Opening Up Your
Body & Soul
Your body is often overlooked in the ways that it
can connect you to your Higher Self
If you’re going to embrace the new year with 20/20 INSIGHT, we have to address the elephant in the room – our bodies. It’s likely that you take your body for granted. Even if you haven’t, we want to put special attention in tuning into our bodies so that we might really benefit of what we’re trying to spiritually, and physically, show ourselves.
Make your New Year’s resolution to make your desired changes by listening to this Body & Soul series. In this first episode, I’m interviewing the wonderful Desiree Rumbaugh, an internationally known force in the Yoga community. Desiree offers her 30 years in teaching Anusara Yoga worldwide, that has changed her life and thousands and thousands of others.
Listen to a beautiful narrative in how connecting with your body nourishes your soul. This kind of awareness sharpens our individual purpose and perspective even during the toughest of times. Regardless of where you are presently, accept yourself and further develop your body and soul connection. Respectfully, even Old Souls need to take care of their bodies! And don’t forget to check this out if you’re interested in Yoga.
Click on the above media player or read the full transcript below.
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Episode 058 of True Connections with Weston Jolly
Transcription: Body & Soul (Interview with Desiree Rumbaugh)
Weston: [00:00:07] True Connections is a journey within to discover that you are part of everything. Life can often feel disjointed, but you and I are actually connected to one another, to nature, to animals and many other ways like your thoughts, intentions, dreams, even your imagination. It’s my desire to bring spiritual insight to these true connections so that you can get into the flow of life, received the things that you want without struggle and enjoy a more constant level of happiness. I am Weston Jolly, your host.
Weston: [00:00:44] Body and Soul. To start the New Year, I thought we’d focus on the subject of body and soul. Now, I know that you’ve heard these two words being thrown together, but I want to specifically focus on what we are trying to show ourselves with our bodies. It’s true, if you have a healthy body, you probably don’t think about it. But what I want to focus on with this Body and Soul series is actually listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us. Truth is, we are usually taking our bodies for granted until something happens that forces our attention to be present was something that we need to be aware of. Connecting with your body will automatically connect you with your soul. If you want to put the two categories together, it’s my observation that most of this practice is a huge disconnect with our bodies. For example, most of the time we take this precious vessel, our body for granted to such an extreme that we may or may not really understand what’s happening within the body and more importantly, what you’re actually feeling. Now, why would feeling be so important? Well, the reason is that our ability to feel as interpreted by our body and mind. It’s a wonderful path to connecting with our soul. Certainly this is true if you’re listening. I have invited several people to join me in also getting their perspectives, thoughts and opinions to put a light on the body and soul connection. It is my, or should I say our intention and purpose that you would open yourself to hear, see and follow any new practices in integrating with your body in a way that deepens your illumination of your soul. Listen carefully as it will be many layers, spiritual layers discussed, and how we can unite our body and soul together. So let’s get started and listening to our first guest.
Weston: [00:02:47] Thank you for joining us. I’m very honored today to have someone special to talk with. And Desiree Rumbaugh is someone who’s been teaching yoga now for 30 years internationally. Now, most yoga teachers don’t have that opportunity. I’m very curious to find out, of course, a little bit more about Desiree and what she has done and continues to do and why she does it. And Desiree, I just wanted to thank you very much for being on the program here with us.
Desiree: [00:03:18] Thank you.
Weston: [00:03:18] I’m excited too Weston. And Desiree, we were just discussing this just a moment ago that we came into contact with one another, what, like twenty one years ago? Something like that. So it’s been quite a while. I was just wondering what started you on your journey?
Desiree: [00:03:36] It was the late 80s and I was an aerobics teacher. Everyone I knew was teaching aerobics in the 80s, right? Sure. Jane Fonda.
Desiree: [00:03:45] Right?
Desiree: [00:03:46] I went to a convention for aerobics in L.A. and there was one yoga class being offered, which is so funny now because they’re so popular.
Weston: [00:03:54] One yoga class? I got a backup. One yoga class? Yeah.
Desiree: [00:03:58] And the rest was all different forms of aerobics. Wow. And so I tried it out of curiosity. Total curiosity having been a dancer. Of course I took to it immediately because it was poses that I could do cause I was naturally flexible anyway. Sure. And I thought I’m going to seek this out. And I really had to work to seek it out, even in Southern California. But I found it and I just drove into it, pursued it because it spoke to my heart more than aerobics.
Weston: [00:04:27] How is it that someone becomes a international yoga teacher? And I know that you’ve lovingly make contributions to several yoga periodicals as well.
Desiree: [00:04:41] Yeah. Well, that all began after I met my teacher back in 93. John’s friend at the time, and he created a style or method of Hatha Yoga called Anusara. And so I was lucky to get in there at the very beginning of that. And because I was like the fourth teacher in the world to be certified in that style, it became popular quickly and people started inviting those of us who were certified early on to become presenters and teach their community this method.
Weston: [00:05:14] I had no idea. Yeah. The fourth person in the world to teach that? Yeah, I was, I was back then.
Desiree: [00:05:22] Now there’s so many methods, so many people have created their own method now. But back then that was unusual. Sure. I grew up in the Iyengar System and that’s what he was into. Iyengar has been around for a long time. That method. We met there, and then he branched off, and I followed him. And that’s how that started.
