Complicated Life

My life is complicated. I am complicated.

Example; morning last February. Woke; after restless night and a stink bug falling into my palm and I fling it across the room reflexively and at the same time in the middle of the night I recall my daughter laughing the last time I flicked a stink bug off my computer and said “welcome to the space program.”

Sleep should be safe; but it is not always so.

Wake; snow; a LOT of snow. Luckily a light-schedule-day, especially since I don’t have to drive three children to two schools.

What to do with said free day? Pondering …. Clean or Organize or Accomplish or Work or Play or Fun or Read or Study or Hike or Exercise or Write or … well, so mostly I make a fire. And an actual lovely burning wood fire requires a certain amount of maintenance.

I spend most of my day tending the fire; and appreciating its warmth; and reminding myself that I need more firewood …

Coffee; journal; snuggle cats. Clean the disastrous kitchen.

Um, okay, clean is too generous; deal with the worst of the kitchen …

More fire tending; a LOT of texting. Open the business today? Close the business? Emails, Facebook … ugh; Facebook.

I probably forgot to mention I’ve checked it six times now and it’s only Noon.
One cat keeps going from back door to front door; ONE of these doors must not have snow … right? She eventually ends up at the door in the basement … cause the basement door is surely snow free …

More firewood. And some amazing down-encased man is clearing my driveway on his four-wheel. Feelings of gratitude; side order of guilt. Must bake cookies and soon …

OH – retreat in Germany this Summer; kids joining me in Italy; Googling itineraries; train rides; car rentals; AirBNB; so exciting! Absolutely terrifying too. Booked Venice; only three more towns to figure out.

Sheesh. Open a beer.

And stoke the fire. How the hell did anyone do anything other than keep the fire going? You know, back when there was no power, no heat, no light? Wait, did I get enough milk to last 48 hours? …

Okay. Excellent. Found a place to stay in Venice; a flight to get to Munich. Take at least forty minutes to ponder how weird and amazing it is that I’m living a life that involves visiting Venice and Munich.

OH – yeah; shoveling; uncover the car. But the forecast is for rain? Go shovel, just in case.

And meditate; you meant to meditate; and you had breakfast; and you texted; and Facebooked; and AirBNB’d; and some other stuff; and Goddess waited for you; she always does.

Mediation was amazing.

Insight into 500-hr teacher training; the birthing of a new project. Along with emails and calls about normal business; and 200-hr; and teaching at the college; and privates; and workshops; and Spring schedule.

And you come across a beautiful article about men in relationships; and your whole damn life has been wrapped up with men and relationships. Light bulbs explode; a whole new pathway opens up.

*Sigh* Surely do miss being in love; having someone to care for and care about; lose a full hour feeling sad about the loss of my relationship.

But life continues; hey Mom, what’s for dinner; oh yeah – potatoes-carrots-asparagas-cod; ewww. Only one child excited about eating dead fish. And there aren’t enough potatoes. And some other stuff happens too.

AND she’s coloring her hair PINK? Today? And will it work? Whose fault if it doesn’t? Playdate tomorrow? Work tomorrow?

This is complicated ….

Shanti,

Jill

On Presence

This past Fall I saw the most adorable “confrontation.” My six-month old kitten, weighing in at just over 5 pounds; and a young spotted deer.

I walked out on the front stoop, glass of wine in hand – had just finished skimming Facebook for what I am sure seemed like five minutes but was more like, um; thirty. I was enjoying the last few moments of peace before someone asked me “what’s for dinner;” and immediately, I realize what I almost missed. THIS is happening; in my, literal, front yard. MY life was happening, just outside my door. But I was; busy. I was looking at adorable quotes; pictures of other people’s lives; instead of living my own.

deer picAlmost.

The tiny deer’s tail was flicking, back and forth; she was only about 15 feet across the driveway. The teeny kitten; stock-still; mesmerized. This moving thing was clearly larger than the katydids and grasshoppers she has been entertaining herself with. And I got to watch; I was inside and outside of the situation. Those moments you are granted that access as witness are magical indeed.

