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Showing posts from 2016

There's an app for that

At the beginning of December, I wrote a blog post all about how in preparation for getting swept up into the annual madness that is the month of December, I wanted to really double down on all of my habits and be really proactive about taking care of my health - on the cold & flu front as well, the foot front, the workout front, the mental front - all the fronts.

I'm very proud to say that, along with the indulging, joy, stress, and travel that goes along with the holidays, I've done just that.  The biggest tool for me in maintaining my routines, habits, and health has been - because it's 2016 - an app.

I downloaded the Productive App at the end of June after seeing Marc use it, and I seriously can't believe I haven't written about it yet.  I use it religiously every single day to track habits that I want to keep up with - daily habits, weekly, monthly - it's incredibly flexible in the frequency you want to set.  There are plenty of built in suggestions as…

Organizations to Donate for Aleppo Aid

I had an actual topic for an actual blog post planned today, but Aleppo looms too large.  Instead, and in the spirit of this season which is coming at the end of a violent, divisive, tumultuous year, I want to put some resources all in one place if you're looking to spread some charity and goodwill toward our fellow man (and women and children).

Save the Children Federation:  Donate to the Syrian Children's Relief Fund
"Save the Children is on the ground in Syria, and is helping refugee communities throughout the region, providing Syrian children and their families with emergency care, shelters, protection, clean water and warm clothes."


The Compassion Collective:  Together Rising
Touted by Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, and Glennon Doyle Melton, this charity is specifically aiming to create a mobile hospital.  More info here

Doctors Without Borders for Syria
Donate directly via this link to this group that gives desperately needed medical aid.

Hand in Hand for Syria
As the…

Music Share - Winter Playlist

I am 100% using my birthday, Marc's birthday, and the birthday of my client's beautiful baby all happening in one week (not to mention the rockin Karma Kids Yoga holiday party) as an excuse for not having an original blog this week.

Instead, please accept my offering of my newest playlist - songs that make me think of winter (or that just go with the songs that make me think of winter).

I'm particularly obsessed with Leslie Odom, Jr's version of Winter and his incredible new album Simply Christmas.  Check it out on Spotify!


Focus on Foundation

I'm on call for a birth right now - my first time being on call in December.  I wasn't sure what to expect, as this is the most wonderful / most completely insane time of the year, but so far I'm finding it to be an incredibly grounding force - despite the nerves and "Oh my god, I haven't looked at my phone in 20 minutes" anxiety that pops up with being on call.

For me, December isn't just about Christmas - both Marc and I have birthdays 10 and 12 days before, right on the heels of Thanksgiving - and we have two gorgeous nephews born in November and December as well.  There's always something going on, always money to spend, always places to go, always Titan Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol to go see (opening this Friday!), always a holiday party.

What being on call demands, though, is (along with sobriety!), self-care.  Getting enough sleep, staying healthy (no easy feat after a week with three snotty children over Thanksgiving, but we made it…

Painful Progress

I have no idea what to write today.  There's so much going on that I just feel stuck.  Things too personal to share, things too overwhelming to articulate.

It's always incredibly hard to leave my sister and her family.  It's the most deeply painful illustration of how nothing lasts forever that I've ever experienced, and ever will until I have my own kids.  Whenever I go, it's for a full week, and I get immersed.  The outside world mostly ceases to exist.  I'm in baby land.  It's nonstop, it's exhausting, it's wonderful.   I know I can't stay there forever - I have my own life and a city that I truly love.  But when I'm in it, I want to stay there forever.

It was sort of a holdover, a respite from the stark and frightening post-election reality we find ourselves living in.  Coming back doesn't just mean back to work or back to a normal routine, but back to facing fully head-on the challenges ahead and how I can be of help.  It's ove…

Deep breaths

It shouldn't come as a surprise that we say, "Deep breaths" to ourselves and each other at Karma Kids Yoga all the time when we know we're about to encounter (or are in the midst of) a challenge. Maybe it's a trying parent or an event with 30+ crazy excited kiddos or spending hours of our lives on hold with Verizon because the Internet is slow again -

Deep breaths, we tell ourselves.  Deep breaths, we tell each other.

Never have I - never has the nation - been more in need of that advice than right now.

Deep breaths, because while there is a time to process shock and emotion and disappointment, we have to keep taking care of ourselves - and taking care of each other.

It often feels like laziness or cheating (because it often is!) when I simply use the week's blog post to outsource to other articles or videos, but today it simply feels like the only work there is to do.

