Entries Tagged as 'Events & Benefits'

10.7.2014

Ironman Lake Placid 2015 Multiple Myeloma Team for Cures

Ironman Lake Placid Multiple Myeloma

MMRF 2015 Ironman Lake Placid Team for Cures

I am so excited to continue another year of triathlon and my journey though Ironman.  I am grateful for all of the support and encouragement I’ve received over my first year and hope you’ll continue to share this experience with me. My goals in the upcoming year are incredibly important and special to me.

I will be participating in the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Placid on July 26, 2015 on the Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team For Cures. As I watched friends and athletes cross the finish line over the final hours of Ironman Lake Placid 2014 I felt incredibly inspired and realized that Ironman Maryland was not going to be my second and last Ironman after all. It occurred to me while volunteering and supporting friends that I am eager to keep learning, growing, setting new goals, and I want to pursue my Ironman passion for something larger than myself. I look forward to taking the next step to continue something I have fallen in love with to make a difference. While I was at Ironman Lake Placid this summer I learned that the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is the official IMLP charity partner. I knew that day that I wanted to race with the MMRF Team for Cures 2015.

One of my family members lives with Multiple Myeloma and I will race with the MMRF team for her and everyone who is faced with the challenges of MM. 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. While there is no cure, great progress is being made. My commitment is to increase awareness and raise at least $5,000 for the MMRF.

The goals ahead of me? Swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles and raise at least $5,000 for the MMRF. Training and fundraising for this event is a challenge, but I know it is nothing compared to the challenges faced by those who live with Multiple Myeloma.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming events I am working on to support the Multiple Myeloma Team for Cures. I will teach donation yoga classes and organize a number of exciting fundraising events. I am grateful for the support of the Sporting Club Bellevue who will hold my first events with me on October 19 and 20, 2014. All fundraising and event ideas are greatly appreciated so please contact me with your suggestions. I am so incredibly excited to be part of the MMRF team and to have the opportunity to make a difference with Multiple Myeloma. I appreciate all of the support and encouragement that I’ve received throughout my triathlon and yoga journey and hope you’ll follow along and help support MMRF 2015 Ironman Lake Placid Team for Cures. You may follow my training and fundraising progress on my blog and on facebook.  

Thank you for your support. Love, Keli

 

2.4.2014

World Cancer Day

world cancer day

What can you do to get involved for World Cancer Day?  Check out World Cancer Day do something.

Hope to see everyone in Philadelphia and South Jersey on May 18, 2014 at Yoga on the Steps to support Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

1.24.2014

Yoga on the Steps Philadelphia Kickoff

Philadelphia yoga on the steps

Yoga on the Steps Philadelphia kickoff time! I hope that every person in Philadelphia that practices yoga attends this year’s Yoga on the Steps to help raise funds for people affected by breast cancer. Want to join in? Register Today or join the event with Team Yoga Peach!  If you’re new to yoga this event is an all levels class and everyone is welcome.

On May 18, 2014 Living Beyond Breast Cancer will host it’s signature education and fundraising event Yoga on the Steps on the historic steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.  The one hour class is an all-levels yoga class and afterwards participants are encouraged to attend the Healthy Living Expo where local and national health and fitness vendors display their products and services.   Information about local area nonprofit and service organizations is also provided. Yoga on the Steps educates communities about healthy living and quality of life issues and all funds will benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s education and support resources.

I’m looking forward to this year’s event.  Most of us have friends or family who’ve been affected by breast cancer. Please come out to support this cause. I am extremely passionate about yoga and being able to volunteer, raise funds and share something I love with the community to support LBBC is meaningful to me. This will be my third year to attend Yoga on the Steps.  The energy of nearly 2,000 people gathering on the steps of the art museum to support LBBC is an exciting and moving experience. It is extremely fulfilling to combine health and wellness for such an important cause so I hope to see even more people at Yoga on the Steps in Philadelphia this year!

