Sunday
Apr052015

Thank you... Ballin' in Bali Round II in the bag. 

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when your toes are hanging off the edge of a diving board? 

 

 

Time seems to     s l o  w    d    o   w     n. 

The abdominal walls contracting

Uneasy. 

Adrenaline floods the body. 

Each heart beat, deafening

The blood pumps through and electrifies the body. 

 

Then, you have a choice. 

Say a prayer... make the jump. 

Talk yourself out of it, next time... climb down. 

 

This is the feelingl that I get when I say yes to organizing a yoga retreat and I've said yes 4 times now and each time I've taken the dive, I've landed in so much love, so much support, so much excitement and so much wonderful amazingness. 

I get bolder in sharing my story and running retreats that are positive, beautiful and soul enriching is my goal for every shiny soul that comes to the retreat but for myself as well. 

My retreat career was rocky at the beginning despite the amazing people who did say yes and came to the first two. It was a business and an ex that I worked under and a chapter of my life that carries a lot of darkness, a lot of self-doubt, a lot of heartbreak and pain... It would take nearly 3 years of my life to have the courage to take the leap instead of climbing down (yet again). It's tough even to write about it now publicly and every time I think about it, my eyes well up and my heart knots up. 

Courage dear heart 

(Thank you Kelly for this inspiration)

 

#newink #constantreminder 💘💪

A photo posted by Kelly Kamm (@happybuddhakelly) on Mar 24, 2015 at 1:18am PDT

 

Running retreats is more than just running a retreat to me. 

It's about penning new chapters that are bright, beautiful, colourful, inspired and inspiring as well as chock a block full of evolution. It is about moving forward and turning something that started off so yucky into something beautiful and something that continually wows me beyond words. 

 

 

The lotus is such an important symbol in the yoga tradition. It represents the struggles we go through in finding ourselves and how sometimes that path we travel is murky, yucky, uneasy, terrible and seemingly endless. But, it is all necessary to come out the other end completely stunning in all the glory that is you! The seed must completely become undone, the pain and the risk of staying in the bud outweighs the pain and risk of blooming! 

I am so honoured, so blessed to stand here and have such amazing people join me along my journey to help me pen these chapters and to support and love me all the way. I understand, respect and acknowledge that I did not get here myself... it has taken a village!! 

To add to all the retreat goodness I have the great honour to have Guenevere Rodriguez join me and all the retreaters. I met this amazing energy goddess nearly 4 years ago in one fateful afternoon in NYC that would change my life forever. As my life gets busier, I understand the value behind one single minute and that time is limited and shared with those who are wonderful and amazing and for projects that are wonderful and amazing. So imagine, that this woman who barely knew who I was just had a feeling and took me under her wing and spent hours with me. I was coming out of my second teacher training and wondering about life and where it was all going... and when she asked me point blank, what do you want? All I could do was blink blankly at her and sputter out sentences that were incoherant and everywhere. 

Then she gave me that all knowing Mona Lisa smile and unloaded all this information at me to change my life. I went home, I had a launch party... and when people asked me what I was launching, I said myself!! Since then, coupled with support from my Lululemon family, I have taken it to the next level and still moving forward. 

I've had two private sessions with Guenevere on both my Bali retreats and each time it just shakes me up and pushes me to be a better person. Endless gratitude. How lucky am I that I get to call you a friend? To have you in my life as a constant catalyst to amazing things. For pushing me to GODDESS UP! 

Moreover, each person who said yes to coming to the retreat. It is astounding to me. So touching for me. It's not easy to just pause life and to take the leap. Thank you for taking the leap. Thank you all for helping me write these beautiful new chapters of my life. Thank you for being you, for acting as these lights that I can follow, be inspired by and for making this job that I do SO worthwhile. Life will and never be the same for me with each of you stepping in it. <3

There's mad mad love love love love for you all.

I. LOVE. YOU!!  

Saturday
Mar282015

Gratitude changes everything

A video posted by Kate Mak (@katewmak) on Mar 28, 2015 at 7:07pm PDT

Today, my second yoga retreat in Bali starts and there are about 18 people who have taken a leap of faith, said yes and made their way with a flight across the Pacific ocean to join me. I am SO excited to share, write and pen another chapter of my life with all of the wonderful people.

I know that I did not get here alone and it has been years of work, support and love that have gotten me here in the middle of a rice paddy in beautiful and blissful Bali in addition to this stage in my career. 

(It feels like I'm about to do some Oscar acceptance speech stuff)... 

Thank you to my family. Especially my parents. Growing up in an Asian family who immigrated from Hong Kong, I know that my family had great hopes that I would be a doctor (of course). So, when I told them I was leaving my neuroscience lab in pursuit of this yoga thing it definitely wasn't expected. But, they have been supportive and to my father who works so hard to give his family every luxury in life, thank you for working this hard so that I have the great opportunity to choose where I want my life to go. 

Thank you to every single student who has hit the mat with me. Without you, I cannot evolve. Every single time that I teach, I learn just as much from you all as you may be from me. It is an exchange of energy, of life, or experiences and of knowledge. The way I teach is constantly in a flux of evolution as I learn and adapt alongside you all. It doesn't matter if you have only practiced with me just once, a handful of times, several months or years... there's gratitude for you and a deep well of love. 

Thank you to my Lululemon family for always supporting me in everything I do and for asking me what my dreams are (and to hold me accountable to them). Thanks to Reggie bear for always being my #1 supporter, I know that you and others (April Miranda, Don Shipton, Anna Smith, Kim Dykes) spoke so highly of me and helped me get my ambassdorship. Thank you Lindsay White-O'Neil for picking me of the many to represent the Chinook store. Thank you Cara Kingstone for being a pillar of support, love and inspiration for me... you have gone above and beyond for me!! Thank you my lems (former and current) from every part of the city (there are SO many of you)... I love you all. 

