Yoga with a Harbor View

Get in the Flow with Prana Vinyasa; a rhythmic flow class to raise your vibration.

Enjoy the beautiful light that streams through the windows of the Harbor View Room and connect to members of the community in the heart of downtown Nantucket, at the Dreamland Theater.

Dreamland Yoga, Caitlin Marcoux, Saturday Special Yoga Classes, Harbor View Room, Nantucket, Nantucket Yoga I’m thrilled to be able to return to the Dreamland, on this once a month basis, and create some sacred space for you to
enjoy a full-spectrum practice. These 75-minute classes will be open to students of all levels, and will introduce the basic concepts of Prana Vinyasa, created by my teacher Shiva Rea. While structural alignment is always important, Prana Vinyasa puts it’s primary focus, on the pulsations of energy in within the body as a means of becoming more embodied; more present, more connected to the life force within us all that creates unity, community and tribe. Working within the idea that we are all part of a cosmic consciousness, how we move on the mat, becomes a metaphor for how we live in our lives. There is no higher achy of postures within Prana Vinyasa, and we honor both the lunar and solar tides as they express themselves within everyone at different times in our lives. Come explore. Bring your curiosity, and move into a place of self-realization and receptivity.

Tickets will be available for purchase online at the Nantucket Dreamland.

how to love a chair

Goddess pose

(photo: Larisa Forman)

16 months ago I invited you to join me on an adventure to CancerLand. Through my pieces on Rebelle Society and the more spontaneous posts here on my blog, I took you with me from the point of my initial diagnosis (terrifying), on a chemotherapy roller coaster ride (tenacious) and through my surgical recovery (triumphant). We’ve moved through the phases of my disease and healing process together as a tribe and I’ve tried not to pull any punches along the way. I’ve attempted to share my experience of cancer with you without embellishment, exaggeration or pretense. I’ve tried to be authentic: presenting my vulnerabilities when feeling weak, and my fortitude when feeling strong. Hopefully together we have demystified the big C at least a little, shed some light on chemotherapy, debunked mastectomy and embraced on the healing process.

I hope that through my writings, my FaceBook posts, and my Instagram pics, that you’ve seen just how resilient we humans are. Since I began attending the cancer support group at Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket, we have said good-bye to a number of extraordinary members. Each parting has been painful, scary and traumatic for those of us remaining. But my resolve, OUR resolve as a community to memorialize those who have departed by living the fullest lives we can live, and cherishing every single fucking moment, has grown with each grief-choked tear.

I can no better explain to you why some of us survive and others pass than you could reassure your 20-something year old daughter that after immense heartbreak, she will in time fall in love again. But here I am. And here we are. And I’m still writing. And you’re still reading. And we owe it to Jenny and Claudia, and my late husband Aaron, and everyone we’ve loved and lost to keep going.

We owe it to them to smile big, laugh lots, and love hard.

Now, as of July 16th, almost a year and a half after our disembarkation, I’ve finally  come home. I’m finished with treatment. The infusions are over. My time in the chemo chair is over. The trips to MGH are bi-annual and in just 9 days I will be able to say I am officially a year out from the removal of my tumor. 365 more days after that I will be 80% likely to side-step a reoccurrence.  Something will kill me eventually, but it won’t be cancer.

I’m sure I’ll write about my life as a cancer survivor in the months and years to come, but for today, I’d like to leave you with the following video. My heartfelt thanks to Lisa Frey for filming, and to all of you for watching.

###

(10 Practical Tips for the First 10 Days of Cancer)

(Making the Breast Decision)

(Life After the Knife)

{How to Talk to Someone with Cancer)

(Let’s be Friends)

 

Electric Love Charity Class: Thursday March 27th

Thursday, March 27th, 2014
6-8pm
The Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center
Studio Theatre
Nantucket, MA. 02554

Electric Love

ELECTRIC LOVE YOGA, MUSIC & ART CHARITY EVENT
A BENEFIT FOR PALLIATIVE & SUPPORTIVE CARE OF NANTUCKET

Nantucket, MA – Yoga teacher Caitlin Marcoux, local DJ Pete Ahern, Brooklyn artist Craig Anthony Miller and special guest Clay Twombly team up to offer Nantucket yoga students an evening of visual and auditory inspiration sponsored by the Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center and Verde Nantucket Green Build.

