Due to very unfortunate events in my life I spent July 2019 – April 2021 dedicated to my health and healing, taking me away from The Yoga Shala. My absence from The Yoga Shala and Covid-19 did much to force major changes to The Yoga Shala and the things I wanted and was able to offer. As I come out the other side of the last few years, I am grateful for the things I have experienced and the chance for a new beginning, a nysa; the chance to recreate and remember why I birthed The Yoga Shala; what I want to offer and why.
I have always loved the Ashtanga Yoga practice, the Mysore method, this system and lineage. It works for me, makes sense to me, changed me from inside out and outside in, humbled me, it is my church. I truthfully never wanted to teach yoga to others. My first, my second and my last yoga teacher all told me many times I would have to one day teach yoga to others in order to deepen my practice; for it is through walking in the darkness with others that we can go deeper in our own journey. When I was bestowed Level II authorization by the Krishna Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute it became a real duty as a humble and dedicated student of this practice, this method, my teachers – to keep the authentic teachings, the pureness of this yoga system alive. All I really wanted was my practice, a teacher and a bit of like minded community. My dedication for self study, practice, deepening my practices somehow manifested into a duty to be a torchbearer for this practice. It has taken me a long time and a lot of mistakes along the way but I finally understand my purpose as it relates to sharing what I know with the world. I guess you can say I remember or now comprehend why I started teaching Yoga in 2003.
I feel like the phoenix rising from the ashes in my own life. I am getting to my mat today and tomorrow just as I did for years before I opened The Yoga Shala, as I did during Covid, as I have done since I closed the doors to The Yoga Shala in April of 2021. I do it for me. I understand what it means to me, what it represents to me, and no headache, body ache, toothache, sleepiness, anxiety, overbooked schedule, person, place or distraction has or will ever take that from me.
I hated every second of the last two years of very traumatic, painful, debilitating change, but knew it was there for a very important reason and the more I fought it the harder change became. I’m grateful for that though because I no longer teach yoga to live, I’m back to a point in my life where I can physically do some of my practices again, which means everything to me; and thanks to my recent physical hurdles and the lockdowns and social distancing and fears of Covid-19 I had to truly walk away from something I love in order to start all over in every possible way and slowly, slowly, slowly reincorporate teaching into my life. And the beauty in that, the gift in this is something which I so highly covet and something you can never ever get back or make again or re-build or buy more of. And that is time.
I didn’t think I would ever teach yoga again….But I’ve allowed TIME to teach me a thing or two the last two years. Money taught me nothing. I saw it flow out faster than I’d ever made, shoving it into the pockets of hospitals and doctors, one after another, many of whom made gross errors in my medical care. Then I observed myself losing nearly everything I valued in my life, other than time. When that was all I had left, I sat with lady time and really became her apprentice. She is very wise. I now live my life based on the value of time, not how much I can get done with the time I have. I place more value on worth of self, which has helped me re-shape the way I spend and invest my time.
The man I called my yoga teacher never once asked to be, and the man I call my meditation teacher never asked for that title either. I chose them both for my reasons, which include the fact that I resonate with the work they were/are doing for their own spiritual, personal, physical development and I want a guide in my journey with the material they have far more mastery over. Much of the work I am doing for my own personal development relates to the teachings of my yoga teacher and those of my meditation teacher. They are not based on things I am or have personally created and call my own methods, but are based on practices or systems that I resonate with and want to plug into and master and apply daily in my life.
I am an experimenter in my human and spiritual experience. Among the MANY things I do for myself that work for me, have and continue to heal me, give me a place of security and stability, the place I like to call my church and my antidepressants, is the traditional Ashtanga Yoga system and the Brain Science Meditation methods of Dr. Dispenza.
Just like many other practitioners out there like me, I make time for my practices a huge priority in the daily battle over who and what my time gets spent on. I manage my time wisely and I covet my time as much as others may covet their money. That is only part of what is needed to master the art of self-practice.
The art of self-practice is a skill, and for some it is a very very hard one to learn, let alone master. Each human soul has a set of eyes with which they use to see and set of ears with which they use to hear, and a brain with which they use to think and a heart with which they use to heal. I cannot teach you the value of time, only you can do that. I cannot teach you the value of your own personal worth, only you can do that. I also cannot teach you the value of money, only you can do that. But what I can offer you is my assistance, education, accountability, motivation and compassion as you work in your own journey towards mastering the skill of self-practice.
I am joyfully returning to the world of human interactions and life post covid with a very clear understanding of what I always wanted my life to be, and by extension my creative and community contributions to the world – The Yoga Shala and Nysa. The community fostered through my work with The Yoga Shala, Nysa and all of my national and international efforts to study and learn and connect and share yoga and wellness and anthropology and contemplative practices with the world – they have all shaped the woman I am and the reality I want to live in.
I realize in order for me to go deeper in my personal journey deeper experiences in the life journey are necessary. While the last several years were dark and painful I am already astutely aware that they were necessary for the inner and outer journey I had to take for my soul’s evolution; for my own deeper understanding of all things; and for tangible clarity to DEFINE, in no uncertain terms, what it is I want to experience with the years I have left on this planet and in this body. I don’t need to know WHY my recent experiences played out the way they did in my life story, but I DO need to know they manifested in my life for me to gain more experience relating to the human condition, a far deeper understanding of the inner and outer workings of the human body, the way my mind contributes to my future reality and the knowingness that I am the creator of my personal reality.
Our community is in the re-creation process and I invite you to follow along as a whole new me and a whole new us is defined! This process will take some time but we are well on our way with re-creating mysore yoga offerings; introducing new models of learning, application and accountability; creating a brand portfolio for our new Name, Olotita – Wholeness, representing our refined mission and goals, a brand new and fully consolidated website; the new home for The Yoga Shala AND Nysa AND Krista Shirley workshops, retreats, private sessions for yoga or bodywork or life coaching or mentorship or apprenticeship and so much more; new products and tools to support our community’s efforts towards creating a better reality for self and others, free community events for those wanting to go deeper into the work with other like minded practitioners, and so much more.
Our virtual community is made up of people that have come into contact with The Yoga Shala or one of its teachers or with Krista somewhere around the world through the years. We invite you to stay connected with us through our newsletter, Instagram and Facebook page.
I welcome you, we welcome you! Rachel Gaibor is a dear friend, yoga student, fellow yogini, female badass, flight attendant and a woman that has helped me get back up when I got knocked down. She is a truly beautiful human being and someone who is helping me execute my vision for Olotita.
I have always welcomed change, it is one of the few constants in life. I am in the process of big changes, and I invite you to stay up to date as we announce new offerings or events that may interest or pertain to you as we lovingly and intentionally create and support more of we want in our lives – community, wholeness, wellness, joy, freedom, growth, empowerment, evolution, the mystical, and the magical present moment.