The morning practice began at 4am, requiring me to wake up at 330am, douse myself in cold water from the simple ashram shower (a yogic therapy for the nervous system), dress in white comfortable clothing and walk through the grounds past the still-sleeping cows to the yoga hall.
The morning practice is the cornerstone of the Kundalini Yoga tradition, and while I had participated in sadhana before, it was always a ‘one off’ occasion and never for 23 days in a row, which was the length of the training.
I knew it was going to be a massive challenge to rise so early every single morning, and yet, a deep part of me was extremely excited and ready for an experience so outside of my regular routine.
While I had developed a certain level of discipline with yoga and meditation, it waxed and waned, and as it happened, the time leading up to my teacher training course was the most undisciplined and uncommitted I’d been for some time.
This, combined with a visit to the place of my birth for the first time in three and a half years resulted in an emotional ass-whooping so great that I was humbled enough to be ready for whatever my teachers delivered across the 23 days of training.
Day 10 rolled around, but honestly, it wasn’t getting any easier to get up for the two and a half hour practice.
On day 14, I woke to the sound of my alarm and groaned. To myself, and possibly out loud, I said, “I am not doing this for my soul, I am not doing this for God, I am not doing this for any noble reason, I am ONLY doing this because I said I would.”
That morning, as my hands begrudgingly reached for my clothes and pulled them over my body, I knew it was only the commitment I’d made to myself which was seeing me through and nothing else. Left to my own will power, I’d have been asleep.
After the physical component of the practice, we began seven different meditations consisting of mantra, movement and breathing. Some were lovely and easy and enjoyable and a couple were extremely challenging for me, such as the ‘one minute breath’ where we would inhale for twenty seconds, hold the breath for twenty seconds and exhale for twenty seconds (the latter part basically simulates dying).
That morning, I found myself struggling with the meditations, so decided to give myself a break and lie down on my mat. Only, there was no peace to be found there either because my mind wouldn’t let up. I wasn’t happy meditating and I wasn’t happy relaxing. WTF?
Suddenly, I found myself up. Up and walking out of the room. It just happened. I stood outside on the balcony and tried to please myself with the view of the sun coming up over the Himalayan foothills and the sounds of monkeys and birds but that didn’t do it, either. Plus, there were some people outside who were MEDITATING and this felt like a complete affront to me.
Soon, the misery was over and it was breakfast time, thank God, followed by the usual 9 hours of yoga, lectures and meditations. Easy Peasy.
That afternoon, I sat on my mat listening to Guru Shabd speak. Throughout the training we had many wonderful teachers, including his wife Gurmukh and many others, but it was with him that I experienced my most profound insights and shifts.
He spoke of the value of commitment over ritual. Commitment to ones own soul over any ideology or dogma.
I realized how easy it is to confuse these concepts, as happens so often.
He spoke about only being able to truly serve others via the devotion to our own soul.
Then he began speaking about the mind and the many games it plays.
“Your mind doesn’t want you here!” He laughed. “Your soul does, but your mind – no way!”
I laughed at the absolute recognition of this as my mind had ejected me from the room that very morning. Once identified, a huge weight was lifted from me. My ego had kicked my ass and it felt like crap, but now, it all seemed quite hilarious.
The next morning, sadhana was a very different experience. I’d faced my ego and befriended it. I had experienced it’s tricks and manipulations which led to my suffering. By surrendering to it, I was able to transcend it.
As such, I journeyed into the unknown territory of transformation which exists in a place beyond the mind. During the twenty second exhale of the one minute breath, I felt myself dying… and it was actually a really beautiful feeling.
At the end of sadhana, I bounded up to the front of the large room to high five my teacher and alert him to the BIG NEWS that I had finally been able to do the one minute breath, after just 15 short days!!!
He smiled knowingly and gently replied, ‘It gets you high, right?’
Graduation day was indeed one of the most ‘High’ experiences of my life. I’ve watched so many movies set in India, simulating the color and life and energy of that magical land, but nothing came close to the experience of that day, embraced by the mountains and Mother Ganga and a thousand marigolds.
That afternoon, between the graduation ceremony and our closing party, I had a personal reading with a master Vedic astrologer and teacher.
The planetary alignment at the moment of my birth told the story of me better than I could have.
“So… a lot has changed in your life, right?” he asked, gazing at my birth chart.
“Everything, it seems!”
All I could do was nod, laugh and agree.
