I've always appreciated PJ and have been lucky to get to know him over the years during travels to Mysore, India. Hard working and so real, I hope you enjoy this video as much as I have.
It's been a long time since I've done a true personal blog post. I've been balancing many things at once the past few years and now it is beginning to sound like a broken record saying such things. Taking time to sit down and write has been something I have been missing for a long time now. One of my simple and most satisfying pleasures. One main reason to get back to it. Hands down it's one of most therapeutic practices I have ever undertaken besides yoga and taking a break from it has helped me to realize just how much.
The past few years have been filled with growth and building. So much has developed as well as interesting opportunities which I feel blessed to have such things come my way but at the same time the busyness of life can start to feel just that, busy. So, taking time to slow down and reflect has been an important practice to fit in because lately I've been giving out every bit of what I have. Somewhere in there I have to save a bit for myself.
I'm in the mist of taking a two week break. Something I haven't experienced in a long time while being home. It's the simple pleasures that make me feel more human and slow me down. It gives a new appreciation of home and to be okay with doing nothing. Ahhh. Gotta love that.
I've been also reflecting on many things lately. One reason why writing is an important practice for collecting thoughts and insights or just simply cleansing the mind. It's refreshing to take in tidbits of information and experiences and chew on them more in depth. I live for this. At heart, I'm an introvert and garner more energy being alone or silent. Funny how destiny has always pushed me into lines of work that is much more extroverted in nature. Which is a good thing.
When I watch videos such as this I begin to have faith in the younger generations. To see a young teenager so eloquent and full of conviction reminds me of how complacent we can become as we get older. With climate change moving full speed ahead, as adults we continue to burry our heads in the sand with no thought on how it will effect the lives of our children. It is time for a wake up call.
“Isn’t it time
to turn your heart
into a temple of fire?”
There is an aloneness that is not loneliness, and not despair, and western medicine hasn’t got a clue. It is something like a profound closeness with your own being, an intimacy with the quiet passing of things, friendship with the broken and the transient within and without. While you quietly grieve over yesterday’s dreams of tomorrows that never came, you hold today so close in your arms. You are the mother of today.
There is a fragility that is not weakness. An exquisite sensitivity to the sad majesty of this ordinary world, a vulnerable openness that has nothing to do with how much money you have made, how you have succeeded or failed in your quest for perfection, or how beautiful or immune to infection your body is, but something to do with the tenderness with which you are willing to touch the broken parts of the world, the depths of aloneness to which you are willing to plunge.
There is an exquisite melancholy that is not depression, contains no pathology, for it contains no self at all. It is as if the heart is broken open and cannot be closed again, ever. Like everything is made of the finest crystal and could shatter at any moment. The sun could burn up without warning, the breath could seize up, a loved one could pass away quietly in your arms. That tiny bird on the tree over there is made of finely woven thread. The neglected pool of water by the supermarket door has infinite depths but no surface, no surface. The moon takes on the quality of a reflection of a reflection in a dream, and everything is so close. You can touch the horizon, whisper to galaxies.
This melancholy, sometimes it arrives unexpectedly in the middle of the night, when you cannot sleep and the moonlight is casting tender shadows on your forearm, or it comes sometimes as you walk through the forest with your dog (you love how he waddles now that he’s getting old, your little companion) and you remember what it is like to be free, or at least alive; or it comes unexpectedly at the dinner table with friends, with delight at … the salt, yes, delight that the salt could exist at all, that there is a world with salt and food and friends, and the possibility of meeting.
Do not medicate away this melancholy. Go deeper into it. It contains information, important information, and longs to release its healing energies. No, they won’t understand you, they will call you depressed, self-indulgent, mad, but you will smile, for you are like the daffodil, and you never wanted to be understood. Your being is too vast to be understood. You will take this imperfect life over no life at all, you will take this broken world blasted through with gratitude over a perfect world half-touched or half-remembered, and the judgements of others will be a small price to pay for never being able to turn away.
Running naked through the streets, throwing off the last of your clothes, you will laugh as they come to lock you up. You are free! You are free! And this beautiful melancholy will keep you from ever closing your heart!
- Jeff Foster
Back in late March, leaving Manila, I missed my connecting flight in Dubai and I had no choice but to stay the night. After I got over the initial frustration and worked out a rebooking, I took the opportunity to tour the city. You can't deny that Dubai is rather impressive. It was interesting getting a little taste, and seeing it all with my own eyes. Now that I've experienced it I wouldn't be opposed to making a brief stopover again. Brief, being the operative word.
Last month I spent 3 weeks in the Philippines. One week on the island of Boracay and two weeks in the city of Manila which boasts to the tune of 18 million inhabitants. My first trip to the country and I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard a few opinions flying around in regards to traveling there and not all of it ended up being true. But, I have to say, when traveling to be around yoga practitioners it more times than not tends to be a positive experience. Yoga people tend to be good people, more conscious and present. They offer wider perspective along with an open mind. If I were there under different circumstances who knows what it would be like. At any rate, I have to say the people are what make the country. Easy to laugh and see the lighter side of things seemed to be a common trait. The customer service in restaurants and stores were some of the best I have ever encountered anywhere. There were various circumstances there that touched me deeply and the students I had the pleasure of teaching were absolutely lovely and up for celebrating at a moments notice.