Weston: [00:05:41] Well, as you know, Desiree our theme today is on the body and the soul. And I want to share with our audience a couple of questions that I’m going to be asking you, so at the moment I’m going to ask that you not answer them, but give me an opportunity to share that with everybody else. I’m interested in knowing a little bit more about what makes the body, mind and soul connection. And basically, there’s a lot of people that are almost overt in their choices to be athletic or tuned into their bodies. And there seems to be almost the opposite where there’s the other half or the other portion, lets just put it that way, that really, really struggles to be in their embodiment for whatever reason. So I’d love to talk about that in a moment. And I know that, you know, sometimes we’re not necessarily always feeling encouraged or something has happened in our life. Or maybe our whole life seems to have added up to almost this lethargic feeling like we shouldn’t participate in being in our body. And I’m very interested in a little bit of your story, too, and how that interrelates into you getting involved in yoga, unlike you Desiree. . .
Weston: [00:06:49] I have not had a natural proclivity to be flexible, meaning my hamstrings are as hard as they possibly could be, which makes me probably a great tennis player, which I like to attack. But in terms of being able to flex that way, I know that I have had to go through quite a bit of even emotional things to discover what’s going on with that particular muscle group that has kept me from being inflexible. Anyway, so I wanted to talk about some things like that, if you see that within other people as well. And I would love for you to offer some steps, some specific steps on how we might actually begin to immediately put our body into motion for the purposes and the benefit of our soul, and what that looks like. So let’s kind of swing back to the beginning and Desiree, us an idea of, again, from a personal perspective, what really threw you into the yoga practice, was it just, you know, going from one activity to another or is there something deeper than that?
Desiree: [00:07:49] There was a recognition in me, in my early classes that put tears in my eyes. I don’t know why, but like the feeling, I should be doing this came to me very strongly, not just because I could because I was flexible, but also there was something else happening besides the physicality of being a dancer, performing dancer. I was just standing in a room full of other people on a mat doing a triangle pose. And then when you do things like back bends we were laying on blocks, you know those foam yoga blocks. Yeah. Yeah. You lay on them with your arms open and your eyes are closed and nobody’s watching me perform. It was different then them. I’m not doing it for that reason and I’m feeling, causing myself to stay and feel. And then I would start to cry. Something was bubbling up from within that I didn’t understand. So. This was not a particularly happy time in my life, when I found yoga either. I was not happily married, two little kids, felt stuck. Felt like, obligated to stay in this thing, but not happily, and looking for answers. So I think that’s what drew me into too. Felt like, I think I’m gonna find an answer here to my struggles.
Weston: [00:09:02] Would it be fair to say that through this process that you discovered more about your body, of course, but also about some soul attributes?
Desiree: [00:09:13] I think so, for sure. I became much more empowered. I grew up like you did, Catholic religion, religious, going to church.
Desiree: [00:09:23] And I was into that completely. But this eastern kind of philosophy was so different and it peaked my interest and drew me in and it introduced me to myself more than I had ever found before. But I was also young, I was late 20s. I guess that’s not that young to start questioning things that you’ve learned in your youth and to wonder who am I? You know. Sure. How did I end up here. What am I doing with my life? I think that’s where I was.
Weston: [00:09:52] It’s interesting because actually I grew up, or I was exposed to the Episcopal Church, which is of course an offshoot of Catholic. But, the nature, my connection to the divine or spirit was something that I can never not remember. And yet it wasn’t the same as what I had experienced in many different forms of my growing up and jumping around to different religious practices.
Weston: [00:10:21] And I remember going to Santa Monica and writing with the heel of my foot, not thinking this huge, huge question mark, but it probably was, I don’t know, 50 feet large. And it was my thought, font size would matter to God. So I figured if I made the question mark big enough, then there would be a response. And this is ages ago and I was just had this insatiable curiosity that there has to be something more. And like you, I just felt at one point just completely moved. And it’s, one could even use words called, but that sounds like a religious term, but rather just moved to pursue something that was totally outside of what I’m thinking I would do based upon my background. And yet I can’t even begin to fathom having done or doing what I continue to do in the same way that perhaps you do.
Desiree: [00:11:20] Yeah, it is. It’s really hitting me now, talking to you. I haven’t spoken about this with anybody before about that time in our lives when we, I grew up following the rules, like the Catholic Church is perfect for a little girl that wants to follow rules. To do everything right and do everything we adults tell you to, and your life will turn out perfect. And then my life wasn’t turning out very happy. And that’s the questioning. That’s like my midlife crisis. Rebellion started then.
Weston: [00:11:49] Well, it’s fair.
Weston: [00:11:51] I actually, one could actually say that I joined organized religion for that reason as well, because I felt that if I did certain kinds of things well, which I had a proclivity to do, that there would be reward for that. And of course, that meant understanding and
Weston: [00:12:09] compliance and self-discipline, which in one sense we could even use the word control. But the change was significant because, you know, what I bumped into, actually with my family in Hawaii, just journaling out of the blue suddenly took me into a completely different direction, but it was something that just moved me slash my soul, and of course my body. And the reason I wanted to talk about body and soul as an integrating piece is, because a lot of people separate that. They see our soul connection, as something that were striving to do almost outside of our bodies, or as if there is this great big tractor that’s keeping these two things separate. And I know for you and if you don’t mind me complimenting you, you have beautiful body and the things that you do with your body, Desiree, and just as an observer, not having been the kind of dancer that you are. I don’t mind free dancing, but you have a tremendous connection to your body, and I’m interested, do you think that’s a spiritual connection?
Desiree: [00:13:17] Definitely now, probably not when I was younger.
Desiree: [00:13:22] And yeah, I do have a connection. I think I was born to do this. And I know what you saying about some people separate the two. Early on in my career, I would have students come in and say I’m only here for the physical part of yoga.
Desiree: [00:13:34] I’m not interested in the spirituality. It’s laughable. These are very earnest. I’m telling you about it as teachers. You go okay, I’m only going to talk to your body, I’m not going to talk to your heart. Okay. So don’t listen with your heart. It’s just a body.
