I’m a yoga teacher.
I never thought I would say that out loud, much less proclaim it to the world on the Internet.
Forever, I was in advertising. Everyone I met was in advertising.
Then, I was a mom. Everyone I met was a mom.
And now, there’s a whole world of people I’ve met who only know me as a yoga teacher.
Becoming a yoga teacher was a long-held, secret dream that I only allowed to see the light of day when my youngest son set off for pre-K. But after 500 hours of training, even more hours spent teaching, and the arrival of various fancy-looking certificates, I still wasn’t ready to believe that this crazy thing could happen. It wasn’t until I left the real world and spent a long weekend at Rancho La Puerta, that I realized my new life had actually already started – I just needed to get out of the way.
My dear friend, Julie Mikos, is an amazing photographer, and she is invited to travel to The Ranch several times a year to shoot their activities and gorgeous grounds. Occasionally a lucky sister or friend gets to travel with her, to act as part-assistant and part-model. I won that lottery last spring, and I could not have been more excited. My mother and I had been to the ranch some 15 years before. It was heaven then, and I had been dreaming about it ever since.
When Julie invited me to return to the Ranch with her, it was exactly what I needed. (Although, to be fair, when is a trip to an amazing wellness spa NOT exactly what someone needs?). Our family had just moved back to Marin Country after six years in Los Angeles, and I was focused on getting my sweet husband and our two young sons settled into our new home. I had also taken a part-time job with people I loved from my past life in advertising. As happy as I was with all of this, I was exhausted. And teaching yoga? That had definitely been set on a back burner.
Once we were at the Ranch, I was instantly at home. I remembered my way on the winding brick walkways, and our little villa was much like the one my Mother and I had shared. The classes were wonderful, the food was as nourishing as it was delicious, and the company was perfect. The daily yoga classes were like master seminars, and I soaked up the instruction like a little yogini sponge. I met with an Ayurvedic specialist and learned how to work toward balance, given my particular constitution, or dosha. But it was the peace and quiet that was the most transformative. It was almost deafening in contrast to my busy, boy-and-man-filled house. For the first time in a long time, I could hear myself think, and I actually had the time to listen to what was being said.
On my last morning at the Ranch, Julie and I set out for an early morning hike and photo shoot. Julie’s official assignment was hiking photos, but she couldn’t resist having a yogi with her on the mountain, so we came prepared for a costume change. We set out before dark, and marveled as the sun rose over the rocky hills. I hiked looking right, looking left, not smiling, smiling, smiling smaller, then backing up and doing it again and again and again. With the shots for The Ranch in the can, we decided to let the yogi loose: tree pose in a meadow of flowers, and all kinds of warriors in all kinds of vistas. But my favorite shots, and the two I chose for this post, are decidedly less acrobatic. I chose them not only because they are stunning pictures, but also because they represent the moment when I truly became a teacher. On that mountain, with nothing but the sunrise, the rocks, and the quiet support of a friend, that’s when my mind agreed to follow my heart. I finally decided to stop hanging back and to start actively pursuing my yoga as a way of living.
This website and, in particular, this blog are in honor of moments like those spent in lotus on the mountain, overlooking the Ranch. It’s in these moments that I reconnect with yoga and why I want to share it with as many people as possible. It’s not about the pose; it’s about what happens when you find a moment of quiet to let your heart speak to you. It’s about using the body to find openness in the spirit. It’s about the shift that happens on the mat and how to take it with you.
It’s about The Goodness.
Thanks for coming on this adventure with me. I can’t wait to see what’s next – for all of us!