[su_heading]Delving Deeper into Meditation with Thomas Droge[/su_heading]
Taking Taoist Insight and Five Element meditation classes with Thomas Droge and interviewing him live on our Facebook feed afterwards helped me to delve deeper into the intellectualization of meditation during Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass 2016.
As our conversation unfolded it was apparent that Thomas Droge has a very intellectual mind that breaks down meditation both scientifically and physically. A practitioner of Qi Gong, Tai Ji and Meditation for 25 years, Thomas is a doctor of Chinese medicine and a seeker of truth and has studied around the world with many great masters. He holds a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has a degree in massage therapy, and has trained at Harvard’s Mind Body Medicine program, he teaches in many of the ancient lineages of Taoist wisdom traditions including, Zhao Bao, Er Mei, and Dragon Gate. It was truly a gift to be in his presence and get to know him as a friend and listen to his wisdom and intellectual insight into meditation (see interview).
[su_quote cite=”Thomas Droge” url=”http://thomasdroge.com”%5DIt’s about Balance: The misconception is that there is one way to do it, or that once you discover “balanced” you are done. What we learn from Tai Qi and Qi Gong is that balance is a dynamic state of transformation, that we must experience, adapt and respond to, and experience again and again. This is the practice of finding the infinite in the moment.[/su_quote]
[su_heading]An Interview with MC YOGI[/su_heading]
I had heard MC YOGI’s music before and downloaded it to my yoga practice playlist. His voice was soft and soothing and his music made you feel light-hearted and happy, so it really was a pleasure to practice yoga in the first row of his yoga class with Amanda Giacomini and DJ Drez in “The Nest by Yoganonymous” and hear him sing during Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass 2016. After the class we went outside and conducting an interview with him.
Widely becoming known as yoga’s modern day ambassador to the West, with three #1 World albums and hundreds of appearances each year, MC YOGI’S music is moving yoga to large, mainstream audiences. He and his wife Amanda Giacomini have performed and taught at The White House, Stanford University, The Smithsonian, SF Asian Art Museum, Dallas Asian Art Museum & more. MC YOGI has given a Ted Talk as well as taught at Juvenile hall and at Hanna Boys Center for at risk youth, in Northern California.
iTunes calls his latest album, ONLY LOVE IS REAL, “true mantra music – transformative and genre-defining”. ONLY LOVE IS REAL debuted #12 Billboard Heatseekers + #24 iTunes Hiphop and featured guest performances from Matisyahu, Trevor Hall and Dominic Balli. In 2001, MC YOGI and his wife Amanda were named health ambassadors by Michelle Obama for her Let’s Move initiative and have taught yoga at the White House four times since (see interview).
[su_quote cite=”MC YOGI” url=”http://www.mcyogi.com/about”%5DWe want to make sure that we’re not skimming the surface. As yoga evolves in America it’s really our responsibility to dig down and discover where it comes from, how it relates to us, and how we can really move it forward so that it can benefit humanity…[/su_quote]
An Interview with Eoin Finn at Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass
I’d like to thank Eoin Finn for helping to dissolve my shyness and willingness to stay insular while in yoga practice, and insight me to throw all inhibitions to the wind in his blacklight “Yogi Rockstar Classic Rock Vinyasa Flow” class during Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass 2016.
In 1999 Eoin founded Blissology, a yoga system that mines for the source of love inside of all of us that is especially evident when we are quiet and present in Nature.
A Blissology Yoga class strikes the perfect balance between our ego drive and the infinitely kind and wise side of ourselves so that we treat our bodies, our communities and nature more sustainably and with more reverence.
Being in Snowmass surrounded by people who practically live outside, Eoin expressed in his interview his passion to bring spirituality down to earth and reclaim quiet time in Nature as the greatest spiritual portal and our best source of health and happiness.
An ocean-activist, he started the “Blissology EcoKarma project” in 2014 raising aid and awareness through yoga and activism for the world’s precious but imperilled coral reefs.
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Remember that I missed a few classes that first day? Well one of the classes I missed was Eoin’s “Sweat Your Intentions”. A class I heard about for days after where those who had taken it would go into a dreamy state describing how it was absolutely fantastic. Funny how life works that I should have missed his serious class and landed in his class that was all about sharing the love, and rocking out while being guided to another place, similar to when your having wild sex and can’t remember how you got into a certain position, or at least that’s how Eoin described it.
