This year, the summer brought warm Texas weather and the spirit of adventure into my life. I journeyed to Chicago to visit my dear friend, Michael, and was blessed to have planned my trip during the same weekend that MC Yogi and his lovely wife Amanda Giacomini were teaching a workshop at the Moksha Yoga center.
This was my first visit to the amazing city of Chicago! I spent the first few days basking in the beautiful and frequent rain showers, sharing music with Michael, a bit of shopping, a trip to the 96th floor of the Hancock building, and a lot of good eating including my first deep dish Chicago pizza! (yummmmy)
The day of the workshop we hopped the train and a bus and the rain subsided as we made our way to the Moksha Yoga center in downtown Chicago. We climbed the old wooden stairs of the building to the 4th floor yoga studio. The studio was minimal, modern, clean and had a large adorned alter. Two of the walls were lined with windows, the white curtains flowed in the breeze as the rain began to fall again.
We settled into our spaces with around 50 other yogis and began the “Pilgrimage”.
Amanda started with a story of her personal pilgrimage to India and spoke of her journey through yoga school where she met Nicholas Giacomini (MC Yogi). MC Yogi blessed us with a bit of freestyle and then we started to move. They both taught the class, each taking sections – it was a pleasant surprise not knowing who’s voice would come next in the sequence.
MC Yogi djed the entire workshop as well, of course! Slow, sensual, calming music for the lighter, softer movements, and louder, faster, uplifting music for the more active and intense movements of the class.
After the centering, settling into the space, breath work, and spinal warm up we made our way to the top of our mats for the first time. We were all standing. Eyes closed. Feeling the breeze from those flowing white curtains, the sound of rain outside. The energy from 50 yogis + MC Yogi + Amanda Giacomini, all standing centered, open, and ready to pilgrimage together. MC Yogi cued us to chant 3 rounds of OM.
“complete inhale, complete exhale, inhale to fill your voice..”
I opened my mouth and felt the OM, the sound of the Universe spill out into the space — and as I did, the vibration from within and around me was bright, big, huge, expansive, and it filled the room! For a moment I opened my eyes to “see” what was happening.. I realized that MC Yogi cued an audible sample of the OM and played it in unison with our OM. It was a brilliant and powerful incorporation of his teaching ability and passion for music!
I felt the OM resonating deep within me. I was miles from home but felt completely at home within myself. A true pilgrimage.
The remaining 1.5 hours of workshop were beautiful! Sun salutations, standing postures, group/assisted inversions, seated postures, a 10-breath heart-expanding intention-dedicated to someone or something you love wheel pose, supine postures, and a long relaxation pose to settle it all in. After we made our way back to the seated postures, the class concluded with MC Yogi telling us about his pilgrimage to India when he was young. It was a beautiful story of adversity, faith, and devotion.
At the close of the class, Amanda & MC Yogi invited everyone to a weekend yoga and music retreat at their house in California and gave each of us this poster:
Gorgeous poster! Printed double sided on vellum paper!
After the workshop was over, I felt expansive, open to receiving my practice, and loved. LOVE. so much heart-expanding love.
The Pilgrimage was beautiful. And after taking a break from playing music in the yoga classes that I teach — I was inspired to create a few playlists that resonate with me as yogi and as a teacher.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a student of yoga.