Monday, January 30, 2012

Magical Mondays

National Seashore, EasthamNational Seashore, Eastham

Good Morning Monday!!!

This past week was so full of fun, adventure & a LOT of yoga!

Let's see: I had lunch with two good friends, got my nails done, made it to a few yoga classes (for myself), taught a gazillion classes, found the national seashore, taught for a girls getaway weekend, learned how to play black jack, went to brunch with hubby, rearranged our apartment, got my tarot cards read, had a PINK feather put into my hair, went to an amazing grant writing workshop & hired a lawyer!!!

It was a week full of both social and professional interests - which is always the best. I am so excited to announce that we have hired a lawyer. They are going to help us finish our 501(c)3 paperwork within the next week or two!! It is so exciting to be on this road with all of you, having you watch us as we grow.

With a lawyer comes a hefty if you feel inclined, there is a donation button on the left side bar. It is through pay pal and is absolutely safe!

Also, we have an up coming benefit class this weekend. Friday February 3rd atThe Moving Meditation. 6 pm. Please join us for a fun vinyassa flow. By donation. All proceeds to benefit Journey to Hope.

Our grant writing course was amazing. It was 3 hours long, and the nerd in me wanted to stay all night and continue learning. It was such a rich class, full of information, tips & tricks to grant writing. I am excited to begin that journey as well, and to tackle our next step. (Any help is greatly appreciated).

I hope your week is just as fun! I have lots lined up for this week, including going home to see my mom this weekend - - and my MIL - - lots of Indian food, gossip and cuddling!

I will leave you with this lovely video. I do some of this....especially the chia seeds :)

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Who Pauses Your Yoga?

A few months ago, I was trying to write this article. But it wasn’t coming out the way I planned. Everything sounded wrong, even discussing it out loud with friends and then the article was paused.

I began to openly discuss this idea with a co-worker and explained that no matter how much yoga influenced my life, I still lashed out at my mother. I work with folks, all day long, on postures, breath work, spirituality and kindness. Yet, when it came to my own mother, I would (ahem, still DO) snap at a moments notice. She is one of a select few people who make me forget everything I have learned and the world I have created for myself.

I believe there are two reasons for this. Number one and most importantly, she is one of my best friends. She has known me the longest of anyone in this world. She introduced me to yoga, taught me how to shop for a bargain and made middle school miserable.....and I thank her for all of it. Without homework, curfews and yoga, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Mom & I @ our cooking class!Mom & I @ our cooking class!
First Christmas as husband & wifeFirst Christmas as husband & wife
Because she is one of the closest people to me, I snap on her the easiest. I trust my mom to see me for who I am – good or bad, for better or worse. (Hubby is getting some of this too, it’s those closest to us that we allow our fullest expression of ourselves to be seen).

The other reason my mom sees me snap first is because she sees me as her little girl. In one regard, I am still young. Recently married, it sometimes feels as though I am playing house and waiting for the moment when my mom will call me to come home. On the other hand, I am a hard-working, newlywed who is learning to cook, clean and create my own home. Because she is my mother, occasionally we still revert back to our classic middle school mother/daughter relationship.

People see you for who you were when you met. First impressions last a long time. My friend Lynde used to wear a lot of butterfly t-shirts. Sandra liked Metallica, Meagan danced & Ashley rode horses. Some of us retained those qualities and trademarks, all of us have changed and each of us have grown in one way or another. The reason I am able to stay close to the ones I love is because I try to honor their changes and their choices. There are days when I still see us as young kids, but there are also days where I celebrate our change & our accomplishments in the present moment!

Teaching @ our 1st JTH benefit class!Teaching @ our 1st JTH benefit class!
Although we may practice meditation, physical asanas and love, there are those whom we love so much that we allow them to see through the cracks of our soul and straight into our hearts. The next time you snap, apologize. Then try to explain that it was, in part, something out of love. Try to reconnect to your love and light. Try to connect those loved ones into their own mind, body & spirit by connecting and grounding yourself.

Find love. Find light. And don’t let anyone pause your yoga for too long!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Magical Mondays

Today is full of wonder, beauty, SNOW and yoga!!

This past weekend, we got almost a foot of snow on Cape Cod. It was a beautiful igloo and it trapped me from going home to see my mom - in the end, however, it worked out ;) I got to cuddle with the hubby, catch up on Nip/Tuck re-runs, work a LOT of Journey to Hope and I made a lot of food.

Preparing for the week helps me so much in regards to eating well! I looked at the contents of our fridge and stocked up on things I knew we would need. I am only JUST off the Clean Program, and wanted to keep things as healthy as I could.

