Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ode to india

I've been pretty quiet on the blog front in recent months. Let's see, perhaps it's because I got married in April, moved into a bare apartment that same month, spent my entire break from school in Kansas celebrating with family/friends (having a blast!) and then dove right back into studying upon my return to sunny California. Then, it was three months of studying followed by our August adventure, which left me exhausted and back to studying. Oh, and by the way, I contemplated, deeply I might add, writing something in regards to the aforementioned "August adventure;" however, if that ever happens you'll have to pay me for it. No, really. That material deserves a book of it's own. I know Uli and Luke will back me up on that.

So, why am I writing today? More or less, just for the hell of it. I'm hoping to keep this blog hanging on for now and then revamp it when Thomas and I again have time to travel. I'm sure you'll see a few posts about our travels here on the West coast in the next few years.

Despite the fact that I can't seem to keep one blog going, I'm planning on getting another one started soon for health, wellness, yoga and acupuncture related topics. So, in case you don't have enough "health tips" popping up on your news feed, then you'll be able to check out mine. On a more serious note, I am learning a lot of really cool alternative health tips (user friendly I might add). The blog will be part of a future website for my business related endeavors.

Oh yes, I did have something more exciting to share with you today. Almost a year ago, I flew to India for the first time and as you might recall, I found it to be a fascinating place. Here is where I go on to explain how it changed my life and I plan on returning there and opening a yoga center/orphanage. No, I won't be doing either of those things; however, India did change me, in the same way that any other day of your life can change you. Often, days, people, places or thoughts change the way we see the world around us and for a fleeting moment we realize it and we realize that we can never see the world as we once did. It's always for the better, that is, if we can find the place of acceptance within ourselves.

I will return to India. It is known to travelers when they will return to trace some of their past footsteps. Until then, I look back on my experience in India with nothing but joy.

Have a look yourself:

This is just a short video along the ganges river. It was close to the end of my time in Rishikesh and it was I think the only time I took one of the jeep taxis.


Monday, June 25, 2012


Looking to brand a new style of yoga...look no further...

1. Mind Buddhi Yoga (manifest your buddhi)

2. Shaktify Yoga


4. Yogalution

5. [anything] Flow (because adding the word "flow" always makes sense and basically means yoga)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"different names for the same thing"

About a year ago, the thought of changing my last name was daunting to say the least. Why should I wake up one day with a different last name? Won't I always be a Driskell? Well, yes to answer that as briefly as possible. But also, no...

Slowly, I came to realize the importance, and lack there of, when it comes to a name. Thomas and I agreed that we would like to share the same last name and that name would be his. However, my perception of myself was, and still is, closely tied to my family name to the point that I once felt the need to defend it and keep it as my own. Talk about attachment issues, yes those I do have.

I will also admit to the fact that I felt some feminist voice scratching at the back of my throat trying to get the point across that I didn't have to take my husband's last name. I didn't have to follow tradition. blah, blah, blah. So, how to escape the conflict on one's own mind...?

Truthfully, I'm not so sure that I did. Doesn't that take a lifetime (or lifetimes)? I think I heard someone say that once or twice; regardless, I am slowly letting go of the name attachment one letter and account name change at a time. After all, throughout the world there are different names for the same thing. It's always the concept that sticks, names vary culture to culture and generation to generation.

Something for me to remember as I continue to adapt to seeing Hauser instead of Driskell...

"The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in a while, and watch your answers change." ~Richard Bach

Maybe I would add "what is your name?" to that list.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wedding Details

Thomas and I are getting married in just under 4 weeks! So, I just wanted to let everyone know what we decided on. We'll be getting married on April 13th, and yes we do realize that it's Friday the 13th. Since we met on a "Friday the 13th," it seemed like a nice date. Also, we thought the date would help us to not forget our anniversary in the future.

We'll be getting married in San Diego at Sunset Cliffs around sunset, 6:30pm to be exact. Neither of us have been here, but it looks something like this....

thanks google images
I originally tried to find something closer to Los Angeles, but quickly realized that the elopement business is more happening in San Diego. I think it has something to do with the nearby military bases. Setting it all up was really easy and the officiant seems laid back and gets great reviews.