It feels a lot like watching my eldest child become a high school senior. I get to watch her grow and evolve; I am inside and outside of the situation because I can no longer protect her from her life and her choices. And I’m wondering — am I missing things that I should not miss – that I could regret. Am I too damn busy to notice? There are other children to tend to, a business, a boyfriend, a LIFE. Distractions! Deadlines! Responsibilities!

I try to remember that one reason I teach yoga, mindfulness, meditation — is because I must be reminded – over and over – that the present moment IS all there is.

A quick update on the kitten situation. After a few long but short moments, the deer gave a snort; and lightly bounced over the hill. The kitten followed; for a bit. And quickly ran back, looking for a scratch under the chin, and dinner.

There are a million beautiful pictures; beautiful quotes; beautiful people. Some of them are completely worthy of my attention. But, in the end; when I’ve given this life my last breath; what will I wish for? One more virtual moment? Or one more moment of MY life?

Shanti,

Jill

CSA – Community Support Agriculture

It’s time!  Even with the cold and snow outside, it’s time to sign up for your local farm share; for a bag of delicious, local and (in some cases) organic produce from a farmer near you.  They need your commitment; cause it’s almost planting time.

Have you ever planted a garden?  Maybe a couple tomatoes in a pot? Or even a full-on-dug-out garden? It’s hard. Real hard. Spring tricks you with her gorgeous weather; her warm, breezy days; you WANT to be outside; you want to crumble black dirt against your skin; you plot and plan; purchase, plant and water. Food, flowers, herbs — Yeah!
But then life goes on; you go away for the weekend; no rain; no one waters the plants; things die.  Or things grow like crazy; weeds take over.  Some years, you have a thousand cucumbers that you don’t know what to do with; the next year you have three; three crappy little cucumbers. You remember the song where they sing “to everything there is a season; turn, turn, turn.”
But for your local farmer; the smaller operations; we’re not talking agribusiness here; they take the same gamble; but if they lose, they can’t make the mortgage; pay the insurance; take care of the kids. This is their livelihood.
Why is it that this society, this culture, ranks low the most important people? The people who grow our food?  Those who educate the children?  Our elders who have lived most life and seen so much?  In this culture, our priorities are broken; and our world reflects this broken-ness.
I’ve talked many a friend into signing up for Seven Springs Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture); I have been sharing with them for at least 12 years.  My friends, they all love the beautiful, fresh food. Knowing it’s organic; being able to work at the farm and contribute to the good in the world. But several times when it comes to the next year, they don’t sign up again. They don’t like being given certain things each week; they don’t understand the harvest and the risk; they feel it’s expensive paying for it all in chunks instead of just buying what they want once a week. They worry about waste and prefer to go to the farmer’s market.
I understand; I do!  And I’m not down on the farmer’s markets; they are amazing places which create community and connections. Hopefully there will be more and more direct connections between farmers and consumers.  But there is also waste, just like with a CSA; sometimes we buy things we don’t use; we let some fabulousness compost in the back of our fridge.
Remember though — at the farmer’s market; those luscious vegetables laid out before you in the sun on the table; what do you think happens to what you do not buy? Compost — which is a better fate than the grocery store produce.  So be thankful that those vegetables just become fresh new dirt for your local farmer; because the organic vegetables at the grocery store that have been flown thousands of miles for your dining pleasure go into the landfill when you do not purchase them.  Keep in mind when you purchase a farm share, there is not necessarily more waste; there is just waste that you feel responsible for; that you can see.
Food is everything; control the food, you control the people; so who controls your world? Take responsibility; make a commitment; decide that there are things more important that convenience and cost.  Make a commitment to someone whose hand you can shake; someone who is saving the world in their small-but-large way. I can personally recommend both Seven Springs Farm and Good Food Good People locally; do some research; ask some friends. And become part of the solution.
Shanti,
Jill
 

Safe Journey, Beloved Mary

Just received word that a beautiful guiding light has transitioned from the Earth; my friend, Mary Whitney; brilliant astrologer and all-around gorgeous human; it is hard for me to understand; she seemed to have so much more to do here.  But that is the thing about karma; it is not for us to understand another soul’s journey; only to be grateful that we crossed paths.

My first-ever astrology reading was with Mary; I met her on retreat; along with her darling husband, Gary. Just honest-to-goodness-great-kind-earthy-real people.  Had no idea what to expect from an astrology reading; I was just beginning attempt to grasp even the tiniest bits of the vast science. My entire sense of self and perspective on what had happened in my life transformed as we discussed my natal chart.  I remember so clearly, she said to me “Oh my God . . . what happened to you between the ages of 18 and 25?” 

“Seriously!” was the first reaction of my mind; and it the first time that began to understand that the dark years; the terrible, terrible hardness of it; it had been decided; foretold; I had chosen these lessons, and they were not easy.

As I thanked her for that observation she commented, “Well; if you didn’t die, and you didn’t kill anyone else, you managed the karma well; the transits are astonishing to see.” 

It changed my perspective completely; from the outside to the inside and then back out. I wasn’t a failure for what had happened; for the choices I had made; I had managed the karma.  All those years spent beating myself up for what had happened; this knowledge gifted me with the ability to set that burden down.

She was a direct disciple and devout student of Goswami Kriyananda; one of his original students of astrology; and an ordained Swami who loved to perform weddings and other ceremonies.  When we last spoke she told stories of listening to Kriyananda lecture; the same lectures I now listen to many years later on CDs; I love to imagine her sitting in the room with him; taking note; smiling and laughing at his sweet jokes. 

The last time I hugged her was at my dear sister Gracia’s ordination as a Swami in the Kriya order; since that time she suffered from a major health crisis; fought back hard to regain her regular life and practice as an astrologer; my last reading with her was in the Fall.

She had to work a little harder to do the reading; to think things through; to speak clearly; but she demonstrated over and over her great memory of not only what she learned through the years but even small details of the very few times we had been together.

“Are you still dating that lovely young man we met at the ordination?” she inquired, referring to my 55-year old boyfriend.  I was so happy to be able to say yes; especially because of her magical relationship with her husband; Mary fully understood the power of love.

She related the plans for their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, even though it would be a couple years away. My heart goes out to her husband; theirs is a love story that makes one be assured that there can be soulmates.

So go hug your children; send an “i love u” text to your mamma; or stop and take a moment to count your many blessings.  This life, it’s very short in the context of things. Try to take no one or no-thing for granted. 

In classes lately I have been playing a spoken-word version of the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” It’s from the Interstellar soundtrack; and it’s lovely. 

Oh Mary, I shall miss your light. Though I know it will shine brightly for us in our dreams and meditations.  Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-h.
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 
From The Poems of Dylan Thomas

Walk Unafraid

If you’ve read this blog over the years you will recall my son is quite the sage; his nickname from friends is Buddha Boy; incredible wisdom flows from his young heart.

Often my children introduce me to new music; and often, I introduce it to them. Recently the song “Walk Unafraid” has been rotating heavily through my playlist; lovely cover of the original 1998 REM song by the group First Aid Kit; it’s on the “Wild” movie soundtrack.

My son and I often connect with music; having the same favorites and style. And he’s been listening to this song as well; I’ve found him in his room on his recently acquired iPod, listening to it over and over.

Last night snuggling on the couch he inquired about the lyrics; I didn’t know some of them – a job for Google! So he looked them up and printed them off. Brought them over to me on the couch. “You want to sing it together?” he asked.

He just turned 12; sweet boy on the cusp of changing from a boy to man; so bittersweet and I know he’ll have to break himself free from me on some levels very soon. This is a moment I will cherish.

“Sure,” I responded, and so we settled in together; not quite hitting the notes perfectly; not quite ready for prime-time; but so beautiful; I never want to forget us singing together; reminding each other to walk unafraid.