Desiree: [00:13:51] Yeah, but God bless them. If they stay with this practice, it does integrate for all of us. It can’t help but get to us. We wake up our feelings. As yoga teachers we try to get people to feel, not just do you know. Yes. Were a human being. Not just a human doing.
Weston: [00:14:10] It’s interesting, in all my channeling that thought, that question, actually. The inquiry of how do you feel? I probably asked that question of others in my own personal journaling, hundreds of times, if not hundreds of thousands of times. And I’m not exaggerating with that, because that language and I say language because it’s much more truthful than the language that we use today in terms of English or whatever nationality that we happen to practice, is very interesting because those feelings that we have, and I’m not talking about just being on the recipient of feelings, but rather realizing that we’re actually choosing and creating these feelings. And showing ourselves with these feelings is pretty incredible. And yeah, I think that yoga as a practice turns on a light.
Weston: [00:15:02] I mean, you know, I got exposed to meditation by running, actually, and this first time my mind slipped out a gear. And then it was it dawned on me that this could be cool to actually sit down. And as a type A personality that just seemed insane. And yoga as a practice too is something that I practice irregularly, to be totally honest with you and everybody else. But there’s something about it in the breathing, the connection, that for me personally, I just have say it this way is I can’t help but feel the spirituality of it. And I’m not trying to, I’m just. But it’s different than doing sit ups at the gym. I don’t feel that doing that, or, you know, doing pull ups or something different. There’s something about these practices. I’m not talking about just one genre of yoga either that, shall we say again, calls to my soul to has me pulled into wanting to participate or even just to watch. I mean, just watching a group of people. I just feel the desire of communion to be there. And that’s something pretty marvelous to be a part of and especially you as a teacher.
Desiree: [00:16:07] It is. It’s like conducting a grand symphony of people who are 100 percent present, when you teach yoga. It’s really wonderful, especially if people are more skilled and more advanced in their studies and they really know what they’re doing. Not just so much about the poses, but they know why they’re doing what they’re doing. That’s an amazing group to be a among.
Weston: [00:16:28] Yes, I agree, to have that synergy. I feel honored and I could even use the words blessed to feel the participation of spirit and everybody, of course. But as it flows through me and as I receive it as well. I just feel like, wow, this is just, it couldn’t get any better. And just being a part of the whole process. On your website, I noticed this quote, and I want to share with everybody, that you used to comment or the phrase, love is stronger than fear. I’m curious, what exactly does that mean?
Desiree: [00:17:03] That’s the motto that I live by because I’m trying to learn all the time. Whenever I feel afraid. Or a weak or negative thoughts pop into my head. I’m turning in towards fear, I need to turn the ship around, and that’s one thing that yoga teaches is that you can actually 180-degrees change your thinking by processing it through your head and your heart and not just your head. I think I go into fear when I get into my head. And then I gotta drop down to my heart and my breath and really get still. And I can transform honestly, not just fake, transform that thought, and that feeling. And that’s when love is stronger than fear. And many of my students also use that motto. They like it. It resonates with them as the thing they’re trying to learn in their life, to come from that place of not being afraid of others, not being afraid of what other people think about you. You know, it’s a blocked way of living when when we’re fear-based, worrying. And then you can learn to tap into your intuition, like should I do this or should I not? Well it feels like it’s gonna be okay, we’ll trust that. Trust that. Don’t be afraid.
Weston: [00:18:12] Right. When we remove that resistance, or I’ve often used the term separation, which comes, of course, from the mind or the ego. When we remove that division, we move automatically into a state of connection. And that connection is not ego based in terms of, or even competitive base. Meaning I’ve been to yoga classes where some of the, I may have to point to the guys, and this isn’t always the case, where they become a little competitive like, you know, I can do this. And I laugh. And I say, well, you know, I’m not really here for that. I’m interested in just, shall we say, doing the poses in a means that would connect me. I’m not really trying to impress anybody in class, because I don’t really feel like I have that skill set in that particular way. And I’m glad, because it keeps me away from having to give that as a thought as much as just really wanting to connect with my body. And that part is something, Desiree, and I see this very honorably in love of you. That’s something you’re really, really gifted at personally, and its something that you obviously teach to the point that you have been doing this for the length of time that you had. And it’s not because again, my observation is that you have to do this, but rather again this is something that you really, really enjoy.
Desiree: [00:19:29] I have changed as a teacher over time. This is the blessing of being able to do what you love for such a long time, like you, is you evolve with it and you learn more. It’s amazing. I’m continuing to learn and appreciate things, and I also look at my younger self without judgment now, too. She was doing the best he could and younger teachers that maybe not as, I don’t know what it is. Is it a sensitivity that develops as you get older? I don’t judge them either because I understand that for where they are. That all makes sense. So I’ve become less judgmental, which is really nice.
Desiree: [00:20:11] Because I’m less judgemental of myself.
Desiree: [00:20:15] This phase that we are. These judgemental people that we are. We get far in the world. But at what price?
Weston: [00:20:21] You know, I’m only laughing, by the way, because of my background of complete and utter judgement, which I’m still a part of. But it’s an amazing thing, and again judgement just a form of separation. But it’s amazing that we spend so much time there. And I don’t know why, but I do agree at this time in terms of where I sit as well. There’s been a change. There’s a softness if we can call it that, that I don’t find myself as harsh or cut and dry or black and white as I used to be. It’s still there, but it’s not something that I feel that I’m processing as if it was robotically leading me. And that’s really, really nice. And of course, if that that can be offered to anyone who’s wanting to sit in that of awareness regardless of one’s age. I think it’s an incredible gift.
Desiree: [00:21:09] I specialized in about 2014, I started stepping more into the world of working with older people, but now I’m also attracting younger people that have grown. There are a lot of younger people now that want to learn this way of being. More considerate with the body, more open to listening to it. Yeah, we want to be challenged, but there’s another way to challenge,
Desiree: [00:21:37] besides teaching acrobatic tricks.
Desiree: [00:21:41] Yeah. The way you play, like they want to play the long game. That’s what I really teach. I don’t teach yoga for people who are afraid and weak. I teach yoga for people who are strong and want to continue. Because they learned the hard way. What you have to watch out for if you want to not wear your shoulders out, for instance, or your back.
Weston: [00:21:59] The transformation? How would you describe the transformation that takes place with the body and soul from your perspective? When you practice regularly for a long period of time?
Desiree: [00:22:18] Yeah, Well, the sensitivity, the softness you are talking about. One thing I love about yoga is I’ve learned how to heal my own aches and pains. And along the way, if you do anything physical tenants, for instance, it’s an asymmetrical sport right? Overhead. Right. One arm getting attacked all the time.
Desiree: [00:22:42] There’s times when you have to go see a doctor, right? Shoulder. Right? Elbow. People get wrist issues.
Desiree: [00:22:47] With all kinds of sports. Knees. And to be able to know how to heal that through the movement that I do with the strength, the muscularity and stuff. Its’ a huge gift. I liken it to people who can fix their house or their car and they don’t have to call an expert, you know?
Weston: [00:23:04] Yeah. Well hold on. Lets back up a little bit. Are you suggesting that someone doesn’t have to be in perfect athletic condition to come practice yoga? If they are strong . . .
Desiree: [00:23:18] it’s going to be easier for them. Okay. So when people come in and they’re weak or injured, they’re going to have to get stronger and heal that part first. And that’s how I’ve learned to teach that. So it’s not that they can’t do it. Its that strength is the doorway we all have to walk through. And if we are weak, we have to heal, and strengthen the weak part. And really the weaknesses,
Weston: [00:23:38] It’s just us showing us something via our body, which is, of course, the last plane, and wanting to show something to us that this is something going on. Hey, take a look at this. You know pain is uncomfortable, or an issue is uncomfortable, but when we actually become aware of how it came to be, which may or may not be so simple. It’s not necessarily the cake. Cut and paste, you know, processes a lot of times we are familiar with today, but rather something goes deeper. And when we actually deal with that, it has an effect, meaning it has an effect on our body. So the soul, if you will, or a spiritual self, shall we say can create that balance. With out necessarily… I won’t say that we don’t have to apply ourselves, but not necessarily in the way that I think a lot of people. We let me back up. I don’t think people really understand that that connection can be made. And so if we went to a class or say, if I want your class, and I had a knee problem. It’s not about you forcing me to do something I can’t do.
Desiree: [00:24:38] It’s the complete opposite. We call pain our little doer, our teacher. If you have any pain, that is there to teach or wake us up to learn how to move in a more efficient way to open up some tight places and strengthens the weak places so that the pain goes away and then we’re free. So it’s a little, it’s calling. It’s like a wake up call. That’s all it is. Yeah. And no, we’re never gonna cause more pain to that thing, but we are going to look into it. We’re gonna to stay away. That’s what people will do. They’ll come in. They’ll say, I know my limitations. I’ve got this bad knee. That will stop them. They’ll be sitting out for a lot of things and so I’ve learned from the methods I’ve studied and all the work I’ve done on my own body with physical therapy is,
Desiree: [00:25:21] how to go into that with loving kindness and actually make it feel better rather than let it keep you away from things. It’s pretty marvelous.
Weston: [00:25:30] It is. And actually you didn’t use the word. But I’m going to. And that’s compassion isn’t it, where you’re being so compassionate. And we can feel that. Not just in terms of the ruling of the teacher’s eyes, but really loving. And that that’s something that I I find with I’m going to say all yoga teachers. And I really have yet to have found one that didn’t have that intrinsic compassion and love that feels like I feel welcome. Even though I stepped in to a yoga group that I’ve ever been in before, and they’re just very, very loving. And it’s not a club or a group, or in the traditional sense, where we are hoping to be accepted to the club? It’s a very, very natural coalition or a collaboration of people coming together in a space that’s frankly pretty neutral, meaning neutral in the sense that outside of the different variations and pass that we have, including our our differences of lifestyle, to come in and do something different. And there’s something so compelling about that. Isn’t it?
Desiree: [00:26:39] Yeah.
Desiree: [00:26:39] Walking in and feeling like it’s okay for me to be here no matter what shape I’m in or what my thoughts are like or how much money I have, or what kind of education I have because everybody’s wearing T-shirts and shorts and they don’t know anything else about you. Your in your bare feet. That’s what I love about it. I’ve got people with PHD’s and multiple degrees and several houses. Their sitting in my class in their T-shirts, shorts, and bare feet and we’re working on the arches of their feet or their knees. It’s so beautiful.W
Weston: [00:27:05] You can’t compare it. It is. It is. It’s kind of nice to step away from these perceived parts of who we are in terms of our identities. So you’re saying then too, that Desiree, the transformation is it something that we can develop or just something that happens to us as a result of getting connected to our bodies in this way?
Desiree: [00:27:31] Definitely. We just always start from where we are. That’s what, I love what you said that we all are welcome here. It’s a come as you are a party. You don’t have to be such and such like have achieved a certain thing. It’s not a competitive thing. Like so many of the sports activities that people love are competitive because they need to have that goal. But in yoga, there’s no goal except getting to know yourself better and learning how to connect your head in your heart. Like that’s the only goal. Achieving poses is not the goal.