It will be just the two of us, plus the photographer and officiant. The photographer is also doing a video for us, which is great for those of you who are dying to see us get married. We have him for four hours, so that will take most of our afternoon. We're meeting him at Balboa Park, which probably means nothing to you, but I'm really excited about it due to the fact that there are gardens designed like the Alcazar Castle gardens in Sevilla, Spain. I used to visit the castle on a regular basis while living in Sevilla to study.

google images again...

We'll stay near Sunset Cliffs until Sunday before making our way back to La Habra, and then slowly back to Kansas City the next week. The reception is on Friday the 27th at Cellar 222 in the Crossroads Art District of Kansas City, MO and we are so excited to celebrate with everyone! And yes, I will be wearing my dress to the reception...dinner, drinks, dancing!

Uncertainty is certain

In general, people want to be in the know. As in, we want to know what's coming next, so we can have some sort of "plan" or at least a glimmer of expectation. Why, if uncertainty is certain for all, do we suffer from some sort of perpetual attachment to the idea of a "certain" future? 

Certainly uncertain about something

This is, of course, something that I have struggled with personally and it most often comes to the surface at the suggestion of someone else. In other words, I do a pretty good job of "suppressing" (for lack of a better word) my attachment issues until someone else inquires nicely about my future in hopes of "being in the know." 

Example: most recently, I have been asked by numerous people; friends, family and acquaintances alike, where Thomas and I will be living in the future. It is a legitimate question and seeing how intriguing Thomas and I are, I understand why people are so curious. Haha, come on, I'm not that pretentious people. But really, what future are we talking about here? Next month? We will still be living right here in Southern California. Next year? Most likely the same. Five years? No. Idea. Why would we limit ourselves by saying otherwise? But let's not get carried away...

I am a work in progress and with that said, it does take me a good dose of self-reflection to eliminate the chances of some smart ass remark coming out of my mouth when asked such questions. Yoga helps with that, allowing me to find that place where I can separate myself from emotional reactions. So, for every time I'm approached with these questions, I get to practice again and again. Then I realize, again and again how much I have to learn when it comes to attachment and the concept of "never give up, always let go."

In essence, these occasions of kindhearted people showing interest in my life are just there to teach me something about what's going on inside myself. Often it works that way, if your eyes are open to it; and I'm not talking about the eyes in your head.

The joy and adventure of life are found abundantly in the vast land of uncertainty. That's what I believe, right? If so, would I be bothered by someone asking about my not-so-certain future? Somewhere, I am still overcoming my attachment to "being in the know," to planning the next adventure, the next educational pursuit, on and on it goes.

I don't think I'm alone in this really why are we attached to the idea of a certain future? Tell me what you think. Leave a comment, email me...tweet, facebook, you know what to do. I'm hoping to turn this into something. I just don't know what that something is yet.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life out west

So, I haven't been the best about keeping in touch with everyone, which is not really like me but everyone gets that way from time to time. A lot has changed in my life in the past few months and the fun is just beginning.

Let's see, since the beginning of the year I moved to California, started a new graduate school program, started a new teaching job, searched for/recently found an apartment, planned a wedding and of course spent a fair share of time studying. Yes, I've been busy, but thanks to my wonderful intern who provides stellar weekly acupuncture treatments and my daily yoga practice, I am rolling with it all.

On to what I really want to share...funny happenings in California. For the most part, living in Orange County is very similar to Johnson County. In general, things look polished and suburbia is flourishing with restaurants, targets, starbucks and strip malls. Well, there are probably more starbucks here when compared to JoCo, but I suppose that is just in proportion to the number of people living here.

It's not all same, same though. It's far more culturally diverse than living in Kansas. This past Friday I went to visit a mosque in a Middle Eastern community with a Muslim friend of mine, followed by a deliciously authentic falafel lunch. One of the people I live with is from El Salvador, various Asian restaurants are just around the corner and a few of my saved radio stations are Spanish.

Then, there are the few things I've noticed in California that make me laugh, and it's definitely not the traffic. Well, that's not entirely true, one thing is how people react to rain, which is related to traffic. In short, it's a very big deal here. Just last week, one of my professors waited ten minutes before starting class because it was sprinkling out. The biggest concern of course is how rain affects traffic, or in other words, people's lack of the ability to drive while it's raining.

Ok, so there is one more traffic related topic...speed limit and lane changing rules. It seems to me that neither of these are enforced. I've seen people driving their BMWs like complete jackasses cruising five lanes over, no signal needed. Seriously? The term "texas lane change" had to come from LA.

