I walk briskly down Church Street, feeling as though I’ve temporarily left an essential part of me behind. Rushing to an early morning massage, I think of my seven-week old baby at home with my Aunt and Uncle. She’s in loving, capable hands and I feel like I’ve stepped out of the new baby vortex, if only for an hour. My feet are pounding pavement, but I swear I am hovering a few inches above ground. Floating from point A to point B. It’s as if without those twelve pounds in my arms, I’m not actually connected to Earth. This must be akin to the phantom limb phenomenon.

Catching my reflection in a shop window, I see a body that is still unfamiliar to me; a bouncy chest, a round belly, and a…let’s say voluptuous…bum. But I don’t nit-pick at all of the softer rounder parts, as I would have a year ago. Rather, I see a body that built another human body; a body that housed another human spirit. And not just any human; my perfect, beautiful, curious, sweet daughter. I’ve only been gone ten minutes, but I wonder what she’s doing. Is she sleeping? If she’s awake, is she fussy or contentedly alert? Will they remember to give her the bottle of freshly pumped milk on time? What if I didn’t leave enough?

My gait is wider and perhaps more clunky as I make my way to the massage studio. I take in the scene around me; the colors, scents, and sounds. Things actually look different now and my perception of the space around me has shifted. It’s as if when my body expelled my baby, my old way of seeing the world slipped out with her.

I look at the shopkeeper, the pack of teenagers, the sleeping homeless woman, the uniformed cop, and I cannot help but see them as infants. They were once as new and vulnerable as my little girl. Someone loved them enough to feed them, hold them, wake up during the wee hours of the morning with them. I mean…that’s amazing.

I see that there’s no place for judgment in this world and only room for love.

When I birthed my baby, a new version of myself came through as well. Or perhaps I’m back to the old version of myself; the me that existed before I thought I knew right from wrong, good from bad. The me that existed before expectations, both self and other-imposed, weighed me down. Perhaps motherhood is the joyful yet challenging journey of coming home. Returning to that place where naps, snuggles, and play are more important than laundry, showers, and looking like you have your sh*t together.

I run up the narrow stairs to the massage studio and see that I’m a few minutes late. Formerly, tardiness was a personal pet-peeve but now I see that the world remains enact when one arrives a little behind schedule.

The massage therapist asks about my body and areas that need attention. I describe parts of my body that could use a little extra TLC. But it’s not just my body anymore; my daughter depends on me, on my body, to survive. My neck and upper back are sore from trying to find the perfect nursing position. My breasts are tender from feeding and pumping. My left arm is fatigued from holding her as my right hand attempts to accomplish basic everyday tasks. My low back aches from months of carrying her inside of me. My hamstrings are tight from an uphill walk with her in the stroller. My eyes are tired from interrupted sleep.

But my heart. My heart is alive, full of gratitude, and in awe of myself, my partner, and our baby. We’re doing it, we’re actually doing it. And we will have graceful moments, we will have clumsy moments, we’ll do things right, and we’ll mess up. But we’re all swimming in our most raw humanness together and it’s happening.

I disrobe and lie down on the massage table, eagerly anticipating a full hour of tranquil music, warm hands, relaxing scents, and nothing to do. This time is precious and cherished. I close my eyes and feel the weight of my body on the table. From the outside it appears as though I am just me, one person, alone on the table. But I know that will actually never be the case ever again. My daughter has arrived. There is and always will be an invisible string connecting our hearts. I feel the strength of that and I know she’s ok. I know she feels safe and loved. I softly smile as I revel in this new version of me. I am whole, real, vulnerable, and happy. And I am ready for a frickin’ massage.

