Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jesus and Snowflakes

Obviously I will start with Merry Christmas, Happy Channakuh, and Merry Yule. I am lucky that my family celebrates all three, and that we embrace all religions and cultures. The past week at home has been beautiful. I attended a Yule celebration (a Pagan holiday) that my mother organized, Christmas Eve service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation that I grew up in, and Christmas dinner tonight with my entire family. On my last day of classes for the term my Journalism teacher reminded us to remember how incredibly lucky we are to be learning together at college. Last night my mother chatted about how difficult it is for 'normal' people to navigate through this world, and how much suffering there is. And then, speaking as a special needs teacher, she reminded me how difficult it is for those people that function differently than the 'normal' person. My older brother told me the most inspiring story of the year yesterday. He does not believe in Christmas, or any other religious holiday. But he does believe in appreciating and helping others. This past Thursday he and his amazing girlfriend took unwanted bagels from a bagelry in San Diego, over 150, and put them in bags with some candy. They dished it out to the homeless people that line the streets in California.

These acts of kindness is what Christmas should be all about. As my mother bustles around feeding her children and making sure they are happy, we should remember that we are all children of the earth and deserve to be treated with the same respect and compassion that my brother gave the homeless people, and how my mother treats her children.

Tip of the Week: (This is inspired by my best friend in California) Take a walk today with someone you love. Find gratitude wherever you find family, and let them know how much you care. We are all here in support of one another.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A sigh, a breath, and a stretch

As always, Asheville Airport made me crazy frustrated yesterday as I began my trek homeward. Once again my flight was delayed, causing me to miss my connecting flight, and take hours longer to arrive home. However, as always, my frustration subsided as soon as I walked in my front door. My baby dog was there to freak out and greet me, and my mother and brother had to wait for me finish freaking out about my baby dog. We sat down to a lovely candlelit dinner complete with homemade food, beer and joyous conversation. This morning I awoke to an excellent yoga class taught by my friend Vito, drank coffee with my father, and snuggled with my pup. Life is looking up, especially that Mary and Jesse made my Christmas wish come true and they will be home Christmas day! Exhausted from working hours on finals this past week and celebrating with my friends, I can finally kick back, read the New York Times (NOT on my computer!), drink coffee, read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and enjoy the warmth of house and family.

Tip of the Week: Buy and read the newspaper with a cup of joe. So lovely!

Monday, December 12, 2011

4 Months of Writing for the Media...

Walking back on the Warren Wilson campus in August swept me into a whirlwind of memories and anticipation. It has been three years since I have been a full time student and writing was a distant thought while I lived in Berkeley. I came back to college with the intention of graduating quickly to write for Yoga Journal. Instead, I rediscovered my love for writing. My ideas expanded beyond writing wellness columns to writing short stories and poems. I realized there is more to my writing than wellness and yoga, and I found courage to move beyond magazine columns. I have also improved in grammar and structuring articles. I have learned to cut out unnecessary words and descriptors that detract from the focus of the piece. I loved recording my writing, and hearing it on the radio. Philip has invited me to write some more pieces for the Swannanoa Journal. My writing has also embraced a fluidity that improves my style. Overall, my style and courage in writing has improved the most. The grammar was a plus.

A Hella Hectic Week with a Wonderful End in Sight

Monday post because I was so tired yesterday to write anything worth noting. This is my last week of school until I have a month long break where I will be snowboarding in Maine, seeing my Boston friends, and relaxing with my beautiful family. The best news in a while popped up on Thursday. I will be moving to downtown Asheville today! Great house, one other chill roommate, and he has a really cute one year old coon hound named Mona for my Siva to play with. I am unbelievably excited to reunite with my baby dog. I know my parents are going to miss him, they have been watching him since mid August. Pretty much anyone who meets him loves him. I need to get through this week and maintain my good grades, my sanity, and friendships. It is not easy! It is also a time where we are wishing the week would be over- very easy to miss the present moment.

