It’s important that we develop our sense of self from the inside out and not allow our self worth to be determined by the way that we look or societies projection of beauty.
inevitable changes that take place as we age. I don’t want to buy into any of this. I think it is wonderful that I’m 47 years old and I’m still getting put on the cover of magazines. I love representing what a healthy 47-year-old looks like and I don’t want to be portrayed like I’m still 25. I earned this age and am grateful to still be in this body, and would like to role model aging in an empowered and unapologetic way. MK: That’s what I love about you, Seane. You’re open, honest and real. A lot of women have a hard time with aging given the cultural focus on young and/or youthful-looking women. We rarely see women age publically. SC: I’m aware that at a certain age, women seem to simply disappear – we become invisible to society. As our body changes, we don’t get the same kind of attention, adoration, reverence or respect. It’s important that we develop our sense of self from the inside out and not allow our self worth to be determined by the way that we look or societies projection of beauty. It’s hard not to buy into it. It’s not the norm. This can only change when we chose to confront these standards by not acquiescing to them. The day I was able to look in the mirror without searching for a “flaw” or criticizing my body was the day I realized my relationship to my body had been radically transformed. Until that moment, I couldn’t remember a time since early childhood where I hadn’t engaged in some form of negative self-talk. And the key to this profound shift was the result of a consistent yoga practice that I was inspired to share with as many people as possible, especially others who, like me, battle with a distorted body image. Along the way, I have met other body image warriors such as Anna Guest – Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga and my co-editor on the forthcoming anthology, exploring the connection between yoga and body image featuring 23 inspiring contributors, including Seane Corn. Melanie Klein: Seane, Anna and I are thrilled to feature you in the upcoming anthology on body and image. Can you talk about your relationship to your body and your own body image? Seane Corn: Like most young girls, I was very well aware that I didn’t quite live up to the standardized norms of beauty that were popular at that time, but it never overwhelmed my perception of myself or diminished my self-confidence the way it did with many of my friends. The standards of beauty at that time were white, thin, and ethnically neutral. Categories that I fit into because of my genetics. It was easier for me to feel comfortable in my skin and accepted in a way that my girlfriends didn’t, especially for those of color, disabled, or larger size who were rarely, if ever, represented in the fashion magazines. So although I never really had body image issues growing up, and I still don’t, what I am dealing with now as I grow older is an awareness of the rampant ageism that exists in media and the need to “hold back time” as if getting older was something to resist, be ashamed of and prevent. I can see the impact that this has on one’s self-confidence. I have been present to many conversations centered on the use of Botox, Restylane and even plastic surgery as a way to stave off the inevitable. The models and celebrities we see are more often than not airbrushed and altered in ways that are unrealistic and impossible to replicate, yet we strive to maintain this illusion of youth and struggle with allowing for the
MK: You may be yoga cover model but, more than anything else, you’re also a role model for girls and women. In your unapologetic embracement of aging, you challenge these conventional and onedimensional images of beauty we’re flooded with in the mainstream media – and increasingly yoga culture. That’s no easy feat and it’s inspiring to see a strong woman swim upstream. SC: As a yoga teacher and a public figure, I can feel a certain pressure projected onto me to fit into a particular ideal. There are expectations that I should have the same body I did 20 years ago. Although I’m aware of this, I remain confident in my body, and age, because of the work I have done in yoga and therapy over the years, as well as looking for role models in women older than me that honor a similar commitment evident in the way they live their lives, including Sharon Gannon, Beryl Bender Birch, Gurmukh Khalsa and even my own mother. Like them, I won’t allow someone’s projection to determine how I feel about myself. I know where my value comes from. I will never allow those 5 extra pounds or wrinkles to distract me from other work in the world that is so much richer and more important. I won’t allow it to impede me from being bold, strong and vocal in the world. I am comfortable in a society that tells me that I shouldn’t be - and that’s powerful. My hope for all women is that we transform beauties norms by being and representing fully who we are- regardless of size, shape, color, ability and age- with confidence, self-acceptance and celebration and not succumb to being seduced by ideals that are physically impossible and emotionally limiting.
Melanie Klein is a writer, speaker and Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Santa Monica College. Her essay on yoga, body image and feminism appears in the anthology, 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice and she is the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology on Yoga and Body Image. @feministfatale @YogaBodyImage
photos: steve rosenfield photography, (opposite) leah dawson
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o n T r a c k a n d i n o u r G i f t o r P u r p o s e
“ K n ow t h at a l l the l i m i t i n g b e l i e fs f ro m your family, your frien d s, your fears an d t h e wo r l d w i l l b eg i n to c o me u p onc e you start to take action. Mov e t hrou gh the m.”
you think about it, there is a common structure to living our dreams, to expanding beyond what’s comfortable and to living on purpose. It’s actually pretty simple and when we start to recognize this pattern, it makes it SUPER simple (and still not that easy) to begin to live on purpose and to live your bliss.
yourself and others. Remember - purpose is shared with others. 2.
Begin to take action on your new purpose, one step at a time.
This is what I’ve figured out over the last ten years of trying to find the answers to what makes us/me happy and how to get on track and in alignment with my gift or purpose.
3. Know that all the limiting beliefs from your family, your friends, your fears and the world will begin to come up once you start to take action. Move through them. This part of the process is where we begin to grow as individuals into who we were meant to be by challenging all of these limiting beliefs and fears.
First, think back about all your happy memories. Think back to your childhood and your teenage years; remember the first time you felt romantic love and remember the first time something BIG happened. Finally, think back and find your most recent happy memory.
4. Step into giving. Purpose is about cultivating something within YOU and then GIVING it away to other people. We don’t live abundant and happy lives in isolation or by being takers. So by giving away your purpose to others, you will find that others want to GIVE to you, too.
Look for the common thread in these memories. Who was there? Why were you happy? What emotions were you feeling? Did you feel a sense of connection, joy, happiness, belonging, freedom or peace? Try to see the common emotions that span all of your happy memories. There is information in there that is vital to finding your purpose.
5. Live by faith, not by sight. Living your purpose will require a HUGE amount of faith, courage, tenacity and perseverance. I had to couch surf for almost two years and go on very little money to get TDL started. But I was always taken care of. Trust that The Uni-verse knows your bills, knows you need to eat and knows your heart much better than even you do, so keep facing your fears and limiting beliefs daily.
For me, once I looked back over my happy memories, I saw that having a sense of belonging was HUGE for me. When I feel like I BELONG and when I feel SEEN, I light up like a Christmas tree. I used this as information and saw that I am the happiest, most alive and thriving when I feel like I belong and when I feel seen.
6. Hang with people who support and uplift you. I’ve always said it’s important to take advice from people who have what you want because otherwise, people are just guessing. Who you hang with is who you become, so start hanging with people who support and uplift you.
Since living on purpose and giving your gift is not about just you being happy, but also sharing your gifts, I’ve honed my purpose over time to be: My purpose is to create circumstances, environments, businesses and communities where I am fully expressing my creative gifts with the intention to inspire other people to feel like they belong – first to themselves and then to a group that shares their common interest.
7. Prepare for the haters and the doubters. One way to know you are REALLY on track is when people begin to doubt or “hate on” what you are doing. It’s a natural part of the process. Don’t see haters as a reason to give up; instead see them as a sign that you are starting to become successful.
When I read that and when I see those words, my heart sings. That is the clue to know that it’s real for me. So, what are the common threads in your past happy memories that you can tie together to find your purpose? Seek that.
8. Repeat these steps. Your purpose will constantly get refined. Your limiting beliefs and fears will always come up. Repeat and dive deeper. This will allow you to stay on track. Living on purpose is a lifestyle, a way of being and a lifelong spiritual practice that will refine your Soul. This isn’t a 10-day or 30-day plan. This is a lifelong adventure!
