300 hour online

Darkness & Light

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If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

~Mother Theresa

I don’t know what to say.  For all of the writing, contemplating, feeling and thinking I do, I don’t feel like I have anything to contribute to the conversation right now.  Usually writing for me is like starting a lawnmower. It takes a couple of cranks, but once it’s started it is a strong engine with a message as a propellent.  What do you do when your job is to have an opinion and you can’t seem to lift yourself out of the struggle between darkness and trying to feel the light, call the light, be a light yourself.  The simple things seem insurmountably challenging right now. The only things coming easily and with desire are meditating and longing. I am walking around a fog, probably because of my allergies and all of the medication that I am taking to manage them.  I have a full calendar, money is tight, but little blessings come through all the time, as they always do. I feel like I am on the precipice of shift, and I doubt that feeling as I have felt it for so long. Perhaps I am unable to see the shifts in myself.  Like watching your kids grow day after day, it’s hard to see the immensity of the progress until someone who hasn’t seen them in a while remarks on the change. Maybe I’m not really on the threshold of anything, and that is a story I tell myself as a comfort to the continued challenge.

The state of the world is degrading at such a rapid pace, it’s difficult to keep up.  The huge steps backward are rattling the cage of rage and self reflection inside of me, yet in so many ways I feel helpless to change or fight.

This morning I was thinking about Brene Brown’s work, and her new Netflix series that’s getting lots of comment.  She teaches vulnerability, connection, love and belonging. And God, isn’t that what we all want, even the hardened and fearful.  The hatred is simply fueled by disconnection and the frustration about our inability to remedy it, until hatred becomes the common ground that creates a connection and sense of belonging.  Why she doesn’t ever seem to talk about is how to show up open, vulnerable, honest and deeply courageous and NOT be received. That is the state of the world right now. We can do all that we possibly can to show up in our vulnerability, but we cannot at any level, expect to be received with open arms.  Not in our intimate relationships, not in our families, not in our workplaces, or in political venues, not in a restaurant or at the gas station. We, the courageous and willing, who are trying everyday to keep our hearts open and our words honest, we who are doing the work of self reflection, accountability, ownership, we who are “daring greatly” are still standing alone.  Outside of belonging, outside of understanding. In this time when the world is organizing around our divisions, the ones who work with honest vulnerability and work to cultivate understanding are the ones on the OUTSIDE. But, Krishna never promised that doing your duty would feel good. He simply said to stand up and fight.

I wake everyday with a sadness in my heart.  An understanding that to move through the world right now, I have to close myself off to loving. I have to turn away from the overwhelming desire for connection and understanding, keep my head down and my mouth closed.  That my longing to connect, hear, love and understand is the very yearning that will keep me isolated. That my desire to reveal the places of connection rather than anchor in to division IS the very thing that will exile me from any group, relationship, or alliance.  Right now, we are in a time of Ayoga (def.: unconnected with, separation, disjunction, impropriety, incongruity, non-application or mis-application of remedy). We are finding our common ground through our divisions and definitions. We are choosing to turn away from opportunities to bridge the gap of our differences in favor of defining ourselves by them.

I know in my heart that this turning is necessary, but it feels impossible to bear at times.  I am even witnessing this in “YOGA.” We are defining and aligning our allegiances to this style or that studio, we are dividing our opinions, our loyalties.  In yoga, we are no longer seeking Union, and instead we are another expression of the power of devisiveness. Our “yoga teachers” are graduating with low self confidence, desire to be the perfect, terror of making mistakes, and demand for validation and approval.  Even those who are “studying Yoga” seem lost in the mire of delusion. The real practice of Yoga is meant to return us to ourselves.  The real practice of Yoga is not simply to unite the Mind, Body, and Spirit.  They have never been divided, really. The real practice of Yoga is to reunite who you think you are with who you REALLY are. But try telling that to a recent YTT grad who is nervous and unsure about teaching, try telling that to the Yoga teacher who can’t pay their rent, or the student who just wants to move fast enough to make their mind stop for a few minutes. Try finding your Self in the tornado of calamity that defines our lives in these times.  It’s next to impossible to tease out the self created identity from the one that is pure and unchanging. It’s gut wrenching and conflictual to try and understand the current state of things as anything other than disaster and apocalyptic.

How do we find “peace” and “balance” in a divided world? Well, maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe we are looking for the wrong solutions to what we are experiencing. Instead, what if the re-Union of ourselves with our Self actually requires us to feel, first hand, the pain of division. The time for ignoring and numbing, dividing and judging is quickly coming to an end for better or for worse, so like a snowball rolling downhill, it is picking up all of our illusions and slamming them into our faces with break-neck force.  

The real Yoga will begin when we stop trying to make everything “good, peaceful, and balanced” again, and start FEELING the state of chaos and terror that we find ourselves in.  When we stop trying to ignore our heartache, our loneliness, our pain, and truly start feeling it. Then, we can build a bridge to others who are suffering, regardless of the cause of their suffering.  If you truly know your own pain, then and only then, can you hold the pain of others in a space of compassion and love. Our dysfunction is the result of trying to function in a system that no longer works. We are plummeting headlong into our own destruction ONLY because we are so vehemently committed to turning away from it or fixing it.

