Ashtanga Yoga Workshops at Shanti in Traverse City! <3

Click on the Flyer Image to register for this great workshop I'm leading in Traverse City in Late July!!! <3

Click on the Flyer Image to register for this great workshop I’m leading in Traverse City in Late July!!! ❤

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The Practice of Teaching

Such a beautiful piece about teaching — as I start my own journey of teaching, many of these thoughts are in my mind. Wonderful read, wonderful to contemplate as I continue on.

Now registered through the Yoga Alliance — RYT-200 :)

I never really thought having numbers and letters after your name was a big deal… Ph.D what?!

Well, I still don’t 🙂

But, being registered through the Yoga Alliance (YA) is a pretty important thing in the western yoga world. So, now that I’ve finished training with Rishikul Yogshala in India, taught drop-ins to travelers abroad, created liability forms for any of my students in the states, and bought liability insurance (and heaps of mats and supplies!), the time has come for the final step of beginning the teaching process (see how backwards I may have done all this?!). Registering with the YA. Ta-da! It’s done. And now, I can actually do this:

Robin Stremlow, RYT-200!

Woohoo 🙂 Check out my YA profile and then come check out one of my classes in Coleman or Traverse City!

T01-YA-TEACHER-RYT-200

Ashtanga Yoga Workshop at Shanti in Traverse City! – July 24/25, 2015 –

Click here to see the Workshop flyer! 🙂 AshtangaFlyer_July2015_FINAL

Click the flyer image to register online today!

Click the flyer image to register online today!

~~~ Update as of 5/18/2015 ~~~

I’m no longer teaching regularly-scheduled classes in Traverse City as I’ve now relocated to Midland, MI. However, I WILL BE IN TRAVERSE CITY leading an Ashtanga workshop on July 24-25 at Shanti School of Yoga on S.Airport Road in Logan’s Landing.

This workshop will focus on an Introduction to the Ashtanga yoga philosophy and method, the breath and bandhas (internal energy locks), keys to the sun salutations, and a bit on backbending and inversions.

Stay tuned for more information!

~~~

The natural flow of energy at Shanti will help guide your practice to a place of positive transformation.

The natural flow of energy at Shanti will help guide your practice into a perfect place for positive transformation.

Shanti is a beautiful place to practice — the main studio has wood walls and a pyramid shape that opens to a skylight above (seriously, it’s magical). This all sets the most serene scene in which one can peacefully begin or continue one’s personal practice with inspiration and natural, positive energy.

Each class at Shanti is led by a sweet, genuine soul who openly and graciously shares his or her love of yoga with each student in the class. I’ve never had a bad teacher here, and regardless if I was teaching here or not, I’d recommend (and have recommended) this studio to anyone in the area. It has a balanced mind/body/spirit focus that recognizes yoga is for the health and wellness of all parts of the human experience. This studio helped restore balance and inspiration in my soul, and I know it can help you, too 🙂

I’m so so sooooo honored to be sharing my own practice with others, starting with a Vinyasa-style class on Monday mornings this summer. Join me for a beginner-intermediate level class that will bring awareness to the breath, the body, and the health of our minds and spirits.

Check out Shanti’s website and full class schedule here: http://shantischoolofyoga.net/

And, connect with Shanti on Facebook here!: https://www.facebook.com/ShantiSchoolofYoga

Feel free to contact me with any questions ❤

See you soon 🙂 xxoo

Yoga in Coleman, Michigan at the Railway Family Center!

Namaste, yogis!

I’m holding yoga classes on Mondays from 5:30-7:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 7:15-8:45 p.m. at the Coleman Family Center in Coleman! I’m very excited to be bring this tool for mind-body-spirit back to my very own hometown 🙂

If you’ve ever been curious about yoga, or have tried it before but drifted away from your mat, I’d love to have you join us for a summer yoga series appropriate for beginners or advanced students.

On Mondays, join us for energizing and empowering classes designed to stretch and strengthen! This will be a blend of flows with balancing, seated, and lying static postures.

