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,

The yoga of Cancer & Yogi spotlight on Kevin Courtney

February 5th, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was an empowering practice.

More about Kevin:

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