I’m going to break down the “Live your life on purpose” pattern that I’ve found:
This pattern that I have laid out came from my own life experiences and also through helping others discover and live their purpose. I hope that it can help give you some guidance as to where to go next. It’s not a perfect process, but it’s one that works for me. My great hope is that it works for you, too!
1. Find your purpose by excavating and tying together the common threads of your happy memories by focusing on the emotions you felt. Construct a sentence or two that allows you to give your gifts to
Love, Mastin Kipp CEO & Founder of TheDailyLove.com
Now here comes the hard part.
P o l i t i c s and
Spirituality The Point of Spiritual Seeking is Not to Deny the Darkness, but to Transform It By Marianne Williamson
ll of us want to live more conscious lives, but some areas are easier to apply that to than others. Politics is an area where many seekers have simply turned away in disgust, assuming that the search for enlightenment could not possibly include something as toxic, even brutal, as politics. But Mahatma Gandhi once famously said, “Anyone who thinks religion doesn’t have anything to do with politics doesn’t understand religion.” I agree. Where there’s darkness, the point of spiritual seeking is not to deny the darkness, but to transform it. And nothing needs transforming now more desperately than American politics. Politics should be a collective expression of our most enlightened selves, a statement not only about what we want for our country but about who we are and where we choose to stand in the world. Our generation’s task is to transition from transactional (“What can you do for me?”) politics to transformational (“How together might we create a more beautiful world?”) politics, yet we can’t recreate politics without recreating our own involvement in the process. Our problem is not just the systemic lock-out by which the average citizen has been increasingly disempowered in America; the problem is also the way we have conspired with that lock-out by allowing ourselves to be disengaged from the political process. There is a difference between disengagement and
Surrender From Natural Birth to Emergency Caesarean by Jessica Durivage-Kerridge
As I laid there, being prepared to be wheeled into surgery, I saw all of my “plans” for a magical, natural birth fall by the wayside one by one by one. “The baby’s heart rate has spiked to over 200 beats per minute and you have a fever. You have done an amazing job, Jessica – but we have to take you in for an emergency cesarean. You and the baby are at risk.” My doctor placed an oxygen mask over my face as she communicated this to me. It wasn’t a question. The look of urgency on her face told me that we had exhausted every option. I was heading to surgery. 36 hours into active labor, 28 hours with no pain medication and 90 minutes of pushing and feeling the baby in my birth canal, along with the added luxury of forceps trying to get my little guy out, were these dreaded words I was hearing.
childbirth. I wrote a five-page birth plan, hired a doula, made plans to have my placenta encapsulated and was determined, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would have a natural labor because I am a woman and that is what my body was made to do. As I laid there, being prepared to be wheeled into surgery, I saw all of my “plans” for a magical, natural birth fall by the wayside one by one by one. I clearly saw two paths I could take in that moment. The first would be to hold onto this story of what I thought this birth would be like. I could see resentment and
boy was born. As I gazed into his eyes, as the nurse held him so I could see him, I felt all of the love that a new mother should feel as they look upon their newborn baby. I could see and feel the tears of joy in my husband’s eyes and I could feel the active release on my part of wanting it to be any different than it was. My journey was just as it should be. I had not “detoured” somewhere from the intended path. This was the path. The work to be done was right here – in this moment – surrendering to the beauty and the grace of it all.
“Will I be able to hold my baby and breastfeed right after the birth?” I asked. “No, I am afraid not. That is not our policy here. You will be able to see him, and then you will be taken to recovery for 2 hours before you can hold him.” My heart sank. That was the lowest of the low throughout the entire journey of my labor. My eyes filled with tears as I looked around at the delivery team, my husband, doula and mother. All eyes were on me, everyone knowing that I had tried. I had tried so hard to deliver my baby naturally and everyone had wanted it so badly for me. “We have to do what is best for the baby and what is best for me, “ I managed to choke out and I just turned my head and let the tears fall. I dove into my pregnancy journey, reading and watching everything I could on natural Photos: Carl Kerridge 30 MANTRAMAG.COM
suffering in my future if I chose this way. The second would be to completely surrender to the reality that was unfolding around me. Surrender to the disappointment but also to the path that was laid out before me long before I typed up any birth plan or watched The Business of Being Born a dozen times. Surrendering through those moments helped me to stay completely present and find a haven in accepting the life that was before me – and I continued to unfold to it. 20 minutes later my beautiful, healthy 8lb baby
Jessica Durivage-Kerridge is a new mother, writer, speaker and teacher. She is the host of the Where is My Guru podcast, bringing awareness to the inherent light and wisdom we all carry within ourselves. She lives with her husband Carl, son Ellis Roy and two cats, Suki and Spooky in South Carolina.
Sharon Gannon and David Life photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Heath House and Cortney Cantrell photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Cyndi Lee photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Kathryn Budig photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Shiva Rea photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Caley Alyssa photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Ashley Judd and Seane Corn photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Krista and Brock Cahill photographed by Jasper Johal ÂŠ Jasper Johal jasperphoto.com
Doing Nothing to Do Something
By Shiva Rea
Contemplate the mind-blowing journey that is before us all - our circumambulation around the great fireball of the sun which we have been circling for the last 4.5 billion years. This year after 365 sunrises and sunsets, 26 new and full moons, 42 million or so heartbeats, and some 884,000 breaths, we have arrived at the turning point of the year – the Winter Solstice-New Year. At winter solstice, the darkest point of the year, light begins its journey of reemergence. This great cosmological reality synchs our biorhythms to the subtle flow of slowly increasing light. This biological and spiritual attunement to light is part of our creative legacy found in the many cosmological temples around the world linked to the solstice - from the illuminated spiral of the earth mound of Newgrange in Ireland to the 15,000 year old winter solstice cave paintings of the Chumash Native Americans in the Santa Monica mountains. In the heart of fertile darkness at the end of the year.
new and full moon that synch most of the world’s holidays are the rhythmic legacy of our ancestors that often involve unplugging, returning to special lighting of candles and sacred fires, letting go of work life and interruptions from the outside world.
but also toward restoring our own inner energy, which is continually pulled in many ojas-depleting directions.
So envision yourself across the other side of I envisioned this new calendar, the “Solarthe sun six months from now. Let us use our Lunar Mandala of the Year” with designer Lisa energy wisely, with love and potency. We are Firefly to help visualize our journey around the the primordial fire. Feel the rebirth of the This rhythm of retreat—the sabbath in sun in connection with the cycles of the moon light within. Western spiritual culture—offers a new form so we can become more aware of the power of sacred activism, a kind of energy activism of these macrocosmic forces particularly for that can be offered to the transformation of potent times for retreat which is dissolving in the 24-7 modern cycle. This rhythm of retreat—the sabbath in western spiritual culture—offers a
new form of sacred activism, a kind of energy activism that can be offered to
The twenty-six the transformation of our energy future that must happen within our lifetime. new and full moons, eight Energy Sabbath Suggestions. our energy future that must happen within solar junctures and sunrise-sunset daily and Turn off and unplug all electronics and our lifetime. It must happen now because in weekly rhythms are heightened times to appliances (except obviously the refrigerator) the U.S. we are wasting more energy than we unplug, tend your energy, and listen deeply, Take a technology fast—let your family and create, and the toxic forms of that energy are particularly for movers and shakers and friends know in advance destroying our environment and hurling us into contemporary yoga practitioners that utilize Take time for yourself or gather with your the throes of climate change. Even though our social media and technology as a major part loved ones, family, and friends in creative and ancestors used carbon-releasing fuel to tend a of our communication. It is important that rejuvenating ways living fire, it is nothing compared to the waste we unplug to tune in which can be a form of Use ghee lamps, soy or beeswax candles, or of energy we have today. sacred activism. solar-charged lamps for necessary light— create light from natural sources We are actually wasting 54 percent of the Sacred Activism is a term, teaching, and Create meals that use less processing and fuel energy we create—throwing away more than approach coined by Andrew Harvey and refers to cook we use. This is perhaps the price of the ease to how we can align our actions in creative Go for zero or as little waste as possible of electricity: We are no longer gathering sustainable ways. Global warming is one issue wood and valuing our resources. We must stop that has no borders, as everyone is “downwind” wasting our outer energy just as we must learn from someone else and toxic energy affects to cultivate and honor our own life-energy. the soil, water, air, and ozone layer of all beings on planet earth. Becoming conscious of your Shiva Rea will be unplugged on The Power of Unplugging energy use is one of the simplest and most yogadventure retreat in Costa Rica this One can enjoy taking an “energy sabbath” or positive actions we can have. Winter Solstice. She supports Off the Mat ritual of unplugging for three to twenty-four Into the World’s Global Seva Challenge in hours (sundown to sunrise, sunrise to sunrise, Energy Sabbath — Doing Nothing Ecuador as well as the founding project or sundown to sundown), or longer periods any to Do Something of Yoga Energy Activism and the online day, or in synch with the special retreat days It is possible that our ancestors understood Samudra Global School for Living Yoga. already aligned with the solar/ lunar rhythms that “doing nothing can be doing something” of the year. This is an offering not only to This article is based on her new book, —the universal teaching that being is a form of saving and being more conscious of our energy “Tending the Heart Fire - Living in Rhythm acting, that repose and reflection are often the intake—in the way that fasting attunes us to with the Pulse of Life” (Sounds True). For best course of action. being more conscious of our food choices— The ritual periods of the year – solstices, more info, www.pranaflowyoga.com.
