For many summers of my youth I attended a performing arts sleep-away camp. I looked forward to these summers so much and part of the reason was because these 2 months seemed to be the time of the most growth, study, expression and deep connecting for me. With my camp friends I loved creating, rehearsing, and learning. Through this process we matured, searched our souls and fell in love. Camp provided space for an uninterrupted flow of time to be disciplined and committed in a way that was never the same during the school year. This was where I learned that I loved to practice.
When I first started practicing Yoga it was while I was away working on a show in San Diego. I discovered a class at the gym and became hooked. When I returned to NYC I wanted to immerse myself in all things Yoga. My professional career as an actress was what is to be expected – sporadic and irregular –never knowing when my next job would come up or when I would be doing what I “loved”. But Yoga was not sporadic. It was constant, steady and reliable. I could become absorbed into it. I could practice it. And I loved it.
When I had the opportunity to take a teacher training I jumped at it. Although I had many “camp” like experiences over the years by being a part of various casts and shows, nothing had ever quite matched the experience of my summers away. But now being part of my Yoga Teacher Training class I was reminded again of this special thing that could happen when group of like-minded people got together not only to practice and learn, but to crack themselves open, to figure out how to keep growing and how to keep finding the beauty in life. I became a teacher to supplement my acting career and before I knew it my life had shifted, I was teaching full time and now I co-own this beautiful studio.
As adults it becomes increasingly more and more difficult to forge new pathways, to veer from our course, to break up the patterns of our lives. Often we hear “whispers” telling us to make a change, to try something new or to follow our hearts. It is easy to trick ourselves into thinking that the whispers are just the wind. But I believe it is our inherent nature to want to learn, grow and connect. And once the time for camp may be over, there is always a way to ignite our sparks and feed our souls.
After our first few years of weekend teacher trainings at Yogamaya we decided to offer our first one month intensive. When we created the calendar and schedule I have to admit I thought anyone would be crazy to commit to such a rigorous and seemingly impossible version of what we call the “Illuminated Journey”. But not only did our first class of pioneers survive, they THRIVED. I was reminded of my days at camp and how being totally immersed and invested was such a powerful thing. I remembered the value of going through my journeys with like-minded people and what happens when you put a group together and ask them to explore, share and support each other.
As we prepare for this summer’s intensive I already feel excited for this new group of trainees, about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. Will you be there? Do you hear the whisper in your ear?