my 4 takeaways from Pittsburgh

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Wait, wait, are we back in the 80s? No! Welcome to Pittsburgh!

I spent the last two weeks of April hanging out in Pittsburgh, mainly to get a breather from the city and to shed the hustle of the winter. My friend owns a Bikram studio out in Squirrel Hill (sweetass name for a hood, don’t cha think?), so I was also out there doin what I love most and what I do best: teaching.

Anyway, here are my four takeaways from this recent trip, distilled down to their very essence.

1. De-puff
I borrow this term from my teacher, Mary Jarvis, who is always giving us tips on how to stay lean and gorge. “Drink your green juice!” she tells us. “Do your backbends!” Needless to say this past winter, although I did my best to green juice-up and practice yoga, left me a little bit puffy. So, one of my intentions in going to Pittsburgh was to de-puff. And boy did I de-puff. I brought my bike with me, and in case you didn’t know, Pittsburgh is pretty damn hilly. To and from the studio? Uphill both ways, I kid you not. But the results of all that biking and yoga? Ta-da! I am feeling just about fabulous and puff-less!

2. Tudors
Everyone’s pretty much obsessed with Game of Thrones, so I intended to finally see what all the fuss is about and gobble up all the seasons while I was out there. Turns out Netflix doesn’t stream it yet, but it helpfully said, “May we recommend The Tudors?” I was like, yah sure. So, four seasons later (which I viciously watched within a week’s worth of time… I mean, tell me, is there any other way to watch?), I am totally turned on by the art of bowing and curtsying, which is basically all they do on the show. You see, I have been asking for guidance in how to deal with negatively charged people (of which there are more than a handful here in new york), and my answer came in the form of this show: Stay calm, gracious, and bow as I walk away. Instead of reacting to that energy, which generally leaves me dried up. Ehh. Oh, and Mr. Henry Cavill plays Duke of Suffolk, and is basically the only one who doesn’t end up in the Tower, which really just means we see him in all 4 seasons, and he’s just basically the candy that other eye candy feed on.

3. Being of Service
Things roll a bit different in the yoga studio out in Pittsburgh. As a teacher, I had a bit more responsibility in the maintenance of the space. Which makes me realize just how spoiled I am at my home studio in NYC. Anyway, at first I found these extra tasks a real drag. Until I reminded myself of a message I had recently received: forget the 5-year plan. Be open to being led and guided, and when you’re there, fully show up and be of service. So I had to do some quick reframing. And suddenly all those extra chores, I began doing not for the studio or for the owner or for the students or even for myself. I did it for something bigger than all of this. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I changed my attitude around this, I found myself gracefully going through the motions. Being of genuine self-less service pretty much rocks.

4. Love
I wasn’t planning to, but yeah, I did meet a special someone, and yeah, I fell in love with him. Our time was brief, but oh so sweet, and it was such a powerful lesson for me in being in the present moment, opening myself up to someone I felt a high, high connection with, allowing love to flow right through me, and… wait for it… not attach myself to the person or to any kind of future-tripping! As soon as I started to see the cords attach themselves to anything regarding this, I cut the cords. It was so wonderful (and bittersweet, of course) to have encountered a soul mate (of which I believe I have many) and to just have enjoyed that time together without planning our next 80 years together. To love!

Thank you, Pittsburgh!


My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.