S t o r y M i r a c l e M y
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Albert Einstein
by Eric Handler 18 MANTRAMAG.COM
“ W e s ta r t e d t o g r o w fa s t e r a n d t h e f e e d b a c k f r o m o u r c o m m u n i t y w a s p o u r i n g i n . P e o p l e were telling us how My Yoga Online had changed their lives and it inspired us to keep going.”
life. Now four years old, our son says he wants to start his own business and thinks downward dog is just a part of life. Maranda: Did you have any employees yet? Jason: We were pretty much doing everything ourselves. Operating cameras on set. Michelle: Lugging gear up five flights of stairs. Jason: Michelle was in the videos and doing set-dec and wardrobe and helping direct at the same time. It was crazy. Michelle: Our first employee was a video editor. Up until then, Jason was editing everything on his own. Maranda: Was there any competition back then? Jason: The few competitors that popped up helped make our business more legitimate. If other people were doing it, then maybe this was a business. Michelle: We started to grow faster and the feedback from our community was pouring in. People were telling us how My Yoga Online had changed their lives and it inspired us to keep going. Jason: We moved into a new 700 square foot condo and shoved six people in there, including two programmers. It was a big step for us, and for our son. He finally got his own bedroom at the age of two. Maranda: By now you’d been around about five years. I don’t think I’d heard of My Yoga Online yet. Jason: I’m not surprised. We weren’t spending any money on advertising. Michelle: And most of the teachers we were working with were still local to Vancouver. Jason: It was the middle of 2011 that we started making inroads into the U.S. yoga community. We created relationships with many great teachers, often flying them to Vancouver for a big shoot. Michelle: These were now large scale productions with a full crew, rather than the old days where the three of us did most everything ourselves. Jason: That didn’t stop you from climbing ladders to open windows while you were seven months pregnant. I remember everyone wondering what you were doing. Michelle: It’s not easy to sit still when things have to get done. Jason: True. Not long after our daughter was born, Gaiam TV launched. And I realized we couldn’t sit around and wait to grow. The big players were coming into the market. Michelle: We knew it would happen eventually. Jason: That’s when we ramped up our marketing. We also started sponsoring and filming at larger festivals and conferences. Michelle: We were working with many amazing teachers and filming them in several different cities at the same time. We moved into a 2000 square foot office space and rented a second one within eight months to use as a production facility. Everything doubled and tripled in size, manpower and complexity. Systems grew out of systems. A
video release every day turned into video courses, series, and challenges. We hired and hired some more. Everything was blossoming very quickly, including our two young children. It was exhilarating and very intense. Jason: There was so much we wanted to do, so many ideas of where and how we wanted to grow next. New issues surfaced we had never thought of before, like employee team building, management, infrastructure. And then we met with Gaiam. Maranda: Did you go to them or did they come to you? Jason: They came to us. We were in Boulder for Hanuman 2013 and Gaiam invited us to their headquarters, a 13-acre campus. Michelle: Just a little bit bigger than our new offices in Vancouver. Jason: Just a little bit. We were given a tour by Jirka, their founder and Chairman.
Technology and yoga were coming together for the first time. Until then, yoga had been shared with very few people and with the internet, we were able to bring yoga to the entire world. Michelle: We were led through their energy efficient offices, green spaces, gym and yoga facilities, a walking labyrinth outside. Definitely not a typical corporate head office. Jason: Brad, who runs Gaiam TV, made a presentation on their development, projections, apps being built. At the end of it, we were like, Okay, these guys are making moves. They were doing things we were only able to talk about because we didn’t have the resources behind us. Michelle: We started to think about what we could offer to our members if we could bring their world and ours together. And how many more people we could reach. Jason: Although we were doubling our growth each year, running the business was becoming more complex. The resources still weren’t there to scale like we needed to. We considered seed money but it would come from investors that knew nothing about the yoga and wellness realm. Michelle: Whereas Gaiam has nearly the same mission as us: To help the world be healthier, happier and more aware. Maranda: Sounds like a great opportunity for you two. Jason: It is. We are both looking forward to what may come from this. We could truly create the ultimate yoga and wellness rescource. Michelle: The possibilities are endless. Maranda: And what about more kids? Jason: Two’s enough. Michelle: This business is our third baby. And it’s still quite young.
A n s w e r i n g t h e C a l l: Returning to Self Amidst the Pull by Chris Roy The pull of the modern yogic lifestyle is a familiar one for many who juggle businesses, creative endeavors, a practice and the insurmountable issues of the day— while working to maintain balance.
listening to the inner call, no matter how unreasonable it seemed. I began mediating regularly, hearing more deeply and worked to create device-free family time. Healers showed up to support me when the gremlins threatened to creep back in.
I had reinvented myself once from a corporate executive into creating a life that more deeply resonated with my spirit. It was a life-changing experience that gave birth to a beautiful family and an eco-friendly, yogic-oriented business. I thought all was going well. That is until I was awakened again. This time the call came in the middle of the night. My two-year-old son Arjuna awoke from a bad dream. Instead of calling out for the comfort of mommy or daddy, he was screaming for his iPad.
Then one evening I heard a deeper response to my listening; guidance that affirmed a desire to return to wholeness. It was beyond reason, but I acted on it. I’ve learned the universe will patiently wait for us to make the first move before revealing the rest of the path. I woke up, went to my computer and nervously purchased one-way tickets for my family, to Maui.
While the emptiness I felt in that moment was very real, I wasn’t surprised. Dad had spent the better part of his first two years in front of devices and screens, and now in his moment of need, my son was looking for his. This forced me to look deeply and realize that in all my striving, I had somehow taken for granted what was most dear to me. Perhaps my son was calling for me to create anew. This meant looking squarely at the addictive grip of my “awakened” lifestyle and finding the courage to release. In that letting go, I discovered an uncomfortable yet peaceful surrender. The more I began to release, the more those around me began to shine. My son began telling me that he loves me many times during the course of the day, my wife and I were having fun together and feeling inspired again and our team was more empowered. Riding the emotion, I took a leap of faith and committed to
As I venture out into this new remote domain (yet still amazingly connected in the Eden of the Hawaiian upcountry), I am excited to discover what it holds. I am also tuning into a new sort of courage that stems from an understanding that our willingness to let go and trust the calling is part of an unfolding story and doorway to an awakening that I truly strive for.