Sunday January 26 from 11am-1:30pm Yoga on the Steps would love for you to join the kickoff event at Ardmore Toyota at 219 East Lancaster Avenue.  The event is free. Hope to see you in May too on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

9.20.2013

Cross-Training Run Event Be Well Philly

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Be Well PhillyUnite Fitness and Philadelphia Runner partnered up to offer a free cross-training run event in Philadelphia this evening. This is my kind of Thursday evening happy hour!  The weather was perfect and the event was a great way to mix up my workout training schedule with a fun group of people in city. We left from Unite Fitness and ran to a number of hot spot locations throughout Center City, stopping to do short boot camp-like exercises like lunges, push-ups, and burpees at places like the Love Park, Logan Circle, and Rittenhouse. We even stopped at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and ran up and down the Rocky stairs. My favorite part, of course, was running at sunset along the river.  The all-levels workout was an hour and we ran in fast, medium and slower paced groups. It made things really fun for newbies and experienced runners. We ended at AGNO Grill where they offered discounted dinner and everyone received free KIND bars, Vita Coco Coconut Water, goodies provided by Be Well Philly. and raffle prizes. The weather is perfect for outdoor workouts right now so I’m hoping they do more of these over the fall season. Thanks Be Well Philly, Unite Fitness and Philadelphia Runner!

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9.10.2013

Nation’s Triathlon. Becoming a triathlete.

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Pre-race day  I reached D.C. just after noon, attended orientation, the expo, ate lunch, then met Sally and we biked together down to transition. We got a little lost and what should have been a 20 min ride was more like 40 minutes. It was good for our legs to get a short ride in before race day and see a little of D.C. Bikes were required to be racked in transition the day before the race.  Once I racked my bike I visualized how I’d set up my race gear the next morning. We were then body marked with our race number on the left arm and age on our left calf.  Feelin’ official now.

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5:00am. I thought I couldn’t look sexier in the helmut picture above but I was wrong. Clearly the swim cap and goggles is my best look. There’s seriously no possible way to looks cute in wide swim goggles. They fit so snug to your face so that every ounce of your cheeks pop out.  Fortunately cuteness is not a concern while racing.

My first triathlon has come and gone. The experience was amazing from beginning to end. Yesterday, I raced in the Nation’s Triathlon which is the nation’s largest olympic triathlon. Pushing my physical limits teaches me to be comfortable being temporarily uncomfortable…in athletics and life. In some ways I find my athletic experiences reflect my life experiences. Physical challenges strengthen me more than just physically. They encourage focus, goal setting, mental growth and strengthen confidence. I’ve found that yoga mixed with athletics transforms you.  You have no option other than to excel and you discover you’re stronger than you once thought.You feel a lot of sensory experiences during a triathlon—wind, water, sun, dirt, chills, heat, pain, and a mixture of emotions—and they all add up to the triumph of crossing the finish line. It’s an adventure that covers a lot of ground and pushes your body and mind to work through challenges. The truth is, people are capable of so much more than they think.

Never mind that I didn’t have a racing bike until 11 days before the race or know what I was getting myself into. I don’t over think things that don’t risk anything but a positive outcome…I just do them. The worst that can happen is that I learn and grow. The bike and helmut were the last pieces of gear I purchased. My training plan was different than the more typical plans I found online. I won’t get into my entire training process but if you’re interested feel free to contact me. I’m happy to share it.

The best advice when it comes to ringing in your nerves before your first triathlon is to not think too much about it. The night before the race I felt sleepy and calm.  I knew I would give my first triathlon my all and do the best I was capable of doing.  I was one of the few newbies out there but that didn’t matter. Every athlete I met was full of encouragement and positive energy.  Triathletes are motivated people and it felt awesome to be surrounded by thousands of like-minded people.  My goal was to cross the finish line but more rewarding than that was getting out there, having fun, and realizing that all of the hard work leading up to the event was worth it in order to achieve my goal.

The Race

5:30am.  The morning was beautiful and it was perfect race weather.  I set up my transition area, checked my bike tires, and prepared myself.  My fellow racers in transition row 28 were all experienced and super cool.  When I told them that this was my first triathlon they were excited. Their kindness and energy made me even more excited.

6:55am.  National Anthem.  A quick moment of chills.  Wow, exciting.

7:00am.  Gunshot.  A surge of energy passed through me from head to toe.  My mind said something like “Hmmm…I guess there’s no turning back now.  I’m actually doing this.  Amazing.”  I reminded myself that a happy, passionate mind is a strong mind and felt ready to push my limits with no fear or regrets. The swim wave starting times allowed the elite athletes to begin the race followed by men arranged by age and then the women. Athletes lined up in their swim corral, with 10 athletes starting every 15 seconds.  I was in red swim wave #28 and it was just a coincidence that my bike row was also row #28, making it easy to remember.  There were 34 swim waves which meant I needed to remain calm and patient since I was going to be towards the end of the start times.  We wore ankle chips which clocked our time once we hit the water. After waiting much longer than anticipated my excitement grew but I surprisingly remained calm. I personally think it would be more fair to alternate men and women for start times.  Women were stuck at the end running in my warmer temperatures along with a few other things.

7:45am.  I chatted with Lindsay and Rochelle who were in my swim wave. We figured we must be starting around 8:00am.  We spotted people in the river taking breaks, holding onto the buoys and lifeguard kayaks.  We saw two people rescued and pulled back to the startline by the police jet skis.  It was sad watching and I’m sorry for whatever happened to those racers.  The fun part of waiting was cheering on each swim wave as their groups walked passed ours. There was people of all ages and it was inspiring to cheer on the oldest group of triathletes.  We saw two men who were 70 years old and a woman who was 65.  How amazing.

8:45am.  The gate for swim wave Red #28 opens!  I’m at the front of the line as they walk our wave down the ramp and onto the river platform.  I’m totally excited!!!  I’m not nervous at all.  I’m even laughing a little. I just can’t wait to get out there and do it. They move us quickly as they instruct us where to take our places.  Holy crap, I’m in my first triathlon.  As I write this I’m flashing back to that moment and feel the excitement all over again.

Swim
9:00am-ish. Horn blows and 10 of us jump into the Potomac River.  It’s exciting and easy.  Really easy and the water is warm.  Surveys show that open water swimming is the biggest challenge for triathlon participants. It’s also one of the biggest factors that prevent some people from trying the sport in the first place.  Everyone warned me that the open water swim was killer due to zero visibility, swimming against the current, manic swim starts, flailing limbs, and so on. This is one of the reasons I strongly suggest not getting too anxious over any advice you receive before a triathlon. Everyone has different strengths and what’s challenging for one person may not be for another. My prediction was completely accurate and I found the swim to be a cake walk without hesitation or struggles.  The swim was 1.5K (1500 meters) and every 100 meters was marked with huge orange buoy.  There were lifeguard kayaks between the bouys where people were taking breaks.  There’ s no penalty or disqualification so long as you don’t require assistance or use the lifeguard kayaks to move you forward.  My ankles were grabbed by swimmers behind me a few times and at 700 meters I received a big kick on the left side of my throat by a swimmer in front of me.  It annoyed me but it didn’t slow me down as I eagerly counted down each meter with a smile while maintaining smooth, controlled, rhythmic breathing. 1300 meters, oh boy… With just 200 meters to go people picked up the pace and you could feel the aggression in the water.  I got another big kick at 1400 meters on my left cheek bone.  It hurt enough that I remember screaming something that involved the F word as I took my next breath. It didn’t hurt enough to slow me down though.  I swam hard, did not take breaks, and pushed at about 90% of my max, reminding myself to reserve energy for the next two legs of the race. I climbed up the ramp and exited the water at 36:08, which is probably 4 minutes slower than I if I’d been going full force. Swimming mission accomplished.  THAT WAS AWESOME!!  

T1 (Transition 1)
Practicing transitions was something that really didn’t crossed my mind until shortly before the race.  I exited the water, ran up the ramp, and remember spectators cheering on each side before entering transition.  Lots of people said I’d feel disoriented after getting out of the water but I felt totally normal and happy. Again, another reason not to allow people’s suggestions and comments to create worries and get in the way of your mindset.  I organized my transition area well.  I reached for my helmut, fastened it, and threw on my sunglasses which I had left inside the helmut.  I grabbed my race bibb which I had rolled into my left shoe as a reminder to pin it on after swimming. I dried my feet quickly and reached for my socks which were placed inside my right shoe.  I ate half of an over ripe banana (easy to chew), one Rehydrate Gel pack, and a sip of water.  After a quick spray of sun block I ran with my bike as quickly as I could.  I exited transition and as soon as I saw the orange “mount bike” line I hopped on and took off.  I didn’t know what to expect or how transition worked so it took me a bit to figure it all out.  Overall, my first transition was slow.  T1:  5:31

Bike
The bike was on my list of fears.   I learned how to change a bike tire two days before the race.  I’d only practiced cycling outdoors twice and the rest of my cycling training consisted of spin classes.  I’m sure this makes experienced triathletes cringe.  This was also my first time biking in a group. During the 40K bike race you need to stay three bike lengths behind the biker in front of you. If you think you have the speed and power to pass them, you yell “left” and pass on the left. You have 15 seconds to pass and get ahead of the rider. I was passed by a handful of people and also passed a handful of people.  Passing was tricky.  I enjoyed the sharp turns and thought it added to the race experience. It was cool biking up the closed highway and loved speeding downhill through the highway tunnel.  Wheeeeeeeeee! This was actually fun and that breeze felt great. We passed the Potomac River, White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, US Peace Institute, and the Kennedy Center.  I saw two people changing flats and passed a half dozen racers walking their bikes. I’m not sure if they were injured or got flat tires. I felt badly and hoped they’d be able to continue the race.  Fortunately I didn’t witness any of the bike crashes I later heard about.  I got thirsty on the ride and drank a 20 ounce dragon fruit vitamin water zero.  I admit that I thought I was at the half way point of cycling as I approached the sign that informed me I had only gone 10K.  I wasn’t struggling though and it was pretty funny that I still had 30K to go.

T2
I dismounted my bike right before the orange line and ran into transition.  Whoa my legs felt like jelly while I ran with my bike. My second transition was better. I racked my bike, used a half pack of Rehydrate gel, took a sip of water, and flew out of transition.  Last up was what I knew would be the hardest part…the run.  T2:  2:27

Run
My legs felt like bricks but I was more capable of running than I expected. I started passing people who were walking and asked myself it I needed to walk. I flashed back to my half marathon and remembered how it felt painful to walk and how hard it was to get myself running again.  I told myself to get to 3.2 km and then reassess the idea of walking.  It seemed like longer than 3.2km but once I made it that far I decided to continue to the half way point before I reconsidered walking.  Lots of people were walking now and lots of people were also running past me.  I remember seeing a few racers sitting on the edge of the road with their shoes removed.  I’m not sure what was going on.  My legs felt weird and I was briefly annoyed that the guys started earlier in the day which meant they ran in cooler weather. It was now approaching noon and the temperature was 90 degrees with the sun beating down.  I acknowledged one third of the way through the run that this was the most challenging part of the triathlon.  This was no surprise and I expected it to be a struggle, especially being the last leg of the race.  At each of the stations I grabbed water from the kind volunteers without stopping and took just one sip from each of the five cups I recieved. I took opportunities to run in shaded spots when it was available.  When I reached the half way point of the run I made the decision to complete the entire race without stopping. I didn’t think that was possible before starting the race but I felt driven and encouraged myself throughout each leg of the race.  The only person to cross my mind while racing was the person who’s inspired me the most this year.  They crossed my mind at my best moments and most challenging moments, keeping me smiling and inspired.  I am more grateful for what I’ve learned from them and what they’ve shared with me than I can put into words.

The hardest part was the last 1.6km. That final mile seemed like it took forever.  Spectators were cheering, race bells were ringing, and because there’s a turn at the last half mile I still couldn’t see the finish line.  The lady next to me agreed this was the longest leg of the race.  I pass a volunteer and yelled “HOW MUCH LONGER??”  She tells me a half mile.  I next passed an ambulance with a conscious girl on a stretcher.  A quick moment of coldness went through my body and I felt sad she made it all this way until the last half mile.  I hope she was alright.  I kept going and asked another volunteer “How much longer?”  He tells me about a half mile.  No, no, no!!  Can’t be.

The finish line.  Finally…. I see the finish line from a distance. I approach the finish path packed with spectators on each side, flags and lots of noise.  There’s now three racers in front of me, no one on either side of me and still plenty of people behind me.  I’m almost there and as the screaming and cheering got louder I picked up my feet and charged toward that finish line.  The feeling as I approached the finish line felt completely unbelievable.  I looked up and threw my hands in the air just as I crossed the finish line completing my first olympic triathlon. My eyes watered and it was hard to slow down my breath.  Someone handed me a bottle of water, another person removed my time chip from my ankle, and another person asked me if I was okay. Everything felt so unreal.  It’s weird but I remember saying to myself something like “uhhhh.. you just did it.  Seriously.” It really was a bit strange to process yet so incredibly rewarding.

It’s been just over 24 hours since the race.  I felt sore immediately after the race but muscle fatigue has really just set in. My legs are heavy and I’m very tired right now. I’ve been sleepy since 4:00pm and I feel like it’s taken me far longer to blog than it should have.  I know that this is far longer than an acceptable blog post but I want to be able to look back and remember my first experience.  I expected to sleep really well after the race but I was up almost every hour last night. Hopefully I’ll crash soon.