So here are the lyrics.  Me and my son; probably some of you too; are walking into an a new and unknown phase of life filled with incredible changes.  I don’t know anyone who isn’t right now.  But perhaps these words from the song will help guide you on your way. Just like they are guiding us.
As the sun comes up

As the moon goes down
These heavy notions creep around
It makes me think, long ago

I was brought into this life

A little lamb, a little lamb
Courageous, stumbling
Fearless was my middle name

But somewhere there I lost my way

Everyone walks the same
Expecting me to step
The narrow path they’ve laid

They claim to

Walk unafraid
I’ll be clumsy instead
Hold me, love me or leave me high

Say “keep within the boundaries if you want to play”

Say “contradiction only makes it harder”
How can I be
What I want to be?

When all I want to do is strip away

These stilled constraints
And crush this charade
Shred this sad masquerade

I don’t need no persuading

I’ll trip, fall, pick myself up and

Walk unafraid
I’ll be clumsy instead
Hold me, love me or leave me high

If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go

I just want to hold my head up high
I don’t care what I have to step over
I’m prepared to look you in the eye

Look me in the eye

And if you see familiarity
Then celebrate the contradiction
Help me when I fall to

Walk unafraid

I’ll be clumsy instead
Hold me, love me or leave me high

I will walk unafraid

I’ll be clumsy instead
Hold me, love me or leave me high


Shanti,

Jill

Uttara Yoga Teacher Training

You can always look back upon your life and reflect upon where you leaned in; where you took risks; where a challenge was laid down; and you stood up, and met it.  And also where you didn’t; where you waffled; waited.  Choosing to do nothing is still a choice.

One of my teachers often said, we incur much more difficult karma from what we leave undone in life, as opposed to what we actually do.



me and Katieji
 

When Katie Silcox came to me about creating the Uttara Yoga Teacher Training program two years ago, let me tell you, I was honored.  Katie is a rockstar in the yoga world, which is frankly irrelevant.  What matters was that I had taken her workshops, sat at her feet and learned a LOT from an ardent student of Tantra.  Katie has done THE WORK.  It shows up in every layer of her being.  So when she wanted to work with me, she helped me to honor myself; my journey; yoga teacher training in Roanoke?  Yes; let’s do it.  Our similarities and our differences make us a unique and very complete teaching team.
I had wanted to offer teacher training in Roanoke for many reasons.  First, Uttara has many students who are looking to grow.  Especially my Life Transformation Course graduates; these are people who are hungry for the deeper teachings; people who don’t want to scratch the surface of life; they are really to drill and dig into the why, what and how of Life.  Seekers.  Many people take the trainings to learn about the deeper teachings to grow their own personal practice, and not because they plan to teach. 

Second, we need more yoga in Roanoke.  More studios; more teachers; more people bringing yoga to schools, offices and hospitals.  More people who are passionate about spreading the word about this vital science that helps with human problems.  Yoga teachers who can teach a class, not just lead a class; yoga teachers who keep students safe.  Joy-filled, generous, kind, knowledgeable yoga teachers who walk the walk and talk the talk.

My training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga was intense and very complete; one solid year of home student with four long intensive weekends; my initiation into Kriya; more study with Kriology and Mystical Sciences Courses; many discipleship weekends and alumni trainings.  Continuing education and additional certifications and apprenticeships with many teachers outside of the lineage to broaden my view.  At this point I have taught literally more than 3,000 yoga classes and I want to keep spreading the yoga love.  
first graduating class!  2013-14

Why should you take our training?  Well, I know less every day — but I know this:  my yoga is about love; it is about kindness, acceptance and non-judgment.  And that doesn’t mean you get to be lazy or sloppy.  Yoga to me is the highest service to humanity.  When you become a yoga teacher your very task is to change the World.  To help every human that you encounter to become their highest and best self.

And not just them; but you.  True yoga begins with the self; those of us that teach always remain students.  Our students become our teachers if you can simply open your heart to the lessons.

Would you like to shift your life?  Would you like to become an even greater blessing and force for goodness in the world?

Okay then; we have a few spaces left in our teacher training; maybe one of them belongs to you.  Email me, Jill@UttaraYogaStudio.com.

Shanti,
 

Jill

Finding Beauty

We have a dear student at Uttara who began last Summer bringing an arrangement of flowers to class on Saturday mornings  Such a simple but appreciated kindness; fresh flowers; grown, selected and arranged with kindness and love.

