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.
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
- Physical pain
- Lack of concentration
- Memory problems
- Sleep problems
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
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.
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.
Wednesday night (February 6th, 2013) was such a special night. Many thanks to all 38 Nantucket yogis and yoginis who joined us at the Dreamland Film & Performing Arts Center for Deep Groove Yoga with DJ Pete Ahern. We were surrounded by LED fires, live percussion by Floyd Kellogg and the stunning digs of the Harbor View Room. I am forever grateful to the staff at the Dreamland Theatre for their continued support, to my dear friend Megan Soverino for gracing us with her beautiful practice and being my demo body up front, to my two Strong Girls and one SGY Alumni for being so brave and joining a relatively challenging adult practice, and to my partner, Burr Tupper I say this – watch the video below…
Friday, December 14th, 2012 5:30-7:30pm $25
Please join Caitlin at Shri, Pawtucket’s only urban revitalization yoga studio, for this vinyasa flow master class. Caitlin will be picking up where she left off at Shri last May, leading you through looping and folding vinyasas with precision alignment and thoughtful placement. Link you breath with your body and surrender deeper into your heart’s wisdom and connect with Grace.
Please register well in advance by registering online here.
New Bedford, MA.
Sunday, November 18th, 2012 (3-5pm) $30
Join Caitlin at Juliet Loranger’s intimate and beautiful studio, Yoga On Union, in the heart of downtown New Bedford, for this Slow Flow master class. Caitlin will be picking up where she left off last April, leading you through looping and folding vinyasas with precision alignment and thoughtful placement. Please register well in advance by emailing Juliet at firstname.lastname@example.org. Class will be limited to the first 18 people who sign up.
The Places In-Between; A Slow Flow Vinyasa Master Class with Caitlin Marcoux
about the workshop:
Come explore the in-between places; the moments that happen as your asana evolves. This Slow Flow workshop will be a mixed level, down-tempo, vinyasa based class open to ANY student with a desire to take their practice deeper. Lunar in nature, this Slow Flow practice will focus on linking hip-opening and heart-opening postures with Chandra Namaskar (Suyra Namaskar C) and other lyrical vinyasas. The flow of the class as well as individual vinyasas will be meticulously decelerated so that a deeper technical understanding of the postures can be explored and greater attention can be paid to the psychosomatic experience therein.
June 8th, 9th and 10th @ The Hayloft, Bartlett’s Farm
About The Vesica Practice
The Vesica Practice is an evolutionary thread of postures supported by form oriented instruction. The goal of the practice is to develop skill, technique, and a functional understanding of the potential that yoga has to reform, and ultimately transform oneself. Skill is defined as the mental capacity to make distinctions, more so than physical ability. Technique is the application of said skill. A functional practice is one that is relevant and supportive as one passes through the thresholds of their life. The Vesica practice can be modified to be fluid and dynamic, as well as still, informative, and organic. Each segment of the weekend will be different. David’s weekend workshops will be broken down into the following segments. Please keep in mind that while each class can be taken al la carte, with David’s style of teaching all classes relate to and build upon one another, and are best taken as a cohesive whole.
“I have been practicing yoga for ten years. Through practice and observation, patterns have emerged. The function of yoga as I see it now is quite different from when my practice began. As my experience of yoga continues to evolve and reveal, I have learned not to underestimate its potential, depth, and complexity. I keep a finger on the pulse of my personal practice, and of those to whom I teach, to ensure its potency, sustainability, and relevancy.
As my practice has matured, the dynamic has shifted from simply working hard, to working efficiently, methodically, architecturally, and imaginatively. For this reason I have changed the name of my yoga from “multi-intenso” to “Vesica Practice”.
The name “Vesica practice” is a play on the Vesica Pisces. An almond shape formed when two circles of equal diameter intersect at their center points, The Vesica pisces is the womb within which all geometric shapes and patterns develop. It brings forth shapes from the archetypal world of ideal geometry and was used functionally and symbolically in the construction of doors or portals between mundane and spiritual places. This shape occurs throughout the human body, nature, ancient art, architecture, religion, and of course yoga postures.”
Friday, June 8th (6-8pm) Matter and Pattern: A well rounded series of postures linked together at a moderate pace. This class will describe and how forms (of the body) interact, inform and conform to one another. Students can learn to reshape their material (bodies) by applying the postural patterns of yoga. $40
Saturday, June 9th (9-11am) Polarity and Leverage: A series of postures linked together at a moderate/exhilarating pace. This class will help develop a skillful imagination that utilizes simple geometry that can be applied to a dynamic Vinyasa or Ashtanga style practice. Surya Namaskar variations and hand balances will be related to seated and standing postures. $40
Saturday, June 9th (2-5pm) Form & Function: This class will work with a pose by pose format so that the individual parts can be accurately related to the whole. This class will give students a practical understanding of how the body is designed to fold and unfold, and how to adjust their poses based on natural and organic human form.. rather than brand of yoga. Emphasis will be on the reformative potential of seated postures. $60
Sunday, June 10th (9-11am) Integrity & Inspiration: This class will work with a pose by pose format so that the individual parts can be accurately related to the whole. The focus will be on building a sustainable and well integrated back bending practice by relating the individual arches of the body to the whole arch of a back bend. Class will end with inspirational respiration techniques…. Pranayama! $40
*discounted tuition for entire weekend: $155*
Students visiting Nantucket for David’s workshop should book their lodging with the Nesbitt Inn, where they will receive a 20% discount by mentioning The Yoga Room.
