A Very Special Workshop Retreat – Mexico, January 2019April 12, 2018
I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful event!
In March I went to Charleston, SC on one of my many trips to see and study with Diane Long.
The peripatetic nature of Diane’s life means that for 17 years I have been not only studying with her, but traveling with her. Luckily this has worked out very well for me, as I have always had a good dose of wanderlust and love of adventure, and traveling with Diane is an adventure.
In fact, life with Diane is an adventure. Even if traveling isn’t involved, (like when I lived in Rome and got to see her on a regular basis) it is wise to expect the unexpected.
You might, like we did, go to visit a friend in a small North Carolina mountain town and end up in a Fourth of July parade, or go to the dirtiest, grimiest city in India and have the most sparklingly magical time.
One of the adventures in Charleston in March revolved around a piano. Diane wanted to get a piano for her lovely little flat. We found the perfect one on Craigslist, went to see it, purchased it, and had it delivered.
Only it didn’t go that uneventfully (has anyone ever moved a piano?!?!?)
Along the way we made a new friend, we learned a humbling story of a woman of incredible strength, we laughed, and we cried. And Diane has a piano with a story.
The piano is relevant in more ways than one, though, as there is a strong correlation between this approach to yoga and playing music. As Diane explains in her book, “Notes on Yoga”, Vanda was a classical pianist and explored how to play without tension, and in the same way, she looked for a harmonious way of doing yoga.
Developing any art requires an openness to the process of discovery. We cultivate a relationship where we have to rest, observe, and let there be space as much are we are “active”. A responsive quality is nurtured in our practice.
And that quality is invaluable in life. It helps refine our attention and our openness to possibility.
We can decipher what’s real and learn to listen to ourselves, instead of following falsely imposed limitations.
And what is a yoga practice if it’s not teaching you to listen to yourself, and if you can’t integrate what you are learning into your life?
I was attracted to this approach to yoga for many reasons – one of them is that I’ve never been a very good follower. (Probably because I’m the youngest of seven kids, so I always had to do what others said, and it was rarely considered that I might have an original thought of my own!) Whatever it is I do, I tend to do with a great deal of enthusiasm and passion, but I can’t just follow instructions – I have to understand it.
In the early years of my yoga practice and teaching, I found myself questioning a lot of what was being said and done, and it wasn’t until I met Diane that I found answers to questions, and something that made sense.
It makes sense because it leads you to discover the answers yourself.
Through working with Diane I have learned that, ultimately, a yoga practice should be helping you enjoy your life and and live it with a sense of ease and grace. This is not something that is preached or taught in any kind of linear way.
It is developed through an understanding of the importance of simplifying, of repetition, and of have a having a routine. It takes diligent practice, and is always a work in progress.
Ease and grace come from authenticity. And authenticity comes from a knowing and acceptance of yourself. It is not easy, nor is it often encouraged in this world (in fact, acceptance of yourself is a fairly radical act!). In learning to accept yourself, you develop a friendship with yourself.
And that’s what this approach is about – becoming friends with your body. And like every friendship it has it’s ups and downs, it’s moments of comfort and joy, and moments of discomfort and frustration. When we bring this understanding to our relationship with our body, it helps us learn to live attentively, without judgment, assumptions, and expectations of ourselves or others.
And acceptance of others is rooted in acceptance of yourself. Eventually we can learn not only to stop struggling with our bodies, but to stop struggling with life, and see that beauty and possibility are everywhere… as long as we allow it to be!
“If we can see ourselves as slightly ridiculous, it is easier to meet the marvels of what the body might reveal – unburdening not only the asanas, but also ourselves.”
Diane Long has been helping me unravel the mysteries and magic of the body for 17 years. For most of the those 17 years she has been talking about writing a book about this work and her studies with Vanda… and here it is. Her timing is perfect.
This approach and it’s radically different nature can defy words, but this book, written by Diane and Sophy Hoare, is a beautiful guide and helpful tool for anyone interested in paying attention, seeking beauty, experiencing lightness and ease, and ultimately being friends with their body.
Looking forward to when I write my book about studying with Diane!
If you would like a copy, email Diane and she will send you one. The cost is $20 plus shipping. firstname.lastname@example.org
This summer I moved to LA!
I am so happy to be living in California again! My love affair with California started when I was very young and I came with my family from Pennsylvania for many trips to visit our cousins out here.
This love affair was honed over the years, and I finally moved to Berkeley in 2000. After just three years, however, Rome called to me and I set off to Italy from California. It has always held a place in my heart, though, and moving back here just feels right.
To make things even better, I love moving.
I love the possibility and the opportunity that come with a big move.
I love how it takes you out of your comfort zone and requires attention and openness.
In fact, when I was moving to Rome, I was told by an astrologer in London that the move was going to be very good for me because I wasn’t fluent in Italian – so I would have to be quiet and listen more!
Even when the language is the same, though, everything is new with a big move.
Simple daily things that you may have done without even thinking about now require serious thought.
It’s a great opportunity to slow down and allow for renewal and re-examination of everything – from simple things like where you buy your food and what you have in your house, to who you surround yourself with, and ultimately, how you want to live your life.
It reminds me of gardening – every year is a new opportunity, and I know that the thought and attention I put into preparing the soil, plotting it out, sowing the seeds, selecting the plants, weeding, etc. is rewarded exponentially with the bounty I receive.
Life’s like that, too.
Amie, a good friend of mine, captured some great shots for Kay Campitelli Yoga this summer. Along with being a wonderful friend, she’s also a great photographer! Along with new branding, it was time for updated photos, so I decided to share the session with you, too! Amie, thank you for capturing the very essence of my love for yoga and life. My favorites from the shoot are inside…
“If you can’t find your own center and love for yourself, nothing else works. – Chris Brogan”
It’s 2016 and with a few other things, it was time for out with the old and in with the new. I’ve been working with a brand expert to help me establish a new look for Kay Campitelli Yoga and I am happy to share the new look with all of those who have been a continuous supporter of KCY! Click to take a look inside.