one little step….

It’s Monday again. We just celebrated Thanksgiving, and they’re already playing the Christmas music. Soon it will be New Year’s Eve and people will be making resolutions. Time passes so quickly, and it’s very easy to think life will begin some time in the future, when “things calm down”, or you don’t have to work so hard, or you’ve realized your dreams, or met the “right” person (YOU are the right person!), or you get yourself out of a rut emotionally, financially, or creatively. Life will begin when you have a different job, or you lose ten pounds, or have a bigger house or drive a different car. Life will happen during your two weeks of vacation time, or when you retire. As if your time is promised. As if life will wait for you to be ready. The thing is, this is it. Life is happening right now, today, in this very moment. And it might not look anything like the picture you’ve had in your head about how it “should” look; nonetheless, this is it.

One of the greatest gifts of a consistent yoga practice, is just the growing ability to face reality as it is, which is not always as we want it to be. To be present and awake and aware in each moment. To be accountable for how we feel and what we do (or don’t do) about it. To know ourselves, to discover what lights us up, what feeds our soul, what brings out that resounding YES. There’s the yoga that happens on the mat, and if you stay with it long enough, there’s the yoga that happens when your heart is broken. There’s the yoga of being betrayed. There’s the yoga of having a painful conversation or making a decision that fills us with the truth of this is what I need to do. There’s all kinds of yoga. For me personally, yoga grabbed me by the heart, and took me on a life-changing journey that required I shed anything that was not authentic to me. It has not always been a fun trip; in fact there are times it’s been incredibly painful. A couple of days ago I was talking about the “Dark Night of the Soul”, and I think for most yogis who practice consistently and with dedication, that’s not a part of the journey that gets skipped. But I’m at the point now, 20+ years in, and with that “dark night” way behind me, that I find the experience really exhilarating. (That doesn’t mean I don’t have tough days, they just don’t last 5 years ;-)). I could keep calling it a trip or a journey, but I just mean Life. Because that’s what it is. It’s an ever-changing ride where you either keep opening and growing and learning and becoming and accepting and surrendering and returning again and again and again to Love, or you slowly die. Sleepwalking is an option. Numbing out can be a way of life. People do it all the time. But it sure isn’t fun. I know, because I did it. For quite awhile I held on to my sad story and fed it and kept it alive and well. I used it to rationalize my unhappiness and poor choices. When I wandered in to my first yoga class, I was in an unhealthy relationship, I had no real idea what I was doing with my life (granted, i was 20, and what 20-year old does, but still, I was on the Road to Nowhere. At Columbia University with some amazing professors and some close friends, but really, a mess inside. From the outside, good. And that’s mostly what our culture encourages. You can be falling apart inside, but as long as you look shiny, carry on!)

I look back on my life then with some humor, and a lot of compassion for myself. I have incredible gratitude for everything that’s happened in my life, even the deeply painful stuff, because it’s brought me to this moment. And I understand what it is to feel alone, in darkness, like no one really knows you or sees you. I know the lie of that, because I’ve been there. Even though it isn’t true, it hurts with a reality that is like a knife in the heart. And I teach yoga and I write about these things because I know life does not have to be like that. It really can be so beautiful. The kind of beauty that makes your heart ache and your breath catch, and your eyes well up with gratitude, because, wow, I could have missed this. I could have slept right through this. I could have lived a life of unhealthy choices and blame and anger and despair and loneliness, and instead I get this. This chance every day to do whatever I can to spread some love. Some light. Some, hey, it’s okay, really. And I love my life today in a way the 20-year old me would never have believed or thought possible. It isn’t perfect. But my mind really doesn’t dwell on that. I have two healthy happy children, so I really have NO problems. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. I get up, and I do something all day that I find incredibly fulfilling, and that is such a huge blessing. I see the ocean, or a tree blowing in the breeze, and I think, wow. This is insane. This life is an embarrassment of riches. A feast for the soul. And when it’s painful, I know I’m being opened more deeply, I’m learning something or releasing something or realizing something. I do think there is some pain in this world that opens us a little too much. That leaves us raw and grieving. That opens a place in our hearts that will never fully close. But I also believe pain like that creates the most compassionate people. The people who go through that kind of pain and are still able to find the beauty in life are practicing the most advanced yoga there is. Because to me, it’s all yoga.

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of messages and comments in the threads about the tools I’ve personally used for healing. I teach yoga because it changed my life, and I feel if it worked in such profound ways for me, there’s the potential it could do that for anyone. That’s why I get so fired up in the yoga room. I think the potential for healing for many many people is greatly enhanced with some consistent yoga in the mix. If you want to be at peace, you are going to have to journey inward, and I don’t personally know of a better doorway to yourSelf than a yoga practice. (There may be, there are certainly many paths to One Love, I just don’t personally know one). I want to share this stuff because it’s no magic bullet, you have to be dedicated, but it has never let me down. Not once. That’s the reason we decided to stream some of our classes live from our studio in Santa Monica. Because I know there are people who are intimidated to come to a studio and check it out. And I know in some places in the country and the world, there aren’t yoga studios on every corner. I realize a lot of you are yogis, and many of you already practice with me through our live-streaming site. But because you’re all so amazing about sharing these posts, our tribe is growing rapidly which makes me so grateful and so happy. And I just wanted to offer any of you who aren’t already, the chance to practice with me for free for 15 days. I’d be totally honored to hang with you in your living room and see if we can make some magic happen. If you’re not into it, you just cancel before the 15th day. But if you feel like this Monday, you want to take one little step, I just thought…this might be it. If you took a class every day for 15 days, I can almost guarantee you’d start to feel a shift happening in your life. If you want to give it a go, use the coupon code “lovemyfbtribe” at

I really hope that’s helpful to some of you. Sending you a ton of love, as I always am, Ally

Leave a Reply