The wandering Yogini and the humble Monk

547130_105420336275096_954104557_nLife can be complicated and so can human beings. Maybe it is us that makes life so complicated. Maybe the hidden secret is that life is quite simple.

Sensitive and intuitive opened me up to a world of vulnerability and emotional instability synonymous to being tossed and turned on the cusp of violent waves. I was easily affected by the humours of others, even those that I had little affinity with but especially with those that I loved dearly. And thus, at a very young age I journeyed on an outward quest to find the missing link to a life of serenity where I could remain unaffected by the ups and downs of others so as to no longer lose my ground and question my worth. It was fatiguing to be at odds with the violent crashing of the relentless waves. Between you and I, I suffered.

All great explorers keep their eyes glued to their ultimate destination but often like the eye of the seer, they are swayed, tempted and often blinded by there own inner landscape of illusionary clouds. I was no exception. I was determined to find the answer, that missing link, maybe some kind of genetic or anatomical mishap at birth that forgot to add this essential component to my DNA makeup. I threw myself into libraries of self- help books, courses on personal development and psychology. I submersed myself in vision quests, hours with therapists and gurus, as well as retreats only to move farther and father from my truth. Yoga offered me many analogies, epiphanies and ah ha moments, Tantra and Buddhism too. As I continued to take part in the game of ‘’am I getting warmer’’, I ended up getting colder and colder.

I travelled to faraway destinations in hopes that the answer lay like the Holy Grail waiting to be uncovered. Then, on one random day there was an encounter, a life transforming one that began a colossal shift in my way of being. It was just a beginning, a Big beginning to my journey to the truth. I had been misreading my compass all along. An exchange of email addresses and then endless questions about life became the turning point and then, the tipping point that shattered what I thought was my reality.

How does a monastic monk weather the storms of life? With unwavering grace and constant non-reactivity. I wanted this to be my reply more than anything in the world. I believed at that moment, or at least I thought I did, that a monastic lifestyle was the answer that I yearned for and that my life long quest could finally come to an end. I wanted to believe, I needed to. I just had to figure out how a modern day mother and wife could manifest an unnumbered day refuge in a faraway monastery.

Some of our most profound life lessons present themselves when we are least expecting. Life’s lessons don’t always show up exactly how we might imagine and are often disguised. Within less than a week, my monk, the seer and the keeper of unwavering quietude showed up with quite a different face. His perfectly imperfect humanness revealed itself through grasping, worry, guilt and despair. Although you might think that his display of contradictory truth would send me into a breakdown of depression and despair, it became the breakthrough that I could never have predicted.

For true perception, one needs a good dose of clarity and perspective. Witnessing from a higher ground, I came to realise how I constantly disempowered myself by aligning my humour with the humours of others. My quota of happiness was tossed about and definitely defined by others. I once read a quote that hit home but in a sweet yet sour kind of way. ‘’When you stop aligning yourself with the vibrational frequencies of others you begin to really live’’. I full circled back home, the home of my heart.

No matter who we are, an untouchable guru, a housewife, a wandering Yogini or a monastic monk, we are all doing our best to weather life’s ups and downs with as much humility and serenity that we can muster. Some days we do better, some days we find ourselves thrown about but we always resurface and just try again and again, making happiness our birthright. This is the path. Simply put, we are there showing up in our naked human humbleness every Nano second. We are humanly living our humanness the best we can. It is as simple as that.

An Affair of the Heart

An Affair of the Heart

Practice for Compassion

Luang Prabang, Laos


Doors open and close a hundred times throughout the day. Such is life. Curious and receptive attention is needed to know when a door has opened inviting you into the kingdom of the heart, potential change and deep connection. May it be an encounter, words of wisdom slipped in between mundane conversation, or even a dream. Each, in its own way, may be that door, that message, that one that offers a fresh new perspective or a creative explosion of the heart. There may be no logic or reason but your deepest gut tells you that it is right.

The wheel of our propellered 36 seater, touched down August 8th, 2010 on the fertile ground of Luang Prabang, Laos, an off-the-map destination to most, but a hidden treasure for those that have visited. It all happened so quickly. With no more than 32 minutes and 6 seconds, we were instructed to select a destination to literally drop in and drop out, enabling us to avoid being fined for overextending our Thai visa. It was a random, if that exists, pin-the-tail on the map, split second, decision. This was the beginning of an instantaneous love affair of hearts to heart, souls to Soul that would inevitably change the course of my life forever.

