Thursday, November 26, 2015


I've had a lot going on lately. But today, the day of thanksgiving I want to slow down, and think of gratitude. What brings me happiness, joy, and thanks. 

People sometimes throw the word gratitude around willy nilly. Like you are a bad person if you're not greatful. But to me I feel that it is something to be earned. Like with any feeling you need to work through both the Ying and the Yang, the good and the bad to appreciate it. Or at least in my opinion. That is how I feel. And I have worked through a lot. Coming out more appreciative, happier, stronger and more sure of why I am why I am... And what I want my life to mean. 

I have never really been an advocate for saying cancer was a good thing. But it was a thing. And it is part, an integral part, of my story. Lately I've been thinking about the person I've become. And the person in trying to become by changing my situation. I mean because of cancer I have had a very different four years then the four years I imagined I would have even 5 years ago. I had to give up a lot, but I've gained a lot. A major thing that I've gained is an appreciation for my life. Truly. Someone I met through cancer posted recently how luck we are to live in a place that has such good  medical services and where the norm is to get something checked out before it becomes a huge problem. And it's easy to forget that there are people out there that don't go to the doctors until they are incapacitated. Which in the case of cancer is almost always too late. So for that I'm thankful. 

Additionally and sort of in hand with the cancer is feeling so good about what I'm doing to make myself happy in the future. I am actively creating my future as a nurse and I feel so amazingly good about it. It's been a hard couple of months balancing school, applications and work, but it will be worth it. I feel more sure about school, more sure about my opinions and the most survive ever felt about the path forward. 

Finally I'm thankful and grateful for love. The fact that I am able to love people out there fiercely and know that I am loved fiercely. It's an amazing feeling and I'm happy to have it. 

And though it's always nice to sum up you're feelings and stuff. I want to leave off with one word... Ok a few but you get the idea. 

Be greatful everyday

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pigeon practices Pratyahara


I went camping. Solo camping to be exact.  And it was great.

But what pray tell is Pratyahara 

Pratyahara (Devanāgarī प्रत्याहार, Tibetan སོ་སོར་སྡུད་པ་, Wylie so sor sdud pa) or the 'withdrawal of the senses' is the fifth element among the Eight stages of Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga,[1]  -wiki page

And why would this send me screaming into the woods? Because it's very natural. Everyone weather they choose to pay attention probably has a voice in their head at some point telling them that it's time to reset and renew solo. It's important because how are you ever going to hear what your soul is saying if you don't essentially slow down and shut up.  

So I did. Granted, it was only for one night but I did. And it felt good. I left my phone in the car and ventured into the woods with a flash light, a book and a lot of matches. 

The breakdown was relatively uneventful with only one night but here is some highlights, and learning. 

- You can get a lesson on how to pack from REI but don't try to go on Saturday afternoon
- one of those wood packs from the grocery store is really only enough for 1 night. 
- not bringing chemical fire starters was intentional, but hard to use natural kindling when it rains buckets for 45 min right after you set up the tent 
- your tent is sturdy enough to stay up in a rain storm, even if you set it up wrong. 
- not having something to sit in at the fire is a drag
- sleeping in the woods alone isn't as scary as you think
- rainstorms help you sleep
- you can do it and enjoy the quite with fire and a book 
- it is possible and fun to hike into a site in 1 trip...(and this was packed very poorly) 

So the moral of the story is I want to do it again. And next time I will truly hike in.. Since this time it was 0.6 miles... So still counts, sort of 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Reflections from the mat : Kripalu edition

Reflections on Kripalu 
10JUL15 - 12JUL15 
This past weekend I spent my time at the Kripalu Yoga center in Western Mass. I attended a workshop with Shiva Rea called "Prana Vinyasa Movement Alchemy tending the sacred fire" and in one word it was amazing.  The entire workshop focused on tuning into the tempo of our bodies and looking at the yoga practice through the natural elements.  It was intense and I was able to put my body into places that I didn't know I could go.  I really liked how she related everything back to a visceral feeling and wanted to have balance between the elements, earth, fire, wind and water. 

So all that being said here are some highlights.... In no particular order..... 

One the last day we did I guess you could call a full elemental practice, with components in each element.... During that we did a YOGA KRYIA which felt sort of prayer like. She played music and we closed our eyes and moved from "camel like pose" to fully extended on our bellies or child's pose.  It was so intense to open up my heart that way. And surprisingly doing the "camel like" movements didn't freak me out. I felt liberated. Immediately after we paired up and did partnered forward bending, when you sit back to back with someone and the one person goes into seated forward bend while the other lies on top of them, and it was amazing. 