As I experienced Eoin’s class his positive and energetic vibe rubbed off on me immediately and as soon as the white lights turned to purple in his class, I stripped down to my yoga pants and jog bra and went tribal with the help of spiritual graffiti gangsters who covered my skin in tribal symbols, bringing my inner love-warrior out. Next thing I knew I was dancing half-naked with other yoga practitioners.
In the interview shown below you will see that Eoin’s Blissology practice is modeled off of Joseph Campbell’s wisdom and his quote, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” Seems like a good quote to base your life on, don’t ya think?
A philosophy graduate, yogi, surfer and blissologist from Vancouver, BC. Eoin has been deepening his understanding of Meditation, Yoga + Eastern Philosophy since 1989. His commitment deepened in the mid-nineties when he moved to Maui and learned Ashtanga and Power Yoga, and later Vinjana Yoga.
[su_heading]Eoin Finn’s Life Mission[/su_heading]
[su_quote cite=”Eoin Finn” url=”http://www.eoinfinnyoga.com/eoins_happy_map.pdf”%5DTo stay in touch with the deep vibration of Love so that I can be a conduit for it in all I do in life. I want to inspire people to be continuously lit up by this mysterious but powerful force. One of the best ways is to get out in nature and let its beauty fuel you.[/su_quote]
His visionary writings about health, happiness and interconnection have appeared alongside noted authors Deepak Chopra, Prince Charles, and Eckhart Tolle, and include features in Vogue, InStyle, Yoga Journal and Oprah Magazine.
Fusing his passion for athletics and yoga, Eoin has prepared over 100 Olympians as well as pro-athletes from around the world for high-levelcompetition. Eoin’s teaching offers a heart-opening, invigorating and experiential practice, grounded with humour, dynamism and a focus on both physical and energetic alignment, not to mention some great yoga grooves inspired by his love for surfing and the ocean. Yoga, when practiced with this holistic awareness becomes fluid therapy, movement guided by the innate knowledge of our anatomy and evolution
He counts among his teachers Ravi Ravindra, Nadia Toraman, David Swenson, David Williams, Pattabhi Jois, Nancy Gilgoff, Donna Holleman, Orit Sen Gupta, Gioia Irwin, Myofascial Alignment teacher Tom Myers and Body Mind Psychotherapist Susan Aposhyan and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen of Body Mind Centering. He also studied Karate in Osaka, Japan for many years; disciplines that are infused into the holistic mind body heart experience of Blissology Yoga.
I should emphasize that although I have/had difficulties enjoying physical contact with strangers in yoga (we’re not talking college days people) I have no problems making friends with happy people, and Eoin Finn is definitely my new BFF. I mean seriously…how can you not love somebody whose mission is to be a conduit for love?
Eoin mentioned that he checked out my site and that I too am a Blissologist. I think he’s spot on. If you too are a Blissologist than join Eoin in exploring strategies for bringing more joy, awe, love and bliss into your life.
[su_quote cite=”Eoin Finn” url=”http://www.eoinfinnyoga.com/eoins_happy_map.pdf”%5DLove is the ultimate renewable resource™ [/su_quote]
Read the Blissology Happy Map for more about Eoin’s core philosophy, and remember, you have to genuinely believe in your bliss to become a blissologist.
Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass always looked intriguing to me but as someone who is more partial to practicing yoga and meditation in my own space – without having to get touchy feely with strangers (sorry, it’s my East Coast/British genetic structure), I have always been a bit reluctant to purchase that ticket. This year though, master teacher, Rod Stryker, was going to be there. This was my chance to have my long awaited interview with him, and so I procured media passes.
Admittedly, at first both Christopher Gsell and I were not drawn in by the groovy vibe that was pulsing in the “Uncommons” with people standing in circles together and then using each other’s bodies to practice balancing postures, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather not do than play my favorite kid game of airplane with people I didn’t know.
I warmed up a bit after walking into the “Happy Place” to receive my bulging media bag which included a six pack of my favored beers, Tres Agaves Tequila and two large bottles of organic Margarita Mixes, and lotions from Sweet Spot, the first pH balanced feminine skincare line, but that happy loving feeling quickly reverted back to agitation when I couldn’t find the elevator with the magical P2 button in it to find my car in the parking garage and put my goody bag in it. Missing classes I had signed up for while lugging around the heavy weight of my gifts, and my yoga mat, cracked my latent dark side wide open, and the more I heard songs of peace and love emanating from the Ford Zen Den the more my body-hair and mental state stood on edge, pushing me towards flight mode.
