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(micheline berry on the orange mat….as if there would be any confusion…)

I just came back from an amazing weekend yoga workshop in mccall, with one of my very favorite teachers, micheline berry. she is a gorgeous, voluptuous, sultry, radiant earth goddess and her classes are beautiful and joyous with sweat soaked intensity. “fire in the belly, honey in the heart” is the name of her offering, and that it is.

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9 years ago, micheline came to mccall and taught her first workshop ever at the shanti yoga studio. deb Murphy, the owner of shanti, had taken a class from her in l.a. and invited her to teach a workshop. it was micheline’s first workshop to teach, it was the first yoga workshop that I would take. we were all together in this freshness. the workshop was incredibly powerful and she uses great music and dance that is incorporated as well, so of course I was hooked. this weekend was my 5th workshop with her.

I came to that first workshop with one of my dearest friends, j. we had started a yoga journey at the same time, in separate places, under very different circumstances for each of us. but parallel paths. a couple of years ago she and I and another friend, h., came up for a workshop with micheline. on the second day of the workshop we got a phone call that j’s mother was in the hospital and failing fast. the three of us jumped into the car and raced down the mountain. an intense sharing of stories about her mother, this incredible bonding of the three of us. her mother rallied, although she passed a couple of years later. j and I are no longer involved in each others lives, a sad fork in the road it seems. but I will never forget the intensity of that drive down the mountain. the three of us and where we all were at that point in time.

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so here it was four years later, h. and I going up to this workshop with micheline. “ so here we are again, back at the start again…” she and I poised in very interesting places in our lives and to share the fire of transformation that can only happen on the yoga mat, was fantastic.

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(joey and i (the blissed out yogini)

micheline got married a year ago, to a marvelous man, joey lugasy. a yogi, and musician and they travel together. he plays guitar, harmonium, drums and has this amazing soul stirring voice. he plays music and sings during her classes. they sing together, weave together, travel together, lead workshops together (italy, brazil, Jamaica) share this spiritual life together. they are beautiful and funny and so much in love and it is wonderful and painful to watch at the same time. I have had a taste of this and I want a full course of it. I know that it is possible. nothing less.

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the weekend was so powerful. sweet and hot. full of poetry, laughter, tears, snot and sweat. no differentiation. just the flowing of the river of the body, releasing and healing. such a beautiful community of people, open and honest and present in themselves and their experience. takes me to my knees every time. so grateful that this is my life. going to workshops, teaching workshops. my life is my spiritual practice. I am so freakin’ blessed.

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deb and her husband mike, share their gorgeous home with a handful of students and it becomes a big yogi sleep over. coffee in the big open kitchen, preparing meals together. two funny dogs and two giant cats. many pivotal and memorable points in time I have arrived at and crossed over in this house. when I knew my marriage was dissolving, friendships deepened and then in transition, being strong and solid and sure and then broken, lost and unknowing. falling so deeply in love on one trip and then on another seeing him begin to slide away from me. tearing myself apart and putting me back together so many times. it is a second home to me.

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it rained most of the time we were there. more memories…soft and gentle, but cold too. the drive through the mountains looked more like the columbia river gorge in oregon, than idaho. everything impossibly green. fresh tender shoots. new growth. a new season. let the fire in the belly clear the debris and allow the honey in the heart to flow like a river…

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