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Looking Back and Looking Foward from Right Here

Right now seems a good time to review 2014 and commit to paper what I would like to accomplish in 2015.

2014 was a big year for me in so many ways. If you have been reading my blog, the main big event was my taking over the Directorship of Suryalila last April. That’s been a great ride, as I have to temper my enthusiasm with conservatism and good judgment. Not always easy, but I am managing to do that, I think.

Equally as important was the building of the OM Dome, which we are pretty sure, is the most magnificent Yoga Hall in Europe! More about that in a moment…

Creating a New Website was also a labor of love for me and several other Suryalilians. I absolutely love the new website and think it now accurately represents and presents Suryalila. It’s an achievement I feel very happy about.

I participated in my first flash-mob ever in Seville, which was a huge amount of fun, and headed up my first ever fund-raising team. If you missed it here is the link:

I am very pleased with the way Suryalila is growing, becoming more beautiful and attracting some amazing rock-star Yoga Teachers like Tiffany Cruikshank, Esther Ekhart and Emma Henry. Bring on the rock-stars! The magnificent Om Dome was built for these big groups. Of course, we also welcome small groups, with open arms, but the Om Dome begs to be overflowing with Yoga students, to fulfill its true purpose.

Though already in use, the Dome is still a work in process. I am pulling out all stops to make it perfect. Thea, my current assistant is an exceptionally talented artist and she has directed a team of artists who have generously contributed to our huge mural. She has also done a substantial amount of the artwork herself, and is still working on it as I write. Hundreds of hours of painting have already gone into it. It’s a veritable modern day Sistene chapel! I have now decided to lay down a faux wooden floor, as the cement floor doesn’t visually work, due to various mistakes we made along the way, like staining it too soon etc. An expensive mistake, but now I think the end result with the wooden floor will be stellar. I have found the perfect faux wood that looks and feels like distressed planks of old wood that has been painted white. It is better than real wood because it will not insulate as much, which we need with the under-floor heating. We will be laying that down in February. Stay posted! Finally, the golden cupola, which is made out of fiberglass, arrived and is sitting in our parking lot. The icing on the cake will be the securing of the cupola on top and painting the Buddha eyes on the outside. I am hoping to do that also this springtime.

On New Years Eve we had a great party with a group of Yogis and Yoginis, hosted by DJ Warrior One, who spun some great sounds for us to dance too. The Dome makes a fantastic disco, as I had already discovered on the opening night. We can make our lighting system go disco and the sound system is really awesome.

I would love to start ecstatic dance nights with live music in the Springtime, hopefully with Somesh and Saeed and Ali playing live. I realized how much I miss having a good dance, so that is one of my goals for 2015: A Suryalila live band playing awesome east-west fusion grooves!

Speaking of which, the next big event in the Om Dome is on February 13th and will be my sixtieth birthday bash. If you feel inspired to head on over that weekend to celebrate with me, just say the word. The more the merrier!

I used to think sixty sounded really old, but now I definitely think it’s only middle-aged. Eighty is the new sixty! Well, I haven’t slowed down yet and I can still win the handstand contest, most of the time. So here’s to rocking out my sixties!!!! If anyone reading this would like to attend let me know and similarly if you’d like to challenge me in a handstand contest step right up!

On another note, upgrades at Suryalila are ongoing. In December and early January we have added some more bathrooms: one in Govinda kitchen, as Govinda really needed another bathroom, and also we have installed three toilets to serve the dining room and Ganesha Yoga Shala. Not super exciting, but necessary. We have also moved the dish washing area and bought an actual industrial dishwasher, which should make all our volunteers happy. We are turning the old wash-up room into a beauty salon for pedicures, manicures and facials etc. Not a popular idea with the men on the team but I think it will be a winning addition. Another more exciting upgrade is the juice bar in the white courtyard, which we plan to open sometime in the Spring-time.

As I write, the dining room is in the process of being painted different shades of gold and orange and new light fixtures are being installed to make it warmer. I cannot wait to see it. There are a few other upcoming plans up my sleeve. There are many times in 2015 when we will have two groups at Suryalila. This is great, with one small downside, which is the staff and independent guests need a practice space and we only have two halls. This has led us to realizing that we probably need a third small Yoga Hall! Harry and I have been considering something round, sustainable and rustic. We are trying to come up with something ecological and economical. Maybe a straw bale round-house! Any suggestions and/or help building it are welcome! We could also use this new space for meditation and as a second massage room. If at all possible before the year is out I would like to install either a sauna or a hot tub or both. This seems ambitious but is quite high on my list. Unfortunately low on Harry’s list, so any ideas for accomplishing this inexpensively would be appreciated too.

One of my personal goals for 2015 is to really take a leap with my Spanish, which explains why I am currently in beautiful Playa Samara on the Nacoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. They have a really good Spanish school, right on the beach. So I am doing a week’s intensive here, before my last YTT in Costa Rica. I will also be attending the Spanish intensives happening at Suryalila this year. Quiero hacerlo con migo?

We have had some staff changes at Suryalila. Jessi has left and gone back to the UK to be closer to her family, and Alice has arrived in her place. Thea is moving to Mexico in March, to be with her boyfriend Mau, and Lidiya, who was our marketing intern will be my new PA. So all change! Hopefully it will all be positive for everyone!

On 3rd April we will be hosting our first serious Yoga Festival for 3 days with the EXHALE festival migrating from the UK. That is very exciting…more soon on that. Save the date and plan on joining us.

I’m dreaming a lot about a super successful year on all levels. To all of you out there reading this, I wish you all a wonderful 2015 also and may all of your dreams be realized! Never forget that you are a phenomenal creator!

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