Christopher, a writer and intern at ARL and a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sophomore majoring in physics, left me in my aggravated state to find his true north on the slack line and on trail runs with competitive marathon runner Boise Bettie, Gretchen Hurlbutt (stay tuned for his article), and I, after finally finding my car, re-emerged to rush to a Taoist Insight meditation class with Thomas Droge in The Quiet Space (that was far from quiet with beeping construction trucks and drills going off).
Meditation and meeting Thomas (who you will soon read all about) helped to ease me into a calmer state and I zeroed in on taking the classes of the other teachers I was to be interviewing live; Rod Stryker, Eoin Finn, Matt Giordano and MC YOGI (stay tuned for stories and interviews to be posted on AspenRealLife).
Not wanting to get hung up (ha) on the molasses slow Skittles gondola, I got my workouts in before ever entering the classes by huffing up and down Fanny Hill in the rain, and flip flops shooting invisible arrows towards the happy peaceful spandex-clad people floating above me, all decked out with patterns of ocean life and celestial planets printed on their yoga pants, paired with T-shirts expressing their mental spiritual state, just in case the peaceful expressions didn’t send the message. Next year I’m designing a t-shirt that reads, “Welcome to Aspen-Slowass Wander-Lost “.
With each class and each exhaled breathe my agitation began to wear off and with Christopher by my side navigating through any technical issues, we conducted live Facebook interviews and I transitioned from dark-to-light with the help of all my new professionally spiritual friends.
A global event, Wanderlust hosts 40 events annually, reaching countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico, Chile and Argentina, it was crucial to thoroughly read the Wanderlust site front to back before attending so as not to miss the incredible line up of yoga “stars,” meditation teachers, spiritual musicians and artists and chefs (I missed too much).
In between the classes I visited as many vendor booths as possible to meet the people and see if their products would suit my site and be appealing to our readers. My favorites included; Manduka, Spiritual Gangsters, Kashi (with their new plant powered shakes and organic breakfast super blends), Temple Turmeric Juice and Elixers, Epic Bars, Rad Roller (unlocking body muscles and pains), Canyon Bakehouse (gluten free), Go Raw and dr. Praeger’s purely sensible food.
The booth I was most attracted to was, Wolven Threads. Entering in I met McKinley Tennant and Kiran Jade, both gorgeously natural, one hand-making and selling with her boyfriend very cool recycled, breathable and waterproof yoga pants printed with Eastern sacred geometry fabric patterns, and the other, a woman who left her Corporate job at a tech company in San Francisco to be free, practice yoga and start a luxury metallic flash temporary tat company called, TribeTats (which we will wear at our next event).
In the end my aggro side got tucked back into my inner-depths and Christopher and I found our happy places and were able to get unplugged from the ordinary at this all-out spiritual yoga- music festival celebration covering as much as we physically could without overdosing on downward dogs and triangle postures, leaving the festival different from when we came — with new ideas, new friends, newly-discovered abilities, and a greater peace of mind and can’t wait to tell you all the stories.
[su_heading size=”28″]Youngest Certified Female Yoga Instructor[/su_heading]
Jaysea DeVoe, a Manduka® Ambassador, is the youngest certified female yoga instructor in the U.S. and she is also a Manduka Ambassador. I happened to meet her while in Mexico and I interviewed her so that she could help me with my Manduka product review and tell me why we love Manduka Yoga Mats.
She strolled in, her sun-bleached hair blowing in the sea breeze, her sea-green eyes checking out the new arrivals at her neighbor’s beach-side home. I glanced over from my sprawled out position on a cushioned lounge chair, and then over to Axel to see if he registered her entrance, she was about his age.
I found out later that her name was Jaysea DeVoe and that she is the youngest certified female yoga instructor in the U.S. (after completing a 200 hour five-month yoga certification program), and the youngest certified SUP yoga instructor in the world. I also discovered that she is an Ambassador for Manduka®, an eco-conscious yoga mat and accessory company of whom I have been needing to write a review on but was procrastinating in search of the perfect angle, another serendipitous moment that I embraced by asking Jaysea for an interview. She graciously said yes.
Manduka®, a leading eco-yoga products company, was created by Peter Sterios; a writer, with articles appearing in Yoga Journal, Elephant Journal, Fit Yoga, and LA Yoga; an award winning green architect, specializing in retreat centers and yoga studios nationally and internationally; and co-founder of karmaNICA, a charitable organization for impoverished kids in western Nicaragua (www.karmanica.org).
I first fell in love with Peter’s yoga mats when, after scanning the jewelry in the “conscious boutique” laden with enticing sparkling stones with healing properties, my eyes landed on a cluster of gorgeous yoga mats emerging from a large grass woven basket. I discovered that the eco-friendly mats are made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber free of toxic chemicals or dyes, cushioning and supporting the body while protecting the planet.
