I came to Miami Beach 9 years ago. It was a toss-up, I may as well have thrown a coin. It was either here or Southern California. I chose Miami. There was a year-long program I was excited to immerse myself in happening close by, I was excited to live life in a new location and to grow more as a Human Being, with different scenery and different challenges. The scenery changed dramatically from my Northeast roots, and so did the challenges. I was alone here, I was starting from scratch, I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have friends, and I didn’t have a family. All I had was this idea that I wanted more of life and I wanted all the challenge, excitement, and uncertainty that comes with going it alone in an unknown place. I felt also that I had outgrown the area and the community that raised me.
I had long outgrown the person I knew myself as. I was ready for a big change. Miami and I could not have been more of an odd couple. I was never attracted to so many of the things that others look to her for. After a year in Miami, and a lot of introspective and extroverted work, I was offered a rare opportunity seemingly out of nowhere to live with my teacher Sadhguru in a 3 month long once in a lifetime program almost entirely in silence, in the most spiritually supportive environment I could have dreamed of, with Isha Institute of Inner Sciences. So I dropped everything and went. I came out of that program with something that I can’t even give words to. Again starting from scratch, no plans, no agenda and just ecstatic to be alive.
While I was at peace inside and needing nothing, I realized soon, however, that I needed to work since all of anything I had slowly dried up. It was time to figure out how I would live until I made a decision where to spend the next chapter of life. As life and Miami does, soon enough it pulled me into its swell. I didn’t care what Ide do for a living, I was just ecstatic to Be. As I asked above for guidance. It came as a phone call one evening. For 3 previous months, I had been asked by a local Yoga studio owner if I would like to teach, I always said no. I never planned on teaching, it was never part of a plan, I had never even thought about it. So one night when the phone rang after asking above for guidance, and it was another invitation to teach; I realized I had been ignoring the call for months. I was willing to do anything, but teach? I had far too much respect and reverence for Yoga to deem myself worthy of sharing its sacred passage to another human. After all, I wasn’t familiar with the Western brand of Yoga, when all my Yoga experience was with my only teacher, Sadhguru, in a traditional environment. I didn’t even know how that would be received here in Miami.
When the call came that evening. I finally said yes. I would choose to start on the next full moon. And so it began.
Not long after beginning to teach, the mysterious whirlwind of life brought a studio into my space that I would now co-manage and co-run with my partner at the time. Talk about life on fast forward!
There was no slowing down after that. Life ushered me along in fast forward. I finally surrendered to and began to listen intently to the whispers guiding my passage through life’s journey and trusted in the process even when it felt impossible to, even when my own “survival” was at stake.
After some time, I moved on from running that Yoga studio. Again, starting from scratch. What would I do next? Maybe it was time to move on, try something new, move to another place. That clearly was not meant to be! I soon found myself in an interview to manage the Yoga and Wellness program at an incredible place called The Standard Spa and Hotel in Miami Beach. I knew nothing about The Standard, had never been, in fact, I was under the impression that I was interviewing to teach Yoga classes! All I knew was that it seemed like everyone loved to work there. It seemed happy, laid back, unique and above all, it felt special. I didn’t want to work a 9-5 at this point in my life, I just wanted to practice all day and teach! I was about to say no to the unexpected and unplanned job opportunity when something miraculous happened. As I asked my interviewers for some time to think about it, I noticed a Warby Parker stand in the lobby, they had a small collection of vintage newspapers that were not for sale but only for display. A few minutes prior, I asked above for a sign if I should accept this job; who does that right? I do.
Within moments, I noticed a vintage newspaper on the stand from the 1960’s with a huge picture of a not so well known Yoga teacher whose book I had been reading the entire week! His name was Swami Satchidananda. This was all I needed, most of my reluctance took a back seat and trust took the wheel as I stepped into the unknown yet again. My chapter at The Standard was a defining one. I loved every bit of it even though it wasn’t all sunshine and cotton candy. It was at times a bumpy ride, it was full of immense challenges and many moments where it would have been easier to simply give up. The experience, however, was a beautiful one, I made a new family in Miami. A family of travelers like me. At some point, I outgrew this as well. It was time again to move on. It was a hard decision but I made it. The unknown still called to me, and wouldn’t leave me. Teaching full time again became life, in addition to being a massage therapist which was an intensive full-time training I somehow managed to fit in between the whirlwind of everything else happening.
This whole body of words and recollections still only touches the surface of an experience behind words. I have met some incredible humans, I have said and will always say that I have the best students if I can even call them that. I have always attracted in my classes the kindest, generous, conscientious, loving people; or should I say they attracted me. We found each other. Many times class felt like church, like a baptism for us all, sometimes like a deep vortex into a place unknown within each of us and other times it just felt like Love. I am grateful for all of it. I can’t thank everyone individually, so many have come and so many have contributed.
I wouldn’t call this a goodbye. I will be back to teaching. Maybe in a month or maybe more. I don’t know. I’ll teach here and there, but in the meantime, I’ll be around. For now, my public classes are on hold. It’s time for a break. Pressing pause. Gone fishing. Love you.
amy demoga says
Much love to you Elgar, you will be missed.
Love,Amy (the Standard and your Tuesday night equinox class!)
Congratulations on your next exciting chapter of change and adventure. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, teachings and friendship. Best of luck to you my sweet friend