Conscious Impact: Living Yoga in Nepal

Conscious Impact: Living Yoga in Nepal

A few months ago, I was telling a friend about the revelations I had during my yoga teacher training. Moving through trauma in my body, breaking habitual patterns of the mind, realizing the complexity of dis-ease and reclaiming my voice–to name a few. I found myself, in the end, describing the experience as “life-changing,” coating the phrase in disclaimers before I uttered it.

“I know this sounds cliché,” I said as I held my breath, hoping he didn’t think I was melodramatic or trying to be trendy. The word “life-changing” has become so diluted.

His response startled me. “That’s amazing! Yes, despite what we’re taught to believe, we can, in fact, have transformative experiences on a regular basis.” He might as well have said, “DUH! Welcome to the world.”

Solo Trekking in the Himalayas

Solo Trekking in the Himalayas

I have a tendency to make travel plans on my own, not because I don’t want the company of others—I do! But in my experience, it’s difficult to find friends who can take time off work, who have similar traveling styles and budgets, and who won’t drive me insane (and vice versa) after weeks of crowded vans, small sleeping quarters and situations that don’t lend themselves to ample personal space.

When I was planning my trek in Nepal, however, the need for company seemed more like a mandatory safety precaution than a nicety.

Finding Beauty in Monsoon Season

Finding Beauty in Monsoon Season

“Should we go back?” I asked myself, as the pelting rain and thunderous rivers created an unrelenting cacophony in my mind. I stopped to flick two thumb-sized leeches off the rubber grips of my trekking poles in an attempt to avoid another feeding frenzy—a horrific sight I hadn’t gotten over since the night before, when I discovered these invertebrates can weave through fabrics otherwise thought to be impenetrable.

It was day five of a 14-day trek in the Annapurna Region of the Himalayas, and I was beginning to question our aspirations.

Rewriting the Story: One Word, One Pose at a Time

Rewriting the Story: One Word, One Pose at a Time

I am here, again, with an enervating ache in my chest. Sipping air, careful not to choke on the Asian Pacific humidity, as fears of another health issue leave me scanning for the mercy of kind, accepting eyes. Instead, I find judgment in my own pupils. They burn holes through the mirror as I ask—audibly, yet rhetorically—“I thought we were past all this?” Over the part where I doubted my body’s intelligence and its inherent need for rest. Over the part where I let my fears run the show and juggle worst-case scenarios in my head like circus balls.

It was week two of my yoga teacher training in Chiang Mai, Thailand—and I was unraveling.

Journey to the Feathered Pipe Ranch

Journey to the Feathered Pipe Ranch

A body out of balance, a soul starving for meaning, a heart suffocating in pain. This is where I was in my life two years ago.

I had just returned from nine months in Southeast Asia, forcibly kicked out because I had fallen so ill that I couldn’t hold my head up or take a step without excruciating pain through my legs and back. It was the greatest heartbreak of my life, deciding to leave my position as a disaster relief aid worker because my body couldn’t keep up.

I was angry, lonely, experiencing reverse culture shock, and, admittedly, completely lost. I had returned to a land where everything was larger than life, yet true connection was a scarcity. Shops lined with people looking down at their phones. Doctors telling me, “We may never find out what’s going on, but here, antidepressants will numb it all.”