Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mexico Yoga Vacation with Me & Checka! Plus, Our March Workshops

Hello friends!   This coming Memorial Day weekend into that week (last week of May), my dear friend Checka and I are co-leading a Yoga Vacation to Xinalani Eco-Resort in Mexico!  We just started putting up these flyers around the Boston area to get the word out, and are beyond excited to share our combined energies and yoga styles for a week of rejuvenation, peaceful natural surroundings, and fun.  

If you're one who has never been on a yoga vacation ("retreat") before, don't be scared off by the title.  We won't be asking you about your feelings every morning and night or pushing you to do one-armed balancing acts.  However, if those things come up for you, then we'll be there to take it on.  Checka and I have both led week-long yoga getaways and we are both certain that they always lead to tons of fun and adventure, but also usually to some sort of growth and/or release for all involved.  I mean, for me, I taught in the Caribbean and came home to meet my future husband about a week later.  And then I led a group in Iceland and came home to discover I was pregnant!  Haha.  
No, but truly..the reasons are simple.  Fantastic yoga that gets you to unravel any stress in your life and open your heart/spirit, will lead you to some epiphanies.  And combine that with being out of your usual setting and routines, and replace it with a beautiful natural setting that nourishes and calms your being.  It's a win-win!  

This trip is going to be super cool because the adventure will be what you make it.  The previous yoga vacations I just mentioned all had some level of adventure added in (organized hikes or sightseeing), which is something cool in itself.  But here in Mexico, we will simply be at Xinalani.  Just a week of beach time, yoga, good food, warm breezes, naps in a hammock, nature trails...your own time.  
And Mexico, I love, love it!  I grew up a large chunk of my life in Texas, and then went to college in San Diego.  I've always been drawn to places with fantastic Mexican culture (and food!).  My trip to Mexico City in my early twenties remains as one of my favorite trips and places to this date.  So, bring on Puerto Vallarta and a new experience of this vibrant nation, with a good friend/co-leader and some good people in tow!  

At this moment, roundtrip airfare from Boston-Puerto Vallarta are averaging from $670-680.  Not too bad!  
And price breakdown for your weekly stay (including the yoga, meals, and accommodations) are as follows:
$1224 for the Big Palapa room (8 single beds in one room)
$1481 for the Petite suite double room (share with 1 other person)
$2242 for the Petite suite single room
$1665 for the Eco-Chic double room (share with 1 other person)
$2793 for the Eco-Chic single room

--This means if you act soon, you can book a week-long stay in paradise during a holiday weekend-week for less than $2000.  Oh yeah.  ;)

**If this retreat sounds like something you're interested in, but you'd like to check us out in person...you can come to one of our Boston-area workshops of the same title "Unwind & Uplift" coming up soon in March!  The first one is this coming Saturday, March 2nd, at Karma Yoga Studio in Cambridge from 1:30-4:00.  You can read more about it on the Karma site, Facebook, or here.  Expect some Yin, Vinyasa, and Restorative love all rolled into one.  ;)
And if you can't make it this Saturday, we're leading it again on Sunday, March 24th at The Healing Tree in Quincy, MA.  

--Of course we want YOU to come with US at the end of May, but if that just isn't going to work in your schedule or whatnot, and you're dying for a yoga getaway... check out some of these other Spring/Summer Yoga trips with some super awesome people from the Boston yoga community:

-Sarah Kearns in New Hampshire-March
-Ame Wren and Joanne Flaherty in Mexico (same resort Checka and I are going to!)-March
-Chandra Cantor in Vermont-April
-Karma Longtin and Erica Nunnally in Costa Rica-April
-Tiffany O'Connell and Kate Graham in Vermont-May
-Sarah Baumert in White Mountains, NH-May
-Chanel Luck in Peru-May

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Loving the End of Winter!

End of February.  It's a time us New Englanders start getting a little grumpy.  We're ready to see the sun and feel it on our skin for more than an hour in the day.  We're ready for leaves on the trees, colors in the plants, and an overall lighter feeling.  I admit that I feel all of this too.  

Well, I'm here to tell ya today to wait for all that and LOVE where we are at right now.  The end of winter!  Just a few more weeks or so to cherish this time of hibernation, nesting, restoring, writing, savoring, cozying.  It really does make the arrival of spring much sweeter if we accept and look for the bright side of winter in all its glory.  So, another dose of snow this coming weekend or not...here are my top reasons to still love winter:

Our front door during Blizzard Nemo.  
--blasts of cold, fresh, rejuvenating air feels so good.  Especially after getting out of a yoga class.  I recommend, post-class somewhere to take a walk to your car or walk home if you can!  You'll feel much better when you get inside to the warmth, and having exercised as well.

--warm soups and beverages.  I love, love making soup.  If all goes well, I will make 3-4 soups a week.  Such an awesome way to combine tons of nutrients into one meal and they are often so pretty to look at too.  And, I'm a hot coffee/tea kind of gal.  I miss the hot beverages come summertime.  Just not that into iced drinks... So I will savor a couple more months of hot herbal teas and foamy cappuccinos.

