puerto-rico-3-040One unfortunate by-product of becoming a yoga teacher for me is that sometimes my practice feels like it is no longer my own. I am often preoccupied by thoughts of my students and what I will offer them from my practice. I have never had the luxury of having enough time in my day to practice once for myself and then a second time for my students, like some teachers may have. Teaching many hours to students also means that when I get on my own yoga mat at home, my practice is often all about maintenance, restoration and recovery.

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In recent years it is more and more challenging to push my own boundaries and feel truly exploratory on my mat, other than to merely observe the impact of a fairly strenuous physical schedule on my own body. This, of course, is enough. This, of course, is plenty, in fact. This, of course, is yoga, unifying my breath, body and heart in ways that support a more regulated nervous system and balanced emotional and mental state. But something had been missing. The magic.

Paschimottanasana

It may sound corny, or strange, but I know no other way to put it. There is something magical about bearing witness to oneself on the yoga mat, each moment and sensation unlike the next. As I started to sit more, I discovered even more, subtler nuance in my practice, more magic there. But a dilemma seemed to present itself: however fascinating the subtleties of my own human machinery, could I just teach mindfulness and meditation in my adult yoga classes and expect them to enjoy where my own practice was taking me? Asana at times was suddenly quite agitating for me. The pace too fast, or the teacher’s sequence whose class I ventured out to take for inspiration was not quite exactly what my body and mind needed. Fortunately, a recent revelatory yoga experience shook some of that magic yoga glitter up a bit for me:I led my first ever yoga retreat with three fellow yoga teacher friends, Elle Randall and Erica Barth of Harlem Yoga Studio!

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With Erica (left) and Elle (right)

Puerto-Rico-2-25We brought 23 yogis to Puerto Rico and frolicked yoga selfie style in the Caribbean sun. We sat at long meals and parlayed for hours about life before and after yoga. About the dark and light side of our lives. About heartbreak and heartfelt hopes and dreams. About babies on the way or prayed for and new chapters in life. About favorite yoga teachers and trainings and studios and why they were so. About the shift that occurs in teaching when a deeper understanding of anatomy is gained. I  got to know these teachers, my students and new students in ways that were deeply unifying and poignant.

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Mindfulness meditation at El Morro in Old San Juan

Another exquisite by-product of the experience of taking students on a geographical and inner journey was exploring the synchronicity that occurs when co-teaching. Teaching with other teachers made me so present again to why I teach: to give people themselves. To remind people of who they are and what they are capable of contributing to their own wellbeing and what the glorious results of vibrating on this vital frequency can yield. This heightened magic making on the yoga mat occurred as a result of co-creating yoga experiences in the

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Rockettasana – At the Dream Catcher on Ocean Park beach

company and community of my fellow teachers. Though each of us is so different in our approach to teaching, we are equal in our commitment to a passionate, personal and rich sharing of yoga.

Our magical yogini triumvirate was just what I’d been missing. In dialogue, rather than monologue, vibing off of each other to share what yoga means to us resulted in a true community offering. Moreover, it clarified why I teach the way that I teach. I am so grateful to have had the experience co-creating yoga experience that connect people, culture and new places and hope to do more soon! Stay tuned…

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The magic is officially back!