I often think that I found yoga at the times when I really needed it in my life. But what I really think is that yoga found me. That is how the universe works. When you are open to changes and yearning for new direction in your life, that thing that you need usually finds you.
At the yoga retreat this weekend, my cousin Ryan who puts on the retreat with his lovely wife Natasha, asked the group what our yoga “ah ha” moment was and when we discovered yoga. I loved everybody’s answers . . . so honest, beautiful, and unrestrained. My answer was that I discovered yoga twice in my life. I had never thought of it like this before.
The first time I discovered yoga was when I had this terrible horrible job in seriously the most beautiful place in the State. My job was doing the Public Relations for this advertising agency in Del Mar, San Diego. The office was steps from the most beautiful beach. The agency was filled with gorgeous, fashionable people. The agency retained such accounts as Bebe, a well known Vodka, and Caslon (Nordstrom brand). A branch of the agency called L Report whose job it was to have its finger on the pulse of current fashion and culture trends was mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. This agency was cool, for sure, but completely dysfunctional. My boss was crazy. Literally. He was the founder of the ad agency but he no longer ran it. He ran me though. I was miserable from the first week of work. I called my old boss and asked for my job back but it was too late. One day, my crazy boss asked me to send an ad agency package to a company based in LA. I did not send the package out that day because I was swamped writing press releases and articles for magazines. When crazy boss found out he screamed and yelled at me and then he made me get in my car right then and there and drive the package to LA and hand deliver it to the point person. I felt so humiliated and stupid. When I handed the package to the guy in LA I said, “I was supposed to mail this package to you and forgot and so my boss made me drive all the way here and hand it to you.” He replied with, “well wasn’t that completely unnecessary!” This was only one of many stories I have from my days at the ad agency.
The point of this long drawn out story is that with my miserable job at the ever so cool ad agency came a membership to Frog’s Gym. Frog’s Gym was so Del Mar. Posh to the max. So to save my sanity I began taking lunchtime hour and a half yoga classes; my introduction to yoga. It was obvious the yoga teacher never wore deodorant. He was like a tall lanky string bean with long stringy hair to match. He was headed to India to live and do yoga within months of my arrival at the gym. He was an awesome teacher and he was challenging. This lunchtime yoga was just what I needed to sweat some of my job loathing out and breathe some namaste in (I just had to remember not to breathe in too hard when he came around for body corrections). I loved it. I couldn’t wait until noon arrived so I could escape.
This was my first introduction to yoga back in 2001.
The second re-introduction to yoga came last summer. I have mentioned before on this blog that I needed something for myself last summer when I saw Ryan and Natasha’s retreat come through. Yoga had found me again at a time I was in need of help.
So my sister and I were lucky enough to go to the 2nd annual Bhakti Yoga Retreat hosted by the very adorable Ryan and Natasha Bailey. There was a whole new group of people this year. I found that I had so much in common and could relate to this new group of yogis at this year’s retreat. They were a bunch of open and warm people who had also found a passion for yoga in their lives.
I have taken a lot of yoga classes from different teachers and different styles over the last year and my cousin Ryan and Natasha are seriously awesome teachers. Really. I’m not just saying that because Ryan is my cousin. We did yoga twice a day for a grand total of three to four hours of yoga a day; once in the morning and once in the evening. The first night we arrived Ryan worked us pretty hard and I was literally drenched with sweat as if I had jumped in a pool. I am not necessarily a sweater, so this means I was working my body pretty hard. I have to admit that I did think a couple of times during my practice that I am sweating and working off some of the 30 Mai Tais I drank the week before in Hawaii. It felt great.
We stayed at this very cute place called Yosemite Bug (www.yosemitebug.com), which was kind of like a semi-glorified youth hostile. It was crawling with people from around the globe. My sister and I had a duplex cabin with our own bed and bath that was very sweet and comfortable. The Yosemite Bug had a common cafe area, and a health spa. The hot tub is kept bacteria-free by using hydrogen peroxide and ultra-violet light instead of chlorine or salt that left a very silky feeling on your body.
This retreat was not only a great opportunity to practice a lot of quality yoga, but also an opportunity to bond with my sister. My sister and I are so busy raising our small children that although we see each other plenty, we hardly ever get one-on-one time to spend together. We sweated, laughed, chatted, yoga’d, hot tubbed, ate, hiked, chilled, drove and slept together this weekend.
I missed my family. My family is really loud and wild and crazy. My house is the opposite of relaxing, but I always want to come back. Yes, Molly and I could have pulled a Thelma and Louis and just drove our Volvo on that 49 to freedom. But when Sunday came around we both were ready to see our family and be home. When I got home my house was spotless and my wood floors had been washed. Chris had taken care of all the kids and even cleaned the house while I was gone. The mothership was happy and impressed.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.