Pottstown’s High Street Yoga; Room to Stretch, Quiet to Reflect

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fun Yoga Stuff

One of the things that I love about yoga is that you don’t need a lot of gear, no expensive equipment, shoes, or tools, only a mat.

Even though there isn’t a lot needed to DO yoga, there are still a lot of fun yoga accessories out there. Recently I came across an amazing artist and yogi Kasha Ritter that makes purses and bags out of Yoga Mats! I stumbled on her website and had to splurge. Her bags are creative, fun and yes, flexible! When the bag arrived in the mail I was so excited. The packaging was beautiful. Kasha wraps each bag and includes several special touches. Inside the bag is a card that says Om Shanti and a card blessed by local monks. She includes some other goodies, but I won’t spoil the fun. Order one for yourself!

We’ve had a loooong winter in the north east. My feet are always freezing and I wait until the last possible minute to take off my socks in class. I stumbled on these amazing cashmere toeless yoga socks on Etsy and they are genius! They are warm, soft and hand made and they don’t have toes or heals. Your feet can stay warm and you still can grip the mat! I love my new socks!

For Christmas my husband got me this amazing Pigeon Yoga Mat. I love it and I love that he thought of it. He said he was glancing through my latest yoga journal magazine and saw the ads in the back, looked it up and ordered it. I love that he thought of it just as much as I love my new mat.

Finally, a plug for my Yoga Team, Tri-County for a Cure; a group of local yogis are fundraising for an event in Philadelphia called Yoga on the Steps. Its an event that attracts over 1,000 yogis each year and benefits the group Living Beyond Breast Cancer. My friend and fellow yogi Carrie of Hammi Jammi Jewelry is creating necklaces and bracelets and 15% of the proceeds benefit the event.

Namaste’ and Happy Shopping!

Friday, February 11, 2011

i love you, too

When my good friend and former neighbor Shannon sent me a request to “like’ her new page on Facebook “ i love you too” I was immediately intrigued. I clicked on the link to her web page and blog and was drawn to her story. Her story began simply as an I love you too note stuck to her fridge and evolved into something far greater.

In yoga we teach students about heart centered awareness, and about sending thoughts of loving kindness to others. We talk about interconnectedness and union. But sometimes these feel like just words. Shannon was able to take the words “heart centered awareness’ and put them into something collective and tangible and accessible to everyone; not just words but action.

Take the time to read her story, check out the blog, like the FB page and be sure to print your “i love you too” form and spread the love in your town!

It started with an i love you, too sign stuck to the front of my refrigerator with a magnet. It was meant to be a self-serve love note system for my kids- like finding a note in your lunchbox, but in a grab-it-when-you-need-it format.

That first sign went untouched on the fridge for several days. Then one morning, I glanced at the sign and and it took my breath away. The i love you, too sign seemed to have metamorphosed from a message BY me into a message TO me. It was as if I could hear my grandma's voice over the landline's strained long distance connection greeting me from another decade, “I love you, too!” I was immediately overwhelmed with deep feelings of contentment, security, warmth and a huge smile. I pulled the first tab from the sign and tucked it into my purse as I went out the door.

In the days following, the remaining tabs were pulled. One by one, the tabs became bookmarks, an “I'm sorry” after a cross word, a thank-you for a kind deed, or a good-bye token for a friend. Each tab invoked a different i love you, too sensation. One time it was a hug from my mom. Other times the tab became a hope or a sweet nod from a friend.

Summer 2010 delivered adventures big and small. Along with learning to surf, trying a new restaurant, and running to the highest point in the city I wrote on my summer “to try” list “post i love you, too signs”. I printed a stack of signs and kept them in the car, along with push pins and a roll of tape. The i love you, too message quickly went renegade as we posted them around the city or places we visited. Arriving a few minutes early to meet friends meant time to find the next i love you, too location. We'd secretly post the sign, giggle, and sneak away. The experience was fun and unexpected - slightly magical.

One afternoon, I was driving alone in a sleepy beach town. I parked in front of the only store in town and stepped on to the wood-planked porch. When my eyes glimpsed a community bulletin board with advertisements for local gigs and art shows, I returned to the car and grabbed an i love you, too sign. I hung my sign up with a push pin left by a previous visitor. I went in and bought a drink, returned to the porch a few minutes later, and noticed ONE OF THE TABS HAD BEEN PULLED. I'd never seen an i love you, too tab go missing outside of my own kitchen. My heart stopped. No, my heart exploded. Maybe my heart started singing. I don't know how to explain how my heart was working except that I'd never felt that feeling before. Ecstatic? Amazed? If the English language has a word for how I felt, I do not know what it is. I glanced around the one block of Main Street, searching for who might have pulled the tab, but there was no one in sight. Someone had been on their way into the store as I was leaving - had that person pulled the tab? Had it been a man? A woman? A teen?

