Monday, January 31, 2011

jule's debut!

here are a few pictures from the family photo shoot i did with lindsey, andrew and jules, their new baby. i will admit here that i am not always crazy about babies. usually when a child is about 1 or 2 and starts to develop a personality then i will get into them but in the beginning they just sleep and cry and gurgle and ah, i could take it or leave it.

but jules is a whole different story. this baby has some serious charisma. each morning when i'd wake up and go upstairs for a cup of coffee (i lifted my no-caffeine ban for this vacation), she'd look up from her little post on the floor and give me a big smile that showed her two newly-acquired front teeth. and then i'd smile and then she'd laugh and then i'd laugh and just like that she won me over. so i just love her which is nice because she is my god-daughter and i will know her for a long time to come.

we took these photos are on our last night in kauai, before getting on a red-eye back to the mainland. we had spent the week together and were all feeling so happy and relaxed and i think that comes across in the photos. it makes me happy to be able to take pictures and capture a moment in time like this.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

everyday yoga.

the amazing beautiful photo that adam took of me in eka pada rajakapotasana (king pigeon pose) at waimea canyon in kauai.

even though i am shy about being photographed, i just love this beautiful photo taken by my talented boyfriend adam and wanted to honor it here.

also i wanted to share something i posted to a discussion board for one of the yoga studios where i teach. the amazing hannah posted on her experience of learning more about the importance of abyhasa or "constant practice" with her teacher dharma mittra and asked us the best way to teach this principle to our students. my response follows:

"i have been thinking a lot about the important of practice lately and how that fits into my asana practice and my daily life. i feel like i’m always embarrassed to admit this, but i don’t have a regular daily asana practice. i admire every person i meet who practices everyday and although i love and benefit from every time i get to practice asana during the week , there isn’t always time for it every day in the way my life is currently structured. but i do have a daily writing practice that is so grounding for me that i have found it to be non-negotiable to my overall happiness. also, i have a sleeping practice of getting 7-9 hours every night and a cooking practice of making sure that i eat well and locally as much as possible and a compassion practice of connecting with my friends and family and a creation practice of making art and blogging and a prosperity practice of making sure i am earning money and being financially responsible. i feel like all of these things are so important to my overall sense of balance and well-being, as is my asana practice.

so i guess i am trying to say that i am finding that my yoga is finding this balance and oneness with all the many parts of the life and trying to live as much as i can from a place of appreciation and connection. i was reading this part in autobiography of a yogi last night that really struck me:

“the greater master therefore did not encourage the old ideal of a yogi as a wondering ascetic with a begging bowl. he stressed, rather, the advantages to a yogi of earning his own living, of not being dependent on a hard-pressed society for support, and of practising yoga in the privacy of his home. to this counsel lahiri mahasaya added the heartening force of his own example. he was a modern, “streamlined” model of a yogi. his way of life, as planned by babaji, was intended to be a guide for aspiring yogis in all parts of the world.”

i think that we can be these really great models to our students of how to be balanced in all parts of our life and available to hold space for their own search from balance. we can teach them that yoga is finding the union in good times and in difficult times and in important-seeming tasks and menial-seeming tasks and that the energy we put forth in what we do is more important than the action. and that practicing love–especially with ourselves–is always always the best option and way to connect with that oneness. i think that the practice naturally reveals all of these things, but it helps to have a few good teachers along the way, as i have had."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

authentically yours.

here is one of my favorite quotes from brene brown's new amazing book, the gifts of imperfection. i'll write more about this later but just let this definition sink in. i keep reading it and find it to be so inspiring and just little be terrifying. i mean, who am i if i am not living for other people? (this is the question that is motivating just about everything these days.

i also wanted to mention that i am hosting a yoga/thai massage workshop this weekend at quiet mind on sunday from 1:30-3:30pm. as the description goes: "steeped in asian wisdom and the yogic practice, Thai yoga therapy combines meditative breathing, deep stretching and acupressure massage to give a full-body relaxation with many health benefits. This "passive yoga" has been practiced for thousands of years to achieve a state of well-being and has many energetic and physical benefits for both the giver and the receiver.

extra bonus, there is a discounted rate for couples (friends are fine). if you are interested, you can sign up for it here. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

a few kauai pictures.

kauai sunrise.

adam, oh adam.

adam took this one of the beach where we took walked one morning to see the sunrise.

hanalei bay.

lindsey and beautiful jules.

this is a taste of our magical hawaiian adventure. although we did not see a single lei and see a hulu dance on this vacation, we did really get a feel for the hang-loose, aloha hawaiian spirit. kauai is stunningly goregeous--mountains and beach and red clay earth. some of my highlights from the trip were hiking the napali coast, seeing the spectacular waimea canyon from a few different view points, getting incredible in-house massages with pete, hiking to a little beach with adam one morning to swim and watch the sunset, having the best sushi of my life in hanalei, and spending so much time with my best friend lindsey, her husband andrew, and their adorable baby jules. they are really special people who used to live busy lives in nyc where they rarely felt healthy. then they decided to take a good look at their values and chose a different way of life for the past three years. they have decided to move back to the mainland this spring so jules can be closer to her family so it was special to be with them for their last few months in paradise.

oh and now i am so fully back in dc and pretty glad for it. i'm breathing into the cold and teaching a lot of yoga and taking breaks to go to spa world. it's good to go away so i can realize how much i have waiting for me when i get back. i'm am still writing a bigger post in my head about some ideas i've been thinking about like vulnerability, acceptance and body hair so check back in soon for that. today i am appreciating my healthy body (that has much more open hips after the really intense yoga class i took with hawah yesterday morning), local food, a good chat with my mom, houndstooth clients, fun times with adam, and living in my neighborhood. we raised $180 for the people affected by the house fire at our benefit class at yoga district on saturday and also sent so much good energy their way. that makes me happy.

also, it makes me happy that my good friend aviyah and her fiance clint just opened up a store on u street called rock it again. they have spent the past few years selling their amazing vintages coats and accessories at eastern market and now they are adding a full store to that. i went by to browse on friday and ended up with an awesome vest and hat that make me feel so fashionable. go see for yourself!

