Desiree Rumbaugh, internationally known yoga teacher, is coming to Bala Yoga this July. With a mantra that reads “Love is stronger than fear” you already know this woman is special. Desiree has experienced the power of yoga and has since made it her life’s mission to share with others the joy she discovered through the study and practice of this healing modality. You will not want to miss the chance to learn from this wise and enthusiastic woman! Read on the learn more about Desiree and scroll to the bottom to register for her weekend workshops at Bala Yoga.
Home Town: I live in San Diego, CA
Years Teaching Yoga: I have been teaching yoga since 1988.
Zodiac sign: I am an Aquarius with Leo rising and a Gemini moon, which accounts for my love of traveling, my curly hair and my sense of humor
When + how did you come to the yoga practice?
After graduating from Arizona State University with a dance education degree, I was a young mother of two children and an aerobics teacher. I first discovered yoga in 1987 while attending an aerobics convention in LA. There was ONE yoga class during the conference, a Bikram style class. I took the class out of curiosity and it was love at first sight. I had been a dancer all of my life and I could easily do the Bikram poses in that class. I thought “if this is exercise, it’s a lot more enjoyable than aerobics!” And then I dove in the deep end and began my pursuit of yoga, which at that time, was quite difficult to find.
Who have been your primary teachers in yoga + in life?
My first teachers were Ganga White and Tracey Rich in Santa Barbara. I took their teacher training in 1987. After that, my primary yoga teachers were Manouso Manos and John Friend so I came to Anusara from the Iyengar lineage.
In life, everyone is my teacher, including my parents, brothers, children and my ex-husband and now my current husband. Everything is my teacher, as I learn from the joyful times as well as the stressful times. It feels better to look at “mistakes” as “lessons”, so if that is the case, then we are all enrolled in the school of life and it is impossible to fail.
The workshops you’ll be offering at Bala Yoga are all about ‘The Art of Alignment,’ why this topic?
The Art of Alignment is my specialty. I have always been intrigued by the healing power of yoga as it has helped me survive and thrive in every way. I also love sharing what I have learned over these 30+ years with others. For example, I used to “do yoga”poses, now I know how to “use yoga” poses to change my body. Now that I have dedicated myself to lifting weights at the gym, my yoga practice smoothes out my rough edges and helps me maintain a balance of strength and flexibility. In this workshop, we will discover the difference between doing poses and using poses.
What skills do you recommend yoga instructors cultivate in order to evolve their teaching?
We yoga teachers definitely need to develop people skills! We need to learn how to listen well and how to give our undivided attention to our students. It can be a juggling act with different levels and needs in one classroom, but that is also what keeps it challenging. Over time, we need to sharpen our ability to see and then feel what people need in any given moment. It takes time, but if we stay committed to our own practice and to our teaching, it happens gradually.
What has yoga taught you about life beyond the mat?
All of the lessons of yoga are given to us to help us relieve our suffering, mentally and physically. I rely on the teachings all the time, in joy, in grief, in boredom, in anger, in any state of mind. Yoga teaches us to take personal responsibility for everything we think do and say. It sharpens our skills of living in the present moment and moving one step at a time with awareness through the days of our lives.
(PC: @desyoga, Desiree + her daughter @jessicagouthrofitness)
What advice would you offer someone dealing with grief?
Grief is what we feel when we lose someone we have loved. It is the by-product of loving so dearly. It has to be felt and expressed and it is a cleansing emotion that continues to visit us for a long period of time in order to help us re-balance our body and mind after the trauma of loss. We can learn to look at the waves of grief as visits from a dear and helpful friend. When the wave comes, we can let it wash over us and when it passes, we are released from another layer of the pain. In time, so many layers are released that holding the memory of our lost loved one is sweeter and a little bit less painful. After that cleansing, we are left with a greater ability to hold both joy and grief in equal amounts. And, until we have been through it, we cannot imagine that any of this is possible.
Where do you look for inspiration?
These days, I am finding inspiration virtually everywhere! Online, in books, from the words of others, from spending time with my two precious grandchildren, ages 2 1/2 and 4 months. I receive inspiration from my own inner wisdom at the strangest times: when I practice yoga, when I lift weights, when I am teaching, in conversation with others and often first thing in the morning, when I wake up!
When you’re not immersing yourself in yoga, where can you be found and what are you doing?
When I am not immersed in yoga, I can be found dancing, coloring or playing with playdough with my grandchildren, gardening or creating something delicious in the kitchen. Curiosity is definitely the spark that fuels me. I am a big kid who is always learning something new and is very passionate about it. I love traveling, meeting new friends and staying in touch with long time friends. My bucket list includes improving my piano and Spanish skills and maybe even taking up some sort of visual art. I am also excited about creating events and will look for any way possible to bring a group of people together to celebrate anything!
The Art of Alignment Weekend Workshops with Desiree and Andrew will be held at Bala Yoga Fremont July 13 -14, 2019. Learn more about this weekend of alignment based exploration here. You can expect to leave this experience with a greater understanding of your own body and the tools you’ll need in order to take yoga with you through each phase of your life. Register for this experience today, early bird pricing ends on June 12th.