Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Christmas Reflection

It's the night after Christmas and I'm sitting cozy down here in rainy Pennsylvania with my family. We had a white one, but the rain has now melted it away and I'll be back to Boston tomorrow. The end of the year here in the last week has been challenging and not not quite as I had expected. A great yogic lesson as we head towards the new year...
I started the holiday week off with a beautiful weekend away with my companion in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. We celebrated the change of seasons and all that the spirit of this time of year brings. Making it back to Boston just in time for the snow storm, I also found myself taking in some sort of flu. For 3 days I ended up in yoga in reach. Having planned to teach a special solstice class, and celebrate the time before Christmas with all of my students and friends, I was saddened to have such headaches, stuffy nose, body aches, and be away from it all.
Finally making it to my family, the time away from yoga continues. My grandpap recently moved into an assisted living center about a mile from my parents house after having spent the last year in Michigan with my aunt. The night I flew into town, he was taken to the emergency room.
Coming home is never really relaxing to certain extent. It's somewhat like a circus tent in fact! With 2 brothers and 2 sisters, a dog, and lots coming/going, things are never really quiet or peaceful. This doesn't mean they aren't fun...just different than what I'm used to in my yogic life in Boston.
This year siblings are coming and going (due to life changes, babies, significant others' and such), my Pap is here and not in the best of health, and holiday shopping/cooking was still to be done. So, Christmas Eve morning I headed off to the (yikes) mall to play "Santa" for my family while my parents took care of Pap in the hospital. My sister and I made the traditional lasagna for holiday dinner and we made due with what we could. On top of it all, my dad just had knee replacement surgery! Pap still in the hospital, and just 2 of my siblings around, we still managed to joke around and enjoy the night with White Christmas, tea, cookies, and fun. I'm used the chaos and most times look forward to it. But this year with everyone dispersed, even attending Christmas Eve mass was strange because it ended up just being my mom, sister, brother, and I. And the chaos was more a stress than simply lots of people and things around. The hour in a crowded church that night was the closest I suppose I'd been to yoga class in days. Assuming I take something different from a church service than most of the people there, it was comforting to feel hope, to feel peaceful spirit, and simply to offer my love and energy into the world on such a clear and open winter starry night. If I have to be away from loved ones, and we must experience change in family situations, at least we can take some moments to be grateful for what we do have and what we can offer personally each day.
A simple cup of homemade hot chocolate, sitting by a fire, preparing a nourishing meal, and sharing some old memories...that's all you really need to feel love on a winter holiday. Though I haven't practiced fully in days, been running around for family members, getting over sickness, and getting used to a different sort of Christmas...I'm at the same time entirely joyful to have gotten to share it with my Pap. He may not be fully "there" like he once was, but he (like me) is full of imagination, silliness, and an interesting spirit. It has taught me that I'll trade physical daily yoga practice any day as long as it means that I give of myself through mind and spirit to the ones that need me most at the time.
Today I was able to fit in 20 minutes of sun salutations and asanas, but the real challenge was keeping my mom calm on our errands, keeping it light transferring my Pap to and fro our house, cleaning the kitchen between meals, wrapping last minute gifts for my nephew, and simply being present in the moment. Setting the intention to do just that this morning helped for sure. And so I sit here tonight not feeling bad about missing physical asanas over this last week. Not caring so much that I've eaten lots of holiday cookies and treats. Understanding that the nature of my life at the end of 2009, has meant slowing down immensely in the physical sense, in order to make up for all of the rush going on around me in the emotional and mindful sense. This is exactly where I am supposed to be, right now. No, I haven't relaxed all that much. No, I haven't been able to contact or visit old friends, or practice at my favorite local yoga studio. I've been missing my loving partner, my older brother and his wife, my other grandparents, my sister and her little clan.
Instead I've found grace in the midst of quality time spent with my Grandpap. I've played Santa and succeeded! Spent gal time with my Mom, cooking time with everyone, puppy time with our dog, and made some new memories during a different sort of Christmas than we're all used to. And it's just as it should have been.
Monday I'm back to teaching as usual, and I have so many exciting plans, goals, and excitement ahead for 2010! All we can do now is look towards the future with a smile and keep it calmly implanted in our hearts and minds during the present in order to physically continue to change the world one smile, one person at a time.
Whether you've celebrated Christmas this season or not, there is hope in a simple smile and in simple acts of bringing positivity to your world. That's the focus now as the new year approaches.
Intention to hold strong in focus, joyful attitudes, and belief in yourself so that you can bring it to those you love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sag New Moon/solstice brings New Light

It's almost true winter, in just a few more days.  Until then, we have the new moon here in December to guide us into new habits and new stories that we create for ourselves.  Time to create a more yin way of life instead of yang.  Time to simplify life, slow down and take part in the nature of the season.  If you practice a more yang style of yoga, then making sure to take the rest of life a little slower from here until spring.  Maybe even try to add some more restorative styles of asanas to your regular practice or try a new yin class.  
Most importantly, it's time to work positive habits and thoughts towards yourself into life again.  We all concentrate on the more annoying traits about ourselves, and the negative things from our day.  So try focusing instead on all the positive things you provide to the world.  My friend, Meghan, has the best recipe for this...calling it her positive abundance recipe!  Check it out:

So put on some tunes that will perk you up (I recommend Tori Amos' new Midwinter Holiday album), eat some warming spiced foods & teas, and practice following your inner guru to seek the light that you already possess.  

Happy Holidays everyone!  

p.s. One way to make a positive shift this holiday season is by shopping at local businesses!  We are lucky in Boston to have lots of unique shops in each neighborhood.  Our economy needs better habits, try to support the 10% shift and go local!  
Some of my faves:
Grand in Union Sq.
Abodeon, Irish Imports and Greenward in Harpo (between Harvard and Porter)
Topaz and Looks in Harvard Sq.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spirit Motivation Playlist

1. Orly: Arms & Sleepers  (all of these song from their new album, Matador)
2. Matador: Arms & Sleepers
3. December: Norah Jones (all these from her new album The Fall)
4. Myriad Harbour: The New Pornographers (all songs from their album, Challengers)
5. Jesus, Etc.:  Norah Jones
6. Unguided: The New Pornographers
7. The Paramour: Arms & Sleepers
8. It's Gonna Be: Norah Jones
9. Go Places: The New Pornographers
10. Helvetica: Arms & Sleepers
11. The International: Arms & Sleepers
12. Light as a Feather: Norah Jones
13. Challengers: The New Pornographers
14. Kino: Arms & Sleepers
15. Words are for Sleeping: A & S
16. Adventures in Solitude: The New P
17. The Architekt: A & S
18. Dear Charles, muse, asleep or dead: A & S
19. Twentynine Palms: A & S

I made this playlist with motivation in mind, yes.  Motivation to keep looking forward.  To hard work in the face of overwhelming new challenges or ideas.  To keep striving for positivity in all that you believe in and want to achieve.  To keep finding gratitude for life and what you bring to it.  
And here at the end of November...I am motivated to continue motivating all of you on the mat.  So, cheers and many thanks to everyone who crosses my path in class and teaches me things through their energy and spirit all the time.  
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Winter is Coming Playlist

1. Arms & Sleepers:  Runner Misplaced
2. "                    "      : Winter is Coming
3. Leona Naess: Just One
4. Imogen Heap: Canvas
5. "                 "   : Swoon (instr.)
6. Arms & Sleepers: By my Bones
7. Imogen Heap: 2-1
8. Norah Jones: Chasing Pirates
9. Neko Case: Red Tide
10. The Sass Factor: You
11. Arms & Sleepers: Red Light Pipe Dreams
12. Fanfarlo: Finish Line
13. Arms & Sleepers: Lights & Alarms
14. Jonsi & Alex: Stokkseyri
15. "               "   : Atlas Song
16. "              "    : Indian Summer

Monday, November 2, 2009

2nd annual Winter Yoga Utopia Retreat in the West Indies

Most of you know that last January I offered a weeklong getaway from the winter cold to spend yoga holiday with me on the West Indies island of Dominica.  It turned out to be a fascinating, relaxing, adventurous, and yoga-licious time.  So, this year, I've partnered with Trish from Tropical Escapes yet again, to offer my 2nd annual getaway!  
Yep, but this year we'll be heading to Dominica's neighbor of StLucia.  It's just as glorious, as well as cheaper and easier to get to with direct flights from Jet Blue!  

