Yoga in Charlottesville and Beyond

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The not getting it

I love meeting and reading about people who have ‘got it’. Awakening, enlightenment, inner peace, truth, self-realization, call it what you will. And the understanding that ‘getting it’ is tantamount to ‘losing it.’ That the self doesn’t get anything as in understanding or accumulation, but loses the identification with it’s stories. Ok got it. Umm.. not got it? So I decided I will write about not getting it and what that is like. Cause of course, not getting it is it as everything is it, right? Super frustrated yet? ‘I’ am lol.

What’s it like not getting it? First of all you believe very deeply there is something to get. To describe the feeling state of this belief I will use the image of chakras or energy in the body. Belief is not something that is just an idea in your head, that, when seen by awareness is instantly freed in your consciousness. Or maybe that’s how it is for some. Not here. (Believing in) belief for me is felt in the body and psyche as a discomfort. It might be the inner cringing of insecurity, it might feel like the burning in the face of anger or shame, it  might feel like gut wrenching sorrow. Nothing wrong with emotions or the emotional body. But when emotions are fueled by belief, there is a distinct feeling of ‘me-ness’ to them. That those emotional chakra feelings belong to ‘me;’ as if they are owned by someone. As if I own my body. This is a belief that is so ingrained that I don’t think any amount of yoga or meditation is sufficient to unlatch it in the psyche (but I might be wrong as I don’t get it..). But what I do get is the suffering part, the discomfort part, the inner or outer conflict part which is the byproduct of this belief in a ‘me’ who owns emotions and thoughts.

So naturally the me looks for help. And there is a lot of help out there. I looked to nature/contemplation first of all and then yoga and meditation and then spiritual inquiry. All the while understanding that firstly, the looking to escape suffering is ‘it’ as well, and that the seeking, which is natural, one can’t help it, is itself the confirmation of the belief in a separate ‘me’ that is the cause of suffering. Frustrating? What to do? When you don’t get it, the energy to keep on trying feels like the energy of a spinning top. I’m guessing it might slow down from entropy, where the mind of cause and effect, control and time comes unraveled and gives up.

But, one deeply lodged belief that has lost it’s spin for me is unworthiness. So I’m super grateful for all those teachers and teachings that helped ‘me’ (see how fun it is to not be able to point to oneself without quotes) see how deeply that ‘I’m not enough’ belief was lodged in the chakras. That was a huge relief and that entropy is ongoing I guess.  The signs that that belief was falling away: not taking things like criticism as personally (some of it totally impersonally) as before, the need to defend lost it’s urgency, the ability to say ‘no’ very easy now, the ability to say ‘I love you’ to myself (and others) easier. Those are a few signs. ‘I’m not enough’ is the same as belief in separate me. If you are an isolated, independent entity, well of course you are not enough. Religion told me from a young age that not only was I not enough, but I was born a complete disaster.. a sinner! (or being female, a double sinner!) So of course chakras were full up of that crap.

Belief in beliefs is mostly unconscious. So contemplation, therapy and all the other healing modalities can be really useful for bringing them to the surface where sometimes entropy takes over and beliefhumm energy putters out. Beliefs that previously felt like solid bars of a cage can be seen and felt as holograms or transparent, and mind just goes right through them and out of that cage (that never was real to begin with).




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When I started studying yoga in India in 2003, I was taught that yogis should be ‘sattvic’ or pure. Traditionally, that meant no meat, alcohol, coffee, negative thinking, complaining, laziness; any ‘bad habits’ whatsoever. What I did with that teaching, however, was to basically push away my perceived ‘bad tendencies’ (tamas or rajas in yoga language) deep into my subconscious where they festered. Accordingly, I projected these tendencies on to others: the bad corporations who destroyed the rainforests, the warmongering politicians, insensitive family members, and so on. Later, these projections and sublimations quite naturally made me sick in the body/mind which culminated in 2012 as life threatening illness. I’m not saying that all illnesses have that as cause, but for me, unconsciously ignoring, justifying or identifying with what was unmet inside of me definitely contributed. What I understood from the wonderful opportunity illness gave me to stop all the doing and just see, was that sattva or purity means (to me now), is unconditional love. Or awareness or presence. That everything is allowed when it is seen through or lovingly understood with the heart. The ‘negative tendencies’ are the attachments to beliefs or thoughts or actions. Or you could say that any judgement on others or oneself is a believed belief and that beliefs have no truth to them at all. That concepts and words and rules and guidelines .. none of them are real outside of their own self referential, imagined worldview.  That truth can’t be found out from thought or study or yoga or practice as it is our very essence. You can’t learn it, deserve it, own it, because it is not an it. You are not an it; truth or reality is unnameable and is one with all the thoughts, beliefs, labels, forms. So all forms are beautiful in their essence. The recognition of beauty, love, acceptance (in other words, ‘sattvic tendencies’) is not accessible by way of thought or mind. And suffering comes from conceiving forms (including your body/mind) as having separate existences when none can possibly exist, therefore creating a unresolvable contradiction or contraction inside. For me now, imagined departure from ‘sattva’ means basically just a simple misunderstanding-the unreal (thought or belief) mistaken for the real (unnameable presence) – and that does not feel good inside either physically or emotionally. We often attach to things, ideas, activities and other people to try to remove those uncomfortable feelings rather than let them be felt and let them guide us home. You can use alcohol, sex, drugs, relationships, yoga, meditation, internet, therapy, study .. it doesn’t matter what, in order to seek what you already are and what every imagined ‘thing’ is. Once you recognize unnameable essence as everything, yoga or anything else, becomes not a practice or an avoidance strategy, but a divine play–a fun, empty echo of silent truth.