As my feet touched the ground, I felt the warm balmy air envelop my skin. There was something, what, I can’t explain. It wasn’t the beauty of the Nam Khan wrapping itself around the peninsula and spilling into the Mekong, nor the smell of sweet sticky rice, or the warm welcome of smiles, it was something much deeper, much closer to the Soul.

Thirty-three monasteries sandwiched together in approximately 2.5 square kilometers might have something to do with it. Here, we see red, there, in Luang Prabang, they see orange, infinite orange, the colour of intuition, inspiration, Divine Love, heightened awareness, passion and fire. ‘’They’’ say, that if a particular place or thing is prayed or mediated upon day in and day out that place or thing becomes sacred. This is what was felt the moment I stepped foot on this faraway land of Luang Prabang.


It is just 6am when we returned to our modest guesthouse along the Nam River. Carrying empty bowls that were once filled with benevolent offerings that were humbly slipped into the urns of an endless silent thread of burnt orange robes, my heart felt open and love poured in. The sun had just begun its ascent above the lush emerald hillsides as we made our way down a narrow alley à la queue leu-leu squished between a monastery and a strand of closely woven makeshift homes. Except for an occasional footstep, silence permeated the air. As I followed the steps in front of me, I wiped the remaining sleep from the corners of my eyes. For no apparent reason except for an inaudible whisper of intuition and that of the open door of destiny, my eyes gazed to the left and locked with those of one Buddhist monk among many. Time seemed to stand still, suspended like the full moon in the blackness of the night’s canvas. A large white brick wall separated us. Neither spoke, neither moved for what seemed like an eternity but I knew a door had just opened so I consciously stepped inside.

Through one simple encounter on a very given day, a life- changing door cracked opened for only a brief moment on a sunny afternoon and began a chain of events never to be forgotten. The call of my heart manifested louder than any obstacle and naturally things fell wonderfully into place. This encounter became the beginning of an endearing transformational relationship between a searching yogini and a peaceful Buddhist monk. We spoke for hours, mostly question and response, politely taking turns and making the most of this auspicious encounter.

As all things must come to an end, this brief moment in Luang Prabang had its time numbered as well. Little did I know my Soul yearned for more, so much more that unexplainable sobs showered me at the airport as we boarded our plane back to Bangkok. Little did I know, the universe was magically weaving its web and had epic plans in the making. This pilgrimage would be one of many. Less than 6 months later, I found myself kneeling at the back of that same monastery amongst 16 monks robbed in orange. Chants in Pali of devotion moved me to unchartered dimensions. Thirteen days meditating day in and day out. Visions and epiphanies came flying at me as my heart cracked wide open and my mind grew softer and softer. Transformation was abounding.

This place has a way with me. Eight trips in total, 156 days to be exact, all in less than 4 years. My heart and Soul are always there and Luang Prabang and its people are infinitely present at the core of my heart. From just a random encounter in a far away land I have learned more about my true self, the meaning of love in it’s purest form and the epic-ness of mankind and of Life, than any book, class or teachings could ever offer.

The over spilling of my heart of gratitude and love sparked a dire need to humbly help where I could. So, I began where I could and with what I could, supporting one auspicious monk who dreamt of becoming a lawyer.

Profound relationships were forged through loving kindness and pure joy. From that one special monk who dreamt of studying law, 27 more orphaned teens chimed in as well as a year’s collect of overspill from the abundant wealth of Switzerland. A collection of schoolbooks, clothes, shoes, items of personal hygiene and bedding, totally one ton 200 kilos was sent and shared amongst 600 young orphaned children. Endless classes of yoga and mediation are taught for the Lao students, orphans and dear friends and family. But the most rewarding was what they offer me, love, deep love without attachment, inner joy, that ‘’bor pen nyang’’ attitude of no worries, everything will work out just fine, and endless smiles of the heart.