Tip of the Week: Breathe deep for 5 minutes. Remember this is all just part of the experience.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Special blurb! Songs to Get Down To

Special post, mid week. I've been rockin out to some great music recently, and felt that I should share some fabulous songs for yoga, dance, just chilling out to. Here are some playlists for yoga:

Relax and Renew:
No Other Way by Jack Johnson
Ganesha by Wah!
Shree Ram by Wah!
Guitar Space/ Summertime by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
Om Ram Ramaya by Deva Premal
Somasomasu by Jasmon
Om Na Ma Shiva ft Marti Nikko by DJ Drez
To Mend by Bluetech
Make You Feel My Love by Adele

The Jack Johnson CD Thicker Than Water is awesome
Thievery Corporation is always a staple
DJ Drez has great stuff. He is based out of San Francisco, but I did a live yoga class with him and it was fantastic
Shiva Rea's CD Yoga Rhythms 
Moby's song Natural Blues is a win

Check out Wah! here ->

Enjoy the rest of the week! I'll be back on Sunday <3

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Redefining Who You Are

This week I was assigned to make a blog for class, and seeing as I already have this amazing one, I asked if I could just rework Light on Balance. I got the go ahead, and I realized there are so many areas in my life I could improve. We think things are finished, or ok as they are, but truly everything right now in my life needs a bit of revamping. Stress this week has been a major factor, and it is NOT an easy thing to deal with! Unhealthy habits due to stress: alcohol, procrastination, overworking, and most of all forgetting that we can fill ourselves with love instead of depending on other people to do that. After a few weeks of getting to know a great guy we decided to end it at least for a little while. Though I am upset about it, I am also aware of how quickly I lose sight of the all the beautiful things in front of me. With only two weeks left of my first semester back in college I have a lot to do before I board the plane back to Boston. My intentions are to make healthy choices, work out at least 6 days out of the week, and maintain my gpa.

Cute photo of the fam- cant wait to see them again in a few weeks!

Tip of the Week: Write out your intentions. And then make it happen!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Boston and NYC...home again

It was lovely to be home for Thanksgiving! After an eventful plane ride I made it to Long Island, where family, beer and ny pizza made it all worth it. I am so lucky to have such a supportive, amazing family that genuinely believes in what we all do, and how we make our mark in the world. I loved being in my fuzzy socks and lounging around with a glass of wine and watching movies with my cousins.
We also went to the 9/11 memorial at ground zero. It was incredibly moving, and brought tears to my eyes. Hundreds of names surrounded everflowing fountains where the towers were. 10 years ago my father could have been on that flight, and it makes me feel sick to think what these last 10 years would be like without him. I am so grateful to have my family so close to me. At the same time, so many fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends etc were killed in the terrorist attacks. I took a moment gazing at the water where the towers were to truly offer up my prayers to those families. My heart goes out to you.

Walking the highline in NYC was lovely, though terribly crowded. Boston is beautiful. I took a fabulous yoga class in Rockville Centre, where my cousins live.

Tip of the Week: Spend 5 minutes of gratitude for your family. Breathe easy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Like a Fish

This week has proved to be a lot of work. End of the semester and a few projects are waiting to be finished. However, I worked out every day this week and it makes an incredible difference. Maybe I'm a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, but after a day of sitting at work and in class, and stress surmounts here and there, there is nothing better than running or going to the gym to release all of that. I also did a wonderful yoga class with a new yoga teacher on campus, and I am so happy that she will be teaching every Thursday. She follows Rod Stryker's Para Yoga, but definitely diverges into a few other styles, which I appreciate. If it was not for yoga and meditation, I do not know where my mind would be.
Thanksgiving is this week, and it is my favorite holiday to celebrate. I love my family, and cooking with them and watching movies is the most relaxing and fulfilling event. As is the pumpkin pie and turkey. I am so grateful that I can spend the holiday with my family this year, seeing as the last few years California was too far to fly home for it. I love my classes at school. I look forward to doing my homework on the plane, as nerdy as that sounds.
I also learned swimming techniques today from a friend, and it was so much fun to hang out in the water and learn the correct ( I was WAY off) way to swim. Not easy, but will be good rehab for my knee and shoulder after knocking both of those out of place this soccer season. Below: Dinner with the soccer girls at our banquet. Cute picture, love them!