Next playful yoga event is Yoga on the Vine, hosted by Open Heart Yoga Center at First Colony Vineyard. Saturday, April 29th 12.30-3.00 at First Colony in Charlottesville. Signup required as we need to organize the food: Yoga on the Vine






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Sunra Yoga Teacher’s Training Course November 24th-Dec 14th 2017

Hi Dear Friends and Yogis!

I am super excited to give you all the information about Sunra Yoga’s annual TTC this year which will be held in my all time favorite place in the world: Dahab, Egypt! I will be teaching along with my mentor and friend, yogi extraordinaire- Barbara Gordon- as well as other guest teachers.

This course is holistic in scope and based on Sivananda teacher’s training. You don’t have to be super fit or bendy to do this course. You do need to want to go deep into your practice on all levels: body, mind and spirit and come with an open mind and heart.

We will do lots of practice outdoors and spend time in silence. The location is on the Red Sea in a locally run very private and quiet B & B. There is a fabulous pool and diving and snorkeling on the coral reefs right in front of the hotel. This is a small group course so you get lots of individualized attention and come out of the experience with the confidence to teach right away if that is your goal. Even if you don’t want to teach you will gain huge self confidence on all levels. This is a life changing experience.

For the middle week of the TTC, we will travel 70km North of Dahab and stay right on the beach of Nuweiba, where we will be fully immersed in nature so no distractions at all. Listen to the waves break and the wind sing as you meditate and practice in one of the most naturally beautiful and peaceful places in the world in basic, rustic accommodations.
£1950.00 per person in a twin share room (2400 USD )
Single supplement subject to availability

Half board (daily breakfast & dinner except the free days when breakfast only is included)
All tuition (200 Hrs)
Manual & Teaching Qualification and Diploma recognised by the Yoga Alliance
Return airport transfers from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport

Flights & holiday insurance

Here is the link for more information and signup:

2017 Teacher’s Training in Dahab

Also please feel free to email me directly at

Here is a photo of the pool! You can see the sea in the background.

Namaste xxx

monica yoga treepose



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Balance and Presence


In yoga we do lots of balance poses to help stabilize the mind and body. In meditation we practice or realize resting as awareness. In day to day living it’s easy to get carried away by thought, by the monkey mind, always swinging up and down and taking that peace we experience in meditation apparently away. When the mind is stabilized in yoga it is possible to get glimpses of the peace that lies beyond the veil of the mind. Sometimes the glimpses stay a while, sometimes they don’t and are momentary and fleeting. Some few people shift permanently whereby they consistently see all thoughts to be untrue, including the thought of an individual self, and reality to be an omnipresent perfection beyond all conceptualization. We all know this already deep down in the deepest recesses of our minds. We can intuit  that everything we know is a function of thought but that reality itself is not. That our brain is limited and cannot answer the all the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ that our spirits long to know. To be self realized is to understand the unreality of the made up ego self and to live not from beliefs or concepts, but from awake, alive Presence or Awareness. bilalPhoto: Belal Ibrahim, Dahab-Lighthouse


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Yoga Holiday on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Summer 2017

Hi beautiful yogis and yoginis. We are loving the cold and the snow currently in Virginia! And sometimes not… so my thoughts moved to summer and heat and then I remembered how sticky and uncomfortable summer can be here in Virginia (and elsewhere). A friend recommended to me an amazing natural location in Nova Scotia which can accommodate a nice sized yoga retreat without it feeling cramped or too much. There are individual yurts and cabins available with their own hot tubs! And shared farmhouses with kitchens. And even camping if you want. So this holiday is going to be for anyone who wants a yoga/nature getaway in summer. There is beach /ocean front as well as gentle streams and rivers that you can kayak on. I plan to include some pampering massages and facials as part of the week and on going on daily hikes and having as much yoga/meditation outdoors as possible! We will see lots of wildlife: moose, eagles, maybe whales!  You can even bring your pet if you want! Please let me know if you are interested. Tentative dates are beginning of July or beginning of September.