We are about to be led by a man who has no regard for the freedom of the press, among many o…

The Discipline of Gratitude - Election Day Edition

Anyone else excited out of their minds for today?  It feels like going to vote for the very first time!

In honor of where I first heard the term, "discipline of gratitude," and in honor of election day, my blog is getting outsourced to the original source of inspiration.



The Discipline of Gratitude

November brings with it my hands-down favorite holiday - Thanksgiving.  Food & Gratitude - two of the most beautiful things in life, in my humble opinion.

I heard a phrase that caught my attention a few weeks ago, and knew right away it was a thought/practice I wanted to explore.

The Discipline of Gratitude.

It seems like it deserves capitalization.

What I take it to mean at first glance is to not just take the idea of gratitude lightly - as the latest buzzword or the latest supposed key to instant happiness and contentment.  Keeping a gratitude journal is I'm sure a legitimately awesome tool for a lot of folks, but it can also turn very rote very quickly (or even start out that way).

We who are blessed to have enough in our bank accounts to feed, clothe, and shelter ourselves all know in an almost dismissive way that we have a lot to be grateful for, and that everything else is all the small stuff.  But in the thick of day-to-day life, the small stuff becomes the big stuff, …

Resilience and Rebellion

After a rough September, I decided to make my word (or intention or goal, if you like) for the month of October - Resilience.  I'm resisting the temptation to share the definition because you all have google and you pretty much know what the word means anyway.  But it's a word that really appealed to me, because if September (not to mention the latter half of August) was my month of being injured, then October was my comeback month!

It turns out I should've extended my intention of Patience a liiiiiiittle bit longer.

October hasn't quite been the bounce-back I hoped and expected.  I'm certainly better than I was a month ago today - after my cast came off, the smallest bit of pressure on my foot was agony, and I was still figuring out the mechanics of walking again.  But today, I still experience pain when I walk, I'm much farther from back to normal (to say nothing of back to running!) than I expected, and I haven't always dealt with the disappointment in t…

Setting boundaries

In case you haven't noticed - there's an election going on.

For people like me, who have tremendous interest in and anxiety over it, it's very, very easy to get unhealthily preoccupied.  It's one thing to be informed, and quite another to spend every free moment listening to or reading about it - even when there's no new-news from the last time one checked (even though in recent weeks it seems like there's a new development every five seconds).

There's a lot of talk among parents and teachers over a great "screen time" debate.  Parents worried (or decidedly not worried) about exposing their toddlers to the TV and iPad, parents trying (or not so much) to have family meals without phones at the table, the idea of having time limits vs. total freedom on video games - there are arguments to be made for every kid, family, and situation, and people spend a gigantic amount of time judging each other over it and judging themselves, often, over failing in …

Music Share - Hipster Playlist

Lots going on this week, but not for blogging.  Instead I'd love to share one of my most used playlists that I bring out for my Prenatal / Mom & Baby classes.

A lot of this was taken from the Acoustic Covers playlist on Spotify, which is always full of hidden little treasures.  It's bookended with some gorgeous music by Dustin O'Halloran from one of my favorite albums chock full of beautiful instrumentals for savasana.

My favorite song on this, though, has to be Bells by The Bengsons.  I first heard it in savasana after one of Elizabeth Barnett's spectacular classes at The Giving Tree (check her out on Monday's at 7:45 and Friday's at 6:30!), and it absolutely floored me.  Astorians especially will like the shoutout to our neighborhood in the song.

There's a lot of poignancy in the song as well as throughout the playlist...it's one that makes me happier when I'm happy and heartens me when I'm sad.  Enjoy!



The Peg Leg & the Pool

Last week, I was dealt a setback to my foot's healing process that pretty well broke my spirit for a couple of days.  It's been hard for me to write about my emotional reaction and struggle with my injury because all I can keep thinking about is how much worse other people have it and how sort of inappropriate and gross it would feel to put that out into the world with so much else going on.  Because of that, I think I've been repressing my frustration and disappointment and heartbreak and anger in an effort to be as positive as possible.  As a result, when I had the setback (back to crutches instead of finally being able to walk again), I took it insanely hard.  Tears, pity party - the whole 9 yards.  (Shouldn't it be the whole 10 yards...?)

Luckily, I have the world's best physical therapist who gave me the best advice: get back in a pool.

Because I was in such a negative headspace last week, I kept focusing on the obstacles.  Figuring out how to join, how I shou…

Breathing through anxiety

I'm hoping that every single person who is reading this watched last night's debate. This is the most consequential election in our country's history and it demands our very careful consideration and every possible vote.

It also demands, for me at least, that I constantly check the news, Facebook, political podcasts, and every other morsel of information until I'm a useless, jelly-like puddle of horrified anxiety, convinced that this time next year it won't be global warming that's the biggest threat to humanity, but nuclear winter.

What's a little meditation or breath in the face of this overwhelming existential anxiety?

Pretty damn effective, actually.

If you've been anxious like I have lately, even if it's unrelated to politics or injury, I've found this to be a very helpful grounding technique:


Take a comfortable seat, either cross-legged on padding or with two blocks between the ankles in supported hero's pose.

Align your spine - shoulder…

Yoga Flow In A Cast

Better late than never...

My cast came off on Thursday (yay!  but whose skinny, dough-y calf is that underneath!?!?) but with the help of my magician husband, I've finally been able to upload my yoga class that I made it my goal to create during my weeks in the cast.

This can be done without being in a cast, of course - just don't take any of the necessary protective modifications.  If you're feeling like a challenging class that skips out on Warrior I and Warrior II, and standing in general, please check it out!

Reasons to be Happy

(With apologies to Neil LaBute)



I've been thinking about this quote a lot the past few days.  My moods have been a bit up and down - I can go from cool, self-assured calm about the whole injury situation one minute, to a flurry of worry and anxiety and self pity the other, as the uncertainty about how the healing process will go after the cast comes off weighs on me.

If you ask me the things I'm grateful for, the things I really value and treasure in my life, one of them would be my physical fitness.  My health, my (relative, at this point) youth.  My energy.  My New York paced walk.  My ability to run.  I still have some of those things, of course, but in this temporary situation, I feel more like an ancient slug, with an aching lower back and pain all through my right hip and foot as it bears my weight.

So, how do you avoid the self-pity trap?  It's normal to feel sad and frustrated, and I don't think it would be wise or healthy to suppress those emotions when they c…

Get some Headspace

Happy Friday, world!  Even though tonight is the eve of the busiest day of work I'll have all week - three classes!  Despite the frustrating limitations and challenges of teaching in the cast, it'll feel good to have so many students' positive energy in one day.

I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write this week for some reason, so I'm going to mainly use this week's entry to praise and recommend Headspace, an excellent meditation app.  It's not free (nor is it cheap, fair warning) but it does offer a free trial, and I am surprised to find that I think it's worth every penny.

Marc discovered this app a few months ago and immediately started singing its praises.  I let my arrogance get the better of me - I'm a yoga teacher, I've been learning and practicing meditation for over seven years, I don't need an app to tell me what to do, blah blah blah.  But the truth is, despite my fairly consistent practice, I had absolutely no consistency wit…

Casting On

This morning marks the beginning of Day 2 of the 20 days my foot (and lower leg) will be in a hard cast.  Just shy of three weeks - which is seriously not bad at all.  So many friends and friends-of-friends have told me far worse injury horror stories, and I am counting my blessings.  My left foot desperately wants to point and rotate at the ankle joint and wiggle and be free, and it's a very strange feeling for it to be restricted!

But, marvels of modern medicine - it's not an old-fashioned, heavy plaster cast.  It's thin fiberglass, rolled around like gauze.  Inside my foot is cushioned in soft pillow-y wrapping.  Having never had a hard cast before and imagining the worst sort of immobile misery and torture, this is not half bad!

As I'm wont to do, I've set myself some goals for this time where I can't pursue all my usual goals.  I plan on recording a yoga video demonstrating and teaching a Yoga with a Cast Sequence.  It'll be the first time I'll eve…

AromaYIN at The Giving Tree Yoga Studio

Forty-five minutes after the end of yoga class and I have finally crutched all the way back home, sitting at the computer, ready to write my blog.  Had I left after my prenatal class, I could've been done for the day (and the week) and at home by probably about 6:00, given my speed on the street these days.

What kind of class was worth taking, and worth keeping me out of the house an extra 90 minutes worth of class time and seemingly endless amount of getting-ready and crutch-commute time?  That would be the outstanding AromaYIN class at The Giving Tree Yoga Studio.

Yin, similar to restorative, yoga involves holding poses for much longer than in a typical hatha or vinyasa class - 5-10 minutes.  Like restorative, props are utilized for comfort, but in yin yoga there is a greater emphasis on therapeutic stretching of muscles and the connective tissues as well as resting comfortably in the poses.  You're changing your body more with yin than with restorative.

