There were literal bears.
There were literal bears on my path, between leaving Union Yoga and circling back around.
Before Union Yoga opened in downtown Monterey, I ran by and peered in the windows. Drop cloths and that empty space of a creation in progress.
And I felt, quite clearly, that here is where I would teach yoga.
There are exceptional teachers in Monterey, California- friends and colleagues and very likely many I don't know. Friends manning (womaning?) wonderful local studios offer accessible and gentle yoga to the community; the Ashtanga shala down the way rigorously twisted and inverted them.
Still, I felt I hadn't found my home studio: an education-based community, sangha, of like-minded practioners seeking an environment of study and deep dives into the yogic practice.
Even before Union opened its doors, I felt it to be my place.
When Union did open in September 2017, I was honored to be among its opening line up. I savored the beautiful community owner Kelli Nairn curated.
Still, my feet itched and when an opportunity to work for the National Park Service opened up, I piled my belongings in my sedan and made my way through Nevada to the red canyon world of Utah.
Nine months later, I circled back around.
There was struggle and hilarity.
There were midget-faded rattlesnakes, false starts, literal bears, border crossings, mountains, canyons, rivers, forests, mysticism and quite a lot of good old fashioned sweat. There were glaciers and subfreezing temperatures spent shivering by a dying fire and one unfortunate instance of being maced with bear spray.
There were sunrises I will never forget. Sunsets in isolated canyons, packs of coyotes howling as the milky way peered through the clear desert skies.
There was a home. There was a small town that called me and a beautiful fall and a beloved housemate and cabin on a mesa in the foothills of the Rockies. I called it the Wind-in-the-Trees House, for the gentle swaying of a dozen types of trees on our little 17 acres.
I could have stayed. In fact, I did stay, just long enough to know if I needed to-- if I wanted too-- I could stay forever.
And then I shook myself off, loaded up my car again, prayed and buried some mementos picked up along the way, and drove back to Union. There were classes I hadn't taught yet and teachers I hadn't practiced with enough yet and students I hadn't met and, for some, some, reason, my heart felt the call of that little Saraswati-loving studio.