10.27.2014

I miss you.

Goodbye friend

If I had known then, what I know now
I would have seen you sooner
Three days have gone by
I think of you most of the time
People say time makes the pain go away
But I know I will always think of you
Every time a tear forms I try my best to smile
Knowing you have met your mother’s arms again
The sun has shined every day since you left
You always shined so bright
I miss the things we used to do
My dear friend for life you will always be
What I would give to see you smile again
I wish I could hear your voice
I wish I could tell you how much I miss you
I wish I could tell you how much I admire you
I wish I could tell you how much you influenced my life
I wish I could tell you I love you
“I love you” were the last words we exchanged
I think of you, each and every day.

In loving memory of my friend Kara
May 24th, 1980 to October 24, 2014

10.25.2014

In memory of my friend. Yoga for Kara.

Ironman Lake Placid MMRF Team for Cures Charity events

To Kara, I dedicated this practice to you…

My dear friend Kara, my friend is no longer here. Why were you taken so soon? I went outside last night and lit a candle in the final minutes of your last day here on earth. I sat in the same seats we sat in together drinking red wine when you told me cancer returned.  I poured a glass for both of us and lit a candle to honor the brave, strong, courageous, kind, soft, caring and loving person you are. The flame kept blowing towards your glass.  It was cool outside, but not nearly as cold as I felt inside.  I sipped our wine staying close to the flame, allowing your flame to keep me warm as I remembered all of our times.  I am pretty sure two nights ago when we chatted you said goodbye to me. I didn’t know it although as I look back I see it now. We were supposed to see one another this morning to share something special and to attend a yoga class to support cancer. But last night you died from cancer. How can this be? A little piece of me thought you’d still be here this morning. I woke up heavy in my heart knowing that we would not see one another today. Kara, I still went this morning because I know you wanted to go and would want me to go. I brought an extra yoga mat and set up my mat for you. I placed them in the same spot we practiced together last time. I practiced on my spare. The edge of your mat touched mine and you were there with me. I tied two pink ribbons around my wrists for you. My voice trembled as I opened class and spoke about you.  I stepped onto your mat for dancer’s pose because you like that one and I saw your “Last Dance” video on Facebook this morning. It made me smile to see you dance in some of your final moments on earth. I danced for you today, Kara. As we laid in supta baddha konasana… you know….with one hand on our heart and one hand on our belly…. I struggled as I listened to the sounds of my uneven breath, feeling the beating of my heart, knowing that there was no heart beat on the mat right next to me. You know how sometimes they say “breathe for your neighbor” in yoga?  Well today I did that but not in the way it’s intended to be.  I gave thanks for our times together. Our final pose was supine twist. As I crossed my right leg over to the left, my arm and leg rested on your mat.  I swept my hand up and down your mat only wishing I could hold your hand. I practiced for us today, Kara.

I was grateful Alain taught yoga and that I was able to open and close the class. I was able to hold myself together to practice for us and I practiced strong today, Kara. Because you were so strong. You were an inspiration living life to the fullest.  You had the most positive outlook on life. You went out and did things and you explored the world. I will never forget those days you took me out to ride hills before my first big race. I read your card again today that you wrote me for that experience. You taught me so much. You were the one who knew I could do it. You inspired me, encouraged me, and cheered me on in life. You were a true friend. I wish I had told you that you were with me in my mind and heart last month while you rode over 100 miles in Tour de Pink the same day I raced. Nothing held you back. You were and are a true inspiration. The world is a darker place today although the sun is shining…just as you always shined bright. You have left this earth to rest peacefully, but the memories of our times will stay in my heart forever.

I played a song for you and closed class with a reading about savasana…

savasana reading

Yoga is a celebration of life. When we move our bodies through poses that make up the sequences we practice, it is a movement through life, a celebration of life. At the end of every practice though lies savasana, our final relaxation. There is no yoga without savasana. And after the celebration of life comes we lie in stillness and surrender. Why is it that savasana is the easiest pose to do and often the hardest to for so many? For a long time I felt savasana was a difficult part of yoga class. I’d find myself thinking about what I had to do that day, daydreaming of upcoming events, and so on. And then it happened. Gradually, as I took steps inward, I began to feel my mind and body welcome and move into this still neutral space. As a yoga teacher, I often notice students fidgeting (I still do it at times) during savasana. Perhaps you open and close your eyes, wondering, “What is supposed to be happening here and why am I just lying here?” This sometimes bumpy road of relaxation while being in corpse pose gives us an opportunity to become more clear and to start again.

I never really understood why some yogis refer to the practice of savasana, corpse pose, as the practice of dying. It even disturbed me at first. This morning I thought about this and how the practice of savasana is a way of resting the body while allowing unwanted elements within us melt away…or even to die, encouraging us to surrender to life. We are not trying to create an experience in savasana, only making room for experience to happen. Savasana is an act of both dying and being born. Our minds are often very busy thinking about so many choices and we are often looking around for what’s next. Corpse in some respects resembles death but it is also a wake up call and practice for peace within ourselves. Sometimes we underestimate the practice of savasana and how essential it is to our asana practice. Remember that when we lie in savasana, we are exercising our inner peace practice. Savasana teaches you this. It teaches you that the movements of life are important in contrast with the stillness of death. So next time you find yourself in savasana, treat it as if it were as important as any of the other asanas you practice. Because it is.

I love you, Kara. You were there today and a piece of you will always be with me.

Love and peace, my friend.

Keli

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“I wish you were here, but you’re not. You’re there. And there doesn’t know how lucky there is. You live on now in our memories.” Unknown

 

10.25.2014

Your last day

goodbye to my friend

Dearest Kara,

In these final minutes of your last day on earth I am sitting outside in the same seats we drank red wine the night you shared it returned. I poured a glass for both of us and lit this candle to honor the brave, strong, courageous, caring, beautiful, loving person you are. Do you notice how the flame is pointing to your glass? It is cool out tonight but not nearly as cold as I feel inside right now. I will sip our wine and allow the flame to keep me warm as I remember all of our times. We just talked two nights ago. I want to talk again, Kara. I want to hug you again. I love you. Rest well, my dear friend.

Love,

Keli

10.24.2014

MMRF Team for Cures Bike-a-thon

MMRF Team for Cures Fundraiser ideas

A big thank you to Sporting Club Bellevue for their support with my first charity event for the Multiple Myeloma Team for Cures. The charity spin class and Bike-a-thon took place Sunday and Monday. It was a blast although I can’t remember the last time I was as exhausted as I was on Tuesday! While I was on the bike a client went into labor so straight from the 5 hour bike-a-thon off I went to the hospital. Twenty-seven hours later my head hit the pillow for a few hours before heading back to Sporting Club for the BELONG launch party.  I’m not even sure how it was possible to host the bike-a-thon and attend a successful VBAC birth all within 24 hours but I’m thankful it all happened. Thank you to all who supported the event and donated to MMRF.  And welcome to the world, beautiful baby Penny!

 

10.22.2014

Chicory root tea

health benefits of chicory root tea

image by Kei Kurimoto

I’ve recently discovered an ayurvedic cafe in Philadelphia that I adore. I tried Kitchari, Ghee and Chicory root tea at Down Dog Healing Cafe last week and now I’m hooked on all three. As I sit here sipping chicory root tea with breakfast I thought I’d share more about my delicious new tea.

What is Chicory? Chicory is a root that is roasted and steeped as a tea. Chicory is dark and has a similar bitterness and boldness as coffee, with hints of tea on the end—the closest flavor to coffee I have found and to me tastes like coffee with a hint of nature in it. If you’re looking for a coffee alternative it’s a lot like coffee, but it’s not coffee.  

Health benefits? From what I read it appears chicory root supports digestion, liver support, contains inulin for beneficial digestive flora (probiotics), may boost immunity, full of antioxidants, reduces inflammation, it’s antibacterial and antifungal, may reduce heart rate and has been used use in the treatment of tachycardia, arrhythmia and fibrillation.

I love my chicory root tea with a splash of almond milk, coconut milk, or cream. For a richer treat sometimes I add a half teaspoon of ghee to it.  The owner of Downdog Healing cafe shares more about chicory root tea and it’s history in her article Roasted Root.

10.22.2014

Fitness Trends Over the Decades

Fitness trends over the decade Sporting Club BellevueFitness trends over the decade

BELONG Sporting Club Bellevue 

10.19.2014

Special Thanks MMRF Charity Ride & MYZONE

Ironman Lake Placid MMRF Team for Cures events

Huge thank you to the Sporting Club Bellevue and instructor Robby “The Spin Dr” for hosting the first MMRF Team for Cures Ironman Lake Placid 2015 charity event with me to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. 

This morning’s Charity Spin Class kicked off a two day event to raise awareness and funds for the research and development of a cure for cancer. Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. I will race the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Placid on the MMRF Team for Cures and will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles and raise at least $5,000 for the MMRF. I’ve shared more about the MMRF and my goals ahead here. A BIG thank you to each and every person who took time out of their Sunday morning to ride with us and donated to this cause that is so dear to my heart. Your support means so much to me. Thank you for letting me share a little piece of my story and the story of many faced with the challenges of MM. If you were unable to join us I hope to see you at upcoming MMRF Events to support the cause. Donations go direct to the MMRF and your donation is tax-deductible.

MYZONE reviews

And finally a huge thank you to MYZONE, who has kindly donated a MYZONE device to our raffle for our all-day cycling charity event tomorrow at the Sporting Club Bellevue. My chest strap and monitoring system keeps me motivated throughout rides and workouts. I’m aware of how hard (or not hard) I’m working and it’s awesome motivation. MYZONE transmits heart rate, calories and effort in real time to a live display and uploads data to a logbook accessed online or through the free app. MYZONE monitors display your effort levels live in real timewhen used in a class or it stores your effort levels in the memory of the belt when you’re working out independently. It is the only exercise tracking system that provides real-time feedback of exercise intensity. The device also offers a social and group ‘game’ based features to encourage friends to be active more together.