Mabel Rita Luna Sullivan


Hello beautiful yogis! Last time I saw most of you, I was waddling around in the heat of summer with an 8.2lb baby dancing around in my belly. I’m thrilled to share that our little girl came into the world on July 19th, 2015 and has brought such joy to our family. She’s content, curious, alert, and smiley. She has certainly propelled into me a very new realm of yoga practice; the practice of showing up, being present, patient, and loving. Also a practice of letting go, letting go, letting go. There’s so much wisdom we can learn from these little ones if we open up to receive it. It’s challenging and enriching. I feel like becoming a mom has a way of instantly stripping a woman of the many layers of stories upon stories and revealing the raw, vulnerable truth of what it is to be human. I am so grateful and blessed that Mabel is here to teach me those deep lessons as I do my best to guide her through the world in a compassionate, authentic way.

Just Like Bees

To meditate,
they say, you must focus
on one point. The mind wanders
so you come back to that point
again and again.

The attention can be hazy and amorphous,
like a world of mist hovering above the sea
at dawn. But it can also be crisp
and unwavering, like the midday sun
piercing through a canopy of leaves
to warm your face.

In life, too, we have one point
upon which to focus. The first
essay I wrote was on the subject of worker bees.
Age seven. Toward the end of the piece, I noted
that bees are born knowing their job and where they belong
within the hive. My young self then turned to the reader and reflected
upon the notion that I was, at that stage of life, unsure
of what my job was and where I belonged
in this hive of a world.

But I did know.
We all know. Just like bees,
just like all living beings, we are born
with a unique, cosmic, True dharma. This is a path
laid out for us before the moment of conception,
and a path we must remain focused on. Just like in meditation,
we may stray from it and step outside the lines
of our purpose here on Earth, but it is our duty
to listen, to know, to come back, and to act.

To know, we must travel
from head to heart. When we arrive,
the path is illuminated. Maybe all at once,
maybe little by little. Even if we are unsure
as to what exact steps to take, what moves to make,
it is better to walk your path with a messy, clumsy, but honest gait
than to walk someone else’s perfectly.

What does it mean to you– to step fiercely,
one foot ahead of the other, led by some strange
but real pull along your path
in this journey
we call life?

Harvest of the Self- One Day Retreat

Harvest of the Self Flyer

Saturday, November 1st


I am excited to offer this one-day retreat with Brian Tobin at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne, VT. We will practice asana, breath techniques, and meditation along with less conventional exercises that involve African drumming, intuitive movement, reflective journaling, and more. The entire day, which includes a meal catered by Pingala Cafe and Eatery, is $75. Please email me for more info. or to register! Julia.r.howe@gmail.com

Autumn Tree Picture.jpg.opt302x359o0,0s302x359

“You can have the other words-chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it. ”
― Mary Oliver

Like Mary Oliver, I don’t know exactly what grace is, but I know what it feels like when I let it in; smooth, unobstructed, limitless, warm, simple, and organic. Every Fall, I am inspired by the grace with which the natural world around me transforms. In essence, the vibrant green life of summer becomes muted and in many cases slips into a deep hibernation in preparation for the winter. When I see the bright hues of the leaves as they elegantly descend toward Mother Earth, it’s clear that nature doesn’t resist this transition. All layers of the Earth know it is time to move inward, and that message is received and embraced with ease. The leaves don’t grip onto the branches for dear life and the birds don’t refuse to migrate South…change comes easily to them because it is essential in the balance of life; they’re so plugged into the way of the Universe, that they don’t pause to question it. Seasons, energy, and inherent change flows from these life forms as these life forms.

When it comes to our own lives, we could learn a thing or two from the trees, the grass, and our fellow Earthlings. The more we push against the current of change, the more we struggle. If we surrender to the flow of the Universe, we see that everything falls perfectly into place. “Perfect” may not look how we think it should, yet, it is through grace that we soften, listen, and be still– we come to respect and honor the higher intelligence of the Universe. May we all be humble enough to open to the gifts of grace this season and every season hereafter.

