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Showing posts from 2012

Ramblings on faith & tragedy

The last week feels like a blur.  I had a wonderful birthday, I celebrated Marc's birthday with him, and most significantly, we suffered an extreme national tragedy.

After hearing about Newtown last Friday while I was at work, all I wanted to do was go into a room all by myself and glue myself to the TV for any updates and just cry and cry and cry.  I wanted to take every single child I know and squeeze them tight and feel that they were safe.  I wanted to hug all of my teachers, including my mother who was an elementary school teacher and would often substitute teach at my school as a kid (it always made me so proud when my mom was the teacher for the day!).  I wanted to hold my best friends and fellow teachers - whether it's yoga, music, even nannying - so we could console each other.

I don't know what to write about today.  This will probably be a non-cohesive mish mash of various things that will hopefully all make sense strewn together, but if not, bear with me...

Mar…

As my birthday gift to myself...

...and also in the spirit of doing less to survive December, I'm letting someone else do the writing for me this week.
This blog post by Jessica Berger Gross speaks to a lot of what I feel often, and was particularly feeling last night as I was about to go to sleep.  I have a big to do list, as I often do, and I spent the evening after getting home from work plowing through it.  Christmas cards, cleaning, budgeting, wedding stuff - the usual.
As I was going to bed and making a new list of all the things I didn't get to, it occurred to me that day after day and week after week I obsess over my list and of crossing things off, but I very rarely take time to appreciate or applaud all that I actually do.  I don't really give myself credit for the productivity that I work so hard to achieve.  It made me think a lot about the niyama santosha, meaning contentment, that I've been hoping to spotlight this month.  Celebrating the now instead of constantly anticipating with joy o…

Finishing Strong in 2012

Things seem to be starting earlier and earlier this season - Christmas decorations go up before Halloween is even a week away, the Christmas carols follow not too long after, and we all heard about the drama of starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving night (don't even get me started on that).  For the most part, I think it's all more than a little ridiculous, and does nothing but contribute to people being more likely to be Scrooge-y - who can blame you when you've just heard Here Comes Santa Claus for the 47 millionth time before December has even started?

This is one instance, however, where I am more than delighted to get a jump start.  I got an email from Athleta yesterday about a really great idea that happens to support a really great cause.

If you've ever watched The Biggest Loser or had a track coach or personal trainer, you've probably heard the phrase "Finish strong!" a lot.  It's at the end of a workout, whether it's the last mile or the la…

Decadent/Detox/Dreaded/Delightful December

Oh, December.  You're not even here yet and you're already stressing me out.

There's the usual insane glut of holiday parties, December babies having birthday parties (including not only me but my fiance - born two days after me!), amazing movies and shows opening, and of course, the holidays.  Whichever holiday you celebrate, and whether you're traveling or staying home, the anxiety and pressure to crank out a zillion Christmas cards or buy the perfect gift without breaking your bank is enough to make you forget the point of the holidays in the first place.

Alongside all of these lovely problems to have, I've also got a wedding dress to squeeze into the day after Christmas for a fitting (and did I mention I'll be having Christmas dinner with my butter-and-bacon-lovin' southern Grandma who cooks like nobody's business?) and my cousin's wedding to attend on the 29th.  And my own wedding that I honestly haven't really done a thing to plan for in t…

Gratitude Practice

When Thanksgiving comes around and someone inevitably asks you what you're thankful for (at least I hope everyone gets asked this question!), it's very easy to pull from the basics - family, friends, health, home, relative safety and security.  It's pretty much a given that those are the things that will be at the top of our gratitude list.

What about the things you regret in life?  Heartaches that still provoke pain that you wish had just plain never happened, or had happened differently.  Periods of depression or health issues.  Even a situation currently going on in your life can be something you wish would just go away.

I had tea with an old friend who was an intern with me at Florida Studio Theatre four years ago, who I haven't seen since that time in my life.  We had a blast catching up, reminiscing, shuddering at past behaviors and events.  I went back later that night and reread some of my journal entries from that period and was brought back so vividly to how

Life Plugged in, Life Unplugged

Ever since I wrote that post back in August about creating more space - and I'm sure before then - I've thought about how rarely I have moments in the day where I'm not reading something, listening to something, watching something, or doing something.  Idleness.  Moments where my mind can just go where it'll go.

Too often the only time that happens is when I'm meditating for my 7 or so minutes in the morning - and then I wonder why I can't seem to turn my brain off or turn my interest inward.

