desert rose: erica jago on spirit, sex and creativity
posted: November 21, 2013
all images by Michael Chichi
I first came across the work of Erica Jago and Michael Chichi in Art of Attention, the book Erica co-authored with NYC yogini extraordinaire Elena Brower. The book opens with instructions for a fast-paced flow sequence to reduce tension and find forgiveness, and I was blown away by Michael’s accompanying images of Erica and Elena, set against the backdrop of Burning Man’s Black Rock City. This was yoga from another planet. Here is Erica on her yoga, her man and how she believes “my spirituality, sexuality and creativity” are one and the same thing.
How did you and Elena first connect?
“Elena’s poetic yoga classes came into my life right when I needed support and inspiration. I was transitioning out of a 13-year relationship, my job had just laid me off and I had no choice but to take my dreams seriously. Terrified of failure, I reluctantly sent her a PDF of my book and within days she responded with; “Could we / should we work together?” Dream come true! Our relationship since has completely changed the course of my life. Not only did Elena bring me into her world, but she encouraged me to elevate mine on every level.”
And how did you and Michael meet?
“Michael! My twin flame. I was kind of stalking him online, because his photography and artwork made me swoon. It’s like he spoke the language of my heart through his visuals. Again, it came down to ask and you shall receive. When I first reached out, we agreed to met in person about web design and photography. What I thought was a business meeting turned quickly into a discussion about relationships, spirituality and Burning Man!”
Burning Man is obviously a special place for you…
“When I finally started attending these transformational festivals with [Michael], I found myself moving my body and expressing myself ‘wildly,’ in a way used to invoke the caution to be careful, to be realistic and remind myself of my own limitations. Instead these experiences liberated and revolutionised my self-confidence. After years of putting out the request to learn self-love, I believe the universe conspired the union that brought me to the Burn through the spiritual law of attraction.”
Any rules for thriving in the desert environment?
“Love your camp. Have a cushion for your bike seat. Plenty of baby wipes.”
What’s the philosophy of your yogic practice?
“When we meet on the mat, I believe we are doing the work to become whole. This is an act of remembering who we really are, when all the outside programming and input is brought to a minimum and we resolve to stay present in the heart. In fact, the heart breath is an excellent way into our wholeness. Keeping our awareness right above the heart and below the throat is how we align all aspects of ourselves with love. It means seeing this life as a gift that we are the caretakers of.”
Do you have a personal life philosophy?
“I think everything we say, do and think has to be a win-win for all concerned, otherwise it’s not worthy of the heart space. And that if we practice together, we are in it together.”
In what ways is ‘beauty’ an expression of the spiritual?
“I love this question. I see no difference between my spirituality, sexuality and creativity. All three are working to evolve us into the next level of love through beauty and attraction. Beauty drives the feeling of peace and until each one of us knows how to find that place in ourselves, and to align with it, we will never have world peace.”
Read the full version of this article on The Numinous.