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Showing posts from 2014

Ready to Run (Almost)

I want to mention something I've been meaning to write about since September - I'm not sure why it's taken me this long!

Starting in September, I started seeing an amazing physical therapist, referred to me by my incredible mentor.  I've been sidelined all year long post-marathon - first the scary hamstring pain before the marathon back in January, then the foot injury after the marathon, and then just as my foot was healed and I went to start running again...the hamstring pain came back.  I'd run, feel pain, then rest for a week or two (or four).  Then start again, the pain would come again.  Then gradually it became a part of my every day life, spread to my hip and glute, and would get worse after teaching classes.  I sought out a sports medicine doctor who ordered an MRI which showed me nothing at all (except a much emptier bank account).

So although I dearly wish it hadn't taken me from January til September to finally get to a physical therapist about this…

Now is now

Although I have a couple of massages planned today, and I just spent several days not working due to the lovely Thanksgiving holiday, today feels like my first day off in awhile.  I think it's because I'm at home.  I'm at home, I'm alone, and as usual, I have a giant to-do list of things I want to accomplish, some of which I feel like I've been trying to accomplish for months now.

Something that wasn't on the list but that I just "accomplished" as I tried out a new oatmeal recipe - I finally finished rereading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin.  I started re-reading this book in September, when Marc and I had just gotten back from seeing the babies and we were still very new to our beautiful new apartment.  I thought I'd follow along with the book, dedicating my own resolutions and changes and goals, making our home the happiest, most organized home EVER.  Of course, work and life got in the way, and my massive plan was put off.  But I still very …

Forgiveness & Closure. And questions.

There's been a lot of change this year.  I write about it almost every week.  A lot of birth, growth, new beginnings, endings, sickness, brushes with death, and recently for me, ending a relationship.  (Not Marc!)
An ongoing family drama lasting almost two years now has come to a pretty firm conclusion the last two days.  The details beyond that are private and not really important, but it's obviously got me asking all kinds of questions and wondering about all kinds of things.
What is closure?  How do you forgive someone?  What do those words and concepts even mean?
Over the past several years, I think the concept of forgiveness has changed in our culture from something involved in repairing a relationship with a person to being much more focused on doing it for yourself - a way to free yourself of past hurt.  There's the simpler level of having a fight with someone, forgiving them, and truly being able to move forward with that relationship.  That is a bit more cut and d…

Happy Veteran's Day!

This Veteran's Day, I'd like to share my all-time favorite rendition of our national anthem.  Future star of stage & screen, Lisa Helmi Johanson, rocks it like no other.  Just cock your head to the left ;)

Namaste, y'all!


I am a DOULA!

I can't believe that one week ago today, I was sitting in Birth Day Presence in the presence of one of the country's most established doulas soaking in her wisdom.  I wish so much I could go back and take that training again and again and again and again.  (Luckily for me, as a doula, I'm required a certain amount of continuing education credits each year so I may just get the chance!)

Debra Pascali-Bonaro, I'm so very proud to say, has made me a trained doula!  I still have a ways to go before my certification is complete, but this is the most significant part of the certification process to complete before I start attending births.  Debra was wonderful - there are not enough adjectives in the world.  She was warm, put us all immediately at ease, funny, unbelievably knowledgeable, and her heart is clearly in every single thing she says and does.  Her genuine love radiated through every word she spoke.

I'm gushing, I know, but I just don't know how else I'm …

Laughter Yoga (but not)

I'm down for the count tonight - I've been fighting a cold all week long and I have a huge week coming up.  Big things coming up for Karma Kids and my three-day Doula Training is going to be right smack in the middle of it this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  My plans with my beautiful friend Laura are cancelled (including my plan to take my first gentle yoga class since rehabbing my hip and hamstring) and I'm hoping that between all the prep work I have to do for doula training I can get enough rest to beat this thing.

In the meantime, this has totally made my day.  It has pretty much nothing to do with yoga in any way, but I guarantee it will make you laugh.  I love me some good bloopers and a good case of the giggles.  Enjoy a rush of mood-boosting endorphins, fire up your belly muscles, and boost your mood.  Late Night with Jimmy Fallon = Laughter Yoga (but not really).

Hope to be back next week with an exciting announcement about Karma Kids Yoga, an update on how …

Despair is the greatest sin

I was fully prepared to let myself off the hook again today.  My weekly-blogging has been once-every-two-or-three-weeks blogging lately.  There's a lot going on with work, and I've been desperate to spend every single second Marc and I both had free together - which unfortunately were not that many seconds.