So, if anyone has between $1700-2000 and a week off in mid-January to escape the cold and come with me to do vinyasa yoga everyday near the sea and in the sun, with irie Caribbean vibes all around...then keep know you want to!  

double occ.= $1275 + airfare on your own = around $1775 total
single occ.= $1645 + airfare = around $2145 total
Not too bad!
Retreat Vision:

Come renew your spirit and create space in your yoga practice for vibrancy and fun!
 Join us on our week-long vinyasa flow yoga intensive in a peaceful, natural, loving environment in order to discover balance and gratitude for living. We'll spend time breaking down the flow of vinyasa through different sequences, alignment in your asanas, and finding your own breath & rhythm.  Allow yourself to let go of expectations and dive into this Caribbean utopia, your yoga practice and your soul.
Yoga: Vinyasa Flow & Restorative
Jenn Pici's classes infuse a strong, empowering, loving vinyasa flow that focuses on: breath, safety & awareness in your own body; awakening your emotions & spirit; and most of all inviting in love.  She is inspired by music, nature, art, and her friends to create a unique experience where students can get out of their heads and work on themselves (both inside and out) on their order to bring love off the mat.  
Jenn got her RYT-Yoga Alliance certification in Vinyasa Yoga from the Baptiste-affiliated Power Yoga Works in Philadelphia , PA.  With over 10 years of personal practice, and 4 years of teaching under her belt; she surrounds herself with a variety of different style classes and workshops, and continues to learn from the amazing yogis that are all around Boston and beyond.  She teaches full-time in Cambridge and Somerville, MA.  This will be her 2nd year working with Trish and Tropical Escapes to provide a healing/fun yoga adventure!  

*If you're in for this fun ride, then contact me to sign-up and secure your spot asap (I have room for just 4-6 more people) so we can get this ball rollin'!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Libra New Moon Magic Playlist

The Libra New Moon occurred on Sunday and it was a truly magical day in Boston.  We got our first snow!  I stayed in baking pumpkin bread, making tea, yoga-fying, practicing tunes, watching football, and hopping out to the backyard to take in some of those beautiful white flakes from the sky.  
Today it's an awesome sunshine-filled 70 degree day.  Go figure.  I'm not complaining.  :)  This week so far started with the new moon magic, then the band I'm in (The Sass Factor) played our first open mic successfully, 2 Iceland faves came to town to play a show (Sin Fang Bous & Mum...check them out), and we've been jamming all week so far in my classes to this magical new playlist:

1. Imogen Heap: First Train Home (instrumental) *all songs from "Ellipse"
2. Imogen Heap: First Train Home
3. "                 "    : Wait it Out (instrumental)
4. Olafur Arnalds: Allt Vard Hljott  *all songs from "Found Songs"
5. Imogen Heap: Earth
6. "              "      : Canvas (instrumental)
7. "             "       : Little Bird
8. Olafur Arnalds: Lost Song
9. Imogen Heap:  Tidal
10. Hogni: Soul Company
11. Olafur Arnalds: Erla's Waltz
12. Imogen Heap: Between Sheets
13. Olafur Arnalds: Romance
14. Imogen Heap: Between Sheets (instrumental)
15. "                "     : 2-1 (instrumental)
16."                 "     : Half Life (instrumental)
17. "               "      : Tidal (instrumental)
18. "               "     : Wait it Out
19. Olafur Arnalds: Faun
20. "             "         : Raeinn
21. "              "         : Ljosid

Friday, October 9, 2009

We need challenge sometimes

We're hitting the prime of autumn now.  Already 13 days into October and it's perfect time to stay challenged.  Don't know about many of you, but the change of seasons is always a special time for me.  Time to turn a new leaf, or stick with one that's been working, or reflect on behaviors...  Kicking off the season with a trip to Iceland was no joke.  The starkness of the land combined with its drama allowed for some internal brew to take place.  Then I came back to officiate the marriage of some dear friends.  What an amazing opportunity to get over yourself and simply provide the support and guidance for other people on their journey for love!  Since then, I've settled into October with an open mind to keep doing things that scare me and keep challenging my limits.  
In the three years since teaching at Karma Yoga Studio, I have never not taught a Saturday morning class.  So my decision to take a break from teaching that class was not easy.  But, it's been great to allow myself some time on weekends to explore...other classes, other modes of learning, and also rest when I need it.  October is teaching me that so far.  I received my first shiatsu massage.  I slept in on a Saturday!  I took someone else's vinyasa class.  And, I took my first master yoga class with the brilliantly lovely Natasha Rizopolous.  She had us doing arm balances for 2 hours that I never tend to test my limits in regularly.  Sore the next day, it felt so good to be challenged.  
I also discovered a new yoga studio that opened in my neighborhood.  Why is this challenging?  Because over a year ago, that was the goal I have had.  However, without the funding and means to truly dive into such a's been challenging to let go and realize that someone else was meant to do it.  Now having been there and experiencing it, it's an awesome place.  And I look forward to possibly teaching there and adding to the community with them on their journey.  
The challenges keep coming.  I'll be singing with my band for the first time at an open mic coming up.  Scary!  And hopefully finding more opportunities in teaching and beyond, on the mat and beyond, that will guide me to a place where the winter will seem like a piece of cake.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things to do this week/weekend

As I sometimes like to do on here, I'm letting you all know of some interesting things around these parts this week/month:

Tonight, Oct. 7th at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, one of my fave local bands, 
Arms & Sleepers, are having their CD release and show.  I play them a lot in class.  It's moving stuff with lots of passion and emotion, so check it out.  

If you're in NYC, the BAM festival in Brooklyn begins today through the weekend.  There will be an abundance of art, music, film, dance.  I know a brilliant dancer performing in the dance work, Decreation, by William Forsythe, so if you're around there this week, it will be worth taking in!

Friday, Oct. 9th:  Head to Precinct in Union Sq. to hear the lovely Jennifer Greer (a yogini at Karma) belt out her tunes.  

Oct. 10-11:  Davis Sq. Somerville hosts its crazy "Honk" Fest, full of an array of musicians, wacky art & fashion, and fun.  Be on the lookout...

And, every Tuesday night this month, there's a chance for great local music at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge.  My friends Avi & Celia are now known with their full band as 
"Hey Mama."  You'll be sure to dance and feel good.  Come to my class Tuesday night, then head there, from 9pm-midnight.  ;)

Just some things to think about on this rainy morning heading into the tail end of the week...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Iceland Reflection

About a week ago, I returned to Massachusetts from my 2nd trip to Iceland.  Many of you know I had planned it to be a yoga retreat for mid-September, but luckily life happened a little differently.  I realized that most of my friends and students who wanted to come had to get back into organization and work-mode.  And many of them already filled up their vacation days over the summer.  So, instead I took the opportunity to travel to the land of magic and light again as an adventure/scouting trip...and I am so happy that I did.  I now feel all the more accustomed to the culture, the land, the spirit of the place.  I connected with new people and yogis, and the places where we'll venture when the retreat does take place in June 2010.  Yep, that's right, it's in the process of being confirmed and scheduled, but it will happen in about 8 months from start saving and planning to come along with me!  ;)  
How do I describe this place that means so much to me?  Many of you who come to my classes regularly already know the story.  And I'm pretty sure I've blogged about my love for Iceland (and the music that comes from there) before.  But for those of you who don't know, in a's that Iceland feels to me like a place I've been to in another life.  It is a place that breathes from the ground up.  The nature, the stillness, the drama of the weather and landscapes, the pride of the people and culture....I could go on and on.   There is an overall wholeness that you feel when graced in the presence of bright moss, deep blue ocean, crisp white clouds, shadows on the mountains, and horses meditating in the fields.  And this happens all in one scene or moment.  It is a place to connect to your emotions and yourself, and to grow from the inside out, just like the earth.  And I was so delighted to realize on my 2nd visit, which was at a different time of year with new colors and weather patterns, that I still felt the same as before.  This is why I must bring any of you who would like to join me, over to this land.  I have some special things for our week of yoga this coming June in the works.  I look forward to sharing it.  
In the meantime, I've given myself this week to reflect on my 10 days there.  To re-adjust to life in the United States fastlane slow and steady.  And I hope to keep the spirit with me as I continue to teach and grow this new autumnal season...

Friday, September 25, 2009

September gotten away from me

I can't believe September has gone by and I haven't posted anything!  Well, I've now been to Iceland and back and will have more to share on that soon.  I promise.  In the meantime, autumn has officially arrived, though we're just gradually starting to feel it hear in New England.  I've been playing lots of my old Icelandic playlists in class as of late (naturally).  But lately I've been playing the new Mum album "Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know" and the new Jonsi & Alex "Riceboy Sleeps."  They are both beautiful and lovely to practice to in their own right.  

Now I'm off for the weekend to officiate my friends' wedding!  Something new and exciting for me to take part in and celebrate love.  Til soon...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yoga Levels

I've been meaning to discuss the topic of levels for yoga class for awhile now.  This is something all yoga teachers and studios have to deal with at some point, and something I've been pondering for the last few years.  Recently some fellow teachers and I have been discussing the questions and difficulties that arise when a class is set at a particular level, but then people at a different level show up to class.  And I've had some students pull me aside to ask when I'll be teaching higher difficulty classes.  What to do?  
I've seen it happen too often.  A class is slated as intermediate, but a beginner will show up.  Then the teacher spends the rest of class trying to balance the difficulty in order not to scare off the newbie, but keep the regulars satisfied.  It's a fine line.  I dislike having to turn people away from a class.  In fact, I don't think I've ever done it before.  But maybe I should have?  Hmm...
I've gone 3 years teaching in the same studio at various levels.  Most classes are all levels which allow everyone to take it at their own pace, but I do teach a few intermediate.  And these should very well be reaching the advanced level since so many of my regulars have been with me awhile.  However, I do find that people who aren't practicing regularly, or are new to yoga have been showing up to the higher level classes anyway.  So over the summer I started teaching one workshop a month, and they have been geared towards the advanced crowd in order to teach them asanas that they can choose to take deeper in class, despite the level.  Unfortunately it's been the summer and many people are away.  So, I hope to continue offering these in the coming season.  Until then, and in general, however...I have an answer to this dilemma.  
Yoga is about developing your own rhythm.  It's about knowing whether or not to push your edge or pull out.  It's about discovering your strengths and weaknesses both mentally and physically.  I move in my own practice through cycles.  Some weeks I'm exhausted and I do a basic hatha or vinyasa practice.  Some days I'm ready for an intense ashtanga series.  Other days I need to leave out inversions altogether, and spend most of the time in my hips or in savasana.  :)  I don't see myself busting out any attitude with people and sending 'em packing just because they showed up to my intermediate class but are more on the beginner side.  That's just not me.  I want everyone to find their yoga.  So I simply try to honor the level and announce at the beginning that it will remain intermediate, but everyone needs to take it at their own pace.  I encourage everyone to take their own pace in class (and in life) as a daily mantra.  So it's truly up to you.  If you want a guaranteed sweaty, advanced asana practice...maybe it's time to take a break from your norm and check out a hot vinyasa or ashtanga studio a few times a week.  Everyone needs to grow.  All you can do is keep growing and educating yourself on alignment, the poses, the philosophy...whatever will help you find your flow.  Then, all you have to do is show up to any class, and be able to judge for yourself where you need to be on your mat that day.  Hope that makes sense?  I'm open to discussion.  Just love yourself, be yourself, and breathe.  One class at a time.     

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rain after the sun on day 31

It's the last day of July.  Gratitude?  Check.  Have relied on it all month and will continue to.  Morning of breakfast and catching up with a friend at my neighborhood cafe, biking around for errands and posting my Iceland flyers around town (you know you wanna come with me!), teaching my noon yoga class, staking up my tomatoes, and now taking in the new Riceboy Sleeps album (again, you know you want to come to Iceland to check out where this music comes from...).   There is a summer monsoon-like storm setting in for the late afternoon.  Perfect for this music.  Seems like a whole lot to be grateful for to me!  
Haven't been blogging or making playlists as much as of late because I'm still trying to enjoy life and take the summer as it comes.  Went to Nantucket with my love to take in the grey lady's mist, do yoga in nature, swim with seals, and reflect on the beauty around us in life.  
Hope everyone out there is doing the same, no matter where you are!  
Looking forward to August and a new mantra, a new sound, a new creative energy to enhance that beauty that sets us into who we are and what makes us feel alive. 

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Playlist: Cosmos Petals in the Wind

1. Arms & Sleepers:  Dear Charles, my muse, asleep, or dead
2. Lisa Hannigan: Lille
3. Lisa Hannigan:  An Ocean & a Rock
4. Neko Case:  Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth
5. Lisa Hannigan: Keep it All
6. "           "           : Venn Diagram
7.    "        "           :  Sea Song
8. Neko Case:  Vengeance is Sleeping
9. Lisa Hannigan:  Splishy Splashy
10.  "          "         :  I Don't Know
11. Neko Case:  I'm an Animal
12.  "           "   : Magpie to the Morning
13. Lisa Hannigan:  Courting the Blues
14.    "          "         :  Pistachio
15.    "           "        :  Teeth
16.    Neko Case:  The Next Time You Say "Forever"
17.      "           "   :  Middle Cyclone
18. Arms & Sleepers:  Jetty
19.              "                :  Algiers Point
20.            "                 : In the Empire of Builders
21.            "                  :  The Motorist

-Lisa Hannigan album: Sea Sew
-Neko Case album: Middle Cyclone
-Arms & Sleepers EP:  The Motorist

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This weekend, botanical beauty and vinyasa fun


Botanical Beauty 
Nazarene Zabel

It's finally been a full week of summertime sunshine...and this weekend promises some more summer fun in the making!  Here in Somerville and Cambridge, MA we know how to do it up right, supporting local business, farms, and artists.  So if you're not heading to the cape or a festival this weekend, then there are a few things you should check out!

1)  My talented and brilliant best friend, Nazarene Zabel, has finally debuted her own line of organic (mostly locally grown herbs) beauty products, called Flowerfolk!  She (an ethnobotanist, reiki practitioning, flame-haired gem) has been working hard to bring you all a fantastic array of creations that she's been selling at local farmers' markets.  There are lotions, lip balms, salves, facial steams, scrubs, toners, etc.  Plus, she's super knowledgeable about all things botanical...including what teas to drink, how to make cordials, tinctures, and more.  So this Saturday, July 18th, you should go chat her up and check out her stuff at the Union Sq. Farmers' Market!  Located at the square in front of Precinct and The Independent off of Somerville Ave., it opens at 9am and runs through 1pm.  You'll also find a nice selection of local farms providing veggies, cheeses, meats, flowers, breads, and baked goods.  
If you must miss this, then you have another chance this coming week to check out Naz and Flowerfolk:  Tuesday, July 21 at the Harvard Sq. Farmers' Market.  This is the one located just outside of Harvard Yard near Memorial Hall.  It runs from approx. noon-6pm.  
My fave Flowerfolk items you ask?  
Hildegard's Charm Rose/Witchhazel Facial Toner
Mossy Sister Sage Cleansing Scrub
*I've been using her stuff for months now and it feels so good to know exactly what I'm putting on my body and it feels even better!  You'll find stuff ranging from $4-30.  

2) Saturday, July 18th, after checking out Naz in Union Sq., I suggest heading towards Harvard to come Embrace the Heat with me in my July Vinyasa Yoga Workshop at Karma Yoga Studio2:15-4:30pm 
If you have been practicing regularly and feel like finding your edge and strength in your asanas, then come join me! 
We'll work on our legs, arms, and abs. Binding in warriors, chaturangas, crow and other arm balances...working with the heat instead of against it. ;)  I've broken up these more intense poses in sequences that will help you have fun with them and get nice and warm.  
Plus, there will be time as usual to sit and meditate or journal during your practice. Take your practice a step further than you might body, mind, emotions, and spirit. 
Drop-in only, so if you're around, pop in for an intense and awakening yoga afternoon. 
--$46, or 25% discount if Karma member--

*So, that's 2 great options for the weekend.  There's also the ArtBeat Festival in Davis Sq. all day Saturday (I suggest checking out vintage finds at Artifaktori if you're in Davis Sq.), loads of great music at Precinct or Toad, and time to work in your gardens and enjoy the sunshine.  So, keep smiling and feeling gratitude the rest of July and beyond!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

rely on gratitude

The sun came out for 3 days last weekend to bring us summer just in time for my birthday and the holiday weekend, and it couldn't have been a better one.  Those 3 days after a month of continuous rain and clouds made it all the more sweet and has encouraged my new mantra for the month of July:  Rely on Gratitude.  
With the most splendid friends, yoga students, family, community, and the awesome ability to get to do what I love as my life's work...there is nothing else to feel this month other than gratitude for being alive.  
The weekend ended with a Cancer Full Moon in Capricorn asking us to confront old voices within that prevent us from finding our own inner voice.  Summer is still fresh, everyone!  Keep your spirit alive by staying on track with this gratitude.  Breathe it into your hearts for your health, your yoga, the people in your life, anything that makes you smile...
Keep using the mat to confront those old voices, sit with the fear in order to let it resolve, and then let it go.  Be patient with the process.  I believe in you, and the rest that summer has to offer.  
Then off to Iceland at the end of game?

Start Planning for Iceland Yoga with Me...

Picture: Capital city-reykjavik                 Picture: Waterfall we’ll visit-Hraunfoss

YOGA Adventure in Iceland

Sept. 13-20, 2009

At the tail end of summer, just before official autumn equinox, come explore this magical place and journey deeper into your yoga practice with me!

Where:  Reykholt, Iceland 

**We'll fly out on Sept. 12 from Boston and fly back on Sept. 20. 

Price includes everything (airfare+fees, transfers to and from airport, hotel stay in double room occupancy with private bath, vinyasa yoga practices, cave tours, horseback riding, tour of peninsula, all meals from Monday-Friday morning and then breakfast on Sat/Sun, tour from Reykholt to Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon trip):  $2730   

Check out the website about the place we'll be retreating:

*Of course, if you don't live in the Boston area, you don't have to fly out of Boston.  This may change the price of trip.  Another variation in price may occur if you want to simply stay Sunday-Friday for the yoga and skip the touring of Reykjavik on the weekend after.  We will work from where you are and your needs to get you to Iceland!  


Example Day:

Wake up, light breakfast, then yoga.  Relax with option of wellness treatment or hot soak.  Lunch, then afternoon fun (cave tour, horseback, hike...).  Come back for evening yoga, then dinner, more natural hot water soak, and rest.   The days will vary and we’ll end the yoga week on Friday, head into Reykjavik for the weekend of touring the city and taking in some sights.  Trip will end with hot soak in the Blue Lagoon on our way to the airport and flight back to Boston!

I am SO excited to venture back to this land that I love, and be able to share an experience through yoga, art, and nature with some of you out there.  Please contact me with any questions or if you're interested!

Check out event on facebook, Yoga in Iceland with Jenn or feel free to e-mail me for info and full outline/details of trip:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Last day of June

It's the end of June and here's to hoping the end of rainy season in Boston, too!  My tune into June mantra turned out to be just that.  The Sass Factor (the new gal band I'm in) made its debut bringing some mystic pop to Harvard Sq.  Oh yeah.  ;)  And I got to see some great live music...Arms & Sleepers, Johann Johannsson, the Seamonsters to name a few.  It was the perfect time with all the rain to try to go inward and take in your own rhythm.  Now looking to July and a new mantra!  Bring on the summer...

My latest playlist for this end of summer sassiness consists of:
Zee Avi -- she's a wonderful Jack Johnson find from Malaysia, and a ukelele inspiration for me.  Check out her album for sure.

Slow Club -- they are a group from the U.K.  You've heard one tune in commercials I'm sure.  Their album "Let's Fall Back in Love" is great.  

Fanfarlo -- another U.K. (Sigur Ros recommended) band.  They are so fun!  You can get their album for just $1 online through the weekend.  Google them.  

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Solstice Yoga Workshop

*Come for yoga fun-filled afternoon to usher in the start of summer! 

My 2nd Workshop in a series of 4 at Karma Yoga Studio.  
Where: 1120 Mass Ave.  Cambridge, MA
When: Saturday, June 20th  2:15pm-4:30pm
Cost: $46 or 25% discount if you're a Karma member.  Drop-in, so just come the day of if you're free.  ;)
We'll integrate and warm-up with a fun, music-filled round of sun salutations, then start breaking down the balancing series of a vinyasa practice. Short break for a spot of tea...then re-convene to work on opening up the hamstrings and legs. (forward folds, pigeons, hanumanasana)
Cool-down, meditate, journal if you'd like, and long savasana.  The Moon will be in Gemini, and it will be a perfect time to reflect on the start of a new, exciting season cycle upon us.  You can bring your intentions and dreams to the mat and breathe life into them.  
All Levels are welcome.  Just dress comfy and bring an open heart.  
Hope to see ya there!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fun Music for new Yoga passion

This playlist for recent classes is made up mostly of a Sigur Ros recommended band out of the U.K.  Add in some new Tori, and PB&J and you're set for some fun on the mat.  

1. Fanfarlo:  Good Morning Midnight
2. Fanfarlo: Kist of Whistles
3. Fanfarlo:Hands (demo)
4. Fanfarlo: I'm a Pilot
5. Fanfarlo: Ghosts
6. Peter Bjorn and John: It Don't Move Me
7. Fanfarlo: Luna
8.Fanfarlo: Comets
9. Fanfarlo: Fire Escape
10. Fanfarlo: The Walls are Coming Down
11. Tori Amos: Starling
12. Fanfarlo: Drowning Men 
13. Fanfarlo: If it is Growing
14. Fanfarlo: Harold T. Wilkins, Or
15. Tori Amos:  Fire to your Plain
16. Fanfarlo: Finish Line
17. Fanfarlo: Drowning Men (acoustic)
18. Peter Bjorn & John: Stay this Way
19. Tori Amos: Ophelia
20. Peter Bjorn & John: Last Night
21. Fanfarlo: Acoemeti

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Music and Yoga

The Gemini Full Moon in Sagittarius on Sunday was all about listening to ourselves and our thoughtful desires so that our own wisdom will lead us to the truth.  It was about making time to listen again.  Funny, then, that my June mantra is all about just that...tuning in!  This was complete coincidence.  Cool.  ;)  With that idea of finding your inner rhythm, there's no better way than music of course.  I'm a little bit music obsessed, yes.  And music is a large part of the yoga experience you will get when you come take a class with me (most times).  Why?  There are many reasons.  
My first real creative outlet as a child of 7 or so was taking piano lessons.  In middle school I played percussion (xylophone and timpani were my favorite).  Eventually as a teenager, sports and other pursuits took precedence of my time but my love for all sorts of music continued to grow and inspire me to no end.  (In fact, I am now playing ukelele, some other percussive instruments, and singing in a newly formed group with my 2 close gal friends!)  
When my best friend introduced me to the Icelandic band, Sigur Ros, about 7 years ago something changed.  I had never before heard music with such emotional, spiritual, physical beauty.  And at that time I was very much into my yoga practice.  I was about to start my teacher training and I was figuring out what lots of things in life meant to me.  I started playing Sigur Ros albums during my home practice and felt new sensations occur in all forms.  And, so I knew that when I decided to teach my own classes I would play music and it would be different.  I chose to center my classes not simply around New Age/Yoga tunes all the time.  But around music from all over the world that inspire me and make me feel something.  To me, music allows us to get out of our heads, to feel what we need to at that moment, to "tune in."  And coordinating those vibes with body movement, plus the mental/spiritual movement in yoga can simply be transforming.  From Sigur Ros, I've opened myself to playing all different artists, but they remain a key sound for my classes, and Iceland is one of my largest sources of inspiration.  Which is why I'll be taking a group of yogis there this September on a Yoga retreat to experience it first hand.  I'll have a post with how to sign up to come, but feel free to e-mail me if you have any immediate questions.  :)

In the latest June issue of Yoga Journal magazine, there is an entire article talking of just this.  It's titled "Let the Music Move You."  I enjoyed this article because it allows for both points of view and gives some nice insight about music and yoga.  I've had both sides of the coin brought up to me about music being played in my class.  What it comes down to is the individual choices of each teacher, and I've found my voice and creative expression through music.  Michael Franti of Spearhead says in the YJ article, "Music can enhance your practice or take you away from examining yourself.  Which is why we practice.  Music, at its best, helps us go deeper within ourselves....combining yoga with music can really open the doors to our hearts, which allows us to release more freely."  Love that.  
You may not always connect to the music played in a class.  And my classes usually embrace some strange stuff at times.  ;)  I only hope that the tunes will help you all open yourselves and tune in to your mats in whichever way that may be for you.  
Check out my old and new playlists to practice to at home, or get creative and make ones that speak to you!  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June mantra: Tune in

Can't believe we're already into June!  Spring is coming to an end and official start to summer is upon us.  It marks such a busy time of year, as I was discussing last month...with all the graduation celebrations, birth of babies, weddings, birthdays, father's day, farmer's markets, and planning vacation time.  I like this new idea of setting a mantra each month, especially to go along with your yoga practice.  So this month I've decided to make my mantra simple again:  Tune in.  What does tuning in mean to me?  Oh, so many things.  Mainly it's the idea of listening to yourself.  As I mention in pretty much every class I teach (sorry if you're sick of hearing it, but it's true...), being aware of yourself and mindful of your breath/movements can be one of the most important things to keep you happy and healthy.  Not just noticing how you feel physically, but also where you're at emotionally and mentally.  Body/mind/spirit go hand in hand.  Both on and off the mat.  It's so easy for us to forget when we're going about our days to notice our reactions to people, situations, the food we eat, our thoughts, etc.  We rush, rush around in our busy schedules and often forget to just notice our breath and be aware (Tune in) to what's going on inside us and around us.  I know I'm guilty of it.  There is hope, however!  All we have to do is remember the mantra to tune in this month and maybe we'll start to notice ourselves more.  It can be part of our yoga practice, as usual.  
And the exciting way to start this?  Fresh, organic, local foods!  Yes, this first weekend in June marks the start to our local farmer's markets here in Somerville/Cambridge.  There is no better way to start to tune in than by creating nourishing meals full of local, fresh nutrients that will recharge you and help you find your body rhythm.  
Some friends of mine have started a beautiful CSA farm in Wrentham, MA (near Patriots Stadium on the way to Providence), called White Barn Farm.  They are having their first roadside stand this coming Saturday morning, June 6th.  I was just there a couple weekend's ago (check out the pics) and it inspired me so much to see these beautiful-spirited people putting their hearts into their land and providing other's with love by cultivating fresh/organic crops.  I'm looking into putting together a yoga/farm picnic day trip, so stay tuned!  
Anyway, if you're not coming to class this Saturday morning and find yourself looking for a fun little journey to gather some nice veggies or plants for your garden for the weekend, then head on down.  
To tuning in and harmonizing in June...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Needing the New Moon

Summertime is upon us...well technically not for about another month, but the past few days it has arrived in Boston.  It's been a week of taking life slow, although now for me, not intentionally.  After last weekend of yogaliciousness, the week began full of inspiration as my sassy musical sistas (The Sass Factor-info and tunes coming to a site one day soon...) and I worked on new songs and gathered insights.  By Tuesday I was taking in the wind, dancing the orange (as Rilke would say), striking some asanas with the trees, and basking in the warm sun.  But by the end of Tuesday, my body was forcing me to take a step back.  
On Wednesday I had plans to head out to Amherst for the day (and first time ever) on a covert yoga mission with 2 fellow fabulous teacher ladies/friends of mine.  I knew as the day began that I didn't feel 100% but just couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit someplace new with amazing company and yoga inspiration awaiting.  Sure enough we had a glorious day of western Mass natural beauty, sunshine, yummy foods, scouring the salvation army & various other shops, and 2 lovely practices (one hatha, one intense ashtanga).  The practices took place at Yoga Center Amherst with Eric in the morning, and then Karen in the evening.  The studio is big and bright with windows all around, colorful props, local artist's work on the walls, antique ceilings/lights, and nice wood floors.  Nothing pretentious or fake about it.  Just pure radiant yoga-love energy all around.  When I open a studio one day, I imagine it will embody a vibe that is similar.  Anyway, I muscled and breathed through the day with the help of kombucha and my friends' conversation/positivity but by 11pm upon returning to Somerville, I knew I was spent.  Even after skipping half the chaturangas and taking balasana various times during the ashtanga class, I probably shouldn't have taken it in the first place.  Why do we push ourselves sometimes when we should have listened to our intuitions in the first place?  
My older brother down in Texas was diagnosed with a mild strain of swine flu last week (he's a schoolteacher and someone in his school passed it on). It worried me for a second, until he reassured me that he was fine and just needed to rest and battle it off.  Now this week I find myself feeling down and out...wait a minute?!?  No, I am fine.  But seriously there has been something going around.  I find that I don't get sick with colds or upset stomachs or anything often other than this same old run-down/flu-like crap, which tends to happen seasonally.  Not sure if it's because I come in contact with tons of different people as a yoga teacher and my body responds to germs in this way or what?  It's frustrating because I feel so good on the inside and just want to be out enjoying the sunshine like everyone else, but my muscles are fatigued, my head pounds, my eyes are sore.  As an active yogini I tell you, it's not easy for me to just lie here.  I want to be practicing, walking, tapping my foot to music, riding Ms. Rita around town.  I suppose my active energy tends to need a slap in the face at times to remind me to literally take it slow.  Not just mentally/spiritually, but physically, too.  
There is the Gemini New Moon occurring this Sunday, which has to do with feeling love for our brothers and sisters around us.  Being grateful for our friends and families and the people in our lives who are always there to support us and bring us love.  At times when we are not 100%, we especially take in their energy, and I can attest to that now.  Everyone in my yoga community in Cambridge/Somerville and beyond, are my sisters and brothers.  I feel that more and more each day, especially at times like now when you all send your healing vibes my way.  :)
This weekend, I hope to be putting some of that shakti energy back out there again.  And honoring my friendships with not just my blood brothers/sisters, but my sisters/brothers from everywhere I've been and from right here in my own backyard.  Cheers and gratitude to you all!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slow May Playlist

A mellow mix of music for my mantra of taking May slow.  These are all new artists to me, and they are refreshing and lovely.  Enjoy!

1. Eluvium:  An Accidental Memory
2. Eluvium: An Accidental Memory in Case of Death
3. Eluvium: Prelude for Time Feelers
4. The Books: That Right Ain't Shit  (Shout out to Gabe for the rec of this band)
5. The Books:  Tokyo
6. Eluvium: Genius in Thieves
7. Christopher Warren-Green (London Chamber Orchestra): Vermont Counterpoint
8. The Books: The Future, Wouldn't That Be Nice?
9. Christopher Warren-Green: Glass: Facades
10. The Books: Take Time
11. Eluvium: Negenthe
12. Eluvium: Reciting the Airships
13. The Books: A True Story of a Story of True Love
14. Eluvium: Radio Ballet
15. Eluvium: Amreik
16. Eluvium: Ostinato

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May mantra: Taking it Slow

So I know I haven't been writing much on here as of late, and that's due to my new May mantra and vibe.  I've declared this month a time to "Take it Slow."  I found that spring set in, and all of a sudden everyone's schedule gets full of social events and celebrations and so much to do!  There have been birthdays galore, school celebrations, workshops, parties, and births...yes I am an auntie!  My younger sister gave birth to my nephew just this last weekend!  There is still so much to look forward to as spring continues on and we then get ready to welcome the heat of summer.  It's been easy to start to feel like one has to fit everything in and rush around.  I have been feeling that way the past few weeks, so I'm trying really hard now to not have any worries, but just to take it "irie" style.  Just do my yoga, teach, plan excursions that will nourish my soul (such as going to visit my nephew), and live/let be.
My macbook died and so I'm still in the process of figuring out how to transfer all my tunes from my ipod into my itunes again (which is why I haven't posted a new playlist in awhile)...
But the tunes keep coming, so don't worry!  And with my new May mantra, I find myself discovering new outlooks, interests, and talents as well.  I've been gardening, trying to cook more, going to art events/museums/performances, reading, yoga-ing of course, and writing music.  Yep, there is a gal group of "songstresses with sass" embarking on a journey together...and I shall have more for you all on that in the future.  Inspiration continues to flow.  Can you all find it?  

Upcoming Event:  My Vinyasa Flow Intensive Workshop is this coming Saturday at Karma Yoga Studio in Cambridge.  
*If you've had at least one year of a continuos vinyasa practice, then come by for an intensive flow, where we'll break down the poses to introduce more advanced variations.  This is aimed for those of you who've been taking my classes for the past few years and are ready to amp it up a notch!  It will be fun!  
When: Saturday, May 16th from 2-4:30pm
$46 drop-in, 25% discount for Karma members

And information on my fall yoga adventure to Iceland will be coming within the stay tuned!  

Sending you all some of the slowness and love...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Feeling Mother Earth

It is a most gorgeous spring Friday here in New England. A lovely day for a New Moon. And it's the new moon in Taurus at that. Time to reconnect to our Mother that gives us life and energy. We celebrated Earth Day this week and saw the country in talks to actually start doing things about our environmental issues. But, as I mentioned in my classes this week...the more you come to your mats or your meditations, the more aware you'll become. Aware of yourself and your needs. Aware of your surroundings. Aware of what you put in and on your body. Aware of what you put in your mind and how you use it to treat others. I know you heard it all week, but Earth Day truly IS every day. And now is the time to be inspired and to set forth in your journey of what that means to you.

With that, it's been a somewhat long, tiring week here in Boston. Starting with Patriots' Day Monday...we saw so many come to bust their booties on the challenging course (props to Jess, Andreas, and Antonio!). Then it rained, rained all through the middle of the week. My computer completely shut down (as I write this from someone else's). People came to class dealing with family sickness, break-ups, work exhaustion, finals overload. And then this morning I discovered my flat bike tire, making me then have to book it the half hour walk to teach my class (and I just barely made it in time)! But ya know what?
Class was fantastic. Full of faces new and old that I was so grateful for. Great energy and peacefulness. And among all the little things from the week that maybe went a way other than expected, I realize today that there were more positive than not.
I took class from a friend this week, had lunch and dinner with friends, spent plenty of time with the person in my life that inspires me most, snuggled with cats, listened to fun music, talked up yoga in front of strangers in a boutique, and felt warmer air on my skin. Venus is very present in the skies at the moment. It's time for us all to keep invoking our creativity, and take pleasure in the art, beauty, and natural life around us. This new moon has us figuring that out within ourselves and starting fresh again, but also remembering to slow it down. Spring has sprung, yes. But as I learned in my hurried state to get to my students this morning, we can take in spring one day and one step at a time. For that I can't wait for the spontaneous surprises around the corner and the the gifts our Earth Mother might bring, if we simply remember to take her in and treat her right. Off to a weekend to do just that...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Candlelight Playlist

Tonight is my 2nd ever Free Candlelight Yoga Class. (6:30pm at Shobu Aikido, 34 Allen St. in Union Sq. Somerville) This time it's my gift to you all as spring settles in. The days are much longer, we're promised a high in the 60's today, and life is blooming all around us! I've just returned this week from a visit to my family in Philly over the long Easter weekend...where I felt my little nephew kicking inside my sister's belly, got my Mom on a new yoga kick (woohoo!), and ate an abundant amount of chocolate. ;0
And to think this time last year I was arriving in Iceland for the first time! What a magical journey that was for my best friend and I. This weekend we'll be celebrating her birthday once again, with the magic of Iceland in our thoughts but the friends and life of Boston at our fingertips. Those of you wanting to experience Iceland in a yogic, adventurous, and spirit-filled way...well hang on for another week or so and I'll be posting all the details about my upcoming retreat there in September! Til then, do like the Buddha...tilt your head to the sky and laugh at the joy of life.

1. Hammock (am not sure of the song title, but this band is lovely chill music)
2. Angelique Kidjo: Malaika
3. Four Tet: Slow Jam
4. Feist: 1234
5. Gavin DeGraw: Free
6. Bat for Lashes: Good Love
7. Tiken Jah Fakoly: Allah
8. Bat for Lashes: Moon and Moon
9. Goddamn Electric Bill: Looking Up at Dawn
10. Jehro: All I Want
11. M. Ward: Blake's View
12. Krishna Das: Refuge in the Name
13. Sigur Ros: Agaetis Byrjun (live)
14. Sigur Ros: Heysatan (live)
15. Sigur Ros: Von (live)

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Aries Full Moon in Libra:

Time to liberate yourself from what you think others expect from you or what you think you need to be like. This is a great time to find a loving attitude toward yourself and to trust that you know who you are and what your destiny is. Plus, it's the best full moon of the year to take in all the pleasures of life. To find sweetness in your days, to form a fresh attitude, and to be vibrant!

If you're in need of inspiration...check out my amazing friend, Meghan's story. She is such an inspiration and she is proof of someone who trusts in herself and her destiny.
I follow her blog (she's a holistic nutritionist and it's always full of helpful info and recipes).

I'm home visiting my family today through the weekend and finding time to take in sweetness of those I love. Hope you all can do the same. Upcoming April yoga event details to come...

"She (the yogini) is always aware. She is called a drashta- a seer. She is the witness of events. Your aim on the path to realizing and awakening your dormant potential should be to eventually unfold this faculty of awareness within yourself." -Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Starting Spring Fresh Playlist

With my spring has sprung attitude, I give you a new mix as we plunge into April.  GDEB is from San Diego and is great electro/ambient/yoga-inspiring vibes.  Theresa Andersson is a New Orleans artist by way of Scandinavia and she's totally eclectic and up my ally (thanks Inez for the reminder to check her out).  And Ms. Nina Fuller is one of my loveliest friends.  Look for her to play around town soon...

1. Goddamn Electric Bill:  March at Dawn 
2. GDEB ("): Before
3. Theresa Andersson: Hi-Low
4. GDEB: Lost in the Zoo
5. Theresa Andersson:  Birds Fly Away
6. Nina Fuller: Never Doubt
7. Theresa A:  The Waltz
8. Nina Fuller:  Grammy's Song
9. GDEB: Looking Up at Down
10. Nina Fuller:  Veiled Future
11. Gavin DeGraw:  Mountains to Move
12. Theresa A: Locusts are Gossiping
13. GDEB:  Witching Hour
14. Theresa A:  Innan Du Gar
15. Theresa A:  God's Highway
16. GDEB:  Opa
17. GDEB:  The Nuclear Family

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

End to March...

There is a crescent moon in Gemini today, as we are now heading clearly into spring.  The new moon in Aries at the end of last week allowed us to reflect on happiness.  Finding it within ourselves no matter what situation we're in at this very moment in our lives.  I'm finding inspiration all around us.  Hope you all are, too.  
Go check out a museum, pick up a new book, find a new song to memorize, and take a new step outside to smell the fresh rain and flowers settling in.  
All of this will inspire you to take better care of your bodies as well.  Dig deeper in your practice.  And be joyful!  April awaits us with new light and energy.  
Om Mani Padme Hum

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Upcoming Events

Spring is finally starting to settle in Boston...

Friday, March 20th:  My restorative vinyasa class at Shobu Aikido will be at 5:00pm so that we can all have time to make it to the Krishna Das concert at Harvard.  
Krishna Das is one of the most well-known kirtan singers/chanters in the world.  His peacefulness and spirit lights up the room when he sings.  I will be there!  Concert begins at 8:00pm in Memorial Hall's Sanders' Theatre just outside of Harvard Yard.  

Sunday, March 22nd:  My Spring Awakening Workshop at Shobu Aikido
Where: 34 Allen St. (in the dojo, restored warehouse), Union Sq. Somerville
Time:  2-4:30pm
What to bring:  mat, journal, water, layers to keep cozy
*We'll warm-up, break down heart-opening/backbending poses, then work them into an uplifting sequence, and wind-down with some journaling and meditation.  
Cost:  $40  (either pay at the door, or sign up online at

Tuesday, March 31st:  My vinyasa flow class at Karma Yoga Studio will be donation-based, with all proceeds going to Karma's cat rescue shelter.  So, if you come to my class that night (7:30-8:45pm), your payment will go to the kitties.  :)  

--Hope everyone is enjoying this St. Patty's Day and looking up for Spring.  More moon updates, music, and April events' news to come!  

"One whose mind is stilled by the practice of  yoga sees the self through the pure mind & rejoices in the self."  --Gita

Thursday, March 12, 2009

March Moon Playlist

1. Morcheeba:  The Sea
2. India.Arie:  River Rise
3. Jehro:  I Want Love
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs:  Hysteric
5.    "        "        "      :  Skeletons
6. Bat for Lashes:  Daniel
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs:  Heads Will Roll
8.    "       "         "     :  Soft Shock (acoustic)
9.    "       "         "     :  Skeletons (acoustic)
10.  "       "         "     :  Little Shadow (acoustic)
11.  "       "          "     :  Hysteric (acoustic)
12.Jehro:  Everything
13. Fionn Reagan:  Snowy Atlas Mountains
14.  Massive Attack:  Protection
15. Sufjan Stephens:  Out of Egypt, into the great laugh of mankind...
16. Mum:  Sunday Night Just Keeps on Rolling

Thanks to Maribeth for some of these, inspiring stuff.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daughter of the March Full Moon

Another moon cycle has come and gone.  We're back to another full moon.  Last one of the winter.  Tonight it's in Virgo, affecting digestion (your intestines and pancreas) and it's a great time for finding solutions when concerned about questions or problems.  But when the moon is full in Virgo and in the sign of Pisces, then it gives us the gift of vision.  Knowing that we can build a strong foundation for the future, it reminds us to take life one step at a time and see the wisdom in the current moment.  It reminds us to serve ourselves in order to serve others, and to listen to the voice within.  
The days are longer now and the magic of spring is in the air.  Everyone talks about the sunshine and how happy we are when the days are long and sunny.  But, don't forget the moonshine.  Take in its glow and know that there is hope coming forth from it.  To rebuild our natural world both inside and out.  Maybe right now that means your physical body.  Maybe it's your spiritual self.  Or on a larger scale, it's our's our world.  We can continue to create our own realities by simply aspiring to be true to ourselves.  So, keep relaxing and meditating on what you see for yourself.  What seeds you want to plant with the spring.  And then watch them grow!
Time for some moon salutations and truth in asana...see you on the mat.

"As long as you're breathing, you have more than you know..."  

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Time & Space Playlist

Playlist of the week:
Compiled mostly of and inspired by M. Ward's newest album, "Hold Time."  And also by this week of feeling an interconnectedness to the earth, other people, and just being happy in this time and space.  

1. Explosions in the Sky:  So Long, Lonesome
2. India.Arie:  A Beautiful Day
3. M. Ward:  For Beginners
4. M. Ward:  One Hundred Million Years
5. M. Ward:  Never Had Nobody Like You
6. Calexico:  Bisbee Blue
7. M. Ward:  Jailbird
8. M. Ward:  Stars of Leo
9. Zap Mama:  Cache-Cache
10. M. Ward:  Rave On
11. M. Ward:  Epistemology
12. M. Ward:  Fisher of Men
13. M. Ward:  To Save Me
14. Zap Mama:  Miss Q'in
15. M. Ward:  Hold Time
16. India. Arie:  Pearls
17. Zap Mama:  Vivre
18. M. Ward:  Outro (I'm a Fool to Want You)
19. Under Byen
20. Under Byen  
21. Sigur Ros:  Med Blonasir
22. Sigur Ros:  Se Lest

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras New Moon

So today marks the new moon in Pisces, falling on the evening of Mardi Gras and Carnival all around the world.  Even if you're not celebrating in the spirited streets of Dominica, Venice, New Orleans, or Rio...we can all embrace the soft energy of this moon to embrace our even flow of feelings and sense of well-being.  When the moon is new in pisces it connects us to our most important personal foundations in our life.  It engages us and allows us to questions what we are manifesting for ourselves.  So this cycle in Pisces, we can cleanse, let go, and remember the connection we have to our source and our soul.  It's about being open to surrender, trusting our feelings, and letting them flow.  As water signs like myself already know...feelings are a source of creative life.  They are what allow us to discover hidden talents, ideas, and desires to experience life in full.  
Maybe you're having a hard time figuring out what you feel?  There will always be cycles that we go through as human beings where we'll be confused, in a period of change, and even afraid to confront our own feelings and emotions.  The more we keep pushing them aside or burying them deep, the more we will continue to get stuck in our own mental confusion.  You know what I'm talking about.  We all experience it at one time or another.  
And with that, the dreams and talents you possess so abundantly will continue to be buried unless we fearlessly unwrap them again.  Simone Butler suggests that we take time to ease into a relaxed state (can you say "savasana"? ) and ask your parallel self for the next step toward creating happiness, wealth, or love in your life.  And to continue doing so over the next month of Pisces.  
Still bouncing off carnival energy from Dominica, I feel full of life!  Compassion and love, ahimsa (non-violence), strength, awakening...the list goes on to the endless possibilities we can all discover during this cycle.  Even in the midst of change.  Simply being present in the moment of change in our lives is the first step.  I hope to keep bringing that energy of embracing your own inner changes into our yoga practices this coming month.  Let's not be afraid to find it, together.  
Now I will invoke some Quan Yin goddess energy, find my feet, and let the joy from the earth spring up into me so that when spring does arrive, I will be ready.  
Song of my moment: "A Beautiful Day" by India.Arie

Friday, February 20, 2009

All we have is Now

All everyone talks about in February is how much they can't wait for March to arrive and winter to end.  I suppose I can be guilty of it too.  Why are we always in a rush for what's to come?  Why can't we just chill out and be happy for the moment in time that's called February!  I'm still reveling in the beauty that was last weekend and valentine's love, when my friends and I gathered for a night of creative performances and cheer.  A whirlwind of a week has gone by and I see through my practice this week and through teaching that I can be so happy by living in the moment.  Just taking in each day, believing in each moment, and letting time slow down. Letting time stand still.  I've had more than a few moments like that this week.  And for them I am grateful.  Lao Tzu said, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."  
We can taste spring.  It's around the corner.  After getting back from Dominica, I've been full of joy and never thought I'd say this...but I don't think I'm quite ready to get rid of winter just yet.  Yeah.  I am liking the invigorating winds at the moment.  The final month of my Irish wool scarf and Icelandic shawl.  And one more winter moon cycle to encounter.  And I'm diggin' the new India.Arie record, "Testimony Vol. 2: Love & Politics."  And M. Ward's, "Hold Time."  Check Them Out.  I'll be setting our asanas to them soon, soon.  Oh yeah.  

Feeling light within...I walk.  To teach in Union Sq. tonight at the Shobu Aikido dojo.  (Mondays and Fridays at 6:30pm ;) ) Maybe 1 person will show up, maybe 10.  Trying not to rush the process of the way things are meant to occur can be tricky.  Either way, I walk into the now.  Because at the moment it's all I have.  

"Don't let your unkind mind tell you that you are supposed to be better than you are." 
--Stephen Levine
*That's for you, Leigh!  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Love for Ya

New mix...kinda random, but it's fun and it's my valentine love to you for class this weekend.  :)

1. Arms & Sleepers:  Lausanne     *They are playing PA's Lounge in Somerville Valentine's night
2. Hot Chip:  So Glad to See You
3. Stars:  Heart
4. Leona Naess:  Calling
5. Bruno Merz:  Beautiful Always
6. Aberfeldy:  Love is an Arrow
7. Jenny Lewis:  Trying my Best to Love You
8. Brandi Carlile:  Closer to You
9. Avi & Celia:  Ivory Bones     *They're playing Toad in Cambridge Valentine's night
10. Calexico:  Yours & Mine
11. Natural Black:  Love You
12. M.I.A.:  Sunshowers
13. Ginjah:  Never Lost My Way
14. Norah Jones remix:  Life is Better
15. Ray LaMontagne:  Winter Birds
16. Rufus Wainwright:  Pretty Things
17. Teitur:  One and Only
18. Bat for Lashes:  I'm on Fire
19. Olafur Arnalds:  0952
20. Olafur Arnalds:  1440

Yes, Valentine's Day has become a commercial, cynical "holiday."  But ya know what?  Who cares!  We take for granted times in life to outwardly show our love for people that we love.  So why not set aside at least one day during the year where it's okay to express that love for your significant other, your best friends, your mom, your dog...whoever.  A little more love in the world has never hurt anyone.  It only helps bring more peace and good vibes.  
This year it marks the 5th year anniversary of my grandma's death.  And since she passed, it will now always be an even more special day for me.  A day to mark her loving spirit.  She has influenced me in many ways to be the adventurous, creative gal that I am.  So, cheers to sharing love this weekend in all sorts of ways.  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From Dancer's pose to Ice Cream

Pose of the week: Dancer's Pose (Nataranjasana) as displayed here by my lovely friend, Meghan.  She so beautifully extends herself with grace into finding joy in the middle of winter.  I encourage you all to try this pose when feeling blah, and see how fun it is!  

A major player in the joy and growth that occurred on my recent trip to Dominica was the various interactions with young kids that I met there.  I've felt like a kid at heart and I think that attitude helps me to connect to most kids easily.  I'll start with how dancer's pose became the "pose of the week."  

One afternoon, Nazarene and I took an adventure to the capital city of Roseau.  After walking the botanical garden grounds, we ventured into the town for lunch where we then managed to devour a huge avocado.  So then walking about to find interesting shops to pop into out of the heat, we ran into a small group of young schoolgirls in uniforms.  They stopped in front of the store we were in front of...sad to see it was closed.  So I started talking to them.  After some words, they asked if we were on a cruise ship.  To their surprise, no we were not.  We were on a yoga retreat!  It was then that one of the girls kicked her leg back and extended her opposite arm in what she didn't realize was called "dancer's pose" as she exclaimed, "Yoga!" It was so much fun.  A few minutes later, 2 other school girls who were slightly older, went out of their way on their lunch break to take us to the ice cream shop when we asked where one was located.  The 4 of us ordered the most refreshing soursoup, papaya ice creams that hit the spot!  And the few moments with all of those girls instantly made life fresh.  

On another afternoon, we chased the sun to a beach town to chill in the sand, drink from coconuts, and play before afternoon yoga.  It was there that 2 young boys became curious about us.  As the gals went off to find coconuts, I was drying off from the sea and Joelle came over to chat.  We ended up praying in the sand together...for more sunshine.  To me, it was more than praying for sunshine on that rainy day.  I saw an innocence in his closed eyes and rambunctious spirit that I hoped would not leave him too soon.  So it was then we started talking about yoga.  And his friend came over to play too.  Downward dogs (as seen in the picture), warriors, tree pose, and handstands ensued.  We then ventured off into cartwheels and round-offs and then raced each other to a palm tree and back.  I felt 9 years old again and it was the most fun I'd had on the beach in a long time.  And when we had to leave and Joelle asked us if we'd be back tomorrow, my heart sank but I hoped we'd both remember the fun and energy from the afternoon for a long time to follow.  

So I guess it's just about all of us remembering our inner child as much as we can.  Learning from children all over the world, that there's always something to keep striving for.  Even if it's just with them in mind.  If we take on a better balance of child-like innocence mixed with our adult responsibilities, then maybe we'd all make better choices for our futures AND theirs.  

The song that became our week-long yoga in da rainforest theme:
"Striving" by Anthony B  

Monday, February 9, 2009

Irie Playlist and Full Moon goodness

Spreading the good vibes, I've discovered some new reggae (and old) to bring the joy into our practices this week and beyond:
1. Nasio Fontaine:  Reggae Music   (he's a Dominican artist)
2. Eloquent: Take it with a Smile
3. Bob Marley: Three Little Birds
4. Nasio Fontaine: She Lost Track
5. Etana: I am not Afraid
6. Bob Marley: I Know a Place
7. Anthony B: Striving
8. Nasio Fontaine: Rough Road
9. Teflon: We're Gonna Make it
10. Nasio Fontaine: Jah Calling
11. Spanner Banner: Angels Around Me
12. Nasio Fontaine: When
13. Fantan Mojah: Most High Jah
14. Nasio Fontaine: Behold
15-16. instrumental songs by The Album Leaf for savasana :)
So today is the Aquarius Full Moon in Leo.  It calls for us to find the joy in our own individual creative abilities, wherever your form of expression may lie.  And then joining that with the rising of humanity that cares for us all.  Bringing us all together simply by honoring your own creativity and cultivating it.  I believe that every person has something creative to share.  Sometimes people are just afraid or closing themselves off to what it might be or what it might open up for them.  Meditate for a moment with the moon tonight to catch a glimpse of what might be calling you.  The moon's energy is universal and can be seen all over the world.  I spent the new moon in aquarius in the Dominican rainforest and it was the most beautiful crescent moon I've ever witnessed.  The stars there seem to sing themselves brighter and brighter in order to get you to notice them.  Magical skies and tropical air can really do something to open up ones passion for life and creativity again!  
So, even if our winter skies here hide the stars, the moon will always be here and will shine bright around the world.  Take some reggae music, yoga, and energy from each other to find your place of spark in your life.  

Friday, February 6, 2009

To Dominica with love

When I go on a trip somewhere far away, then that means I'm usually really away.  No e-mailing (except to let my mom know I've made it), no phone, and no checking facebook.  ;) Last spring the trip was Iceland.  It was a dream of a journey that affected me immensely.  Less than a week ago, I have now returned from the tropical rainforest island of Dominica...and I am still taking in its effect.  

This trip was different than many others I've taken because this time it combined my work (yoga) and play (adventures & fun on the island) in the form of a retreat vacation.  It brought together an amazing and intimate group.  We turned out to be similar as far as gender and age range, but each of us possessed unique qualities that made the week extra special.  I truly believe that the universe pulls people together at just the right times, and our small group of women proved to be an example of that.  
Rising early every morning for 90 min. of yoga, then excursioning to waterfalls & hikes, then another afternoon 90 min. yoga sesh, followed by long dinners and chatting.  It made for a week full of inner and outer growth, relaxation, and fun-loving energy.  We allowed ourselves the opportunity to feed our bodies (with yoga and "from the earth" nourishing organic meals), to feed our spirits (with yoga and the unbelievable nature of the divine mother around us), and to feed our minds (with yoga/meditation and exposing ourselves to a different culture and discussions with the people in it).  This truly opened us all up to change.  And so it's no wonder that upon returning, I can go through a couple of days of feeling out of sorts as I try and place it all together.  
On this journey I learned a load-full about myself (to name a few):
That I can lead twice daily yoga in a retreat setting in a fresh, creative, effective way and be open to the interpretations that the students' need.  That I can learn not to doubt myself in this capability and in my intuition as a teacher.  That I will always be willing to try new things...such as cultural foods, swimming across a very cold river current, a handstand on the beach when challenged by a young kid, and hitching a ride to another town in the trust of whoever picks me up.  That we can all overcome discomforts and moods quite easily with more yoga and breathing.  That compassion can be as simple as a roadside intention for a person's soul.  That we are all capable of letting our joy and zest for life shine through with a simple smile, or a friendly "okay, alright" to a stranger.  That when it comes down to it, I can really take on the "just chillin' " vibes of Dominica and that can be enough.  ;) And that little kids will always make my day if I get to make them feel loved for just a moment whether it be teaching them some yoga on the beach, or buying them an ice cream cone.  
I know I will be going back many times more which is exciting to think about.  But in the meantime it is nice to be back to the place you call home and bring some of what you discovered to the people around you.  Because how else can we inspire each other to learn and grow?  
So, I'm back in action here in Somerville/Cambridge, MA.  My blogs to come will be full of more Dominican stories, new reggae-tinged playlists, and most of all, more love.  

Good vibes to Crescent Moon, my gals from da rainforest, Rhiannan and her peeps in Colihaut, and everyone reading.