I primarily teach yoga, train other yoga teachers, develop, and lead yoga retreats. I was trained as both a vinyasa and Jivamukti teacher and have been teaching for 6 years. I write, and I’ve connected my yoga and writing practice, as the two mutually inform through practices of discipline, accessing inspiration, and exploring creativity. I also creatively interact with my home environment. My husband has a small, sustainable landscaping business and I assist him. We’re employing a lot of his favorite practices at our own Avant Garden. We’re slowly establishing a permaculture-influenced food forest in our suburban backyard. So much of permaculture feels akin to yoga– it’s a practice of mindfulness with our environment. I’m also a social justice activist. My primary work is educating about mass incarceration through the lens of political prisoners. This work shines a light on multiple related issues: race, class, what is deemed sufficiently dangerous to warrant incarceration, our collective feelings on punishment, as well as safety. All of these practices are working towards clarity and harmony.
Your Personal or Professional Goals:
I love my work and as such, I can often work endlessly and sometimes without sufficient awareness of sustainability. I’ve created certain practices to slow myself so I can maintain perspective on what activities best nourish my creativity, make best use of my energy, and keep my home life stable and growth-filled. My goals are mainly in maintaining that finely tuned equilibrium. As the permaculture-food forest in our backyard establishes, I’d love to offer yoga and sustainability workshops in this space. I have some dreams of figuring out other ways to get interactive energy here in my home, while also maintaining boundaries so that I have sanctuary and time to replenish.
I love leading retreats and somehow often find myself securing a venue that’s also a site of sustainability and food production. This work continues to interest and teach me so I remain open to letting that evolve!
What’s your offering to the world:
Yoga philosophy makes sense to me and I know how to filter it through my own experience so that it’s relatable to others. I’m often looking at connections– how an esoteric concept becomes relatable through something in the material world. I believe that this lens is a unique offering to us in this incarnation. If we believe yogic philosophy and see ourselves as souls who have taken a body, then there’s a sort of implicit logic that the body is meant to be a tool for this time. Similarly, the body’s interaction with the earth feels very important to me. How do these very tactile, embodied, earthy experiences open up our understanding of the indefinable, vast all? That nebulous space, that possibility of translation is very exciting to me. I think I have some skill set at helping to clarify the intersection between the esoteric and the worldly. By doing so, by holding a perspective that’s simultaneously vast and also highly localized, I think we all have an opportunity to tap into our work on this level or our dharma. I think so many of the problems that we face individually and collectively can be cast as opportunities. Our vantage point in relation to our circumstances is incredibly empowering.
Who/What Inspires You:
Social justice activists. People on the margins. People who live their beliefs. Artists who teach through their medium. Mystics who create. People who demonstrate their belief that life is precious, fantastic, enticing, and enchanting.
To make space for people to get perspective. When I began teaching yoga a friend of mine said something to me that simultaneously gave me permission to teach but also context in which to teach. She said, “none of us can teach someone else yoga, or subtle energy, or any of these other vast practices. We’re basically guides taking each other on a hike. We can take our students down a path we’ve been on ourselves. We can keep them safe. We can’t determine how they experience hiking, what they see, nor what they feel. We just give them space and entry into the experience.” This idea has informed my teaching and creating ever since. It’s not my place to determine someone’s yoga practice nor their retreat experience nor their belief system or anything else. All I can do is share my experiences and give them a place within what I know. The exciting thing is to then see what they generate in the space between us.
I have seen again and again students take class or join me on a retreat and gain perspective on their own lives. The choices they make often diverge from mine, but I love so much their intentionality in moving forward. I very much believe in each of us tuning into our own equilibrium and wisdom and making room for others to do the same.
So many, but right now, the following from Rilke:
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”
I love to feel guided by what I love, as rumi offered to each of us as his readers so long ago. That true, muscular, substantial love, not anything soft or superficial, feels like a compass towards dharma, or purpose. When what we love and what compels us intersect, we can align with what we’re here to offer.
Online and Social:
Website URL: http://maigamilbourne.com/
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