He left today to go do another show at the beautifulPeople's Light & Theatre in Malvern, PA.  It's a beautiful theatre, a great company, and the show will be tons of fun with fantastic people.  I wish I were going with him.  I wish he were staying here.  I wish the contract wasn't so frigging long.

I have a lot on my plate today - things that I've been neglecting in favor of all else we've had going on - and especially since I'm not feeling terribly inspired or, honestly, terribly happy, I was going to give myself another pass.  Next week I'll be more "YoginiAnnie" like - not today.

However.

As I've written before, and as much w…

Just Doula-ing It

Yep, I just made that pun.

I realized today I haven't really written that much about this next chapter of my education/career/passion/life that I'm entering into, and that a lot of my friends might not know a whole lot about what this new position really means.

In late October, I'll be attending a childbirth class and doula training program under Debra Pascali-Bonaro, author and director of Orgasmic Birth (both a birthing book and an eye-opening documentary) and experienced childbirth educator and doula.  I've already started the process of reading everything both on and off my reading list, and I have quite a few more hurdles to climb before I'm an officially certified doula, but I'm jumping in with both feet.

Super exciting, right?  But what's a doula?

The word Doula comes from ancient Greek meaning a female servant.  It is a woman who is literally there before, during, and after labor and birth to support the mother and partner through the process.  Most…

Mesothelioma Awareness Day

September has been a really trying month in a lot of different ways.  It's contained a lot of fun and fabulousness too - getting to visit with my parents and in-laws is always amazing - but there's a lot going on in our lives right now and sometimes I just feel tremendous stress.

To take myself out of self-pity (which is something I fall into much more easily than I'd care to admit), I think about those enduring hardships much worse than I've ever had to face - and doing it with more grace than I can imagine.  My friend Lu is one; I have some family members who I look to as well.

For today's post, however, I'm writing about someone I've never met and about a disease I've never been touched by.  Given that it's such a small world, however, I'm sure at least one person who reads this will have had some kind of personal experience with this preventable yet deadly disease.

I was contacted by a man asking me to share his wife's story and some fac…

Change - again.

I realize this is the third entry out of five that focuses on change, but, well, that's obviously where I am at the moment and all I can do is go with it!

I'm hoping now that as fall has begun and something resembling a normal schedule is starting to set in that I'll be back to my once-a-week pace of writing.  It's been very hard to get consistency with everything going on this summer, and I mostly blame those dang babies.  Not to mention Baby LeVasseur, our new nephew coming this November!  Days after getting back from seeing the twins (and them getting to meet their Uncle Marc!), we had a whirlwind trip to Boston to celebrate Marc's brother, Paul, and his lovely wife Sharon and their little bundle o' joy.

I scratched down a couple of Baby Thoughts a week ago, my last full day with Atlas and Zoe, knowing that I'd want to write about them.  What I wanted to muse over today was not the big, obvious kind of change - a change in job, schedule, a big change lik…

Yoga and Cancer

This post, with the above title, and absolutely nothing written in the body where the brilliant blog is supposed to go, has been sitting in my Drafts for about three weeks.  I've been wanting to write about this for awhile.  Earlier this year, a very close and beloved family member was diagnosed with cancer.  A few weeks ago, I humbly accepted the opportunity to sub a Yoga for Cancer Survivors class at the beautiful Giving Tree Yoga Studio.  And most recently, a friend, who although is a new presence in my life honestly feels like family, was diagnosed with leukemia.
This blank post has been sitting here collecting metaphorical dust for a lot of reasons, and I think the main one is that I am intimidated.  I don't feel qualified to speak to this.  I'm not certified to teach yoga to cancer patients or counsel them or do anything of the kind.  I haven't gone through it myself.  I haven't done any research myself and haven't researched the effects in any deep way -…

Meditations at the Laundromat

These last three and a half weeks have been crazy.  After spending a week in absolute heaven with my family welcoming the precious Atlas & Zoe, I came back and, as I mentioned last week, was thrown into moving madness.  Marc has been working his butt off taking catering jobs left and right to help us through the move, and between his work schedule and mine, we were almost never home together at the same time - until the night before the move.

Emotionally, it was an insanely hard week.  I was missing the babies more than I could have ever imagined and felt heartbroken beyond the telling of it.  On one hand, having to get my butt into gear on moving helped me from wallowing too much, but on the other hand...oy.  Moving, even when it goes well overall like ours thankfully did, is stressful.

We said goodbye to absolutely spectacular friends as they made their way to London on Tuesday, July 29th, and on Thursday, July 31st we said goodbye to our very first home together - of four years…

A hurricane of change

So remember last week when I was all on about how I think change is a fabulous thing and I'm totally into it?