When I asked Jaysea, who has received recognition in the New York Times, Elle Magazine and on Good Morning America, why she became an Ambassador for Manduka®, she spoke of the amazing grip of the mats, the incredible long-lasting durability, and the comfort and performance. Registered with Yoga Alliance and a part-time instructor at the Bergamot Spa in Encinitas, Calif., where she teaches students ages 4 to 60, she typically earns approximately $100 per class at the donation-only yoga studio in her town, she takes her yoga mats seriously.
I am so glad to have had the opportunity to meet the lovely Jaysea DeVoe, sometimes procrastination can be a good thing! I also hope to have the opportunity to meet Peter Sterios and experience a yoga class or retreat under his tutelage, hopefully he will come to Aspen soon and if he does, I will be sure to let you all know.
To find out more about Jaysea, visit her at her online store: http://www.seavibesyoga.com/
I had a blessed hour of time to myself the other day. Taking multi-tasking to the extreme, I began to attempt to complete my long to do list.
I was returning phone calls, organizing old family photos for a picture book I was making for my mothers 70th birthday, paying bills and making cd’s for my mother-in-law, when our good friend and employee waltzed into my office. Since I find Baddy very hard to understand as he walks around quoting text from his pamphlets, I have appointed this friend as my technical advisor. But, as much as I appreciate and love him, at this particular moment I wanted to scream, “Do you have an appointment?” Maybe, if I were dressed in my superhero leather cat suit he would have better recognized that I was bussssyyyyy. Clearly, he was not in tune with my desperation to accomplish the impossible.
My hair rose as I felt his presence standing there, waiting for me to acknowledge him but I turned around sweetly, retracting my fangs. Hiya Lovey, I said sounding unnaturally syrupy. He was ready to train me on the main alarm for the house. The alarm that was there to protect me if ever I should have an emergency. Ha!? He proceeded to give me a dramatization of the shrill sound of the alarm so that I could recognize it.
The phone rang amidst the chaos. I was not about to pick up the 800 number that was showing on caller id as I’m certain that solicitors invading my privacy will be the ones to push me over the edge. Baddy, who can build a house but who is completely inept with the telephone, is the appointed person to reject these people politely telling them to go sell Jesus elsewhere, being that his wife is a Jew.
This time though I picked the wrong time to not pick up the phone. Five minutes later the volunteer fire department arrived to save me. I was impressed and annoyed at the same time. How could my one-hour go so awry? Would everybody pleeeeasssse go the fuck away! At the moment I do not need saving. Come back at 3:30pm when the kids get?home.
A vodka cellar might be helpful at these particular times. Not everyone admits to having a vice but I know they do, otherwise parents would surely self combust like an Austin Power fembot. Whether it is smoking the ganja, taking painkillers, maniacally working out or, in Baddy’s case, aiming the car toward small animals, all parents need release…or a cape to make them fly away, or be invisible, if only for a moment.
[su_heading size=”28″]Imagining Life Without Children[/su_heading]
When people ask me if I love having children my answer is always conflicted. Honestly, I love having children. It is my vocation, my life, it is what I signed up for. There would be no magic for me without my children showing me the world through their eyes and helping me to understand the value of nature to a higher degree. They also bring back memories of how I viewed the world when I was little, like when I was four I was mesmerized by a Christmas tree that actually grew it’s own candy.
A house without children would be, would be…quiet! I would die in a quiet house. Granted I could play the music I wanted to play without a nine year old DJ changing the songs. I could watch movies, listen to NPR and read without being ridiculously interrupted. I would barely have to clean the house and my beloved objects wouldn’t “got broke all by itself”.
There would be no Koala Bumpers stuck to our new, beautiful wood floors and no boogers or bottoms to wipe. I would not walk into a bathroom and find a dump the size of a large colon curled around the toilet.
I could feel sexy and strut around the house in lingerie and lounge in erotic poses on all white furniture when the mood presented itself. I would have no processed food in the house. I would sleep, and best of all I would share more intimate moments with Baddy, and perhaps we would no longer have to resort to heavy groping in closets, bathrooms or alleys when out on the town!
Without children my purpose may shift to something less valuable. I would see things differently and perhaps not so optimistically. I may not care so much about trying to revive our planet to ensure that my children will not suffer when I am gone.
If I were asked if I would do it all over again knowing what I know now my answer would be a definitive and resounding yes. Baddy’s answer might be slightly different.