Monday, February 24, 2014

Making Scents

When I was a young girl, I loved playing with make-up, teetering in my mom’s high heels and sampling any and all perfumes. Consequently, I can apply lipstick without looking in a mirror, walk gracefully in stilettos, and have a knack for mixing up batches of essential oils to use as aromatherapy for my yoga classes. As a teen-ager, I became obsessed with finding a signature scent, as I felt it would help create just the right persona as well as identify me as a mysterious and intriguing woman. It began with musk oil, which I found to be completely sexy. I doused myself daily in its earthy stickiness until its cloying odor became too overwhelming for my father (he thought it smelled like a cat marking territory), and he banned me from wearing it anywhere near the house. To soothe my wounded ego, my mother bought me a bottle of Jean Nate, a kind of non-descript, un-offensive after-bath splash that I found totally boring, and totally un-sexy. Thus began years of searching for something that would evoke the same kind of thrill and mystery as my beloved musk oil. I tried everything – some were really sweet and over-the-top (think Shalimar or Tabu), while some smelled like baby powder (Love’s Baby Soft), and even tried a men’s aftershave for a brief time (I really liked the blend of citruses but had to give it up when a date showed up wearing the same scent). None of the fragrances I tried seemed to reflect all the personal nuances or sensual signals I was hoping for until I discovered Anais Anais. I’m fairly certain it was named for the racy author Anais Nin, and I was totally captivated by her torrid love affair with Henry Miller as well as the sweetly innocent sexuality of the fragrance. I wore that for a number of years and would always be quite pleased when people would ask what I was wearing or better yet, associate the scent with me. (My daughter told me she would secretly spray some on her school uniform so she could feel like I was close to her! So sweet.) It took a few years to get sick of it, especially when too many people started wearing it, and was once again on the hunt. Then one summer, a French friend who had attended art school with me showed up for a visit. Adeline was very chic, as most French women are, and she left me with a fabulous golden St. Laurent cuff, a Prada bag and, best of all, the thing I had been longing to discover – my signature scent. I've been spritzing myself with Mitsouko (by Guerlain) ever since, loving its distinctive earthy sweetness with its citrus top notes, and the intriguing Hollywood legend that wafted along with it. Apparently Jean Harlow's husband, distraught because of his lack of manly prowess and her subsequent departure, doused himself in the sensuous elixir and killed himself on their bed! I know it's a tad over-the-top and begs the term Drama Queen, but to me, it's exactly the kind of intense emotional energy that scents can and do elicit. Imagine what powers a recipe of aroma and asana could produce? The heady combo has been proven to heal physically, emotionally and energetically. Even modern science agrees. These days it's not unusual to find medical doctors who regularly prescribe essential oil therapy as a viable adjunct to western medicine. I strongly advise that before your next yoga practice you take some time to smell the roses, or the lavender, or the frankincense, or the bergamot, and enjoy the dance of asana with an entirely new and sensuous -- maybe even a little over-the-top dramatic…perspective. Love and light, RT

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Having your cake and yoga too…

I always have mixed emotions when I attend any kind of yoga conference. On the one hand I’m excited to practice (I teach just about every day), and to be able to practice with a stellar line-up of teachers is kind of like icing on my yoga cake. On the other hand I often feel a little covetous. I want yoga all to myself and I resent seeing all these svelte, tattooed, attractively freaky yogis, who seem to be so obviously living that totally yogic lifestyle that for me, seems so elusive. (I know – I can be very judge-y – I’m working on it!) And so Saturday afternoon, I once again found my petulant self in that same, self-imposed predicament as I waited online to check in at the Yoga Journal conference in New York City. I arrived just as the early afternoon sessions were breaking and I surreptitiously watched the flushed and blissful beings gilding around Hilton’s marble lobby, laughing, greeting old friends and connecting with new ones. I had some time, so after picking up my badge I headed for the bazaar. (Shopping always makes me feel better.) The YJ bazaar is pulsing with energy and colorful vendors. Everything from yoga mats, to essential oils, to artful jewelry and chic yoga fashions. As I was scoping out an outrageous pair of yoga pants, I ran into an old friend who promptly introduced me to the designer of the Violet Love clothing line, Rebecca Meyers. Turns out, she’s from LA, and her fab line was launched on the success of her “no-headache” headband. I had to buy a pair of what are sure to be my new favorite pants, and Rebecca insisted on a headband too, which I must admit is sa-weet! Then, I hit an awesome handmade jewelry stall and got a great deal on some seriously funky earrings from New York local designer Selen. Hearing drums and singing, I quickly made my way over to a bona fide yogic happenin’ -- Acro yogis, drums and kirtan created an atmosphere of community and joy causing me to soften and smile as the last bits of my petulance melted away. As I watched in awe, I heard someone[s] screaming my name and two of my students rushed over to hug me. Overflowing with energy and excitement as we compared our schedules, we quickly realized it was almost time for the late afternoon session. I decided to try Jason Crandell’s Sun Salute Survival Guide. (I’ve become a big fan of his on Yoga Glo.) It felt so good to be able to settle onto my mat and listen to Jason’s skillful directions and soothing voice. As I glanced to the right and left, the yogis on either side of me offered me a knowing smile. We are all family here, we are all living our own uniquely freaky yoga lives, and we are home. Om Shanti RT

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Many thanks to all the wonderful teachers and caregivers who attended the December 8th workshop at PURE. It was a wonderful experience to share with my friends and co-presenters Tari Prinster, and Antonio Sausys. Much love and light, xoRT

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

yoga4cancer presents The body-mind-soul of a cancer survivor: An Intro to teaching yoga to cancer survivors