Tip of the Day: Be like a fish. Go for a swim and drink a lot of water.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Once in while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

It has been an interesting week for sure. I came to a realization about my column at the school newspaper. It is too event focused, and not expository enough about the energy on campus. I'll be working on that this week. I also planned an event at UNC Asheville and it totally flopped. There was a huge basketball game, and the only people that came were my four friends. I felt horrible because my friend from the yoga training this summer drove from Norfolk, VA (seven hour drive) to be there for the event. She was chill about the situation, and said her fundraising journey for the Seva organization has been full of ups and downs. However, the support of my friends driving over there was incredible. I am so grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. We ended up having a great time, and they all donated some money to her cause.
I also came down with a stomach virus Wednesday night, and was bedridden Thursday and most of Friday. I freaked out that I couldn't go to work and class, and then realized this was a blessing too. I have been stressing out like a madwoman for the past few weeks with organizing events, school, relationships. I NEEDED a rest, to slow down, take a chill pill (or, in this case, pepto bismol and advil). I cut out alcohol and coffee, unhealthy food, and slept a lot. Thank you, stomach virus. You did make me feel awful, but I learned my lesson.
Model in the shot below: My friend Alex left this picture for me on my computer. She is wearing my sunglasses. Hilarious.

Tip of the Week: Get sick and make sure your work flubs (ha, just kidding). Instead, when you get upset, try to see the lesson of the situation. And then smile laugh. A lot.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Soccer season done, winter on the way!

My body is ready for rest! 4 months of soccer almost every day and my hamstrings, hips and hip flexors are ridiculously sore. Was it worth it? Absolutely. With 5 weeks left of my first semester back at college (!!!) I am ready to hit the gym, yoga mat, books and sleep. We won our second game at nationals with a beautiful goal by my friend Lily in the last 7 seconds. It was so epic to end our season on that note. We had a hard time keeping our head up sometimes throughout the last few months with few wins and many losses. However, by the end of it all we pulled it together and had so much fun playing together. The girls on the team are amazing.
I was in NY a week ago when the snowstorm hit. Needless to say I was ecstatic to get back to 60 degree, sunny North Carolina. These next few weeks will be insanely busy, but it is doing work that I love. Time to focus...

Tip of the Day: To help focus drink green tea and have a morning yoga practice. Clear the mind and prepare the body for the work ahead of you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A few shots from my photo shoot today, courtesy of Seph

Fall-ing into the Moment

Again I have slacked on posting to all you lovely readers... many apologies! I feel revamped after my fall break from school, where I went to Atlanta for a concert and South Carolina for the soccer team to enjoy the beach! Great times all around, and I was lucky enough to return to the mountains in time to see the leaves paint the landscape with orange, red, and yellow. So beautiful. It has been years since I have been in the northeast for fall, and it truly is such an amazing view. There are only 8 weeks left in the semester until winter break... inching my way to graduation!

Sometimes I get caught up in finishing and forget that this is what I love doing; being part of a community, going to class, and yes, occasionally homework too (if it is not for my math class. Anything reading/writing related is wonderful!). I hurt my shoulder a few weeks back and it is taking a long time to heal. I am working with patience, and being kind to my body. It is not easy after years of dance and figure skating where I learned to push through the pain no matter what.

Last night I watched the film Peaceful Warrior, about a gymnast at UC Berkeley (all the shots of campus made me miss it so much!) who breaks his leg and is struggling to always find the next best thing to fill himself with happiness. He meets a wise old man who helps him learn that the journey is where the truth of joy sits, and so here I am trying to stay focused. Sometimes we are always trying to speed ahead- just get to summer, just get to that dream job, just graduate... the grass is always greener. Appreciate where you are RIGHT NOW.

Lululemon offers free yoga classes weekly around the country- check them out, usually some of the best teachers in the area! I have taken a few classes there this week, definitely worth it.

Tip of the week: Drink a cup of tea- and do only that. No rushing, try to clear the mind and be here now.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Love for Family

Forgot to post last week! I have been extremely busy with school and work. I had my first school-wide event this past Thursday. A master West African drummer came to campus during lunch with djembes and different kinds of hand drums, and a drum circle ensued! It was so wonderful to see so many students interested in learning the technique, get into the music and away from the cigarette smoking area. A few teachers brought their kids over to dance and listen. I created a wellness newsletter for students to hand out during the drum circle (like flies to the light students gathered and I dished out the goods). I am also offering free private yoga sessions to those trying to quit smoking because it is the largest killer in the United States, and most people start as teenagers. I am trying to make a difference where I can, stay focused on school work, health, and maintaining my sanity through the jam packed day.
It was amazing to have my parents in town this weekend. They are so generous (DELICIOUS food and warm clothes galore) and loving that my heart was filled with gratitude. They even sat through a freezing game of soccer (our best game yet!).
Tip of the Day: Indulge. Chocolate cheesecake? Yes please!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Beauty of Team