On Wednesdays, join us for detoxifying and relaxing classes that will be the perfect addition to your summer schedule, helping you to unwind and get over the mid-week hump with peace and health 🙂

FIRST CLASS IS FREE! After that, pay only $7 a session (you won’t find drop-in classes this affordable anywhere else), or buy 8 sessions for only $45!

Check out the flyer below and contact me (989-854-2377) or Mike Baker at the RFC (989-465-2079) with any questions. Looking forward to seeing you all on our mats soon 🙂

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Yoga classes now available!

HeartPoseNamaste, beautiful souls! I’ve just returned to the United States after spending 10 weeks abroad in India and Nepal where I immersed myself in the beautiful, powerful world of yoga and in the sights, sounds, and sweet flavors of these truly spectacular places.

In April, 2014, I completed a 200-hour teaching training program in Rishikesh, India with Rishikul Yogshala, a Yoga Alliance accredited yoga school focusing on Ashtanga, Hatha, Kundalini and Nidra yoga disciplines taught in the classical Indian method. In addition to these forms of yogasana, I am experienced in pranayama (breath control), meditation, shat kriya (cleansing), and have studied yoga therapy, philosophy, history, and physical anatomy. I’m blessed to have studied under yoga Master Bipin Baloni and a team of dedicated, experienced teachers.

I then traveled to Pokhara, Nepal with Rishikul Yogshala and assisted in a 200-hour teacher training program. I provided hands-on adjustments in Hatha and Ashtanga yogasana classes, and taught six Sanskrit classes focusing on prayers, mantras, and posture names and translations. I also taught morning drop-in classes to travelers in the area, with each class tailored to the students’ ability and expectations.

Now that I hold a teaching certification, I am excited to bring the skills learned in India back to Michigan where I’ll share my six years of practice with you, my home community. In addition to guided instruction and hands-on adjustment, I will share Indian yogic wisdom and philosophy for living a more peaceful, happy life, and my own thoughts on finding and maintaining your bliss.

In my heart, I know that this practice can provide hope and peace to our communities, and it is my sincere desire to bring lasting, positive change to the area, starting with one body and one soul at a time. Regardless of your physical limitations or financial situation, yoga IS for you. I will do my best to make it accessible and useful for each student who practices with me.

Om shanti, friends. xxoo.


 

Classes in your area, designed for you!

FindYourFreedomI am now offering private and small-group yoga instruction in the mid- and northern Michigan areas. Personal instruction is a great option for anyone, regardless of experience or fitness level. Before the class, I will discuss your expectations and needs and design a class specifically for you. If you’d like to do virtual classes via Skype, we can do this, too!

These classes can be held in the comfort and privacy of your own home or workplace. Let’s talk about your needs and our location options! The cost will depend on the number of students and your location.

Regularly scheduled drop-in classes will be available in Midland, Bay City, Mt. Pleasant, Coleman, and Traverse City. I will offer classes for every body and level, ranging from beginners yoga and gentle class options, to intermediate and advanced vinyasa flow classes and a full, 90-minute traditional Ashtanga primary series. I also will include meditation, pranayama, and intentional relaxation into each class to provide a comprehensive session that will work on your mind, body, and spirit to promote health, peace, and happiness.

Dates and locations to come —- let me know if you’re interested and I can schedule these based in part on your schedule! Your first class is only a $5 suggested donation, and then follow-up classes will be offered for a series cost or a drop-in donation (suggested amount depending on length of class and location). I will also be guiding classes at studios in the area (detailed schedule to come), and the cost will vary based on each studio’s policies.

For more information, please call or message me at 989-854-2377, or shoot me an email at robinstremlow@gmail.com.