With this insight came some guidance:
“You entered a new phase at the beginning of this year – the most important phase of your life. This new period requires clarity about who you are. If you remain committed and devoted to who you are and have no doubts, you’ll have a wonderful time because there is a lot of energy behind you.”
Everything he said resonated with what I already knew deep within me, but it was extremely encouraging to receive this confirmation from the Universe.
The Science of Vedic astrology, called ‘Jyotish’ uses gemstones to harness planetary energy and emerald was the stone suggested to me for the next phase of my life.
The following morning, after an incredible evening of dancing and celebrations, I found myself in a gem store looking at emerald rings.
I wasn’t intending to actually buy one, but there I was, with one particularly sparking stone on my finger that looked like it belonged there. Moments before, I wouldn’t have imagined buying something so decadent for myself, but, like all defining moments, they surprise you.
The thought emerged in my mind, “I’m almost 36 and I don’t know whether I’ll get married, so why wait for someone else to buy me a beautiful ring?” It was indeed a leap for me to buy it. An act of faith. Faith in myself and in my own prosperity.
It represents more to me than a pretty stone or even an astrological reading.
It represents the time in my life, at 35 years old, that I made a commitment to myself and married my own soul.
It’s not easy to remember who we are in a world which seems to be intent on our forgetting. I’ve already forgotten a few times since my training ended five weeks ago.
But every time I glance down at my hand, at the shining emerald on my finger, I’m reminded of the moment I decided to fully commit to myself – my True Self – who is strong, bright and victorious.
Keep reading for current news and ways to connect!!!!!!
I’m teaching Kundalini Yoga in Playa del Carmen, Mexico on Mondays and Wednesdays, and hold Divine Dance sessions on Saturdays. If you find yourself here and want to join, let me know! You can find me on Facebook.
I’m beaming out my ‘Pura Vida’ intro to Kundalini yoga course via video. If you would like access to this online course, please head to this page for info on how to make the payment and access the 6 week course, which begins on Sunday December 4. The opening special is just US$50 and includes access to a live, weekly meditation circle and membership to a private Facebook group where I will share more resources to support your journey of discovery.
Places are filling for my next ‘Remember Her’ retreat – join us for a week of Divine Feminine connection in paradise, April 23-29, 2017. P.S Sign up for the retreat this week and receive FREE access to the online course.
I’m working with a very limited number of people individually, via Skype. If you are ready to commit to your Soul, find out about my ‘Soul Sherpa Sessions’ here. Email me on email@example.com to begin. All individual clients also receive FREE access to the online Kundalini yoga course.
Hope to see you along the way, somewhere!
I just completed the Aquarian Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh with the renowned Golden Bridge Yoga School, which was one of the most magical experiences of my life.
The training was intense beyond my imaginings, deeper than I expected and more thrilling than I ever dreamed it would be. I loved every minute, even the challenging ones, of which there were many.
The people I met both in and out of the course and the experiences we shared have deeply affected me, and will remain sacred treasures in my heart. I’ll never be able to describe the last month, so I’ll be spending the rest of my life expressing it.
This journey was the greatest gift I have ever given myself and I am so thankful for your kindness and encouragement which I carried with me throughout the journey.
You can see some updates from the trip on my Instagram page.
In an effort to share the Love, I’m excited to announce the details of my next retreat in Mexico next April.
All the information is here – please let me know if you have any questions.
This update is short and sweet today, because for the first time in a while, I’m lost for words.
So I’ll leave you with someone else’s:
“What is Love? It frees you. It silences you. There is no craving in that Love. There is no longing in that Love. There is just Love.” – Anand Mehrotra.
It’s the first time I’ve been back to Australia in three and a half years, so needless to say I’m due for a visit.
It’s winter here and many of my friends forewarned me about the ‘Nordic’ temperatures, but after experiencing winter in Colorado and Montana in 2014/15, this is nothing.
This is the riverbank a short walk from my Mum’s house – the place I envisage when I think about Perth. The other day, after a lovely coffee date in the Swan Valley, we came here for a pate, cheese and kombucha picnic.
It was so peaceful and I’m so happy my Mum lives in such a lovely spot which is both close to the city and a nature reserve.
Perth is lovely. It’s clean, well-maintained, organised and pretty. It has changed a bit in the last few years with a lot more cafes and restaurants, a newly renovated airport and a fantastic stadium for events where I was lucky enough to attend the Cure concert on my second night in town.
It was an awesome show on every level and I’m so glad Perth finally has a world class venue to host world class acts. Plus, Robert Smith still sounds absolutely INCREDIBLE.
