May 7, 2013

Where Am I Right Now??


I have a big confession to anyone out there who thinks I am a jet-setting gypsy off in a different foreign country every month...

I haven't been to a foreign country all year!!

Crazy as it is, I am really happy with where I've ended up.  Oh I don't like that word-- ended..!

Here's what happened:

As some of you may know, I was traveling and teaching yoga. I went from California, to Australia, to Thailand, back to the states (Seattle then Cape Cod), then back over to Europe, then back to the states again.  This was all unforgettable to say the least.

I was in St Augustine, Florida from January until July this year. I really loved it there and was so comfortable that I was able to experience more pleasures of life, pleasures beyond thrilling new sites and foreign accents.

I enjoyed the small community where everyone hung out with each other, and I finally learned how to cook. Instead of exotic foods, or foods prepared in tiny kitchens, I shopped entirely at the Farmer's Markets and made real meals. I took up writing in my spare time and was able to talk on the phone with lots of family and friends since I was in the same country.

Living in one place (and still in the states) made me realize that there were lots of positive parts about "roots." Additionally, though I love being independent, I was just done traveling alone. St. Augustine was great but for me, it can never be home. Home is California.

When I did my teacher training in LA in 2011, I fell in love with the beach cities.  I wanted to stay after training but work was not here so I had to go where the universe took me. Obviously, I'm grateful the way that worked out!

So one day in Florida, I decided I would just SHOW UP in LA, it was time! 

There was no way to secure a job beforehand, as with every other job, because LA has plenty of yoga teachers. A leap of faith was the only way.

Lucky for me, two of my girlfriends from college who now live here together, had space for me at their apartment. It was absolutely necessary that I had that support in my transition and it was so cool to reconnect with them.

In my first few weeks here, I signed up at YogaWorks also. I started a Mysore practice there and a regular vinyasa practice as well, in addition to doing Bikram Yoga everyday. I attended advanced classes at Bikram Headquarters a couple times a week. Sometimes I practiced advanced class up to 4 times a week and visited up to 3 different yoga studios a day!

As the stars lined up, a full time teacher was needed and I found my home at the studio in Manhattan Beach. :)

Next came the apartment. I browsed a ton of craigslist ads and visited about a dozen but each time it didn't work out with what seems like a great apartment, I didn't fret it. I am SO glad now that nothing worked out until the place I have now. I was looking in neighborhoods that were far from Manhattan and with weird living situations etc.  I now have 2 awesome roommates my age, a nice big room in a great apartment, and its only an 8 minute drive to work (which is right on the beach, by the way)!

I really love it here. There are tons of like minded people but yet plenty of diversity. I got to reconnect with friends from different parts of my life who also ended up here and of course have a huge circle of yoga friends. I love that there are so many good yoga teachers and studios here, enough to be picky. And the farmers markets..? I had to get an app on my phone to find the closest one to me each day (but there's also this darned HUGE Whole Foods right there)! LA pretty much feels as exciting as traveling. Almost.

St. Augustine, FL

Until now, all my gigs have stemmed from emailing my resume to a studio owner, and he or she feeling compelled to hire me because of it, still having never met each other, and crossing our fingers hoping it’s a good fit once I show up. You can tell a lot about a person by their emails but since some studio owners have offered space in their home or studio to me, it really is chancy to bring in teachers this way!

competition competitots, supporters, teachers
I met Kate, the owner of Bikram Yoga St. Augustine, when she was visiting Cape Cod last summer; she took my class at Bikram Yoga Brewster. She told me about her studio- how there were lots of fun instructors and students, how they train for competition together, and how they all hang out a lot. She said the town is awesome, the studio being on an island with a great beach, everyone driving scooters and surfing.

A place I never would have known, and it was sounding good!
Six months later, Kate was set to host the Florida Regional Asana Competition in St. Augustine and open her second studio, and needless to say, needed some extra help! We connected on Facebook and she invited me out. The timing was perfect with where my plans extended to so I came to St. Augustine.

The first weekend I was there was busy busy busy! Senior teachers and judges were in town so I got to take classes from them and get to know some of them better outside the room. I watched a competition for the first time which was very inspiring. I hadn’t ever been part of a yoga community where competition was important to them.
The unique thing about Kate’s students is that they have had their studio for over a decade, so many of them have been practicing much longer than me. They have had good instruction and therefore have good determination and “etiquette.” Their openness to me combined with where I have reached in my teaching made the studio experience a perfect fit.

One problem with traveling a lot is that it is difficult for me to meet friends. Sometimes there are a couple other yoga teachers or students to hang out with but I still seem to be hanging out with just myself a lot. The “gang” here really felt like a family. The other teachers and the students and their families were such a fun group to spend time with. We had potlucks and parties, went to concerts and festivals, yoga seminars, and even hung out at the studio sometimes. And the group was a wide range of ages, with some people coming and going as St. Augustine tends to be a transient place. Everyone seemed to be healthy minded and free spirited. Being around them helped me to discover that within myself too.

Ashtanga Yoga

Kate set me up with an amazing room at Brittney’s house just down the street from the studio. Brittney is a world traveler, raw food expert, and gypsy yogini. She teaches Ashtanga yoga in her house, which was a pivotal part of my yoga journey as well. I really opened my practice and my heart to Ashtanga yoga and was receiving excellent instruction from her. I had only done a few Ashtanga/Vinyasa classes in the past and knew that good teachers are hard to find and crucial to the practice. Brittney let me ask her questions about yoga, cooking, and traveling all the time. We had intellectual conversation and she was a big part of my personal shift that happened while I was in St. Augustine.

I also finally had the privilege of a proper kitchen fully equipped with juicer, food processor, dehydrator, blender, spices, cookbooks, and SPACE so for the first time in my life I took up cooking. Wow did I have so much to learn! I became a regular at the farmer’s market and health food store and slowly made my way from recipes to a bit of improvising. I once thought there was no hope for me in the kitchen but I believe I am well on my way!

green juice

Thank you to Kate and the entire community of yogis, gypsies, and friends! I will surely be seeing you again.
the St Aug gang