The honest truth about Siddhi Urban Yoga

What you are about to read it my Satya – my truth. Satya is one of many yoga ethics of Yama and Niyama. Satya is to speak the truth with the intention of welfare towards all beings; to practice self-introspection. To make my words true.


( Here I am 2006 when I became blissfully in love with practicing yoga in Los Angeles and working  front desk at one of the biggest yoga studios in the area)                            

When I got certified through Rocky Mountain Institute for Yoga and Ayurveda in 2007, I had been infatuated with yoga, in that way you are twitterpated by your high school crush. Yoga had gotten me through a lot of tough times living in L.A., and when I moved back to Denver, I immediately (like I tend to do) jumped into the program. It was a great training, but I was also planning my Oct wedding extravaganza, and my crush changed almost overnight to wedding creation and design and coordination. I started to loathe going to the weekend retreats for yoga training, feeling like it was an old boyfriend holding me down once I was in the world of hunky wedding glamour.

Yet I continued on with my training and got my certificate, and maintained my meditation practice by a thread, and began teaching yoga at gyms mainly to receive a free membership. Fortunately since my training was so detailed and alignment and philosophy based, I was able to create my classes based on the proper and classical structure, with a major focus on alignment of the body. I had always loved breath cues when I was in class (where the teacher basically tells you when to breathe) and I naturally incorporated that practice in to class as well. And since my training was in classical yoga, I was taught without music , since it is simply a distraction for the mind, and we need to manually turn off all mind distractions and just be in the moment. But gym classes require music, so I went to my newly discovered favorite CD’s of Krishna Das.

And off I went. I started out with 4 classes, amazed at how much the gym manager believed in me. But even though my classes began to grow, and even though I felt that I was impacting my students, I was still seduced by the shiny and new idea of wedding planning. I thought it would be so much more fun to wear power suits and heels and makeup and designer briefcases than it was to wear my overused workout clothes everyday, hair knotted in two sloppy buns, face showing every truth, every imperfection. So when I was offered the Sunday morning class at the super sport gym, I decided to keep just that class and kick out all the rest so I could focus on my real passion, wedding planning (or so I always think about the newest idea that pops into my head).

I worked my booty off for the certificate of completion through the ACPWC in San Jose – I had to write out my entire business plan and proposal, interview hundreds of event professionals in the area and create a one of a kind wedding on paper. That was all before I got accepted to the program! But, being the Capricorn that I am, I pushed hard up the mountain only stopping to breathe when I was in sight of the top. I made it through the program with flying colors, and headed back to Denver with a new found vigor for the professional world.

(Yes that’s me holding the Champagne and  reveling in the glamour of wedding coordination – hot chicks, hot cars and money baths daily!)

Within weeks I began Swank Soirees – Hip, Classy Shindigs in Denver. I loved it! Others loved it! I got 4 clients in the first 6 months of operations. I created my website from scratch, with not even a lick of help (maybe one of the less desirable Capricorn traits…) and bought that power suit with my first party paycheck.


(My official logo – and yes, Swank Soirees will continue to coordinate events, but it will need to learn to share with Siddhi Urban Yoga)

I was doing good, feeling good, being married and we wanted to buy a house. Ok, I didn’t really want to buy a house because I loved our rental, but I thought it was what we needed to do next in our climb to the top. So house after house we searched our city, determined to find the perfect place in our favorite neighborhood. But as the days of house hunting dragged on, our expectations began to sag, and even after visiting the home we now live in (it gets complicated!) in our perfect location in our perfect neighborhood, we blew it off because we’ve been told, by others and by ourselves, that we needed more than this charming but slighty shabby 2 bedroom.

I was at my wits end when we found the house we first bought. It was indeed bigger, and looked better on paper – new windows, new roof, prof. landscaped yard, 2 car garage with attic and workbench! It was on the market for less than 2 days when we saw it, and my competitive spirit arose, and even though John reminded me how it wasn’t in our neighborhood (not even close) and that we couldn’t walk to our favorite spots like we wanted to, and we wouldn’t have the neighbor camaraderie that I desired, we put in a full price offer, and naturally, got the house.