We drove past my old apartment the other day. The one I sold to allow me the freedom to travel. It’s a great place in a lovely inner city area, but driving past it didn’t pull any heart strings (the new funky donut store on the corner kinda did though).
In fact, I had the same feeling I had while I was living there, like maybe it should have made me happier than it did.
There hasn’t been a single moment of regret over selling it, or about any part of my journey, actually, which makes me want to time travel back to my four-and-a-half-years-ago-self and say, “There is really nothing to fear!”
Before we left on this adventure in February 2012, my biggest fears were that I would end up single, broke and homeless.
And some of those fears came true. I’m single and kinda homeless, but while the bank account is definitely lighter than it was, I’m not broke.
I’m staying at my Mum’s house in the same room I spent my late teens and early twenties, but it is a treat to be tucked into bed every night rather than a drag.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m far from immune to my cultural programming about the definition of success and this does trip up my self-esteem every now and again. But that is my work to do; to let go more and more of what ‘they’ supposedly think about my life and ask the more important question:
“What do I think about my life?”
My answer is that I love it.
I wasn’t able to say that before we left four and a half years ago.
I haven’t done or achieved many of the things that I wanted to in the early stages of the journey. I didn’t become a professional writer or publish a book or create passive income online. And I’m glad, because life has taken me in a different direction and I know it’s the right one.
I don’t have a plan or set goals or a grand vision, which I know goes against so much advice about success. But I have discovered a path of success that is working for me because it’s levered me out of addiction, depression and disconnection to a place of inner happiness I never thought I’d experience in this life.
And the greatest gift of that success is that I have served and helped some people along the way.
Today, my only goal is to serve my soul and in turn serve others, by living my dharma, my true path.
Just don’t ask me what the details of that path are, because I don’t know yet, I just know it involves sharing, connecting, dancing and yes, teaching.
I had such a great catch up with the beautiful Karyn of The Lost Lemurian on my last night in Bali and as we were sharing about our respective journeys she refreshingly stated, “I do not know what the fuck I am doing!”
I laughed so hard at the recognition of this because when you make the courageous leap from the head to the heart, it feels very much like not knowing what the fuck you’re doing. And that is one element of this journey that has not changed. What has changed is getting used to that feeling as an almost constant companion.
Coming ‘home’ has amplified it all again for me but I am LOVING seeing my family and friends and am reminded of all the amazing people I am surrounded with wherever I go. While I stumble over the question, “So, what are you doing?” (because, like I said, I don’t really know), I do know I did the right thing by taking the risk to change my life and that the ‘more’ I was looking for actually does exist.
Things are pretty good in Australia and I’m so happy for my friends building wonderful lives here. My soul just needs different things in order to sing. This I know, more than ever, and that is such a gift.
The other gift is being reminded, yet again, that the voice of fear is bullshit, life is short (and so, so precious) and the only Right Way is the way our heart leads us.
I hope you are following yours.
Let’s stay connected on Facebook and Instagram!]]>
I’m grateful for that time. My suffering has never, ever failed to (eventually) deliver me into Love, propelling me forward into freedom.
I simply had to make a massive change or go through life forever feeling like something was missing. Turns out what was missing was me. I decided to choose myself and follow the truth of my heart at all cost. That action and an ongoing commitment to self-honoring has led me directly home to myself and given me a new sense of wholeness.
Now I find myself in a Whole New World, far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced or dreamed possible.
The story of how I got here is a long one and you can find the full recap in the pages and pages and words upon words contained in this blog.
I’ve told you all about it and I am so thankful you’ve witnessed my journey.
It makes me able to stand in the glory of my new reality and tell you, ‘Yes, it was so worth it.’
And it continues to be. Despite my fear and self-doubt which still rears it’s head (usually when I’m making a big leap like this one).
So hopefully, you will know that any struggles or suffering you are experiencing are doing the same thing for you – always helping you realize your Self more fully.
Every, single bit. Every single piece of doubt and fear; rejection and confusion. It’s all leading you home to the light of your True Self.
And I promise, the True You is more luminous, radiant and beauty-FULL than you think.
So, I’m flying now. Literally and figuratively. I’ve just returned from an impromptu heart-led pilgrimage to Mexico City, Glastonbury, Ibiza, London and Paris which was a magical trip led by intuition and Joy.
And now, after a quick stopover in LA, I’m in Bali for my Journey to Shine yoga, meditation and Divine Dance retreat. (I still have one place left – join us!).
Afterwards, I’m heading to Australia to spend time with my family and friends – many of whom have been creating beautiful babies I need to meet and squeeze.
