At Seattle Yoga News, we’re always interested in “the why” behind people coming to their practice of yoga. Desiree Rumbaugh came to the practice 29 years ago. Sometimes the reasons for finding yoga is a physical release and transformation, and sometimes it’s the emotional growth and transcendence that changes our lives inside out. For Desiree, the change was during a simple triangle pose that evoked an emotional release of tears which prompted her to delve deeper into the practice of yoga.
Desiree Rumbaugh took her first yoga class in 1987 when her youngest child was one. Since then, she has been trained and certified in Iyengar and then Anusara Yoga.Desiree was guided in this direction by the teachers that appeared on her path back in the late eighties and even further led in this direction by her own experience with pain, injury and emotional and physical healing. Today Desiree teaches what she would call “an evolution that is composed of my experiences with alignment based Hatha Yoga, Physical Therapy, Vipassana meditation and other fitness modalities.”
The loss of Desiree’s son, Brandon, in 2003 was the most challenging life event she has had to face so far. Through much sadness, pain and many sessions of wise counsel and self-study, Desiree learned how to hold joy and grief simultaneously. She learned how to “synthesize happiness” in much the same way anyone who experiences loss has to do. This is not an easy task, but many have done it. She also looked to others who had been through their own horrendous tragedies. Desiree states that “If we ask, we will receive.” There is guidance out there for those who ask, but we must be curious and willing. Desiree explains that at some point, “We have to make a decision. Will I allow this to make me bitter? Or will I rise up and step fully into trusting that life will always bring us both joy and sorrow?”
When asked about how Desiree became an international yoga teacher, she explains it unfolded in a very organic way. Desiree was one of the first teachers to be certified in Anusara Yoga and it was a style that was in high demand. Each invitation to teach would lead to another and another and so on. Along the way, her connections with hosting sponsors and studios have become true lasting friendships. Desiree explains that “It takes a village. And we all support each other as we continue to grow and refine our teaching skills.”
Desiree’s husband, Andrew Rivin, is also a yoga teacher. He had a travel business that he sold a few years ago, so they are very fortunate have the spaciousness to practice every morning and be with their new grandchild most afternoons. Desiree enjoys being very creative in the kitchen and taking long walks on the beach down in Southern California where she resides with her family.
If you check Desiree’s schedule she is going somewhere every weekend. I asked about her schedule and she mentioned that she travels and teaches every weekend, except for holidays. This gives her the ability to have a spacious life Monday through Thursdays. She has been following this schedule for seventeen years. Even though it may sound grueling, Desiree is used to and loves it.
Although her schedule is busy, to stay grounded and true to herself, she constantly strives to remind herself and others to acknowledge the following:
- Be Grateful for life’s gifts. Talk about what you do want rather than what you don’t want.
- Keep your heart open because love is truly stronger than fear.
- Accept what happens in life as if you had chosen it (don’t play the victim).
- Practice being a good listener because when we talk, we just keep repeating what we already know and when we listen, we learn.
- Don’t take things personally, anything anyone says to you is more of a reflection of their own experience which includes their suffering.
- One of the most important teachings that keeps me going when times get tough is asking this question: “How too is this perfect?” Even if I can’t answer that right away. Keep on asking the question. It leads me to a better place than the question “Why me?”
Desiree shares her story freely in the hope that others will be inspired. Being honest and open about what we go through with the intention of helping others is the best medicine for a broken heart. “I feel that the pain I have suffered has opened my heart to a level of compassion that wasn’t previously there.” states Desiree. She believes this is reflected in her teaching, so teaching by example is a powerful way of inspiring others to move on in their own lives.
When asked what projects Desiree was working on, she mentioned that she will be releasing some new online yoga classes on Tintyoga.com. She is also co-authoring a book with Michelle Marchildon titled Fearless after Fifty: Becoming Steady, Strong and Resilient with Yoga, a guide on How to survive aging with grace and grit. Desiree started a class in Del Mar, Calif., aimed at yoga veterans 50 and over. She titles the class Wisdom Warriors, and offers veteran yogis the chance to keep learning in an environment that is comfortable and encouraging.
We asked Desiree if she there was something she could share that most would not know about her. She responded with, “I don’t know. I am a pretty open book!”
Desiree is thrilled to be returning to teach at Be Luminous Yoga in Seattle, Wash. this January 2017, and looks forward to meeting some new friends along this path!
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