LoveYoga Fest 2016

It’s time for the best little Yoga Fest in New England! Join us for the 3rd Annual LoveYoga Fest

Caitlin at the LoveYoga Fest 2016

And Nantucket Yogis – I have a DISCOUNT CODE FOR YOU!Join us for the 3rd Annual Love Yoga Fest Cape Cod, a transformative weekend of yoga, wellness + fun! Set along Hyannis Harbor in the heart of the Cape, LYF features more than two dozen regional + national presenters and over 40 classes of 90 minutes to two hours each.

I’ll be teaching 3 times during these 2 beautiful days:

  • Saturday at 11:30am: SUP Yoga
  • Sunday at 11:30am: SUP Yoga
  • Sunday at 2:30pm: Grace & the Dancing Warrior (a Prana Vinyasa inspired flow dedicated to my teacher Shiva Rea)

LoveYoga Fest 2016Enjoy all kinds of workshops in meditation, vinyasa, aerial, nutrition, acro, kundalini + everything in between…all while taking in the beautiful views and ocean breezes.
This year’s festival takes place on August 6th and 7th: Saturday and Sunday, with pass options available for every schedule and budget.

Find more details at http://loveyogafest.com for the presenter lineup + schedule!

OUR VERY OWN DISCOUNT CODES:

Use: cm16, for $50 off the weekend passes

Use: cmdl, for $25 off day passes

 

 

Over Here: Hysterectomy, Oophorectomy and Menopause

Caitlin Marcoux, Hysterectomy. Surgical Menopause. Yoga

Me in pre-op room, preparing for  my Hysterectomy. Mass General Hosptial, October 16th, 2016.

Well hello Menopause! Here I am.

I’m 39 years old. And I’ll never had to worry about getting pregnant again.

I don’t have to worry about unexpected spotting, a period catching me off guard and ruining my clothes, or getting in the way of sex. Unless I get lost, I’ll never have to walk down the feminine hygiene isle in the grocery store, feeling slightly embarrassed of my purchases. Nope, not any more.

These I suppose are the silver linings of cervical cancer and surgical menopause.

On October 16th, 2015 I went to Boston for the hundredth, thousandth, or millionth time in 3 years, for yet another surgery, and surrendered my entire reproductive system. Out came my cervix, my uterus, my fallopian tubes and my ovaries. As I’ve told my son ever time he asks for a brother or sister, Mommy has no more baby making parts and she is now in full blown menopause.

The surgery was fairly easy – amazing what can be done laparoscopically now with robotic arms, and left me only with 4 small scars on my abdomen and a tremendous amount of bloating. The hardest part was coming off the anesthesia, which as soon as I woke up, caused constant vomiting. Even after I was discharged from the hospital the next day, I threw up every single time I tried to eat for about 2 weeks. Eventually I the drugs moved out of my system, and after a couple weeks of Hell, I started to feel “normal” again.

Except for the fact that a huge part of my body was missing. 6 weeks of rest had been prescribed by my medial oncology team, including strict instructions not to ride my bike, or practice vigerous yoga, go up-side-down or do anything that would engage my core. Let me ask you this; what activity doesn’t engage your core?

So there I was from October 16th thru the end of November, not being able to navigate this huge change in my body without the tools I had used to get through breast cancer. Those of you who have followed my cancer diary might remember that even when I was getting chemo, I still managed to find a way to practice. It was, and still is, one the most important tools in my tool box. Anyway, I was stuck in my house (not allowed to drive) and feeling very alone, and very sad, and very angry. All this anger I had managed to push out of my mind so as to deal with chemo, and mastectomy and survival, came bubbling to the surface. The hysterectomy triggered all kinds of PTSD left over from breast cancer and I found myself in a very, very dark place. Between the vomiting, two trips to my local ER to get IV fluids, and hours and hours spent alone feeling toxically depressed, I actually began to have suicidal thoughts. Too ashamed to call my friends – who had all been through my battle with breast cancer with me, I wallowed in isolation.

In our sleep, pain, which cannot forget,

falls drop by drop upon the heart,

until, in our own despair, against our will

comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

~Asechulus

Laproscopic incision sites, 1 day post-op.

Tidal waves of grief washed over me as the realization that no matter what relationship I was in, I would never again be able to host another spirit inside my womb.

Despite the fact that my then partner had never wanted to have a child with me, part of me had secretly held out the hope that one day it might happen. Now that chance is nil. Looking back at on the situation now, I’ve realized that I have been angry at him, for quite some time, for allowing me to miss what was my small window of fertility. Obviously the onus is ultimately on me, since I chose to get involved with someone who’s mind had already been made up. At this point the resentment is no longer relevant as neither is the relationship.

At some point, in November, I think, I was in the bathroom, looking to replace toilet tissue on the wall. I dug around under the sink to find some, when I was hit hard by the sight of a full box of tampons. Hot tears exploded from my eyes. My body began to shake. Uncontrollable sobs jerked their way up my throat and out into empty house, ringing only in my own sensitive ear drums. The realization that I would never again need these supplies devastated me all at once. The box is still there. I haven’t been able to get ride of it.

It’s ironic, since most of my life I felt either ashamed of, inconvenienced by, or anxious about my period, and now I miss it. Looking back on the chronology of all these events, I wish I had made some time to acknowledge my last and final period. A few of my girlfriends and I had a small beautiful ceremony a few days before my surgery, in which we acknowledged the upcoming shift, but I was not present with myself the last time I actually menstruated. Like so many things we have until they are gone, I took it for granted.

Healing after hysterectomy. Caitlin Marcoux, Cancer Jedi, Yoga TeacherI was 10 and in middle school, the first time I got my period. Now, math has never been my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure that means that I’ve been in this flow for 29 years. Which means that the relationship I’ve had with my cycle is the longest one I’ve had. That means I’ve spent more time being a fertile women than not. I’ve always connected my sense of power and creativity with my fertility, and it comes as no surprise that the energetic area, or chakra, of the body that corresponds to the reproductive system, is Svadhisthana, the second chakra of our subtle body. Svadhistahana correlates to ones creative sexual fire and relates to our experience of creativity, sexuality, and the cultivation of prosperity and growth. This is a part of my body that saw some trauma in my early childhood. It is also a part of me that I have worked diligently to bring in to balance.

My hysterectomy has redefined my sense of self all over again.

It’s been a process, over these past few months, trying to figure out what that means. I’ve had to let the anger and grief move through me, both with guides and on my own. And I’ve turned to my teacher Shiva Rea, who’s rhythmic approach to vinyasa yoga honors the energetic systems of the body and celebrates the chakras in a non-liner or non-literal way. With her support, I’ve been able to accept these changes, and see that my womanhood is not only physical, but meta-physical and spiritual and so much more than a circuitry of tissue, blood and organs.

Women, we are not some combination of parts: of breasts and womb, but so much, much more. And my thoughts to anyone out there reading this, getting ready to set out on a journey such as mine, is to ACKNOWLEDGE how hard, and sad, and significant a loss it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that hysterectomy and Surgical Menopause is no big deal, because it really, truly is. To truly be with that experience while you’re in it. To feel it, not numb it. So that then you can move through it, and reclaim your innate femininity when the time is right.  Just like ever veteran is still a warrior even if he returns from war without an arm or a leg, every hysterectomy and breast cancer survivor can be a creative and powerful goddess.

Learn the alchemy

true human beings know,

The moment you accept

what troubles you’ve been given,

the door will open.

~Rumi

The loss of fertility is one thing, menopause before your time, is quite another.

It is a major, life changing event not to be played down. Sadly our culture doesn’t talk about menopause nearly as much as it should, but it is just a big of a hormonal and emotional change as puberty. Now I’m not suggesting that we allow women who are going to menopause to behave badly, but I am suggesting that we extend them a nurturing hand, be sensitive to their changing needs, and to acknowledge them. It has been my experience that when people are in flux such as this, or struggling with a private challenge, all the really want is to be seen. To be seen, listened to and maybe to be held. That was all I wanted.

Moving forward, I have found my fertility again in my yoga practice, in my work, and in the eyes of the little girls who take my Strong Girls Yoga classes with me on Sundays. I see my feminine prowess reflected back to me in their faces, and my fertility in their bodies every time the learn a new pose that makes them feel empowered. Then there is Griffin, by beautiful six-year old, for whom I feel so very very grateful. Tending to his needs and the development of his spirit is the ultimate expression of my femininity, the very epitome of motherhood.

The practice of gratitude is always fruitful. It may sound cliche but my girlfriend and co-teacher, Ieva and I have been making daily gratitude lists. It’s a beautiful and grounding way to being and end ones day. Life will continue to have its ups and downs, but we can grow that which we put our focus on – so write a list. What do you want to cultivate? Maybe it’s a deeper sense of femininity, maybe it’s abundance, or love. Whatever it is, look at the many ways, even if they’re small, that these things are already circulating around you. Be grateful.

Lastly, if you’re really missing your ovaries and uterus, you can order this panties… 😉

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Yoga, SUP + Surf in Panama, March 19th-26th, 2016

Just Add Water: Panama

Just Add Water: Panama

Reward your body and give yourself the gift of a renewed spirit with a week’s yoga immersion with Caitlin for a 7 night getaway at Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort: a stunning, boutique yoga retreat center on the Pacific coast, near Los Buzos, Panama. Surrounded by the stunning beauty of Cambutal, Sansara is a boutique beachfront oasis offering an inspiring fusion of yoga, surfing and elegantly crafted accommodations. Sansara boasts eleven private, oceanfront Cabanas. Designed to inspire serenity; the Zen like atmosphere of Sansara blends seamlessly with the lush nature and quiet beauty of the properties grounds. The stunning fusion of traditional design with a tropical twist promises you an experience that is both intimate and inspiring. Included in this retreat will be 2 daily yoga practices with Caitlin, unlimited access to Sansara’s saltwater pool, the unfettered beaches of Los Buzos, and three meals a day at Sansara Surf & Yoga Resort’s beautiful, inviting beach and pool front restaurant. Sansara is also scheduled to open a full service Spa in mid-2015 for those attendees wishing to pamper themselves even more.

Surf the day away or strengthen your yoga practice. This retreat will be designed so that you can go as deep as you like or relax as much as you want. With 90-minute yoga practices in both the morning and evening, students will have their pick of classes to choose from – or attend all. We will explore themes of traditional yoga theory, meditation and asana.Yoga, SUP and Surf Retreats with Caitlin Marcoux

Sample classes include:

Setting the Foundation: Prepare your body, mind and spirit to settle into the sacred space of retreat with this grounding, earthy and restorative practice. A lengthy guided savasana will help you let go of travel tension and marinate in your intentions for the week ahead.

HeartCore Flow: Open your heart and ignite your core with this fluid sequence of backbends, and heart fire core work. Explore the wisdom of your inner most guru and stoke the flames of your creativity. Cultivate agni with this challenging and energizing solar flow.

Satya Vinyasa: Get into the Flow of Retreat with a full spectrum vinyasa practice and then fine tune the alignment of your open hip standing poses and seated hip openers – all while exploring the yama (ethical principle) of truth telling. What gets stuck, perhaps in the hips and/or pelvis themselves that keeps us from being our authentic selves and opening up to others.

Root Down to Rise Up: Arm balances and inversions for students of all levels interested in leaving the ground. Taught in kramas, or stages, there will be something for everyone. Not recommended for those with shoulder injuries.

Just Add Water: Puerto Rico 2015 {photo by Katie Kaizer}

What’s included:

  • Yoga with Caitlin each morning & evening (excepting Panama City arrival and departure)
  • Transportation to and from Panama City to Sansara, Cambutal (Pick-up/drop-off from one of 3 recommended hotels)
  • 7 nights beach front yoga-lux accommodation
  • One group surf lesson
  • Transfers to and from various breaks and surf beaches
  • One kayak or SUP rental
  • Unlimited use of snorkel gear
  • Beach bonfire (weather permitting)
  • Waterfall, tide pool or cave walk excursion
  • Ocean front cabana living
  • Three delicious meals a day (except on transfer days when snacks are provided for lunch)
  • Buffet breakfasts daily

Optional Sansara Surf Package:

For an additional $250 per person for the week: Sansara will connect you with one of their own staff surf instructors. You will get 5 small group lessons (limited to 4 people at a time) and there is no additional fee for transport to and from neighboring surf breaks. You board rental and refreshments are included and there can be professional photos taken with the option to purchase.

Retreat dates: March 19th – 26th, 2016

This epic retreat will be limited to 17 people. Registrations are secured through Retreat Guru.com 

Cancellations within 8 weeks of retreat date are non-refundable. Since last minute injuries, illnesses, work emergencies, or deaths in the family unfortunately do happen, we HIGHLY recommend travel insurance. Check out the website Travel Insurance Review, which gives an overview of travel insurance needs and companies with an option to review quotes from different companies. You have the option to purchase travel medical insurance in the case of getting injured while on the trip.

What’s not included:

  • Airfare to Panama City
  • Additional excursions
  • Alcohol or items of a personal nature/souvenirs
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Gratuities

sansara-surf-yoga-resort-1

Optional Excursions

The days are yours to explore the beach, surf, swim, enjoy your massage or to book one of the optional excursions as listed below.  Excursions and spa services can be arranged by the retreat center at no additional charge.

The excursions listed below are a small sampling.  We recommend that you arrive, settle in and explore before you hone in on your preferred excursions.

FAQs

Do I need a passport/visa?
US citizens will need a passport to visit Panama, but no visa is required at this time.  Nationals of all other countries should check travel requirements well in advance of their retreat.

What airport should I fly into?
Please fly into the Panama City international airport (PTY). Transfers will be arranged from the airport on arrival and departure days only.  Arrival transfers will only be offered for flights arriving before 3pm on arrival day.

How far is the schlep from the airport to the retreat?
It is about a bit of a drive from the city to our particular costal zen-spot.  It is a five hour drive from the Pacific coast and your final destination.  Sit back and relax and watch this beautiful country fly by and enjoy our culture/nature stops.  You’ll be on the beach before you know it.

Do we need to bring our own yoga gear?
This awe-some location does have all you’ll need for your yoga needs.  You only need to bring your own stuff if you’re particularly attached to personal gear.

Will we have access to WiFi?
Absolutely.  You can be as wired, or unwired, as you’d like.

Sansara Bunkbeds

Is there swimming?
Naturally! Of course, there is the gorgeous Pacific Ocean and multiple beaches to choose from, but there is also a salt water pool at the ready for relaxing.

Can my dietary restrictions/needs be accommodated?
Absolutely.  Any dietary need or restriction can be accommodated provided that you notify us at least three weeks in advance.  There will be vegetarian and non-vegetarian options at each meal, so you get to choose your own meal adventure.

Do I need to book any of the optional activities ahead of time?
Whether your decide to surf all week or gallop off on a steed there is more than enough time to book these excursions when you arrive.  There is so much to absorb that it’s best not to overbook yourself before arrival… see what you feel like when you reach the good life and don’t forget to book in some chill time.

What is the electrical currency/outlet in Panama?
Our friends down south utilize the same plug and voltage as the United States and Canada.  If you are coming from another part of the world, a plug adapter and/or converter may be necessary.

What is the currency situation in Nicaragua?
Panama accepts the US dollar as legal tender.  They also utilize the balboa so, if you’re lucky, you’ll get some balboa coins to take home with you.

Are there bugs?
We’ll let you know!

What do I need to bring?
Although we don’t recommend you book excursions ahead of time, you’ll want to think ahead a bit when it comes to packing.  Treks and horseback riding will require close-toed shoes (ie, not flips or sandals) and a few pairs of long pants won’t go amiss.  Your essentials will be your yoga clothes and bathing suit with the rest depending on your appetite for adventure; quick dry clothes for adventure activities will work best.

Add on Sansara’s Surf Instruction package for an additional $300 per person and receive 5 small group lessons, transport to different surf breaks if necessary, board rental, refreshments and professional photos taken with the option to purchase and 1 complimentary SUP rental.

For more about the surf at Sansara, please visit:

Playa Venao Surf Report

Swell Info

Buoy Weather

Back on the Table

The Operating Room; and right in the middle, the table.

October 16th, 2015. Today is the day: I’m on my way to MGH to jump back on the table. This time for a full hysterectomy and oophorectomy.

Last weekend I rode 200 mile on my bike, knowing this operation was on the other side, and that rest and recovery would be about the extent of my physical activities for the next few weeks. The Tour de Pink was just as amazing, if not more so this year than last year. Despite my crash 42 miles into day one, I got back up on the bike and completed and full century (100 miles) the next day, and 55 miles the following day. My motivation was to take in each and ever moment, breathe as deeply as possible, and raise as hard and fast as I could.

This cycling swan song was akin to an advanced vinyasa practice and this upcoming surgery and recovery a long, long savasana.Uterus Art

I’m nervous.

The last time I was on the OR table I had both my breasts removed. I remember like it was yesterday, the cold hospital corridors, the revealingly, thin hospital Johnny, and the big clear plastic bags you’re asked to dump your personal belongings into. In the pre-op, you transition from person to patient and then patient to procedure. A nurse eventually comes into your holding area and starts an IV.

Eventually you’re moved from a wheelchair (even though your perfectly capable of walking) to a gurney, which immediately makes you want to simultaneously fall asleep and run away. Good byes to loved ones are said and then off you go. An anesthesiologist will introduce herself and start you on a sedative. You begin to feel disconnected from your body, your eyes start to float in their sockets, and it becomes increasingly difficult to hear the voices of the OR staff coaxing you to slide from the gurney over to the table.

The OR becomes a theater, and the doctors and nurses actors in a play.

You watch with distanced interest as the story unfolds and the air you breath sweetly thickens into darkness. There are a few final moments of awareness; someone puts an oxogen mask over your mouth and nose, a warm blanket over your chest and arms. You feel vulnerable, but cared for. You realize all of a sudden that YOU are the lead actor in the play, and unless it is Shakespeare, you will survive the final act.

Be In Love with Your Life

Every second counts.

Even these nervous seconds, minutes and hours leading up to this surgery. This challenge has brought some amazing people into my life, and brought me closer to others I never would have been friends with other wise. For that I am forever grateful. I have one Hell of a gynecological oncologist and the facility at MGH is the best in the world. It’s amazing to be in such good care.

Check-in is at 12 noon. Surgery is scheduled for 2pm. If all goes according to plan everything should be wrapped up by 4pm. I have to stay in the hospital overnight, and my mother and sister will be next door. We get to go home tomorrow. Quickly in, quickly out. And my mantra, as recommended by a dear friend and supporter will be “back on the bike”, “back on the bike”, “back on the bike.”

Many thanks for all the support, from all of you. And a big, grateful shout out to my friend Larisa Foreman and the Sue de Vries Cancer Foundation, for their kind donation – which will defray our travel costs to and from MGH this weekend.

Love,

Cait

Just Add Water: Nantucket. Yoga, SUP and Nature Retreat

Nantucket Yoga, SUP and Nature Retreat: September 17th-20th, 2015

YOGASUPwatermarked_013_KatieKaizerPhotography

Escape to the beautiful island of Nantucket for an all-inclusive getaway. This retreat, which will be co-hosted by Caitlin Marcoux and Caroline Pope Peavy, will help you replenish your prana and nurture your sense of well-being. Deepen your connection to yourself and the natural beauty of Nantucket, with 2 daily

yoga and SUP yoga practices, nature hikes with Nantucket Walkabout, a guided bike tour with Nantucket by Bike, and a paddle tour of Nantucket’s stunning harbor. Enjoy historic downtown Nantucket, bike to some of the most incredible beaches on the east coast, and enjoy the local music scene at the world-famous Cisco Brewery. With a thoughtful balance of outdoor adventure as well as down time to simply relax pool side, this retreat has something for everyone.

Nantucket Harbor by Katie KaizerCaitlin & Caroline have a combined 12 years of yoga teaching experience, and have been yoga besties since meeting at a Kathryn Budig workshop at Kripalu in 2010. Together they will offer a full-spectrum practice, both solar and lunar in nature, with the intention of helping you find a deeper sense of equanimity throughout mind, body and spirit. Practices will be appropriate for all levels, and will address the needs and wants of the group. You can read Caitlin’s yoga bio here, and Caroline’s here.

Just Add Water: Nantucket will be capped at 12 participants to ensure that each student receives individualized attention, plenty of hands-on assists and the most detailed yoga and paddle instruction.

We hope with this miticulously-crafted retreat, introduce you to the natural beauty of the island Caitlin calls home, to deep your yoga practice, demystify the burgeoning art of standup paddle yoga, and highlight some of the other special people and services Nantucket has to offer.

ITINERARY

Thursday:

11:30-12:30 Students arrive
1:00pm Catered organic, vegetarian lunch at our private home Oasis
2:00pm Nature Hike with Walkabout Nantucket
4:00-5:30pm Yoga with Caroline
5:30-6:30pm Yoga Nidra with a special guest teacher
7:00pm Catered Organic vegetarian dinner at the Oasis
8:00pm Reflections, journaling and setting intentions for the weekend

 Friday:

6:30-7:30am Breakfast-granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, bread, coffee and tea
8:00-9:30am Fluid Flow SUPYoga with Paddle Nantucket
10:00-11:30am Yoga with Caroline
12:00pm Catered organic, vegetarian lunch at our private home Oasis
1:00-3:00pm Free time to bike into town, or out to the Madaket beaches
3:30-5:00pm Yoga with Caitlin
5:30-6:30pm Sunset Paddle with Caitlin
7:30pm Catered Organic vegetarian dinner at the Oasis

Saturday:

7:00-8:00am Breakfast-granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, bread, coffee and tea
8:00-9:30am Fluid Flow SUPYoga with Caitlin
10:00-11:30am Yoga with Caroline
12:00pm Catered organic, vegetarian lunch at our private home Oasis
2:00-4:00pm Bike tour to Cisco Brewery with Nantucket by Bike
4-6:00pm return to the Oasis via taxi, or stay at the Brewery to enjoy more live music and local color
7:00pm Happy Hour: relax, unwind, meditate, get a massage – we will arrange for you at request
7:30pm Dinner on the town. We will endeavor to go out as a group to one of Nantucket’s many stellar restaurants. (this is the only meal not included in the retreat price)

Sunday:

7:00-8:00am Breakfast-granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, coffee and tea
9-10:15am Yoga with Caitlin at The Yoga Room
11-12pm Catered organic, vegetarian lunch at our private home Oasis
 12-2pm  Departures

Traveling to and from Nantucket:

The island of Nantucket, which is 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, is an adventure in and of itself. There are daily flights from Boston as well as the much closer, and smaller airport of Barnstable, on the Cape.

Nantucket can also be reached by boat. There are two ferry services from Hyannis, MA: the Steamship Authority and Hy-Line Cruises. Both services offer traditional slow boats, and high speed catamaran shuttles.

For Info on all things Nantucket:

Rates below include all activities, 8 catered meals, and accommodation for 4 days and 3 nights

4 Stunning single rooms with Queen size beds: $1,300

1 Double with 2 Twin beds: $1,00 per person

1 Quad with 4 Twin beds: $900 per person

1 Deluxe King for 2 people: $1,200 per person

More about the Oasis:

Enjoy all the amenities of an exclusive boutique hotel without the hassle. Our retreat will base itself out of a stunning in-Town compound featuring a bright and airy pool cabana, gorgeous pool, and meticulously landscaped half acre lot, less than .2 miles to Main Street, downtown Nantucket.

First Floor: Pull into your white shelled, spacious parking and enter through covered porch. Upon entering you are greeted by gorgeous open floor plan that leads out to the spectacular pool and outdoor spaces. Top of the line kitchen – marble counters with matching island that has bar seating, custom cabinets and high-end appliances. Living room centers on the gas fireplace with flat screen TV above, coffered ceilings and French doors to back deck and pool. Dining room has seating for at least 8. Off of the great room is a comfortable den/office with two walls of all windows. Beyond the great room is the luxurious master bedroom which has vaulted ceilings with fan, ship lap trim, French doors to pool area, walk-in closet with custom shelving and marble bathroom with double vanity and walk-in shower. Opposite the great room is the mudroom entrance with separate laundry including sink and folding table. Powder room.

Second Floor: Enter onto vaulted ceiling landing. Second floor master bedroom with cathedral ceilings with fan, ship lap trim and beautiful Carrera tile bath with double vanity, glassed shower and soaking tub. Second bedroom with cathedral ceilings with fan, vertical ship lap and earth toned tile bath with glassed shower. Third bedroom with cathedral ceilings and fun, blue tiled bath with glassed shower.

Basement: Luxuriously finished with 9’6″ ceiling heights. Large media room with built-in TV and shelving. Ping pong, wet bar and wine storage off of the media room. Bedroom with multiple windows. Workout room. Tiled bath. Utility room. Exterior entrance.

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We are thrilled to partner with these local friends

The Green logoNantucket Walkabout LogoCrane & Lion Logo

the cancer club

Uterus by eReSaW

I thought that after they cut the port out of my chest, and the breast tissue out of my breasts, that it would be a long, long time before I had to go under the scalpel again. Hm…contrary to what I thought was the conclusion of my cancer story, this is not the case. As I’m starting to realize more and more, once you are part of the cancer club, you are a member for life.

Which is why after a suspicious pap, and a not-so-positive experience with a gynecologist on the Cape, I found back at the Cancer Center at Mass General Hospital a few days ago. If MGH’s Yawkee building is the cancer Club House, the 9th floor is like the Members Only area.  I can’t count how many times I’ve parked in the same parking garage, taken the same elevator up to the 9th floor, and hung a left to 9A. The only difference on Monday was that we turned right out of the elevator and went down the hall to 9E. I have to say, the breast cancer patients got the short end of the stick. The Gynecology Oncology waiting room is much nicer.

In any event, the reoccurring lesions on my cervix have given me reason to expand my oncology team. I now get to put my health in the hands of Dr. del Carmen, who’s got to be one of the coolest MDs I’ve ever met. And even though she put me through yet another uncomfortable exam, she made discussing the resection of yet another body part seem easy (well, easy-ish). She had clearly familiarized herself with my case, had already conferenced with both my breast surgeon and breast oncologist, and spoke to me with great care.

In about 5 more days we will have the pathology results we need to determine the type of hysterectomy I have to have and when I have to have it. If it looks like the unfriendly cells are quickly dividing, I will be looking at the inside of an O.R. this spring. If they are sluggish, I can put surgery off until the fall. Either way, I will soon be bidding my uterus adieu.

I’m not ready to write about the many feelings this prospect is stirring up, or the myriad of ways in which being a patient again is effecting my psyche. But I will. Eventually. For now, I’m trying my best to stay in the moment and recent win. Helen Keller said, “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content”

Though it seems my members-only card has just been renewed, I realize now, it never really expired.

#nevergiveup

Electric Flow @ The Whaling Museum

Electric Flow Yoga at the Whaling Museum

Support the Nantucket Historical Association and see what it feels like to practice yoga under the Whaling Museum’s famous 46-foot sperm whale! Join yoga teacher Caitlin Marcoux and Nantucket’s own DJ Pete Ahern for an electrifying and dynamic 90-minute vinyasa practice. Caitlin, who’s roots are grounded in modern dance and PranaFlow will encourage you to dig in deep, let go even deeper, tap into your inner primal rhythms, spiritual prowess and creative juices. Use mantra, meditation and creatively sequenced waves of energetic vinyasa asana to explore your physical and subtle body. Let yourself be guided by the music and embody the collective consciousness. Proceeds will benefit the NHA directly.

Advanced tickets will be available soon.

Electric Flow: An Uprising

Maine YogaFest: July 10-12th, 2015

Maine YogaFest: July 10-12th, 2015

Electric Flow: An Uprising
blacklight yoga with caitlin marcoux
& music by dj jon

Celebrate the opening of the 3rd annual Main Yoga Festival with an
electrifying and dynamic 2-hour vinyasa practice led by Nantucket-based yoga
teacher Caitlin Marcoux and accompanied by Portland’s own DJ Jon. Caitlin,
who’s roots are grounded in modern dance and PranaFlow will encourage you to
dig in deep, let go even deeper, tap into your inner primal rhythms,
spiritual prowess and creative juices. Use mantra, meditation and creatively
sequenced waves of energetic vinyasa asana to explore your physical and
subtle body. Let yourself be guided by the music and embody the collective
consciousness. Join the uprising.

Friday, July 10th from 7-9pm. Details on FaceBook.

A beautiful departure

Team Tasha Vinyasa B&W group photo

Tasha was so excited. Her famous smile would light up every time I’d mention the event. You know the smile I’m talking about. The one that would force anyone in her general vicinity to smile back, even if they didn’t know what they were smiling about. Tasha’s energy was like that. She had generous bounds of contagious happiness.

From the moment we began working together I felt like we were sisters. It was an immediate bond. One that is forged in the initiation fires of cancer, but one that could also have developed without cancer’s help. I immediately felt like I could tell her anything. She had an curious mind and a hunger for experience and knowledge. She ate up anything I shared with her about my own experience with illness, and voraciously took in whatever yogic philosophy I brought to light.

Some times we saw each other several times a week. We’d practice basic yoga poses at the studio, or focus on restorative yoga and body work. Sometimes we went for coffee instead. Once I brought her to my house and I passed on all my medicinal tools for mitigating the side-effects of chemotherapy and she wouldn’t stop talking about how much she liked the 50s motif in my kitchen. It’s strange like that with cancer: in one breath we find ourselves talking about how to survive, in the next we’re talking about interior design. We trying to find balance in a world thrown up-sid-down by treatments and tests, protocols and procedures.

Tasha did a fantastic job at keeping one eye on the cancer ball, and one eye on the rest of her life. And instead of wallowing in the unfairness of the hand she’d been dealt, Tasha was fully present in the moment, and willing to engage with anyone asking for her attention.

When I first mentioned the idea of a class in her honor she looked as if I had invited her to the Oscars. I told her about the positive energy we could create as a collective whole and whereas a less open minded or mature young person might roll their eyes, she nodded enthusiastically. I knew right away she was picking up what I was laying down. She got it.

Back in December we thought there was a good chance Tasha might still be well enough to attend the event, but as we rolled into January we realized that was not longer the case. Technology came to the rescue though, and she and I got almost equally excited when we realized she’d be able to watch the class from the comfort of her own bed via Skype.

At various points in our relationship, I shared with Tasha small pieces of yoga’s ritualistic heritage. I taught her a few sanskrit words, told her a little bit about mantra (the repetition of a word or phrase with a focused intention) and shared with her a few ideas about dharma and karma. I gave her one of the malas (prayer beads) that had been gifted to me when I was sick, and she wore them at the hospital. These were little things, little tools, but I could tell they interested her.  So when I told her that for Team Tasha Vinyasa, my intention was to get everyone in attendance to chant mantra in her honor she was stoked.

My partner, Burr; always the creative production force behind my classes, created a giant, 80-foot aqua mala as a back drop for the event – and I shared with Tasha, photos of it’s creation. “Tell him I LOVE it” she said, when she saw a photo of Burr’s crew drilling holes in the oversized Christmas balls.

Team Tasha Vinyasa

The day of the event, Tasha was in and out of consciousness. She had gone to sleep on Thursday night, and slept through most of Friday morning. She woke up at some point in the middle of the day, for about 15 precious minutes, and her mother was able to show her a photo I had posted of Mary Michetti and I cutting hundreds of aqua ribbons. Again, she perked up and talked about how excited she was to watch the night unfold later on her laptop. Shortly after, Tasha said she need a nap, so that she could be up with us later.

And what an event it was. I have never been prouder of our community. 120 people poured into the Studio Theater at the Dreamland that night, many of whom had never done yoga before in their lives. I had promised after all, that it wouldn’t be hard.

Men and women, young, and old, humans with spiritual beliefs as different as the color of their hair. It was an incredible representation of our island. Clearly, people from all different pockets of our community had been touched by Tasha’s story and wanted to be a part of sending her love.

Team Tasha Vinyasa

I can’t say that I kept my promise. At some point during the practice it occurred to me that life is so beautiful, but really, really challenging. So… I turned up the heat a little. I couldn’t help myself. I thought of how gracefully Tasha had navigated pneumothorax, chemotherapy, plural taps, and port implants. I thought about what a miracle it was that we were all there, with fully functional bodies with the ability to do challenging things. I remembered how hard it was for me personally when cancer kept me from my own physical identity… and I remembered a conversation I had with Tasha back in November.

She had expressed her frustrations to me then, at watching her muscles atrophy. Remembering all too well what that felt like, all I could do was empathize. I didn’t tell her how strong she still was, or try to deny what was blatantly obvious to both of us. But I did promise her that I would bust my ass physically so that she wouldn’t have to. A brilliant smile, of course, flashed across her face.

So in that vein, I invited students that night, to hold poses longer, to go deeper, to do it for Tasha – who so badly wanted to, but could not. To feel that solar burn in your thighs, what a privilege, I said. Some people laughed. Some people groaned. But you know what? They all held it together. The 60 year olds and the 5 years olds, and every one in between. They put in an effort, perhaps like never before, because they wanted to do it for Tasha.

Team Tasha Vinyasa

That night I witnessed our island come together for Tasha in a way I’ve never seen before. The studio was packed from wall to wall with bodies focused solely on one purposed: to open their hearts to Tasha. Collectively these diverse individuals created one huge mass of love.  Tasha’s family gathered closely around her, inside her newly finished aqua bedroom sanctuary, and watched the entire event from start to end. Tasha’s mother Tina, sister Allyssa, brother Timmy, step-dad Brendan, aunt Lisa, cousin Heather and best friends from California Sydney and Micha, snuggled around Tasha like a blanket. And Burr, with laptop in hand, ran from one corner of the studio to the other, doing his best to capture the depth of the magic being created for them to see.

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Even though she never opened her eyes again, I am positive Tasha heard every prayer this community offered and felt every ounce of love we generated. When my phone rang 4 hours later, I knew instantly that Tasha had left her body, and I felt as sure as I’ve ever felt anything that we helped her transition and guided her to the light.

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Tasha often thanked me for being a part of her life. But honestly, it is I who should be thanking Tasha. She has taught me so much about my own capacity to love and in a time when the world seems bitter and cruel, she has reinforced my belief in mankind’s ability to love one another.

Team Tasha Vinyasa

 

I fell in love with Tasha the way mothers fall in love with their babies the first moment their skin makes contact. Instantaneously. I think she had that affect on a lot of people.

And right now, in this very moment, Tasha is teaching every one of us the power of community, for even in death, her spirit has united an entire island.

#teamtasha

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Below are a few more photographs from Team Tasha Vinyasa Electric Flow, taken by my friend and very talented photographer, Katie Kaizer. In her words, Katie says “I am so thankful to be part of this community and to photograph such a moving and emotional evening. I am in awe of the energy that forms throughout the night and holds everyone together offering comfort and understanding. The entire room was radiating peace and love as we all sent prayers to Natasha and her family.”

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

TeamTasha_035_KatieKaizerPhotography

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Team Tasha Vinyasa

Many thanks to Floyd Kellogg and Pete Ahern for donating their time. We love this town.

SUP Yoga retreat: Puerto Rico March 2015

SUP, Yoga & Surfing Retreat in Puerto Rico with Caitlin Marcoux & Jessica Bellofatto

March 2015 SUP, Yoga & Surfing in Puerto Rico

Just Add Water

March 18-22nd, 2015

Rincon, Puerto Rico

Seasoned teachers Jessica Bellofatto of Kama Deva Yoga & Paddle Diva in East Hampton and Caitlin Marcoux of Nantucket SUP Yoga & The Yoga Room in Nantucket, are thrilled to be teaming up for the first time to offer you a truly special experience.  Join them for daily yoga on the deck of our private home with incredible ocean views, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) lessons & tours emphasizing stroke technique to increase speed and efficiency, SUP YOGA on the water, daily runs or walks, delicious, organic, locally sourced meals prepared by an amazing local chef, massages, relaxation, and more!

Both Jessica and Caitlin are long time traditional yoga teachers who have both taken their yoga practice beyond the conventional studio and onto the water. Each share a passion for paddling, SUP racing and meditating on the water. While Jessica, who is a Boga Yoga Ambassador, has been one of the pioneers in the now booming field of SUP Yoga, Caitlin owns her own SUP yoga studio on the island of Nantucket. Each of these fabulous instructors teach at yoga festivals and lead workshops and retreats around the world. Both women are former dancers, mothers, SUP racers, and life long yoginis. They each bring their own style and unique flavor to both the mat and the board. 

Yoga teacher, Caitlin Marcoux

Yoga teacher, Caitlin Marcoux

What’s SUP Yoga?

All of our SUP yoga classes are designed to help students find the peace and tranquility they’ve come to expect from a traditional yoga studio class, but will challenge them to navigating the dynamic and constantly changing environment of the open ocean. The fluidity of a SUP Yoga practice can help students find a deeper connection to themselves as well as cultivating a reverence for their natural surroundings. With stunning tropical Rincon as the backdrop, students will feel strongly connected to the land and sea. 

Rincon, Puerto Rico

The beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico

Can I get a couple sides of Yoga with that?

Yes! With two classes a day taught by two different teachers, plus SUP yoga, students will be exposed to a range of traditional and contemporary yoga flows, as each teacher will structure classes based on what you need, crave and love. Vinyasa-based classes may included Dynamic Flow, Slow Flow, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga and even mini Asana Clinics focusing on alignment and technique for entering and finessing more advanced poses, should that interest you.

Daily Activities

There will be ample down time. Participants can choose to do as much or as little as they desire. The early morning can be set aside for running or walking, a dip in the ocean, or a lazy morning of reading pool-side. Later in the morning, practice yoga with Caitlin or Jessica, and then spend your afternoon surfing or stand-up paddling. Jessica and Caitlin will offer a second yoga class in the early evening to further unwind before everyone sits down at the spacious outdoor dining area to a locally sourced and beautifully prepared dinner.

Yoga teacher, Jessica Bellofatto

Yoga teacher, Jessica Bellofatto

Optional Activities

Other activities that we can pre-arrange prior to the trip include hikes in a local rainforest, mountain bike tours, snorkeling trips, SCUBA diving, sailing, horseback riding on beaches and trails, parasailing, fishing charters and you can also learn to surf or hone your surfing skills!

This retreat is limited to 10 participants, ensuring a lot of personal attention for both deepening your yoga practice, getting yourself on a SUP for the first time, or becoming a stronger paddler. Spots have begun to fill already!

Sample Schedule

7:00-8:00am Breakfast-granola, yogurt, fresh fruit, bread, hard boiled egg and smoothies
8:00-9:30am SUPYoga, surfing, or free time
10:00-11:30am Yoga with Caitlin or Jessica
12:00pm Lunch provided by us at the beach food stands, or we will take a run up to the deli
2:00-3:00pm SUP clinic with a focus on technique, SUP Yoga or surfing
5:30-7:00pm Sunset Yoga with Caitlin or Jessica
7:00pm Happy Hour: relax, unwind, meditate, get a massage
7:30pm Dinner at the house: locally sourced and prepared on premises: healthy vegetarian and meat options. (one dinner out on the town – not included in price)

Rates

triple-  $1750 per person
double $1900 per person
single  $2250 per person
*We have three singles, 2 doubles, and one triple available.

Reservations and Flights

We recommend Jet Blue flights to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Register for This Retreat

STEP 1: Please click here to pay the $500 RETREAT DEPOSIT. If you do not already have an account with Jessica Bellofatto Yoga you will be asked to create one.
STEP 2: Contact Jessica Bellofatto to secure your rooming preference. Please note that accommodation types are limited, and will be granted on a first-come first serve basis, but are not secured until paid in full. Rooming preferences changed at a later date may still be liable for the full cost of the room initially reserved. Email: jessica@jessicabellofattoyoga.com

Cancellation & Refund Policy

The $500 deposit is non-refundable. The full balance is due 8 weeks prior to the retreat date. Cancellations prior to 8 weeks will receive a refund of monies paid, minus the $500 deposit. Cancellations within 8 weeks of retreat date are NON-REFUNDABLE.

Since last minute injuries, illnesses, work emergencies, or deaths in the family unfortunately do happen, we HIGHLY recommend travel insurance. Check out the website Travel Insurace Review, which gives an overview of travel insurance needs and companies with an option to review quotes from different companies. You have the option to purchase travel medical insurance in the case of getting injured while on the trip.