Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Over 20 years ago I entered my first yoga teacher training program with absolutely no intention on teaching. I had two babies at the time, and I simply wanted to learn more about the spiritual side of the practice which I was not entirely receiving in regular classes. Two decades, numerous trainings, and one entrepreneurial leap later, Yoga Garden has provided education for hundreds of students and teachers across the country based on the Holy Science of Yoga.
Many old adages can sum up the spiritual path, one of my favorites being that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, attendance in church on Sundays was a way of life; and it was not until I attended university that I was introduced to different religions and spiritual paths. My eyes were further opened through the philosophy of yoga and various mystical studies. Ergo, down the rabbit hole I went!
But one thing remained constant through these explorations: my experiences and path kept circling back time and time again to the undeniable divinity found in Mother Nature through her ebbs and flows, and cycles of life. There are many beautiful ways to honor the cycles of life and the divinity within from all cultures and traditions. I believe that through deep inward exploration everyone can experience their own insights and awakenings, discover the practices that speak to them, and experience creative bursts that feed the soul… that ever-present and über powerful bliss within. From this belief the “Mindful Muse” programs that I now teach were born.
In our Mindful Muse circles the Wheel of the Year is our guide. This ancient calendar of sorts originates from a variety of non-denominational earth-based and indigenous spiritual traditions and consists of eight seasonal holidays. These holidays include four Esbats (Summer and Winter Solstices, Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes) and four Sabbats or Agricultural/Fire Festivals (cross quartered between the Solstices and Equinoxes).
We create a safe, nurturing, and enlightening space for seasonal practices and suggestions for ritual and ceremony to aid in turning the Wheel of the Year by returning to and remembering our connection with Mother Earth and her seasonal flows. It is a form of remembrance - remembering our higher-self through yoga and movement, meditation and mindfulness, reflection, ceremony and celebration, spiritual study, and selfless service to ourselves and others. If even a small portion of this resonates with you, we invite you to join us.
Finding your own practice is ongoing work, ever evolving as we learn, grow, and change. Whatever the practice, I encourage students to allow every movement, every breath, and every thought to be an offering towards an intention, goal, or prayer. Practice becomes firmly grounded when attended to for a long period of time, without break, and with complete devotion. -Yoga Sutra 1:14.
Dharma Richards is Co-Founder and Director of Teacher Training at Yoga Garden Pittsboro, and Founder, Owner, and Senior Teacher of Yoga Garden Apex. For information about her programs at Yoga Garden Pittsboro, visit yogagardenpbo.com/mindful-muse or dharmarichards.com.