The afternoon session we decided to have down on the lake, which first of all was really gorgeous.  So we went down in our bathing suits and yoga clothes and had the session. But the amazing part happened at the end. We all went in the water, including Shiva Rea, and did a floating savasana. We grouped up and held each other up in the water. During which we all om ed.  It was really good cool and relaxing in a new way to be floating in a sea of oms in a much more literal way then ever before.  Once we'd all done that we were standing and freezing because well it's Massachusetts... The water never gets hot. And Shiva started "drumming" the water.   . we all joined in a circled up. Then we started to chant. Unfortunately I don't remember the Sanskrit (I asked later what it was and it was something to evoke the earth mother goddess ) and we did sort of a round with a Sanskrit chant and "going down to the river to pray" all the while slapping the water.  The collective consciousness was INCREDIBLE.  

I experienced my first "Yoga Trance Dance".  This is admittedly what I had known her for but not really known what it was.  It was all about organic movement, and a different type of movement mediation.  Through dance and freedom and no structure. It took me a while to fully give in, but when I did it was incredible. I thought about the year I've had, and all the fear and anxiety and anger I have experienced and it a certain extend still hold residually.  I realized how long it had been since I felt truly free and I just let go. And dance in the dark with all these other yogis. But of course like any good yoga experience there was a savasana. We laid down wherever we were and blissed out. It was great. 

I was pleasantly surprised with my dormitory experience. All the women were nice and I really connected with a few. And good on Kripalu for sticking us together since we mostly all were in the same workshop. 

I got into the quad stretch version of half pigeon for possibly the first and only time. 

I went way farther in (foot behind head) reclined... Then I ever thought possible. 

The food was amazing. And then had a continual supply of Kitchri.  Though tummy got funny with so much ruffage. 

I realized that you can still have a powerful practice outside the powers tradition. But using the different types of salutations at different types and different purposes you had build a heck of a lot of inner heat. 

I want to learn more about mudras. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The final days and farewell camp mystery hole

07jun15 - 13jun15
Day 5 - back on the wall 
After a day of white water rafting we were back at it for some more climbing. And rappelling... We met our guides and went to a different location. This one had a much smaller parking area... Maybe less well known, I dunno. I was completely unaware of titles and stuff. So I could have been on Mars.  This area was up from the path a little, and had some cool stuff.  They set up a chimney again, which was really tight but fun once I got the hang of it. Had to jam my knees into the rock, but once I got going there was a lot of starfish action. They also had a really tricky one right next to a tree... Which I used as a boost, along with a number of people. I saw some of the guys try the actual start and it was hard. Lots of up an over lips. It was a really cool place to climb, and populare with the locals since we had some come and hang with us. 

After some climbing and lunch action.....
it was time to rappel.  So we hiked back up to the spot with the ropes. This time I went closer to the beginning or maybe first... Memories a little foggy. And Sherpa Lerpa made me stay on my feet. He even bent down and held my feet until I was in a good position to go down. Really scary but good too cause it got me in a good position. This one once I started was a bit easier and I didn't cry. I was actually able to glance around and realize maybe this was cool.  

Man salmon was at the bottom and directed me back to the group (and helped me extercate myself from all the hooks). 

After everyone repelled we went Swimming... In yoga pants. And boy was that nice. To be grimmey and gross and than go cool off. Lovely, simply lovely. 

The one difference tonight was they told us our groups for tomorrow... Clearly we needed to be organized for tomorrow's adventures.
Grasshoppa, Princess and me after a day of climbing action :) 

Day 6 - the multi - pitch graduation climb
Today was our final day... Up and out reasonably quickly cause there was lots on the schedule.  As we were driving we all prayed for the weather to stick with us... Clouds and mountains are very unpredictable. We got to our location and distributed gear.  Then my group made its way to the graduation climb... Our first multi pitch. 

Now this was different. We were climbing but we were topping out, multiple times. In totally we did 4 pitches. And they were hard.

Ending on the top of the "pinnacle"  I'm not sure if that's the official name or if that's just what they called it to us. Regardless... It was high up. And we were going to finish with a rappel off the top. Yikes!!!  We slowly made our way up 1 by 1... With a moment of feeling like were in a chain gang since we were all hooked to a rope in a row.
The Chain Gang !!! 
Navigator May have been throwing nature at me... from above 

Really funny.  I also got to try something different called aid climbing. Or I think that's it. When you use a rope in your hands to help you up. And Danger (one guide) came and visited even though it was her day off.  

We all safely made it to the top!!! And enjoyed quite the view! 
Here we are pre - rappelling :-) 

We all made it down, and very hungrily chowed down! 

Because it's actually unsafe we had to move our location mid chow down, but we were going to find more walls, so it was all good. 