And maybe I’m totally wrong.  Perhaps I know nothing. Like I said, I don’t feel equipped to contribute to the conversation right now, because I too am struggling. I feel afraid that my struggle will reduce my authority as a teacher, as a business owner, as a lover, a parent and friend. My inability to “turn it all around” with some asana or pranayama might be viewed as a failure of this system.  But maybe that is exactly the point, maybe all I am supposed to do is share that I too feel afraid, feel alone, feel overwhelmed. I too feel deep sadness and despair. That I also long to be understood, and feel like screaming at the top of my lungs in rage and frustration. I too am working hard to meet the demands of life, and find it an impossible race to win at the moment. For me, it seems that there are no answers that will lead us to healing, and we are left only with the opportunity to question our di-ease.  So I will go now and sit, as I do everyday. I will spend time in silence, for as long as my hectic day will allow. I will turn my attention inward, to my breath, to the ache in my chest, to the constriction in my throat and the tears welling up behind my eyelids. I will request of myself surrender. I will allow myself to feel into these sensations, to be guided into deeper understanding of my own suffering, and I will mutter a prayer, “may I understand my own pain so that I can more fully accept and understand the pain of others.”

I will not pray to be liberated from this suffering, as I truly believe that what we are supposed to be learning is encased within it. I will not pray for the liberation of others, as the lessons we are being shown right now are universal and essential for us to grow beyond them.  But I will call in the vibrancy of the light, and request that it fill me, revitalize me, help me to keep moving forward into this dark night.



Transitions, New Chapters, Epic Journeys

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Dear Yogis,

This year, although still brand new, has already brought so many changes, and I want to take a few moments to share and reflect on them with you.  I began this year in a new home, with a radically new life in many ways, and a yearning to live more to the root of my being. My family and I have moved from California, where we have lived for the past 7 years, back to the soft, ancient mountains of WNC, only an hour from where I was born and where my family still lives.

I won’t lie, the transition has been intense, especially for my children, and I had extreme moments of doubt.  Doubt in myself, in my decision, even doubt about my life path. Through it all, I have continued to lean in to the trust that I have spent 20 years of practice developing, and return day after day to the techniques that keep me connected to my soul.  

We have embarked upon a new chapter of our epic journey.  One that has us stepping into the future, and simultaneously re-establishing our connection to our history, our legacy, and our roots.  It’s a homecoming, in the truest sense. I’ve been contemplating how to bring this journey into my work life, and into my practice. What I’ve discovered is simple.  A return to relationship and connection.

You see, I’ve spent the past ten years building my dream.  Creating programing that expresses a human approach to YogaStudying and practicing the philosophies of Tantra and Yoga, and interpreting them through the truth of the life that I was living, and that I believe we all live.  One where we recognize and accept challenge, not as failure to thrive, but as the fertilizer for our continued evolution. And I have strived to bring these teachings to YOU.  For the last three years, I’ve traversed tens of thousands of miles, spent countless hours in airplanes, and days upon days away from my children and my family. I’ve focused on bringing our approach to you where you live, in your neighborhood studios, your communities.  I’ve spent time supporting our amazing team of Vira Bhava Yogis in bringing the heart of our approach to you, and traveled to their communities to meet you. Through all of this movement and sharing, I haven’t had the time and ability to connect with you one-on-one. To spend time getting to know you, and understanding your path of practice, and the unique challenges and triumphs you have experienced.

So, we are changing things.  Creating a new platform through which to deliver our unique and very human approach to Yoga and Life in a way that will be mindful of our time and energy, and open up new opportunities to connect and grow.  We have refined our 230 Hour program, and are offering it to any RYT graduate of our 230 Hour program who would like to offer Teacher Trainings in their communities.If you feel ready to teach the teachers and share these practices in a bigger way, then contact us directly for more information about the 230 Hour License Program.

We are also taking our 300 Hour Advanced Studies Training online. This program will consist of 4 modules of live recorded lecture, supplemental materials, mentor support, live online classes, and a community of practitioners all over the country. With this approach, you will have the choice of diving deeper into study without any of the requirements of teacher certification and all of the juice. OR you can pursue your RYT-500 by completing the online modules and joining us for 2 Live and In Person weekends (offered both on the West Coast and the East Coast), and enhanced mentorship and support from our team and from yours truly.  To support you in joining us for this inaugural program, we have reduced the cost of the certification program. You can now join our 300 Hour Advanced Studies program for over $1000 off the regular price. This will only be offered once, and next year the program will return to it’s original cost. If you have been wanting to join us, to deepen your study, to explore the connection to soul, Self and practice through the tools of Vira Bhava Yoga, but your time or budget has kept you from it, we hope that our new approach will allow you to meet that desire, and help you to come back to what the practices of Yoga and Tantra have to offer.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO REGISTER.

We are very excited about this evolution, and though it might seem like a paradox, we are taking our programs online so that we may have more time to connect directly with you!  We will be adding much more content to our website (classes, meditations, talks, etc.), as well as offer more specialized LIVE content, AND we will be returning to the adventure of leading retreats!!
Click here for more information on Upcoming Retreats.

Our goal is to gain more time to develop meaningful relationships with YOU.  We are striving to bring the human connection back to Yoga, and we know that living it is the best opportunity to teach it.  

Lastly, you don’t have to register for a training to dive deeper into relationship and study with me.  I am offering a private client program designed in collaboration with YOU to meet the needs of support and guidance you desire for your practice and life.  If you are interested in working directly with me in this way, check out the Apprenticeship Program link here. Space is limited, but spots open up every month, so apply if you are interested.

I hope that 2019 finds you coming home to yourself as well, uncovering your values, and investing in the soulful work of depth, humanness, and connection. If you’ve been longing to return to your roots of practice and support, Vira Bhava Yoga would love to have you join us. We hope to be connecting with you soon.


Many blessings,

Kelly