Annapurna Woman Britt B Steele

Portrait of the Annapurna Woman is an ongoing series featuring divine women who embody the nurturing spirit of Annapurna Living. Today we introduce author & yoga teacher, Britt B. Steele.

HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY?

I rise before the sun most days.  I like the stillness. To me, mornings are very sacred. I make tea, sit, and then practice asana.  Most mornings I fit in a talk by my teacher. All this happens before full light—as once the horses can look in the windows and see that I am up, they start whinnying for breakfast and then they become my ritual.  My morning ritual isn’t really so much about “what” I do … It’s much more about “how” I do whatever comes my way.

I like it this way—slow and steady—sacred and conscious. I set it up best I can and if something interrupts it—then the focus of my practice shifts. However it is, the magic, the quiet, and the sacred remain.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE OVERWHELMED OR STRESSED?

Get. On. My. Knees. Sometimes that’s on the mat, sometimes that’s at my altar. Sometimes it’s at the creek’s edge.  

I’ve learned that pain is not suffering if I don’t resist it.  It’s just energy in motion, and my practice is to feel it, go deep with it, and receive it in every soulful cell in my body … When I do that, the suffering dissipates and all that is left is energy—energy to do with whatever I am inspired to: garden, practice asana, write, chant, make food, or study.  

I keep my personal practice alive and within reach at all times. I’ve learned that everything is “prasad” (sacred nourishment), and my breath is the greatest teacher. On every inhale, I allow whatever is coming, like it or not, to “come, come, come”—and on every exhale I allow whatever is exiting, like it or not, to graciously and gracefully, “go, go go”.

WHAT GIVES YOU THE FEELING OF TRUE BLISS WITHIN?

See above.  Seriously.  When my practice is close to me, when I lay down my agenda, I feel so in Love. That love bubble is where I like to reside—and I’ve learned how to beckon it. And then, once I am in it, I remember, “ahhh YES … This is who I AM.”  For years I chased that feeling—experienced fleeting moments. Now, after nearly 20+ years of practice, I simply reach for it and it’s mine—I circle everything back through “svadhyaya” (self-study), and I return again and again to this, one, prayerful moment, where I recognize everything as service, everything as devotion, everything as divine manifestation.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

  • Ganesha Goes to Lunch by Kamla K. Kapur
  • Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course by Puja Swamiji Dayananda Saraswati
  • The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?

Right now? I’m in the farmhouse, so the hum of the freezer is the only thing I can hear over the silence.  And then I ask myself what I ask myself with every sound, “can I hear the OM?” Living near the end of a dead end road without cell service and very sketchy satellite internet service, its the silence I hear most—laced with humming birds, the critters, and the sound of the creek.

Funny story, but when I first moved to the YogaFarm with my husband I thought I was hearing a party happening every night … I was so annoyed that I’d moved from the city to be plagued with loud bass every night. One night I got up and closed the windows so I could sleep. I crawled back in bed, fully perturbed and found that the sound was even LOUDER. I quickly realized it was my HEARTBEAT.  (Oy. Back to the mat I go.)

In terms of music, I have fallen in love with a new single by a dear soul, Michael Franti, called: Once a Day.  I love anything by Trevor Hall  and my newest secret crush is a girlband called MaMuse—I particularly LOVE Hallelujah—and here is how it inspires me.  

Mostly, I listen to as many hours as I can of my teacher.  It’s the best thing I do for myself.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO SIMPLE RECIPE?

I love things that are delicious and nutritious. My favorite is something I call “AmazeBalls”—it’s here. And in terms of meals, I load my plate with heaps of local produce and freshly roasted seeds and nuts—and sauce it with a simple scrumptious dressing: 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, a clove of minced garlic, sea salt, pepper, and a “glub” of maple syrup to taste: nature’s finest medicine.

WHAT ARE SOME SIMPLE THINGS YOU DO FOR SELF-CARE?

I eat seasonally. I rise and set with the sun. I take a day off each month to be quiet and technology free. I walk in the forest. Muck stalls. Pull weeds. Glamorous, huh? I am all about filling my life with more and more of what is natural and sustainable, and of a high and clear vibration. The result is that all that stuff that I “shouldn’t" be doing?—it just falls away.

WHAT DOES NOURISHMENT LOOK LIKE TO YOU?

“Pancha Maha Bhutas” says it all (the five great elements). Nourishment is remembering that I am part and parcel of nature. That when I align myself with nature, nourishment is what reveals. I am very conscious about what I bring into my life these days—and have found great benefit in simply looking to nature for guidance. Nature is in absolutely everything. It IS everything. The earth offers grounding and a solid steady foundation for all I am and do. The waters offer me fluidity, juicy life connections and conduction of all sorts of delicious energies. The fires offer me brilliant sparks of clarity and warmth. The winds offer me mobility and grace. And ether offers me a home [OM] to which I can return and be at ease, again and again … a magical, mystical, unobjectifyable source and space for all to be whole and holy right now, with no need for anything or anyone to be even a little bit different.  

How do you make space for play?

When I practice, when I allow some space between my life and the rush of media, busyness, consumerism, and could/should/would thinking … when I see my life as sacred service, when I pray, when I lay down my agendas for myself and others, when I stay in the "sacred gray", and when I fill my whole life with what is real, alive, clear and right, I seriously LAUGH OUT LOUD because the gratitude overflows from my bones. That is space.  Freedom.  Play. 

What are some favorite mantras you cling to?

Ganesha rocks my world. I love Sanskrit. I love that one cannot utter a single “akshara" (sound symbol) without praying and calling up the divine that lives in all of us. So, I chant as much as I can—while driving, gardening, teaching yoga, walking & feeding the donkeys. All of it. My favorite is a ganesha chant—Gananam Tva Ganapatim—it’s a bit long for some—but the OM Kara is essentially Ganesha’s “nickname” if you will, so if you want to clear any blockages—within and without—OM contains the entire universe and will do you just fine.

Yat Bhavam Tad Bhavati

As you worship, so you become.

Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.

Every single choice, in thought, word, and action shapes us.  Everything matters and nothing is really all that important—all at the same time. How we devote ourselves in time, energy, resources, conversation, and relationships become the life we create.  

Choose Love. Choose yoga—not only on the mat but on every single prayerful breath. When you do, all vagueness, doubt and error will be replaced by an intimacy with something way bigger than your wildest imaginings. Truth will remain, and Truth attracts goodness. And most important of all, your heart will bloom and reveal to you that YOU are the breath, the breather, the one being breathed … the creator, the creation, the creating.

Om Gung Ganapayeh Namah.


About Britt B. Steele

Britt is described as a yoga teacher, love preacher, truth seeker, and is the author of Pilgrim:  Live Your Yoga Every Single Day and its corresponding 108 Day online Immersion. She is a guiding light in the yoga & Ayurveda worlds, dedicated to bringing their powerful & simple teachings to the forefront of life today. She works with students to discover the hidden depths of yoga and to be a guide in bringing these potent teachings into day to day life. Britt lives with her husband at Deva Daaru YogaFarm, an hour outside Portland, Oregon where she lives her yoga, shares her teachings through online programs, facilitates yoga teacher trainings, and hosts Live Your Yoga events & Daycations.  Learn more about Britt on her websiteFacebook,  TwitterInstagramSoundcloud, and Vimeo.