Hope to see some of you tomorrow as the charity event continues! I will ride 100 miles and there will be spin bikes on each side if you’d like to join me.  Stop by for a ride or just to keep me company. There will be raffles to win a MYZONE, and gift certificates from Tria Wine Bar, Down Dog Healing Cafe, Advocare, yoga and more!

10.17.2014

Considering Ironman Maryland 2015? Letter from a reader

Ironman Maryland 2015

I still get goosebumps every time I receive an email like the one from Robert today.  My blog is an online journal for me and it’s just one of the reasons I love to blog. It’s a place to track my yoga studies, triathlon training and races, progress and experiences. After racing Ironman Maryland I took a look back at Ironman Los Cabos and chuckled reading my thoughts from the day I signed up for my first Ironman. It’s awesome to be able to look back, learn, and grow through my experiences. But then there’s something else. Perhaps it’s something even bigger. I realize as I continue to grow that I’m reaching more and more people out there. To be able to share my journey through yoga, fitness, health and wellness is truly meaningful to me.  To be able to learn from followers is also pretty amazing. Thank you all for encouraging me to continue. You make Yoga Peach that much more worth it. xoxo Keli

Subject: Thank You

Message Body:
Aloha Keli:

Thank you for taking the time to write a race recap for Ironman Maryland. I have a group of friends that have signed up for the 2015 race and I’m contemplating signing up as well. In 2015 I am scheduled to race the New Orleans 70.3 in April and possibly Lake Stevens in August. I haven’t done a full Ironman YET, but want to do so in 2015. Anyway, I read your report and appreciate all your tips and you sharing your experiences. After reading your blog I immediately opened my book “Your Best Triathlon” by Joe Friel and started developing a solid plan to be successful. In addition, my anxiety went through the roof with your experience in the water. YIKES!

You taking the time to write has probably helped a lot of people all over the world; I’m writing you from Kauai, HI.

Thanks again and good luck to you in 2015.

Robert.

Dear Robert,

You made me smile and brought more joy to my day than you know. I’m happy you introduced yourself. How did you happen to stumble across my blog? We all have a different reason and story for why we challenge ourselves to an Ironman. I would love to hear the driving force behind your curiosity and determination to perhaps cross the Ironman Maryland 2015 finish line. Most people who consider Ironman find some sort of anxiety or fear when looking at everything they will face over the course of 140.6 miles. Just this morning I posted THIS and want to share it with you. I truly hope if Ironman is something important to you that you push that CONFIRM REGISTRATION button and begin the special Ironman journey. Thank you again for your kind words.  I am so excited that reading my race report inspired you to dive into your triathlon book and start your plan to succeed. This makes blogging that much more worth it when readers like yourself take the time to reach out. Best wishes at New Orleans 70.3 and in your journey ahead.

Keli

p.s. Hope you reach out again when you hit that button for IMMD 2015! p.s.s. See you at IMMD 2015… I’ll be there at teaching yoga and volunteering. And who knows… I just may be racing!

 

10.15.2014

Anjali Gratitude Project Class to support Multiple Myeloma

Ironman Lake Placid Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Come join us next Saturday at Anjali Power Yoga Philly for an all levels power yoga class taught by my dear friend and instructor Alain to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Class is by donation and all proceeds from class go directly to support the research and development of a cure for cancer.

If you are unable to join us you are still welcome to make a tax-deductible donation. Every amount helps. Thank you for your consideration.

10.11.2014

MMRF Ironman Charity Race at Sporting Club Bellevue

Ironman Lake Placid Multiple Myeloma

Hope to see some of you at the Sporting Club Bellevue on Sunday, October 19 and Monday, October 20 at the first event to support the Multiple Myeloma Team for Cures.  Non-members are invited too so please come out, check out the Sporting Club and support the MMRF.

Sunday, October 19 Robby is leading a 75 minute spin class. Robby is one of Philadelphia’s greatest instructors and has hugely influenced my Ironman training. If you haven’t taken a spin class with him this is a great chance to check him out.

Monday, October 20 Join me on a spin bike while I ride 100 miles on my bike between noon and 7:00pm. Workout with me, keep me company, and learn about yoga, triathlon, Ironman and the MMRF.

The goal of the Ironman Charity Race? I will be participating in the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Placid on July 26, 2015 on the Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team For Cures.  Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. My commitment is to increase awareness and raise at least $5,000 for the MMRF.  Learn more about the MMRF and my goals ahead here.   

If you’re unable to join us and would like to donate to the MMRF, your donation is tax-deductible and will go directly toward the research and development of a cure for cancer. I appreciate your consideration and support. I am really looking forward to being part of the team for MMRF 2015 Ironman Lake Placid.

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