It begins a lot like most, perhaps even yours. I grew up in the midwest, the youngest of six kids in a regular family.
On the outside, I was your average little girl, wandering the woods and playing with my imaginary friends.
My formative years were pretty normal. I went to college, hung around for grad school, got married to a guy with a great “husband resume”, and landed a grown-up job.
I wasn’t too far into adulthood before I realized that the life I had created was not the one meant for me. I imagine it appeared as though I was self-destructing. Looking back, I know I was onto something big and real: me.
I started yoga in my early twenties while I struggled to make sense of my life. It kept me moderately sane and off the pharmaceutical freeway. I’d like to say I loved practicing yoga immediately, but that is not true. Yoga was hard for me, in the beginning. But it did not take long for me to realize it was dosing up something that could not be bottled.
In my mid-twenties, I met Debbie Rosas, my first serious teacher, and I learned how good it feels to be in my body. At the same time, I met Dr. Deborah Kern (my dear teacher, mentor, and soul sister). These iconic women exemplified guts and grace, power and gentleness.
At the same time I was coming into myself, my marriage was disintegrating. I was disintegrating. I cut my long blonde hair and dyed it burgundy. It looked on the outside as though I was having a mid-life crisis.
But I was not. Instead, I was blowing open my life--so I could let more light in.
I straddled the chasm between the western world and the esoteric. I started meditating, spent holidays on silent retreat, and stopped eating meat. I wandered in many circles, never really fitting into any particular one. I left my career at a big university. I was unclear of who I was or where I was going. What I did know was that I was not going back.
I kept walking, even when it was hard and lonely, and mostly dark. I continued practicing yoga, and in my early thirties I began to notice how yoga was transforming me. It was no longer a tool that I picked up and set down. It was now my portable safety net that caught me, again and again.
I started deepening my study of yoga, and began living with a Hare Krishna. We meditated twice a day, listened only to devotional music, and gave up alcohol and caffeine. I prayed and chanted and lived my life as though I were in an ashram. This worked for a while, but something was still out of alignment. I knew I had to be in the real world.
One day, after teaching a yoga class, I met my husband-to-be. There were no huge sparks. No thoughts of forever. We had a lunch meeting and then went about our business. I had no idea the seeds of my future had been planted, but for the next year, I was surrounded by light. Love kept coming at me, in me, and through me wherever I turned. I further placed my trust in the teachings of yoga, for it was the place where my heart was free, and it had never let me down.
Eventually, I married, and on a half-whim / half dare, my husband agreed to join me for a three-month tropical yoga immersion in Thailand. We practiced ten hours a day for nearly three months. We returned home different. We found two beloved teachers, Bob Smith and Ki McGraw, who led us to Bal, where we lived six months out of the year for three consecutive years. While in Bali, we found the one who became my primary teacher, and my study of yoga broadened beyond my mat space, my studio, and my life as I had previously defined it. I traveled to India and studied with Dr. Vasant Lad for eight weeks. It was the first time I was away from my husband since we married, and I was gone for Thanksgiving, my 40th birthday, and our wedding anniversary. When I returned, I no longer felt a need to walk toward the light. Light was all around me and I was ready to stand in it.
And so, we began building our dream, and with our own hands, and those of more than 100 others, Deva Daaru YogaFarm was erected. That was a little over five years ago, and today, Deva Daaru is where we live and share all that we have embodied about yoga, and how gently and profoundly it can walk you into your true and clear nature.
What I do is simple. It’s real. It’s accessible. And it is deep. I hold a lamp and light your way when you find yourself in the dark. I hold a lamp to light your way to Truth; universal love, presence, and the brilliance you seek that is turned on and shines forth, from the inside. Deva Daaru is the backdrop for this, holding you safe and steady, and providing you real life ways to bring awareness, guts, grace, and clarity into practice -- not just on the mat -- but in your entire life.
I’m here. I’m holding the lamp. Lift your eyes and look for the light.
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Copyright © 2016, by Britt B Steele. All rights reserved.
LOVE A LITTLE HARDER
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SHINE A LITTLE BRIGHTER