This past trip was unique and I even had a slight change of heart. I would be arriving empty handed, no money, no phones or computers, clothes, books or chocolate, just me at my rawest form. I had nothing to offer but my presence, and my love. I wondered, how would I be received, or even received at all? Making my way out into the balmy air from the newly constructed airport, my heart sank in humility. From all directions, by foot and bike, motorbike and tuk tuk, I was met at the airport by 14 friends/students/family with more love and hugs than anyone could possibly know what to do with, but cry in tears of deep heart connections of tender love.


Practice for Compassion was born out of love, a year to date from that first day I set foot on this life altering land. It is nothing more than a true grassroots, heartfelt, kind of makeshift foundation without a real foundation at all. I am in the field working my heart a lot and I LOVE it. I get by pretty well in pasa Lao (Lao language) and connect weekly, thanks to Face Book and email with my 98 friends and family from this tiny off- the –map-heart-exploding-sacred land. Community and love are at the root as well as passion and desire to follow the calling of my heart and my Soul.

I am forever grateful for all the abundant contributions from my family, friends, students, and anonymous donations that have helped these humble dream chasers manifest their dharma. Practice for Compassion has raised over $10’000 and helped 5 students attend university, 25 students through high school and extra-curricular classes, shipped 100 boxes (one ton 200 kilos) chalk full of golden goodness to a local orphanage, supplied 8 computers, 1500 toothbrushes to local villages and endless meals to those who want to share the goldenness of connection. Life is oh so sweet, especially in a place we can call home.



Jessica Magnin

O2Yoga Breathe Life



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No Man’s Land risk, change, growth

March 11, 2014

Jessica Magnin, GatherYoga Emissary and founder and co-director of O2yoga, shares her perspective on taking a leap into the unknown.

The last tiny bit of perceivable solid ground fades into the horizon as I loosen my grip. Suddenly my line of tether disappears. Night falls quickly. The wind dances the waves as they crash relentlessly against the fragile sides of my only sense of security. I am carried farther and farther out into uncharted waters. I look back in hopes of securing my need for something tangible, something to hold on to. There is no life jacket aboard. I am totally alone. I have severed all ties with Point A, the past 27 years of my married life, what I have known, to humbly take my first steps toward a very unfamiliar destination.

I feel my heart breathing a mixture of fear and loss. Tears of black mascara run down my cheeks. My mind slips into the foreground and takes control. I stoically wipe my tears away. ‘’There must be a map hidden somewhere on this tiny vessel!”  My heart sinks in hopelessness. In all my busyness of planning my departure, I carelessly forgot that one important item — the map that would offer me a ‘’what’s next?’’ plan and guide me safely to another shore.

With no map or game plan at hand, I find myself here, with me, right here, right now, with nowhere to go but being thrown about in the waters of raw uncomfortability. It is raw, because there is no knowing of what, where, when, and how. I am dead center in no man’s land, and it is a seriously vulnerable place to be. Change and risk have always been easy for me to embrace. Just between you and me, I can courageously jump because I ultimately always know where I am landing. This gives me a sense of security, maybe false, but a comfy sense of courage. Though, this time is different. I don’t want to return to Point A even at the risk of never encountering Point B.

I have crawled to the brink ladened with fear and doubt and jumped off the cliff, eyes wide open, and nothing lies below. I am in mid-air; everything appears to be in slow motion. I watch. I feel. My senses are alive. I feel alive. Being in midair is being in transition and transition is always present, always happening, we just don’t realize it. If we look closer, we notice that not only is there always a beginning, a middle and an end to everything, we are always between two things, whether it be two holidays, two jobs, numerous relationships, or something as simple as the inhale and exhale of our breath.

It is painful to cut ties with the past when we can’t secure the future. This is transition. This is life. This is living authentically. Things come and go, and yet we as humans have a painfully difficult time accepting the truth of Inicca, the Buddhist philosophy of impermanence. Our refuge in pleasure makes us grasp that much harder as if to make the experience, taste, relationship a solid thing. We erroneously believe that solid equals permanence. This is the mind’s way of scrambling for security. But take a deeper look and wake up, to the unprocessed fact that everything is in perpetual movement; our relationships evolve, sometimes dissolve; food perishes; plants wilt; and no matter how many pictures we take to capture pleasurable moments, those too will fade into memory, and memory will soon fade into loss.

Ironically, knowing might offer us a (false) sense of security, but it also offers us a boxed-in, limited viewpoint with one possibility. Being nakedly available to the unfolding of not knowing seems scary for the mind, but op

ens an ocean of endless possibilities for the heart and soul.

The golden sun peaks above the hazy horizon like a lotus flower surfacing from its muddy past. This new chapter of an untold story brings butterflies of excitement and endless new beginnings to my belly.

ImagePhoto by calsidyrose, used with Creative Commons license.

Un noble chemin

Sutra I.1 Atha Yoganushasanam

Maintenant, “Maintenant, le Yoga va nous être enseigné, dans la continuité d’une transmission ininterrompue.”

Maintenant, quand un élève sincère aborde un enseignant illuminé, avec la bonne attitude (libre d’idées préconçues et, de préjugés, plein de foi et de réceptivité) et avec le juste esprit d’enquête, au bon moment et à la bonne place, la communication de Yoga prend place – Venkatesananda

Le Yoga ne s’apprend pas seul, mais avec un maître, lui- même instruit par son propre maître, selon une chaîne initiatique qui se perd dans la nuit des temps. L’enseignement est transmis d’homme à homme, dans un souci de vérité, d’exactitude et de fidélité à la “tradition” qu’il représente, ce qui est la seule garantie de l’efficacité de la pratique à venir du chercheur (sadhaka). Il est capital de bien choisir son maître.(On est autorisé à le quitter si les résultats attendus ne sont pas obtenus de façon manifeste.

Un noble cheminEmprunter le chemin de l’étude et de l’enseignement de la tradition de Yoga est une grande et noble décision qui nécessite, avant tout, une réflexion sérieuse et beaucoup de courage. Il doit y avoir une profonde envie de comprendre notre nature, ainsi que de guider les autres, avec humilité et compassion, vers la cultivation de leurs plus grands potentiels.

Enseigner le Yoga est l’art du service. Avec l’ego mis à côté et une présence parfaite, l’enseignement se fait dans l’amour et le partage. C’est une affaire de cœur, de relation. L’esprit de Yoga et sa tradition sont imprimés dans une seule vérité. “Nous sommes tous fait de la même fibre, interconnectés jusqu’au bout de nos cellules indépendamment de notre âge, race, apparence, croyance et sexe. La pratique et la transmission du Yoga sont le respect et la pratique de cette seule vérité.

Sutra II.31 Jati-desha-kala-samaya-anavacchinnah sarva-bhauma maha-vratam

L’enseignement de Yoga constitue une règle universelle qui ne dépend ni du mode d’existence, ni du lieu, ni de l’époque, ni des circonstances – Françoise Mazet

Peu de professions sur terre touchent autant de domaines à la fois et à la capacité d’influencer directement ceux qui reçoivent. Il s’agit du physique, de l’émotionnel, du physiologique, du psychologique, de l’énergétique et du spirituel et donc “le Yoga doit influencer tous les domaines de la vie. Sinon, ce n’est pas du Yoga’’ (Yogarupa de PARA YOGA®). Hélas, en tant qu’enseignant, vous avez la grande responsabilité de guider les élèves avec passion, authenticité, sagesse et patience “vers une vie moins peureuse mais plus joyeuse’’ (Yogarupa de PARA YOGA®) tout en respectant les règles universelles.

Sutra II.36 Satya-pratishthayam kriya-phala-ashrayatvam.

Quand on est établi dans un état de vérité, l’action porte des fruits appropriésFrançoise Mazet

En tant qu’enseignant, vous donnerez de tout ce que vous avez en vous, mais vous recevrez en retour l’abondance, la sagesse et l’ouverture de votre propre coeur. Ne sous-estimez pas ce que les élèves peuvent VOUS apporter. Grâce à eux, vous grandissez ensemble.

Le Bouddha disait

“On peut allumer des milliers de bougies avec une seule bougie sans que la vie de cette bougie s’en trouve abrégée. On ne réduit pas le bonheur en le partageant.

C’est le début d’un chemin parfois cabossé, parfois plat et lisse, parfois raide, mais toujours continu. Que le voyage commence… ici, aujourd’hui, avec ce que vous avez et où vous êtes…