AND THERE WILL DEFINITELY BE DANCING!!!!! (Seriously, Perth gals, hit me up with your desired days and times so we can get together and dance!)
I’ve planned to head to India in late September to immerse myself in Kundalini yoga and community with a beautiful teacher I met in Mexico over a year ago, but honestly, it’s so far away that I have no idea where I’ll be by then.
I’m learning that all I have is each moment in which to choose the highest calling of my soul, and that my soul doesn’t care much for plans made months ago. So… we’ll see!
The transformation which has occurred within me these last few months is such that I’m not requiring anything from these these experiences that I don’t already have.
I’m overflowing with Love and know that I have Everything I’ll ever need. And yet, I know there is always More to experience, More magical people to connect, laugh and dance with and More Love to express and share.
So that is why I’m calling this journey my ‘Summer of Love Tour 2016.’
To celebrate everything I’ve been given. To remember who I am and why I’m here.
And to say Thank You. To Life. To the Journey. To You All.
I’m so grateful. Truly.
I don’t know how much I’ll be writing here, but I LOVE connecting with you, so please follow me on Instagram or my personal Facebook to stay in touch (my Facebook posts are public, so you can hit ‘follow’ to see them in your news feed.)
I know there is so much more coming that I’m feeling an ending of what was. Nothing remains the same, and I know I need to let go in order to welcome what is being born.
I’m free-falling into Destiny, which appears to be unknown, yet I know in my heart that it contains my Highest Joy, Deepest Desires and Ultimate Love. There is really nothing, ever to lose and Everything to gain.
I’ll see you along The Way Somewhere,
In Love All Ways,
“I cannot lose anything in this place of abundance I found.” – St. Catherine of Siena
All photos are shot by the amazingly talented Ashlie Woods. She is INCREDIBLE and I cannot recommend a session with her enough.
It became such a part of my psyche, however, that I barely noticed it’s existence. It wasn’t until recent events encouraged me to look at myself through a magnifying glass of truth, that I realized how embedded it really was.
That lie was, “There’s something wrong with me.”
If you were to take that magnifying glass of truth and turn it on yourself, perhaps you will discover that this lie has been present throughout your own journey.
In fact, I pretty much guarantee that if you have experienced addiction of any kind, depression or disconnection from life, you’ve told yourself this lie at some point.
That lie again is, “There is something wrong with me.”
And if so, believe me, you’re far from alone.
I was talking to a friend about this over breakfast just the other day and she asked me, “Why the hell do you think we did this? Believed there was something wrong with us? It doesn’t make any sense now!”
We both agreed that while our lives contained some challenging experiences, they were not of themselves responsible for this lie which we told ourselves.
I hypothesized that we created this belief during the ego-development phase of childhood, when our personality was being formed. During that phase of development we were the center of our universe and were interpreting every experience through a lens of ‘what does this mean about me?’
If we perceived certain circumstances of our lives to be ‘wrong’ then we automatically assumed it must’ve been because there was something wrong with ‘us.’ This happened to be the same time the major chemical pathways of the brain were being created, which embedded this interpretation as reality.
While that hypothesis may or may not be the reason for the development of this belief (nor does it really matter), I know one thing to be true – it is total bullshit.
It’s such bullshit, in fact, that it now seems preposterous to me that I ever created it, and yet, for some reason, I did and it became the driving force of my life.
This drove me to attempt to ‘fix’ myself, which manifested in approval seeking, people pleasing, pretending, perfectionism and addiction – the latter of which served to create proof for the lie.
It was an insatiable cycle to exist within, the saddest part of all being that I wasn’t present for many of my experiences because I was always trying to get somewhere that didn’t exist.
It’s like obsessing over fixing a car for your whole life when it’s actually run perfectly the whole time.
I’m sharing this with you because I’ve come to believe, through the personal conversations I have had with many people over the last several years, that many of us still hold at least a remnant of this belief which if turned around, frees us from so much suffering.
For me, letting go of it has involved a deep dive into Truth, surrendering to the Unconditionally Loving Source of all things.
What is continually revealed to me is that nothing has or ever will be wrong with me. I am not inherently flawed and never have been. Not in my worst moments. Not in my darkest hours.
It was the belief that there was something wrong with me which created my suffering, nothing else.
A mis-belief that I wasn’t even aware of for a very long time.
The good news is that if there is nothing wrong with me, then there cannot possibly be anything wrong with you.
That’s right. There is nothing wrong with you.
I’ve also realized it was actually a pretty arrogant belief to hold. By thinking that there was something wrong with me, I was effectively separating myself from the perfection of all creation.
Thinking that the Creative Source of the Universe got the stars, the oceans, the geometric precision of snowflakes, pollination, the law of gravity and planetary alignment right but somehow along the cosmic factory line made even a tiny mistake with me is a level of delusion so great it now makes me smile.
As the layers of this lie is removed, I am embodying a state of radical self-responsibility, free of blame and victim hood.
At the same time, I’m being made me aware of my own Greatness, in that I now know I am here to receive Love, share Love and Be Love; expanding into a fuller version of myself by knowing how perfect, how whole and how Right – on every, single level – I really am.
And that feels a lot more true to me.
“Illusion is viewing yourself less desirably than the Universe does.” – Matt Kahn.
Thank you for sharing this with anyone in your life who may benefit from it <3]]>
Dancing is and has always been my greatest JOY. I believe life is a Divine Dance to be enjoyed and experienced fully by EVERY BODY and so I hope this video of my recent dance improvisation encourages you to put on your favourite song or three and dance you booty off!!!
Note: there is a password for this video. It is divinedance.
Divine Dance Joy – Sarah Chamberlain from Sarah Chamberlain on Vimeo.
More info on the Divine Dance movement is here. Check out my recent 80’s inspired spotify playlist to the right!
Join me in Bali July 17-23 for an amazing yoga, meditation and dance retreat!]]>
I did not finish the course.
I did not climb Mt Sinai.
Or publish the book.
I didn’t start that business I mapped out in my mind.
I did not learn Spanish.
I did not attend my graduation ceremony.
I did not build the empire.
I didn’t tell him I didn’t want to.
I did not trust my greatness.
Or follow that sensible path.
I did not settle for my DNA.
I did not accept there wasn’t more.
I did not leave the bar when asked.
I did not tell the truth.
I did not give up on beauty.
All these things I did not do, but what I did, I did instead.]]>
Talk amongst the group had been on Flamingos; Were they going to be here? When did the season start?
Agatha had a dream about thousands of flamingos flying toward her and through her and said it felt beautiful.
Irene said that according to Lonely Planet, they arrived in April some time, so maybe we would see them.
‘Oh, then we definitely will,’ I decided.
On the morning of the boat trip, Deborah and Fernanda were (stylishly) late to the meeting point, so I waited behind and sent the rest of the girls off toward the boats anchored in front of Villas Flamingos.
When the last two arrived, we made our way past the infinity-symbol-shaped swimming pool and down the steps into the emerald sea.
Being at the back of the pack, I paused to take a photo of this magnificent scene with my phone – beautiful women walking on water, skirts hitched up and Frida bags overhead.
Maru turned around to offer her signature peace sign.
Snap. Beyond perfection, I thought.
And just then, off to our right, a single pink brush stroke appeared in the sky.
“Flamingo! Flamingoooooo!!!!!” I called out, pointing in awe and amazement as she gracefully arced overhead.
Our jaws dropped and we all shrieked as she carved her path through the air, blessing our journey with her presence.
We called her in and she came. In that moment the veil between the physical and ethereal realms was lifted and we knew our power. As women. As creators. As Goddesses.
When we arrived the boat, the captain said he hadn’t seen any yet – she was the first one of the entire season.
Later, we leapt off the boat to swim with dolphins in the open water, shrieking like children about miracles and magic but by then, we had become accustomed to Dancing with the Divine.
And that was just one day.
My next Journey to Shine retreat is in Bali, July 17-23. JOIN US FOR ANOTHER WEEK OF MAGIC AND MIRACLES!!!!!]]>
I am never happier than when I glance around the studio and see ‘my girls’ rocking out or when a woman hugs me with tears in her eyes after class because she ‘hasn’t moved like that in years.’
After our session this past Saturday, I felt like I still needed to say some things.
So, I said them. And I filmed what came out.
There were no planned steps, routines or rehearsals (except 35 years of dancing around the living room), just me, the music and the dance. I danced the song 5 times (hence the sweat) and put it together in one clip.
I hope you enjoy it. I did.
*If Youtube pull the audio, the song accompanying the dance is ‘Say Something’ by A Big New World.
“When there are no more words, there is the dance.” – Me.
Thank you for watching! Please share this with anyone in your life who may benefit from it.
There is ONE room left on our Journey to Shine women’s retreat on idyllic Holbox island starting April 17. Join us for an amazing week of sacred feminine connection in paradise.]]>