I was a bundle of excited nerves, as if I hadn’t been in this exact position hundreds of times before. But really, I suppose I hadn’t. I had never stepped foot into a rainforest, let alone, guided people through a practice where the natural musical of birds and running water is a soundtrack of permanence. No need to plug my phone up to the speakers of a confined studio and press play; everything I needed to construct a magical session was right there, sitting on the tip of every one of my fingers. It had been playing for years before, and I knew it would play long after my departure.

For me, life had been bizarre lately. It was a year before this day that I started my journey to Rancho Margot, contacting Ivannia, scouring through the Ranch’s website multiple times a day, dreaming of the large, wide open canopy, imagining myself in front of a class full of diversity, teaching the practice that has, in my own life, aided me in obtaining a sense of peace when it seemed there was none for the Universe to bestow. Yoga, which had carried me through heartache and watched over me on my path to healing brokenness in myself and in my relationships as well, was a way to unshakable inner peace, with the ability to be cultivated from seemingly nothingness. Yoga was calling for me to expand its reach. It wanted me to take its hand into a paradise-like land to help wring humans of the self-expression that soaked them to their bones and remind them of their bionic inner strength~a strength that only radiates from the soul.

I thought I was going to hop on a plane come January 27; I was finally going to be on my way here to teach my first class, to learn about a simpler life, to thrive in this experience that I had waited oh so patiently to have. I had a cough and a cold, but still, I was going to be okay, or so I desired to believe. It was not even three days before I was scheduled to be at the airport, when I felt too ill to walk more than 5 minutes at one time, I realized there was something my body was telling me and I needed to all-ears listen to what it was saying. See, the lesson in it all is that my life is happening while I am busy trying to flawlessly plan it. *heavy laughter* because sometimes if I don’t laugh, I will cry! Sometimes, I do both unapologetically.

I grappled with feelings of intense anticipation for another week, in order to relish in the opportunity more fully, I truly believe. I had to succumb to the reality, as I have multiple times before, that I was not in control. I needed to embrace such a difficult lesson before I received another beautiful blessing. Life had been bizarre, but through it all I did trust that the many pieces that I manifested were going to eventually fall perfectly into a puzzle of endless gardens intertwined with beautifully colored flowers, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and space to inhale refreshing breaths. I had faith in God to provide me exactly what I needed, even when it was not to my plan and not to my liking either; I trusted that the divinity sprinkled through every human would in some way move me closer to where I needed to be.

And so, I was finally here, sitting and waiting for the students to arrive. Upon arrival to the ranch, I was going to teach a flow, because that would connect with everyone, right? That is what people craved when they came to a yoga class; that was most everyone’s idea of yoga. The very thought felt wrong on my mind. Did I ever teach to what I thought MOST people would enjoy? I was not teaching to what people wanted, I was teaching to what people needed which had absolutely nothing to do with what posture they were performing or how long they held it. I had to remind myself; my task was to consistently teach in a way leading to my own passions and interconnectedness in order to disperse a feeling of ease, liberation, and the pleasurable Eden that lies beyond the uncomfortable, even if each person might not necessarily love every pose.

I knew this, so what was I feeling, personally? What was speaking to me on that very day? If I did not have a vested interest in the topic I taught, I was sure nobody else would. Furthermore, if I did not listen to my heartbeat and allow that to lead me in practice, I was in turn doing everything I tell my students NOT to do. To stumble into postures their bodies might resist, or doing anything that was adverse to their own soul’s expression. I had to channel my own feelings, as opposed to building a class based upon the 10 students that were on their way.

Quite honestly, what moves me might look similar day in and day out, but in a subtle way~ its changing with the day of the week, the hour, the moment. I think most people, if in tune, really do feel this way in life. Most of us know what we like on a basic level, but achieving a feeling of freedom might be gone about in a variety of ways, depending upon circumstance, emotion, wisdom and intuition. All of those lead us to our destination, as we chase the idea of “presence”, of being in each moment, every time. It is utopic in concept, but it can be applied to enrich every experience. It is the plight of every human to be utterly and completely satisfied 100% of the time.

How do I find satisfaction when it seems my world is crumbling? By opening my heart. By taking every scenario that is playing out in my world at any given moment and finding an acceptance of its undeniable purpose. At times it has seemed easier to pout in a childlike fashion about what occurs that is adverse to my preconceived notions of what should be; in reality, it has been far more satisfying and fulfilling to embrace, with open arms, its universal purpose in my life and in those people’s lives who surround me. I knew in one wave that heart openers were what I had to teach; I needed it and so did everyone else. We can all benefit from being reminded to open our hearts to what is and to avoid what we wish it to be, even when life can be painfully bizarre. Then, in time, it seems we more gracefully fall into the reality that we should wish only for what is to come, without restraint or specifications that stronghold us into a captive reality, instead of freeing opportunities.

When I began teaching the class, it is as if I had god’s breath on me. It seemed that my interactions, my words, my movements, and my guidance was entirely manifested in divine intervention. The class was trickled with outer body experiences, at times feeling that I was merely an observer walking by class, listening in on myself. It was truly magical. I have had many enriching experiences in yoga class, both as a teacher and as a student, but I can truly say that this particular evening was special in an entirely unique way. It was also emotional in a very intrinsic, intense, visceral sense; the type of feeling that could not adequately be described with a million words but can alone be felt within the body.

I led the participants into svasana by encouraging them to listen to the water flowing by in the river, to think of their thoughts as water streaming in the river of their minds. I wanted them to connect with being open to thought coming in and out of focus but to avoid attaching judgment to any single idea, as this teaches consciousness while still preserving calmness. As I left them to their yogic slumber, I shed cleansing tears from my own heart having been opened ~ accepting my previous struggles of getting here, open to the many opportunities and lives surrounding me, embracing the beauty that is and not trying to manipulate what is not. I felt open to the energies settling around me in a peaceful place with beautiful people. I finally taught my first class at the Ranch. My intention while here: keeping my heart wide open.


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