Meet the incredible yoga heartbeat and dynamo of a human being, Clio Manuelian. You know those people you meet that light up a room, smile bigger than you thought possible and almost float? Yep, she is that person. And her yoga classes in LA are the bee's knees for your next trip to the land of dreams! Read on about her bliss!
What rocks your bliss?
Finding meaning. Every single time I find the meaning, I feel the connection, I see clearly, I feel deeply - each and every time - I am in bliss. I think this is what it really means to be alive. I think this is what samadhi is. This single point, this small, tiny moment that is simultaneously vast beyond comprehension. And I don't think its some wild, fantasy nirvana, not that kind of ecstasy of bliss. I think its very simple. Basic. Breath taking. Holding his hand, smelling coffee or flowers or rain in the air, the warmth of sun on my face. It's Love. That's where meaning is. That's what rocks my bliss. Love.
Describe your perfect day.
I wake up on retreat. It's beautiful there. We're on the beach. The temperature is luscious and warm and breezy. The soft waves are rolling in and wild birds are already singing. Everyone is there. All of my magnificent teachers and each beloved student. A giant embrace of fabulous family and friends (family from far away and friends from my whole wild life) have all been flown in and put up in gorgeous, luxurious accommodations. Bountiful offerings of nourishing, wonderful food. Yoga-galore. Rich, transformative teachings abound. There is much laughter and song and dance and beach fun and stars and sun and moon. We have come together to celebrate. It is the dawn of a great time of peace in our world. This is day when hunger is abolished. This is the day that violence has be broken and replaced with loving kindness. This is the day that the earth has been restored it its magnificent, natural, glory. This is the mythic and utterly possible day of collective consciousness, the end of division and separateness. We have come united and uplifted and empowered. And then there's fireworks.
Share a huge goal you are rocking.
Letting go. This is the great art of yoga and meditation. It's the gift, and the mandate, that our practices urgently insist upon. I mostly find myself clinging to or hiding from - ideas, experiences, poses, people. The work of abhyasa is to let go sweetly; the way you'd lay a sleeping baby back into the crib. The way you leave high-school and step out into the world. Maybe a touch of nostalgia, a little bit of clinging, one last hug and then an open hearted step forward into the next. Recently I let go of a goal I had wanted and worked towards for about 10 years. Suddenly one day I found myself right there on the top of the mountain. I had reached the final destination. I got the offer I'd been longing to hear for so long. And then the winds shifted a little. Things had changed since I set out on the journey all those years ago. The new me let go of the old desire. I just put it down gently, turned around and went another direction. Interestingly, getting it wasn't as sweet or as satisfying as the letting it go.
If you could get on a plane right now, where are you going?
To the above, perfect day retreat.
How do you handle setbacks?
When I'm in a good space I do the training, the fire drills, the life saving practices that serve and protect me when things get hard. The way we learned to stand was through a long series of falls. We pulled ourselves up again and again, day after day, fall after fall. The hardest was at the beginning when just lifting our heads was an enormous undertaking. We fell for years and then finally, miraculously, one day, we stood. Our training in yoga teaches us that we'll loose our breath, we'll try to catch it or we'll wander away from it and so we practice finding it and reconnecting to it over and over. Through our training in meditation, we learn that the mind will be distracted before a full breath comes in and goes out. One second and the mind is already far far away. And so we train in bringing it back. This is the bootcamp for the battlefield of our lives. This is the training we rely on when times are tough. So when I loose my patience --or my discipline or generosity or kindness or my health slips or I make a mistake or lose: money, things, time, relationships or whatever the crisis or set-back maybe-- I have a lifeline to help bring back. The strong undercurrents of suffering are too powerful. They will pull us down if we don't have some way to bring ourselves back up. My lifeline is love, and gratitude, and family and friends, and simple clean delicious food, and my mat and my cushion and the teachings that remind me stand up again.
3 ways you rock the self LOVE.
Create, Destroy and Sustain.
Create: joy, ease, space, music, art, dance, yoga, connection, love, food, offerings, inspiration, vitality, relaxation, laughter, light
Destroy: ignorance, suffering, small-mindedness, the need for more, laziness, confusion, unkindness, anger, judgement & comparison, prejudice, self deprecation, negativity, fear
Sustain: health, humor, relationships, faith, honesty, self inquiry, peace, equanimity, clarity, connectivity, creativity, breath, life-force, love
Facebook: Clio Manuelian