Desiree: [00:28:01] Although it looks like the goal and it might lead some people for a while, it’s eventually going to have to shift because nobody’s body can take that kind of hard push to achieve, achieve for their whole lifetime. Be done. That’s not possible. I think it is a blessing.
Weston: [00:28:19] I think that part is really interesting to me because of course, my background, which I’m going to call stereotypical which may or may not be true, but was very competitive. So, you know, we’re playing football, baseball, tennis, skiing. Even these individual sports were always, in from where I came from, quite competitive, not kind of. So going into a yoga class were, you know, what’s the goal? You know. Show me how to kick the football between the posts. You know, I’m looking for that. I’m laughing about my first son going in. And I was really confused. Is was like a game that we didn’t have any rules, and we’re just going to focus on ourselves. And I thought, well, what does that mean? Focus on myself? I mean, I’m looking around at other people in class and they seem to be doing better than I am. So I’m already going into that competitive mindset and realizing actually kind of quickly, almost alarmingly, that I don’t have to do that. And that was, again, a different kind of very subtle and very beautiful invitation that I don’t know if I would have experienced loss. I stepped into the class.
Desiree: [00:29:22] Right. Yeah. And the way you describe it, it’s perfect. That’s exactly what it is. But, you know, the thing is, I take my yoga background into the gym with me because I took up weightlifting seriously a couple of years ago. And now I find that I can use that in there. And I just wonder if that crossover is happening for more and more people these days between whatever sport they love, that has the competitive nature of the goal, the achievement thing. And then the yoga that is in their blood now. Yeah. I think that’s starting to happen.
Weston: [00:29:55] You know, my daughter lovingly determined that she wanted to interview me and she was on a recent podcast and we’re going to do some more of that. But she brought a perspective that sometimes being so close to the trees that I missed. And then I want to ask the question of you. Have you noticed a change in people at large, but especially young people in terms of their interest to be more connected?
Desiree: [00:30:20] Well, the young people that I work with. Yeah, they’re awake at an earlier age than I remember. So, yes. And probably there’s so many reasons for that. The world we live in is driving people there sooner. There’s a need.
Weston: [00:30:37] Yeah, I do think that, too? And actually it’s why I love your comment, your phrase that others are using that love is stronger than fear, because especially in today’s, shall we say, more recent political climate, which has been the total opposite of that. And when I say recent that’s been going on since the beginning of humankind. But the idea that we can focus on something that’s greater than separation and fear is incredible. And I feel through my daughters, you know, kind of putting a magnifying glass on that thought for me. I have slipped in that not knowing or, but there has been a tremendous change because I see individuals who have awareness that, boy, I didn’t get to a lot louder than them. And I’m not saying that competitively just in terms of objectively. And yet what a difference it makes to have an understanding of what your purposes, how you want to follow that purpose and do those things that just you feel compelled to do. There’s something about that, Desiree, that you have been using your body and your talents and your abilities. You know, obviously from the get go. But to really, really express that even a full and more complete expression, there’s something just really, really individually cool about that.
Desiree: [00:31:58] I was just thinking about young people and the millennials. You know, they get a bad rap. But you and I have raised those kids.
Weston: [00:32:07] Very true.
Desiree: [00:32:09] I’m very active in my kids lives right now. My daughter has two babies. And so we moved in order to, so that I can help her with those babies every day. So I’m around that millennial energy quite often now. And sometimes we talk about it and work out together at the gym.
Desiree: [00:32:24] I think my kids were born to tell me to stop living in fear. The millennial generation lives in the present moment. Where our generation was not doing that.
Weston: [00:32:35] I’ve got to share this with you, but it was something that most people that know me to some degree have experience with. But when I first sat down to tell our children what this change of life was going to take place with regards to what dad did, because I was involved in business in a big way and I was making a huge shift. And I had this family meeting that I want you to think of as being more of like a board of directors meeting where I’m leading it and everyone else is quiet, which is, of course, the style that I was raised in. But we’re having this meeting. I’m telling the kids that there’s gonna be this big change. My son’s eleven, my daughter’s ten. And my son says, yeah, we’ve been expecting you to get here. And I’m talking about, you know, going from, you know, a coat and tie, to briefcase change, to God knows what I’m going to end up doing in terms of how I felt at the time. And he said, yeah, meeting’s done. He stands up, grabbed his sister and they leave the room. And I’m like, what? I mean, that’s not even possible. And so, yeah, I don’t know if I’m not, you know, their the teachers and I’m, you know, dog paddling behind them, hoping to catch up a little bit. But it’s certainly felt like that in my family and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen your daughter. But I know that’s true with you, too.
Desiree: [00:33:48] For sure. and my grand kids now are here to teach me more. Yes. And I just follow this little guru that’s three years old around and be present with her and feel better for it. So, I mean, it makes me excited about the future, this is where I could be afraid of the future. There’s a lot of talk of fear of the future, climate change and everything. But if I think like that, I’m going to become depressed. When we focus her attention on what we want to create,
Weston: [00:34:19] and you’ve suggested it several times and we will really highlight this very much, is by being present. And by being present isn’t about what happened in eighth grade or seventh grade for me or what happened even last week, its about really creating what we want in this moment. And if we’re going to do that in terms of manifesting or creating of anything, in terms of world peace and or substantial changes to our contributions to one another, as human beings, we really want to be present. Without that, we’re chasing our tails mean we’re going round and round we’re chasing our past, we’re chasing the future, where we’re busy as we can possibly be even more distracted than we’ve ever been. But this thought of becoming present is really, well it’s kinda sleepy. It’s been around forever by the way.