A HUGE part of me wants to take all of that back.

This past week with the precious twins was more life-changing and overwhelming than I could have ever possibly known, and there was just no way to prepare for it.  It was one of the best weeks of my entire life, and I haven't been so heartbroken as when I had to say goodbye to them in a very, very long time.  Not just feeling heartbroken that I had to leave, but heartbroken because I will never ever see them at that tiny size again.  They've already grown and changed so much in just nine little days on the planet.  When Marc and I go see them again, they'll be six weeks old and so much bigger.  They'll have hit tiny milestones I'll have missed.  When we leave, we won't see them again until December when they'll be over five months old.  It might seem silly or trivial, but it feels truly heartbrea…

The Constant of Change

Happy July!  The month has partly felt like it's crawling, but mostly just feels like it is sprinting recklessly ahead.  Three people I encountered today experienced massive shock over the fact that it's already the 11th?

Two huge life changes are coming up for us, and one admittedly is a much bigger life change for my sister and Jeremy than it is for Marc and I.  We thought they'd be here by now, but they will certainly be here by tomorrow - our first beautiful niece and nephew, Zoe and Atlas, will be making their debut any moment now.  (Not a moment too soon for any of us, especially their mama!)  I'm flying out next Wednesday to meet them, and I am exploding with excitement.  I cannot wait to spend a week completely immersed in them.

The second, the secretive one I eluded to last week, is finally official - Marc and I are moving!  We're staying in the beautiful Ditmars area of Astoria, and are taking over the gorgeous apartment of our very dear friends Billy and…

Sports + Yoga = World Cup Success

Big Life News is coming up, but it's not in a place yet where I can put it up on a blog.  Call it superstition, or call it hippie paranoia over Mercury's Retrograde, call it what you will - hopefully by next week I can talk about the thing that will likely be inspiring most entries this summer (except for course for the entries inspired by my sister's upcoming twins!).

In the meantime, my most public Big Life News is THE WORLD CUP!  The US lost to Germany (inc case you're living under a rock and didn't know) but we're advancing to the next round!

In honor of that, an article on our intense new coach - including a tiny little mention of his introduction to yoga to the team.

Go Yoga - Go America.

Mental Movies

Whenever I read a book, I have to cast all of the characters as either actors or people in my life.  I need a "mental movie" going in my head along with the story or I can't delve into it as deeply as I want.  For most of my favorite books, I could tell you exactly who plays what part.  (And chances are, Matthew McConoughey will be in it)  As a movie addict from the time I was a tiny tot, the language of "mental movie" is something I can easily connect to, and now that I work with kids and with adults for whom meditation is new, it's a really effective way to start introducing visualization techniques.

As so many of us do, I tend to worry.  At the moment, there are a lot of uncertainties going on in Marc's and my life and we've been playing the waiting game a lot in the last two or so months with regard to family, finances, and our apartment.  It's been a constant battle to quell the mental movie of disaster - the worry - and just try to stay fo…

Three Minutes

If you "Like" Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebok, then you probably don't need to read any further.  If you don't...start!  Her short essays, musings, whatever you want to call them on almost a daily basis are so inspiring and somehow so grounded.  In honor of "throwback Thursday," she has shared a brief interview (barely 3 minutes of your precious time) about integrating spiritual lessons she learned after four months in an Indian Ashram into her daily life.

Inspiring + Grounded = Elizabeth Gilbert.  I don't have anything that could hold a candle to this in me today, so enjoy!

Attitude Schmattitude

I remember as a kid that nearly every single classroom would have some variation of a cheesy laminated poster that would invariably have a slogan about Attitude!  Attitude is everything!  It's all about Attitude!  Have a Positive Attitude Today!

And because as a kid I so very often prided myself on being, as they say, too cool for school, I always found them embarrassing and dumb.  For no particular reason, of course - it's just that I was a kid and found most everything that could be put into cheerful poster form at school to be terribly cheesy.  Attitude schmattitude.  Bo-ring.

It's very strange how in some ways, kids are the big cynics and adults are the big open-hearted softies, and it others it's exactly the opposite.  Understanding, valuing, and respecting the massive importance and power of a positive attitude is something I have only come to understand as an adult.  It's also only as an adult how much I've come to understand that attitude is 100% a choi…

Ugly and Lovely Spring

This gorgeous, finally-warm month seems to have been packed with lots of violence and sadness.  Some of which I experienced within my circle of family and friends, or was at least as spectator to personally, but most of which took place outside of my life and inside my world of news in the New York Times and the mammoth that is the Internet and social media.  Some of it was me choosing to delve back into a dark time in our history which also produced wonderful things - I've been watching and reading Band of Brothers, and on Memorial Day Marc and I decided it was finally high time I watched the devastating Schindler's List.  Some of it was the absolute mad state of our current events: following the stories of the Nigerian girls, the shootings at UCSB, the scandalous goings-on with the VA, which directly affects my family, and now the death of the incomparable Maya Angelou, and more.