It is truly an inspirational experience to be on a team again. The girls on the team have become some of my closest friends, and the time on and off the field is exceptional. Into the full swing with school I am completely immersed in college life again (minus the ridiculous parties and drugs). I have truly an amazing job as I am working on creating a community at Warren Wilson away from cigarettes and booze and onto the yoga mat and spaces away from marijuana culture. The students want that as well! We just need to give the opportunity and events to make that happen.
Today's yoga class was really beautiful. Great group of people, and I feel that we have so much to offer when stress is off our backs and we can just be- to work hard without the hassle of trying to fit in and act a social role. It is so lovely to teach yoga and feel connected and not leave the studio to go to our separate houses on separate streets and never see one another. Here we walk off the mats and go to dinner, see one another on campus, knowing that that person is working on their yoga. A bond is made.

Another place I went this week that inspired me was the UNCA Well-a-Bration. This was the opening of the new (GORGEOUS!) wellness center at UNCA. My boss and colleague and I went to the leadership team meeting for Eat Smart Move More organization. Fantastic visionaries are willing to work together for a brighter and healthier tomorrow. Reminded me of Off the Mat Into the World- working together to benefit everyone.

Hopefully I will pick up a camera soon so I can take pictures and post! My first publication came out this week in the college newspaper. It felt great.

Tip of the Day: After yoga class or community gardening grab a bite to eat or coffee with someone. Keep the connection flowing...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

And life goes on...

Starting to settle into school a bit more. I have a great new roommate, a lovely New Yorker on my soccer team named Morgan. Excellent evening last night of dancing, laughing and having a good time with my beautiful friends here. Some highlights from the week:
1) Salutation Nation- Lululemon hosts this event to connect to one another and the earth in rememberance of 9/11. I attended with my friend for a sun filled morning in the park with about 50 other people. It was a fabulous class, and I loved knowing my dear friends in Berkeley were practicing in the bay.
2) I met with my adviser this week- you are looking at the future graduate in fall of 2013! Major in Creative Writing, minor in Psych.
3) Scored the first goal of the season for my team today! Truly a wonderful moment to watch the ball hit the back of the net, and to win our first game of the season. I also got my first yellow card, but that is a story for another time...
4) My heart was filled with joy when my mother told me my puppy is exhausted from sprinting around in the lake with other dogs.

It is interesting being single again. Yesterday morning I awoke to a deep loneliness and I reached out a question into the universe: Why am I so lonely when I have so much good in my life?!
The answer I received: Fill yourself with love. You are what you have been seeking.

Tip of the Day: Do something good for yourself, whether it is a piece of chocolate cake or sitting in meditation.
Love you all!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Jai Ma

Another amazing week in Asheville. The college newspaper here, The Echo, has chosen me to write a bi weekly wellness article. My column is called The Wellness Cricket, and focuses on what events are on campus, tips on how to stay healthy, any fantastic events coming to Asheville, etc. I feel extremely blessed with this opportunity to make my vision a reality! I could not have made it thus far without all the beautiful people in my life who have helped me along the way. Jai Ma, or as my community at Omega Institute used to say, Bless Up!
I am screening the new movie, YogaWoman at my college complete with ayurvedic dinner. Stay updated for details.
The weather is gorgeous here now that the humidity ceased. Yesterday our soccer team went to Kentucky to play a game, and it was the hottest I think I have ever played in ranking in at nearly 100 degrees. Life here is hectic and worthwhile.
Tip of the Day: Go to your yoga mat, find Child's pose, and give thanks for this day. Offer your practice to all the teachers you have had along the way.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Wellness Cricket

These 2 weeks have been incredibly inspiring! I am so grateful to be back in college. This evening I was writing in the library for my poetry class (which I love) and looking around at all the students reading all sorts of material. It is a beautiful thing to be in a place of focused students bettering their minds through their studies, nose in the book, brains pumping away to open channels of knowledge and creativity. I have been writing so much (yes, that is my major), more in one week than I have in three years!
My job on campus is more than perfect: I am research assistant to Professor Bob Swoap, an amazing psychology teacher and wellness advocate. He was one of my favorite teachers when I attended school here 3 years ago. He approached me and after discussing my interests and what I have been doing in time away from college (which is wellness/yoga research and experience) invited me to work with him. Thus I have taught my largest yoga class of over 50 students to the men and women's soccer teams (and a few stragglers), coordinated yoga classes with the wellness crew, working on bringing awesome events to campus, researching wellness initiatives, and assisting Bob as he writes a book. Absolutely a manifestation of what I wanted to be doing on campus.
My classes are wonderful (except math, but thats how that goes), and I am thrilled to be here. I do miss Jesse (my boyfriend) and Siva (our pup!) immensely, but we are all doing great and that is what is important.
I am playing soccer again, getting the rust off my cleats so to speak. It has been so awesome playing on a team again! Love the girls, exercise and laughs we have on and off the field. There are some fantastic people on campus.

