Refilling Your Well, Holiday Edition

Kripalu is a heart home for me. I can’t pinpoint what it is, exactly, since the place is always changing. But it’s like the summer camp where I had my first kiss, except it’s a yoga retreat and I never kissed anyone there. I don’t know. Whether I’m able to articulate it or not, I love the place.

I first volunteered there over a decade ago, and lately I’ve been attending programs as an assistant with my teacher and friend. I’m incredibly excited to go this December. In the last ten years, I’ve somehow managed to miss winter there. I can only hope for snow.

And, you guys, it’s one of my favorite programs: Refilling Your Well. You can read more about the details of the program at the Kripalu site, but I can tell you it is an immersive nurturing experience with a mix of science and self-indulgence. Sounds good, right?

I really encourage people to do something like this at least once in their lives: a weekend dedicated to you and your personal health that is more than just pampering. It’s a learning opportunity with lasting lessons for self-care.

Are you interested? Because you’re invited.

Image from The Dual Life.

Do you wanna go out?

So much of my life is routine, even my practice. And I tend to be a homebody, which sometimes means spending a LOT of time in my studio apartment. One of the things I love about practicing outdoors is simply the shake up of it. It’s like crossing my feet in the non-habitual way. It just FEELS different.

I can’t help but connect with the air around me and the ground under my feet and get out of my own head. There’s just something about a real live breeze and the actual sunshine – GAH! – I just adore it. (Daily Downward Dog agrees.)

You can bring your mat outside anytime. If you’re like me, and appreciate a little structure to keep you going, here are some FREE outdoor classes in and around New York City.

These three are on my list.

Bryant Park
Classes are on the Upper Terrace on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and on the lawn on Thursdays at 6 p.m. May-September

Gantry Plaza State Park
On Pier 1 August 12 at 10 a.m., September 9 at 5 p.m.

Socrates Sculpture Park
Kripalu yoga on Saturdays at 9:30 and 11 a.m. May
12–September 30

I haven’t tried these yet. Have you?

Chelsea 14th Street Park
Laughing Lotus yoga classes on Saturdays
at 9 a.m. June–August

Target East Harlem Community Garden
Saturdays at 11 a.m. May–September

Prospect Park
Thursday nights at 7 p.m. (near the
Grand Army Plaza entrance). May
24–September 6

Recommend: Magician, Heal Thyself

[image from GOOD magazine]

Sometimes, I think that reading about how someone else improved their life will help me improve mine. More often than not, it’s an escape fantasy. I can achieve inner peace, too, if only I started gardening or went to Tuscany or India or … did almost anything but immerse myself in my own life.

Scrambling down an internet rabbit hole while doing some research for a work project, I found this article by Starlee Kine called, “Magician, Heal Thyself!” She doesn’t offer advice or tell anyone how to do it. She hasn’t fixed herself, but she’s exploring. And her honesty is awesome.

Anna is from Olympia, Washington. This means if she were given a crystal for her birthday, she would say, “Oh my god, I love it!” and this would be the truth. Still we manage to get along because she’s good at trash-talking.

Leela and Chakra Game Play

Have you heard about Deepak Chopra’s latest venture, Leela? Launching today, it’s a meditation based video game where players work through the seven chakras focusing on movement and pranayama. The Leela website calls it:

a groundbreaking game concept that combines ancient relation and meditation techniques with technology to bring focus, energy and balance to your life.

The whole thing seems to be predicated on biofeedback, which makes sense to me. Yoga Dork is right, the demo makes the whole thing look pretty “trippy” (YD saw a live demo and reviewed the game. The demo I saw was on the Leela site.) but I have to say I’m intrigued.

I don’t think I’ll be going out to buy an Xbox anytime soon, so I’ll probably miss the opportunity to play. But who knows, maybe my niece and nephew will stop playing Lego Starwars long enough for me to sidle up to the Wii.

Student and Teacher

I often find myself looking outside for wisdom I later realize I already have. I forget that I’ve studied. That I know anatomy and physiology, that I know asana. And more than that, I forget to listen to the wisdom of my own instincts and my own body.

My back has been bothering me lately, and I went online today looking up yoga postures to ease the strain. What I found was a series of postures from Sadie Nardini (here) all of which, I realized, I have been doing on my own for the past couple of days.

I’ve been lingering in forward fold and pigeon in my daily practice. I stay in down dog and child’s pose for extra breaths. I found myself in wall plank at my niece’s birthday party yesterday, taking deep breaths as the cake pops were served.

Seeing an ‘expert’ affirm what I’d already been doing felt good, but it also reminded me that I know this. I know my body and what it needs. I’ll always look for advice from others because I’m always a student. But what I’m learning is more than a posture recommendation. I’m learning that sometimes I am my own best teacher, too.

Integrity Daily

I’ve been thinking about intention and integrity a lot lately. When I read anything from Gwen Bell, I feel a mix of admiration and envy. In this case, I am admiring her daily routine and taking inspiration from it. Intention and integrity from dawn to dusk. It sounds like hard work, and delicious.

This is an image of Gwen Bell from her site, linked above.