Reading Kris Carr's weekly blog, she quoted a friend of hers, Cheryl Richardson, as saying something that really struck a nerve:  "When we lose connection to our spirit, the outer world and all its stimulating distractions become more alluring."

(Can you say iPhone?)

The very next morning, I was reading a passage from Rolf Gates's Meditations from the Mat in which he quoted Henri J. M. Nouwen, who Google kindly tells me was a respected Dutch priest who pu…

Compassion, Gratitude, and Lightness

Sitting down to write today's blog is very intimidating.  So much has happened the last week and a half.  So many peoples' lives are completely uprooted, homes and livelihoods destroyed, there was so much controversy and intense emotion about the NYC marathon, there was a monumentally emotional presidential election, and oh yes - a snowstorm in the tri-state area yesterday.  In-sane.

Compassion, Gratitude, and Lightness are the three most positive yoga-y words that come to mind when I think about this last week and a half.  There are plenty of other words - fear, stress, power, MTA, mother nature, climate change, suffering, volunteer, voting, freedom, donate, misery, trauma, sadness, cold...this week and a half could be an endless exercise in free association and freewriting.

I want to keep things short and sweet, though, if that's possible (it may not be!).  My head has been spinning as I've been absolutely addicted to the news and facebook to get updates on Sandy, th…

Refine Method, brought to me by Athleta

Happy Hurrication Day, fellow east coasters!  I hope everyone is battening down the hatches and staying safe.  (Or planning hurricane parties, if you're in New York City)  Marc's relishing the rare opportunity to sleep in, while I slept in...til about 8:45.

Today will be all about making sure we're all set for the storm - my mom just gave us the excellent advice to make sure we have cash on hand, which we didn't even think about, so heed my mom's advice, everyone! - and finally turning our attention back to that little event known as our wedding coming up in less than five months.  What with my race, Marc working hard to prepare for filming a sketch he wrote this weekend, and life in general being busy, we haven't really had time to spare for it.

I also wanted to take advantage of the unexpected free time to write my entry this week.  I'm glad I don't have to wait until Thursday, my typical bloggin' day, to write about the awesome morning I had last

The Finish Line

Well, readers, I did it.  13.1 miles with my sister by my side, starting at the still-dark hour of 7am and ending around 9:30 (I had 2 hrs 25 minutes by my watch, but our official time says 2 hrs and 29).

What shocked me most of all was how doable it was.  Not necessarily easy, of course, but completely within my capacity to do.  It was an amazing feeling coming up on Mile 10 - previously the farthest I've ever run - and realized that I felt great and had enough gas in the tank to increase my pace.  Despite my aching, aching feet (which started talking to me around miles 5 or 6 and didn't let up) and my intermittent hunger pains, I was so excited just to be in the moment.

For the last few miles when our conversation, which had been steady up until that point, started to ease off, I would occasionally find myself wanting it to be over, wanting to be at the finish line so I could stop and eat and drink and celebrate.  Whenever that happened, though, I reminded myself that this …

Final Countdown

This morning marked my very last training run before Sunday's half marathon.  I ran five miles around the neighborhood - to LaGuardia airport and back, then on to Astoria Park with its amazing view of the Manhattan skyline.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the coming race.  I'm unbelievably excited, first and foremost.  I can't wait to get on that plane to Myrtle Beach, to see my sister for the first time since her wedding last month, to actually run the 13.1 miles, and to eat all the glorious food that will fuel us up before and after.  Also she said something about a hot tub and an indoor pool at the hotel, so there's that...

I feel really prepared, which isn't necessarily something I anticipated feeling.  I think part of me really thought the training was going to kill me!  I still can't really believe that I've run as much as I have these last months.

Amidst all the excitement and pride, I'm also feeling both sad and relieved.  I don't have…

The Non-Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

This past weekend threw a (delightful) wrench into my usual training schedule - Marc's lovely cousin Dan married his lovely longtime love Amanda and we went up north to join in the festivities.  It was a great time, and I absolutely love Marc's family.  I even got to spend time with his Grandpa and with his brother and sister-in-law who are visiting from London for the occasion.

Normally I go for my long runs on Sundays, with shorter runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Between being sick last weekend and having to skip my scheduled 9 mile run, and this past weekend pushing my Sunday run to very early Monday morning, before my full day of teaching and working, I was a little worried about how that run (10 miles) would turn out.  It was my first long run since doing 8 over two weeks ago, I was running on a barely healed blister on my right instep, and most importantly, I would be running all 10 miles completely by myself.  No Marc, no Megan, no running buddy whatsoever.

"Gulp&…

Drive by post, sponsored by Athleta!

Holy moly, what an insane week it's been.  Super long, busy days, the craziest zombie party ever, a massive head cold, the return of my best friend from upstate, and now heading out of town for my fiance's cousin's wedding.  Yet somehow, I'm posting a blog this week.

I could pontificate on being forced to surrender to my cold on Sunday instead of running the 9 miles that were on my training schedule, or how that first run yesterday to cement my conquering of the cold felt, or plenty of other things that happened this week, but I'm going to instead write about my favorite clothing company, Athleta!

I stopped by Athleta on my way to a private yesterday to return a pair of pants - my very favorite pants ever, the Java Capris - for a new pair because I've literally worn a hole in them, and wound up with some other goodies.

I was also generously gifted with some awesome hi-res images of some of their upcoming running gear for winter.  My half marathon will end just …

The Fourth Constant

Everyone has heard the expression that the only two constants in life are death and taxes.  They're the only two things you can always, always, always be sure to count on.  The older you get, the more you also hear the little pearl of wisdom that change is the only constant in life.  People usually tell you this when you feel you're at the 'end of an era,' like the end of college or a relationship.

Those three things are pretty well embedded into our consciousness, I think, so much so that they're cliche.  I think there's one more constant (at least - anyone else think of any?) that often gets overlooked.

You always have yourself.

It's so unbelievably simple (and potentially hokey sounding) so it makes sense that we take it for granted.

I have so many friends and family right now that are going through huge life changes - getting married, getting engaged, breaking up, moving in, having babies, having parents divorce and remarry, losing family members - every…

World Peace Day

Good Saturday morning!  I'm squeezing this week's post in just under the wire...

Yesterday was the International Day of Peace, an annual observance by the UN every September 21st.

I taught a Tween (10-12 yrs) and Teen class at Karma Kids, and Shari reminded me it was world peace day (because I of course had no idea!) and to mention it in my classes.

I'm still building my new voice as a tween/teen yoga teacher after my amazing training this summer, and it was really exciting to be gifted a theme to plan a class around.  I'm still not a huge planner - I always ask the kids if there's anything special they feel like doing and I try to accomodate as much as I can.  But I did throw plenty of "peace" into the class, starting from our opening chant, and at the end of class as they lay in relaxation, I read a peace meditation that I adapted from a few google searches that I'd like to share with you today, readers:

Close your eyes. Relax your body. Try to let go…

A gateway to being present: Slow Down

I'm sitting down to write this blog and to be honest, 47 million other things on my to do list are scattering around in my brain, plus the temptation to just mess around on facebook for an hour.  I have to be out the door at a certain time and I always, always, always have more to do than time to do it in.

On Sunday, I went for my longest run ever - so far.  Compared to the 13.1 I'll be running (ack!) in little over a month, 7 isn't such a huge number, but it's a mile farther than I'd ever run before.  Luckily, I had Marc with me for almost the whole time, which was such a huge help in so many ways.  One of the biggest benefits to having him with me was how often he told me, "Slow down."  The long runs are supposed to be at a slow, conversation, and dare I say leisurely pace.  There's no rush to get to the finish, the point is just to do it and get those miles in your body.  Conserving energy is essential, and you don't want to put anymore stress …

Big excitement!

(If you've ever seen Drop Dead Gorgeous...that was the inspiration for this post's title.  I was sitting here all happy and excited and trying so hard to think of a cute and clever title, and that moment from the movie just shot into my brain!)

I probably write this every single year, whether in this blog or my own journal, but I love fall.  I can't possibly overstate how much I absolutely love this season.  I love spring too, and summer is always a blast and it's sad to say goodbye to the beach, but I think fall is my favorite because, without fail, it always gives me a boundless sense of enthusiasm, energy, optimism, and desire to be productive and awesome.   (And it apparently inspires even more run on sentences than usual.  Sheesh.) A few years ago, while journaling, I referred to September as "my second January."  That about sums it up!

As a result of all this excited energy, I have about 80 billion things I want to write about, and don't really feel…

Farewell to Summer, Farewell to a Friend

It's getting to be that wonderful time of year...the cool breeze of fall starts to blow, the leaves are already changing, my Crock Pot will soon be dusted off, and it's time to say a sad goodbye to the beach and hello to back-to-school.  Karma Kids slows down considerably during the summer only to crank into overdrive after Labor Day, so I'm feeling the calm-before-the-play-yoga-storm right now.  I've got one more summer adventure ahead - my big sister's wedding on Saturday - and then I get to settle back down into a regular schedule.

Yesterday's sad (but unbelievably fun!) goodbye to the beach wasn't the only goodbye I had this weekend.  One of my best friends and the reason why I'm living this life I so dearly love of working with children today, Laura Frye, has finally bid farewell to New York and is starting a new adventure with her wonderful husband in Milwaukee, WI.

It's not goodbye forever - they'll be back for a least a little while in M…

What the World Needs Now

I was going to write about all the crazy mental places my mind goes during a long or difficult (or both) run today, but in light of yet another mass shooting in America, this time in my very own city, I've been thinking about other things.

The song, obviously, says we need love - and that's always true.  We can also use compassion.  Compassion for those whose views differ from ours (never more needed than in an election year in the age of the Internet, god help us), compassion for those less fortunate, and compassion for each and every person who's been affected in Aurora, Milwaukee - to say nothing of the victims of violence around the world.

I'd like to share a really lovely Compassion Meditation today.  I've seen it in many different places - from Sharon Salzberg, to Oprah.com to my KKY Teen Teacher Training Intensive.  It can vary a bit depending on where you see it, but I'll offer a pretty simple distillation of the various versions.

Come to a comfortable …

Postural Precision. And Passion.

When you know a great deal about something - whether it's your passion, your job, or both - it's very easy to overthink basic elements about it.  Actors often have a hard time just sitting back and purely enjoying a show or movie without analyzing or critiquing elements of it that might not bother anyone else (I call it having his "Critical Pants" on too tight when Marc does this with a show I love).  My future brother-in-law is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and I highly doubt he ever watches a match purely for enjoyment without having some seriously analytical, critical insights and very strong opinions.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can sometimes turn our passion into a grind instead of, well, a passion.
One way in which this has manifested itself for me is massively overthinking my posture.  Posture is one of the most central elements of yoga - whether you're standing in tadasana, tree pose, on the subway, or sitting in meditation, the pos…

Blog-cation

Today is my one mini-day tucked in between two fantastic vacations.  I just got back from a fun, debaucherous, sunny, ocean-filled, amazing weekend celebrating my wonderful big sister with her just-as-wonderful friends.  They partied this little yogini out!

Tomorrow morning, Marc and I get up bright and early to catch a bus to Boston, where my southern mama will meet us.  She's joining us at our tasting at Willowdale Estate (where we're getting married) on Wednesday for a tasting so we can set our wedding menu!  It's super fun stuff, and I'm really excited that my mom finally gets to see the place, not to mention see Marc's family's beautiful house and spend some quality time with him and his parents.

Needless to say - my brain is not in a yoga blogging place!  I am proud of myself, though, because I've kept up with my daily meditation and my half marathon training schedule throughout the fun times.  Out of respect for my limits, need for balance, and in th…

Space to Hear

Ah, August - my unofficial (although it might as well be official) Month of Travel.  It seems every August I'm running from one place to the next like a chicken with my head cut off, and/or hosting far away friends who are visiting or need a place to crash.  It's like the last minute mad rush to do things and see people before September brings us back to the "back to school" routine.  I'm not alone on this, particularly in the city - August is the emptiest month of the year around here.

It was this time last year that I finally managed to find a consistent time to meditate every. single. day.   I took a little European Vacation from it this spring, but aside from that I've been able to sit every single day.  It doesn't mean that I sit and suddenly feel relaxed and peaceful.  Most of the time I sit and one part of my brain repeats a mantra while the other part just starts rambling on about my to-do lists or what's happening later on that day.  It's…

Athleta 2012 Holiday Preview!

Last Thursday the lovely ladies of Athleta kindly invited me to the Aspen Social Club in Midtown to take a sneak peak at what they have coming up in their stores for the fall and winter.  It's always exciting to get invited to these things, especially because all I really do is write a blog on whatever I feel like week to week.

Athleta is a clothing company designed for active women involved in any sport or activity, from yoga to running to surfing to skiing.  They're owned by the Gap and are committed to not only high performance technical fabric but to exploring the latest in eco-friendly fabric.  (My favorite example of the latter:  Java Capri) The clothing is designed and "road-tested" by female athletes and they have an unbeatable return policy - return it any time for any reason.

I really love Athleta's clothes, and especially given my half marathon coming up, I was so excited to see some of their new products and returning (and improved!) items as well.  A…