It was around this time when we found out we were pregnant too. It all seemed to be falling into place, the big house, the baby on the way, power jobs abound. But one day, when I went and babysat for a friend who lives next to the slightly shabby house in the best neighborhood, I couldnt shake the feeling that we were doing the wrong thing. I was outside with my friends baby boy, and neighbors kept coming by saying hi while walking their dogs, kids scooting on razors and running around in sun-baked swimsuits, feet toughened by the summer of gravel, cyclists whizzing by, and I just knew that the shabby house was our house. I began to cry, and blew it off as pregnancy hormones.

My ego wouldnt let me admit until it was “too late” about the house mistake. I was sick – in my heart from the bad decision, and in my everything from the first trimester. The smell of the good-looking house on paper made me gag, and I cried all the time- but it was all just the hormones, right? Moving in felt like a death nail, and it was only a week or so until I couldn’t keep the mistake inside anymore. I sobbed to John that this house was all wrong for us – the smells, the lack of sunlight, the poor energy flow, the barren, neighbor-less location, the fact that his parents loved the place – all kept slapping me in the face that it was wrong. And I knew that I couldn’t have the baby in that house. There was nothing there for my child, and I had to change that.

One day I was chatting with my parents, and I finally blurted out that I hated the house we lived in. I told them that we would live there for at least 3 years so we can keep the tax credit, and then move out. But my parents, the guru’s that they are, told me that you never have to just live with a bad decision, you can always take steps to correct it. “Put it on the market”, they said, “and put your intention out there – it will sell”.

Walking into the house to drop this bomb on John took me what felt like ages. I was shaking from my core and sweating from the tops of my hands I was so nervous. But I knew that it was my decision to move into this house in the first place, and it was my responsibility to take my family out of this terrible enviroment. My “furry baby” as I call my cat came into our room at 3am the night before, hollering for help. Her collar somehow got tucked behind her teeth in her mouth, and she was choking on it. I have never seen something like that before with her – it looked like someone was holding the collar in place, tearing up the sides of her mouth. When I am upset I can change the situation for myself, but when things happen to my family…no way. Anyhow, back to telling John. We cried for a while, and he told me it was impossible and that we had to live with it, and I told him we can change it and we had to get out. After a while, and after I told him I would take care of it all, it would be all my doing to get us out, we decided to call our realtor. He begged and pleaded with us too, telling us how the Holiday season is no time to put a house on the market, and how we would lose a ton of money. But none of it mattered – I knew that if we could get this house on the market, it would sell. It was all part of our Dharma, our life plan to go through this experience.

So despite all odds, the good-looking house on paper went on the market. And guess what…in 31 days, we were under contract. And guess what…after all that time, the slightly shabby house in the perfect neighborhood was still on the market. And as we packed our barely broken down boxes, still smelling like our rental house before it for the 2nd time in 3 months, my heart lifted and I knew that I took a huge leap of faith, and even though it was Christmas and many family members and friends thought we were nutty and flaky and petty and just plain wrong,  I turned around a bad decision for the family, and smiled knowing that it was exactly where we were supposed to be in our lives.

Right after we moved into our perfect little home, our perfect little baby’s heart stopped beating at 5 months. We made this discovery at our appointment to find out the sex (he was a boy), the day before my 29th birthday. When the doctor told me that they couldn’t find a heart beating, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. But I made the decision right there in that doctors office that we needed to accept and continue on our life journey. I needed to learn how to surrender, to be reminded that I can not always be in control.  This is all part of the plan, of life, to overcome huge battles and hopefully come out on the other side, stronger, wiser and  more peaceful. So I kept my eyes locked on Johns, and we breathed together. We mourned his little soul that day, but then every day it got better, and once it was time to go in for my surgery (my first time as a patient in a hospital – talk about surrender!), we were at peace with his passing. We truly belive that he was with us for those 5 months to help us out of the bad situations we were buried in – if it wasnt for him, we might still be miserable in that smelly house, feeling lackluster and cold and un-motivated. But as he helped us out,  we held him and sang to him and danced with him and loved him as much as we love each other, and I know that he passed after 5 glorious months living in warmth and peace. He was a very wise soul, and his energy was needed all over the world. We were blessed to have had him in our lives for that time, and I know he will be with us as our first son always.