Despite all of this, I'm approaching the end of May feeling strangely happy and inspired.  I…

Simple Inspiration

I'm keeping things pretty simple today - a relief after last week's rather gut-wrenching, but necessary and therapeutic, post about my jury duty experience.  Normally when I keep things simple it's because I'm just linking to an article I liked, or posting a picture of some kind.  But today I feel inspired by a very simple quote brought to my attention by my incredible mother-in-law, who inspires me herself in so many ways.  And what the hell, I'll accompany it with a link and a picture.

A study came out last fall detailing how the anticipation, and more specifically the dread, of a painful event is actually worse on us than the thing itself.  (Read a summary of it here) To me, that doesn't seem like a huge discovery.  I suppose they've officially proven it, but it honestly seems rather like common sense.  I think anyone who tends to be a worrier would probably agree.  It's easy as yoga teachers or for those who are very religious to talk about surrende…

Yoga for Coping

I typically try to be very faithful to my weekly blog habit (or sometimes, I'll admit - obligation).  When I go off a week, there's usually a good reason, typically because I'm out of town.  These last (almost four!) weeks I've just been damn busy. Days off have been very few, and haven't involved burrowing at home but rather going out and about in this gorgeous city, seeing theatre, family, and friends.  That's part of the joy of spring - it's a hell of a lot easier and more pleasurable to go out in the world and escape the walls of your tiny apartment than in polar vortex weather.

Last week was supposed to house my first day off since Easter - last Thursday.  Instead, I spent last Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday sitting on a case for jury duty.  I don't want to go into any more detail than I have to, because it still hurts my heart to think of it.  Just emailing a friend about it this morning has been enough to send me into a funk today (the …

Model Morning

It's that glorious time of the year again - the quarterly Athleta event!  Because fashion is always two seasons ahead, I was kindly invited to check out the fall fashions Athleta has coming up.  Considering how absolutely freezing the winter has been and the spring continues to be (seriously, why so few 60-degree days? And WHERE ARE THE BUDS?), I confess that seeing fuzzy sweaters and fall things was almost a little depressing.  I am in 1,000% countdown-to-summer mode right now!

It's always a huge treat to come to one of these events.  As is often the case, we were invited to take a complimentary fitness class, given a complimentary outfit, and some complimentary tasty breakfast treats.  Something new this time around was complimentary express manicures!  I could seriously get used to this...

One of my favorite things about these events is definitely exploring other fitness programs.  It's how I discovered and absolutely fell in love with Refine Method and it often gives me…

Flat Tires & Perspective

When I was interning in Sarasota, FL at the beautiful Florida Studio Theatre, I met some incredible people.  None so unique as Doctor Nik, aka Doc, who rode around the theatre and the city on his flamingo bike, rocket bike, and any other crazy kind of bike you could imagine, has two of the sweetest basset hounds I've ever seen, and was an absolute font of silliness, wisdom, and kindness.

Something he posted on facebook a few weeks ago wormed its way into my brain and I've found that it keeps coming back to me over and over again, and it's amazing how much it's changed my perspective on little everyday things in my life that I'd normally stress over or take a negative attitude toward.

Doc says, "A flat tire isn't a bad thing until you make it one."

To me, this is very akin to the line in Hamlet, "There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so."

These are basically saying the same thing, yet for some reason Doc's resonates more with me …

Good morning!

So many of my posts are about morning rituals or general daily practices, I've found.  Whether it's about getting back to the basics with a simple seated meditation following the breath, finding joy by singing in the morning, or a variety of physical but not-necessarily-yogic practices, I've been struggling for the past year and a half with consistency in my home practice.  In my last entry two weeks ago (I took a week off for anniversary fun in PA!) I wrote about how there are so many Internet/iPhone resources that I've found helpful in my own home yoga practice outside of a studio.

Two of these resources together in particular, YogaGlo and my Insight Timer app, have been instrumental in helping me find a morning ritual that I've been pretty consistent with the past two weeks.  With the exception of a few lazy, yoga-less mornings on my anniversary weekend, there is a ritual from the amazing yoga teacher Amy Ippoliti called, "Set a Positive Tone for Your Entir…