On another note, during my travels it was the first time I had ever gotten sick while scheduled to teach. I came down with a severe gastrointestinal reaction. Still not sure if it was food poisoning or a virus, but needless to say, I was up the night before I was to teach in Manila aggressively throwing up and going to the toilet. It was not a pretty sight, but I got through it.
Backtracking to my first week I taught on the island of Boracay. With stunning white sand beaches it was also teaming with tourists from all over. It seems to be the spot! One side of the island was devoted to kitesurfing which I found totally fascinating. In Cost Rica I reignited my obsession with surfing, and to then get a taste of kitesurfing, I was left in awe of the sport.
I taught a small intimate group in Boracay which was a nice change of pace. Whether a large group or small it always brings a contrasting energy. These smaller settings are really special and give time to connect on a deeper level.
In Manila I enjoyed a a different change of pace, though luckily I lived close to the shala where I taught and didn't have to commute. The traffic there is horrendous! God safe those who have to battle the streets there everyday. One reason maybe why yoga is needed. I had a deep respect of the dedicated group of Ashtangis I encountered there. Making it work in their demanding lives I really saw how those with work and family were able to integrate the practice. It was beautiful. Mad respect.
Thanks to all who made my stay to the Philippines special. Until next time!
My friend Alessandro Sigismondi and I filmed the above demonstration in the building where my boyfriend works. It definitely has a different feel to it. The atmosphere is a bit cold and stark, but all the elements work in a way that give a slight melancholy feel. A state I feel from time to time.
Here's a little video I did at Purple Valley in regards to techniques and tips in regards to Urdhva Dhanurasana. Enjoy!
Flying to Tabor from San Jose
Keeping it Cool on the Propellor Plane Flight
Pura Vida Forever
Epic Sunset of Santa Teresa
I feel so grateful to have had the chance to experience Costa Rica and yet there is still so much I haven't seen! Our retreat was held on the west costal town of Santa Teresa. A quaint little beach metropolis, teaming with surfers, vacationers, yogis and the like. The beach was incredible and the water temperature perfect for swimming. I was personally inspired by all of the surfers. Santa Teresa is a destination spot for those that are passionate about the sport; however, recently it has also attracted yoga practitioners and health enthusiasts. It all goes hand in hand.
The combination of yoga, sun and saltwater felt extremely healing for mind, body and soul. I felt my entire energetic system shift during my stay. Living in Stockholm I often feel depleted with the absence of sun in the winter months so it was like getting a turbo boost of vitamin D!
Good or bad, our internet connection wasn't so reliable where we stayed so I was unable to blog daily. I guess in the end it was a good thing to unplug and plug into the surrounding area. I felt a little heart sick leaving but I know I'll be back. Sometimes you just get that feeling about places. Pura vida forever!!!
While at Purple Valley I had the pleasure of sitting down with Stu Girling for this interview in regards to the practice from a woman's perspective, adjustments and more. I get completely nervous doing these things but made I it through! At the end of the day, I simply enjoy sharing the experience of practice to those interested.
In Mysore with Jo
"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
Above is my latest video demonstration, filmed and edited my dear friend Alessandro Sigismondi. As always it is a pleasure to share the experience of making these films together. We only desire to inspire and declare that yes things may seem impossible but that it is only temporary. With the right mindset the impossible becomes possible.
I've been practicing yoga for 20 years now, 18 of those Ashtanga yoga, and maybe I am a slow learner but nothing came without consistent hard work. However, it is important to remember, it isn't the asana that is the reward, but the experience inside the journey of this practice that is!
Here's a short little video I did for Stu Girling of Love Yoga Anatomy demonstrating two transitions out of utkatasana in the Ashtanga yoga practice. He's a body worker and yoga teacher offering many tips and tricks from various teachers on his informative website as well as interviews, along with a gathering of many resources. Check it out. Visit his website at loveyogaanatomy.com.
“Quite simply, every growth process unfolds according to a natural rhythm, just like the growing seasons of a tree, or the life cycle of a flower. Think of yourself like one of those plants. If, for example, you considered the fruit the “ultimate” life stage of a plant — and therefore looked upon new shoots and buds and flowers as failures, as signs of incompletion — you’d be mistaken.
Outside Purple Valley's Yoga Shala
Our New Year's Eve Get together!
David is ready to rumble!
Purple Valley's Garden Area
Mark, Deepika, Me and David
My first time teaching at Purple Valley was an amazing experience. I had the pleasure of partnering with Certified teacher Mark Robberds for the two weeks teaching over 50 students who attended. We were blessed with a beautiful and inspiring group of individuals that connected with each other in a way that made for some unforgettable memories. Everything seemed to aligned in a way that left my heart feeling more full than it has in an long time. I feel very blessed.
It was gratifying to join forces with Mark because of his perspective inside the practice of yoga and how it should simply leave us feeling more open and connected to our hearts. I appreciate this at the highest level. The two weeks was a profound experience I owe to Mark wholeheartedly. I am also thankful to my partner David who helped to assist in the Mysore classes, for we had an extensive array of levels and an extra pair of experienced hands was definitely needed.
Goa was also a nice surprise. When I first arrived we stayed a few days near the beach before the retreat started and I have to say I wasn't entirely sold on the place. Kinda of funny looking back on it, but Goa has a way of getting under your skin. I hope to return and until then I am still riding high on the experiences there and feel grateful for it all.
Ashwem Beach - Goa, India
Me and My Close Friend Joanie