Chris Roy is the founder of Namaste Interactive and NamasteLight. His companies serve an all star cast of conscious leaders, businesses and organizations around the world including Shiva Rea, Wanderlust, Baron Baptiste, MC Yogi, Acro Yoga, Manduka, Off the Mat Into the World, Elephant Journal, Hanuman Festival and Yoga Tree. As an entrepreneur, yoga teacher and grateful dad, Chris is committed to bridging the principles of yoga and spiritual practice with all his life endeavors.
“ I n o u r w i ll ing ne ss to s t e p i nto the unknow n, the f i eld of all p ossib il i t i es, w e sur ren der o ur s e lve s to t h e c re at i ve mi nd that orc hestrates the danc e of the un iv e rse .” – D e e pak C ho pra namasteinteractive.com 26 MANTRAMAG.COM
28 MANTRAMAG.COM drewxeron.com studio52dc.com
“My name is Drew Xeron and this is my passion; to create imagery that moves people by using the depth and beauty of the human body in its entirety. By utilizing the essence of life and the originator of drama, which most call “light,” I use it to create imagery that makes others want to stop and stare, in addition to making them feel like they’re a part of it.” Cheers, Drew Xeron photographer/ filmmaker Washington D.C. editor for Origin Magazine
Transforming Rage into Ahimsa By Dana Damara
“If yo u ’r e lu ck y , yo u m ay h e a l a nc e s tral l i nes of negati v e patterns. And you may c re ate t his i n cr e d ib l e love f e s t t h at you mov e forward from w ith g rac e and ease. ”
As I sat across the table from my soon to be ex-husband I felt like such a fraud. If I was such a yogi, expressing gratitude for everything and seeing all beings as love, how could I have these thoughts of actually strangling him with my bare hands? Ahimsa seemed incomprehensible! I mean, if the definition of divorce is a complete or radical severance of closely connected things, seems impossible to do that spiritually. It’s a journey this divorce thing. You radically severe yourself from a lot: • Your dreams about how your life was going to turn out. • Knowing someone is there for you when you get home. • Your children, if you have them. • Your home, your combined income, accumulated material items and infinite photos of happy times together. The truth is, that no matter who “wanted” the divorce, both parties are injured, kids are traumatized and friends are put into a very awkward position. Why does divorce feel so bad? For one, it’s a major shakedown of the chakras. Fear, guilt, shame, grief, lies, illusion and attachment, all shaken up like a freakin’ snow globe. How do you defuse those feelings so you can move forward? • Be rock solid in your decision. Be confident that you did everything you could with what you knew at the time, to make it work. Be vulnerable, be truthful and give every ounce of your energy into saving this marriage because after all, you took a vow until death do you part. • Remember why you married your partner. There was a time that you loved this person deeply. Go back to that in your darkest times – this will take breath, space and forgiveness.
• Take ownership of your behavior. Anytime you point your finger out, turn it around on yourself. It’s never about the other person, it’s always about YOU. • Ask yourself what you could have done differently. This doesn’t mean you are going to get back together! It just offers you awareness around issues in your marriage and how you can evolve from them the next time they show up. And they will show up, the question is can you be awake to them and do something different? • If you have kids, put them first. Your decisions now become about their well-being – not your ego. And always talk kind about your partner; bite your tongue if you have to. Your breath will become paramount throughout this process. You must breathe and you must listen. After all of this work, your thoughts become reality and you may actually see your partner for who they are without wanting anything different. You may see the relationship for what it is, instead of what you wanted it to be. If you’re lucky, you may heal ancestral lines of negative patterns. And you may create this incredible love fest that you move forward from with grace and ease.
“My passion on the mat is proper alignment, powerful breath and effortless flow so you feel that off your mat. Your practice becomes sacred space where you arrive to find more meaning, depth, authenticity and integrity in your life.” - Dana Damara: mother, author, yoga instructor, speaker and yogini. danadamara.com
F e a r immersion by Brittany Trubridge
I’m afraid of the sea. The idea of being out of my element and no longer at the top of the food chain is not one that sits well with me, mentally or physiologically. And so with this a practice was born.
There are many things in this life that we shy away from due to the intrinsic fear that certain stimuli can arouse in us. We all have it, just in respect to different things, be it the sea, an asana, a relationship, etc. I found my inner practice through yoga and freediving. There are plenty of articles depicting how this works with yoga but freediving has a different spin. When you are submerged in the water the breath is stilled and the world as you know it is completely silenced bringing you face to face with the “voices” in your head -mostly telling you to get back to surface so you can breathe! This is a primal instinct and the practice of easing into this is very real. Ironically, the oxygen is usually sufficient and it’s just the high levels of CO2 that Photo: Elena Kalis 32 MANTRAMAG.COM
are giving the mind/body the urgency to breathe. It is a practice in learning how to overcome that voice that’s telling us we can’t. Not only is it true that we can, but on the other side of that urgency is a place of deep calm and transcendence. This is not to say that everything that’s scary should be done and we must pay attention to and develop the discrimination between a real and an ego-based fear. In practice, we can tell the difference by the fact that with an ego fear we find ourselves
“We must be able to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell
feeling amazing during and after the practice despite the initial fear it aroused. When we work to overcome our fears the part of ourselves that is clinging to a current
situation out of complacency shrinks and an entirely new aspect of our being arises. “We must be able to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell The letting go is never easy but this is the essence of the practice: to lean into this resistance, and to do so consistently. It’s how we grow into our fullest potential. So whatever it is that you feel is holding you back, I encourage you to take a deeper look into it and delicately, with baby steps, ease out of your comfort zone. There is beauty on the other side. Brittany Trubridge (B.A. Psychology) is the creator of B-Tru Yoga, a 500h RYT, Ayurvedic Counselor, Reiki Healer, AIDA 3-star freediver and the yoga specialist for the Vertical Blue freediving school. Britta is based on an outer island in the Bahamas and holds Yoga + Freediving Retreats there and worldwide. BTruYoga.com
How yoga Changed
The Way I View My Body by Kristen McGee What woman doesn’t have some issue with her body? I didn’t notice my figure until I was in the ninth grade and a girlfriend told me that my thighs were looking fat. Before then, I was just happy with what my active body did for me; I wasn’t hyper aware of how it looked physically. After that painful comment, I started to punish my body. I didn’t want fat thighs so I ate less and less every day. By the time I entered high school, I was severely underweight and my parents intervened. I was lucky enough to have a strong and supportive family so I never got to the point of hospitalization; but it did make a lasting impact on how I viewed my body and food.
years. After graduation, I got some work in small film and television roles. I kept practicing and teaching yoga to keep me grounded. Now that I am a career yogi, every day of practice is a lesson to me. Motherhood was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I practiced yoga every day of my pregnancy. I started to view my body in a new way and have so much respect for what it’s done for me. It’s difficult to believe that I had a beautiful little boy growing inside of me and now he is here with me.
I started practicing gently soon after Timothy Grayson was born and I feel so alive and inspired. My body is completely different now. It’s womanly and I have bigger hips and a bit of a tummy, which I would like to keep. I’m no longer interested in having the perfect looking body. In yoga and in life, there is no such thing as outside perfection. Being happy, healthy, balanced and in love with my body, my life and my family is about as perfect as anything could ever be.