This 2 hour yoga and meditation practice will feature live music by Ahern and virtual streaming of impromptu graffiti art created by Miller specifically for the event.

Marcoux, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last March, is extremely excited to give back in this way to PASCON, where she has attended monthly cancer support groups and individual counseling. All four artists have been effected by cancer and feel passionately about supporting organizations such as PASCON who work tirelessly to care for those in need. Palliative & Supportive Care of Nantucket is a specialized health care program dedicated to providing excellent physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care for persons with life-threatening illness and their families.

This yoga practice will be mixed-level. All yogis, regardless of number of years practicing, are encouraged to participate. Please bring your own yoga mats and props.

Tickets here:

The Tao of Community

Nantucket, MA.
Love Anchors

Cancerland can be a very lonely place. Yet thanks to you, mostly it hasn’t been. It’s been full of LOVE.

Some how, despite the trials of chemotherapy, middle of the night clock watching,  and a couple of time-stopping episodes of bone pain, the weeks since my initial breast cancer diagnosis have been racing by. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 2 months since all the Cancer Crazy began, and it’s shocking to me that this Tuesday I’ll be headed up to MGH for my 10th chemotherapy infusion.

Now that I’ve dug my heels into my new vocation as a Cancer Thriver, I’ve come to an even deeper appreciation the power of Community.  Specifically the two communities I connect with: best my Nantucket community and my global Yoga Tribe.

I’ve been humbled to no end by the outpouring of love my family and I have felt blanketed in since March. Support has come in so many forms: physical, emotional, spiritual and financial., and there have been donation yoga classes held in my honor here in Nantucket, Fayetteville, NY, Chicago IL and Cambridge, MA.

Electric Friendship

I couldn’t be moving through all this without your support.

As many of you know, on April 25th, The Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center hosted my my friends and I for the third time, and all together (with the additional help of musical support from Audrey Sterk and yogic support from Shannah Green) Peter, Floyd and I put on one rockin’ Electric Flow.  There were 82 yogis in all: every teacher from the Yoga Room was there, as well as other yoga teachers from as far away as Providence, New Bedford and Chicago, IL. Both Kristen Kellogg and Katie Kaizer were on hand to document the experience. The following slide show is a celebration of that night…

“Every person is defined by the communities she belongs to.”

Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead

 

As many of you know (since I have addressed it publicly here) I have struggled with self-worth over the years. There are times I feel overwhelmed by this incredible love – and question, am I really worthy? But as I wrestle with the side-effects of my cancer treatment, I begin to feel down – I look to this love and my spirit is immediately buoyed. In those moments I think; Yes. Yes I am worthy.

Maybe I had to experience CANCER to accept my worthiness. If that is true, cancer has been worth it. 

 

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”

Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist

 

I know this level of support is exceptional, for exceptional circumstances. This kind of support is sustainable for a period of time, and then as God wills, it is transferred to someone else in need.  No one person is capable of nor meant to hold this kind of light for too long. So while my personal crisis is happening now, I know there will be others in need shortly.  I hope to Pay It Forward as quickly and as powerfully as possible when that time arises. This is the beauty of living here on Nantucket, in this amazing community.

We take care of each other.  

And if we’ve been lucky enough to be the recipient of this love, we pay it forward.

 ####

Saddle Up Your Hogs and Ride

This year, my old friends in Chicago will be passing along the funds they raise from the upcoming June 23rd 2013 Annual Shawn Koch Poker Run (motorcycle rally). Shawn Koch was a friend, an amazing person, talented musician, loving husband and father, and died after a long battle with brain cancer. This poker run is held every year in Shawn’s memory, and it is an honor to be the recipient of his community’s support.

Shawn Koch Poker Run

when fight and flight turn out the light

3:00am April 11th, 2013
Nantucket, MA.
Breast Cancer Day 26
 

Taxol/Herceptin

Like I said in my last post, there are good days and bad days. This is just as true in regular life as it is in life with cancer.