Shirodhara: An oil awakening [-poem-]

drip
drip
drip drip
drip drip
drip drip drip
streammmmmmmmm

Warm oil spills across my face
delicately pouring from a pot above my head
falling an inch below my hairline
just above my brows
flowing softly, tenderly across my skull
rushing gently to my temples
moving in a swirl of curls
pooling beside my head

Opening my one true mind,
the third-eye sleeping safely
deep inside my truth, my skull
life nectar careens, continues

With each molecule of fragrant oil
self and thoughts fade away
a peaceful passionate soul
slides in to take their place

Simple sweetness, supple power
an inner-knowing offers peace
to a muddled being, struggling
with decisions and the lack thereof

Shirodhara protects
covers, uncovers, reveals
a lamenting heart, learning
how to disappear and live again

Minutes, hours, lives pass by
truth and grace remain
to hold the hands and heart
of a woman, a soul, awakening

With each molecule of fragrant oil self and thoughts fade away a peaceful passionate soul slides in to take their place

 

India: An evening in early summer [-poem-]

Copper heat
Saffron glow
Green mango trees, emerald gardens
Skies hazy from cooking fire
Smoke

Aarthi melodies
Cricket bat cracks
Chatting and chirping of birds, young boys
Delights for wandering ears
Souls

Quick and calm serenity
A purpose understood
This life is passing, enjoyed
With compassion and care
Love

A mother’s crimson mark
On foreheads, in hair parts
Reminders of a legacy, a future
For the children of tomorrow
Now

Shanti
Shanti
Shanti

Peace
Peace
Peace

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My Story

~ This was originally prepared for the Wild Woman Community, a website to help guide and support Wild Woman through the sharing of stories. Check out the website at www.wild-woman.com, or connect with the group on Facebook. ~

I’ll warn you that the story I’m about to tell often isn’t pretty. It’s not a fairy-tale or romance novel. It’s complicated, confusing, racy, and raw. This story isn’t pretty but it’s the only story I could ever tell, and it’s the only story I could ever live. This story isn’t pretty, but it’s my own.

This is my story.

I traveled the country in a teal, 7-person minivan that could never be large enough for two fighting parents and four competing siblings headed south for family vacations to Civil War sites, presidential palaces, and the occasional amusement park that offered a 2-for-1 deal.

I smoked Marlboro cigarettes with my adolescent friends inside sewer tunnels, behind abandoned buildings, and outside Wednesday night church services.

I dyed my hair white and pink and black and blue in an attempt to rebel and break my farming community’s expectations for well-behaved youth.

I proudly and arrogantly wore the title of Class President, Cheer Captain, and Homecoming Queen candidate.

I was raped in a walk-in closet by a large, terrifying man with skin a color very different from my own. I made futile attempts to push his weight off my weak teenage body, quivering with pain and crying with frustration. I didn’t tell my friends because I felt ashamed and guilty and gross. He told his friends to call him Cane.

I stood in a stainless steel-laden emergency room and gazed at a twinkling diamond adorning the ear of my dead friend who passed away at 17 in a naive yet heroic attempt to save her drug-dealing boyfriend from a life behind bars, only to then inhale a white line up my nose, without remorse, just days later.

I encouraged a young Chinese child to block out the bustling city around us and offer me a sign of peace and comfort in a smog- and construction crane-filled Beijing already prepping for the Olympic games.

I sped through the streets of Switzerland, singing and laughing in a car filled with as many nationalities as there were seats. I then had one-night stands with a Portuguese 20-something named Casper and a teenage Canadian hockey player still holding his v-card until I took it.

I helped run a bakery in the lush hills of Puerto Rico during a hurricane, just moments after a friend and I did shots of Dynamite and danced in a bar packed with a few-too-many dangerous men.

I was robbed by a gangster who caught me catch him dealing drugs in a ghetto, only for his lips to insist I smoke a joint with his friends inside a stone gazebo just minutes later.

I dined with dignitaries and soccer players and European models while caring for a young Senator’s son who was blessed or maybe cursed to be born with an Italian silver spoon in his mouth and a too-busy-and-pretty socialite as a mom.

I befriended a burka-wearing woman in a hotel hot tub on a quaint island coast just east of Madagascar. We discussed religion and the roles of women in our polar opposite worlds and then she used perfect penmanship to craft the script still adorning my wrists. Freedom and life are two things we both longed for, two things we both loved.

I spent a week in Amsterdam cleaning for an exiled-IRA member in exchange for supplies of brushes and speed so I could paint a psychedelic mural on the stone street-facing wall of our shared squat which got running water from a garden hose hooked to the apartment above.

I felt the strange sensation of being dreadfully alone in an endless sea of people as I prayed at the pantheon and listened to Pope Benedict preach to thousands in the Citta del Vaticano.

I waited for a war to subside in an Israeli bomb shelter for a week, wondering if the dozens of young people I shared my summer with would ever make it home to their countries thousands of miles away, to friends and families anxiously watching CNN, in fear another bomb may have fallen in our area.

Fueled at first by my lack of funds and sustained by my insatiable curiosity for Christ, I mingled with the monks and brothers of Taize in a small monastery in the south of France. I cleaned toilets with teens from Lithuania as a tradeoff for living there, and then I unsuccessfully attempted to silence my speech with a Swedish girl adopted from Sri Lanka.

I hurt a kind man very cruelly while he fought for my heart and battled heat and utter brutality while also fighting for my country, thousands of miles away in a Mideast desert city doing damage to its people and to the mind of my very own soldier.

Clothed in a plastic Ghostbusters suit and armed with a toxic chemical concoction and a cheap plastic spatula, I picked and peeled the bloody brains and splattered remains of a man who took his own life in a knotty pine, northern Michigan bedroom.

I flirted and toyed with a pair of cops while I clutched an underage-drinking ticket in my hand, drunk and desperate, upset not that I’d broken the law but that I’d have to ask my parents yet again for rides to work and money for fees and lawyers.

I witnessed the violent suicide attempt of a lover, horrified and helpless as I watched the pulsing blood spray from his neck and splatter on mid-February snow. I felt the weighty power of guilt and regret, somehow managing to carry around a big bag of what-ifs for years afterward.

I lived in a sorority-style party house just blocks from the coolest campus in our state. In two years, I drank and danced more than any human body is designed to handle in a lifetime. I made friends with snobs and junkies and artists paying for their college from trust-funds, drug deals, or, like me, an endless supply of unforgivable debt from our nation’s biggest bank.

Using an anvil of felt-covered speakers, I regretfully broke the nose and spirit of a girl who defended a guy who pompously attempted to display his dominance over me in a crowded, techno-filled basement bar. My friends rushed me into hiding and handed me a shot as I watched her get whisked away by bouncers.

I devoted my nights and weekends to a chaotic newsroom, learning the process and payoff of passionate work with a few dozen underpaid but dedicated journalism students, some of who would publish in the New York Times and Washington Post just a few years later.

I felt piercing pain and awe-struck disbelief as the man I planned to spend my life with cheated and lied, and then created human life with another while the two of us fruitlessly clung to our crumbling life together. I continued to work the reel of my romantic film, frame by frame, before it unraveled, tragically, as some blonde bimbo with little teeth squeezed me from my starring role.

I embellished my body with glitter and gold as I made a weekly appearance at the gay bar next door and the blackout ballroom in my mind, stopping at the eyepatch-wearing neighbor’s house on more than one occasion, who would hit on me then pass me blunts with a black, pistol-holding hand.

I ingested the poison and madness of monotony as I pushed open heavy metal doors and walked past security guards at a safe, secure, government job for five soul-sucking years. I befriended the Indian data geeks, using them as my sole method for cross-cultural immersion in a building strategically set for mice in a cage.

I twirled barefooted to the sounds of squealing guitars and dynamic drum beats in summer’s sweltering Tennessee heat, high on life and hallucinogens with my very best friends. I let go of my corporate composure after re-finding freedom and center in a field of hula-hoops and fire dancers.

I helped take away the only positive things remaining in my best friend’s life, two young, beautiful children, after hearing her reveal that she’d given her life to heroin and meth. What I perceived as a call for help may very well have been her last attempt to open up.