In 1994, I moved to New York City to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Lucky for me, yoga was a big part of the theater program. We practiced in our movement classes and in the morning before school. I discovered the original Jivamukti on Second Avenue and started taking classes there. Soon, I started to feel my body again. I cherished the way it moved and breathed through the asanas. I fell into a deep state of contented rest at the end of each practice. It was the first time in years that I felt like the little girl who loved to live in her body and didn’t judge it from the outside. Disordered eating doesn’t go away overnight and I still have some quirky habits when it comes to food. Yoga has been my life raft through these past 20
Kristin McGee has been teaching yoga and Pilates in Manhattan and around the world since 1997. Her latest DVD; Prenatal Yoga & Pilates, focuses on staying in shape during pregnancy and making delivery easier. For more information visit www.kristinmcgee.com kristinmcgee.com 42 MANTRAMAG.COM
b y I n di r a K ate Kalm ba ch
My Mantra Is Metta
“In o ur fa st - pac e d , h i gh - t e c h wo r ld , m a n y o f us lo n g for co n n e ct i o n a n d p ur p o se . M e t ta un v e i ls t h e re a l it y of o ur i n t e r co n n e ct e d n e ss: Yo u in m e , m e i n yo u.”
The day I received the letter from Victor I was feeling glum and not looking forward to the next session I had to teach. The return address on the envelope was stamped in red: San Quentin Prison. And in penciled handwriting: Indira Kate Kalmbach, Pavones Yoga Center. Pavones, Costa Rica. I sat down and put aside the part of my mind that was wondering how the hell this had arrived. (We live in an area too remote for postal service, but the letter was discovered tied to our gate...the first and only time I’ve received mail at home.) Victor was writing from death row, requesting help with his yoga practice. His regular teacher was on a break, and Victor, a 15-year death-row veteran, had begun teaching the classes. He described his teaching as karma yoga. Unbeknownst to Victor, I grew up writing to people in prisons. To my mother, it was part social obligation, part ethical training. I continue to write such letters. It is my way of sharing humanity’s burden of suffering. I also put inmates’ names in my mental Rolodex for metta (loving-kindness) practice. ‘May you be at peace, may you be free from suffering…’ Metta practice works by cracking open the human heart — sometimes gradually, sometimes wrenchingly all at once. Over time, it unveils our capacity for self-loathing, self-criticism and yes, even violence. And this is why the practice works: By witnessing one’s capacity to hold both darkness and light, metta conditions us to be courageously compassionate within the complex paradox of being human. After sitting with the heaviness of that small envelope, I wrote Victor back and sent him my yoga manual with instructions for beginning a metta practice. Only then did I research why he is in prison, and watched as my judging mind shaped the vivid story. As Photo Credit: Alex Lanau 44 MANTRAMAG.COM
cynicism and sadness crept in I kept working with metta.
Metta is a simple yet profound way to craft a meaningful life. It’s free. It can be used anywhere, anytime, by anyone. In our fast-paced, high-tech world, many of us long for connection and purpose. Metta unveils the reality of our interconnectedness: You in me, me in you. The media sometimes portrays yogis as vapid characters worried about the shape of their ass and whether their kale is organic. Why is that? When in reality the path we walk asks so much of us as human beings. The yogic path asks us to hold with equal compassion the man who kills and the one who is killed, to practice ahimsa, non-violence, even in the face of violence. Yoga isn’t so much about our butts and abs, but the size and quality of our sweet human hearts. Indira Kate Kalmbach is a writer, yogi, and international teacher living in Costa Rica. She is the director of yoga teacher trainings and founder of Pavones Yoga Center on the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Her mission is to promote peace on the planet. Her Mantra is metta. Pavones Yoga Center Explore. Dream. Discover. www.pavonesyogacenter.com pavonesyogacenter.com
D a l l a s: What has been your biggest struggle and how did you survive it?
Laura King, Owner, North Texas Yoga, Dallas
Michelle Matie, 500 Hour RYT, Yoga4Yu Studio, Frisco, TX
For years, my biggest struggle was to accept everything as it came and let go of attachment to self-enforced, overwhelming goals. Becoming a mother forced me to let go of these unhealthy attachments, allowing my daughter to learn that today is perfect exactly as it is. Letting go of those unrealistic goals gave me the freedom to love every moment.
Recognizing “thought power”: I was attracting the wrong kind of people in my life energetically. We each deserve to be happy. From that simple mantra, I was able to shed negative relationships. As one door closed, so did others open. New friendships, opportunities, and a blissful heart enabled the opening of my first yoga studio in Frisco, Texas: Yoga4Yu!
northtexasyoga.com Photo: Sandy Foster
Brandie Sellers, E-RYT and Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, Dallas In 2011 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Twice. I endured chemotherapy, radiation, and seven surgeries, all while being a single mom with three young children. I learned that humans can share immense suffering and emerge with strength and wisdom. I learned to find laughter in every day. I learned that tomorrow does not matter if we aren’t living today.
I have overcome an alcoholic mother, childhood divorce, personal divorce, my father’s stage IV lymphoma, infertility, and a second marriage. How am I content and happy?...drum roll please, lean into the pain, feel it, and then decide (yes I said decide) to drop your head back, close your eyes, spread your arms and open your heart to trust and surrender. LeslieStorms.net
For years, my biggest struggle was to accept everything as it came and let go of attachment to self-enforced, overwhelming goals.
Sage R. Annen, Structural Integration Practitioner, Yoga Instructor, Dallas I could share the devastations of my vulnerable heart through the anguish of divorce or the severing loss of my father to cancer, but surprisingly my greatest challenge as a humble human is surviving progress and enduring relationships in this hyper-driven world. Everything is speeding up and happiness and joy are watered down and expedited through the instant gratification of tapping a screen rather than the natural, timeless way of touching someones hand or heart. Fulfillment is so temporary and we are accumulating emotional history faster than we can process it. How do I survive? Practice.
Leslie Storm, RN, Yoga Teacher, Dallas
Photo: Stacie Albrecht
Jennifer Lawson, Owner, Sync Yoga & Wellbeing, Dallas Growing up, I struggled with how I felt about myself. I coped by taking it out on my little sister for many years, only adding to my feelings of shame. She never gave up on me and I finally followed her lead. She forgave me. And by doing so, she taught me how to forgive myself. A most precious gift indeed. syncdallas.com
1 2 3 4 5 6 what are your favorite places in nature
Annie Freedom, Founder & Owner Samadhi Center for Yoga, Denver
Nature speaks to me in a wordless language that moves through my heart like a river. It touches every part of me and reminds me of who I am. Whether walking in the forest, swimming with wild dolphins, stargazing on a mountain top or meditating under a waterfall in the jungle, I experience the breath of God moving through me and I know I am not alone. Everything comes alive in me.
Dia Draper, Founder & CEO, Nomad Yoga, LLC, Boulder
I’m an ocean girl. The expansiveness of the ocean gives me perspective, the depth grounds me, and the smell lifts me into a world of imagination and possibility. The ocean powers and inspires me because “[t]here’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay nomad-yoga.com illumination-coaching.com
SamadhiYoga.net Photo: Illumine photo
Amy Baglan, Founder, Meet Mindful, Boulder
I’ve never experienced more serenity and relaxation than in the woods of Northern Michigan. There’s something about the air and the trees that inspires creativity, clarity and presence. It feels like being a kid again. I’ve never missed a summer of my life “Up North” and will continue the tradition as long as I live. MeetMindful.com
Jo Schaalman, Co-founder and Co-author of the Conscious Cleanse, Vinyasa and Forrest yoga teacher, Conscious Cleanse, Boulder
I find my peace at 6,000 ft. above sea level. When I get overwhelmed and stressed out from the fast paced world we live in, the mountains bring me home, they bring me back into my body. They help me connect to my breath and remind me of a power much greater than myself. In these moments, I allow myself to surrender and let go. consciouscleanse.com Photo: Rick Cummings
Lindsay Gonzalez, Mountain Mermaid or SUP/YOGA, Kindness Collective, Denver
Christen Bakken, Founder,
My favorite place in nature is on the water. When I am on the water I feel free, alive and abundant. Lake Tahoe truly amazes me every time I paddleboard there. The depth of the lake, clarity of the water and the crisp cool temperatures help me reset.
