard to find the real deal, and I find that you only come across these gems by word of mouth. Within the hour I was having my consultation (I'm Pitta-Vata, which I already knew) and was lining up a weeks worth of treatments. All ten treatments add up to be 10,000rs is $160usd. That's a lot of money, but think about it, each treatment is an hour and a half....and $160 is just a bit more than what you'd spend on ONE massage back home. In the end, quite a deal. And the luxury continues....I'm spending 800rs ($13usd) night on one of the nicest rooms at sea Splendour, which is a lot for India, because I'm worth it! Yahoo! After my treatment I felt inspired to explore the coast with a run...and so I ran a mile or two and then dove into the sea to cool down as the sun was setting.

I'm really looking forward to this week of shanti shanti rest, relaxation, yoga, and healing. Life is good. I know that the universe is lovingly guiding me always, and that I am exactly where I should be.

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
So I sat still
For three days

And God came
To me."


QUEEN SUITE (4 ppl X 2 queen beds): $1,820
KING SUITE (2 ppl x 1 king bed) : $1,960
QUEEN SUITE (2 ppl x 2 queen beds): $2,240
KING SUITE (1 person): $2,940

Friday, March 7, 2014

Making Music in Marari

After an extremely long travel day of going over the river and through the woods, I made it to Marari- a super shanti, relatively tourist-free, blink-and-you'll-miss-it town in northern Kerala. My "bus", which was really a bunch of pieces of metal held together with tape, glue and chewing gum, nearly crashed more than a dozen times. It was a loud, hot, sweaty, smelly, and incredibly dangerous ride, but I arrived with all ten fingers and toes, and only a few bruises....smiling from ear to ear. I love India! I feel so comfortable here, which is wonderful, because most people wouldn't use the word "comfortable" to describe their experience in this full-power, face-paced country of extremes. Though my training is in southern Kerala and doesn't start until March 15th, I flew in a bit early so that I could catch John De Kadt. We decided to meet up (and officially MEET...all of our communication up until this point had only been on Facebook, viber, and a single phone call) and collaborate on a bit of music, and to enjoy some fun in the sea as well. John is a brilliant musician, and more importantly, he was one of the rare few that plays the "hang drum" which has to be one of the most magical instruments that I've come across. It sounds like it's from a fairy tale. And so, here we are, two people from the east coast of the USA, meeting for the first time in a small town in India, to inspire one another and create some amazing music!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Easter Yoga Retreat!!!!

Come play with me on the Sea of Cortez!!

April 20-25th!

Email me for details or to book!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tiny Teachers

Such a beautiful last day in paradise!!!!!!

I didn't feel like running today, not one bit. And I remembered what Fredrik said about only doing it if I was enjoying it. But something inside me told me to run anyways. So I decided that I would just do two laps. One lap is running from Rams to Lazy Left and back (one way is 220meters, up and back is 440). As I approached two, I thought "why not go for 2 1/2" and at 2 1/2 I thought "well shit, I'm almost at three...", and so it continued until I did four laps!!! Yay me!!! I never thought that I could run, or would enjoy running, and I sure as shit didn't think a few days ago that I would be able to run four laps. Hooray!!! I rewarded myself with some fresh fruit and a cup of tea with my darling Caroline and then enjoyed some solo swim and sun time...

I am equal parts excited and sad about meeting the amazing Rosanna and Petter, and their adorable kids Teddy and Poppy. Excited, because they are totally amazing and we will be friends for years to come- and sad because I've only just met them and now have to say goodbye. We had rice and curry together for lunch today (along with my friend Samira) and then enjoyed the afternoon swimming and playing in the sand. Rosanna and her husband Petter met while living in the Middle East 18 years ago, and for the past five years have been living on their boat as they sail the world. They just gave up life at sea to settle down, and are hoping to make Sri Lanka their home. What a fascinating, interesting, family that is incredibly full of love and life. Their seven year old son Teddy taught me how to bodysurf today (lame, I know...I don't know how I've gone this long without learning). Anywho, he was swimming with a piece of styrofoam and when I asked why he explained that it's a hand plane so he can catch waves better. I asked if I could use it and he explained that a coconut husk would be better for a beginner because of the way that it treads water (as opposed to styrofoam). He walked the beach until he found me a perfect coconut husk and then proceeded to patiently teach me to bodysurf. What an a amazing child and amaZing teacher!

I enjoyed the BEST SUNSET YET from the lineup, where I had some of the best waves I've had all week. It was great to have a final surf with my buddy Joe. I'm so sad to leave all of these beautiful friends that I've made, but I'm so happy to reunite with them somewhere over the months and years to come.

Dinner was at Rani's for some kottu roti with the crew. And now, I'm packed up and headed to India...