Message of Love: Tracee Stanley At The Asheville Yoga Festival
By Pennie Nichols
In just a few short weeks, yogis from across the country will gather at the 5th annual yoga festival in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville Yoga Festival, happening July 26-29, 2018, is a unique gathering of conscious yogis in arguably the most magical city in the South East. Jam packed with world-renowned teachers, presenters, and musicians, this festival has it all! From challenging kick-your-asana vinyasa classes to mindful meditations; from thought provoking wisdom talks to heart-pounding ecstatic dancing, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget, there’s also plenty of opportunity to enjoy Asheville’s ‘backyard’ with guided hikes and tours into the mystical Blue Ridge Mountains.
Among the list of influential presenters at this year’s festival is Tracee Stanley. Tracee is a renowned teacher from the west coast whose focus has been sharing the powerful practices of self inquiry, yoga nidra, and meditation through multiple modalities. Tracee’s exploration of yoga began in 1995 when she had the fortune to study with Kundalini Master Yogi Bhajan. It was from this encounter that her love of yoga grew into the passion she now carries to share this ancient science with souls around the world. I recently had the pleasure of asking Tracee a few questions:
What was your relationship with spirituality/God or religion early in life?
My grandmother was a preacher, so I had a understanding of God that was personified as male, in the sky, looking down on everything and everyone with judgement and punishment if your actions were not worthy or good.
How would you describe this relationship now?
Now I see everything and everyone as an aspect of the Divine. I feel that we are all just trying to get closer to that truth- sometimes we stumble and sometimes we soar. But hopefully we are always learning, adapting and shifting based on what we learn as we go through life so that we can live as a beacon of this truth.
How has yoga impacted your relationship to the Divine?
Yoga has connected me to my undeniable radiance and power, that part of myself that is Divine. My actions are inspired by the desire to stay aligned with this frequency. Meditation and Yoga Nidra in particular are my go-to tools for recalibrating.
How would you define Yoga?
Yoga is the consistent surrender of everything that prevents us from seeing our true nature.
In a world that is so disjointed, so “us vs. them”, so “other”, what tools do you use to remain connected, present and engaged?
The moment I feel myself move into judging another, I pause. I look to see how am I like them, how was I like them in the past or who do I love that is just like them. It gives me another perspective and shifts me into the heart. Into fierce compassion. I try to move beyond my ego and into offering one gesture of unconditional love; letting go of any desire for it to be received on my terms. This is the hardest practice to do with family members but it can really shift things when relationships get strained.
What has been your most powerful life-affirming practice, thus far?
I have experienced many practices on my path. But one of the most powerful is a practice is called Cave of the Heart. It is a Tantric meditation practice that involves visualization and mantra. It was one of the first practices that I undertook as a long term sadhana that connected me with source and a state of bliss.
What tools do you use to stay on your path, or get back on the path after you’ve strayed?
At this point I am very consistent with my practices. But I developed that consistency by doing my practice at the same time, in the same place everyday. I do not get caught up about the length of time. I have certain mantras that I do everyday and I sit for meditation and practice yoga nidra daily. It has become as regular as brushing my teeth.
What message are you hoping to bring to AYF?
My message that I hope to bring to AYF is LOVE. My bhav in teaching is always to create a space where it is possible to taste the sweetness of your own true essence, to leave you inspired and so much more in love with YOU. From that place we can all joyfully share our unique gifts with the world.
You have two chances to experience class with Tracee at Asheville Yoga Festival: Friday morning and Saturday afternoon. You don’t want to miss this year’s festival. We look forward to seeing you there!