I love the places in nature where the water meets the earth, and the earth meets the sky. I am humbled by the magnificence of their collaboration; holding their own space while meeting the other at their edge. I long to live my life at this level.
yogaforyoungwarriors.com Photo: Liz B Photography
Young Warriors and Rockin’ Bhakti Yoga, Boulder
Meditation & Reading. Meditation to clear my head, reading to fill it. One of the imminent dangers of any spiritual path is thinking the road you’re walking defines the contours of reality. -Derek Beres
Yoga Teacher, Lululemon Ambassador, Los Angeles
Coffee! I know most yogis swear off caffeine but lets get real. I wake up before the sun rises and I live in LA. Coffee is my sacred morning ritual, the first mindful thing I do every day. I grind my Blue Bottle beans precisely for my double shot, steam my grass fed milk, and my day begins.
2 . De re k B ere s
1. R a c h e l J a c k s on
What’s something you cannot go a day without?
everyheartyoga.com Photo: Ashley Streff
Creator, Flow Play @ Equinox Fitness, Co-founder, EarthRise SoundSystem, Los Angeles
Meditation & Reading. Meditation to clear my head, reading to fill it. One of the imminent dangers of any spiritual path is thinking the road you’re walking defines the contours of reality. Meditation loosens the grip of fundamentalism, while a regular reading discipline from varied sources reminds us of the many contours available. Both strengthen our ability to practice viveka/ discrimination.
Founder of Mukti Yoga School, Manhattan Beach, CA
I cannot go a day without meditation. With a 15 month old son, it can be challenging to get it in, but it is so important in keeping me present and peaceful. I believe meditation makes me a better teacher, mother and human being. My meditations are not as lengthy as they once were. However, they are still powerful.
muktiyogaschool.com Photo: Ashley Barrett
4 . Kate Du yn Cari a ti
3. Ju l ie R a d e r We ll m a n
derekberes.com Photo: Joshua Nelson
Yoga Instructor, Mom, Venice, CA
There is really nothing that I cannot go one day without. I should spend more days without my smartphone. A day without driving is a blessing. Although I love the asana practice and have the utmost respect for it, sometimes it serves me most to take a day of physical rest. I could survive without sleep, food, or water for a day, of course I’d rather not. As we work more deeply with the notion of non-attachment, we see that there is really nothing that we cannot go a day without, except of course the life breath!
flowwithkate.com Photo: Gina Moore
What is real yoga to you
Wade Gotwals, Illinois ‘REAL’ yoga to me is trying to align myself with the divine, whether its through the asanas, bhakti, meditation or dharma. To uncover the ‘real authentic me’ is real yoga. Because we live on this amazing planet together, yoga is also about peacefully connecting with others. ‘REAL’ yoga is feeling light, feeling you belong to something bigger than yourself and sharing this joy with everyone!
wadeyoga.com Photo : Scott Shigley
Abby Factor, Yoga Teacher, Illinois My real yoga is the practice of patience. Six months ago I became a parent. I’ve found that a deep reserve of patience is needed for those around you, but most of all for yourself. Now that my son is here, a whole host of fears and doubts, old and new, arose. My yoga tools-asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation-help me see these fears clearly and heal them. But it’s using them to cultivate patience that has been the greatest gift. As I commune with the calmness and stability building inside of me, I’m able to live in a more loving and gracious way.
Jim Kulackoski, Owner, Darshan Center, Yoga is something that grants me the ability to know “who” and “what” I really am, in relation to the universe I inhabit. It provides me with the realization of both myself and my world on their most fundamental levels. Knowing myself allows me to transcend my own limitations and become open to the experience of unlimited possibility and choice. DarshanCenter.com
Photo: Cassie Rodgers
Jim Bennitt, Owner, Tejas Yoga Real yoga to me begins with a philosophy that we are not physical beings with a spirit, we are spiritual beings with a body. The practice of yoga includes any techniques that help us to embody this philosophy. My specific approach uses the breath in a specific way to slow down the mind and bring about a state of consciousness that helps me to identify with spirit.
Tom Quinn, Yoga Teacher, Owner of Yogaview “Real yoga” to me is the experience of unconditional love. Through the vehicle of my body-mind I realize in this distinct moment that I am both an individual and a totality. Totally free, I experience the other as myself. The inward expression of this reality is stillness. The outward perspective is openness. Completely grounded in things as they are in this present moment and I step into the unknown free of fear.
Yoga is skill in action. It’s doing what you’re doing fully, in each moment as it unfolds, untied to what will come from the action. ‘REAL’ yoga is work. I practice to uncover my inner truth. But knowing that truth doesn’t make it real. Living my truth, putting action behind what I believe is what makes yoga ‘REAL” to me.
Photo: Brian McConkey, tattoo photo
Nick Beem, Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist, Grateful Yoga I feel the yoga process most keenly when I diligently sustain a practice (whether meditation or diaper changing) that brings me closer to Reality while simultaneously surrendering to the Mystery with a smile.
Yoli Maya Yeh, Yoga Therapist Real yoga is when I’m being authentic to myself in my practice. It’s something I define and not someone doing it for me. With so many choices available today in the yoga world, I use my intuition and follow my heart. One day Hatha next day CircusYoga, being real to you takes guts! yogawithyoli.com Photo: Rossi Mei Photography
Practicewithkris.com Adventuresinmindfulness.com Photo: Stevie Koerner
“Real yoga” to me is the process and technique of self inquiry. Exploring deeply within ourselves is the true path to liberation, love and to knowing. There are wonderful tools available to guide us on this path of self knowing. I’m humbled and honored to know so many quality teachers and fellow seekers who inspire me on this yogic path. MiaPark.com
yogaview.com Photo: Scott Shigley
Kris Krupa, Yoga and Meditation Teacher
Mia Park, Teacher, Producer, Performer, Writer, Consultant
“ It ’ s s o met h i n g I d ef i n e a n d n o t s o me o n e d o i n g i t f o r me . W i t h s o m a n y c h o i ces a v a i l a b l e t o d a y i n t h e y o g a w o r l d , I u se m y i n t u i t i o n and follow my heart.” - Y o l i M a y a Ye h
Suddha Weixler, Director Chicago Yoga Center Real yoga is when the mind is quiet, the body feels grateful. Effort and surrender have merged and a friendly smile lightens up the belly. Real yoga is, when after leaving the mat the friendly smile is still reflected in all actions and situations, without being drawn into the drama of Life as the victim of past habits and conditions. yogamind.com
The Craziest Thing I Have Done for Love
Debby Kaminsky Founder, Newark Yoga Movement, New Jersey
Lara Heimannm MS, PT, RYT Owner/ Founder of YogaStream brand, studio, and teacher training school
Married 31 years and a romantic, my “crazy love” makes it happen! When my husband turned 30, I thought he should play racquetball with the world’s #1 player. Howie and I lunched at the original Beatrice Inn. I shocked him with a card from Marty Hogan noting their St. Louis match. Billy Joel also gave him a birthday card since he was a loyal fan.
He asked me to sign on for adventure. My heart flutter for him was stronger than my nervousness about quitting my job. So we biked across the country, pedaling 65-mile days for three months, camping under the stars and even rescuing a kitten. Fourteen years later, the wild ride continues with my husband by my side every day.
Trish O’Gorman Kundalini Yoga Teacher, New Jersey
108 frogs, 31 minutes of Sat Kriya, and more in Gurumukh’s Kundalini class, until finally we lay down. I dropped deep into stillness. The vibration of the gong united us. Then it was there, an awareness of love, so pure, so joyful. Object free love. A brief undoing of the ego to experience the awareness of loves presence. kundaliniyogawithtrish.com
Photo: Christine Gatti
Photo: Jay Sullivan
Photo: Christine Gatti
Stacy & Seth Newfeld Yoga and The ART of pARTnering. CoOrganizers Global Mala NJ, New Jersey
We are crazy enough, after 30 years, to stay together despite certain events that would have blown most relationships to bits. Our love is everything to us, and everything arises out of our love. We work hard on ourselves individually. We practice radical honesty and conscious listening so that we can be better pARTners. Navigating our love is an ART.
