Taozi Tree Yoga

The seeds we water are the seeds that grow.


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Lessons from Zanzibar… and other beaches around the world.

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After our recent trip to Zanzibar… one thing is obvious. There is so much to be learned from the ocean and its shore. Every time I visit one, some lesson seems to find me.

If I put my ear against a seashell what do I hear?  The sound of the waves, the spirit of the sea… a sense of calm.  I hesitate to breath; I want complete silence in order to uncover the mysteries within. When a simple moment is taken to be present with the ocean, the feeling is electric. Once I try to contemplate the vastness, the BIG-ness of the ocean I almost get caught up in the same sensations I might feel when trying to comprehend the hugeness of the universe. So. Big. So. Strong. So. Peaceful. For me it is by far one of the easiest places to learn more about myself and my spirit as I put the ramblings of my mind aside and pay attention to the calmness and the vastness of my “Creator”.

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As a Colorado girl, (a landlocked state in the middle of the US) my first trip to the ocean was when at 12 years old, my family took a road trip to La Jolla, California. I was smitten, but not fully present, thus incapable of connecting fully to my higher power. When my parents bought a place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I had my first exposure to the world outside of the US. I visited many times while growing up however it wasn’t until I was older, 22, that the ocean had a profound effect on me. One night while standing on our balcony at 2 in the morning, sober, I really saw for the first time how magnificant the ocean is. With the moonlight reflecting off of the bay… I felt a huge sense of calmness and magic. So incredible was my feeling that I recalled I would always consider it to be my first spiritual experience.  I remember standing there on the edge of the sea and feeling a “woooooowwwwww” sensation deep in my bones.

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 Since 2007, the year I voyaged to the other side of the planet I have had the pleasure of exploring the globe…beaches, beaches, and more beaches… The initial “wooowww” sensation is no longer an immediate reaction. I need to take a moment to really get present and pay attention. Then the “wooowwwww” effect takes place naturally and I start to see things differently. I start to learn anew.

 Last month a website that I write for, Cohabitaire, had an ocean theme. I hesitated to write immediately because I had a trip planned to Zanzibar. I wanted to wait and discover what lesson was waiting for me off of the Tanzanian mainland. The lessons are always found in the spiritual experiences I have while visiting a particular coast, while being present.

  Some of the lessons I have learned from beaches I have been to…

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I took a trip to Hai Shang, a small coastal town a few hours outside of Beijing by train. Here I learned that there are always interesting characters found on the coast (including camels), and also, not all coasts are created equal. Some have been destroyed by human development… In Shanghai, the human development is astonishing but it is so shiny and beautiful, it almost hides the blemishes created by the growth.

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Hong Kong

Wow. I have been to Hong Kong  many times for meditation retreats with some of my dearest girlfriends from Beijing. There is something magical about this place. Yes, you can see the amazing sky line and feel the incredible ambition of the human spirit for material growth, while at the same time, on the other side of the island lays a world of spiritual giants trying to get quiet and centered while in one of the worlds most bustling places. Lesson learned here, ask and you shall receive…

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Thailand

Fun. I have been to Thailand a number of times and this past summer Ross and I went with two of my sisters and we played, played and played. The lesson I learned here is that islands are a huge gift from God, to bounce around them is a joy, and to do so with people you love makes it all the better.Even if it rains…

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United Kingdom

Ahhhh, how cute! The lesson I learned here about the ocean is that quite often the coast matches the attitude of the people living there. Quaint, adventurous and lovely.

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Italy

History, color, and zest. I learned that Europe has a spirit of its own.

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Bali, Indonesia

Serious spiritual lessons were learned in Bali. While at a yoga teacher training my best friend died. The ocean was there with me and I learned that there is huge relief in talking to it out loud.. this is when my relationship with it really started to blossom. At this difficult time I found support in a handful of people who would love me and forever be my brothers and sisters… I learned that strangers can easily turn into our soul mates. Later, I pulled a meditation card here that read,

“The only God you will find at the top of a mountain is the God that you bring there.”

This hit me hard and has since been a concept I am constantly trying to remember.

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Australia

In Australia I saw that the ocean was highly loved and respected by its inhabitants. I saw a beautiful coast the likes of which I had never seen. So well taken care of and used for such important purposes like surfing, playing and praying. Here I saw that the human potential for maintaining its resources is higher then we give it credit for.