So I knew it wouldn’t be long before the adrenalin my body’s been using to fight and fly it’s way through the first couple of cancer weeks would eventually wear off. Adrenaline is an amazing chemical that helps us deal with difficult things, prepares us for battle, gets us juiced up to win the big race. It gives us a powerful boost of fast acting energy, enables us to run like the wind, and in my case, got me from exam table to operating table, bone scan to CT, biopsy to chemotherapy. I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself, I was too busy getting organized to save my life.

Over the last few weeks I’ve felt galvanized to attack my responsibilities with gusto. I’ve read the research, the this is your life with cancer books, created treatment plans and schedules, mapped out my calendar for the next 15 months, organized childcare and playdates, re-structured the medicine cabinet, organized the refrigerator, corresponded with countless friends, and plowed forward with work to the very best of my ability. I’m not bragging… I’m preparing you for the crash.

 office work in the MGH halls{Me: organizing my thoughts while awaiting a lymph needle biopsy}

Too much of a good thing is usually bad

Once you’ve won your race, passed the big interview, or absorbed the news without fainting, and bathed in your pool of epinephrin and nor-epinephrin, it’s time to get out. It’s not a good thing for anyone, to stay in a state of sympathetic nervous system overdrive. Too much cortisol; another neurotransmitter which is designed to act in harmony with adrenaline and perpetuate your state of fight or flight, will eventually cause damage to other parts of the body: things like

  • Exhaustion
  • Physical pain
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory problems
  • Anger
  • Sleep problems
  • Aggression

Really? On top of having invasive ductal breast cancer, I was going to take on that list? No thanks…

So as it came a little closer to the time of my actual treatment I did my best to prepare myself to actually feel things, not sprint past them: fear, anger, resentment, shame, guilt, helplessness, and vulnerability, I let it all well up and come flooding out. I made  a pact with myself that I would allow myself to experience these things as they came up, sit with them, and then do my best to move through them.

So this is where the yoga, meditation, gratitude lists, thank-you notes and writing come in. I have absolutely no interest in becoming bosom buddies with cortisol, or any other part of chronic stress, or the PTSD they say many cancer patients cope with for the rest of their lives.

Have you ever been to a chemo session? The video below is of me, obviously before the recent haircut, getting my first infusion of Taxol and Herceptin (the two chemo drugs I’ll be taking until June 12th). It’s just raw footage, nothing very interesting… but if you’re curios, go ahead and watch. I won’t be offended if you don’t; it’s long.

 

Have a sense of humor.

It’s so true, having a sense of humor will take you far: way farther in fact than adrenalin, and without any side-effect.  Laugh at yourself wearing a stupid mask. Strike a gorilla yoga poses out in front of the hospital. Make a positive SPLASH in the murky, dreary often depressing world of deathcare, I mean healthcare.

Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.  ~Irvin S. Cobb

my second chemo treatment{April 6th, 2013. Me: getting ready for infusion number 2}

Humor prevents one from becoming a tragic figure even though he/she is involved in tragic events.  ~E.T. “Cy” Eberhart

The truth is, I am very willing to be here and that makes it easier. I’m willing to sing out loud, probably off-key and to laugh at myself in spite of my fears. I’m willing to learn the most that I can from this crazy teacher named Cancer.

But just in case you thought I was playing this all too cool for school, I’, going to share one last (short I promise) video with you here. Maybe I’m the crazy one for sharing, but if my students are out there reading this, especially my Strong Girls, I want them to see that you can be fierce, loving and vulnerable all at the same time; that you can smile on the beach in the sunlight one day, and ball your eyes out the next – It’s all part of this amazing privilege we to enjoy as humans.

Don’t worry though – I’m laughing today 😉

Last thought for today..When life gives you lemons, make lemon aid! I hope anyone who has been affected by cancer will join me at the Yoga Room on Mondays, where I will be leading a FREE Yoga Therapy for Cancer Care class from 11-11:45am. You do not need to register, just drop in – just check the class schedule here, to make sure I’m not traveling for treatment that week.

