I am inspired and at peace when I move in rhythm with my surroundings, embracing the ebb and flow of life with loving, conscious surrender. My approach to both meditation and yoga, taught to me by my wise teachers Shiva Rea, Lorin Roche, and Erich Schiffman, stems from the Tantric Bhakti roots of yoga. Tantra views the body and soul as expressions of the One Divine Consciousness. This Ocean of Supreme awareness is all around us, continually manifesting and expressing itself in infinite ways... in the rhythm of our hearts, the blooming of a flower, the sound of a beautiful song, the purring of a cat. Connecting with this pulse or dance of life is the source of meditation. Any time we are present with a universal rhythm we are in meditation. Honest, loving devotion (bhakti), or simply being present, is the key to connecting with the divine current moving within every being on the planet.
This approach to meditation does not involve clearing the mind or blocking out thoughts. Instead, simply rest attention on one of nature’s infinite rhythms, and dive in.
If you would have told me just three years ago that I would be a yoga teacher, in the HEAT, in Los Angeles and love every minute of it I most certainly would have laughed at you. Never in my wildest imagination sitting in my office in Time Square did I ever think that moving to LA would lead to this particular destiny. I was a self proclaimed hater of exercise and nothing could have persuaded that past self to do anything physical once the thermostat hit 88 degrees but lay in the sun like an overfed cat—never mind intentionally stepping foot into an 108 degree room and exercising?! Forget about it. It wasn’t me… or so I thought.
Moving back to the West coast was quite a shock to the system in more ways than one; the biggest being just how tough it was to find a job. Not to blow my own horn but I've got a pretty solid resume in multiple areas and it was my silly assumption that I’d find a restaurant job at least in two, three weeks tops. To this day I think the universe was conspiring to get me through the doors at Hot 8 Yoga because not only could I not find a job, I couldn’t even get an interview. I remember feeling absolutely lost and frustrated sitting in my boat in the marina (yes, I lived on a boat), and then seeing an open call for a posh Hot Yoga studio in Santa Monica. “Why not?” I thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
The worst that could happen proved to be the best and before I knew it I found myself in my very first hot yoga class a week before my first day of working behind the front desk wondering just what I had gotten myself into this time. Surely, this was death and I was dying. That first class felt like one and a half days, not one and a half hours but Deanna’s warmth and calm confident presence throughout kept drawing me out of my mind to a state of presence in my discomfort—truly the beginning of my transformation. After class, after a long sit in the cool lobby, a few knowing smiles and encouraging words from my new peers and an extra long shower I knew that this was something special. That me landing in California and falling into Hot 8 was more than just chance. The very cells in my body were singing, my heart was open and on fire and I had never felt so tall, never been so absolutely clear. And that was just the first class.
Working the front desk at the Santa Monica studio meant full immersion into the world of yoga. Every day I would hear the stories of healing, strength and balance of both mind and soul from the students coming and going... more importantly I began to experience these same things myself while participating in my first 30 day challenge. I found that the heat served many purposes; most importantly it taught me to be ok with my limitations, proved that I could truly overcome any obstacle. It gave me my will back and it wasn't long before I channeled that will into purpose; Teach.
And now, thanks to the influence of some of the most radiant and beautiful souls to walk the earth here I am. Teaching. My trainings with Bianca Fearon filled me with more knowledge than I thought possible. I found passion in my life again, a feeling I wasn't sure would ever come back during my darker days. I used to tell people I loathed exercise and you still won't find me in a gym but yoga is so much more than fitness, it is transformation. Take it from me, a one time hunched-back pack a day smoker who had no will, little passion and the muscles of a jelly fish. Today when I look in the mirror I'm greeted by a strong, confident, passionate and ever more joyful individual, a life transformed through practice.
And to think it all started with a longshot and an ad on craigslist.
- By Greg Palmerino
Whenever we are faced with obstacles on our journey, they are actually amazing opportunities in disguise to create stillness, to go within and to find gratitude for all things and deep love in our hearts.
The fluctuations of the mind, the ego, and external forces create a landmine of distractions that can keep us from going deep within to listen to our soul. We all know how easy it is, when faced with obstacles to move outside of ourselves and stay distracted from our inner work, which can feel uneasy or uncomfortable.
Yet, as described by the ancient philosophies, the truth is that the way to harness our power is to create stillness. In stillness we magnify our power by listening to silence. Silence gives us a glimpse of the free, unconditionally loving spirit within. It strengthens our intuition, which is our ability to see the inner world, in contrast to using our eyes to interpret the ever-changing outer world.
Come to Hot8Yoga to learn the basics of meditation and connect with your Soul. We will use stillness, sensing, mantra, sound, and other methodologies that will vary week to week, so you can explore what works for you.
- By Nicole Doherty