life lessons through getting bendy and salt-water fests.

Iceland was just a chip off the very top of a deep iceberg this past July. I went to the country of contradictions to explore  my roots and spend time on the mat. Reality: it was so much more. It was about connecting to a new community, to the people in the room and to our yoga practice through the elements. That brief experience was a catalyst for overdue reflection and is what sparked a phone call to register for another yoga experience - paralleled in 'why I'm going' intentions yet unmatched by any learning experience I've cannon-balled into to date. Yep, THAT big, that ripple-inducing. THAT good.

This time around it was Teacher Training with Ryan Leier at One Yoga for the People in Vancouver (no jet setting this time). With intentions of getting really good at handstands and discovering more about yoga philosophy, I was amazed to find how much I wound up learning from a most unexpected teacher - me. While I had some friends let me know the amount of reflection and 'you' work involved in the training process, I was brought me to my knees faster than you can say 'savasana'. Albeit an intense subject - facing your demons and all that business - the week was positively positive. Ultimately I walked away from the training feeling lighter, more mentally clear and with a sense of self that I haven't felt in ages. The waterworks were matched with laughter a'plenty and high quality dance parties at the end of some of the longest (read: sweatiest) days we worked through. The fun factor was high amidst the salt-water extravaganza.

Yes, my ability to feel my way into the poses increased as we explored the anatomy of a posture. And, while ten days sans vino plus gnarly two-to-three hour practices cleansed me on a physical level, I'm moreso keen to share the top three things that were greeting me head on as we navigated this yoga-wonderland.

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the  barriers within yourself that you have built against it." - Rumi

1. I have been on the search for love for a long time. what I haven't been doing in that process is searching for what I needed to do to love me first and to let any kind of love in. To be a giver is an altruistic role to play - until it's at the expense of one's health or happiness. Or until it's a deflection tactic from getting real with oneself and owning up to some serious work needing to be done. Time to bust down some barriers, Jess.

"Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice." - B.K.S. Iyengar.

2. Out with a disposable outlook - in with a sustainable one. Most importantly - a sustainable lifestyle. One that incorporates time for work, play, people, relationships, growth, groceries, shopping and sipping wine. With people I love. Oh, and phone calls, too.

"Practice Courage. Grow Roots. Get High. Truth Is. We Are One." - One Yoga creed.

3. I have alwasy connected to yoga for the physical benefits of the practice. Although it keeps me limber and tones me up, it's truly a tuning fork for my connection with myself and what I know to be true. What I learned this week is that yoga really is union - mind, body, self, others, higher beings. Whatever that means to each individual on their unique path.

More tales from the mat are to come....of this I am most positive. Oh, and keep your eyes out for this wandering yogi offering some commnity classes here and there as time wears on....