WALKING A MYSTICAL PATH WITH PRACTICAL FEET
Andrea: “Hey Sis, I’m doing a 3 month yoga teacher training in Thailand…want to come with me?!”
Christina: “What? No! I just graduated and signed a new lease. Wow, but that would be amazing!”
3 Months Later...
Bangkok airport. Curry Sisters reunited for a sacred, profound journey that continues to this day. Andrea comes from the Peace Corps in Micronesia teaching English, scuba diving and yoga. Christina comes straight from college and night life. Art history degree followed by a steady flow of party all night, wake up for yoga, repeat.
In Thailand we realize we can’t drink on a yoga teacher training. Andrea begins to wean Christina from cigarettes. We are so excited, eager, ready!
This is really hard work. 90 days. 4:30am wake up. Pranayama. Meditation. Theory. Practice. All day. Every day. No vices. (Wait- there was that time we walked 2 hours for a Kit Kat bar). But seriously. Chanting for hours. Dancing around fires. Letting go. Physical cleansing - brown rice, salt water flushes, etc. Silence. Chakra study. Astanga (8 Limb) study.
Alignment. Asana. Facing addictions. Facing ourselves. Sharing. Listening. Combing through childhood stories. All night meditations. Reading ancient texts. Sanskrit. Living in thatched huts. Sharing a bed due to fear of snakes. Full moon chanting swims. Clean eating. Clean living. Grounded. Sobbing. Laughing. Screaming. Hugging. Bonding with incredible people. So very ALIVE, wide open, raw, supported, present.
The owners ask us to run the studio after the teacher training ended. “What? Sorry, we don’t know how to teach. Oh. OK. Sure we will do it.” Terrified. We teach 2 classes a day. One sister teaches, the other takes the class. Lots of sisterly feedback. Hard work. Refine. Stumble. Study. We teach on. We try new things. Several months later we are in the groove. We love it. We are good teachers. We meet incredible people. It’s still hard work. Stuff comes up when you teach too. Huh. More sobbing, screaming, laughter, unbelievable joy. Through it all we are grateful.
No cars so Christina is the designated motorcycle driver. Andrea sits on the back, death grip hug, eyes closed. Every time. We live in a house in the jungle. So do snakes, frogs, rats, cockroaches. So many. We have to hike our water down a hill to our house. It’s gorgeous. It’s an adventure. We feel strong and free. It’s a lot of work. When does the 5 Star part of this adventure begin?
Christina is hired by COMO Hotels and Retreats to run their yoga programs at different properties. Oh hello 5 Stars, you look so good, feel so good, smell so good. We cannot get enough of the soap in the lobby bathroom at the Metropolitan Bangkok. Who knew this was just the beginning? COMO is a dream come true. The yoga teaching jackpot. The owner is an incredible yogi who creates high end destinations in which the yoga, spa, wellness is the driving force. They win awards every year. She wants people to come to heal and recharge so that they can go back to the world conscious, connected, inspired, positive. Christina’s job is to facilitate that experience for guests and staff. Over 6 years she teaches at COMO retreats in Bangkok, the Maldives, Bhutan and Bali. Oh Yikes! There are rich and famous people. She can’t teach them, can she? Oh these people are humans. Huh. They also need to remember to breathe, let go, soften their hearts, listen, heal. They also want this journey of self-mastery, to make positive contributions. The people she meets and teaches are in her life to this day, they are fascinating, inspiring, wonderful. It is a fantastic time. It is a lonely time. It is raw. She is strong. She is vulnerable. She is isolated. No internet. She must face herself every day. No hiding or checking out or escaping. Just her. The Himalayan Mountains become her friend. She climbs and screams and conquers and falls and climbs again. She is exhilarated. There is work still but her journey is strong.
Andrea returns to Micronesia. Opens a dive shop. Teaches scuba diving and yoga. She loves it. It is an epic journey, unbelievably challenging. She teaches people how to breathe while swimming with manta rays and sharks. She is alone on an island. No internet. Only her. Deep connections with locals and tourists. Still lonely. The ocean is her friend. She screams and sobs into the ocean. She swims with all the creatures every day. She does yoga on the beach. She teaches yoga to the village people. She is unbelievably strong. She is vulnerable. She is raw. It is hard. It is beauty and joy beyond anything she has ever experienced. She realizes she is not meant to live in the ocean. She is a land person and wants to teach yoga full time. COMO hires her (thanks sis!) to lead the yoga program at their Parrot Cay property in the Turks & Caicos.