Weston: [00:35:07] It’s not a new thing, but it’s really, really cool to just go into that moment and find out what the present moment, where it will take you.
Desiree: [00:35:21] Without fear, of the future, or regret about the past. And that’s that’s how we get distracted from the present moment, so easy for us to do that. And that’s why I like the younger generation. I feel when I created my program called Wisdom warriors’ for people over 55, I thought it would be good to just hang out with like minded peers and cook in that soup. But after working with that for a few years, yeah, it was fun. We can talk about dental work and there would be no eyebrows raised you know, I’ve got a bridge and you didn’t. Yeah, whatever.
Desiree: [00:35:55] Don’t mention having a crown break to a 30 year old. I realize that we know, I need the younger generation.
Desiree: [00:36:05] I need to be stimulated and learn from them. I need to be challenged. Otherwise, I’m gonna kind of settle into, it’s OK that’s the thing about aging. It’s okay not to work so hard anymore. It’s okay not to challenge yourself now. You can just settle back in. That’s the dance I’m doing right now is I’m allowing myself to be challenged by younger people. But using my wisdom, I call it wisdom warriors you know.
Weston: [00:36:30] Yeah. No, no, no. I haven’t played tennis for quite a while and fortunately I have not had any injuries of any kind really?. But the flow of the game is as I’ve matured, if I can use that term is to become more efficient. Meaning it used to be I would chase that ball everywhere that it goes, now I still want to do that. But things have changed. And so my interest now is to integrate being at one with the ball, my tennis racket, of course, strangely the court, I mean, you know, the court, the weather, the birds. I mean, literally everything. And then, of course, we have this person that’s on the other side of me acting like a backboard, to kick it back. And regardless of what that activity is, that connection is more fun than the game. So the idea that I’ve become more in tune to the process is, I don’t know, that’s where I’ve been putting all of my attention that it fuels me not to try and do things with the least amount of strokes as we would play the game of golf. But but that is subjective. But to really be efficient with the connection and to me, that comes back to this thought that you’re presenting to us, that by being present, we find ourselves there. So, you know, we can have the hole on one or I can have the ace. And yet I’m onto the next hole at the next stroke. Then if I’m holding onto that, then, of course, I’m in trouble. And that could be that I’ve had a wonderful shot to something much, much less than that. And I think that the practice of yoga is indeed very, very refreshing in that way because it draws us into the process instead of it being an objective that we’re trying to get to.
Desiree: [00:38:19] Right.
Desiree: [00:38:20] And there’s so many different aspects of the practice. It’s sometimes it’s for restoring yourself like resting. There’s resting yoga and there’s active yoga. And I like the yin and yang of that.
Desiree: [00:38:34] I was also thinking about the fact that you’ve never been injured in tennis, which is amazing. As much as aggressively as you’ve played. But sometimes I wonder if, you know, you’ve got tight hamstrings. If you came into a yoga class really seriously and devoted yourself coming to practice, you might start to uncover some places where you didn’t realize were tight. That could be.
Weston: [00:38:52] You know, to be honest with you, I started stretching, let me back up. I was encouraged spiritually to start stretching like two years ago. And I thought that that meant a little bit, meaning I was I was going to the gym very aggressively lifting those kinds of things. Fine. But the stretching part was giving it some attention. And the yoga class would be tethered in here and there. And I ended up stretching for a year and a half, pretty much putting aside all of my what used to be normal lifting and running workouts. And that’s not good or bad. This is something I was pursuing. But in doing that, I discovered all kinds of things that I wasn’t aware that I was doing to my body unconsciously.
Weston: [00:39:41] And one of the things that I had grown up with was I was exposed to the idea that if we’re going to get something out as in anger or frustration, we go to the gym to get it out because that was a safe place to do it versus, you know, striking or getting involved in something like that. And it made sense to some degree, but I found that it was actually hurting myself, when I say hurting, minor things in the gym and in my stopping to do that to actually become present with stretching, which actually turned into, if you looked at me in the gym, it looks like I’m practicing yoga and for all intensive purposes I’m not practicing positions, but I’m certainly. doing things in an effort to get myself connected back into my body and in doing that I found that there was a lot of things that were repressed or that were trying to be expressed in my body that hadn’t, shall we say, taken the time to see and doing that it was like oh, for goodness sakes. And most of that discovery was fortunately not done through pain where I was forced to do that because of something, but rather I was bringing myself here because, well, I could use the words came by accident to do that, but that wouldn’t be truthful either. But there’s some part of me that knew that I needed to reconnect in that way. And that seems to be unknown. And is really driving me more than ever to be really connected to my body in the same way that we can act ourselves spiritually. And of course this is the whole reason I want to bring this whole topic to everybody, because I think it’s tremendous value that we can really take a moment to become aware of what our bodies are trying to communicate to us. I think you’ve shared something pretty strong in the idea that maybe I haven’t known and maybe I still don’t know some things that are going on. And I think that’s very, very fair as an observer. But of course, you being the teacher that are. That doesn’t surprise me.
Desiree: [00:41:32] And if I took up tennis, I would quickly learn where I, you know any time you cross train. That’s why I do weightlifting to balance out the flexibility that I have. I learned so much. In fact when I first started, there were things I could not do. Here I’ve done yoga all my life and I can’t bench press because my shoulders so wacky. So then I had to heal the shoulder. That’s I’m talking about. And because of what I do and all the different types of yoga that I do, I think my view of my aging process is affected in that positive way. And that’s what I want to say to people who are on the fence, they think they should try yoga, but they’re afraid to, is just think about you ten years from now. And back it up. What do you want to be able to do comfortably? You want to be able to get up and down off the floor easily. Do you want to get in and out of a car without grunting. You won’t be able to carry things, you know. Back it up. Because that’s what I’m looking at.