December 8, 2012 2pm-5pm PURE West, New York City Join three master teachers (Rita Trieger, Tari Prinster, Antonio Sausys) for an introduction on how yoga can heal & improve the lives of cancer patients and survivors. Workshop will cover: • Why teaching yoga to cancer survivors is different • Key asanas to avoid & required modifications • Techniques for self-awareness and positive dialogue with the body • Essential teaching techiques for this community $50 for 3 hr workshop Discounts for y4c graduates and PURE members Recommended for +200hr yoga teachers only Limited space! Book early at or email Jen at

Monday, August 20, 2012


One of my favorite movies is Annie Hall. At the end of it Woody Allen tells a great joke to describe his relationship with Annie: A man goes to see a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, I’m pretty sure my brother is crazy and I don’t know what to do - he thinks he’s a chicken.” The doctor says, “I think you should consider having him committed,” to which the man replies, “I would…but I like the eggs.” I just love that joke, it holds so much wisdom, because we all have those kinds of relationships in our lives. We hold onto people and situations even when we know they’ve run their course, because on some visceral level those people soothe our egos. They flatter, keep us buoyed and feed into our delusions--somehow always knowing just what to say or do to keep us needing more. And even though we know, deep in our hearts, they are pandering, and sometimes lying, our fragile little egos keep whispering, “but how will I live without those ego-boosting eggs?!” I know I have found myself in that situation more times than I care to admit. I hold on to people and things that are no longer serving any real purpose, and in some cases causing me pain or keeping me stuck, because I can’t give up those tiny, little moments that continue to feed my delusions. But at least I’m aware. And lately I’ve been asking for my eggs sunny side up. I figure if I’m going to buy the eggs, I should at least have them served exactly how I like them. Dig in, RT

Monday, May 7, 2012

Navigating the River of Denial

Recently, I was invited to become a part of a brand new yoga studio that promised to be state-of-the art beautiful, offer a wide variety of classes, and establish a wonderful community of like-minded people. For me, the best part, was feeling as though my accomplishments as a yoga teacher were at long last being recognized, as I had signed on to be a director. Over the long months of construction I met with the owner from time to time but each visit revealed a different support staff, and more directors; any ideas or opinions I offered were quickly brushed aside until finally, I was asked to be patient and lay low while construction headed toward completion. I was getting some very weird vibes – but I ignored them – this was going to be far too good an opportunity for me to pass up. A few weeks later I received an email from one of the new directors informing me that the studio would be opening in a couple of weeks, which conjured up even more weird vibes along with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I called the manager and asked why – since I was a director – was I finding out about this via email? I was told it was an honest mistake, and I would be hearing from someone soon to finalize details of my position. And I actually bought into it. I’ll spare you the rest of the particulars as I really don’t want to give this place or the unskillful beings who own and run it anymore energy. But after a few more ups and downs I resigned, and a valuable lesson unfolded. When my daughter visited the studio for the first time she turned to me and asked, “How do you not feel this bad energy?” I gave her a vague reply but I knew she was right. “Why would you even want to be associated with these people?” was her next question, and I knew then that I had idealized the situation, and had stubbornly ignored every whisper of warning from that intrinsic all-knowing inner voice. The truth was, that what I hoped it would be, and what it actually was, were polar opposites. My ego was so caught up in wanting to be “important,” in wanting people to KNOW I was good, that I had completely let go of the fact that I was, and am, already valued far beyond my imagination. Almost immediately after I walked away--feeling hurt, rejected and deeply disappointed--the Universe sent me bouquets of love; it’s so incredible how she does that! Unsolicited emails, and hugs of gratitude showed up daily. I began to recognize that my value is beautifully reflected in the smiles and postures of my students. It’s clear that my human being-ness had gotten caught up in the currents of Denial. I had been lured by the promise of fame and fortune (such as it is), and had forgotten that being a yoga teacher is all about connecting from your heart. A big, state-of-the-art yoga studio based on the concept of exclusivity, operated by people who don’t really understand yoga, will never be authentic. It will never be a community of heart, and it was not the right place for me. So once again the Universe had come to the rescue, reminding me that there is a bigger picture, and that we must all learn to trust that in the grand scheme of things, disappointments usually turn out to be blessings. Keep the Faith, RT

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Go with the flow…

…I say that all the time in class.
I take the seat of the teacher and I talk about the choppy waters of life and how fighting the current of fear and delusion will only lead to frustration. I certainly believe it to be true but somehow I find myself treading in dark, murky waters over and over again; fighting the fearful currents with all my might.

The reality is that there are are so many people in this world who must navigate far more treacherous waters than any I have had to face. They must actually fight for each precious drop of life. So why is it that I continue to struggle in the flow of my very sweet life? Why do I find myself frustrated by tsunamis of self-doubt initiated by other people’s careless words and fears?

Someone very wise recently told me that we only begin to develop self-confidence when we can cultivate the ability to overcome delusions and lose the ignorance of ego. Adding that we mustn’t fear darkness as it is a much grander truth than the flowers that easily bloom in the warmth of the sun.

I think about these words as I look up at an overcast night sky. It seems empty and thick and dreary; but as I continue to watch, I see a glimmer of light, and soon enough the dark clouds part, and starlight comes beaming through, offering a hint of the Divine. I understand that the stars were always there -- maybe it was simply my ego that blocked the view.

One night, while on retreat in Mexico, I jumped fearlessly into the warmth of the ocean while those very same stars twinkled above me. I think about how comforting it felt to rest on the surface of the dark and soothing sea as the stars offered tiny beacons of hope.
Gentle waves rocked me effortlessly to shore.
I felt safe and courageous.
All I had to do was go with the flow.