There are other minor differences of course, but it's still the land of the free or at least that's the idea. Oh, and there happens to be this really large body of water about 30 minutes away, I think they call it the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, the majority don't seem to notice it or the way it's being so poorly treated.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Luna de miel...

With only two months left on our long distance journey, I'm finding it more challenging to live in the present moment. I bring myself back again and again, but before I do that...

Thomas and I have known each other for less than a month. We are sitting on a dock on a small island in Panama, listening to really bad reggae music blasting from an early 90's sound system. To top it off, we are drinking rum and coke out of plastic cups, which is as classy as it gets on Isla Bastimentos. I don't remember exactly, but most likely there are children playing in the background. On this island there are always children running around with no parents in sight. Although this wouldn't normally be considered 'romantic,' we are in complete la-la (or as Thomas and I would say "lulu") land; you know, that phase of the relationship when everything is no less than perfect.  

Hesitantly, I say the following: "I think I'm falling in love with you." The few seconds it takes to get a response seem like hours. Then comes a slight laugh, a moment of self-doubt, followed by: "I already did." I don't think either of us said much of anything for a good while after that.

Our nine day Panama trip was a big milestone despite the short time we had known each other. You learn a lot about each other spending 24 hours a day together for nine days in a row, as I'm sure you can imagine. Even if I try, I cannot remember a single thing about that trip that I found annoying or cumbersome in any way. The five hours we spent standing on a bus going across a small mountain range on winding roads was spent talking about everything you could imagine. When we wanted to do something, we did it and when we wanted to just do nothing, we did that too. We hiked the tallest peak in Panama one day and spent the whole day laying around the next. No games, no guessing what the other person wanted to do or wondering how to act, just choosing free will moment to moment.

In retrospect that was one of the greatest lessons of all in yoga and life. Two people can be in relationship with each other free of conflict and complaint. We hear that conflict is good and it's ok to fight, and of course when ego comes into play (and it always does at some point) conflicts are there to be had and there is no reason to judge that as bad. However, I believe it is possible to have a relationship free of conflict and complaint. I've been there on occasion. That's not to say that Thomas and I are living some eternal bliss. We have also had so-called hard times in our relationship, when ego creeps in to play a bigger and bigger role. However, the knowledge and understanding of our potential plays a crucial role in our ability to keep moving and evolving individually and together.

Whether you have been married for years or never want to have any kind of long term commitment, we could all benefit from taking a moment to consider this potential to have conflict free relationships. It's something we speak of often in yoga philosophy and I would say it's a key teaching of many of the world's religions. Peace. Happiness. Free will. Harmony. All different ways to describe the same concept that penetrates the essence of the human experience.  

Monday, January 30, 2012


I will admit that I came to Los Angeles with some excitement regarding the abundance of yoga in "Rishikesh of the West," but the yoga scene here can be quite overwhelming. So many styles, so many teachers, so many studios, what's a yoga teacher/student to do?

Besides taking it an asana and a studio visit at a time, I have spent an unmentionable amount of time researching studios, styles, teachers, etc. Based on the information I have gathered I would like to propose a list of five necessary accomplishments for becoming a "famous" yoga instructor. That's obviously why I moved here, haha.

1. Have professional photography of you performing asana on a mountain or a beach or anywhere stunningly beautiful. We're not just talking any old forward fold either, it has to be either an arm balance or anything that makes you look freakishly flexible. You get extra points for less clothing, wearing mala beads and practicing whatever mudra makes you look the best.

2. Maximize your social media potential. You need at least all of the following: your own website, twitter account and facebook (personal and business). An optional, and  beneficial, extra is a youtube channel with instructional asana videos. Even just taking a few minutes to explain and demonstrate how to get into pincha mayurasana will suffice. Remember, less is not more in this case, and don't worry, the slight inflation of the ego is just a small sacrifice for reaching out to more students.

3. Be innovative and patent. Be innovative and patent. Be innovative and patent. I am sure you are the only person in the history of yoga who has practiced such and such. The more creative you get in this process the better; I would offer examples but of course I'm saving those for myself. 

4. Be part of a teacher training program or better yet, lead it yourself. This gives you more credibility and feeds your soul (and your bank account). Bonus dollars are awarded for leading this teacher training somewhere exotic, like Bali or the moon if that is a feasible option for you.