Weston: [00:42:28] Yeah, me too. But you know, I have a pretty assertive desire, meaning I wanted to be doing backflips in my 90th year in the assumption that I want to. Meaning I really don’t want my body telling me what I can and cannot do. And that’s probably why I give it the attention that I have, because I’m interested in living a lifestyle that is not limiting to me. No, that’s something I don’t get to control, meaning things can take place within my body and I understand that as it happens with everybody. But I think these are opportunities, instead of them being the end of the road, meaning if something did happen or I have to overcome something, whether that’s emotionally or physically its part of the process. So instead of thinking that I’m done because, you know, I can no longer go play tennis or swing a golf club or whatever else those things would want to be, it becomes a change. And I like that. And I sense that within you, Desiree. And I actually always have. There’s some part of you that’s really flexible, but not just from mechanical, physical, bodily way, but a flexibility that allows you to shift. And my senses, and by the way, I’ve never had the glorious opportunity to have you as my teacher and as a class. But I have a sense that you lead your classes with the ability or the actually conscious desire to shift that, so that that kind of communication is being taught to us. Is that fair to say?
Desiree: [00:44:02] That’s what they try to do. I really do. I want this attitude for people. This is, I have a vision of continuing to teach for the rest of my life because I love to share what I’m learning and I keep learning involving, but yeah, exactly how you described it. We may have to learn from some changes that happened and we may have to learn a really hard lesson if we become paralyzed, those of us who love movement, but to not be afraid. I think that’s my biggest message is not let fear stop us, to be more inquisitive, more curious, not let fear stop us from anything, because there’s mountains of evidence behind me, of things that I’ve quote unquote failed at, or not done well at, that could can stop me from moving forward and to ignore the mountains of evidence and keep going forward in the thinking that it can get better. I can learn. I can change. I can grow. That’s that’s how I want to be in the world.
Weston: [00:44:56] Me too. And of course, to my last breath. And not because I have to just because its something that really fuels me and it’s contagious, meaning I feel an excitement in connecting to you. And that’s why I wanted to invite you to do what you’re doing. And again, I just want to thank you so much for your your contributions. Just as a person that is able to see that. I’m not talking about what you’re doing here, but literally how you’ve literally touched all of these people all around the world in different capacities. Desiree, it’s truly extraordinary. I just have to tell you that. That sometimes when you’re in that body and speaking to you, you may or may not give that as much as attention. I’m not trying to pump up your ego, but just to tell you literally how much you are offering that contribution by just being you, let alone the formality of the things that you continue to inspire us.
Weston: [00:45:47] I think it’s just stunning, to be honest.
Desiree: [00:45:51] Thank you. And you’re right. I do forget because I’m in it. You know. I don’t not realize how it looks from the outside world. And that’s also why, you know, I’ve shared my story so many times about losing my son. I shared that in many ways publicly so that others who have had this experience could be inspired because I’ve been inspired by other people who have overcome trauma.
Weston: [00:46:14] You know, most of my audience is probably not familiar with that.
Desiree: [00:46:18] And if you wanted to give… Sure I like people to know this story because they see a bouncy 60, almost 61 year old granny playing around with her grand kids and doing yoga poses. They’re unreal looking.
Weston: [00:46:28] I look like a cheerleader. Let me share with everybody that that’s not true. You don’t look like a granny and you certainly have more energy than most 15 year olds. So don’t try and foul like you’re some old codger coming to the class with a cane, because that’s not true. And that goes for your husband, Andrew, as well. OK.
Desiree: [00:46:48] But you know what I mean, is they see as positive cheerleaders, they’ve got it all. Happy marriage, you know.
Desiree: [00:46:53] And they don’t know the backstory. Sixteen years ago, my son at the age of 19, no he was 20 and his girlfriend was 19. They were both murdered. They were shot while camping out overnight, celebrating their one year dating anniversary in the Phoenix desert, about an hour north of Phoenix off of I-17. They don’t know that that happened. Yeah. And that I’ve had to grapple with that. And that’s part of my spiritual journey. And it was never solved. The case has never been solved. I’ve had to allow and accept his souls journey can be different than I would have ever wanted and get get back into celebrating life and not being so full of grief. To get my joy back while I even still hold grief, still at the same time. And it’s called synthesizing happiness. That’s what I’ve learned from my study, is when a person has a trauma and then they have to get back in and figure out a way to climb out of that deep well, claw their way back into life, into the light of day. That’s called synthesizing happiness. And that kind of happiness can never be taken away from you because you had to manifest that. You’ve had to make it. It didn’t just befall you. You know. So that’s a long lasting type of, if you will, happiness is such a weird word. But you know what I mean? I do. Abiding joy.
Weston: [00:48:13] Yeah. The sense of synthesizing what we might make of the processing is something that we’re, that we achieved per say. And I’ve always said that happiness is a byproduct of our being ourselves. So when we really are ourselves, our true selves, then we find ourselves being happy and peaceful and healthy and kind of nice to be around. So it’s pretty incredible, and yet there sometimes can be quite a challenge or challenges that takes place. I don’t think there’s you know this, Desiree, but we almost lost both of our children in a severe accident less than five blocks from the house. In the accident there were six kids in the car. Both my son and my daughter were there and the biggest trauma happened to my daughter. And she had to have several surgeries on her head because her head had actually hit the asphalt. As the car was turning around, meaning, it spun and rolled over and she hit the asphalt in the process. And it’s amazing that anyone walked away from that. And yet I remember running onto the scene, quite literally, and I don’t know if your familiar with Berry Koffman, or Suzy Kaufman. But they wrote a marvelous book years ago called Happiness is a Choice and something I was exposed to.