I have always been a…

Love & Obstacles

My original subject from this post was going to be all about responding with love to adversities and adversaries.  I was inspired by Corey Booker's response to a standard-issue negative tweet from the Republican nominee - answering the hatefulness with love, compassion, and rising above the negativity.  It's a truly admirable example, and one that everyone should follow, regardless of your party affiliation, if we actually want to make the country and the world a better place.

Little did I know that the obstacle put in my way this week would quite be to this level.

After trying to self-manage mild but ever-present pain in my left foot this summer, which I self-diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, my first run in a few weeks sent the pain level up a few notches and finally got my stubborn, prideful self to the podiatrist.  I expected to leave with admonitions about better shoes and not being barefoot in hardwood and maybe a cortisone shot to get me through.

Instead, I was told what …

Let's go swimming

Two to three mornings a week, I go running.  This summer, though, in preparation for next year's NYC Marathon, I wanted to take some time off to let my body fully recover from the Brooklyn Half.  I've been running 1-2 times a week max, spending more time strength training, and luckily was given an absolutely perfect gift by my neighborhood - a chance to stay in shape and stay cool at the same time, while doing one of my favorite activities on the planet.

The Astoria Park public pool offers lap swim for grown-ups from 7-8:30am and 7pm-dusk - this has apparently been offered for years, but I've had my head under a rock and didn't realize it.  Of all the summers to discover it, how awesome that I'm getting back in to lap swimming during the Olympics!  I competed on swim teams for a good 5 or 6 years as a kid and I regret quitting when I did.  Swimming just for fun has always been one of my absolute favorite things to do - my mom has said that I could swim before I cou…

Stronger than we think

I had the honor of attending my 9th birth this past weekend.  It knocked me off my regular blogging schedule (a baby being born is slightly more important than my self-imposed goals...), so here's a quick one as I run around getting my head back on straight, my house back in order, and getting ready for the new week and month ahead.

During each and every birth I've attended, whether it's been completely drug free or medicated, whether vaginal or cesarean, there reaches a point (or several points) where the mother says, "I can't do this.  I can't do this anymore."

And yet somehow - they do.  They get through it, the baby comes out however he or she comes out, and life continues on to the next adventure, the next challenge, the next demands.

I'm inspired similarly whenever I come home from a visit with my sister, in frank awe of everything she accomplishes every day by raising her 3 small children and the absolute onslaught of work that entails - not ju…

Stewardship

A funny, fancy, formal, old-fashioned word - Stewardship.  That's been my word-o-the-month for July, inspired by one of my all-time favorite podcasts:  Two Gomers Run for Their Lives.

Like me, the Gomers choose a word to help to shape and define their thoughts, goals, and actions for each particular year, and I remember a year or two ago, one of them chose Stewardship.  It always stuck in my mind, and now it's maybe one of my favorite "words to live by" because it cuts across all categories - the gift of my time, my health, my marriage, my family, my friends, my work, the gift of my home, my energy, my city.  And it's less of a word, really, than a constant framework to a question - "Am I being a good steward of my {fill in the blank}?"

For me, it's become a simple way to get ahold of myself when my addiction to election coverage is causing me to breathe fire or a good way to motivate myself to get moving when the makes staying inside so very compe…

A few words for Nice

I've been in love with the idea of Nice since around 2006, or maybe a year or two before.  I had read The Bay at Nice by David Hare, the one act play that was to be my senior thesis directing project.  True, the play is set in Russia, but its constant evocation of Nice as this heavenly place filled with perfect light and beauty, combined with my pre-existing love of all things French inevitably created a wistful desire to some day go and see it for myself.  I always smile as I remember some college friends teasing and mocking me for my snooty (though it was quite cheap) French wine and my Edith Piaf music as I was immersing myself into writing and directing my thesis.

Fast forward to 2013, and I'm newly married with a French last name, and I'm heading to the only place that's ever crossed my mind if I were to imagine where I might go on a honeymoon.

Over our two week honeymoon that September, we spent 4 or so days in Italy's stunning Cinque Terre, but the bulk of t…

Fear and Heartache, Love and Change

What a week it has been.  I find myself both at a loss for words of what to write this week, and also overflowing with ramblings thoughts pouring every which way, going down this branch of reasoning or that.  The idea of coming up with something coherent and comprehensive and concise but not reductive is more than a little overwhelming.

This past week was mired in heartache, on a personal level for various private reasons, and of course, on a national level.  Baton Rouge.  St. Paul. And my beloved home during my childhood, Dallas, TX.

I think the root of so much of this violence and inequity is fear.  Black citizens are afraid of police officers.  Police officers are afraid of black citizens. (Dallas citizen Kellon Nixon articulates it much better than I; please give the video a watch.  It inspired this post.) That's what racism - conscious or unconscious - is.  That's why we use the word "homophobia" to describe discrimination or hate against gay people.  Homophobic…

Control, Risk, and Cliche

I realized after I posted my blog last week that I had completely lost the little spark of inspiration that led to me wanting to write about that topic at all.  In my haste of following my rigid and totally arbitrary standard of posting something every Tuesday no matter what, I found the random idea I had jotted down and went with it...totally forgetting about the root and revelation of it all.

As I was running in a race last month, I had found myself thinking of the 2017 NYC Marathon - which is not unusual, as that's where my thoughts usually tend when I'm running these days.  Then my thoughts shifted to a few variations on the theme of crossing my fingers and hoping that I'd be able to make it through this marathon uninjured and relatively unscathed.

And that's when the thought occurred to me - so much of that is in my control.

We don't realize through the course of living our lives just how much of what happens to us is in our control.  How much control we have …

The (Running) Journey

Everyone know the cliche - "Life is about the journey, not the destination."

We all hear it.  We all "know" it.  When someone says it, it sort of washes over us and through us.  But the only way you really learn it, the only way you really feel it, is through some sort of significant personal experience.

In this particular context, I am, of course, talking about running.  This is a lesson that's been painfully (literally) slow to sink in for myself, and it started with the marathon, subsequent injuries, and more importantly, the subsequent journey into the world of physical therapy, mobility work, and strength/cross training.

Runners hear all the time about the importance of strength training, but I kept myself stuck in a narrative that said that I "can't" do strength work on my own.  I can do it under a teacher's guidance or in a class setting where I have someone to impress, someone to push me harder than I'd push myself, but I just don&…

Sleep Tune Up

Today is Day 21 of my 3rd round of Whole30!  Physically, I feel fantastic - my energy is starting to level out (those 3pm crashes are on their way out!), ----, and I'm enjoying one of my favorite Whole30 benefits - better sleep.

Of course, full disclosure - I drafted this post last Tuesday (Day 14), and before a 36 hour birth-a-thon.  So, every night has not been full of sleep, glorious sleep and even-keel energy levels.

One of the best things about Round 3?  I'm really not thinking about food that much!  I was really worried this go-round for some reason - worried because two rounds of Whole30 and I'm not a magical perfect eater who has figured her way out of emotional eating and chocolate/sugar addiction, and I thought that my mind would cling harder than ever to the sugar I was going to be denying it for the next 30 days.  The opposite has turned out to be true.  My brain went right back into Whole30 mode, planning delicious protein and veggie filled meals, with only a …

Thoughts, Prayers, & Action

I drafted a post early Sunday morning - before connecting with the news - as part of my efforts to get back in touch with writing proper entries in my blog.  In light of the horrifying massacre in Orlando this weekend, it just seems trivial to share it today.

Instead I want to provide a list of organizations to which you can donate and things you can do to take action in response to this hate crime, this terrorist act, this worst mass shooting in our history, this attack on an LGBTQ sanctuary, this attempt to decimate freedom and love.

I'm sure a thorough Google search of one's own could turn these up, but it feels like the right thing to do today - to help throw more positive, actionable resources out there.  It should go without saying that my heart, my thoughts, my prayers, my tears are with the victims and their loved ones.  It should go without saying because we say it way too often, and the people who say it the most frequently are the ones who have the power to actuall…

Overabundance

Happy June!  It's been just over a month since I've posted, and I can't blame it on how oh so crazy life has been like I always do.  It's been the usual amount of busy, plus a wonderful holiday weekend with in-laws, but there really hasn't been any reason for not writing except I haven't been met with the clarity (ha) of inspiration and the time - or more specifically, the time and inclination - to sit and find something specific, articulate and worth sharing.

The two main things keeping me from posting since May 10th are a lack of scheduled structure to when I'm supposed to write in this thing and an overabundance of things to write about.  It's sort of like the opposite of writer's block, but the end result is the same - nothing gets written, and this sits here collecting Internet-dust.  It's sort of like when you have so much to do that you become paralyzed and simply do nothing.

Considering this is a voluntary, just-for-me, 100% not making a…