Curry Sisters reunited. Grateful JOY. Sisterhood. Seattle for Ana Forest’s 200 hour teacher training. WOW. Um, SO hard. Physically, mentally, spiritually brought to our edge every single day for 30 days. 4:30 wake ups again. Pranayama, Meditation, theory, PRACTICE. Physical barriers explored and softened. Mental barriers explored and softened. Our bodies and minds will never be the same. Andrea was a wreck after leaving Micronesia. Christina made her tea, listened, supported, began to wean her from chocolate. It was terrifying. It was empowering beyond belief. It was deeply informative and still informs our teaching today.
Every year, COMO invites world renowned yoga teachers to lead retreats at different properties. Through the years (6 for Christina, 3 for Andrea) we are able to work hands on with our mentors: Erich Shiffman, Sharron Gannon, David Life, Seane Corn, David Swenson, Sarah Powers, Colleen Saidman Yee, Jessica Ballofatto, Elena Brower, Rodney Yee. Many of them become our friends. Our teaching is deeply informed by spending such quality time with them.
Our full time COMO time comes to an end. It is time to move on. In 2008, Andrea called her kind and supportive husband into her life and they move to NYC in Oct. 2010. Andrea begins a teaching practice in NYC that is still going strong today. Christina moves to Milan, Italy and begins a teaching practice which is still going strong today. In 2010, she calls her positive and loving Italian husband into her life and decides to settle in Milan.
We make a plan with COMO’s Parrot Cay to begin teaching annual week-long Curry Yoga retreats. Our first is April 2010. Holding space for a group over 5 days is sacred. The transformation, healing, learning for all of us is profound. We truly love teaching together as sisters again. We are terrified. We are thrilled. We teach each other each retreat first. Sisterly advice. Refine. Repeat. This becomes a new path for us. We reunite on Parrot Cay every year in spring to teach a Curry Yoga retreat as do a wonderful group of people who look forward to it every year. New people join the group every year as well. We set intentions. We explore. We let go. We move on in ways that are vibrant and compassionate. Each year we add more retreats in new locations. Parrot Cay, Bali, Bhutan, Provence, New York, Martha’s Vineyard. We are in our groove. We love holding space. We study new teachings with different teachers each year and spend months planning different retreats.
Andrea has her first baby boy and then a second baby boy a year later. They are perfect. Unbelievable gratitude and joy. It is heaven. It is SO challenging. It is a lot. Teaching continues to feed her soul but at a point she hits a wall. Curry Yoga retreats are booked. It is so much. I CAN’T. So tired. So foggy. So huge. Christina grabs the baton and starts sprinting. “Come on sis, we got this”. She carries Andrea’s babies on airplanes, they puke on her, she smiles. She makes tea, she teaches Andrea yoga. Changes diapers. Grounds Andrea, brings her home. They continue teaching around the world, babies in tow, supportive husbands on the sidelines being amazing. Andrea gets her strength back and feels bolder and stronger than ever.
We teach our first annual retreat at the gorgeous Domaine Saint Jacques estate in Provence, France. Christina is 7 months pregnant. It is A LOT but it is a spectacular group and venue. Andrea makes her tea, carries her bags, organizes logistics. We cannot wait to go back. 6 women running the show. We created a beautiful and joyful sanctuary and the energy is powerful.
Christina has a baby girl. She is perfect. Unbelievable gratitude and joy.
It is heaven. It is SO challenging. Andrea flies across the world to help them all settle in. She makes Christina tea, cooks, cleans out closets. Such a full hearted little family. Christina hits a wall. Andrea grabs the baton and keeps running. “Come on sis, we got this”….
New projects are coming up every week. It is so much to keep track of and yet very exciting. As we read this we think “What a crazy journey those 14 years! We never could have planned that ourselves” And yet we realize that we manifested every moment. Through our self-study, daily practice, rituals of self-care, movement, meditation and letting go, we have been clear in our path and respectful of all of the lessons. We will keep on this journey of self mastery. We will keep saying YES.