Monday, January 17, 2011

ledroit fire.

i took this photo today a half a block from my house. i had never seen anything like it and was really afraid that the whole row of house would burn. finally the firefighters exploded a fire extinguisher bomb-type thing inside the house and finally got it under control. many kudos to them!

luckily, no one was seriously injured but the house was completely destroyed. i had my yoga class dedicate their practice to the families involved and would also love it if all you guys would send some my neighbors your good energies as well.

we got back in from hawaii/phoenix last night. it was incredible! aloha aloha aloha. i am writing a post in my head right so stay tuned for that and some photos from the garden island, one of the most beautiful places i've ever been.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

this photo was on the daily dish!

yuagas shaman in her traditional dress.

you can read about it here. it makes me again think about what an amazing experience ayahuasca is and how grateful i was to be able to document it all and really be in it. i still think that i am gaining so much from that plant. (and i am grateful to have an ex who blogs for andrew sullivan and thought of me when he needed a photo accompaniment for the piece :)

hope everyone is staying warm and safe. love from kauai! it is so amazing here which i will write about in more detail when i get back.

Monday, January 3, 2011

bringing in 2011.

this year has been: celebration, nourishing traditions, arm balances, falling in love with a great guy (thanks adam!), breathing into it and watching it all change, my first gallery show in almost 10 years, riding my bike everywhere for the first 11 months and now my prius (and my bike) for the last month, blue-green algae, coming home to peru and finding it so lovely and seeming like it remembered me, micheal franti at wolf trap, lots of practice for the sake of practice, produce boxes from timor and the cooking that came out of them, stability, gratitude for old friends and excitement for new ones, abraham hicks (live once in orlando and recordings) helping things make more sense, arrested development, sweating it out, writing it down each morning with a lot of consistency, pachamama, india in january full of ritual, growth, and things i still can't explain but left an opening, love-o-rama, this blog, ayahuasca's wisdom showing me again that i am just love, novels that delighted me (still life with woodpecker), confused me (the wind-up bird chronicles) and that broke my heart (a fine balance and 1000 splendid sons) finding my groove teaching yoga and photographing pets, community acupuncture, art classes at nova that left me humbled and hungry for more, jellyfish halloween costumes, the artist way, the broken bells, five weddings (two ethiopian ones i photographed, three of dear friends), unexpected cultural exchange (i.e. ethiopian weddings), 101 cookbooks, flirting with playing the piano, family beach week, still not being crazy about hosting parties, seeing wendell berry read, horse photography, getting better at saying no, restorative yoga, great conversations, bootleg kombucha and the beginnings of other experiments in fermentation, spaworld, iyengar more in the beginning of the year and now more ashtanga, a puppy in the family (welcome monk!), krishna das and mc yogi, outreach yoga in spanish, moving in lots of different worlds, acroyoga and thai massage, the joy of getting out of town, mary oliver and hafiz's poetry, my 10 year high school reunion, letting go of trying to control other people (and picking it up and letting it go and...), the march for sanity, and this crazy saturn of mine returning.

wow, that seems like a lot when i write it all down. it's been a seriously full, big, changing, fun year and it only felt right to close it out in pittsburgh with some of my favorite people in the world that make me laugh so hard it hurts (it sounds cliched but it's true with them).

and conversely, we opened up 2011 together! i'm not hugely into resolutions but here are a few things i hope to do in 2011:

--take and post a photo a day
--say no more often to the things i don't want to do so i can say yes to the things i love to do
--take a retreat for myself (maybe a meditation retreat or a trip to the beach)
--drum at the drum circle
--attend a yoga journal conference
--make my personal photography/art website
--show my photography again
--learn how to use my scanner and start posting some of my illustrated journal collages
--practice more ashtanga
--take a yin or restorative teacher training
--start giving thai massages professionally
--give a yoga workshop
--make more collaborative art
--spend more time hanging out with people i love without a motive, plan, goal
--take an artist date each week
--read something i've written publicly
--read: the satanic verses, love in the time of cholera, how to be an explorer or the world (do the activities for this one)
--start sprouting my grains and further explore the wonders of fermentation
--photograph and post more of my cooking explorations on this blog
--read great books, watch inspiring movies, take advantage of the galleries in dc
--play more, have more fun, create more, take it all less seriously

these don't feel as much like resolutions to me as much as things that are ready to start coming into my life which i am making it a point to allow. i had other ideas but if i felt a sense of stress when i started to write it down, i decided not to include it. i want this to be my year of playfulness and creation so that has to start now.

happy 2011! thank you all for supporting me throughout this past year and into the new one. i look forward to all kinds of creative explorations and revelations and surprises and that good life stuff. i am leaving for kauai with adam on thursday to visit some dear friends and i couldn't be more excited about it. i'll try to post while i'm there but for sure follow my flickr feed for photo updates of the trip.