I’ve been living in the jungles of Indonesia for nearly 20 years, deeply influenced by the diversity of culture, mysticism and the close to the earth, barefoot lifestyle. I was in my early 20’s when I arrived, with very little money, not knowing a soul.
My mother, an artist, and my biological father, a writer, could certainly be deemed hippies. I was, after all, conceived while they were smoking a joint listening to the Grateful Dead. My youth was complex, bittersweet and unpredictable. From as early as I can remember, I had a burning desire to run away from the addictions and depressive episodes that riddled my family life. At 17 I packed my car and left with full confidence and excitement for what lay ahead.
I delved into spirituality and Yoga. I had an insatiable appetite for monasteries, meditation gardens and yoga shalas with old wooded floors and walls that seemed to breath Indian sandalwood. I loved what was happening to my body, my breath and my awareness through Yoga.
Every time I practiced Yoga I had a peak experience. Cosmic. Spiritual. Embodied. I found myself making time for hours of asana, pranayama, mantra and satsang every day despite paying my way through school and having 3 jobs. I felt like the most fortunate person ever to live to have Yoga in my life. The profound relief and inner freedom I was experiencing through Yoga gave me the strength to listen to my intuition and leave for Indonesia.
The Yoga Barn was built in 2008 and Bali Spirit Festival was birthed. I was immersed in the rise of both. In 2010 I established my Yoga school High Vibe Yoga and began hosting immersions and trainings. The courses were an immediate success and often with long waitlists. On my time off, I traveled Europe, North American and Asia studying and sharing yoga.
After some years I became increasingly fascinated with women’s physiology, psychology and spirituality. It was clear the vast majority of yoga students were women. I felt Yoga could be a source of re-education for women about their bodies, minds and spirits. I saw far too many women confused about their biology; menstruation, menopause, pregnancy, birth and postnatal. I saw far too many women trying to fit their mind/body experience into a man’s mind/body experience. I created courses under the name of Women's SelfCare. It has been incredibly satisfying to witness women waking up and shaking off the strange slumber that keeps women's power in comatose.
Around the same time as my women's studies, I began to offer workshops on the yoga of sex, death and wealth. These workshops were so well attended I created a Yoga training which delved into sex, death and wealth. The experiences I've had offering this course changed my life for the better.
The pandemic hit and I experienced an incredibly challenging mid-term pregnancy trauma during lockdown. Grief and PTSD struck me like lightning and eroded my spirit. Life demanded slowing down, letting go of control and slowly accepting what happened. Take the following as a metaphor: when you apply pressure and heat onto the element carbon, a diamond can appear. My diamond is sovereignty, a greater capacity to step out of internalized drama and take full responsibility for my life and choices.
As for my mentors, I’m eternally grateful to the late Sally Kempton for her guidance in meditation, feminism and Kashmir Shaivism. She changed the course of my life with her transmissions.
To Tara Judelle for her wild authenticity, intuitive approach to the body/mind complex, deep integration of classical tantra and her unwavering friendship.
To Mark Whitwell for reminding me again and again that there is no teacher, only a friend. And that each one of us is the very power of the cosmos.
To Andrea Boni for being open to my wild ideas and sharing a love of meditation and a lifetime of devotion.
To Kamini Desai for exquisitely modeling what yogic lineage can look and feel like as a sovereign woman.
To those reading this, I wish you all well and hope to journey with you in-person or online soon.