So, what’s so Wild about Yoga?

 

Growing up in the suburban neighborhoods of Illinois, I became aware of an inexplicable hunger for the natural world that no one had ever spoken to me about. When I learned how to write, at a very early age I began to secretly create poems devoted to Spirit, about which there had also never been any spoken reference in my world. To enter more deeply into this magical journey and cultivate an even stronger connection to what was showing itself to me, I created a private space in my neighborhood backyard beneath a picnic table covered by my grandmother’s discarded tablecloth where I would lie, move and breathe for hours on the ground, feel the earth beneath me and open my little being to the messages she was sharing with me.

Fast forward as the years went by, this deep connection rode sometimes with, but often without, my awareness through the many different manifestations of my life. Corporate careers, two marriages, and oh-so-much-more, the earth kept drawing me back in between. Like so many of us, I realize now how deeply and unconsciously I was obsessed with trying to fulfill what had been assigned to me throughout my whole life: the American dream…growing a substantial savings account, buying homes, devoting my life to family, planning for retirement — a destination-oriented perspective where I remember very little true appreciation for the actual moments of my life and much more memory of the angst about how I would achieve what would accomplish these seemingly essential goals.

After yet another carrot-dangling promotion to Vice President and Branch Manager of a bank in Beverly Hills, my responsibilities were expanded to include overseeing another office in La Jolla, California.  I learned many important lessons in my banking phase, and one day I received an offer I couldn’t refuse. My clients who had become friends had sold their business and bought a boat and invited me to dinner before they headed south for an adventure to Mexico. I met them and also onboard was the man who would teach them how to sail their new boat. He and I had an immediate and deep connection, the idea of the journey enticed me wholeheartedly, and three days later I jumped on board the boat, left my company car parked in the marina, and disengaged from my previous life in one fell swoop.

After much travel in the natural world and much transition for the next two years, yoga found me.

I learned quickly that what I was reawakening within myself had  nothing to do with standing on my head or touching my toes. I needed to learn how to stand on my own two feet in my own natural way. It was about experiencing life in the moment, just as it was, without a destination driving the journey. Each teacher and teaching opened up another world to me that has turned out to be a world without end. I have watched my practice and my sharing of this amazing world of yoga shift, change, expand and morph over the past thirty plus years beyond my imagining. And now, it all seems to have reconnected with where it all began. The word itself means union. And I am back, just like the little girl under the picnic table, in love and joy and deep connection with Mother Earth and the spirit world that inhabits each of us.

I now share yoga whenever I can in a form that is without walls, ceilings, imaginary destinations, and any idea of limitation. At 68 years old with yoga in my conscious life for over half of my time on earth, I now see the practice primarily as a joyous reclamation of space within the body and the mind where various traumas big and small have locked us up and tightened us down to varying degrees.  Erasing the boundaries and experiencing the expansiveness of our beautiful earth plane is deeply supportive in the opening of our hearts, bodies and minds to what is possible and already available in this amazing life we have been given.

Since the early 90’s, I’ve resided and shared yoga in Santa Fe, New Mexico, my beloved home, and during the winter months I have offered retreats, group and private classes in Mexico, Bali, Costa Rica, and Peru. Whenever and wherever possible, these adventures include nature hikes and practicing in sacred outdoor spaces where we can all feel the heartbeat of Gaia together in whatever way she touches each of us. Again and again, people tell me that their experience is a returning to the child within…a sense of opening, curiosity, and a heightened awareness of what is always within and around us.  Wild Yoga invites us to sense what it’s like to be right here right now…fully present in the moment where our life is actually happening.

The spectacular natural beauty of Baja (often called “the last frontier) lends itself perfectly to the Wild Yoga retreats I’ve done the last few years, and Timeless Baja and I will be working together to create small group experiences for people who would like to connect to Nature in these beautiful places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barbara Powell
“Yoga Ma”

 

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