During the course of my life I have lived in a handful of places – growing up in a suburb of New York City, attending college briefly in central Iowa, living in Seattle during the heart of the Grunge music scene, and, for the last 20 years, residing in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Each of these locales has left an indelible print on the map of my life, creating life-long relationships and memories. When people ask me where I am from, I typically reply with New York and Portland. That being said, the place that has captured my heart and where I feel most at home is located in Mendocino County, California.
Nestled in the coastal mountains of Mendocino on 20 acres (8.5 hectares), is a small ashram named Audarya, a magical, remote setting on a ridge top amidst towering Redwood trees. Audarya, initially founded by my teacher as a personal writing retreat, has evolved into a place where spiritual seekers have the opportunity to look inwards, towards their own heart, with the aim of cultivating their innate loving and compassionate tendencies. This majestic space has served as a place of refuge and inspiration for me for nearly a decade. Here, I can cultivate my yoga practice and explore my heart’s fullest potential for loving selflessly.
Audarya is a Sanskrit word meaning to share with compassion and generosity that which directs us towards our highest human potential and spiritual truth. A handful of resident monastics, a stream of visitors seeking inspiration for their yoga practice, and a tiny herd of cows enliven this ideal, exploring what it means to apply the principles of yoga and meditation to all aspects of their lives. Each day is filled with creating sustenance from the land while sowing seeds of loving compassion in the depths of the heart. Cleaning, gardening, tending to the cows, and participating in regular early morning and evening meditation are all part of the active reflection and contemplation on how to create an integrated life. Indeed, yoga is actively interwoven into the very fabric of each moment.
My time spent at Audarya always leaves me inspired, with feelings of gratitude for the opportunity to practice yoga under the gentle guidance of my teacher. I come back to my day-to-day routine with a renewed sense of how to stay mindful throughout the day, reflecting on how any ordinary activity can be transformed into a magical moment of connection and loving kindness. From parenting, to washing the dishes, to teaching yoga, I long to stay connected to the processes I study in those enchanted mountains, forever a student exploring the ever-unfolding mysteries of the heart.
Matt Nelson is a yoga teacher based in Portland, Oregon, USA.
He will travel to Scotland to teach a series of workshops at Scapa Fest 2019:
Attuning Heart and Mind at 6.30pm on Friday 3 May 2019.
Ease, Effort and Grace at 9.15am on Saturday 4 May 2019.
Breath-centered Movement and Sound Meditation at 1.45pm on Sunday 5 May 2019.
To find out more about Matt Nelson, please visit our schedule and lineup page: https://scapafest.com/2019-schedule/