What a time to be alive. I wish I was in quarantine on a beach. Seriously. I tried to make it out but my flights were canceled haha. I’ve said this before that some joke it’s like I have a direct line with God (psstt, I do. You do too.) but I recently asked for time to dedicate to my next project that requires some computer work and boyyyy, did I have it delivered! I have plenty of time to write and get creative with almost everything shutdown and I’ve had some things on my heart that I want to share.
Our yoga retreat last month! What an experience. This is something that was about 3 years in the making and really pushed me out of my comfort zone as a teacher. I didn’t go through a 3rd party to organize or market it, this is something I did just from connections I had made while traveling myself and wanting to support people I had met. Planning events remotely isn’t new to me, for several years I planned dozens of really large running events around the states but planning events in another country, in another language, by myself… is a completely other level. There are so many moving pieces and things that could go wrong, I felt A LOT of pressure from start to finish. Nothing about it went perfectly smooth yet everything was perfect. I had an ask of my students, friends, family and staff going on the retreat to go with the flow. I know I say this all the time but I really mean it. Yes we had an itinerary and plans but I explained that I trust whatever happens is happening FOR us and not TO us. That we are being gently guided to exactly where we were supposed to be, when we were supposed to be there. Whether that looked like a long wait, a change in dinner plans, a class time adjusted, whatever. Before we all got on the plane, I prayed with the group asking for protection over all of us, for Divine guidance, Divine timing and Divine interactions. I trusted that the retreat would go well because I put in the work. Even the factors I had no control over, the weather, the flight changes, actions of others. I had asked, through the entire planning process, for God’s help. I did my best, as The Four Agreements tells me to. It wasn’t easy, it was a big financial risk, and FUCKKKKK what would I of done if the timing of it was just two weeks later?! Nobody plans to have airports shut down, borders closed immediately around the world, orders to stay home. Yet, everything worked out exactly the way it was supposed to. Originally I wasn’t doing this retreat solo, I wanted my teacher there. That was the plan but not The Plan. I would of never done this on my own. Why? FEAR. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not being “spiritual” enough. Fear of sucking. Fear of failing and so on. My teacher retired a few months after the launched of this retreat and let me know he couldn’t be part of it. I don’t know anyone else better at pushing me out of my comfort zone and asking me to face my fears. I’m grateful for the experience with everyone and I’m excited to plan some other destinations when things calm down. What about a yoga and surf retreat on a private beach in Ecuador? Dreamingggggg.
One thing I echoed on the retreat is the importance of getting still. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Whatever that looks like for you. You want to sit in lotus, do it. Want to lay down, sure. Eyes open or closed, IDC. Sit down, shut up, and get still. I am SO firm on this with my students. It’s like brushing your teeth. I don't want to talk to anyone before I’ve brushed my teeth in the am, I also don't want to talk to anyone until I’ve gotten still. You don't have to do 20+ minutes or even find complete silence just taking time to connect, to check in, to listen to what’s coming up. Set a timer on your phone and breathe. Anywhere, anytime. That’s it. That’s all I’m asking. It’s that simple. I prefer the morning to really set the tone for my day. When things come at me from left field or when shit feels heavy (like now!) I take several breaks a day to get still. This helps me to be able to respond rather than be reactive to situations probably out of my control. I do some life coaching and business consulting and when I meet with people my number one questions is, “How’s your daily mediation practice? “I usually get excuse after excuse of why it’s nonexistent or too hard, haven't had time. We want others to solve our problems and do things for us when really we have to take accountability too. We have to do the damn work, face the fears, do the uncomfortable, make the changes and most importantly persevere. It’s probably not going to be easy. The answers are ALWAYS in stillness. 3 minutes in stillness is going to do more for you than 3 years of a physical practice. I know it looks cool on the gram but yoga isn't about headstands and physical flexibility. Though what you learn on your mat, I encourage you to take off your mat. Real life yoga. Finding calm in the storm. Peace among chaos. Love over fear. 20/20 vision on abundance vs lack.
I want to touch on the current situation surrounding COVID-19. When I was in Yoga Teacher Training, my teacher asked us to generate an income outside of a yoga studio for our final. Some loved it, some thought it was silly because they weren’t trying to be teachers, a lot felt bad for charging for their service because they weren’t experienced. I felt all of the above. BUT, I made a post on a free networking app called Nextdoor to my neighborhood to host a donation based yoga in the park class. My first class I ended up collecting about $80 and I connected with a lady that wanted to do a series of 3 private lessons in my home that generated even more money. I knew immediately I wasn’t meant to teach in a studio. For me, it didn’t make sense to work for someone else and only make $20-45 per class if I could make more on my own working less hours. I also knew I didn’t want the responsibilities of a yoga studio myself. The model (and risk) of monthly memberships vs rent for a brick and mortar space in DFW didn’t really sound profitable, plus the finances were not available to me at the time. Over the last three years I’ve built the 721 Yoga brand myself, and I’ve built it somewhat rebelliously without Yoga Alliance. You probably haven’t heard of Yoga Alliance but it is a governing body of yoga in the United States for the last 30 or so years. I never registered with the program after my teacher certification (though I could have and still can,) because I didn’t see the value in it and they ban certain verbiage like using the word “healing” when talking about yoga. For me, I can’t separate the two. Yoga Alliance is marketed as a nonprofit database to list teachers to get gigs easier and you have the option to buy liability insurance with them. They require you to pay every year to stay registered as well as log your hours of teaching and continued education. Most yoga studios hire only teachers who are registered unless you have experience. Note, the difference between registered yoga teacher and certified yoga teacher- really just letters after your title that don’t mean much to anyone outside of the yoga community who otherwise just know you as a yoga teacher. Some of the most notable teachers from around the world are not certified with YA and actually feel strongly against it since there's no governing body within them to enforce their regulations or monitor that schools and teachers are continually meeting standards. I encourage all my teacher friends to research it before registering. I’ve never needed it and found insurance independently. This past week when YA asked that yoga studios nationwide shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, I saw so many of my friends and teachers scrambling to figure out how they were going to make money if they couldn’t teach at studios. I sat in stillness with gratitude for my teacher who really prepared me for this. Who encouraged me to think outside of the box. I’m so excited to see studios turning virtual overnight, teachers going live on Facebook and Instagram, we are seeing our industry evolve. Praising lululemon who held me accountable to my goals and building the 721 Yoga virtual studio last year so I’m not scrambling trying to figure our how to do it now. I’m thankful to rent space in a doctor’s office and not a studio or a gym because we are still open. I’m also thankful for my clients I see privately on a regular basis in my home or theirs. Though I am feeling a strain as business slows in the events industry, as we all are adjusting and taking things day by day, I’m in a good place. I’m using my extra free time to build what’s next in my business and to continue to chase my goals… including being engaged… and a beach. Ugh, I wish I was on a beach frfr. Now is the time to use your imagination on purpose, think outside of the box. We can not stop the waves of life from barreling us down, shift keeps happening and it feels a bit scary. How can you roll with this? Evolve. What's next for you? How can I help you? We are in this collectively and we are not being led by fear.
With all my love,