And as the weeks passed by and we moved towards Fall, we had an interesting exchange as he brought in his weekly bounty.  “It’s getting harder” he explained “now that the Summer flowers are gone.”  “What is beautiful is less obvious; and I have made it a weekly spiritual practice — on Saturday mornings, I go out and I find something beautiful.”

And oh, yes, they still were beautiful; arrangements of leaves and greenery; of grasses and seedpods; colors shifting to the subtle but beautiful Fall hues.

It has been a joy to watch the return of the joyous colors of Spring and Summer.  One week he dug up a few little mounds of violets and arranged them in a clay saucer; gorgeous!

Remembering to look for the beauty and the bounty in life is indeed a deep spiritual practice and also a biological imperative.  There is real brain science behind the thinking that positivity and gratitude create a healthier, happier body and mind.

During a recent trip to Asheville to study with Michael and Stephanie Johnson we were studying the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and they were weaving the ancient text into the modern science of brain research.  Check out the book Buddha’s Brain for more info. 

My simple take-aways from the weekend of teaching were two-fold:  one, that for every negative thought you need a minimum of 3 positive thoughts to counter that negative thought and neutralize it.  Wow, that’s a lot of positive thinking!  Studies had shown that a 1 to 1 ratio of positive to negative thoughts meant you were in the depression zone. 

The second one was for you to spend four days in a row spending 20 minutes writing about the best possible outcome for your life.

We truly are permitted the choice; glass half full; glass half empty; who-took-my-damn-glass-anyway? 

Tomorrow; and the day after; and the day after that; I give you your mission; find the beauty; find the joy.  I promise you; they exist.

Shanti,

Jill

Hell Yes! or No

A recent conversation brought up a new resolution of a friend of a friend of a friend.  My friend told me that this woman was planning her Summer and had decided that she would choose how she spent her time based on whether her internal response was “Hell Yes!” 

Anything that wasn’t a “Hell Yes!” would be a No.”

That conversation has permeated my life and my teachings.  In very good and profound ways.  Cause I don’t know about you, but my life can end up being a whole series of maybe, sorta and I guess so.

How often when you choose to do something, is it a “Hell Yes” — ?  The activities you choose, the meals you eat, the media you absorb.  The people you spend time on; the things you spend money on.  How much is perfunctory, obligatory, not-what-you-really-wanted. 

When you think about an average day in your life, are you enthused, inspired, excited; or just waiting for a future that never seems to arrive?

How much of your response to daily life is “okay,” “probably,” or “well, alright?”

Of course, there are responsibilities; of course, there are things we have to do; no one says Hell Yes to taxes or toilet scrubbing, but what if we approached even the tedious parts of our life with that attitude of getting it DONE and moving ON to the good stuff — and knowing that we have created and accepted multiple experiences and opportunities for the good stuff?

I read a beautiful quote recently in Rob Brezney’s Free Will Astrology (www.freewillastrology.com); I highly recommend his website.  It was proffered as a weekly horoscope for Libras; but I hope we will all take it to heart:

“There is always an enormous temptation in all of life,” writes Annie Dillard, “to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end . . . I won’t have it. The world is wider than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright.”  — Your assignment in the coming weeks, Libra, is to transcend whatever is itsy-bitsy about your life. The alternative? Head toward the frontier and drum up experiences that will thrill your heart and blow your mind.

So, my friends; here is your assignment, and mine, too — I charge you with creating a life of beauty and service; of doing what thrills you and scares you and what you cosmically came to do.  LIVE YOUR LIFE. 

No more itsy-bitsy; no more maybe or just okay.  HELL YES! or NO.

Shanti,

Jill

Retreat

Wilderness Adventures — gorgeous Craig County, VA

I love yoga retreats.  I love even “retreating” to another town just to practice yoga; at least a couple times a year my beloved and I slip away to another town for a few days of yoga classes, good eating and time alone together.  We always return a little more ready to tackle our reality and responsibilities.

I’ve also attended amazing yoga retreats where you can just totally immerse in yoga and meditation with like-minded people.  Incredible expereiences; an amazing sound healing retreat with my Kriya Yoga sister Camella Nair  http://www.camellanair.com/#! and also a great detox retreat with my darling Katie Silcox http://www.katiesilcoxyoga.com/.  Even made it to India this year with the awesome Lisa Bergley and Uschi Gibson http://www.spiritofthelakeyoga.com/.

So whether it’s 48 hours or longer if you can swing it, it is really important to get out of your own little patterns for even a couple days; to not just ignore the laundry, the dishes, the chores — because even if you decide to defer those mundane duties they always seem to mock you just a little.  But to truly set aside time for yourself; to eat well, get rest, read, journal, whatever.  Add in yoga, meditation, nature and sangha, retreat can nourish the spirit in ways a regular vacation just cannot.

It takes effort to make space; to shut down the computer and walk away from the tv; to let go of driving the same streets to the same places and all the familiarities.  By definition a “retreat” is a movement back; a retracing of steps in order to regroup

Our Cabin!

You have to choose to treat yourself to “retreat.”

Kimberly Vest and I are leading a yoga retreat next month at Wilderness Adventures in Craig County, Virginia.  A gorgeous little spot that is about an hour from Roanoke, even less if you’re out Salem/Botetourt way.  Would you like to join us? 

We’re keeping it pretty simple; we’ve got an entire building all to ourselves; it’s rustic, in that it’s a wooden cabin and rooms are shared — but it’s very modern and very sweet.  There’s outdoor space for practicing yoga in the grass, as well as a large covered pavilion with ceiling fans if it’s too hot or if it rains.  There’s also indoor space for yoga if the weather requires us to be indoors, and loads of outdoor activities and places to wander.  There’s beautiful pond, a rushing river and hiking trails.  Check out the website if you want more pictures and info.  http://www.wilderness-adventure.com/

Dining Hall

We’re planning lots of yoga and meditation options; but remember, these are OPTIONS.  I have many times attended a yoga retreat and decided that what I really needed to do was sit in a rocking chair and write in my journal instead of attend the scheduled class.  Or that I needed to dig a little deeper into conversation with a new and interesting person I have met instead of doing another scheduled activity.  The meal times are pretty set, but otherwise everything is optional; following your heart and your head and create your own retreat.

Very auspiciously the actual Summer Solstice is that Saturday — so of course there will be a fire ritual and intention setting — oh, and s’mores!  Also keep in mind that you’ll pass Carvins Cove, McAfee’s Knob and Dragon’s Tooth on the way to and from the retreat — so maybe tke Friday off and go hike on your way; or Sunday as you depart you can add on a little outdoor adventure.

One of the Rooms

The food will be vegetarian and all freshly prepared and served in the main lodge — though the cabin we are renting has a full kitchen that you have access to if you have dietary restrictions or any concerns about properly feeding yourself.

Here are the details and a rough outline of our schedule; space is limited and there is a discount if you pre-register/pre-pay by June 1.

Let’s go!!

Friday, June 20, 2014, 5:30 pm check-in
Sunday, June 22, 2014, 12 Noon check-out


Summer Solstice Yoga Retreat with Jill Loftis & Kimberly Vest
                    
The solstice is an essential point in the year where we can honor the flow of life on earth. It is a time for us to come back into balance and harmony. As the Earth moves through its cycles of darkness into light and back again, we also share a parallel journey. With the Sun at its highest point in the sky, we can be reminded our own light.

Now is the time to reconnect to the light within ourselves, the light of our highest self. Immersed in nature, you will experience yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, kirtan and satsang as well as home cooked meals prepared with fresh ingredients.

Immerse yourself in nature and practice asana, pranayama, meditation, deep relaxation and chanting. This retreat is appropriate for all levels, including beginners.

Accommodations are rustic yet modern, with separate double/twin beds, bunk bed style in each room of the lodge. The lodge has its own kitchen if you have specific dietary needs. All linens: sheets, pillows, pillow cases, blankets, towels, etc. is provided.

Free outdoor activities: canoeing & swimming on pond, hiking the 500 mile property, horseshoes, sand volleyball, Frisbee gold course, field game equipment for soccer, football, Frisbee, etc.

Note: Please bring appropriate shoes, clothing, rain gear, yoga mat, water bottle and insect repellent.

Retreat Schedule

FRIDAY
3:00 – 5:30 pm: Arrival and settling in
5:15 pm: Friday night unwind – gentle yoga/yoga nidra
6:00 pm: Gather at Sly Lodge to meet the group.
6:30 pm: Dinner at Main Lodge
8:00 pm: [talk/gathering/informal tarot readings with Jill]
10:00 pm: lights out

SATURDAY
7:00 am: optional meditation
8:00 am: optional yoga
9:00 am: breakfast
10:00 am: Free time
Noon: Lunch
1:00 pm: [lecture]
2:00 pm: Free time
5:00 pm: optional yoga
6:30 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm: Ritual/Fire/Chanting Social time bring smores bring instruments

SUNDAY
7:00 am: optional meditation
8:00 am: optional yoga
9:00 am: breakfast
10:00 am: walking meditation
10:30 am: optional yoga
Noon Closing Ritual; goodbye!

JILL LOFTIS
Founded Uttara Yoga Studio in Roanoke, Virginia in 2008. Her ecletic style weaves together the knowledge of Kriya Yoga with her studies under many gifted teachers She leades classes and workshops regionally on a variety of topics including astrology, stress reduction, and group breathwork.

KIMBERLY VEST
Kimberly has been teaching and practicing yoga for over 20 years. Her foundational training was in the Integral yoga tradtion and trained and studied in the Viniyoga and Anusara traditions. Kimberly is skillful at adaptng classes to the needs of her students.

Pricing:
$250.00 before June 1 / $275.00 after June 1
To register, please contact Uttara Yoga Studio at (540) 309-0071 or via email:  kimberly@uttarayogastudio.com

 
SPACER

Ummmmm . . . . aaaHHHAAaaaa . . .

April was quite a month, eh?


Make time to meditate.

Oh – you didn’t notice?  Everything easy-peasy-breezy?  Oh good!  Such excellent karma for you; go celebrate; the rest of us are gonna chat for a moment.

Holy crap, two super-strong eclipses sandwiching the Uranus-Pluto square; if your life was stress-free and awesome, that’s great; but did you read the news?  See the weather?  Have you been extra tired?  Lots of crazy dreams?  Big choices to make?  Endings?  (Which are actually beginnings . . . )
We are all connected and the fabric of our existence is under siege.  Many of us are at a crossroads of existence; what/who do we keep?  What/who do we let go of?




Rishikesh, sacred space.

If you figure it all out-got-the-answers-sure-no-worries-mate . . . then please text me at 540-309-0071 and let me know what to do. 

Cause it’s hard for me; really hard.

But I will tell you what has helped me; no, SAVED me during the past few weeks.  I have been meditating every day. 

Well, of COURSE Jill meditates everyday  – you say – she’s a yoga teacher, spiritual healer, all that stuff . . . yeah, but that doesn’t mean I have always made the time to do what I know works.  We usually all know in our heart what is right, what works.  It’s choosing it – that’s the sticky bit. 

For me this past month, it has been SO easy to meditate; to make time, to understand how important it is; my soul knows I am keeping myself sane.  I am literally sucked onto the cushion; and even then I usually have a little routine;  invocation, pranayama, mantra, etc.  But that has dropped away these past few weeks into just sitting; just BEING, sitting, shifting, listening, breathing, living, dying, birthing, receiving, giving, nothing.  It’s been awesome; and so hard not to be attached to that experience.

There is a window of opportunity open for us all right now; it is a time of making hard choices; of reaching for light and removing darkness; of letting go to make space for opportunity and also receiving great gifts of Earthly and Heavenly joys.  Of finding other spiritual seekers on the path; of finding great love or letting go to create space FOR great love to unfold.

My dear ones; be brave; be strong; hold to the light.

Shanti,

Jill