Show Up. Breathe. Practice. More practice.
On my journey of a million breaths, I’ve done a lot of yoga and come across myriad phenomenal and inspiring teachers, each with their own particular brand and unique gift, yet I can count on one hand the select teachers and their teachings—not exclusively of yoga—that stuck with me and unabashedly transformed the path of my life. This only made me more curious about the methodology and science of yoga and other related practices. As a young, working mother there was little spare time to attend classes that were far fewer and far less accessible than they are today, and in a market that was far less noisy and congested than it is today. So I devoted countless stolen minutes in the wee hours of the morning to my personal practice, read a lot of books on yoga methodology, yoga philosophy, yoga physiology, the history of yoga, squeezed in some workshops and (unofficial) trainings here and there, and distilled the teachings of yoga to better understand my experiences in practice and their practical relevance to my daily life.
I found my calling as a teacher of yoga early in life, a little by accident, although I believe accidents are really just opportunities in disguise designed to open us to different ways of seeing and experiencing this one wild and precious lifetime. It turns out, each of the impediments that came up over the course of the six years it took for me to apply to medical school, three times, shook the stronghold of my desire to become a doctor and lead me straight into the rigorous arms of astanga yoga practice. Of course we don’t all find our calling right away; sometimes we try too hard to find it, usually outside of ourselves—the hero’s journey—or sometimes we are just too preoccupied and lost in the narratives of our minds or the daily assault of our lives to know that it exists at all. Sometimes you walk right into it, as I did, albeit with detours galore. I’ve always considered it my particular gift to be able to shift gears when I feel myself getting sucked into the vortex of a life that is not in sync with who I am. This shape-shifting has been at times tumultuous and unkind, but I’ve learned that this is so because of my resistance to what is.
Now I know, from life and all its twist and turns, that resistance is merely an exertion of my will towards a specific outcome—the stronger my resistance to what is, the less energy I have, my motivation tanks and, basically, shit happens. So M.A.P. Your YogaTM is drawn from my own experiential research, guided by the time-tested wisdom teachings of yoga and the wondrous teachers who have walked this path before me and inspired me to persist on this path of truth and transformation. M.A.P. Your Yoga is designed with great sincerity of heart for You, the Visionary, the Warrior, the Artist, the Creator, the Devotee who wishes to bring your yoga to life through innovative, strategic and collaborative forums that help you navigate your personal map, get your bearings, and understand the system and paradigms you engage with so you can get to where you want to be in your life faster, with far more flow and in a way that feels meaningful to you, even though it may feel like you are going slower in the short run.
And slow is but a matter of perception: I started practicing yoga in earnest in 1992. I founded my yoga studio, Yoga Mandala, nine years later on the heels of 9/11 with the intention of being a more present mother and spouse. Nine years after that, in 2010, I uncoupled and joined the realm of the divorced and parenting alone–no simple or fun way about that but in the midst of this I discovered the friendship and support of my amazing yoga community. Nine years more brings us to 2019 and the last item on my ‘bucket list’ from the year of my divorce – to write a book; and so, in the space of 4 months I lived and breathed writing and out of me poured Yogini’s Dilemma: To Be or Not to Be a Yoga Teacher? Geared to practitioners of yoga who seek to ‘do more’ with their yoga, the question asks not so much whether to be a yoga teacher or not, but rather, how to live and extend one’s yoga into action in the world.
Who’s to say what is slow, what your path will look like, and oh the places you’ll go? I do know this: My journey of a million breaths began with an experience that lead me to another experience that lead me to another… Along the way, I woke up, started paying attention, tuned in to the way I felt, learned, practiced, fell, picked myself up, practiced some more, gained insights, showed up some more, stumbled, reached out, asked for help, divested from the stuff of life I don’t want in my sphere, tripped a few times, came back to my practice, reoriented my intentions, and right now, I have fully invested in myself and what I want from life as if I already have it. Would you the same?
Learn more about Nicole on BostonVoyager.
Click on the images below to learn more about Nicole’s story and to meet the other extraordinary visionaries and dignitaries of yoga and movement that matters who share in the Mandala mission ♥