I just did something so major I have to write it down to believe it. I'm relocating from New York City where I've lived and taught yoga for nearly a decade, to Austin, Texas.
I've decided to relocate so that I can focus exclusively on my health, yoga, travel, and teaching for what I'm calling my yogi artist's retreat year. After that, I'll see where I am.
The requirements of my burgeoning yoga career are intense, and living in a place like New York City doesn't make things easy. For example, it took me 4 hours to drive 11 miles to the airport the other day, only to miss my flight. Total cost: $1,600. Austin has a shuttle that goes from my new apartment to the airport in 10 minutes. Total cost: 50 cents. I kid you not.
Now, don't get me wrong. Just like the T-shirts say, I (heart) New York. That's why I've lived there for so long. But it's time for a change, and specifically, I'm interested in what will happen to my yoga trajectory when I steep in it fully for a good period of time. This will be a Dharma Immersion, if you will.
At first, I was torn about whether or not to make such a radical move. So I practiced what I teach. I put fears and judgments aside and thought about what would serve my ultimate goals the best. Right now, I require ease of travel; a location that is equidistant to both coasts and the flyover states; an affordable apartment with enough space for me to film my YouTube and training videos; and a community that values health, good food, and good yoga. A creative environment and a lack of traditional winter weather is just icing on the cake.
For these reasons and more, Austin was an obvious choice for me. The cool thing is, once I chose it, I was surrounded by so many universal green lights that I have to believe the signs are pointing me on the road I'm meant to take now.
Before I was a yogi, I would have shut myself down before I ever began this journey. I probably would never have left the safety of the Midwest to try my luck in the Big Apple, or taken any of the risks that have brought me to where I am now. Yoga teaches us how to step out of our own way, remove the veils of uncertainty, and quiet the voices that tell us we're insane to do what we are being called toward. If we can turn down the volume of our fears, it's possible to hear that still, powerful whisper of our satya, or truth; that core voice that can move us toward transformation.
We do this through cultivating a regular asana practice so our limiting patterns don't build up and slow us down. We learn to sit in meditation and listen intently until we hear only our inner guide and not the confusing cacophony that surrounds it. We implement our lessons off the mat, do our best to be brave, and lead by example into our next incarnation of who we want to be.
Most of all, when grounding is called for, we ground, and when flying beckons, we find out how wide our wingspan really is. The yogi is a shapeshifter, an energetic alchemist who uses the raw materials of experience, relationship, self-knowledge, and prana (life force) to create magic out of what others see as a static reality.
Is it the perfect choice for me to take a year in Austin? Perhaps not. Staying in the city has its benefits, too. But we can always go back to what we know. So why not try going forward? Yes, it takes a big leap of faith sometimes. But we yogis have that in spades, y'all. So what is your dharma calling you to do next?
Core Pose: "First Eye" Goddess
This asana is one I teach and do whenever I want to envision my next move. It stimulates the forehead center, the seat of our intuition, and expands perspective away from the constriction of fear. This is why I call it the First Eye. It's a primary tool of perception, your mind's eye, and keeping it wide open will serve you well as you navigate your next steps along your path.
Sit on your mat. Bring both feet together, knees open wide. With a long spine, tilt your sacrum and top hip crests forward as you bring your elbows onto the floor or two yoga blocks. Place your thumbs inside your eyebrows, just above your nose. Allow your forehead to release towards the thumbs even as you maintain the open hips and spinal alignment of the rest of the pose.
Breathe here for 1-2 minutes, and then come into knees-together Child's Pose for a few breaths to counterbalance the asana.