I defensively explained to judgmental ears why I felt called and compelled to sell half my belongings and pack away my life and relationships in an attempt to finally find purpose and peace in the jungle, and then relocate without prospect to the best west coast city there is, Portland.

I learned the connection of mind, body, and spirit as I woke at 5 a.m. each morning, committed to letting the sun drive my days that were filled with communal cob building, rainy afternoon yoga, and waterfall revelations.

I felt the gnawing teeth of a parasitic worm living in my leg, feeding on my muscles for nourishment and strength, somehow convincing my psyche to let him stay a bit longer… Others told me that if this child of mine were to die while still inside my body, I very well may die, too. I spent a week drinking, developing the courage required to bear the pain of his death…

I made love to a bohemian gypsy musician whose birth name I didn’t know, on a beach lit by a bright white Nicaraguan full-moon. He led me to a spiral in the sand where we handed me hash and asked to join me on my adventures northward. I kissed him goodbye, telling him I’d see him someday, a day that has yet to come.

I sat in lotus beside a stone totem for wisdom as I listened to my future unfold from a Mayan shaman. She told me I’m destined for partnered creation but that I must keep dance and change in my life… We looked across the magical, mystical lake at a plume of smoke rising from the Vulcan de Fuego.

I forced myself to move back home, still my steps, and intentionally create space, making my mind endure the pains of my past and reflect on the lessons learned through years of avoidance and attempts to escape whatever uneasy situation I found myself in at 15, 20, or 25.

I submerged my soul into ice-cold uncomfort, day after day, week after week, willing a release that would finally free my mind from the torturous, unfulfilling cycle of my own social butterfly life… of the butterfly who never grew wings but instead chose to fight nature and continually rebuild a warm cocoon of relationships or substance-filled anonymity, time and time again, and never truly fly toward her fate.

Then somehow, for some reason, I stopped…

I let go. Of plans. Of will. Of regret.

I shattered my walls of control already cracking with the pressure of freedom’s roots, fighting to grow through crevices created by flashes of vulnerability and softness.

I surrendered my life to the artist in the sky who’s been prepping the paints and palette for my life’s work, who has been giving my hands necessary practice with each pitfall and each triumph, giving my heart inspiration from each traveler I encountered who was either adventuring in the physical world or in the endless Universe of the mind…

I took a breath… Then another… And another…

And suddenly, I saw my life as it truly was.

I saw my dreams coming to fruition in my mind’s all-knowing eye and I saw my talents propelling me forward toward beauty and grace and wisdom…

I knew then all I needed to know.

I realized I’ve always had all the tools I’ll ever need inside my head and inside my heart.

I understood truth, and what it means to be free.

I decided to cocoon for one final time, but instead of creating a chrysalis for protection, I created a chrysalis for lasting, genuine change that would create the butterfly I was always meant to be.

I rested inside the cocoon for a while, just enough to catch my breath and let wings form beautifully around my body…

Then, I emerged. Materialized. Manifested.

I became willing and ready to work toward wisdom, impassioned to find and share truths, and inspired to paint my life in such a way that my canvas may inspire others to do the same.

Now I am here, grateful and honest and always open…

Now I am here, grateful and honest and always open…

Now I am here, grateful and honest and always open…

Sweet, sweet India. [-poem-]

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India.
Dancing, intricate steps. Fluid movements.
Each day. Each night. In sunlight, starlight, to a melody all her own.

India.
Mother India.  Like the mother who gave you life.
She soothes your heart while wishing, waiting patiently for a child too old, too busy to pause.

India.
A beautiful, beautiful home.
She welcomes you without hesitation, providing a warm place for your head, your soul.

India.
A mystical magical world, evoking wonder.
A land and people of color, of scent, of softness, of spice.

India.
You’re free to lose your self, finally, in the beauty of life.
This beautiful, beautiful life.

India.
Surrender.
In sweet, sweet India.

India.
Come home.
To sweet, sweet India.

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Come home. To sweet, sweet India.