Yoga Therapy for Cancer Care

Until next time, stay receptive.
Love,
C
 
 
turning tragedy up side down.

Yoga and Live Music Benefit for Caitlin Marcoux: April 25th, 2013

So, as I’ve said before, I’ve got breast cancer. Yikes. It’s a little scary… It certainly wasn’t part of my plan, but for whom would it be? Still, I can’t think of a better place to have the big BC, and I’m super blessed that I have such incredible support. I hope you will join us for this event – which was scheduled in the time before cancer, but is now a BENEFIT…for me (weird)! I’m going to do my best to teach as much as possible, but because I’m scheduled for chemo that day, I’ll have some support staff on hand to pinch hit, should I need the help.

Here’s the original class description:

Caitlin teams once again with locally renowned DJ Pete Ahern of Audio Architects, and special guest Floyd Kellogg to bring you a blissful, electrifying vinyasa flow class. Peter and Caitlin grew up together on the island, and shouldered the triumphs and challenges of Nantucket High School, small town life, and the unique experience of living 30 miles out to sea. Now all grown up, Caitlin & Peter both enjoy Island living once again; each with a 3-year old son (Griffin & Jocob) only two weeks apart in age.

In this, their third collaborative effort, they will invite you to celebrate your Nantucket Roots – whether you’ve had them for 100 years or 5 and explore your connection to your local community through movement and music.  What better location to do this than heart of downtown Nantucket, in the  reinvented space at The Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center.

Students will be encouraged to go deeper into themselves by way of a silky smooth vinyasa flow practice as DJ Pete lays down  the deep ambient, electronic, DnB grooves to raise up your vibration. Don’t miss this chance to practice with live accompaniment and dig in deep.

With Special Guests, Floyd Kellogg of You Scream I Scream, and Shannah Green, Director of The Yoga Room.

All proceeds will benefit Caitlin and her family in their fight against breast cancer.

Deep Groove Yoga: February 6th, 2013

The Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center

With one Electric Flow performance under their belts, Pete and Cait have gotten to know each other a little better. In this, their second collaborative effort, they invite you to dig in and explore your deepest groves… and hold nothing back.

Students will be encouraged to let it all out, celebrate music and movement, and go deeper into themselves. Pete will lay down  the deep ambient, electronic, DnB grooves to raise up your vibration while Cait will help you shed your inhibitions through a flowing vinyasa practice, where anything goes.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2012

6:00-7:30 pm
The Harbor View Room @ The Dreamland Theater
(17 S. Water Street, Nantucket, MA)



Holidays: not just for Suckers

Season’s Greetings and Happy Freakin’ Holidays

Holiday 2012{photo:Robert Sturman}

Yeah, I like it. Christmas that is. I like Solstice and New Year’s Day, and Valentine’s Day, and Birthdays too. Maybe I’m a sucker. Or maybe I just think that any chance to celebrate shouldn’t be wasted. I like rituals; simple ones like lighting candles and incense, toasting at a birthday or graduation and dressing smartly for the right occasion. I also like ones that involve intricacy and planning; Blessing Ways, Weddings, even Memorials.

Ritual invokes our attention, intensely. For many of us who struggle with staying present, a ritual or milestone event can help slow things down. They get us to pause in a very concentrated way.

All that being said though, I can get myself a little wound up with expectations. For example, I know that birthdays are really special to me – especially other peoples birthdays. I love giving gifts and making people feel good, so I get really get excited when my partner’s birthday approaches. Ironically though, he doesn’t place so much significance on it, nor carries around a special attachment to the date. I have found myself crestfallen when in the past, he’s decided to skip town on his birthday. SO, I’m learning to let that go… It’s his birthday after all. If I didn’t have such high expectations around how I see myself celebrating him (her, them, whomever) I’d spare myself the suffering that comes with disappointment.

This year, I’m trying to shed my expectations around Christmas. Not an easy thing to do for a ritualistic family-centered mama like myself. But that’s the plan. My kid is with his Daddy Paul this year, and instead of being with my parents and sisters on Christmas night, we’re splitting the holiday into Christmas Eve dinner (which we get to attend tonight) and Christmas dinner, which my BF and I will spend with our dear, dear friends the Murphy’s and their family. It’s pretty outside the box.

