June 2018 Point Reyes Yoga + Hiking Retreat

 

That’s right, we’re doing it again!

I’ll be back in Northern California the last weekend of June, and summer should be bustin’ out all over. Looking forward to sharing another yoga + hiking retreat with you. It’s a great chance to get a dose of sky, rock out an old-school vinyasa, luxuriate in a long meditation, and ramble together over sunburned conversation in the woods.

So please do join us.

What: Daylong Point Reyes Yoga + Hiking Retreat

When: Saturday, June 23rd, 12-5ish pm

Where: Toby’s Feed Barn, located at 11250 California Hwy 1, Point Reyes Station, CA. (About an hour northwest of SF and Oakland.) Drive up anytime Saturday morning to enjoy the first farmer’s market of 2018 in Point Reyes Station. Make your way to Point Reyes Yoga (formerly YogaToes, aka MC Yogi and Amanda Giacomini’s home studio) between 12-12:15pm for check-in and brief hellos. We’ll share a full vinyasa + meditation practice, take a quick break to change and refuel, and then head out for a 2-3 hour hike in the wilds of Inverness and Point Reyes National Seashore.

What To Bring: yoga mat, water bottle, solid hiking shoes, sunblock, rain gear (if it’s wet), and comfortable clothes. Wear layers, as temps can drop when the fog rolls in.

Registration: $50 covers a 2-hr hike and a 2-hr yoga/meditation class. Link is below! (Studio space is limited to 35, so it will definitely fill up.)

Questions: Email me at rachelmeyeryoga@gmail.com

UPDATE as of Feb. 5th: This retreat is now sold-out. To be added to a waitlist in the event of cancellations, email me at the address above.

 

I spent Election Night with Sally Yates. Here’s what I learned.

(HuffPost, November 2017)

Last Tuesday night, while voters across the country were surfing a big blue wave, I settled in for a hot date with Sally Yates. She was in conversation with Associated Press national political writer Lisa Lerer at Harvard’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics, and the room was packed. Security tape wrapped the entrances; police officers stood guard along the walls.

I haven’t been so fangirl-excited in a long time.

We’re talking SALLY YATES, PEOPLE.

She of Muslim-travel-ban-smackdown fame. She who schooled Ted Cruz on the Constitution. She who “nevertheless, persisted” in the face of religious bigotry.

As moderator Lerer quipped, “Sally Yates might be best well known for what she didn’t do — which was defend Trump’s travel ban.”

So what’d I learn?

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Me too. All of us. Yoga is no exception.

(YogaDork, October 2017)

I don’t know a single woman who’s never been sexually harassed, or worse. “Me too,” of course. Duh.

It is a part of growing up female.

You learn to clench your jaw and walk faster and stare straight ahead and just get away as quickly as you can, before the cat-caller or the construction worker or the guy following you can catch up.

And it’s as endemic to the yoga world as it is to the film world, or the political world, or the finance world.

When I teach the history of yoga, in particular the evolution of yoga in the 20th century, it’s a history of sexual predators. (Overwhelmingly) male gurus who employed their social capital for sex, manipulation, emotional abuse, you name it.

The last time I taught it, as I flipped through slide after slide of influential contemporary teachers, Pattabhi Jois and John Friend and Bikram and others whose abuses of power are still less public-knowledge (for now), the students just shook their heads in disbelief.

(“Him, too?” “Yeah, he’s in trouble for sex scandals, too. Next slide. Oh yes, him, too.”).

The shadow is real.

I have seen it myself.

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Buddhist Dance Company The Anata Project’s New Show Premieres Thursday

(Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, October 2017)

How do you have a conversation about “enoughness” in a city that is constantly hustling to create the latest million-dollar app?

San Francisco-based Buddhist choreographer Claudia Anata Hubiak’s latest work, Point of Dissolve, contemplates the tension between effort and ease and counters the idea that working harder leads to greater self-worth.

Hubiak’s dance company, The Anata Project, is a hybrid of Buddhist principles and contemporary movement arts, rooted in mindfulness, groundlessness, and embodiment.

At her company’s core is the concept of anatta, a Pali word that translates as not-self or egolessness. It also happens to be Hubiak’s middle name, given to her by the renowned Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, whom her parents studied with.

Point of Dissolve “addresses the cultivation of joy within a continuum of effort and ease,” examining the existential question of what it means to be “good enough,” to relax into what is without constantly striving.

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Reflections On Michael Stone, Mental Health, And Yoga’s Cult Of Positivity

(YogaDork, August 2017)

It’s over a month now that Michael Stone is gone.

What a strange word that is: gone.

Gone, Gone, Gone beyond Gone utterly beyond

Like many of us, I can’t quite believe it.

Michael’s face keeps popping up on my Facebook feed, and for a split-second my mind thinks it’s a new blog or an unheard podcast or an upcoming retreat, for the briefest moment excited to see what wisdom offering might be around the corner.

And then I remember he is gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

Gone from suffering into the liberation from suffering.

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Go To Your High School Reunion, Dammit

(Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, July 2017)

My 20th high school reunion is coming up next week.

How did THAT happen? More importantly: Should I go?

It’s in Nebraska, so I’d have to book a flight (with connections), rent a car, haul my kid across time zones, and find something decent to wear. Not to mention all that torturous small talk once I actually get there. As an introvert, trying to catch up on two decades of relative strangers’ lives over cocktail weenies and cheap wine is perhaps my worst nightmare.

There are a million reasons to just blow it off, not the least of which being that reunions in a post-Facebook world yield fewer surprises than they did before. Most of us are familiar with some version of one another’s lives, even if it’s a glossily curated edition.

But there’s a reason Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion became a cult hit. It articulated something most of us don’t say out loud: it can be so damn hard to go back.

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What Masculinity Looks Like

(On Being, July 2015)

In the yoga world, we use the Sanskrit phrase “Sthira Sukham Asanam” to describe the complementary balance of effort and ease, strength and softness necessary in every pose. Sutra 2.46 lays out the way in which each asana (literally, “seat”) should be a kind of relationship, an ongoing conversation between steady, active presence and yielding, relaxed stillness. The combination of the two qualities creates a yin-yang kind of wholeness that is strongly rooted, firm in foundation, confident and stable — and at the same time malleable, easy to adapt, gentle in spirit and undeniable in the face of transition. …

When I met my husband (unsuspecting, in a yoga class), I fell in love with his finely-tuned practice of Sthira Sukham Asanam. A longtime yogi, he was capable of being at once resolute and confident, tender and gentle. He could throw back a beer in one breath and quote Hafiz in the next. …

The most challenging practice has been finding center, grasping at sattva in the moments of sleeplessness, of relentless, bone-breaking parenting. Fumbling to stay calm at the changing table when the little man wriggles off. Struggling not to yell when he refuses to get into his high chair for the fiftieth time. Trying to be tender with one another when we’re both rundown and under-slept and haven’t showered in four days.

The idea is, of course, not to nail every posture (or every diaper change), but to let go and roll with the punches, to allow the sensations — the fear, the anger, the exhaustion — to move through you and to just get out of the way, exhaling into the quiet that’s always there under the chaos, paying attention to how everything is perpetually changing from day to day, moment to moment, breath to breath.

And then it passes.

 

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8 Tips For Officiating A Wedding

(Washington Post, June 2017)

So you’re officiating a wedding. No pressure, right? It’s only someone’s Biggest Day Ever.

Couples are increasingly choosing to have a friend or family member officiate their wedding ceremonies instead of a religious leader or civil servant. According to a recent study from Pew Research Center, 23 percent of U.S. adults describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular. And millennials, those born from 1981 to 1996, are far less religiously observant than the older cohorts. As these millennial marry and the power of organized religion dwindles, this trend will no doubt continue to grow.

Take a deep breath. You’ve got this. Here are some tips and things I’ve learned after officiating weddings in Thailand, California, New Hampshire and New York:

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Snow Day Tips For The Introverted Parent

(Quiet Revolution, January 2018)

We moved to the Pacific Northwest two years ago, and for the first time in my adult (read: parenting) life, I had to deal with snow days.

Snow days were so much fun when you were a kid, right? For me, growing up on the Great Plains, they were such a rare treat. We were hardcore, man. Fierce pioneers, braving the prairie blizzards. I remember going out during recess in South Dakota even when the wind chill was below zero: you just wore your snow pants and hung on for dear life.

But this, friends, this is a different beast. Folks around here aren’t used to snow and ice. Cities don’t have the same kind of infrastructure for dealing with such calamities. So last winter, as we were having an unusual amount of ice and snow, the school systems were buckling. Buses were stuck and delayed; roads were too icy to get kids home from school; days off right and left. And that’s rad when you’re a kid who can hang out and play all day or a solo adult who can chill on the sofa in front of the TV. Not so cool when you’re an introverted work-from-home mama, trying to figure out what the heck to do with tiny energetic humans all day long.

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How I (Gently) Weaned My Breastfeeding Toddler

(Parents Magazine, January 2018)

I weaned my son at 34 months.

Yep, that’s right: two months shy of age three.

I never intended to nurse that long. God, no. When my son was six months old, I officiated the wedding of two dear students. A mutual friend at the ceremony told me laughingly, radiantly, that her mother had nursed her until she was three.

I thought to myself, “HELL NO.”

Yet, there we were.

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