Weston: [00:49:36] And I remember running into the scene knowing that whatever we have is in this moment, meaning I don’t know what I’m about to see.
Weston: [00:49:47] And what I did see was just devastating as a father. And that’s from my children, plus all the other people that were involved in this two car accident or 8 people involved. And yet there’s, I’m going to get emotional about it, something so magical about realizing that these are moments that are not tests, but shall we say opportunities of continuing connection. So the idea that my kids are with me today is something I feel extremely, and extraordinarily thankful for, and yet nothing is going to remain the same, so I think your story is significant and to be honest with you, Desiree, you know, you expressed it quite quickly in the same kind of way that I kind of did almost like we would describe the Titanic going down as scientists. But there was a lot of emotion involved in you know, the idea of loss and how we reconnect to go forward and even the desire to want to participate with ourselves happily, let alone share that opportunity for others. I think it’s, again, truly extraordinary. And I’m thinking of you here.
Desiree: [00:51:01] Well, I knew that I had a choice as I learned from watching many other people, as I can either let this take me down or lift me and others up. And that seemed like the only choice to make. And that could have been because I’d only been involved in the yoga practice for so long. That I had learned early on in yoga I learned to take responsibility. That’s the moving from organized religion to Eastern philosophy. But there is no outside God. Right. That the divinity is within. Then I cannot blame or rely on something outside of myself. I need to take responsibility for everything that happens and everything I think about what happens. That’s pretty huge.
Weston: [00:51:44] And it takes, I use the term practice, and I don’t mean that like discipline practice, but applied practice because we want to.
Weston: [00:51:54] But the beauty of going within and becoming accountable for everything that we’re participating in is really incredible.
Weston: [00:52:07] Accountable doesn’t mean that we control, but the accountability is in the idea that I get to choose my perception and that is not happening to me, but rather I’m a part of something versus the separation that we want to continue to create because of the ego mind. And it’s I don’t know, there’s something really, really beautiful about putting an action to this process. And again, its very compelling to others who have or are going through significant changes in there life. I had a guest and she’s a certified yoga teacher as well. She had cancer, a very young woman, and with no background in terms of the family tree having cancer. And yet she was overwhelmed by the yoga community in terms of what they offered her. And not that they wouldn’t, but she wasn’t necessarily expecting that. And yet it was. And by the way, real, not you know, Hi, how you doing type stuff but real depth of connection from people that she, for the most part didn’t know. And that kind of connection is stuff that, you know, brings me to my knees in terms of wanting to be truly touched, because there’s something about that you can feel. And I’m so grateful for all of our connection when we when we offer that with on another. Desiree, can I ask you a question in terms of kind of wrapping it up, would you offer us or would you have like three steps that we could walk away from and putting our body into motion and how that might benefit us in any category that you want to share?
Desiree: [00:53:45] Your talking about motivating people to get up off the couch.
Weston: [00:53:49] I am. Because, you know, there’s this desire that, you know, it’s January 1st. We want to make a change. And we’ve signed up for the new club, and yet we don’t go, or, you know, we’re not necessarily making a change in lifestyle. Anything from a physical level. So let us hear from you and your experience in terms of how we might be inspired to do three things that would take us in this new direction.
Desiree: [00:54:18] Go for a walk, one thing. Get out in nature, that’s so obvious. Everyone knows that they feel when they get out in nature and not on the treadmill inside a gym, but it is certainly different. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And take some time to sit quietly and focus on the breath. Maybe another one that could connect someone, even if it’s with your morning coffee to not be on a device, to be present to that one thing. Breathing in the smell, and the taste of that early morning beverage. That’s the easy one. And then simple stretching or lying down on a rolled up blanket or something to open your heart up with your arms outstretched to get a little upper back opening with your eyes closed with some beautiful music. That would be a simple thing that feels good to bring you into to the moment. And those are the most simple things I can think of, I can think of a ton of more advanced things like I totally gave up sugar. Oh, my God, that’s a life changer. But that’s a big commitment. Maybe people might not be ready to do that. Maybe after the holidays.
Weston: [00:55:29] Well, if you get into that, we’ve given up that and then some for personal reasons. Because. But non-health related just because it was personal preference to do something better than what we were doing and believe it or not that’s not so hard when you get past the addiction of week two.
Weston: [00:55:50] But you know, Desiree, you have some products, don’t you? That would be helpful to others, too, to make these changes, DVD, etc..
Desiree: [00:56:00] I do. I have a book called Fearless After Fifty How to Thrive with Grace Grit and Yoga. Okay. Available on Amazon and now Kindle and Audible. OK. Many different ways for that. Yeah. And then the other thing is my made online videos for practicing with. Ones on yoga download. Those are great. And also on tint.com which stands for there is no try.com. And that’s all on my website. People can find my name. Spell that for us. Desiree Rumbaugh.
Weston: [00:56:38] I just want to let you know on a personal note. I just adore you and certainly your family and I’m just so grateful for you taking the time. And most people listening, don’t know that coordinating with Desiree is a little bit like trying to line up a jet. She’s all over the place, and so coordinating a time was significant. And again, I just want to thank you from literally the bottom of my heart for your presence and your time, and your devotion today.
Desiree: [00:57:03] Thank you so much, Weston. I appreciate you just as much.
Weston: [00:57:06] Thank you. And I certainly hope to have this opportunity again.
Weston: [00:57:16] For us to make true connections, we have to engage.
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