Turn it up-side-down though, and there’s a lot of good to be found. I get to wake up tomorrow morning and hold my man. I’ll get to casually and slowly open the presents he’s given me, and I’ll get to watch with my undivided attention as he opens his. We’ll have a quiet morning together and maybe walk down to the beach. My gracious ex has been kind enough to part with little G for an hour around bunch time and then I’ll get him back in the late afternoon. It will be lovely to celebrate with our friends, who are Griffin’s godparents, and were among the very first people to meet Griffin when he was born. I’d say it’s going to be great – but then there go the expectations again.

So, in honor of starting NEW traditions, I’m celebrating Christmas this year by teaching a pay-what-you-like Flow class at The Yoga Room. If you’re interested show up at 2pm, we’ll probably go until 3:15 or 3:30pm. It’s not on the regular schedule, and you can’t pay for it with your class card . Bring a piece of paper with one word written on it. Let it be the first thing that comes to mind. Bring cash, a re-gift, cookies, or whatever feels like a good way to contribute.

~Happy Holidays, Love & Light, and with few expectations,

Caitlin

Nantucket Chronicle Article: Wild Yoga on Nantucket

Yoga in the Wild

by Peter Brace

Originally published in the Nantucket Chronicle on December 7th 2012

 

YOGA IS AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF ISLAND LIFE FOR MANY NANTUCKETERS…

…So why not practice it out in the wild.
by Peter B. Brace on Dec 7th, 2012

Yoga in the wild

Article and photos by Peter B. Brace

Balance, strength and love. For me, those three things give flight to my seven-foot frame in the practice yoga.
I’ve been a yogi for more than nine years now. My joints, specifically, my hips, but also my knees, knuckles, back and ankles can attest to the benefits of my practice. My heart center, where my love comes from, can speak to the warm, communal and supportive salve applied to my soul during each class and which lingers inside me from one class to the next.
The physical strength gained from continued or, in my case lately, a semi-continual yoga practice, is considerable and significant, and can be measured when I stop practice for a period of time, say, three weeks or longer because when I return to practice, I’m aware of the strength and flexibility that I’ve lost by not practicing. When I am back on track and have been so for several months, which is where I hope I’m headed with this latest re-entry into sweating and wobbling, I still can’t imagine practicing the postures on anything but the hard, level floor of a yoga studio or some similarly stable surface, so yeah, yoga on a standup paddleboard, not so much.
In October, one of my instructors at the Nantucket Yoga Room, Caitlin Marcoux invited me to take photos of her and her partner, Burr Tupper, and some of their friends doing poses and being photographed by a nationally known photographer named Robert Sturman based in Santa Monica, Calif. Sturman, a self-described artist using a camera, does portraits of people practicing yoga in outdoor settings. Having traveled around the globe to, as he says, celebrate different cultures in such places as Europe, Cuba, India and Nepal, using his camera, Sturman advanced his yoga practice beyond the mat by capturing yogis and yoginis posing in the wild.

Sturman:

“It started because I ultimately wanted to bring a yoga practice into my life because I had noticed that a lot of artists live very self-destructive lives and I wanted to find a way to rewrite that script and create much more of a positive experience for myself, so I started practicing yoga and I started to change a lot of things.
There’s a great quote by Picasso, which says “art is the elimination of the unnecessary” and I found also that when I was practicing yoga that I sweat so much out, I let go of so much while I was on the mat that it was also a process of eliminating the unnecessary. So, as soon as it started to make an impact on my life and [allow me] to create the kind of man I wanted to be, I started to look around and I saw how beautiful and poetic the asana’s looked, and it was so beautiful to me that I just started to make art of it.
I feel like I’m an artist and I’m a figurative artist, and having people in the midst of beauty doing beautiful things just makes more beauty, and yoga is an immensely beautiful poetic practice and so is the world, so that’s what my work is about; celebrating that.”

Before his celebration of yoga through a SLR digital camera began, eventually leading to his becoming an official artist for 2005 Grammy Awards and for the U.S. Olympics, Sturman took Polaroids, manipulating the image right out of the camera by carving up the surface and accentuating the lines and the forms while the chemistry was still viscous.