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India

Sitting at the most southern tip of India where three oceans meet… watching the sun rise up out of the water. Every cell in my body awakened and it was here I really felt the effect the energy of the sun has on our souls. I discovered why yogis get up with the sun. Additionally, it was while we were in India that my Grandfather came to me in my dreams the morning he passed away to say goodbye. We had a memorial service for him on the ocean and I learned that all things live and then return to the sea…

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Mexico

I moved to Mexico at 18 and partied, partied, partied. I hardly saw the ocean, which is part of the reason why at 22 everything changed. Since this time I have had a special connection with the Banderas Bay in Puerto Vallarta (in fact this is where we are getting married). For the last couple of years I have spent a few months here with Ross. When teaching yoga on the beach, having breakfast on the beach, and walking on the beach… life just seems to take on new form. We breath deeply and take it all in every morning. We watch the sun set into the bay every night. The lessons I have learned here recently are two fold 1) everyday is a new beginning and 2) the sun always sets and rises again.

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Zanzibar, Tanzania

Sand like none I have ever experienced…In the morning it is like flour and at night after the tide retreats it is like marshmallow cream. White sandy beaches that stretch on forever with teal blue water. I got into the ocean here and spontaneously sang my heart out. I felt soooo happy! The lesson I learned here is that this happiness is already withen me, no matter where I am in the world, whether it’s on the beach or on a mountain top. An advanced version of the lessons learned from Bali.

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There are so many spiritual lessons I have learned while visiting the ocean… is it possible to narrow them all down into one? I suppose it would be accurate to say that the one thing I constantly discover is more about who I am and my relationship to the world around me. What continues to blow my mind is that the lessons are never ending, thus, I will constantly be able to discover more about myself.  Of course this can be done anywhere, including my own living room (although I don’t have one just yet). It is just easier to see the power of the “Creator” when standing on the shore of a massive ocean or listening to the mysteries within a sea shell.ocean quote 2

***Please visit us on Taozi’s facebook page  for more on our adventures, yoga pictures, stories, and important health tips***


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Light your Fire. Hear your Muse. Create.

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If you do not feel a passionate fire living within you, then you are missing out on your life’s full potential. Period. We were made to create, to love, and to have joy in what we do. Not to settle for the mundane but to create the extraordinary. This is humanity’s unreached potential. Don’t worry if you aren’t on fire, there is hope. Living the extraordinary life, means taking extraordinary measures. This means reaching out of your comfort zone to truly identify your “muse”, the creative and spiritual part of you that calls you to your highest purpose. The simple steps to achieving this are to first, experiment with your creative self, and to find what brings you joy.

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My “muse” painting 😉

 Since I was a little girl I have been blessed to have exceptional role models. I was born with out an instruction manual, as many of us are, and am positive I would have not made it save for the amazing people that I have followed down the path of happy destiny. There was a period of my life when I went “dark-side” … (doesn’t everybody?) and thanks to immense grace, I have been able to co-create a lush and vibrant life. Co-create? Yes. Myself and my “muse”.

 Lets clarify for a moment, a muse is different to everybody, I believe it is the voice deep in our gut, that whispers, “paint, teach, take photos, draw, write, sail, cook, dance, act, share… share your creative heart, and share your self”. The voice is our spirit and it beckons us to be heard and to be acted upon. Today my spirit feels more alive then ever, and I feel a fire lit beneath me, pushing me to simply be… me, and it feels good! The human spirit is a beautiful thing when applied optimistically. There are certain places in the world where the positive, lighthearted, joyful spirit is palatable and more then inspiring. Places where the muse is more easily accessible…  Might I use Mexico as an example?

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 The perspective one gets of humanity in the coastal town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is uplifting and inspiring in a world that from the outside, often seems doom and gloom. The element that inspires the soul here is the creative fire. Sail boats pass under a glowing sun, glittering mosaics line the walls and streets, children weave in and out of pedestrians selling hand made woven dolls, while mariachi musicians strum away amidst the crashing waves, and then there is the cuisine… peppers stuffed with pomegranate and fresh cheeses… incredible. Only the miracle of the divine human spirit could have taken the mundane aspects of life and bedazzled them into delicacies. Here, in Puerto Vallarta, paradise and the muse collide, showing up in everything. Where does this “bedazzlement” come from? It lives in us all as a small spark along with the potential for great flames. The spark simply needs to be fanned and the fire will ignite itself. Sometimes it takes a little “dark-side” to put the fire under your a** in the first place, but not a necessity.

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 How do you find the fire? Or fan the flames? Each one of us has a different fire, path, calling, or desire. This is our dharma. How often so many of us ignore or simply don’t hear our true calling because we are caught up in the “rat race” or have simply been misdirected? When this happens we actively tune out our muse, totally avoiding our beautiful, intuitive, spiritual, instinctual driving desire to create. Personally, I believe that the muse is our higher calling to become all that we are supposed to be. How does one come to know their own dharma, or to hear their muse? Ha-ha… wouldn’t we all like to know. There are infinite methods to discovery of this voice. It may start with yoga, mediation, prayer, writing, mantra chanting and of-course experimentation. Nothing will be more helpful in discovering what you are supposed to be doing then discovering what you should not be doing… failure is a wonderful help in leading you onto the right path.

 Experimentation however, is a necessity. Unless you were born a child prodigy like Mozart and were actively living your dharma at age three… it takes some time.  Be open to all possibilities, try many new and “risky”(for your ego) things that you would probably never have done with out the push, and keep your eye out for joy, an elusive feeling that is a key indicator that you are on the right path.  This is where the extraordinary life taking extraordinary measures come into play…

If you don’t feel like you know your muse, or what your dharma is, if you aren’t living with a creative fire within you, then I am sorry to say, but you aren’t living up to your full potential. Many of us are “fine” exactly where we are at… but what a TRAGEDY! Doesn’t any one believe in magic anymore!

 While in Puerto Vallarta I had the opportunity to attend art classes at a school called “Oops Perfect”. A small mom & pop art school run out of a private home in the gorgeous hills of Buenos Aires in Jalisco, Mexico.  Classes are facilitated in silk painting, glass fusion, mosaic making, beading, and paper making. I had the time of my life working with the most beautiful and inspiring ladies… I discovered so much about my own muse! I never would have known how much I love cutting tile and laying them down had I not tried it. Honestly, who has any idea unless they try? At “Oops Perfect” all the funky supplies were provided along with an amazing atmosphere that fostered our creative energies. Mistakes were welcomed with a pleasant “Oops!… Perfect!” Having a supportive atmosphere to let your creative juices flow is important. I highly recommend making trial and error as easy and non-committal for your self as possible. No need to rush out and buy tile cutters and cement unless you know this will work for you. Maybe you aren’t a mosaic maker, but a guitarist instead… you can always, borrow and rent materials in the interim.  You have to start somewhere though… so be ready to take a plunge into the unknown. The same principle applies to my experience with yoga.  I would never have become a yogi had I not endured the uncomfortable. I had the blessing of being introduced, being open, and willing to be a beginner and to absorb. With practice, I have found I get lost in these artistic emotional outlets (painting, writing, mosaic making, and yoga) and my soul creates amazing things! At least, it all feels good to me, and isn’t this really all that matters?

http://www.oopsperfect.com

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The great news is that every one can create amazing things… Anyone that experiments with his or her own creative soul will have the same experience. Maybe not the first time, or the second, but maybe the third or the fourth… you need to try and try again until you discover the JOY.  What is it that brings you JOY? What thing do you do where the hours fly by and you sink into a creative wormhole? When ever I apply myself, and channel my heart into a creative task…WHAMMO! I am lost to the world, because I have left it for something more. Perhaps this is why Puerto Vallarta feels so magical, because such a large part of its population is living in this higher place with their muse. To finish, a really powerful discovery came to me while in Bali last year, “the only God you will find at the top of the mountain is God you bring there.” Meaning that the magic and the muse can exist ANYWHERE. Not only in spectacular ocean towns but in cities and suburbs the world over. Any place that has people, has the potential to be lit with creative fire. Experiment with your self and feel the joy of your muse.  Coincidentally, I made a vision board last week and in the top left hand corner it says in big letters… Girl On Fire. We are what we create.

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