Tip of the day: Be courageous. Submit an article to a magazine and join a team... Creativity and community are key components to happiness.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Down in the Valley

I have found myself back in the swannanoa valley, North Carolina and wondering what the hell just happened! It has been 3 years since I have seen these mountains, coffee shops, mountain bikes... and it feels like I have spent a lifetime and no time at all now that I am back. Asheville has some great new scenes that I have witnessed thus far including; an awesome bar in the River Arts district that has a huge backyard on the French Broad River with delicious beer, and the Asheville Community Yoga Center. All classes (and there are many with all types) are donation based that goes right back to the studio. Michael is the owner, a very enthusiastic yogi about not paying for yoga and that his studio is doing very well and looking to expand. My thought is that they should be paying the instructors a bit, but it is nice that the students do not have to pay if they cannot. Beautiful space to practice.
I had the physical trainer here look at my knee, which he proceeded to put pressure on my knee and make me push up or down left or right. I could not do it with my left leg, but my right could. However, when he pressed down on certain points in my belly it was like magic and my leg could do whatever! More updates about how this process goes, pretty amazing stuff.

It has been thunderstorms every afternoon. Very different weather than Berkeley.
I have also been hanging out with a dear friend who graduated WWC last year, and she is leaving today. So grateful to have had that while I am back in a new place trying to plant my feet down.

Tip of the day: Go take a dip into a river.

Monday, August 8, 2011

360 Degrees back to Asheville

The truth of the matter is before me- Asheville, NC is two days away! I have decided to join the soccer team (yes, it has been 5 years!) and have high hopes for a beautiful connection with teammates, love of the game, kick myself into even better shape, and not blowing my knee out along the way. That being said, I am also the yoga teacher for the team! Each Wednesday will be a power yoga class for the 20 ladies, and maybe I will teach to the other sports teams as well.
Exciting times ahead! I am thrilled to be back in school. This flow of life was unexpected: to leave California, be back at Warren Wilson, to take some space in my relationship, for my dog to be with my parents until December... and I am so grateful for it all.
I miss teaching yoga, and feel bliss to know I am to teach Off the Mat into the World at school. Creating grounded leaders to inspire the world is an opportunity to be taken seriously.
I have decided with my new schedule that I will update this blog from here on out every Sunday- mark it in your calendars! Blurbs about my life, how I perceive the world and challenges to come, and tips to stay grounded.

Tip of the day: Write something, even if you are not the next James Joyce.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Inspiration and Peace on the Path

Fireworks have been going off in my head about my new direction in life. I went back to Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck,NY (where I worked 4 years ago) to participate in Seane Corn's workshop Off the Mat Into the World. It was a trip to be roaming again on the Omega campus, where my life was enriched with life as yoga years ago. Now again I am back to reboot my life as yoga- this time through true meaning. I have been practicing and committing fully for the past 4 years to study the 8 limbs of yoga. The last 3 I have also been teaching, which has been an incredible journey. Now I find myself back in the seat of the student, and am completely humbled and grateful for this opportunity. A boddhistava is one who dedicates their life to service and helping others; the most famous being Gandhi,Wavy Gravy, Martin Luther King Jr, Jesus, etc...This is the path I vow to embark on. I will be teaching yoga and service, the mission of Off the Mat, at Warren Wilson College this fall where  I will study as a full time student. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but my vision for life bright and fulfilling. I will be writing about my life as a yoga student, teacher, and conscious activist on this blog and hopefully many publications to come. There is so much work to be done, so many flowers to smell and paths to walk, the light is so bright for many years to come. So much gratitude to all my teachers and friends in my life.
Tip of the day: Go watch the new Wavy Gravy video and take a Kripalu yoga class. Also, give some love to a friend in need.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boston yoga and Amma

2 highlights of the week: Master class with Natasha Rizpolous at Back Bay Yoga and attending the Amma experience. My friend and fellow yogi Vito Napolitano (teacher at many studios in the Boston area including Kismet Wellness in Andover, where I sub for the summer) told me about Natasha and highly recommended her class. On Friday I took the train into Boston to Back Bay Yoga. The studio is located right off the T and in the upstairs to a nondescript building. The room we were in was really long, and not as wide, with a beautiful statue of Shiva. The class was 2 hours, not heated, with about 50 students in attendance. Natasha is in her 40s or 50s, a very well practiced yogi who has spent years studying and practicing alignment. Her class reminded me of Kofi Busia, which made me so happy. I also corrected my up dog (make SURE your wrists are under your shoulders, not pitched forward like mine = really sore wrists). No music, all yoga. Loved it.

My other highlight is Amma, the hugging saint from India. I have heard great stories about her from several of my friends, and she was in Boxboro, MA yesterday, just 30 minutes from my house. It was certainly a sight! I arrived early to wait in line next to the chlorine filled pool at the Holiday Inn. Half an hour later I was inside the huge function room with booths of clothing, jewelery, Amma dolls etc. We received tokens to wait our turn to hug the saint. A half hour later Amma came in and sat on the stage on a cushion where she would stay for 6 hours without a break while she hugs people. We opened with a short meditation and then commenced the hugs. I was N1, which meant I waited for about 2 hours until it was my turn. I walked around outside, laid down in the grass, looked at stuff for sale. I did find it ironic that there were clothes for sale when she advocates for buying only one outfit a year. The crowd there was interesting to say the least. Some cool folks, but also a lot of Indian families, and a plethora of middle aged white women. I was skeptical of the hug- I almost left a few times. However my turn arrived and I waited in line and came up to her where her helpers sat me down on a chair and pushed me into her bosom. She smelled AMAZING because they brushed some stuff on her before each hug.
I melted. Literally as soon as I touched her I felt like I was melting into her and my judgment of time was gone, my judgment of her dissipated and I felt wrapped in a love so great my heart ached for her as soon as my turn was up. She put a hershey kiss in my mouth that honestly was the most amazing thing I have eaten. As soon as you see her, smiles abound. As soon as you touch her, you melt.
After that I made a donation to her funds (of which there are thousands of communities she helps including orphanages, educations, building houses, etc. Check it out) and got a delicious Indian lunch.

Great day. This next week I am working at Beyond Soccer teaching at risk youth the love of soccer and moving your body. Of course, the forecast is nearly 100 each day this week.

Tip of the week: Give someone you love a huge, heartfelt hug. And go take an alignment focused yoga class, it will help prevent injuries.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Post Kripalu blues!

I woke up this morning ready to go to  630 am yoga followed by a simple breakfast in silence. I opened my eyes to remember I was not at Kripalu anymore ( I spent this past weekend participating in Toni Bergins and Wah!'s "Divine Journey: A Weekend of Journey Dance and Chanting". The name of the workshop captures most of what it was; a divine journey. Two yoga classes daily, dancing and chanting, eating DELICIOUS veggies, and spending time with my mother. It is so beautiful to be able to share and enjoy yoga, dance and chant. Kripalu yoga is wonderful I highly recommend attending a workshop or Rest and Relaxation (no workshop, you simply get to enjoy being there and the daily classes offered which include yoga, Qi Gong, art, etc). The yoga follows the tradition of Swami Kripalu: 3 levels offered of gentle, moderate (with meditation) and vigorous. I chose vigorous every time because it was the right level for me, and the classes included pranayama, a few chattarungas, and an intelligently sequenced quickly paced flow. Each class had a peak posture, and the class built the foundation to get to it. Very solid classes, hour and 15 minutes.

Toni Bergins, creator of Journey Dance, is an amazing dancer, person and friend to all. I fully support her mission to "make everyone fall in love with each other". Love love love her and dancing with her.
Wah! is a character for sure, a yogi and amazing voice. She played bass and harmonium.

I also met Donna who has the clothing line B by Donna M ( She is a really sweet woman who lives in Venice (was there for the start of the yoga superstars Bryan Kest, Seane Corn, etc) and was visiting Kripalu with her clothing line for sale. Organic, chic and made in California. Definitely cute clothes, and good people to support. She will be at Omega next week selling her clothes, check it out Omegans!

Definitely missing Kripalu! Will return for sure.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Challenging Yourself

If you feel stuck in your practice, try something completely different. My friend Carla started doing an improv class at Rudramandir in Berkeley to add some diversity to yoga and lifestyle.
Several things I have done to break out of my box:

1) And most amazing was working with my father and Stephanie at Beyond Soccer in Lawrence, MA. This city is in extreme struggle. The drop out rate in Lawrence High is 60%, the city is ridiculously poor, and crime/gangs infiltrates the community. Ironically, this city borders one of the wealthiest and affluent neighborhoods in Massachusetts- my home town of Andover. I worked at the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence during high school to connect with the community, which was an amazing experience. However, I am MOST impressed with what my father started with Beyond Soccer (on facebook and website is This program takes kids off the streets and onto the field to learn the skills of the game, run hard, laugh and play. The kids LOVE it. If you are in the Boston area they are always looking for help, and this is a great way to take your yoga off the mat!
2) I took an Anusara yoga class yesterday with Pamela Marshall at Union Yoga in Andover. Fabulous! Loved the sequence; focused on heart opening/backbends. The peak posture was urdvha dhanurasana with the option to put elbows on the ground (anyone know the name of this pose?). My low back felt awesome after this class, and it usually feels a bit sore after backbends. Remember to elongate before pressing up into full wheel so to not pinch your L5 S1, and to take some time in bridge to prep. We also did dhanurasana as the pose prior, which felt like a great prep to get the alignment in the legs- flex your feet and hold ankles knees hip width. There is a really cute anusara community in the northeast.
3) I started running again- have to do it in the morning or night because the humidity is ridiculous. My dog was trailing a bit in the end because of the weather, make sure to take extra notice on your pup if he is going on a run with you. They get dehydrated easily.
4) The most intense in a while- spin class at Spin City in Andover this morning. Wow. Dan Fyfe was the teacher, a really tall and fit dude who is so nice but totally kicks your butt. Encouraging and a bit like boot camp in the words to get you moving, but absolutely necessary to get my bum off the seat and my legs moving. Loved that he focused on form and alignment for the back. Very different from the Real Ryder bikes at Corepower (which are also great!). Spinning focuses on interval training with sprints and there are 2 positions to switch between. It was an awesome workout, will definitely be going back. $15 drop ins, I may do their 2 months for $90... I can feel it in my abs. Make SURE you wear padded shorts- I didn't and it was painful by the end of the 45 minutes.

To Worcester today to visit some family... maybe a yoga class in the evening. Much love!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer has arrived!!!

It is HOT  in Boston! Haven't felt this heat in a few years. It is hot in the morning, afternoon and at night. In the bay it chilled off in the evening for a comfortable sleep. Definitely something to readjust to! The perk of the heat? I ventured to Dennisport, Cape Cod on Sunday with my father where we had delectable fish at the Swan River and a bottle of wine. The next morning proved to be the most perfect beach day I have encountered in quite a while and I am going to say it- even better than California. I swam in the ocean, laid out in the sun, read a book... feels like summer! The downside is that Cape Cod has no dogs on the beach rule. Not cool.

Some extremely obese people were hanging out at the beach, and out of interest I observed what they were feeding themselves, how they talked about their self, and how they were feeding their children (who were not yet overweight, but we all know all brownies and no exercise will lead to another generation of obesity running rampant in our country). Their lunch consisted of white bread with peanut butter (most likely with hydrogented oil), brownies, chips, some type of wine cooler for the adults,  juice boxes, and ice cream from the guy who wheels the ice cream cart around to all the Dennisport beaches. Waves of calories striking innocent children who will grow up to look like their obese mothers struggling to get out of their beach chairs. WHAT is this world coming to?!

Some think maybe people don't care about not being able to see their own toes, or the battle of rising out of a chair due to their weight. However, I believe this is incorrect. Point proven when one woman said, "Let me take your picture! Stand up in the water!" to the other. Her response? "No way! You can only take my picture if my body is in the water".
Ashamed of her body, yet continues to treat it like waste. Granted, MOST of us no matter what we look like have issues with photographs of ourselves. I think it reveals a lot about what we have to work on. Body image, skin issues, etc continually dictate how we feel about ourselves. So where to go from here?

Back to the mat. Not only does your practice make you physically stronger, supple, and flexible, but internally your mind is shifting.  As my good friend and amazing yoga teacher Jennevieve says, "Trust the practice. Even if you don't think it is working, and don't see results immediately, still trust the practice because you will".
Most people that are overweight cannot do yoga as most of us can. However there is so much out there!