Thank you to my teachers for fostering me. There are so many of you! Thank you Ananada Ashram (Nikki, David, Radha, Ma Bha, Bharati, Lauri and extended faculty) for being my spiritual home and for always inviting me in with open arms so that I can fill my cup again. Thank you Kelly Kamm for being the first to show me the ways of bhakti and for always being so open to sharing. Thank you to my fellow teachers for being so amazing, so loving... from sea to sea, all of you! 

Thank you to Guenevere Rodriguez for that one fateful afternoon you shared your time with me and acted as a catalyst for me to rocket myself to GODDESSdom. 

Thank to this beautiful Earth we have for all the beauty, splendor, mysteries, adventures, and lessons you continue to provide me every single country, city and town that I land into. 

Thank you for even the fleeting moments of connections my heart has made to hundreds, thousands of people. 

Thank you retreaters!!!! I am BLOWN away every time I think about it. It takes a lot of commitment and definitely that leap into the abyss to come along on an adventure. Thank you for coming... I hope to make this the trip of a lifetime for you. <3

Gratitude unlocks happiness and there is no happier kitten than this one!! 

Sunday
Mar222015

Full circle

I mention in classes often that yoga and life is a mandala. We experience life in a cyclical fashion and even though we may go through the mandala again, it's completely different because we're different as we stick to a path of continual evolution. 

Amazing yogis working hard

Way back in 2009 when I first started fumbling my way through word and sequencing, I had the great opportunity of meeting Sherri and Warren. Two practitoners that had the most amazing practices and showed me what dedication looked like. They would come to my Tuesday and Saturday classes every week and stand today as part of the original crew of only a handful of students that I met in my early days. It was a bittersweet day when the pair sold all their belongings and cashed it all in for a new life... they travelled the world and ended up settling in Bangkok, Thailand and opened a studio just in the last year. 

 

En route to Bali for my own retreat, Sherri and Warren invited me to stop by Bangkok to come teach and be their first international teacher to lead a weekend workshop. What an amazing honour to be invited and with zero hesitation, I agreed with so much gratitude. 


Sharing my love of song to get in the bhav

It comes full circle... I got to take a class with Sherri and got to experience the dream in real live technicolour. What an AMAZING studio you have built and what an incredible community of shiny and bright human beings. Yogatique Bangkok is doing something so incredible and amazing. I have practiced and taught all around the world and this studio stands toe to toe with some of the best in its delivery of community, heart, passion, love and understanding. It is certainly a gem hidden in the craziness of Bangkok. 

I am honoured... I am blessed. 
Thank you to everybody who came to play, laugh and share in this yoga I love so much.

Thank you especially to Sherri and Warren for always being a light and pillar of support. For taking a leap of faith in inviting me to come. I loved every second. :)

Here's the playlist set for all four classes... 

 

      

 

Tuesday
Feb172015

SLOMO - the man who skated off the grid

There are a handful of videos that I always go back to, to remind myself of what is truly important in the world, to re-inspire and to remember who I really am. Even though they come from many different sources of people that have never met, a lot of them share the same sentiments.

Most recently, I watched the mini documentary of a man named Slomo again.

Slomo spends a vast majority of his day doing what he loves... Rollerskating. Slowly. On one foot. Up and down Pacific Beach he goes all day and all night. One might think, what a character! And certainly, what a character indeed. Slomo, in his previous lifetime, Dr. John Kitchin, a reputable and wealthy neurologist who left it all behind to "do what you want to".

Rollerskating is not only Slomo's obsession but a place where he finds himself in the zone of expanded meditation. But he goes further to encourage us to run forward to everything that we can dream up, whether we go towards those dreams, is entirely up to us! Damn anybody who tells you otherwise and live a life that makes you deliriously happy, even if people will call it insane.

"For a while I thought I might be going crazy or something, because I'm too happy... and I kept waiting... that was 15 years ago".

"But now... I experience myself like the tip of a great iceberg of consciousness"

"Once we see the light, we know that there will be no satisfaction until we experience a kind of divinity. As close to divinity as man can experience".

It is SUCH an amazing 15 minute clip that I will gaurantee will make you smile at some point.

Do what you want to!!! <3

Monday
Feb162015

What is yoga?? 

What exactly does it mean when somebody says, "well, that's not very yogic of you" or "that's not very yoga". Is there an architype that all yoga practioners are to fall into?

I may be a practitioner and I may be a teacher too but at the end of the day, I am a human being who is just as fallible as the next person.

The truth is, we all have our neurotic tendencies, our own stories and definitely our faults. All of this, can be summarized as our avidya.

Avidya is defined as our ignorance and one of the 5 kleshas or poisons of the spirit. It is all the bullshit we keep hidden and locked away in the dark recesses of the mind, the heart and the soul. We can all identify with this and there are moments in life when we're sitting right in the middle of it all and it consumes our being so much that we lose touch momentarily with the present moment. It is being human.

And no yoga practitioner will be exempt from this as it is a cycle we will rinse and repeat through over and over again. We find some pieces of ignorance in the way we are behaving, perceiving and believing and through hard work, we make it through and learn something. But then we'll find something new through an experience or interaction and it starts again.

This my friends... Is the fate of the yogi.

We will all have moments of compunction from things we say or do. But being a "yogi" is less about what has already happened and what will define your actions as "yogic" is what you will do after the fact.

Continue to learn, continue to love (especially when it's hard) and continue to laugh through it all.