How about an introduction?
My name is Gaby. East coast raised and moved to the Big Apple in 2008. In previous years, I had dabbled in yoga but it was here that my relationship with the practice really began. It started in a 3-story walk up in the East Village - a donation-based studio next to the dollar pizza joint that summoned all the broke college kids (myself included). On first glance of the tarnished stairwell, I wondered if I was in the right place...until I reached the top and was greeted with the potent smells of sweaty bodies and unwashed hair. I had no idea what I was getting myself into…The room was packed like sardines, but a full house is never a bad sign. And so the teacher beckoned us to begin in Child's Pose. "This is nice…" I thought. It wasn't until the teacher said "and exhale H-A," that I found myself truly horrified. The room erupted in orgasmic H-Ahhhh's and for a second I had wondered if I by mistakenly showed up at an orgy. As the choir continued in all sorts of gratifying sighs, I had to bite my tongue from bursting into laughter…nobody thought this was weird? Little did I know, I would soon join the pack in the pleasurable exhales of breath, the flow through Vinyasas, dripping sweat in the triad of chair-poses and rolling on the floor like a happy baby. That was how I really met Yoga.
Fast forward a few years. I was studying Media, Culture and Communications at New York University and for me, the real meat of the subject was in the human psyche. I was in awe of the workings of the mind. Pair that with the hobby photographer of my youth who relished in visual expression and well… you get a wanna be “Mad” Woman. (No, not a crazy person. Just someone who digs the vibrancy of advertising life.) Advertising seemed like the perfect path, a home for my passion of understanding human behavior, learning from a diversity of people and collectively bringing an idea to life. This period was ripe with ambition – studying, waitressing, interning – you name it. In a city of bloody dreamers it’s easy to dive into the shuffle. And there in the middle of the tornado of day-to-day activities was Yoga. You know the eye of the storm? The calm? That was it. Yoga was my much needed partner that brought be back to Earth, helped me stay grounded and find balance amidst the buzz of the city.
And then something happened…what I refer to as my “quarter life crisis.” I won’t go into the gritty details of it, but suffice to say I realized that I was no longer living. Living in the sense of being awake to every moment. So I thought long and hard, throwing rationality out the window and turned my attention to the emotional intelligence of my heart. They don’t tell you to follow your intuition for nothing. What I realized was that I want to help people find happiness.
I want to empower individuals to find their truth, embrace vulnerability, and discover the beauty that is right in front of them. For 6 months of my commute on the subway, I would write down gratitudes…it was a small exercise but one that awoke a sincere appreciation for little things. In 2014 I bid adieu to the Big Apple and decided to take the first step on my path to helping people find their happiness… I bought a one-way ticket to Thailand and completed my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certification.
What ensued, was a yearlong study of the wisdoms of the world. I volunteered my way across Southeast Asia and Europe in exchange for a bed and food, learning from different cultures and people. I spent a few weeks at a Peace Commune in Portugal where I was introduced to several healing practices that whet my appetite. I went on to do everything under the sun from woodchopper to Moringa gardener, chicken mama to yoga teacher. It was all weird and wonderful.
And then I decided to pay a visit to one of the greatest teachers of all… the wild and intoxicating Mother Nature herself. I packed my life into the trunk of a car with my best friend and for the following few months we canvassed the continent of Europe, conquering some 18,000 km of backcountry roads, hiking into the depths of the mountains and weaving between somewhere and nowhere. I tried to capture beauty in unlikely places and scribble thoughts and observations along the way. (Don’t ask me how many times I showered during this period… I’m not very proud.) It was a fruitful year of learning and one ripe with the experiences that have only reinforced the path I am on.
And now, here I am… a new resident of the Bay area and feeling grateful to call this place my home. January marks my first month teaching at Mindful Life Studio, a wonderful sanctuary for finding the calm and sharing it with others. I believe that one of the best ways to learn is to teach and with that sentiment I am looking forward to teaching many students and growing with and from each other.
So welcome! This is my space for sharing yogic thoughts. Hopefully this gives you a better sense of who I am. Come visit me at Mindful Life Studio or feel free to say hi!
Peace, Love, Good Energy and Light.