I am holding a donation based class on June 11 at Rue Saint Roche through Affordable Yoga. All proceeds will be going toward Pachamama Allliance.
Why: I have spent the past nine years looking deeply into the human condition, at my own suffering, human behavior, the nature of the human mind, how to illuminate and bring consciousness to what is dark, how to accept what is difficult and how to connect to something greater that resides within. I have studied the Patanjali Yoga Sutras front to back three times, learning to chant the sutras. I have delved into Tantric knowledge and the psychology of the chakras, human behavior, neuroscience, how to work with a brain that is inclined toward the negative, how to be more like a wild animal in regards to stress, how to use the bad, see the good, and understand the subconscious mind.
Through all of that work I found myself going deeper and deeper into the ugliest parts of myself while simultaneously having glimpses of the purest, most profound self-understanding that is beyond what words can accurately describe. One could say that I connected to what is known as a soul, to my own soul. Yet, my naturally flawed mind, neurotic and human would come find me again, knocking at the door to remind me that the pure-awareness I had just touched upon could only exist temporarily in moments of deep quiet. Teachers will tell you the more you do it, the more you will be able to handle conflict with responsiveness, instead of reactivity, and this is indeed true. That you can literally re-wire your brain the more you practice creating positive loops, and this is true too. That you can learn to understand your fears, your hold ups, and embrace the negative, using the negative as a means to transform yourself. While I would agree with all of these things, it is an enormous and never ending amount of work. Once you start, you realize there is always more to do. Once you've understood one thing about yourself, there is always something else just beneath the surface to work on. I gave myself a solid eight years of it. I am glad I did all that work and I would never take it back or reverse it because it gave me the tools that I can use when I need them which is less and less these days, more importantly it has given me the tools I can use to offer to others who need it who ask for my help.
How I teach yoga these days: The way I can help someone is by educating them on what I have studied in an intellectual sense, not by being their guru or spiritual teacher. When I teach yoga, I do of course hope to give someone a peek into something inside of them that is at peace, to find the space of inspiration that exists inside of them. I want to give people this experience. But that is where my spiritual guidance stops. I do not philosophize in class anymore, I will not teach yogic knowledge in my yoga classes now. If you ask me however, I will tell you or share resources with you, so you can go to the right people. When I teach yoga these days, it is largely to teach how to do yoga well, with alignment, with safety with exploration of ones body, to move stuckness, to be in the vehicle that is the body well, and to make the body strong and healthy. This is what I will offer you, but I will not offer you questions that will send you down a neurotic rabbit hole of your values and ethics whilst teaching you asana (postures). I will teach breath and good alignment, I may offer a chant, some mind calming prananyama, or a relaxing embodied relaxation.
The reason is this: Whilst I did all of that self work, my world became incredibly self-focused, I was constantly checking in with myself; how did that make me feel, what was I thinking now, was I acting from fear, or something more wholesome? My self-obsessive micro-world through what I called my yoga practice was perhaps making me more neurotic than I had been before. I cared about how I acted all the time, how I’d handled things, how to do it the best, kindest, most graceful, most fair, most conscious way; was I being reasonable, compassionate, honest, too direct, too forward, too judgmental, lacking generosity, flexibility, etc etc…it was exhausting. I won’t kid you, and say that I don’t still have the habit of asking myself if I could have done it better, but fortunately for my own happiness, less than I used to. I noticed asking myself why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and whether or not I had behaved well, did not make me do life better, and it did not improve the lives of others around substantially enough to make all of that worth it.
My spiritual practice now: Now, I focus on loving myself no matter what, spending time with people where questioning myself is greatly reduced, doing things I love, forgiving myself, being creative, learning new things outside of the world of self-improvement, travel and exploration, and not on question my own behavior all the time, or what kind of practice I can take on to make me a better person. The new form of yoga for me is a yoga where I am focused equally on what is happening around me and in the world and less on how I can do me better. To me the new way of being conscious, is not focusing on myself all of the time, it is expanding my micro-world and extending some concern toward the planet. Pick your area of interest, there are plenty outside of your own self- improvement to work with. I want to wake up to what is happening in the world. Instead of only reading articles about self transformation, I read articles about the environment, and social engagement.
Mastering a handstand is not going to change the world. I have always known that mastering a handstand wasn’t going to give me some magical ability to see the world from a different perspective and change the way I was in the world. As much as it is a nice analogy. Doing yoga, doing meditation, calming the mind, increasing digestion, calming the nervous system, improving circulation in the body in order to feel healthy yes, I believe in yoga for these things. You cannot contribute to the world around you unless you are physically and mentally able. So absolutely do yoga for these reasons. It will open you up to new realities, and you must go deeply into them if you are being called to do that. You must go into it as deeply as your curiosity desires. Like I did, that may take you years. But if you find your world is shrinking, then don't forget to step up and look around you, because in my opinion the new wave of yoga, is a yoga of union with our planet.
The planet needs us more than ever before. We must act, and focus some of our attention on what is outside of us, all around us, what we depend on, what we cannot exist without, what doesn’t have a voice, what needs us to take action. In many spiritual lineages you often here to term “wake up”.
To wake up to your greatness, to wake up to your heart (the spiritual heart is the soul), when I used to hear the term wake up- I felt a disconnect, what did that mean? and how was I supposed to implement that in my daily life? But now I can proudly say “wake up” to our planet who is in need of some attention. Mother Earth, in need of action. To wake up and stop using so much plastic, and to reuse things as much as possible, to create less waste, to purchase things from ethical businesses, to support local farmers, to know where your food is coming from, to eat less meat as difficult as that might be (for me included), to eat organic food as a part of supporting the bees, to plant some milkweed to support the monarchs, to learn about indigenous people who are seeing their land deteriorate in front of their eyes, to ride a bicycle, to get involved in a organization who cares.
To no longer only ask: How can I save myself, how can I make myself the best person I can be? And to turn some of your attention to how you can save the planet, and how you can be the best guest on this planet while you are here, to live lightly and consciously not only for your own micro world but for the ecological system of which you are a part.
Panchamama, you can do their "Awakening the Dreamer Program"
Plastic Pollution Coalition
La Ruche Qui Dit Oui
Save the Bees
Hope to see you June 11th!
All proceeds go to Panchamama.
Hailing from a suburb of Toronto, I moved to the West Coast of Canada in 2004 to study Environmental Science in Victoria, BC. Always passionate about the health of Mother Earth and the health of those who occupied it. I studied yoga in India in 2007 returned to Vancouver in 2008. I taught yoga and worked at one of Vancouver's leading Naturopathic Clinics as a Clinical Associate. I continued to study yoga with some fantastic and respected North American teachers and returned to India for more studies in 2011. Now, I live in Paris, France and teach both group classes and privately. My aim is to bring about improved well-being, in whatever form is required.