Why I Love My Yoga Mat


Right now, I have a bright orange Jade Yoga mat. It’s not slippery, smelly, or heavy. It’s durable, made of natural rubber, and was reasonably priced. All of these things are nice, but they’re not why I love my mat so much. Here are the reasons I do

When I unroll my mat, it doesn’t stare me up and down. It doesn’t tell me I shouldn’t have eaten a cookie before practice or that I shouldn’t have stayed up late the night before watching old seasons of 30 Rock. When I step on my mat, it doesn’t care if I’m an emotional wreck or totally composed. It doesn’t care that I overreacted during a conversation with whoever and it doesn’t tell me I could have done a better job with A, B, or C. My mat doesn’t make me feel guilty for not doing the dishes that have been “soaking” in the sink for 3 days, nor does it get on my case about meditating for 10 minutes instead of 20.

My mat doesn’t judge when I reach for the bolster and call a 30 minute restorative supta baddha konasana my practice, nor does it roll it’s non-existent eyes at me when I push myself a little too hard. It doesn’t even give me the stink eye from the corner of the room when it’s been sitting there, untouched, for a few days in a row. It doesn’t give me a standing ovation when I practice consistently, everyday, and finally get into an asana I’ve been working on for months. My mat is neutral, there, available, and ready to support me in whatever practice I need.

You know what I love about my mat and everything it stands for? It meets me where I’m at.  It’s love and acceptance is unyielding. The more frequently I step on my mat, the more able I am to enter that same place of equanimity and love; for the yoga practice and for myself.

Life isn’t linear and usually doesn’t flow within the lines of whatever plan you’ve devised for yourself. The yoga practice is similar. Some days you feel light, airy, flexible, and open to an ocean of greater consciousness. Some days the body feels like a bag of bricks, muscles are tight, the mind is whirling, and things feel clumsy. The mat doesn’t care if you fall out of tree pose or if your face isn’t smushed into your legs during paschimottanasana. The mat simply encourages you to practice yoga– and yoga encourages you to deeply self-examine and in the midst of that investigation, to fall in love with your Self.

Save the Date– Jules Febre at Laughing River Yoga!

Jules collage

Jules Febre

October 3-5

Laughing River Yoga

I am very excited to share that Jules Febre will be doing a special 3-day workshop at Laughing River Yoga in October. He is the nephew of Jivamukti co-founders, Sharon Gannon and David Life, and a world-renowned yoga teacher in his own right.  Please join us for a very special Jivamukti weekend with this down-to-earth, funny, wise, and wonderful being. Registration open soon.



Jules Febre was born and raised in a section of New York City known as the Lower East Side. He grew up in the L.E.S. during a very rough period surrounded by violence, drugs and a general atmosphere of anger. At the age of 13, Jules spent three months in India; two of which were spent in Mysore studying Ashtanga Yoga with Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. During that time he was invited to share satsang with Swami Nirmalananda and Shyam Das, two radical yogis that have each helped to add to the progression of yoga in the West. At the age of 16 Jules began working at the Jivamukti Yoga School helping to clean, by 21 had become the general manager of two Jivamukti Yoga Schools and eventually became the C.O.O of Jivamukti Inc. in New York City.

After years of working behind a desk Jules realized his need was to be with others in a more hands on relationship and took the 350 hour Jivamukti Yoga Teacher training. After completing the extensive one month training, he chose to work for an additional 350 hour advanced certification program.

     Jules decided it was time to give back to the neighborhood he grew up in and started Hip Hop Asana with two other Jivamukti Yoga teachers. Combining hip hop music & his street smarts, he teaches classes geared toward those interested in the hip hop culture and yoga; especially those who cannot always afford to pay for classes. So far, Hip Hop Asana has been taught by Jules in New York City in Homeless Shelters, High Schools and Recreational Centers for inner city youth.  

Teaching yoga is Jules’ passion. He is grateful to his teachers, Sharonji, Davidji’ who he has had the privilege of studying with for over 15 years, for igniting his devotion to the Jivamukti Yoga practice and for inspiring countless students around the world. 



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