Sturman:

“When Polaroid went out of business, they divided up their film between artists that had done some nice things with their products and I happened to be one of those artists and so that’s when I made the transition into another medium, just straight photography. At the same time, I transitioned into really studying yoga.”

Following Sturman’s culture quest with his camera was the next stage in his career, a more in-depth study of yoga through his lens that perpetuated his photographic career theme in which he celebrates the poetry of life. Marcoux, who got her yoga instructor certification from the White Lotus Yoga Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif., connected with Sturman via social media. She then invited him to come out to Nantucket in October to shoot her and other yoga practitioners, including her sister Arial Marcoux, Tupper, and friends Juliet Loranger, founder of New Bedford’s Yoga on Union and Petra Ledkovsky, a yoga instructor at Power Yoga of Cape Cod Marcoux met atShiva Rea teacher training in 2009, pulling poses in scenic locations around the island.
What this meant to me when Caitlin dangled the making of the making of yoga in the wild, in addition to returning her many favors doled out on the mat by the imparting of her knowledge, was affirmation that building my poses should only happen on level mediums. Think it isn’t a challenge to cop a pose on a beach, near a lighthouse with distractions such as foghorns, passing boats and swarming gulls or out in a thick forest with muddy terrain? It’s every bit as tough as one might surmise. Though as yogis we’re taught to inhabit a boundless realm, I know the limits of my muscle-bound and heavy, massive body. But, I’m glad to have something to push back on too and was delighted to get the chance to witness the grace and skill of those advanced well beyond my own current station on the mat.
Sturman shot Caitlin and her friends out in some of Nantucket’s most beautiful locations and I had the pleasure of watching and photographing them wriggle into poses I aspire to perfect. I was amazed at Caitlin’s focus and balance on a short, narrow piece of plywood just beneath the surface of Miacomet Pond and equally impressed with Burr’s poses on a log suspended several feet from the ground in Squam Swamp.
Of them all, the sequences at Miacomet Pond where Tupper had submerged the platform in the pond, seemed the most challenging for Caitlin, considering the limits of the platform and the water temperature in late October.
There were poses at sunrise on Brant Point, a session at Miacomet Beach and then the Squam Swamp shoot, which was sublime with Caitlin and Burr posing individually and with each other against the backdrop of twisty black tupelo trees, the ground carpeted with a rainbow palette of summer’s leaves and my dog wandering in and out the shots.

So, check out the photos with this post, as there are many, maybe explore Sturman’s web site through the link near the top of this post and definitely look into beginning your yoga practice at the Nantucket Yoga Room here on the island.
Thank you to Robert and Caitlin for including me in the fun.

Robert’s finished body of work can be seen in the portfolios on his website. All his work is available for purchase.

 {photo: Robert Sturman}

DJ Pete Ahern & Caitlin Marcoux rock the Dreamland

Electric Flow Yoga

The Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center

Tuesday December 4th, 2012

Caitlin teams with locally renowned DJ Pete Ahern of Audio Architects  to bring you a blissful, electrifying vinyasa flow class.Peter and Caitlin grew up together on the island, and shouldered the triumphs and challenges of Nantucket High School, small town life, and the unique experience of living 30 miles out to sea. Now all grown up, Caitlin  & Peter both enjoy Island living once again; each with a 3-year old son (Griffin & Jocob) only two weeks apart  in age.

In this, their first collaborative effort, they will invite you to celebrate your Nantucket Roots – whether you’ve had them for 100 years or 5 and explore your connection to your local community through movement and music.  What better location to do this than heart of downtown Nantucket, in the  reinvented space at the Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center.

Students will be encouraged to go deeper into themselves by way of a silky smooth vinyasa flow practice as DJ Pete lays down  the deep ambient, electronic, DnB grooves to raise up your vibration. Don’t miss this chance to practice with live accompaniment and dig in deep.

Tuesday, December 4th 2012

5:30-7:00pm
The Harbor View Room @ The Dreamland Theater
(17 S. Water Street, Nantucket, MA)