(Here I am about 4 1/2 months pregnant, goofing off with Oliver!)

Our son Oliver has helped us speak openly about a “situation” that is most often kept hidden. I think women feel embarrassed and horrible about losing a baby, thinking that they must have done something wrong, or that it was not supposed to happen. But death is a part of life, and some of our children are meant to be with us for our lifetime, and others just for a little while – just like everyone in our journey. We have been able to help other women with their secrets and help them understand that this is all ok. I have helped John’s Grammy let go of her guilt around asking granddaddy to let go when he was sick. I told her that was the best gift she could give him, to let him know it is all ok.

Why should death be looked at as scary? We are all just inhabiting these bodies for a little while, to learn and evolve. I feel that I have evolved so much from this experience, and I am so grateful for its happening. I always tell John, ” If I got to 90 years old and hadn’t gone through any challenges, I’d be pissed off!”

About this time, I remembered how fabulous my yoga class is. How amazing all my students are, so open and willing to learn. They have trusted me for quite some time, and for a while I was absent. I realized how that was not ok, and how they all deserved my full attention. As I put more attention and intention into my classes, others begin to pop up. I put myself out there looking for a few more classes, and they have began flowing in. I realized that I have been trying to ignore my dharma and I am done fighting it off. Sure, I will probably have 20 more from scratch businesses I create in the years to come, but I always want to be true to myself – I love teaching all forms of movement – when I move is when I am alive. I love teaching meditation as well, and letting others know about the struggle it took me to even sit still for 1 min. Believe me, if I can meditate daily for 25 min, you will have no problem!

I want to start Siddhi Urban Yoga because I just want to teach and share joy with everyone. That is how it began – out of joy. And I know how important my knowledgeable teachings have been for my students, and I want to bring that out into the world, into non-typical yoga locations like school lunchrooms and board rooms and in grassy parks. I want yoga and meditation to be a common practice, not just a fad for those with disposable income. I try everyday to live yoga, and I want to open others to this dedication, this practice, this joy.

 (One of my biggest joys – finding this someone who understands me completley and encourages my path to enlightenment)

So do yourself a favor. Never miss an oportunity to evolve. Welcome change and challenges into your life. The universe never gives you more than you can handle, and if it all seems to hard, stop – breathe – sit quietly – clear your mind… it will all come in time. Listen to how you feel about situations, and honor yourself. You are so wise, yet our minds can tend to disregard how we feel. Release the mind, and open the heart.

I decided to release the mind and open the heart when I began Siddhi Urban Yoga. I realized that the power suits were stiff and restrictive, and my worn in yoga pants were worn in for a reason – because I love to move I love to be strong and I love guiding, encouraging and helping others unlock their power. It might not be the money decision, but it is the dharmic decision. And when you follow your dharma which is locked into your heart, the money, recognition, and power are not important. But guess what…they all just flow in when you unlock your dharma. You know you are on the right path when doors open for you, when people are encouraging you on, when you are giddy about your day. Now dont get me wrong, Swank Soirees is a great business, which is focused on local and independent vendors and green practices, and I will forever coordinate events. But why not do both? I can have my wedding cake and look good in my yoga pants too…as long as the cake is vegan – yum! (ps – check back for seriously amazing vegan recipes – I kid you not – like shed a single tear amazing…remember, I am talking Satya (truth)  here!)

So look inside yourself. Do this with meditation. Meditating is the best way to unlock your dharma, the best way to cultivate your “inner ear”. Check back soon for a post on how to begin meditating – it doesn’t require incense and chanting and numb legs (although they can) – all it requires is you allowing yourself the time to release the mind, focus on breathing and stillness. Health, wisdom, anti aging, patience, mood stability and elevation – all this and more will come to you from meditation.

Thank you for listening to my journey, to my steam of conciousness. I want to always be honest with you. Because we can only evolve if we speak our truths. Please, speak your truth to me. I will be honored that you told your story. And don’t forget to find the humor in everyday events – laughing everyday is the best way to open your heart to the joy of life!

(laugh out loud and proud!)

Namaste, peace, laughter and joy ~  Courtney Hayes


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