The Nesbitt Inn features a variety of accommodations from Single, Double, Twin and King rooms with shared baths (sink in room) to large Queens with private baths.
The Studio, a newer accommodation in back, features a Queen Bed, Kitchenette and Private Bath. The Inn also has two units in the Carriage House each equipped with a living room, kitchen, bath, bedroom, backyard and deck. Outdoor grills are also available.
The front porch, a favorite feature of the Inn, is a prized location for leisure, reading, laughing, people watching, and sipping wine. The innkeepers, Joanne and Steve Marcoux, will welcome you cordially and make sure you have an unforgettable stay.
The Multi-Intenso Practice.
Round Two: FEBRUARY Specialty Classes
I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be running a second installment of Strong Girls: Yoga 4 Teens. Of course, I love teaching all my classes, but this one has become, by far, my favorite yoga class to teach each week. The next session of this class – strictly for pre-teen and teen girls will begin Monday, February 13th and will run for 4 consecutive Mondays from 3-4:00 p.m. Strong Girls Yoga focuses on building body awareness, self-esteem, core strength, agility and above all else CONFIDENCE.
Pre-registration and payment in full is required to secure a spot. Class is limited to 15 students to ensure individual hands-on instruction. Students do not need to have attended the first section of Strong Girls, and class is open to students with a broad rage of physical fitness. Please e-mail me with additional questions.
In addition to my regularly scheduled classes at The Yoga Room, I’m pleased to be offering 3 more specialty yoga classes this month at the Nantucket Fitness Studio: Core Yoga, Yoga for Triathletes, Athletes & Warriors and ROGA: Real Ryding & Yoga, which I co-teach with the awesome powerhouse Lisa Wisentaner – proprietor of the Nantucket Cycling + Fitness Studios.
I hope you can join us for any one of these 3 dynamic reincarnations of traditional yoga, or find me on the mat and at one of my 4 weekly Yoga Room classes.
Light & Love
Happy Winter Solstice Tribe
December 31st, aka New Year’s Eve, historically speaking, presents us with a ritualistic date on which to set new resolutions or intentions for the year to come. For me, it’s fallen a bit flat. NYE had a tendency to be dominated by bad pop medleys and cheap champagne. It typically becomes an overly hyped up event, falling prey to over blown celebratory expectations, a need to have a partner to kiss, and in my 20s was accompanied with many a bad decision. In recent years I’ve avoided it all together, or in the very least I’ve avoided the late night bar crowd and the ABC broadcasted Ball Drop. Often I’ve even the avoided the count down itself.
So today I’m officially saying adieu to NYE, and hello to Winter Solstice!
The Winter Solstice, which is today, the 22nd, marks the shortest day of the year. With its setting sun a great cleansing darkness will follow during the year’s longest night. The days from here on out will grow longer and longer, until in six months from now, we mark the Summer Solstice. Not just as astrological event, the Winter Solstice is celebrated in many cultures as a time of rebirth and renewal, reflection and reconnection. And like my teacher Ganga posted today on Facebook, it brings us all together, no Freixenet Brut needed.
“There are myriad religious beliefs and differing holidays. But we all share the same dance of light marked by the solstices and equinoxes.” ~Ganga White
Celebrating the Solstice, which is also about marking the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, feels like a more authentic year-end marker for me. And indeed, it is an auspicious time to practice yoga, not just on the mat, but off the mat as well. It’s about giving thanks for the year’s journey; the lessons it’s presented, the challenges it’s brought forth, the many gifts it’s given us, and the new beginning we’ve been afforded.
If you’re in a reflective mood, and looking to link intention, breath and movement, please join me tonight for a special Energizing – Meet the End of Your Year with Compassion – Vinyasa Flow practice. My sister and recent Laughing Lotus Yoga School graduate, Grey Marcoux, will be joining me at the studio, to offer up a little extra TLC. The flow starts at 5:30. If you plan on coming, arrive a few minutes early to get a spot, and please practice good parking etiquette (we can fit 25 cars in the lot if you tighten and line it up baby).
Want more on the Solstice?
There have been a great many blogs and postings about the Solstice on the yoganet today. A miryad of writings on Elephant Journal, Mind Body Green, and via Yoganonymous. Poke around if you’re interested. Here are a couple I had the chance to read during Griffin’s mid-day nap.
Star of Wonder ~ Elephant Journal
Setting Intentions ~ Mindy Body GreenI hope to see you tonight. Until the Light Returns, ~Bliss