Head West, Young Man!
So much has happened in the last year! After deciding to move to San Diego based on a meditation vision I had in Bali two years ago, I had no knowledge of where to live, where to teach, or even where to find a good vegan taco so I decided to take a flight out and explore. As a ten day visit was ending last October I had spoken to 30+ studios and got a lot of maybes on teaching auditions, hadn't located an affordable apartment or even a good vegan taco. I was tired and a bit sad to think, "maybe this isn't the right fit for me and I'm going to look pretty silly asking for all of my classes in NJ back."
On my last day in town I woke with the sun, took my mat down the beach did a long practice deciding to just let my intuition guide me in who to meet and what to do. After my practice two dogs who reminded me of my own came running up and a lady named Evelyn and I connected. She shared that she had gone through some hard times recently but she loved the way the yoga community in San Diego had her back, how she always had great classes and live music to keep her vibration high and that it's hard to frown when it's sunny all the time and everyone seems to be in a good mood. I shared my story and vision and she booked ten private sessions with me for when I moved to town, whenever that would be, and suggested I go on craigslist to find an apartment which I thought was crazy and borderline dangerous but I had seen 20+ places and none were a fit so I said, "why not."
After three swings and misses I was down to my last place before I had to get on an airplane back to NY with no plan of where to live. I called a listing for a place in Golden Hill which seemed close to beaches, downtown and Balboa Park which I figured was like Central Park (it's not but it's still pretty cool). I met the landlord Ron who walked me through the apartment, the nicest I had seen and even though it was a two bedroom and I didn't have a roommate it felt like the one. He showed me pictures of his dog Sugar and said he wouldn't charge a pet fee because they're part of the family, this was my kind of guy. When I told him I was a yoga teacher he said, "oh me and my wife Lizbeth like yoga a lot but we don't really know what we're doing. Do you want to maybe set up some private sessions in exchange for rent." After agreeing to two sessions a week and a 50% drop in my rent I walked the neighborhood and less than a mile away found a bangin' vegan taco truck, I had found my first San Diego home, friend and taco spot.
Fast forward six months and after traveling back to Bali again with an incredible retreat group I arrived home to San Diego itching to want to do more retreats but without having to always go so far away from the US. I wanted to recreate the experience of Bali in California because I loved how I felt and how it gave people wonderful perspective on health and happiness but the process was unclear. Ron and Lizbeth had wanted to go to Bali but with two kids in school couldn't make it and one morning after a yoga session Ron followed me out of his house expressing that he loved the idea of a retreat and had looked around to see if there was anything local to go on and was surprised there wasn't. I told him I was working on just that, with the weather and plethora of amazing hikes, beaches and wonderful food we knew San Diego would be perfect we just had to find a location.
About a week later Ron called me excited to share that his neighbors had a ranch up near Julian San Diego that they weren't using much and even contemplated selling it. After meeting them and sharing our vision for the retreat center they agreed to let us try our idea on their 20 acre estate, the vision now had a home. By the end of the Summer we plan to host weekend and week long retreats, workshops on yoga, nutrition, meditation, trauma recovery, 12 step and all things wellness.
Since moving to California I have found a few amazing studios to call home both to teach and practice. My class schedule has seemingly fallen right into place (somehow I'm always avoiding traffic!) I even partnered with a studio called Bloom Yoga in Rancho San Diego to lead my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. With the seemingly endless options for teacher training in San Diego I was crossing all fingers and toes that we would have maybe five or six people sign up. While typing this we just signed up our fourteenth student. Grateful doesn't quite cover it.
I have made an amazing group of friends on the west coast, so many of whom are playing a role in my evolution as a person and teacher, contributing ideas to serve others and this community through yoga. There's a real sense out here that a community of likeminded people can take ideas and turn them into realities, networking and sharing not for the sake of personal gain but collective growth. I really feel like I owe this all to yoga, the practice has kept me so grounded and keeps me knowing that my path is correct even when it's not always clear. It has empowered me to take calculated risk, to seek service of others and human connection above money or accolades and has made me the happiest I've ever been in my life.
I'm excited to keep sharing, learning, giving and getting inspiration through yoga, retreats, networking and beyond. Thank you for being a part of it, for taking time to read this and for reaching out if I can help you in any way.
So very sincerely,