Also, Michelle Obama is on the forefront to healthier lifestyle. Check it out

The children are the future. The parents are who feed and raise them. If we all make an effort to help someone we know- whether big or small, happy or sad, this is what we need!!!

One of the most beautiful immediate expressions of this was at Seaworld in San Diego (I went there on a free ticket! It was crazy). Two women were struggling to put their wheelchair in their van. People were walking by and ignoring the women who were almost toppled over by the wheelchair. My brother witnesses this and walks right up to help. So simple yet so beautiful!

Studio to check out if you are in the mid-cape: Yoga Center of Cape Cod. I took Ali Klein's hot vinyasa class 830 am on Monday. Cute studio, very friendly and have some great clothing! The room is very small with mirrors and heated by a few small heaters. Ali was SO nice and inviting, we chatted about New York and where she trained (Pittsburgh). It was a slow moving class, she was a bit wordy and did the practice on her mat the whole time. No adjustments or looking around to see if people were ok, but I think with more practice she will start to be comfortable getting off her mat to teach. That was the case for me! Thankfully I had some GREAT instructors to help me out. Feedback is so important as a teacher, take the time to ask someone you know for constructive criticism for your class.

Tip of the day: We get by with a little help from our friends.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Upon the Blue Ridge Mountain, there I'll take my stand

Love that I'm starting this blog with Jerry Garcia and David Grisman's album "Been All Around this World" and eating granola in California. An overcast day in San Diego, but we all know it will clear up by 11 and be a beautiful day...again! My plane for Boston takes off tomorrow where I will spend a few months practicing and teaching yoga before traveling back to school in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina.
This blog will focus on yoga and conscious health as I travel around and develop my practice as a teacher and student. Any extra suggestions, articles, posts etc are warmly welcomed!!!
For the past 2 years I have been teaching yoga in the bay (Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco), and decided to continue my studies in writing at Warren Wilson College with some of the best professors around. Despite a true valiant effort there was NO way I was going to spend two years taking math classes before transferring to university. I am lucky my parents can afford to send me to a private college where I can take classes that matter to me...not calculus.  Though I will miss Berkeley and teaching at Corepower Yoga immensely, I recognize the importance of developing my writing and adjusting my focus to become an editor of (hopefully) Yoga Journal to take yoga to the next level. As my teacher Ganga White says, "Yoga is evolving...The caterpillar doesn’t know what a butterfly does. You can only project where you are going by what you know. But future possibility is way beyond what you can project. We don’t know where we are going–the possibilities are unlimited".

I practice mainly power yoga and vinyasa, though any class that can strike a balance between sun and moon, light and dark, yin and yang is all good to me. The best yoga classes by far reside in the bay area. All the Corepower Berkeley staff is amazing especially Monika Kaufmann, Becky Roskop, Carla Torres (Hot Power Fusion and C2), Lacey Calvert and Mariah Rooney for Yoga Sculpt (yoga with weights- intense and awesome workout). Outside of that studio Stephanie Snyder, Sean Michael Hall, Gretchen Mehlhoff,  and Judy Bussell. Until recently I loved the Forrest Yoga classes in the bay, but now it is really slowed down and strict on what they can and cannot teach and I am not digging that. Freedom in yoga brings freedom to the self.
This list is just SOME of the instructors to check out if you are visiting the bay!
San Diego has proven to have some awesome classes as well, my favorite being Amy P at Corepower Yoga.

San Diego is one of the most workout focused cities I've ever been to. Everyone is wearing Lululemon clothes, running, carrying yoga bags, boot camp in the park, etc. It has been inspiring! I've cut out bread and focused on eating delicious veggies and fruit from the farmers markets in the area and feeling awesome.

Tip of the day: Eat a big salad of seasonal vegetables with a bit of protein (beans, chicken, whatever) you will be full. Simple!

More to come! Stay clean, focused and as Michael Franti says:

"exhale from the heart
not from the lungs
*speak* from the heart
not from the tongue
Listening is understanding
and finding compassion
love is the action of soul satisfaction
a tongue can make wishes and also fine kisses
taste a sweet cake and also cast disses
but nothing compares to the voice from within
without it we might just be mannequins
up to no darn good shenanigans
learn to be skilful movers of the stones
that block the heart and turn humans to clones
learn to forgive, set free the bones
touch with your flesh, take off the rubber gloves
love like your life depends on it
because it does"
-Speaking of Tongues by Michael Franti