On Saturday I made cabbage casserole. Delicious! I put in too much cabbage - but it was yummy anyway. I also made Cream Cheese Cake and "Cookie Dough."Not too wild about the texture of the cookie dough so I am going to freeze them into balls and dip them in chocolate to make truffles instead.

Power Yoga of Cape Cod had a photo shoot for all their teachers and I got the privilege of shooting with Kadri - an amazing yogi photographer with a great sense of humor.

This week was full of proposals, subbing classes, coming off the cleanse, TAKING yoga class and getting geared up to teach my ESL class at the Cape Cod Community College soon!!

This coming week is full of lunch dates, more proposals, a grant-writing course (!!!), placing our 6th space & lots of fun!!

I hope your week is just as productive as mine. With Journey to Hope growing as rapidly as it is now, I am so thrilled to be working this hard and watching this growth along side all of you!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Power of Our Words

There is so much power in a word: written or spoken.

The power to speak or write your mind comes with the freedom of America.

The power of the word NO is overwhelming yet beautiful and underused.

The power of words such as beauty, love and light are seen in the eye of the beholder.

What is your powerful word today?

How are you helping spread goodness & light??

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!
2008: Martha's Vineyard2008: Martha's Vineyard

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our Expansion, Your Challenge

Journey to Hope is on the rise!

We have such exciting news to share with all of you. First, I want to apologize for skipping out on our Magical Monday’s. It has been so crazy around here in the world of non-profits and we have been neglecting our blog...but it is all in the name of good.

The first very exciting piece of news is that we are starting in Youth in Progressthis week, and starting in the Champ House on January 31st!! We couldn’t be more thrilled to be in the midst of this amazing and wonderful transformation and expansion.

This past weekend, I was honored to teach at the Girl Empower Workshop with Sheri Boyle, and company. I had the honor of meeting some wonderful, sweet middle school girls and their mothers and told them all about Journey to Hope and our mission. It was an eye opening experience to watch each of these girls as they practiced yoga and began to understand why it was so important for us to be in the community. We graciously received a very generous donation of $125! It was a powerful workshop, full of rock stars like Jessica Avitable & Janell Hofmann – two amazingly powerful local women who shared their causes and love for Nia and Made By Survivors.

As a part of this workshop each of us was asked to pick a rock. As part of a New Years resolution, we were to write a positive word on one side – and a negative word on the other. Whenever we thought the negative word (mine was judgment and hate of myself & others), we were to replace it with our positive word (love, Isvara Pradihana & Ahimsa). I then went to the beach this weekend with my cousins and threw this rock into the ocean. It helped me to release the love & light & hate out into the unknown, and trust in my ability to remember my positive word.

My positive words were love, isvara pradihana, and ahimsa. Love is a word many of us know. It is full of light, happiness, deep roots, family (old and new), friends, pets, joy and so much more!

Isvara pradihana is the trust in God, or the universe. To help guide you to where you are supposed to be. This does not mean it will guide you into a new mansion with Brad Pitt as your hubby, but it does mean that if you send your intentions out into the world, the universe will guide you to where you are supposed to be!

Ahmisa is nonviolence. For myself, ahimsa means nonviolence within you. The ability to NOT pop a pimple. The ability to look in a mirror and call yourself beautiful. The ability to love yourself, truly!!

These words were such an inspiration to my weekend, and hopefully to the young women we served this weekend. It reminded me that we have been meeting so many people throughout this journey and I am so blessed to be surrounded by powerful women and men in these communities. People who are willing to go out of their way to help others, who put everything they have into the locations we serve. Katie from Youth in Progress, Mary, Dee, Rachel, and Rebecca from Cape Cod Center for Women, Elton & Company from Latham Center, Randie fromTransition Centers, Jennie from West Dennis Library and Carolyn from the Champ House!
These men and women dedicate their lives to helping others and it is such a joy to watch and be a part of their journey, as we venture through our own. But it is not just these amazing people who help – it is also YOU. People I have met on the street who offer me a smile, the connections I make in a conversation with a new friend, the networking, the kindness, and the joy.

If we all take a moment to appreciate the joy that surrounds our world, and us we would find ourselves in a much kinder place. Sure, there are those who are mean. But we do not need to feed into their negative worlds. We can remove ourselves from their presence. After all: we are an average of the top five people we spend the most time with. If we spend time with those who practice yoga, believe in love and preach kindness – we will be an average of all those wonderful qualities.

My challenge to you this week, as we grow and expand Journey to Hope, is for you to grow and expand yourself. If you have a judgment or negative thought, try to replace it with love. If you want to apply to a nutrition school, pick up a book for the GRE and start studying! If you want to grow a garden, walk into the garden store and ask what the best winter plants are! Do it!! Even in taking the first step towards something, you are finding yourself on a path of growth and expansion, love and light.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Magical Mondays

Today the hubby and I have been married for 3 months! THAT is something I am psyched about that falls on a Monday. :) 

This past week has been so full of magic and light. We had our 3rd Journey to Hope benefit class on Wednesday and raised $160!!! It was so wonderful to be surrounded by very new and old friends at the benefit, and I am so excited we were able to raise more money! Due to our expansion, we are in need of a HUGE influx of mats. If you, or anyone you know, would like to donate mats (or money) please let us know. Paypal is a direct donation to Journey to Hope, and I am always available to drive and pick up mats! Thank you all so much!

Speaking of mats: I am so grateful to The Sassy Yogini for providing us with a mat donation from Baptiste Yoga this week. My appreciation is beyond words, and I couldn't be more appreciative of our wonderful friends in this community!

We also finalized two of our placements!! Youth in Progress will be served by Patty Murray on Thursday evenings, and The Transition Center will be served by Terry Walsh on Wednesday afternoons. Thank you to all my amazing volunteers for your patience, understanding, love & light!

The things I am grateful for this week: beautiful sunsets, The Clean Program, girl scout cookie smoothies, my instax camera, my nose piercing, my DIY pink glitter nailpolish, teaching all day today, our board meeting this afternoon, Rock Your Asana, cousin date last week, potential cousin date this week, lululemon gift cards, new candles, DIGGER, HUBBY, eating healthy food, being on my mat for 30 days in a row, the meditation class at The Moving Meditation, Girl PowerWorkshop this weekend, re-runs of nip/tuck, lazy sunday with hubby, talking to my good friend Ashley, pinterest & life in general.

I hope your week, world and life are full of things you are grateful for and blessed by! I hope you fill your world with everything you love.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm Listening... Are YOU?

Every time we arrive on our mat, we experience something new. As I mention to all my students, each time we arrive, we arrive with a different body. We may wake up energized and ready to practice. We may have days where we still have sleepers in our eyes and mismatched socks on our feet. There are days we will stub a toe, fall and lose our balance while other days we achieve dancers pose with grace & poise: picture perfect.

I am at the beginning of a 30 day yoga challenge. The challenge is to be on your mat for 30 days in a row. I am doing this parallel to a 21 day cleanse: The Clean Program. I couldn’t be more excited to ring in 2012 with health & wellness intentions. As you know from reading just me and my mat, I am not on my mat as often as I would like. If I am to do a cleanse and 30 day yoga challenge congruently, I really need to listen to my body!

Bodies are such wonderful things! We are able to heal ourselves from the insdie out. We are able to climb Mount Everest, run marathons, do yoga and survive with one (or no) legs as we run, play and move!

Everybody has specific signals that trigger them. If we really tune into our bodies, then we can hear our mind/body connection. Sometimes our bodies are subtle with their signals: a headache due to too much coffee and too little water or an ache in our back from picking something up the wrong way. It is mostly when we ignore our subtle symptoms, that our bodies begin to speak loud and clear: cancer, weight gain, diabetes etc.

When we turn our minds inside, when we quiet the unnecessary chatter, we are able to see many warning signs. In my experience, I always feel best when  am listening to my body. For me, this mostly means a regular yoga practice, eating healthy, and eating & sleeping when I feel I need to. I actually listen!

I am lucky that my current lifestyle affords me the luxury to listen to almost every moment – but I learnt this skill while I was still a full-time elementary school teacher. Instead of napping at work or eating meals when I was hungry, I modified. I would take a much needed reenergizing walk after school, a yoga class or a nap when I got home. If food was what I needed, I would always keep simple and small snacks at my desk for those moments when I needed them. I also always had tea with me to keep me warm, healthy and hydrated (try candy cane green tea – or ANY green tea – so good for you & yummy)!

Although I wasn’t able to react to every signal, I was able to catch many and listen – reacting to whatever I could in that moment. It is a practice in mindfulness and can be very easy to both listen to and ignore our bodies.

If your body is craving vegetables, for example, and your family wants to go to Uno’s – you should go! Enjoy dinner with the family, but order salad. Just because you’re out does not mean you need a burger. The same can be said for craving meat. Our body sends us signals, so if you are craving meat you shouldn’t eat a salad because you’re “being good” or “on a diet.” Eat what you need and your body will pay you back with kindness.

The same rules apply for exercise. While I wish I could be on my mat everyday, my lifestyle and time constraints do not always allow it. Also, some days we just need to rest! When I work out at KoKo FitClub, they recommend doing so 3-4 times per week. They plan for a rest day – as they don’t want you to push too far.

By using our signals and signs, we are easily able to stay healthy and happy. For January, I wish you a healthy & happy start to 2012. I wish you health, wellness and happiness!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Magical Mondays

As usual, this Monday is amazing!! :) It is always such a blessing to wake up happy and this day is no different. I woke up with a mission. I am going to start the Clean Program this week and wanted to start my "elmination diet" today. For lunch I ate red cabbage, carrot, pumpkin seed, green apple & chicken salad with homemade tahini salad dressing. It was so delicious that I didn't even have time to snap a picture for you! However, if you click on the salad dressing link, it will lead you to an amazingly healthy blog with LOTS of suggestions.

This Monday is full of hope, love & light. 2012 is going to be my "year to grow and sparkle" while 2011 was the "year it all came together." Each of my years has a semi-theme which guides me through - and I am so excited for the growth I am trying to manifest for the coming year.

Journey to Hope has placed two teachers this week: Patty Murray will be with Youth in Progress & Terry Walsh will be with The Transition Center!!! We couldn't be more happy & blessed to be starting our new year in these places.

Also, please don't forget! January 4th (THIS wednesday) is our benefit class atBusy Bodies. 6pm. We would love, love, love to see you on your mat. By donation - all proceeds go to Journey to Hope.

The picture above is just SO inspiring!!! :)

It makes me realize that we can do anything we put our minds to!!

What are your 2012 goals? What is your personal manifesto??

Growth, yoga, love, healthy eating & lots of sparkles are in my future.
What's in yours?

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!!

How to keep your job but quit your lifestyle

Are you one of those people who looks longingly at other peoples blogs and facebook posts all day long? The type of person who seeks a more positive lifestyle, but just seems stuck? Not to worry. You don’t have to quit your job and join a commune; you just have to make a conscious effort to change your lifestyle.

It is equal parts easy and difficult. We are trained to be very habitual people as a society. When we sit cross-legged or hold hands, we always do so the exact same way. Sometimes in class, I ask my students to sit the non-habitual way. It gives us a moment to change our physical and mental perspective. In doing so a few times a week, we are able to begin to change this pattern. You can do this with any habit: positive or negative. When I drive, for example, I have a tendency to tailgate. My brother taught me a trick to help me with this that I am constantly using. If I see an object, my front end should be there about 2 full seconds after the other persons tail. It makes it easier to be a better driver because I have a point of reference to return to. I need to constantly be in the moment, and breathing – and then I become a better driver.
 The same can be said for anyone, in a variety of different situations. Say you hate your job/boss/workplace. All day long you steam, you do your work and complain all the time on the inside. Lunch hour is a bitch fest and you and your co-workers talk about negativity all day long. This would certainly bring someone down! It is said that we are an average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. If this is true and your co-workers only talk in the negative – you may have some rearranging to be done, both mentally and physically.

Try taking lunch outside (if you’re able). Take a walk mid-day to clear your mind. Bring a filofax or your favorite notebook to work with you to record your thoughts, and dreams. It will help to take small breaks during work, as it could re-energize that important document you were working on – by allowing your creativity to be recorded. When you get home, you can then take all those ideas and research them, write about them and continue them on your own time.

As for your negative company, try bringing joy into their lives. Buy a friend that PEACE stone you saw at the store, or a fresh thing of flowers for the main office lobby. Decorate your office with pictures of your friends, family, children, pets and more. Keep mints on your desk to prevent you from venturing over to the vending machine. Suggest a potluck lunch: everyone brings their favorite lunches and then swaps once a week! If this doesn’t help to make their mood brighter, try hanging out with other co-workers – or just ignore their negative comments and call your mom or best friend during lunchtime. While it is easy to get sucked into negativity, it is also easy to overpower it if you bring the right mindset with you to work!

You do not have to quit your job to quit your lifestyle. In fact, if you keep the job you secretly love then you will be making money and creating/living a positive life! In order to keep your job, but quit your negative lifestyle, you are going to have to partake in some fun and relaxation!! Try going to yoga after work, write parts of your novel on break or call a loved one. Make yummy dinners. Grow whatever dream you have, as large as you can. Network. Continue your talent. Educate yourself. Research the field. Talk to everyone you meet about your idea. When you know you are ready, when all your ducks line up in a row, and your talent/blog/other life becomes just as big or bigger than your “real job” you can then quit your job and create a “real job” from your dreams.

It will not be easy. It will be hard. But once you get to where you want to be. Once your dreams become reality and your lifestyle becomes more positive, then you will look back and think, “that wasn’t so hard!” :)

May your new year be full of dreams. May you always keep a notebook with you to record those dreams. May 2012 be full of candles, yoga, glitter, love, laughter, light and joy. May you quit the lifestyle that no longer fulfills your needs – and may you find who you are and the path you are on. May you be full of joy.

Get out there!
Do yoga and make life sparkle!!