After eating we went to this place called the Junkyard. It was cool. They had a really big chimney which I did and it was really fun. Hard and fun. I think the scary thing there is because it's so skinny there feels like there is too much stuff to crash into.  I made it though.  And it was pretty cool! 

After all that action we were all sweaty and tired. We packed up our gear and made it up to the cars. Said goodbye to the guides and went back to the swimming hole.  

Again cool water on tired body felt great. We paddled around and than did a FD tradition. We got pens and found rocks. One to keep, one to toss. 
One with all the good 
And Toss away the bad!  It was cool, and cathartic. The kept rock proudly rests in my living room. 
Clearly from the picture I was tired and emotionally spent. 

We went home for a really amazing evening of relaxing, dinner, s'mores, fires, candles and Baci.... 

The candle ceremony was reflective and made me truly grateful that I still have my body, I still have my life. I know too many people that are not with us, or treatment leaves them too broken to have the ability to go outside and use their body in this amazing way and I am grateful that I can. 

The Baci was tied on by my good buddy Grasshoppa.  And a discription is below. 

Baci is a phi ritual used to celebrate important events and occasions, like births and marriages and also entering the monkhood, departing, returning, beginning a new year, and welcoming or bidding etc.[1] The ritual of the baci involves tying strings around a person’s wrist to preserve good luck, and has become a national custom.[3][4] -wickapedia

I still have it on and it makes me smile thinking back.

Once we came inside we sat on the couches for awhile... Surrounded by a lot of taxidermy and then went to bed. 

Day 7 - a farewell... But see you again 
Today was slow... We all had different departure times, so it was a quite morning as people got ready to roll.  One of the first out was my roomie for the week Cheeta.  We worked well and it was a pleasure to share the space.  

After some seating around, coffee drinking and food scrounging. (I wanted to bring lunch since my flight was at 12 something) Lil D, Furiousa and I loaded into a car and went to the airport.  We got there and through the very quick security and had a bit of time to chat... Then they saw me to the gate and I was off. 
It was an amazing ride!!!! Goodbye camp Mystery Hole!!!!!

Final thoughts and reflections 
Now almost a week out I still look back on the week with such gratitude, smiles, fondness and love. It was an amazing thing to be a part of, and I am really glad our group seemed to gel well.  And moving forward maybe Pigeon will make more appearances in every day life... Cause all you have to do is commit and try.

Camp Mystry Hole... the middle days


Day 3 - or climbing day 2 - or Pigeon takes flight

Today marked another day of climbing.  We were early up and going and made our way to a camp ground.  It was rainy so today we practiced on a bouldering wall (climbing lower routes... no rope) and learned around rappelling...which came in handy since we did it later that day.  I think if I was a bit more sure of myself I would like bouldering more. This wall was just hard but we practiced individual moves at the bottom. This made it possible to learn a few positions without worrying what comes next.

Case in point I learned to flag.

We hung out at this camp ground through lunch. Which was fun and pretty relaxing. And not too wet. All good things.

After that I think the words "we have a surprise" were used and we were off.  Today was a bit nerve wracking for the rest of the day. The surprise was a swing (video coming) climbing thing... Which looked scary, was f-ing scary but so happy I did it. And rappelling (spoiler 1st of 3)...  Eeek. My group went to repell first. So we actually had to hike back out of where we were and up on top of the cliff the swing was attached to. Smart guides, things were really close together but split up groups made things move without too much waiting. Though I'll say maybe me going last of the participants in my group was maybe waiting too much. Anyway... 

The repell was scary, I'm talking really scary.  This one was over a lip with shrubs. So you really had no chance to see anything, at all. There were some tears, and a lot of swears. But the guides Danger and Black Snake talked me through it well.  This first time I was able to lower to my knees to go over, which felt more controlled. And long story short. I did it... I didn't need the back up rope (otherwise characterized as as not dropping myself) and I only got attacked by 1 tree on the way down. Which coincidently we all discussed getting attacked by.  It was a mix of free hanging and walking down the wall. And I did it..woohoo!!! 

Once I was down there was a small matter of getting back to the group, because there was no one around...  Initially I couldn't see a path, so I put my big girl pants on and said... I'll bushcwack this way until I find something.  Me being a nervous and novice bushwacker... It was very quickly clear that I was wrong. So fortunatly Man Salmon came down about then and found the correct path.... Allowing  me to make it back to the group without completing my shrub adventure. 

Then it was on to the swing. 

This thing was the sort of thing that I would have 100% completely avoided in other situations. But actually now that I'm saying this I also probably would have avoided the rappelling too, so never mind.  And from that the video really says it all...

Do you think I had too much fun? 

Day 4 - Pigeon swims? 
Today was our climbing rest day. Buy you know you're with a special group of people when our rest day involved white water rafting... So it was different muscles, but still musles. 

First we had an actual slow morning to explore Fayitville. We walked around the town. Got a cup of coffee at the local shop and had lunch in the town square.  It was pretty nice. 

After lunch we made our way to the rafting place. Overall it was a really good experience though the head guide guy was an ass... A big ass. Anyway, once we got all the particulars squared away, changed and loaded up with paddles and vests,  we took a bus to meet our guides.  This was yet another thing I was nervous about but our guide was really good. She was calm and clear and though each rapid made me nervous I was in the back and could hear well.  And I stayed in the boat in all the important moments. Happy to have Drapper as my across the seat buddy. One cool thing we got to do was swim the smaller Rapids... Which actually helped a lot with the comfort level... Also helped cause it was really warm. It was a different experience getting in and floating down a rapid... But wicked fun. Also it was fun watching Man salmon and Pedro goofing around in kayaks. 

I was pretty spent after that from tensing my legs a lot to stay in, but I did enjoy it and wouldn't say no to doing it again. 
My boat 
The whole crew 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pigeon is born... As is camp mystery hole

07jun15 - 13jun15
Last week marked a momentous week. I went on my very first First Descents(FD1) trip. For those new to the program FD is :
First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. ( 

Which is truly an awesome thing and I am so glad I got to go and hang out with an unbelievably cool group of people for a week.  

We spent a week outside, climbing rocks, swinging, rafting and having really tasty sunset porch dinners in the New River Gorge, West Virginia.  It was so relaxing and invigorating I can't wait for more adventures... The world is officially my oyster. 

Day 1 - Travel and arrival 
The travel was easy. I was able to sleep on the first flight, which was good since it was at 6am. Passed my long layover and made it to Charleston, WV without and issue. And my bag made it too!  

In the baggage claim I met up with 4 of
the 8 participants and 1 of the volunteers.  (Apologize in advance for any name botching) who will always be known as Sporty, sunshine, katniss , Cheena and Navigator. We loaded up and drove the ~90min to the New River Gorge area. This day was a rest, get to know ya day. We got settled, and ready for the week, which included meeting the rest of the crew... Dodger, Draper, Cheeta, Princess, Doogie, Pedro, Lamb Chop, Lil D, Grasshoppa, Furiosa and Man Salmon. The coolest thing was all of us sitting on the grass silently watching the sun dip below the horizon.  

Maybe not the correct day, but we had some amazing sunsets.... After that it was off to bed for an early up and at um. 

I didn't mention the owner of the lodge had a thing for taxadermey 

Day 2. - climbing day 1
We rose early or early - ish. It being when I usually get up anyway. Oops.  Had an amazing breakfast and loaded into cars. We met the guides in Downtown Fayitville (not how that's spelled) and got al Kyle legal particulars. The town is actually pretty cute. 
At least I look the part 

Then it was off for a day climbing. The two we started with today involved climbing a crack (next to a poison ivy bush) which as far as I know didn't actually get anyone. And the climbing a chimney - ish thing.   I did the crack first and had a lot of help. But that's ok, still made it up. And started to learned about leaning away from the hold to get tension. Side note: hand jams don't feel good.  The chimney was different... Considering all the gyms I'd been to in my limited experience I had never done anything like that. And I wasn't a big door climber as a child. But it was cool. Once I got the idea that is. *little did I know this would come in handy later* 
(Side ways of crack ) 

Because of park ranger rules we had to split the group. So we reunited for lunch on some rocks in the parking lot, under the bridge.

Our second location was ways different. It was much more wall - ish. Sandstone and had a lot of crimpy small holds. Interesting observation...crimpy holds in nature were easier than crimpy in the gym... Though still not easy. Odd right? 
One of many try hard faces :) 

Anyway we finished the day over there and tired loaded up for the return trip, relaxing, dinner and bed again. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Coming to a yoga conclusion

Today was a sort of big day for me. I realized and finally admitted to myself I am not a true POWER YOGA teacher. 

So what does that mean exactly.  In short I want freedom. I want to be able to explore different things in my yoga practice and in my yoga teaching. As a new teacher I admittedly tend to stick to what I learned it slight variations. But that's a comfort level. I want to be able to explore more as I grow more comfortable. To find different poses beyond the true basics or while still staying safe turn the expectations of what's going to happen on their heads. And just have fun. 

It is through a. Lot of thought that I realized that sticking to the exact same flow template every time is not what I want. And though I feel I might be turning my back on my roots a bit. I know it's the right thing. 

I will always teach and practice vinyasa but I want the flexibility to try new stuff too.