Halfway to Nirvana

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Sunset in Quechee, VT

I officially  began my “experiment” three months ago (though my yoga journey began long before that). In May I began really trying to incorporate ancient yogic principles to my modern, millennial lifestyle.

I’ll tell you—it’s been one wild, eye-opening journey.

It’s funny how much happens in three months. It may seem like a short amount of time (and the time sure does fly by), but in retrospect it’s easy to see how many changes take place.

I have been gifted such a life. A beautiful life. And I think that’s the main takeaway from my experiment thus far:

Living a yogic life means living a mindful life. Living a mindful life means living a rich, full, and conscious life.

I’ve also come to realize that putting a time limit on how long it will take me to reach “enlightenment” is a serious rookie mistake. There is no time stipulation, no one way track to what I’m seeking. In fact, it isn’t about the end-goal at all. It’s about the journey. And this journey? It’s been one of beauty, and of love, of learning, and sadness—it’s had it’s highs, and (of course) it’s lows.

In the last three months I have:

  • Taught over 250 hundred yoga classes
  • Attended more classes than that
  • Played foster mom to a big, goofy puppy
  • Traveled to both coasts of the country (Oregon, Vermont)
  • Learned and wrote about incredible innovations in science, while working at the BIO5 Institute
  • Became more involved in the community and in the local food movement by taking up a weekend position at FoodInRoot (providers of some of Tucson’s most frequented farmer’s markets)
  • Morphed into a mermaid and danced in the rain
  • Fell in love with a new style of yoga and picked back up Acro-yoga
  • Embraced a more natural life (free of excessive cosmetics, preservatives, pesticides, and processed goods)
  • Kept a pretty consistent yogic-ish daily routine 
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Tyron Creek, Portland, OR

I began the summer, in late May, by spending three weeks in Oregon. I was told by multiple people that I had come to the Pacific Northwest at the most gorgeous part of the year (weather-wise), and I couldn’t agree more. Being surrounded by oxygenating, lush, green trees, mountains, and water was rejuvenating (to say the least!) for this desert reptile. I spent three weeks engaging in deep self-study (endless journaling), studying spiritual texts, practicing with great yoga teachers (go to The Bhatkishop Yoga Center in Portland), reconnecting with the environment, all while being surrounded by love and like-minded thinkers. It was a heavenly reprieve from the desert heat. A needed pause that seemed to reset my reality, allowing me to step back into my life in Tucson with a renewed enthusiasm.

Well, as much enthusiasm as I could have when returning to a place that was 118 degrees upon my arrival. Really, 118 degrees, no exaggerating.

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Cactus flower, Tucson, AZ

Being mindful in that kind of weather is a real task. 118 degrees feels like concrete cracking and perpetual thirst. The heat layers everything, like a thick blanket, slowly suffocating all who spend too long under it.

In the unreasonably hot weather, I continued my yoga practice. Hot yoga + desert heat = extreme tapas (sanskrit definition). My practice and understanding of yoga seemed to deepen at an accelerated rate.

In July I traveled to Vermont, the last truly pure place in America, where I spent one week with 10 other members of my family. I taught them yoga, we ate delicious local, organic food and drank maple syrup. We hiked into a beautiful gorge, and attended a fairy farmer’s market in the middle of the forest. I swam in lakes, I meditated, I wrote. I reconnected to my roots.

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Quechee Gorge in Vermont

After blinking, I was back in Tucson. I took a job working for FoodInRoot, the guys that put on Tucson’s greatest local farmer’s markets. Eating food handed to me straight from the farmer who grows it has always been a joy for me. Working to elevate and promote those farmers (who also are amazing people) through my new position gives me even more joy.

“Right work” or “right livelihood” is an important part of Buddhist philosophy, another mode of thought that I’ve studied extensively. In yoga, I think it falls under the yama- satya, or committing to truth. When you make your living doing something that you feel aligns with your personal truths, all feels right. It’s one of the main reasons why I initially began teaching yoga after I was trained. It is why I choose to work in public relations for the BIO5 Institute. I am not good at faking it, and if I don’t love what I’m doing or who I’m working for—it shows through. I’m learning though, that even those jobs we don’t want to do should be done mindfully and with love. (I’m working on that one.)

Oh, you wanted to know about my morphing into a mermaid? After the extreme heat of the summer, monsoons come booming through. Monsoons mean Tucson’s annual Mermaid procession, so I tapped into my most mythical inner goddess (along with a few other goddesses) and danced in the rain.

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Mermaid Parade, Tucson, AZ

***

“Just show up”, one of my first yoga teachers and the man I was trained under, Darren Rhodes, always told us.

I didn’t realize how true his words were at the time. Living a yogic life, a mindful life, means being present. Making the best effort that you’re able to make, in any given moment.

Simply by just showing up on my mat, nearly every single day over the last months and practicing asana, meditation, or pranayama— I see physical changes, have been gifted numerous insights, and seem to simply understand more about the nature of this reality.

Solid Truths I’ve come to through the Practice of Yoga:

  • There is innate wisdom within us all: it only takes quieting the mind to gain access to it.
  • Intuition knows all. Trust it, surrender to it.
  • Fear and stress is an illusion. There is a divine energy that protects and guides you as long as your intention is that of love and peace.

In the next three months to deepen this yogic practice I hope to:

  • Reconnect with my original teachers
  • Continue purifying through diet, media cleanse, etc.
  • Practice every day, especially on days that I teach
  • Read the Vedas
  • Spend time in an Ashram

Beyond anything else the one thing I know for CERTAIN is this: the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Albert Einstein said it first, and, boy, was he right.

If you have suggestions on how I can continue incorporating yogic teachings into everyday life— I am beyond open to hearing your thoughts. Are you on a similar journey? Reach out. Let’s connect.

Love & Light. 

Tatiana

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