I walked the few steps to my car, sat down in the driver's seat, left the door open and mused. I felt like I was alive inside a Mary Oliver poem. I could not stop wondering what the sign had meant to the one who pulled the tab. What was the message for them? What did they do with the tab? Where were they now? Would they tell someone about it? Or was it the kind of message they would keep close? Did they love this as much as I did, or was it just me? In these musing moments life felt more vivid.

It had never before occurred to me how others might experience the i love you, too sign. It had simply felt good - truly good - to hang them up. It felt playful and fun. But, actually knowing that a stranger pulled a tab felt divine.
Near the end of the summer, a friend was in our kitchen and commented on the i love you, too sign on the refrigerator. He then said, “You should start a website.”

The idea just wouldn't disappear. It visited me as I fell asleep, drove carpool, worked out - the idea became my buddy and made its way on the 'must do' list. My friend's idea sparked a dream that I'm releasing into the universe - or at least into the World Wide Web - with this website.

I'm incredibly inspired by possibility. So I wonder: What is the collective effect of 100 people having their breath taken away? Or of 200 people feeling hugged? What is the ripple effect of giving small tabs of love, anonymously? Just thinking about these possibilities makes my heart start to sing.

This is my Get love. Give love. story.

What's yours?

And yes, i love you, too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tri-County for a Cure 2011

Last year I attended Yoga on the Steps in Philadelphia and it had profound impact on me. The event is sponsored by Living beyond Breast Cancer and over 1,000 Yogis do yoga on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. The energy of that many people coming together for one cause was inspiring. See my blog post from last year to see pictures and read more details from the event.

This year the event is on Sunday May 15th and I’ve created a team with a fellow yoga teacher and two other high street yogis. We are hoping to unite yoga enthusiasts from the area to create one team, Tri-County for a Cure.

If you practice yoga and live in the Tri-County area, Berks, Montgomery or Chester, County, or know someone that has been affected by Breast Cancer and would like to make a difference, click here. to join our team.

The directions are easy to register. Click on the link, click on Register with the Team and fill in your information. This will create your own webpage where family members can donate directly on line and the proceeds that each individual collects will go toward the team goal.

We will do some group fundraisers including team T-shirts designed by fellow yogi, team mate and artist Joy van Ruler and pink beaded bracelets designed by fellow yogi, team mate and jewelry artist Carrie of Hammi Jammi Jewelry. The plans to hold a large yoga class with music, vendors and body workers with all proceeds benefiting the team and the cause.

Be inspired, be part of team, help others and unite with fellow yogis. Join Tri-County for a Cure.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

30 Day Yoga Challenge Day 30!

As I sit looking out at the icy landscape I think of the irony of another storm on the last day of the challenge! I do believe yoga everyday helped me face storm after storm during the month of January with a clear head and a bit more patience and maybe even a stronger back.

30 Days ago 24 Yogis and I set out on a 30 Day Yoga Challenge with the intention of doing yoga for at least 10 minutes everyday. My hope was that the on line ‘virtual’ group would motivate and support each of us on our journey. It was that and more.

We began sharing podcasts, stories and Susan inspired us each day with a new motivational quote. Many shared stories of doing yoga with their husbands! Yea for the hubbies! Others found themselves doing Tree Pose in the most unlikely places and others discovered comfort in settling into their own yoga routine. Many of us sampled the Comcast on Demand Yoga selection; some with success, some with challenge. We were awed and inspired by Rainbeau Mars. And mostly we felt a sense of community and kinship. The feeling that we were all working together yet on our own.

Reflecting on the past 30 days I feel a sense of accomplishment, pride, energy, community, love, need I go on? My journey was more then I could have hoped for. On a physical level, I challenged myself with some advanced poses. On an emotional level I recognized that my practice had become stuck while grieving my parents. On a spiritual level I challenged myself to be more mindful with family and friends and to really appreciate the small things.

This journey is not over for me. I will continue a daily practice and continue to deepen my practice. I will have contact with the 30 dayers beyond the challenge! I’m grateful my circle has widened.

It seems appropriate to close in the spirit of Susan with one of my favorite passages that she shared.

I Wish You Enough....

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye