Dig In Deep: Eminemasana

Tuesday. February 8th, 2011

Nantucket, MA.

Isn’t there something about a good struggle that just pumps you up? You hear a story about someone or something overcoming the odds; it’s a real life anicdote, something you hear at the checkout counter in the grocery store, a friend’s personal narrative, a great rise-up-against-the-man blockbuster film, the history of a people, a culture, maybe even a city. There’s a buzzing that happens on a cellular level. As the story unfolds, and the underdog becomes the champion, your heart starts to thump, blood rushes into your ears. You become invested. You dig in. Maybe there’s a soundtrack. Maybe there’s one good song that starts to carry the protagonist through her difficulties. A beat that tells her, just one more try. Just one more breath…

The movie 8 Mile was like that. It was the perfect Underdog Rises Out of the Trenches story. It drew us in and with the help of Eminem’s brilliant soundtrack and it hooked us. Chrysler did it again on Sunday night, when it aired it’s “Motor City” Super Bowl add for the new Chrysler 200. Chrysler took 8 Mile’s Grammy winning song Lose Yourself, and footage of a struggling Detroit City, and successful evoked the same feelings we had for Eminem’s character Rabbit,  for the city of Detroit herself. If you haven’t seen it- take a moment now. I promise, it’s worth it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKL254Y_jtc]

As I was watching the add (and not so much the Super Bowl), I was reminded of the power a great song can have; the way a single baseline or beat can push you deeper into the moment, drive you longer, take you farther. The song Lose Yourself is a perfect example. It has such power.

Come play with this musical magic tonight. Our vinyasa practice this evening will be built around the idea that sometimes, when circumstances are hard, and it becomes difficult to detach from the external drama, a good song is all you need. It can help you find the breath. It can ground you in the moment. It can help you rise above.

 

Caitlin’s Vinyasa Flow Yoga. Tuesday nights at The Yoga Room. 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Breathe.                              Flow.                         Connect.

The yoga of Cancer & Yogi spotlight on Kevin Courtney

Nantucket.
Saturday.
February 5th, 2011

As many of you know by now my parents are temporarily living in Boston. My Dad, Steve, was diagnosed with throat cancer back in November, and he and my mother moved to Boston the day after Christmas to begin an aggressive regime of radiation and chemotherapy. Last weekend things took a turn for the worse, and my Dad was hospitalized twice for a high temperature and low platelet counts. I ventured up to Boston Thursday morning to visit.

I am thrilled to report that my Dad is in stable condition; his temperature has finally broken, and it looks like his bc counts are on the rise. He is scheduled for 3 more radiation treatments and one last chemo treatment next week, and if all goes well- he will be on his way to recovery.

Over the past several months there has been such an outpouring of love and warmth from our Nantucket community, my family and I have felt truly blessed. I think I can speak for us all when I say that we feel the love. So to all of you who have passed on your regards, your well-wishes and your heartfelt concern- Thank you from the depths of my heart. We live in such a special place and I for one feel honored to be a part of this Tribe.

THE YOGI SPOTLIGHT: Kevin Courtney from The Kula Yoga Project.


So while I was in Boston this week, I broke away from the hospital to take a special workshop with Kevin from Kula @ Back Bay Yoga. Kevin is an inter-disciplinary teacher who draws on a background of Qi Gong and Kundalini yoga, and this 2 hour master class was described as a combination of  “dynamic Vinyasa sequences, pranayama, qi-gong and kundalini kriyas with the intention of getting to the heart of our personal yoga practice.”  It was his hope that we’d “stretch the boundaries of traditional asana, connect to your inner Teacher, and experience our practice in a totally new way.” And yes, I’d say that was about what we did.

I had some concerns about class, when we started our practice by bouncing up and down and slapping ourselves for nearly 20 minutes. As ridiculous as this sounds, I couldn’t help but embrace the hilarity of my own inner monologue while thumping my heels into the ground and vibrating from head to toe. We added some vocalizations, and soon I caught myself smiling. My smiles we broad yet inwardly directed, and felt particularly powerful having just come from the oncology ward at Beth Israel Hospital.

Certainly no stranger to martial arts nor Qi Gong, this was still virgin territory for me- especially as a warm-up for a vinyasa yoga practice.  Kevin joked warmly with us as we all traversed into the foreign territory, and did his best to diffuse our self-consciousness. An hour into the class I found myself wishing the workshop was longer, and that I could have easier access to Kevin’s unique blend of modalities.

Kevin ended our practice with an intense round of kapalabhati pranayama. He turned on some driving, but not over the top, techno music and instructed us to raise our arms up in a “V” with our hands high above our heads; wrists flexed and palms pressing flat towards the sky. After a few deep cleansing breaths, the short forceful exhalations of kapalabhati commenced. And continued…and continued…and continued. This kundalini practice lasted well over ten minutes, with no stopping, no pausing between rounds- arms raised all the while.

At one point I found myself standing on the precipice of complete exhaustion…tears of some kind of emotional-somatic release poised in my eyes. “Those of you who are struggling, just know that there are at least 25 other people in this room supporting you.” Kevin told us. I thought of my Dad back at Beth Israel. I thought of his journey, and the big life-changing things he was facing. I offered up the breath to him, praying for his health and return to wellness with every intake of oxygen. I felt the community of yogis in the studio around me, and even the yogis of my own Tribe back home. I felt connected. I felt the unity. I felt the yoga.

It was an empowering practice.

More about Kevin:

Kevin Courtney is known for his spontaneous and creative vinyasa classes, combining the use of kundalini kriyas, qigong techniques, and vinyasa sequences to create a deeply ecstatic experience. A graduate of Integral Yoga Institute’s Hatha and Raja yoga trainings, and the Nosara Yoga Institute’s Interdisciplinary TT, Kevin draws influence and inspiration from a broad range of experiences, creating union through many paths of yoga. He lives in New York City with his wife Dana, and teaches at the Kula Yoga Project. Yogahappens.com

February Flow: Yoga on Nantucket

Tuesday

February 1, 2011

Dear Tribe,

Jai yogis! Happy February 1st! I hope you are all cozy and warm on this early, snowy Tuesday morning. I am sitting at my desk, looking out at the beautiful soft flakes passing by my two big desk windows, enjoying a cup of my one and only vice; coffee, and organizing my thoughts for tonight’s Vinyasa Flow class. As some of you know by now, I’ve been trying to cultivate a different awareness and focus for each of my regularly scheduled classes- and looking for input from students via my Facebook page, text or email. I’ve been slowing Monday nights down a bit, teaching a few classes around specific chakras, dedicating Sunday morning’s 2-hr flow to a more complete 8-limbed path practice (hoping to focus on pranyama, asana, pratyahara, dhyana, and dharana), and have been leaving Tuesday night’s up for vigorous asana practice. Saturday’s bi-monthly Asana Clinic has been working well as a themed class; and it’s been interesting for me, as a teacher, to focus on working an entire 90-minute practice around single themes like horizontal alignment, heart opening, inversions, mula bandha, and cultivating lunar flow energy.

I want to thank you all for your continued dedication and hard work, and supporting me as I continue down the path of becoming a better student & teacher. I could not do it without you!

In other news: I am very excited to share that Burr & I will be traveling to Venice Beach and Santa Monica, CA to study with our teachers at the end of the month. We’re leaving Nantucket on Thursday the 24th for Boston, (maybe taking a class at Back Bay Yoga that evening) and will land in LA on Friday the 25th. I’ll be returning to Boston on the 4th, and will be back teaching in Nantucket by Monday March 7th.The wonderful Clay Twombly will be subbing most of my classes at The Yoga Room and The Nantucket Health Club while I’m away. Check TYR’s website for any last  minute changes with the sub schedule and/or any cancelations notices.

It’s my hope to blog about our experiences in LA as they unfold; and to write about the different studios and teachers Burr and I will be studying with. Our plan, as it exists right now, is to take class with my teacher Shiva Rea and Burr’s teacher Seane Corn at Exhale in Venice, Brock Cahill at Yogis Anonymous, Steve Ross at Maha Yoga, maybe Bryan Kest at Santa Monica Power Yoga, and perhaps Kathryn Budig at YogaWorks. Got any insider tips on teachers you have taken yoga with in LA, great spots to surf, eat, or hang out? please share below! The more local insight we have the better.

Below you’ll find my most current schedule. Feel free to contact me with additional class ideas, asanas you wish to explore or simply feedback- it’s all welcome! Above all else, continue to enjoy and embody the flow. Jai yogis!

Love & Light,

Caitlin

Caitlin’s Flow Classes

Now through Wednesday February 23rd


Monday mornings

8:15-9:35 a.m. Mixed Level

(February 6th, 13th, 20th)

@ The Yoga Room

 

Monday nights

5:30-7:00 p.m. Slow Flow

@ The Yoga Room

 

Tuesday nights

5:30-7:00 p.m. Vinyasa Flow

@ The Yoga Room

Wednesday mornings

8:15-9:35 a.m. Mixed Level Hatha

@ The Yoga Room

 

Saturday evening

5:30-7:00 Asana Clinic

(February 12th only)

@ The Yoga Room

Sunday mornings

9:00-11:00 a.m. Sunday Sadhana

@ The Yoga Room

 

Sunday afternoons

4:00-5:15 p.m. Mixed Level Hatha

@ The Nantucket Health Club

Yoga Art – Watercolor and Ink
paintings by Chris Carter


It is only with the heart that we can see clearly.
For what is essential, is hidden from the eyes.

– The Little Prince

winter yoga on nantucket: let the sun shine in.

January 22, 2010

Nantucket, MA.

Hey ACK Yogis and Yoginis,

Tomorrow’s Sunday Sadhana will be a Sunshine Centered, Solar Plexus Opening, Radiant practice. Please join in the nearly 2 hours of warming vinyasa joy and heat up your hearts. the yoga room. 9:00-10:48 a.m. Give me five minutes; you’ll forget it’s 23 degrees out.

As always, Sunday’s practice will be followed by a free and open seated and walking meditation led by the Sunny & Shiny Shambala crew.

love & light,

Caitlin

glorious gayatri

 

So a couple of you asked me on Tuesday night what the music was that I played during śavāsana. It was the gayatri mantra, one of the oldest and most powerful of Hindu mantras, performed by Jane Winther. I stumbled upon it when looking for various versions of the same mantra, for the gayatri-centered class I taught the Sunday before. This particular version by Ms. Winther is stunning in it’s gentle layers and simple yet complex harmonies. The mantra itself reads as follows:

Aum Bhur Bhuvah Swah, Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।

As far as I can tell (and I’m obviously no scholar of the Vedas) the gayatri is a beautiful prayer with the intent to awaken our true intelligence. After doing my internet research on the various translations of the mantra (there are probably as many translations as there asanas) I found one simple one I read in class that resonated with me:

On the absolute reality and it’s planes

On that finest spiritual light,

We meditate, as remover of obstacles

That it may inspire and enlighten us.

If you’re interest is peeked further, below you’ll find a break down of the mantra word for word. There are many other beautiful musical versions of the Gayatri out there. A few of the other more modern ones I’ve found and used in class recently include works by Girish, Wah!, the Subway Bhaktis, Tina Malia and Deva Premal. Please enjoy.

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCKPCzTHg5o]

yoguary 2011

Nantucket. January 2, 2011

So after a week with my parents in Boston I find myself home once again- on our beautiful island of Nantucket. I cannot express how happy I am to be back; reunited with my two beautiful children, Isabella & Griffin, home with my dear friends and fellow spiritual warriors, and back teaching and practicing at The Yoga Room.

While in Boston I had the pleasure of taking several great classes at Back Bay Yoga, welcomed in the New Year with a special 2 hour New Year’s Eve sadhana with Ame Wren, and followed it up with an awesome class with Coral Brown at All That Matters in Wakefield. RI on New Year’s Day. What a great way to close out the year and begin the new. Jai 2011!

Below please find my teaching schedule for the following month. I will be adding additional classes in February. See my class listings page for further details. Om Shanti!

Mondays: Slow Flow 5:30-7:00 p.m. @ The Yoga Room

Tuesdays: Vinyasa Flow 5:30-7:00 p.m. @ The Yoga Room

Wednesdays: Mixed Level Morning 8:15-9:35 @ The Yoga Room

Saturdays: Asana Clinic 5:30-7:00 p.m. @ The Yoga Room

Sundays: “Church” 9:00-10:45 a.m @ The Yoga Room

Sundays: Mixed Level flow 4:00-5:15 p.m. @ The Nantucket Health Club

snowed inBoston.

Dear Tribe,

Namaste! It would seem the end of 2010 is closing out in true winter solstice style. Not only did the 21st of december witness the first conjunction of a lunar eclipse, the winter solstice and a full moon in 372 years, but we are now in the midst of a major northeasterly blizzard. It’s an exciting time to be a yogi.

This week (december 26th-January 1st) I will not be teaching classes. A family situation has brought me to Boston- the heart of the blizzard no less- for the next few days, and I will most likely be here until the New Year.

In the meantime, my dear friend and co-worker Clay Twombly will be covering my classes at The Yoga Room. So please keep up your dedicated practice, and enjoy Clay’s creative and compassionate approach to vinyasa in my absence.

It’s my personal goal to continue my own practice while in Boston, and I’m sure to bring back a few new namaskars borrowed from the wonderful teachers at Back Bay Yoga.

Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu!

Caitlin

feeling gratitude for my teachers

with my teachers- Ganga White & Tracey Rich

White Lotus. Santa Barbara, CA. March 2000

Shiva Rea. Embodying the Flow YTT

Kripalu. Lenox, MA. May 2009

class schedule for december 6-12th

Dear Yogis & Yoginis of Nantucket,

Happy December! This week I will be teaching my regularly scheduled classes as well as substitute teaching quite a bit. So if you haven’t managed to check out my candlelight Vinyasa Flow classes on Tuesday nights, or my “Break It Down” Saturday evening clinics, perhaps you might check out one of my additional classes this week at The Yoga Room. Here’s my schedule for this week:

Monday, December 6th: Mixed Level @ 8:15-9:35 a.m. & Slow Flow @ 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 7th: Mixed Level @ 10-11:25 a.m. & Vinyasa Flow @ 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 8th: Mixed Level @ 8:15-9:25

Thursday, December 9th: Vinyasa Flow @ 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 11th: Break It Down Vinyasa Clinic @ 5:30-7:00 p.m. *

and

Sunday, December 12th: Church @ 9:00-10:30 a.m.

*pre-registration for the Break It Down clinic is suggested. There is a sign-up sheet at The Yoga Room.

Hope to see you on the mat!

Namaste,

Caitlin