Squash soup

--winter fashion.  Okay, yes, there is something to be said for not having to think about layering and just getting to throw on light clothing in warmer months.  But I absolutely love the creativity that fall/winter dressing entails!  Leggings, cozy sweaters, shirts under dresses and skirts over jeans or tights, and boots!  Boots and scarves are the best.
In my colorful wool!  

--honing your home yoga practice.  Yep, it's much easier to stay inside and practice in your home during these months.  Who wants to trek out in our snow and slush on super cold days if you don't have to?  (Oh, that's me, the homebody Cancerian over here.)  No, but really, whether you have a separate room to practice in your home or it's in your living room, take some time to be in your own stillness and space.  Learning how to motivate and boost your willpower without the help of someone else builds confidence and helps you shift or notice patterns.  If you need some guidance, I highly recommend Yogaglo!    
Legwarmers over cozy leggings-home practice time

My 3rd floor home private yoga studio room.  

--nature.  The quiet and color of this season are special.  There are less people out and about, less animals, and no leaves on the trees.  The sunsets or any spark of color against the gray/white/brown/black of the season hold magic if we pause to take it in.

Snowy buddha= love the present moment

--snuggly/cozy time.  It's the only time of year when it's acceptable to never leave the house in a day.  Whether snug in your favorite wool blanket or sweater to write/read/watch a film, or cozying up to your partner, child, or animal-- snuggling is the best!  ;)

One of our cats, all snuggled up

Many of these photos taken on Instagram.  You can follow me @jennpfalk!

Friday, February 1, 2013

V-DAY Special Class-Thursday, 2/14 at 9:30am!

Ah, Valentine's Day is coming!  Whether you love it or hate it, there is something about a day geared towards love.  I used to be super cynical about it, as I was never one to receive or buy into all the candy hearts and roses.  However, I've always appreciated the thoughtfulness and femininity of my best girlfriends, mom, sisters, and grandma sending cards and chocolate from time to time.  Then my grandmother died on this day years ago and I turned it into being a day of remembrance and love in her memory.  A few years later, my husband and I started dating on this day (now 4 years ago).  So, you see, I no longer equate it as a commercialized day of blah.  There's something lovely about recognizing love in all of its forms and toward all people and animals that you feel it.  It's about changing your perspective, and yoga helps a ton.  I promise.  ;)  

It also happens to be V-DAY, Eve Ensler's amazing global movement to end violence against women and girls.  I've been a follower of this movement for awhile now and have seen Eve's work, "The Vagina Monologues."  But now more than ever, I feel compelled to be a part of the movement.  After seeing the documentary, Half the Sky, and reading the important book of the same title...it's outrageous to just sit back and not be a part of it.
I've never personally been a victim of abuse or violence, but I react so emotionally and passionately to it that I often feel I must have been in a past life.  Or maybe I'm able to energetically and intuitively *feel* what so many women who are (or were) victims of such a thing feel...  Either way, it doesn't matter.  I am certain, so certain, that ending this still staggering amount of violence against women in our (modern?) world will bring forth an abundance of peace and love that we're all craving.  Men and women alike must come together and we, in the U.S. must begin to act!  We are the game changers of this cause around the world.  

Here's what Eve has to say about her cause:
"When we started V-Day 14 years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women. Since then, hundreds of thousands of V-Day activists in audiences and on stages in over 140 countries have come together to demand an end to violence against women and girls. The funds we've raised together have kept organizations’ doors open, and the issue front and center in local media.

But still today, the United Nations states that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime that's more than one billion women and girls alive today.  This is not a women's issue, it's a global issue.  Ending violence against women is as important as ending poverty, or Aids, or global warming.

V-Day wants the world to see our collective strength, showing them exactly what one billion looks like.

ONE BILLION RISING is a promise that on February 14th, 2013, we will ensure that millions of women and men rise up around the world to say, "ENOUGH. The violence ends NOW." "

This is why, Thursday, 2/14/13, as a part of One Billion Rising, I will be teaching a 90 minute flowing yoga practice to enhance confidence and strength towards all women everywhere. We will send out compassion to all of the women and girls suffering from violence in every single day...and forgiveness, truth, and love to those who think it's still okay. 

The class will have an upbeat, love-centered playlist and theme on this general day to celebrate LOVE! But it will all be for a great cause to build the awareness and truth needed. 
Thursday, February 14th, 2013- Valentine's Day/V-DAY Special Class
Bow Street Yoga - Union Square Somerville

The practice is open to all levels of yoga. 
Consider taking time off of work this day to join me and rise up! On a day of Love to spread a little more of it! ♥ ♥

$15 a person, and all money made from the class will be donated to New Light of India and V-DAY. 

Hope to see you there!! And if you don't live in Boston, look up an event in your area.  xoxo

**And here's a recent column by Nicholas Kristof that highlights a lot of my passion for this topic and its importance: