Wanderlust Video Contest Ending

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Nantucket, MA.

Happy Vernal Equinox Tribe!

It’s so exciting that we are now official in the Spring Season- this feels particularly significant from my Atlantic Island perch. It means that our busy season; summer, is just around the corner. It means that soon I will be moaning about sore saddle joints and elbow joints, stiff arms and legs and full days of 4 to 6 massage appointments, and Shiva willing, private yoga lessons. It means that now, more than ever, I need to recommit to enjoying the quiet time I have left with my children: the calm before the storm if you will.

Today is also significant for several other reasons. 1.) It is the first day of our workshop with yogi, Andrei Ram, a Columbian born yogi- who passes along the traditional yoga lineage of Sri Dharma Mittra. He joins us on Nantucket for the third time…and an amazing group of international yogis have flocked to our tiny island with him. We will be practicing and studying with him every day this week, and I am overcome with excitement.

2.) Today is the last day of the Wanderlust Festival video clip contest. As most of you know by now, I’ve been campaigning pretty non-stop on Facebook since I first uploaded my submission on Thursday night. If you don’t know about the contest, or you haven’t had a chance to vote- now would be the time to help an Island Sister out. If my Video clip collects enough “likes” it will be entered, along with the other top 4 clips, into the finale. The finalist will be picked by a pannel of judges and will win two free Sage tickets and 2 teaching slots (one on Saturday or Sunday) at Wanderlust California or Vermont, and they’ll post the winner’s profile on the Wanderlust website alongside their other yoga instructors.  The winner will be announced March 22, 2011: TOMORROW.

Anyone with a Facebook account can click here to watch my video and vote for my submission on Facebook. I’ve also posted it on YouTube- though you’ll still have to follow it back to the Wanderlust Facebook page to cast a vote/like. I’ve never won anything in my life (except an eBay bid for a pair of used Lululemon pants for Burr). Probably because I’ve spent most of my life being too insecure to enter anything. And truth be told, it feels pretty weird to me to put myself  so “out there”. I know I’ve done some pretty extroverted things in my life, but this one- reveling my yoga practice (something that’s so close to my heart) and my children (also obviously super personal) feels particularly vulnerable. But it’s a good exercise in sharing true self, and feels like a more accurate representation  of  me than anything else I’ve shared with the public in years (dance performances, Facebook, blogs, etc.).

Here’s the clip. Vote for it on Facebook, and pass it along.


Anyway, that’s it for now. Time to clean the house up, finish some laundry, buy some fruity snacks for the retreat, and get myself to The Yoga Room. Just so you know I am still teaching tonight and tomorrow night at 5:30, and Sunday at 9 a.m. So if you cannot join us for Andrei’s workshop, you can still get your asana practice in.
Om Shanti,

Inside, Homesick and Reading. or I Love My Tribe.

Monday. March 14th, 2011.

It is not very often I find myself confined to bed. This is one of those few times. This winter has brought upon us one of the worst cold and flu seasons in recent memory. My son had his first bought with influenza the week before I left for California. My partner came down with the flu while we were in California, and now home, and hoping to get to work- I am at long last sick too.

What a perfect time to turn to some of the reading material I’ve been putting off! There are stacks of books on my bedside tables; some of which I’ve been playing with for the past several months, some of which I’ve made good progress with, and even one book I managed to read cover-to-cover (a true feat for those of us rearing children single-handedly while working several jobs). If I turn my head to the left the book bindings that call out include:

  1. The Wave by Susan Casey
  2. Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
  3. The Ramayana
  4. Orangutan by Colin Broderick
  5. The Bhagavad Gita
  6. Mary Oliver’s book of poetry, House of Light and
  7. Keith Richards’ memoir Life.

A quick look to my right and I could choose from:

  1. Enlightened Living; a New Interperative Translation of the Yoga Sutra of Maharsi Patanjali
  2. Ram Dass’s newest path of the heart, Be Love Now
  3. a wonderfully short text written by the Buddha himself called The Dhammapada, and
  4. a fantastically easy to read, laugh-out-loud memoir called Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses by Claire Dederer.

Can you tell which side of the bed I sleep on? Maybe not… and that’s kind of the point.

I woke up the other day and found myself finally in a place in my life surrounded by like-minded people who accept me for who I am, and I realized how grateful I am. My partner, my friends, and my children, all seem to hold dear the same basic tenants of the mindfulness. We all try our best to live a healthy, clean and conscious life… and though this sounds relatively fundamental or obvious, it’s actually amazing how long it’s taken me to get to this place.

Ashtanga Yoga, or the 8-Limbed path, includes several restraints and observances, which act as the guiding tenants of an uplifted and happy quality of life. These include the following: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (non-lying), brahmacharya (moderation), aparigraha (non-hoarding), soucha (cleanliness), santosha (contentment), svadyaya (self-study), tapas (zeal) and ishvarapranidhana (surrender). Sounds like a mouthful right? But these ideals are in fact a prescription of sorts, which when followed or applied actually make life so much more meaningful, more thoughtful, and actually more simple.

As of today, most of my close friends practice yoga (asana) and conscious breathing (pranayama). Many of them have a regular meditation practice (dhyana). And many are comitted to improving themselves and learning about themselves (svadyaya). Some of my tribe attend AA.  Some of us go to Al-anon. Some of us believe in regularly acupuncture, chiropractic, or naturopathic care. Many of us have had babies without epidurals; some of us at home – with a midwife and a doula. Most of my friends celebrate our connection to nature and to our community (perhaps through pagen worship, community service or even surfing), and they try to live a more seasonally-aware, sustainable, or at least environmentally-friendly lifestyle. We eat locally when we can, or cultivate our vegetable gardens. If some of my friends are not vegan or vegetarian, my choice to be so is not looked down upon, and is in fact honored and respected, instead of poked-fun at or derided.

  • a perfect example of this respect and acceptance would be last night’s dinner party at The Murphy home. We were three couples and two children. The only person in the house who hadn’t practiced yoga with me was youngest Murphy son, Ben. Although the Murphys eat meat, and merrily drink wine, one guest at the table was/is lactose-intollerant, and Burr and I are vegetarian. Burr does not drink, and I haven’t (except for the truly ocaisional sip of wine) since my yoga teacher training in March of 2009. With all these restrictions, entertaining our group might have proven to be extra work. But our gracious hostess, Melissa, set out a spread of goat’s milk cheeses (sans the lactose) and crackers, and prepared a beautiful dinner of chickpea burgers with roasted veggies. Our friend Murray brought a gorgeous green salad, and Burr made not one, but two dairy-free pies for dessert.  There was plenty of  red and white wine, but also an array of non-alcoholic beverages. And as I sat there looking across the table at my friends I couldn’t help but bask in their acceptance of who I am, and rejoice in our hosts’ willingness to honor our various lifestyle choices.

When I reflect back on my life, I realize that it wasn’t long ago that I was cruising around Chicago on the back of a motorcycle engaged in various degrees of reckless behavior. Many of the friends I had at the time were involved in the industry (restaurant or bar) and embraced the life. And though I practiced yoga from time-to-time, it was a solo journey which often took me away from, not closer to, the social epicenter of my Chicago family. The men I dated were bartenders and restaurateurs, and my friends (and I’m saying this without judgment) spent Sunday afternoons indoors watching the Bears and shooting Jameson or Jagermeister. My late husband, Aaron, was the ringleader of them all; a charming Maker’s Mark drinking bartender, who held court at The Village Tap. He played base guitar in a rock band called The Peelers, and often was on tour. At the end of our relationship (before he passed away) Aaron was beginning to get away from the drinking scene, and had been making in-roads to finishing his degree in Fine Arts at The Art Institute, with an eye to teaching Art to highschool students. When he passed away on June 25th, 2005 I was devastated.

In my grief I turned to weekend binge drinking and sporadic drug use. I did crazy things, and put myself in crazy, sometimes life-threatening situations just to feel alive. I numbed the pain of Aaron’s death with shots of whiskey and beer backs, lines of cocaine; partying until 4 am and sleeping until noon. I smoked cigarettes for crying out loud! And I had friends who did the same. We avoided, diluted and droped-out. No one held a gun to my head- I did it without any cajoling. Maybe I wanted to die too.

I consider myself so lucky to have awoken when I did. It wasn’t an overnight experience. There was no brilliant opening of the sky, no bright beams of sunlight, no happy-shinny-people music in the background. It was a slowly unfolding process that involved several hundred baby steps, and lots of agonize self-examination… but when you’ve hit rock bottom, there’s really no where else to go but up.

I found Moksha Yoga in Lakeview. I enrolled in graduate school and did several semesters of a masters in Chinese Medicine. Then I left Chicago and returned to Nantucket. I grieved Aaron’s passing, this time consciously and fully. I re-comitted to yoga. I started to meditate. I began reading again, and researching the things that had previously interested me: alternative medicine, healing modalities and bodywork. I embarked on a new career path, and became a yoga teacher. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy – naturally and at home. I breast fed, cloth diapered, co-slept, and attachment parented. I bought only non-toxic household cleaners. I used environmentally friendly paint in the baby’s nursery. And though never a big meat-eater, last August I gave up eating meat 100%. That same month, I left a marriage that wasn’t working.

Looking back at all the steps it took to get me here, I am even more aware of all the steps yet to come. The process of growth has, thus far, been painful and joyful, full of small victories and accomplishments, huge disappointments, and some major failures… but here I am, and it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I’m in bed, on a Monday, thinking and writing about yoga, and reflecting on my not-so traditional life as a single-mother of two, partner to one, and teacher to many. I’ve actually managed to read 100 pages of my new book and three articles by my teacher Ganga White. I’ve taken a eucalyptus bath, and had a large bowl of homemade miso, kale, ginger and brown rice soup served up to me bedside. It’s been a pretty great day…………. and I am very, very grateful for my Tribe.


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,


dub it down

Hi Tribe,

Below you’ll find the playlist from last night’s Slow Flow Monday vinyasa class. After this posts been up for a few days, I’ll move it into the playlist page. For me dub music & yoga go together like PB&J. Let me know what you think!

Om Shanti,




Slow Flow Monday’s Playlist: January 10th, 2010

Spoony Bill by Roots Combination Hi-Fidelity Dub Sessions

You Are We Am I (Blue Mix) by TJ Rehmi

Orion by Bill Laswell & Jah Wobble Radioaxiom

Dil Mai Durad by TJ Rehmi

One God Dub by Kaya Project

Elephant (Dub Mix) by Spiral System & Lottie Child

Hey Diwani, Hey Diwana by The Dum Dum Project

Punjabi Five-0 by Dum Dum Project

It Ain’t Necessarily Evil by Mungolian Jetset

On the Dub-ble by DJ Krush

Kali Maheshwari by Tantra remix

You Are We Am I by TJ Rehmi The Warm Chill

Devotional Rap by Shiva Mantra

The Warm Chill by TJ Rehmi

Subcode by Bill Laswell & Jah Wobble

Begin and End by Dub Tractor Hideout