Jillian Pransky Teacher, Restorative and Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training, New Jersey
I learned to forgive, to relax, to keep my heart open when I wanted to close it, and mostly, to love myself. All this, for me, was pretty crazy stuff. JILLIANPRANSKY.COM
Lauren Saraswati Zavlunov New Jersey Yogis, New Jersey
Honestly, the craziest thing I have done for love is to simply trust it! Before I even knew my husband, I was having vivid dreams about the both of us in specific locations having detailed conversations. I finally mustered up the courage to approach him. When we discovered we had identical birthdays, I knew that the Universe had a plan.
Photo: Robert Sturman
Photo: Ruben Falconi
Erica C. Jung Yoga Instructor/ Studio Owner, New Jersey
The craziest thing I’ve done for love was to fully trust. I had just come out of a horrible and long relationship and wasn’t looking to date AT ALL and this wonderful man just walked into my life. Though not interested initially something within told me to keep my mind and heart open because he could be the best thing. I had to let myself trust that the universe and love would look out for me and was guiding me. For someone who thought that the answer to happiness and security laid in micromanaging, it was the craziest and best step that I ever took for love. treptayoga.com
Yulady Saluti Yoga Guide, Ashrams For Autism and Yogis Heart, New Jersey
When I first saw my husband Gerald Saluti (Jerry), it was love at first sight. When he asked me on our first date, a Tuesday night, one of my busy nights at work (I was a waitress at the time), I was thrilled but stressed at the same time. In order to make it to NJ from Eastern Long Island, NY, where I was living and raising my daughter as a single mom, I had to take the night off work, drive 3 hours in traffic, get ready for the date at my parent’s house, well you get the idea! Jerry picked me up at 8:00 pm, I was ready by 9:00 pm, late as usual, and we had a magical dinner that turned into 10 beautiful years of marriage. After the date was over I had to drive all the way back to Long Island, 3 more hours, but it was well worth it. I was officially with my soul mate and time has forever stood still from that day!
Rebekah Borucki Fitness, Yoga & Meditation Guide, New Jersey
I once pretended to love wilderness camping for a guy, but the craziest thing I’ve ever done was opening my heart after divorce. I was a nervous single mom of three children, but I knew from our first kiss that this new man was my soul mate. Choosing my heart over my brain was crazy, frightening, and completely worth it. We’re celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary in January and are raising four children together. BexLife.com
Photo: Justin Borucki
portland yogis: one thing I know for sure
I know that God is real, that Love heals, that we are already perfect and that in remembering these truths we can be set free. I have found miraculous healing and knowledge that I am whole through my practice and that everyday is a new opportunity to try again and continue to strive for greater moments of grace and awakening. jessicagaray.com
Allie Purdy M.S., E-RYT, Atune Yoga One thing I know for sure is that yoga has the power to heal. I have been able to experience this in both my practice and in my teaching. From the physical to the psychological realm, yoga includes the right ingredients to facilitate healing. atuneyoga.com Photo: Ben Moon, Ben Moon Photography
Britt B Steele Love is all there is. Love is the lens through which I experience yoga -- the union among all creatures, religions, people, and God. Itâ€™s that simple. My relationships are graceful and juicy when I meet the mat. So is my body. When my practice is strong, my teaching is intentional, alive, elegant, and colorful. So is my life. brittbsteele.com Photo: rakuloren.com
Love is all there is. Love is the lens through which I experience yoga -Britt B Steele
Jessica Baker Yoga Instructor
In a world that can be full of chaos and uncertainty, I find that I always come back to my passions to keep me grounded. The roots of who I am keep my heart full, and my passions firing. My family, my friends, and my yoga community ignite me to live my life to the fullest and always choose love!
My yoga practice has taught me to live boldly and authentically, taking chances both on and off my mat. I know now that success lies not in things always going my way, but in taking risks and persevering through perceived failure when all I want to do is quit and walk away. Dedication is everything.
jessicabakeryoga.com Photo: Michael James
Photo: Katie Acheff
Chris Calarco, Yoga instructor, Yoga Union, Phish Yoga Life is uneven, uncertain and in flux. Anything can happen at any time. I feel more relaxed and prepared to navigate change when I consistently practice asana, meditation and pranayama with purpose, precision and compassion. Slowly, I am progressing through my resistance to steady, ordinary practice. The more I practice this way, the more I let go. chriscalarcoyoga.com yogaunioncwc.com Photo: Jainee Dial
Nathan Mills Bushido Yoga and Holistic Health, The one thing I know for sure is that change is inevitable. Success in life cannot be measured by the money we’ve earned, the things we’ve acquired, or notoriety we’ve gained. These things are finite. Success is determined by our adaptability to all life’s circumstances. Happiness is our ability to adapt and thrive no matter what life brings. bushidoyoga.com Photo: Joel Conrad Bechtolt
Matt Nelson Yoga Instructor When I have the opportunity to sing kirtan and take class with my beloved Guru, I am reminded that love is more than an emotion and sentiment - it is also a dynamic power, endlessly expanding, and possessing an agenda all its own. mattnelsonyoga.com Photo: Anna Caitlyn Harris
Uma Diana Hulet Yoga teacher, Yoga Union, One thing I know for sure is that we are adaptable and therefore shaped by the circumstances of our lives. Practice offers us the capacity to invite everything in and breathe fully into our connected and necessary humanness. This feeling inspires us to look outward without reservation and see the world in all of its fierceness and beauty. umadeviyoga.com Photo: Anna Caitlin Harris
How do you deal with stress?
1/ Maria Bliss, Yoga Instructor/
5/Dawn Jansen, Individually
9/Matthew Coe , Yoga and Martial
Studio Owner, Yogabliss, Mercer Island, WA
Tailored Practice, Seattle
Arts Teacher, Seattle
Meditation and yoga provide a calm, quiet space for me to begin each day. Although this does not reduce the number of stressful situations I encounter, it does strengthen my ability to keep my perspective, speak more clearly and choose more wisely. For additional stress relief, I jump on my bike or head to the trails for a run!
I find it most helpful to do restorative I attempt to redefine it by the uniqueness activities that nurture the limbic system and of the moment instead of the weight of activate parasympathetic response in order the challenge; be an interested observer to manage stress. Hatha yoga practices, versus a subjugated victim. Then I find creative movement, taking scenic walks, enjoyment and opportunity for selfspending quality time with friends, reading, development exploring the path of its healthy eating habits, gardening, having a taming, be it in a formal practice or the good laugh, or viewing a spectacular piece practice found in a living instance…always of art, help to uplift me and minimize stress. trying to accentuate the exhale. Ha! quiettao.com
Photo: Andria Lindquist
2/Adrienne Kimberley, E-RYT 200 hr Yoga Instructor & Nutrition Consultant, Urban Leaf, Seattle
I try to step back and remember that emotional stress over little things in life is self created, and ultimately an illusion, so I quit freaking out and calm down! There are, however, times when life is stressful, and I know it is important to experience that stress, understand its origins, and formulate a productive response. A vigorous yoga class, a long chat over a glass of wine, or some time exploring the mountains usually helps me to tune in to what I need! urbanleaf.com
3/Emily Kasman, Yoga Instructor/ Health Coach, Seattle
dawnjansenyoga.com yogaforfarmers.org Photo: Dara Rosenwasser
6/Troy Lucero, Teacher/Owner, Troy Lucero’s Acme Yoga Project, Seattle
When I feel stress, I remind myself that it’s a natural and healthy function of being an animal. If I felt no stress, I would not feel motivated to engage in the work/karma that can move me toward a few sweet moments of equilibrium/sattva. Someone once told Axl Rose, “DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE? YOU IN THE JUNGLE, BABY!” troylucero.com Photo: Steve Korn
7/Liz Doyle, Yoga Teacher/Owner Seattle Yoga Shala, Seattle
My initial response to stress is to retreat, which over the years has turned into meditating. I now take the time for myself to slow down and come back to my center. The moments when you feel that sitting quietly is unable to happen, is when it needs to happen the most.
Stress can be difficult to manage, even as a yoga teacher. I find the most calming force for me is Mother Nature. In fact, it’s said that even 10 minutes in the forest can calm one’s nervous system. If not a walk in the woods, a steaming hot bath of sea salt, essential oils: rose and ylang ylang.
4/Sarah Pohl, Seattle
SeattleYogaShala.com LizDoyleYoga.com Photo: TonyBynum.com
Breath. It is that simple…but not always that easy! The word ‘stress’ is typically assigned to a situation in which I feel overwhelmed with emotion whose origin I do not completely understand. Rooting in breath does not always offer immediate clarity, but it does allow spaciousness for that energy to run its course. With breath, I respond to stress instead of reacting to it.
8/Janell Hartman, Yoga Instructor,
sarahpohlyoga.com Photo: Richard Cummings Photography
10/Patrick Beach, Yoga Teacher, Seattle
When I feel stressed out, I always try to remember to come to my yoga practice. My mat helps me to put things into perspective. It can be easy for the mind to get wrapped around an idea and to project things that are far from reality. As I begin to move, my thoughts come into the moment and I gain a clear perspective on what is actually happening, a heightened appreciation for where I am, as well as awareness of what is going on both in and around me. patrickandcarling.com Photo: Carling Harps
11/Hope Clunie, Reverse Your Perspective, Seattle
Handstanding. Losing sight of the bigger picture is a huge component of stress for me, and there is something about literally reorienting my perspective that helps me to see more clearly. If I’m not in a place where I can kick up to handstand or even take downward dog, I’ll place one hand over my heart, close my eyes and feel my heartbeat, which is a helpful reminder to navigate with my heart instead of my head. resoundyoga.com Photo: Chester Bennett
I aim to deposit as much energy as I withdraw. A 10 minute rest in Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) with bolster, sandbags, eye-pillow or my Iyengar head-wrap, works wonders. Dance too, whether by myself at home, with a group in Zumba class or Ecstatic Dance gatherings. Meditation and prayer create the container that holds it all together. tummytemple.com Photo Credit: Jonathan Doyle
I f y o u c o u l d c h a n g e a n y t h i n g ab o u t t h e Y o g a w o rl d , w h a t w o u l d i t b e ?
Instead of changing the yoga community, I would change a fundamental pitfall that we all share in the quest for truth: Spiritual Materialism. ‘We can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.’ -Chogyam Trungpa. Metaphor and mystery must replace literalism and fundamentalism. Stretchy pants, bindis and incense don’t get us closer to yoga. We must soften the tendency to take everything so seriously and smile because we’re playing a game that cannot be won, only enjoyed.
Dar c y L y o n , E - R YT 5 0 0
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, Heartfire Healing Arts
I’d take out all the ego. I’d have us remember that while healthy ego is so psychologically necessary, the purpose of the practice is not to polish up our egos and make them bright, shiny and grandiose. I’d invite us to soften our edges in this way and be less interested in videos of crazy, flashy poses and more quiet stories of earnest practitioners struggling to live their practice amidst life’s complexities. Heartfirearts.com Photo: Wari Om
S e a n Hal e e n
Remember our roots! I would encourage people to explore and enjoy practicing the newly evolving yoga styles and techniques, but not to forget the wisdom and teachings of those who came before us on the path. Keep the importance of lineage, meditation, chanting, and dharma in yoga. At the same time, take risks, be creative, and above all, have fun.
I would love to see alignment-based yoga styles become as well known and attended as flow yoga styles. I love Vinyasa, but I believe its prominence is leading more people who don’t practice yet to believe yoga is only for young, fit people.
lesleyd.com 70 MANTRAMAG.COM
Darr e n Ma i n
Yoga Teacher and Author
The yoga community has made great strides in bringing this healing and lifechanging practice into the mainstream, but there are still so many underrepresented populations. We simply don’t see a lot of overweight people, people of color and minorities, senior citizens and people with disabilities attending yoga. My greatest hope is that we can collectively reach out to underserved populations more effectively—that we can be more welcoming, so that yoga classes can more closely reflect our very diverse society. darrenmain.com labyrinthyoga.com Photo: Ryan Scott
seanhaleenyoga.com Photo: Margo Moritz
Yoga Teacher and Yogi Pranskter, Yoga Tree
I am passionate about creating a greater sense of community in the yoga world. People are much more willing to open up and “let the yoga do its work” when they feel supported. As a teacher, I try to inspire a sense of wonder, peace and compassion in my students in a place where they feel surrounded by loving kindness. PeteGYoga.com Photo: Elana Ray
What pushes your buttons? How do you deal?
1. Betsy Davis, Yoga Director and Owner,
2. Kelly Kamm, Owner and Director of Happy Buddha Yoga, Goshen, NY
3. Justin Wolfer, Certified Yogi
What pushes my buttons is people that are the closest to me. When faced with challenging emotions, I’ve been practicing a meditation, F-E-A-R Practice, created by Pema Chodron. It’s an Acronym. F - Find it in your Body E - Embrace the feeling A – Let all thinking around it dissolve R - Remember that 10,000 other people feel the same In the end- JUST BREATHE!
Buttons? What buttons? As a yoga teacher and someone on a spiritual path I’d love to say that I no longer have buttons to push, however that’s just not true! Like all humans I sometimes have uncomfortable feelings, but less of them for sure when my asana and meditation practice are disciplined. What works for me when I feel that “pebble in my shoe” is to open the Bhagavad Gita and find some comfort there. It never fails to set me straight!
What pushes my buttons these days is feeling pulled in multiple directions. Yoga practice brings sensitivity to stress and conflict. When I feel conflicted I stop everything I’m doing. I stop being busy. Instead, I choose to be still. I center my focus on my breathing and wait until I feel relaxed again. This could take a few breaths or it could take 20 minutes but it’s important to observe the process unfold. It’s important to understand stress and what it does to you, soon you’ll want to make choices that are more conducive to a state of relaxation.
Bhakti Barn Yoga
bhaktibarn.com Photo: Christine Gatti
happybuddhayoga.com Photo: Robert Sturman
justinwolfer.com Photo: Robert Sturman
4. Mike Taylor, Co-Founder, Strala Yoga
5. Ali Cramer, Co-Creative Director, Laughing Lotus NYC, Director of Ayurvedic Program at LLYC
Yoga shouldn’t hurt. It should only help. But people are getting hurt. Yoga can stand with Western medicine as a legitimate path to health. It can replace pharmaceuticals as a path to happy! It can be unrivaled as a path to inspired life. We begin by supporting each other to make yoga better. Tara and I created Strala to help.
When I feel that I am repeating old mistakes. As in, “it only takes 15 minutes to get there”, and it always ends up being 23 minutes so I’m late, or when I stay up too late or spread myself too thin or make too many lunch dates on the same day. I try to be a bit more gentle with myself. Would I judge my best friend that harshly? Can I give myself the same encouragement to do it better the next time instead of dwelling in self criticism? How can I tell my students to be kind to themselves if I’m not? Walk the talk, baby. Sat Nam.
6. Chrissy Carter, Yoga Teacher, YogaWorks
When people don’t take responsibility for their actions, it triggers my deeply ingrained belief that it’s somehow my fault. I react by taking on their work as if it were my own. Writing helps me work through my emotions; I can sift through the experience and trace my reactions back to my beliefs. chrissycarter.com Photo: Melina Hammer