Monday, February 27, 2012

Magical Mondays: Aerial Yoga!

What a wonderful Monday!!!

This past week was so full of magic and light – it was amazing. Firstly, we were incorporated by the state of Massachusetts this week!! Journey to Hope is now legally Journey to Hope Yoga Inc. We couldn’t be more thrilled to make this announcement. We are one step closer to our 501(c)3 status – and the letter is signed by the secretary of the commonwealth!! As usual, Journey to Hope is growing in light, magic and wonderment. I cannot believe that we have been operating since August, and are seeing many of my dreams become realities.
This weekend, I was able to spend time with some of my favorite girlfriends. A little time away was exactly what the doctor ordered. We went to aerial yoga at South Boston Yoga and it was everything I remembered, needed and more! After yoga, we stopped into Parish. It was a good experience, but the service was slow. The food was half and half. Two of us weren’t so sure about our sandwich choices, while the other two were in love. If I were yelping, I would give it a 3... try it, and see if you like it for yourself!!

After lunch and cocktails, we went out for a LOT of shopping & dancing. It was the perfect way to spend a girly Saturday and I was so blessed to be with my favorite girlfriends.

When I arrived home on Sunday afternoon, the boys (all of them!) missed me tons. I needed a quick nap before lentil/garlic stew (recipe below) and watching a DVD of our wedding! I cried more during the video, then at the wedding itself. It was so beautiful to watch our day over again and see all of our friends and family surround us with their love.

Little things I am thankful for this week: lawyers doing paperwork for me, the ability to write, girlfriends, wedding DVD, hot chocolate, chocolate covered gummy bears, sea salt caramel, subbing extra classes this week, upcoming lunch dates, yoga(!), hubby, Digger & Apollo, A Mighty Heart, stew, our logo, upcoming yoga benefits, fundraising, our intern Cindy and much more!

By the way, our stew was delicious and I will attach the recipe below. It is a combination of tuscan white bean and garlic soup, with lentil soup included! I don’t measure things, as my mother-in-law always guesses – I flavor to taste.

Lentil Garlic Bean Stew

*Chicken broth (1/2 the box)
*Water (add more towards the end if you want a more soup consistency)
*2 cans chickpeas
*2 cans kidney beans
*6 cloves of garlic
*Handful of chopped carrots
*1/2-1 cup of lentils
*Cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, garam masala.

Toss it in the crockpot for a few hours and viola...stew! We eat this with nann and make it VERY, very thick... but if you want more of a soup quality – then just add more water. Spices are always to taste. I use a “pinch” of garam masala because it’s strong. I use more cumin than coriander (always) – a 3 to 1 ratio.


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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Vinyassa

Dear Vinyassa,

I have to admit something. I cheated on you. It was just once, but I would be lying if I said I didn't like it. I'm going to cheat on you again, because I paid for an introductory special. I'm sorry - but Bikram was just so hot!

It’s true. I tried Bikram. I have been craving a change in my practice, something that would make me feel like a student again. So, I drove straight to the studio. I had a lot of anxious energy! In the car, I was ujaii breathing and telling myself how strong I am. I was nervous, but excited.

When I walked in, it smelled like sweat but everyone was smiling. Some folks were dripping at the brow while others were bundled in their hats and coats. It was easy to decipher who was coming and going. The women at the desk were kind and inviting. I wore gray capris and a tank top. Three women wore bikinis. Instead of panicking that I was overdressed, I was conned into a 10-day introductory special. There were so many thoughts in my head: “It’s only $3 more. I hope I like this. It’s so hot already and I’m only in the lobby!”

Once I paid, I began to put my things down in the room and glance around me. I was truly a beginner in this setting and it felt amazing. I was watching others as they waiting in a dimly lit room, mildly mimicking their movements.

Finally, the teacher arrived. Triangle cut bathing suit top, hipster bottoms, big, beautiful, square retro glasses. She had a pencil through her bun and was rail thin. My inner voice started some nonsense and I quickly shut her up. “We are brave and beautiful,” I said to her.

She instantly flicked the lights from dim to bright and clapped her hands twice. On command, everyone stood at the top of their mats. I followed suit.
The next 90 plus minutes was full of 26 poses, done two times each and 2 breathing exercises. I was sweating from my head to my toes. I took rest and water when I needed it, but as I am strong (sometimes stronger than I believe), it wasn’t as much of a challenge as I thought it might be!

At the end of class the teacher dimmed the lights again. She left the room with a curt “namaste” that everyone repeated. We were then left in savasana for however long we needed. The ending, just as the clapping, is awkward. But it doesn’t stop me from enjoying class overall.

Trying new yoga styles is something I always encourage my students to do. Before I graduated from my yoga teacher training, I had experienced 12 different styles of yoga – and I have many more to go!
Bikram, for me, was about being anonymous in class and the practice of being a student again. I plan on finishing my intro special and then, most likely, having an occasional love affair – but not ever being fully committed to Bikram,

With so many styles of yoga to choose from, vinyassa, forrest, Iyengar.... and much, much more: what is your favorite style of yoga?? Do you have one?

How many types of yoga have you tried?

Get out there – do MORE yoga & make life sparkle,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Magical Mondays: Wisdom Addition

 Today I am writing to you from bed! I took the entire day off to be with my little brother. Hubby pulled his wisdom teeth out at 7am and we have watched Ice Age, made smoothies, slept & made some very yummy monkey bread!

There are so many things for me to be thankful of this week! Firstly, my puppy, Apollo! He is such a well-behaved, beautiful puppy! He is playful, social and LOVES to cuddle. This week alone: we went to a coffee shop, the pet store, to visit my in-laws, my dad came to visit, Lauren came, we visited hubby’s office, he went swimming at the beach, Apollo met his girlfriend Kenya and his cousin Cooper and we had a lot of fun parties and family members to meet!

It was a very social week and I couldn’t have been any more thrilled!! I am exhausted from just watching him play and sleep. He is so beautiful that I can’t keep my eyes off of him. But it is worth it – and now that we are figuring our a routine together – I can finally get back to yoga and the gym...and making smoothies (of which Apollo is NOT a big fan...vitamix = scary)!
This week ahead is not quite as social, but as it’s school vacation for Massachusetts, there are some schedule changes in my week – which is nice. It helps to keep things varied and interesting!

Journey to Hope’s teacher training is coming up – so PLEASE check out the training section. We are so pleased to announce that Leigh Alberti, our newest board member and very dear friend, is going to be assistant teaching the teacher training!!

We also made the announcement, via facebook, that Jessica Avitable will be joining us for Nia Dance at our July 14th major summer fundraiser!! Keep that date locked into your planners, as it is going to be such a huge and wonderful day.

Well, I am off to watch Digger and Apollo try to figure out how to get along, make my doodle another smoothie and do some home practice yoga!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The push AND pull of being a yoga instructor

"Wherever you are is where you’re supposed to be and it is perfect."

I’ve been using this line with my students a LOT lately. I recently quoted this line during an interview about Journey to Hope…and just this past week, I began to believe it myself.

There are times when I push my students from behind, when I am still searching for the exact details that I am giving them. And yet there are times when I sit, teach, and wait for them to find their own light – while I wait to greet them on the other side.

To be a yoga teacher is to live life in the public eye. Our students and friends wish for us to be the pinnacle of health, spirituality and grace. I strive, every day, to be on that path. I truly TRY to live my yoga. Some days I fly, while others I fall flat on my face. I do not claim to be perfect – but I do claim to be happy. And in doing so, I also claim to have balance within. It is why I tell my students to find a drishti (concentration spot) that is an inanimate object. I then usually joke and say that I am NOT an inanimate object! It’s true that I have happiness and balance within – but, as with all – there are days when I lose that balance.

Eskimo kisses with ApolloEskimo kisses with Apollo
Raising my beautiful new puppy, Apollo, these past few days has taught me so much about my inner happiness and balance. I love him so much already and am beginning to realize that I am much stronger than I ever believed. This is another thing I often tell my students, that I need a constant reminder in as well: I am strong! Over the past few years, teaching elementary school and finding my life path, I was confused on the subject of motherhood. I know and knew I wanted children – I just never knew how they fit in, or if I would ever feel “ready.” Being with Apollo has already taught me that I will be a good mom, when I feel ready (which isn’t quite yet)! Taking that leap of blind faith, and proving to myself and others that I am strong, is one of the most amazing feelings in the world!

I truly believe that God only gives us what we can handle – and I am so glad that he has faith in me to bring love & light to others, to be a great wife, a loving “furry baby” mom & a loyal friend and family member. I couldn’t be any happier that I am on this path!

Even on the days that I falter and lose my balance, I am grateful to each of my students who are willing to let me fall. Grateful for your smile, love and laughter.

Remember: laughter is breath and dancing is movement – yoga can be found everywhere!

Thank you for always being there. Thank you for letting me push you from behind on those days where I don’t feel as strong. Thank you for letting me find my light and wait and watch while you find yours. Thank you for being such amazing, strong and wonderful students. Thank you for reading, practicing, loving, giving and doing.

My wish for you is to be as happy as you can be - everyday. Playing, working and being on your own journey to hope. Whatever that means for you today - I wish it for you!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Because I knew you, I have been changed for good

This year, for the first time in my life, I have felt completely free! I have finally found a “job” that I love & can make money at everyday. I have been working my behind off trying to get Journey to Hope off the ground by become a legal non-profit running on Cape Cod. I have married the love of my life, and I decided that I don’t need to fit into a specific mindset to be who I am.

One of my favorite expressions is “it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” e.e. cummings. I was reminded by a student this week that it isn’t where we start, but where we end up that is important. It is certainly true. Where I started was wonderful, it was a strict and yet loving environment. My home was a safe spot where I told my mom everything (sometimes too much), I never lied and I tried my best to be good all the time. I had a set of friend who I always hung out with, wrote thank you cards and learned all of my manners. I also couldn’t touch my toes and was “big boned” as a child.

Much of that is still with me! I write thank you notes & love letters to everyone I know. I spill my guts out to my family and tell them the truth (we are terrible secret keepers in my family), and I am a love bug. I have set my own bedtime, and will often be asleep by the time I need to be.

But there are many things that have changed, for the better! I can now touch my toes, stretch, run & play. I have also really been expressing myself physically lately. I have altered my yoga practice, changed a few of my clothes, added a pink feather to my hair (maybe more to come this summer!), pierced my nose & gone on an apartment decorating binge! Things that, as a child, I was not allowed to do. It has been wonderful to be able to express myself in such a open way. The best part about all of this, it that my work fully supports these ideas. A lot of my yoga co-workers have dyed their hair, gotten tattoos, & found their own expression of self-love. 

My friends, however, have been the biggest shift. Most of my life I have had a core set of girlfriends. Some for better and some for worse. These girlfriends and I have seen each other through many times in our lives – and some of us have grown apart. Not for any reason other than distance and lifestyle.

Wicked, a favorite musical of mine, has a song at the end “For Good.” In this song, the two lead characters split their friendship due to a number of reasons, and as they part, they sing: “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” It has a double meaning. For good, meaning for always – as well as for the better. To all the girlfriends I have lost contact with, I have been changed for good. I thank each of you for being in my lives when I needed you, but I also thank you for moving on and finding your next adventure & set of friends.

There are people who will stay with us forever, and there are friends who come in and out of our lives. I am blessed to have been surrounded by so many friends & family my entire life. And I am now blessed to be on this new path, meeting new friends for potlucks & lunch dates to fill my personal and professional calendars!

Moving to Cape Cod has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has given me the opportunity to fully express myself and discover who I have the potential to be. It has given me the opportunity to find out who my best & truest friends are – as well as finding new friends, young and old, in this new community of mine.

This past year was about change – and the year to come will be about growth. I have already felt growth in leaps and bounds this past month, and I am excited to see where all of it will take me! A huge part of growing up is being able to play & express yourself. I am loving this period of growing up and couldn’t be more thrilled with the direction my life has turned. As my dad always says “you have to grow old, but you don’t have to grow up!”

Here’s to hoping we all have a lifetime of play, discovery, hard work, love & dedication.

Work towards your dream, grow, play, practice yoga, laugh & be loyal.
Be kind.
Be loving.

Be dedicated and you will strive.

I am on a path to wellness, trying to spread the fire to all those I know!

Who’s with me?

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Read All About It!!

 Journey to Hope is on the rise...again! We aren’t quite expanding in a physical sense, but we are expanding what we have. It has been such a lovely adventure so far and I am ready to update you all on what has come in the past few weeks and what is to come!

  •   Meet Apollo, our newest member of the Journey to Hope family! He is   a rescue lab/beagle (we believe) and is 11 weeks old. He and Digger   may make some guest blog appearances!
  • We hired a lawyer!!! We will be Inc. by the end of this week & are on our way to becoming a legal non-profit.
  • We have added a March benefit class on March 30th – details to come.
  • We are having our teacher training on March 31st - $40 per person. 12-4. West Dennis Library. Please fill out your application soon!!
  • We are working on our SUMMER fundraiser – July 14th!!! Save the date.
  • We have applied for an Omega Service Conference scholarship & are hopefully going to be in attendance with other loving teachers who practice seva in their respective communities.
  • We had a huge & loving mat donation from The Sassy Yogini this weekend & we couldn’t be more thrilled!!
  • We are only $100 away from our complete payment for the lawyer – donations welcome & accepted via paypal (super safe)!
  • We are working with our residents & students to bring you brand new testimonials – a real life look into our daily lives and what we are doing in the community.

Thank you all so much for continuing to inspire and support Journey to Hope. It is truly appreciated!!

Please save the dates, as we can’t wait to see you at each of our events!

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Magical Mondays

Journey to Hope has a NEW INTERN!!! Her name is Cindy Long and we couldn't be more blessed to have her on our team. She is a student at Cape Cod Community College, a wonderful mom and is a crossing guard, as well as a student! She will be attending board meetings, brainstorming, interviewing, marketing and learning all about start-up non-profits! So, so excited and blessed to have her.

We have solidified our teacher training for March 31st @ the West Dennis Library from 12-4pm. $40. Please see our training section for more details to come!

Mark your calanders: 

March 30th - benefit class in Falmouth
July 14th - MAJOR summer fundraiser

On a personal note, I taught two wonderful classes this weekend that were dear to my heart.

I taught at my parents (and my) church this past weekend. It is odd to not have a church of my own yet, and they are my church it is also my church! :)

I taught a yoga class to our youth group. It was such an inspiring class, as each student was willing to learn not only about yoga, but about God. As a former youth group member myself, I knew a lot about what these kids were going through and it offered me the opportunity to talk about what yoga and spirituality and God mean to me. It was a very special and unique class, and I was so thankful to teach.

I was also able to teach a benefit class with The Sassy Yogini for Yoga Reaches Out. It was a small and intimate class at East Side Yoga in South Boston and was a mixture of strong workouts and slow meditation and relaxation. It was also a blessing to have my mom in class! She hasn't attended one of my classes since I moved, and I was thankful for her constructive critiscm and praise. :) 

While we were there, Sassy donated mats!!! We received mats from Back Bay Yoga & Baptiste Yoga studios. We took a ton of pictures while we were there - and if you "like" us on facebook, you can see them all! Click here.

It was a weekend full of seeing old friends, meeting new ones, being with my mom, and LOTS of cuddling when I got back to Cape Cod.

This coming week is full of friend dates, a new schedule, some surprises, and a Valentine's Day full of love!!

Here's to hoping your Monday is just as magical.

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Practice of Self Love

At the Monte CarloAt the Monte Carlo
Lately I have been hearing a lot about self-love. I have been reading from Gala Darling about Radical Self-Love, I have been reading yoga articles and blogs, and I myself have been published in Free Hug Yoga Times under “self-love.” But what is self-love anyway?

The textbook definition is: “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.” Self-love, by definition, is something we would assume people would want to do everyday. Make yourself happy & healthy through each of your actions. But how can we be happy & healthy if our whole world is focused on the negative? How can we be happy & healthy if we aren’t feeding our bodies the right nutrients or doing regular physical fitness?

Happiness begins within, is what “they” say. To love someone else, you need to first love yourself. But as I have seen time and time again, this is not true. You can love someone else first. The problem is, you LOSE yourself if you do.
Before I met my husband, I did notuite understand this concept. I thought that if I loved someone fiercely enough that I would become whole and complete. I believed that a male could complete me and make me feel my own light & love. I was wrong! Very, very, very wrong. After spending a little bit of time on my own, I discovered who I truly am.

I jumped head first into yoga, sky diving, scuba diving, thrill, adventure, writing and laughing. I learned how to knit. I wrote poetry. I danced. I got two kittens. I learned to appreciate each and every moment in my life. 

Diving at Epcot. Meg, Me & KeeganDiving at Epcot. Meg, Me & Keegan
Wedding! 10-9-11Wedding! 10-9-11
And THAT is when I met my husband. Without playing around and discovering who I was, I couldn’t appreciate who my husband was – nor could he see me for who I am now. I needed time to really love myself before I met him. And I haven’t lost myself in our relationship, either! I am strong, independent, loving & flexible. I give & take – I laugh, I play and I practice yoga.

A tarot card reader, Phoenix, reminded me this past weekend, that I need to live my yoga. I preach and teach and tell everyone I love about the practice – but there are days when I forget and days when I need to be on my own mat before teaching. I am so thankful for her reminder! I practice self-love as much as I practice yoga, and there is always room for growth. That is why it is called practice. I am a seasoned yogi, but in no way am I advanced. I do not believe in “advanced” yogi’s....we always have room to find something new, to grow and to love.

Today’s mantra will be entirely around self-love, and discovering what that definition means for me. A textbook definition just isn’t going to cut it. I have a real life to live and so do all of you. Today I will practice yoga AND self-love.... what about you?

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Magical Mondays

Even though the Super Bowl didn't turn out as we would hope....this Monday is just as magical as any other.

This past week we had so many wonderful things happen for us!!! Our benefit class was AMAZING on Friday. We had 11 people & barely fit into the room. It was so wonderful to have such amazing & faithful supporters. I am truly blessed.

The fundraising of this benefit was especially important because we hired a lawyer last week. We now have (almost) the full payment for our payment plans! We will be incorporated by the state by the end of the week & we received our checks, stamp & deposit slips in the mail!! We truly are up & coming.

On Tuesday, we started at The Champ House. What a wonderful group of individuals. They were kind, lovely & willing to TRY. That's all I ever hope for :)

On a personal side: I started teaching English as a second language at the Cape Cod Community College, finished season 4 of nip/tuck with hubby, SAW MY MOM for the entire weekend, found new work shirts, started planning a surprise, watched the superbowl, saw my in-laws & had delicious Indian food packed into our fridge for (at least) a week, cleaned!!, & taught a million classes.

It was a great week & can only get better. What lies ahead: teaching my oldchurch youth group about yoga, a benefit fundraiser for Sassy Yogini & Yoga Reaches Out, getting an INTERN for Journey to Hope, meeting up with friends, season 5 of nip/tuck & walks on the beach :)

I hope your week is full of yoga, fun & love!!!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!