5. Get endorsed. It's preferable that this endorsement come from an eco friendly yoga clothing line or any other yoga related companies that sell props, mats, etc. Students want to know that you are 'living' yoga, which is reflected in your clothing, obviously. Well, clothing and what you eat, so a vegan gluten free raw diet is best. It's just good PR.

*Disclaimer: None of these will insure that you are actually a good teacher. ~namaste~

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Story of the Rings

Thomas left the states less than a week ago, which was only a week or so after we made the journey from Kansas to Los Angeles (Whittier to be more exact).  You would think that after nearly three years of various long distance patches (and hundreds of hours on skype) that the process of separation would be easier by now, but it doesn't really work like that.  Don't get me wrong, we handle it more maturely now than we did even a year ago, but the initial separation is still comparable to being punched in the stomach.  Well, I've never actually been punched in the stomach, so I guess I can't say, but you get the idea.  The worst part is that you know it's coming and there is nothing you can do to stop it.  Let me not digress too far in the "long distance" direction.

The good news of course is that we are on the home stretch of the long distance race, and the closer it gets to April the more excited I am to be getting married.  I know, I usually don't share things like that.  However, seeing as we're basically eloping, against the wishes of family and friends, I thought sharing some more personal details through social media would make up for it.  In case you didn't catch the sarcasm, I do realize that is a ridiculous proposal.  I'm very grateful for my understanding family and friends and their willingness to be respectful and supportive of our decision.

On that note, what I really want to share with all of you today is the story of our wedding rings.  I didn't want an engagement ring, which basically meant that I had to explain that again and again as people glanced at my left ring finger after hearing the good news.  I'll admit that it was mildly entertaining to see people's reactions.  Thomas and I knew that we wanted similar or somehow related wedding rings that were preferably hand crafted.  I suppose sometime last Spring we unconsciously put that particular intention out, but we never did any actual shopping around.

Fast forward to my time in India, where I'm feeling all "in line with the universe," where a vedic astrologer suggested that I wear a blue sapphire, where handcrafted fine jewelry is considerably cheaper than the west.  With these considerations, the idea of buying our wedding rings in India planted itself in my mind.  

I started looking around for local jewelers and ended up meeting a very interesting Indian jeweler named Om.  I made the effort to meet with him various times to talk about the price, design, etc., always over a cup of chai.  I started looking at the blue sapphires he had to offer, thanks to the astrologer bringing it to my attention but not really for the healing properties that he recommended.  As a side note, for that you have to buy a certain size based on your weight, the stone has to be touching your skin and you have to wear the stone on your arm for a few days to make sure it brings you good fortune, then it's made into a ring and on a certain day of the week you can start wearing it.  Anyway, to my surprise, I found one that I really liked even though I initially didn't imagine my wedding ring having any stone.

Thomas and I talked about it and decided to go for it.  I was hesitant at first, but I ultimately saw it as an opportunity to put what I was learning into practice by maintaining a sense of detachment from the outcome. So off to the ATM I went, which was somewhat risky considering I gave Om half the total, but I had met with him enough to trust him.  When he went MIA a few days later, I had a blink of a panic, but his friend next door kindly explained that Om had gone to his home village for a festival and would be returning the next day.  He did of course, we chatted briefly and he told me that the rings would be ready on Saturday.  That wasn't ideal, since I was leaving Rishikesh on Sunday, but he assured me that the rings were being made "shanti shanti" by the best local craftsmen.

As it turns out, they were made "shanti shanti" but Om and the craftsmen had a misunderstanding regarding the size.  Initially, when I went to pick them up on Saturday they were both my size.  Another blink of panic, more like a moment this time, and then Om assured me that it would be easily fixed by the time I left Sunday afternoon.  

Same size rings, Om in the background
I returned Sunday afternoon and only hours before leaving Rishikesh, I had both rings in the right size in my possession.  They are unique rings, and it doesn't bother me at all that the band is a little thicker than I wanted or whatever other small details didn't match my expectations.  Sometimes our expectations don't serve us well, and as long as we understand that we are free to not be "disappointed" by outcomes.  After all, it's just a ring.  I think we could all agree that although it's a nice outward symbol of love and commitment, it's only what's going on inside that really gives it meaning.  Try as we might to express love externally through material items, words and actions, can we ever really capture it's essence?  Maybe the best way to express love is not expression at all, but simply experiencing it.