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I have just a few basic pieces of advice for anyone considering taking on a triathlon.  Take the parts that work for you and leave the rest behind.  I’ll leave the gear and technical advice for you to research on your own through your training process.  You know yourself best so follow what works for you.
Embrace your Novice-ness.  I enjoy trying new things and navigating through the learning curve stage.  Taking on your first triathlon is a huge task so rather than being hard on yourself and setting unreal expectations just go out there and enjoy the experience.  Too much energy spent on comparison to others — what they look like, what gear they have, how fit they look, etc. is a trap to putting too much attention on where you are in the pack. Let go of your ego and put your energy into focusing on your new experience. Psyching yourself out is a choice. Not doing that is a skill one can develop if you chose to. Think positive and don’t over think it.  The mind is an amazing tool.
Don’t take advice too serious.  Seriously, this was the only annoying thing leading up to the race.  I didn’t tell close friends which triathlon I was doing but did tell a few people that I don’t know too well.  If I could change one thing, I wouldn’t have told anyone.   It irked me to receive advice when I wasn’t asking for it. Especially from those who’ve never even competed in a triathlon.  I remained calm and free from nervousness throughout training up to the day of the race. The unasked for pieces of advice were the only things that brought up brief moments of self-doubt.  Some of the advice was just silly things like  ”remember to breathe” which I found to be strange advice to give a yoga teacher. Plus, I’m human and require the breath in order to survive.  ”Drink water” was another genius piece of advise along with “eat a pretzel after the race.”  It’s almost insulting that someone thinks that after all of your training you wouldn’t know you need to drink water.  And listen, I’m pretty sure after a 3+ hour race I’m capable of determining what my body wants to eat. And like I mentioned with the swim..people tried to freak me out about so many things that just weren’t accurate for me. Others told me the run wasn’t bad but I thought it was incredibly challenging.  I realize I may sound harsh on the unsolicited advice thing but that’s not at all my intention.  I know people who make suggestions mean well but it adds pressure and it’s just plain annoying when you aren’t asking for it.  So don’t take advice too serious and if you’re a triathlete looking to give advise I suggest you ask the person if they’d like suggestions before hammering away.  I am grateful, however, for the few athletes who were there for me the week leading up to the race when I asked specific questions. To be honest, there is no exact science on what works and there is not one piece of advice that will suit every person. It really depends on your overall fitness level, how dedicated you were in training, what legs of the race are your strengths, and most important how you’ve framed your mindset.  Listen to yourself because even after all the advice is vetted out, your mind and body knows you best.
Mindset
I’m repeating myself here.  It’s 75-80% in the mind.  This is true for any challenge and accomplishment.  It shouldn’t take long to realise that if you imagine the worst possible scenario you will start to feel anxious. The mind doesn’t distinguish very well between real and imagined. But the solution isn’t to imagine something unrealistic either. Unrealistic thinking is quickly dismissed by your mind which can fuel even more self-doubt, negative thinking and cloud your thoughts. Focus on the goal, get your mindset right and you’ll have what it takes to succeed. Maintain control and a sense of calmness in your mind. Get your head out of the ‘fear clouds’ and see that yes, indeed, you can handle this.  You will succeed if you’re determined to do so.

I feel happy about my first triathlon and learned a whole lot through this experience. This race marks one of the top 10 experiences of my life.  I also have a lot that I can improve on too so that just means I’ll get to do it again!  So would I do another triathlon in the future?  Yep, it was so much fun and while I think this was my final race for this year I’ll soon be plotting my next triathlon.

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9.4.2013

Vermont Yoga Retreat with Jocelyn Krasner

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This evening as I reflect on my Labor Day weekend yoga retreat getaway I feel refreshed and thankful.  The past three days were spent in the beautiful Green Mountain state of Vermont with Jocelyn Krasner of Your Whole Life.  Our end of summer escape was held at Good Commons.  The property, surrounded with beautiful hiking trails and breathtaking vistas, dates back to the 1800s where it was once a booming country store.

I found Jocelyn’s retreat online one day before the getaway.  I hadn’t taken classes with her yet since she teaches in Hoboken and I live in Philadelphia.  After sending an email and a friendly phone call I felt mindfully spontaneous signing up for Jocelyn’s retreat just 8 hours before departure.  I reached Hoboken by train that next afternoon 15 minutes before our group departure to Vermont on the “Good Bus.” When I met Jocelyn outside Washington and 10th Street I knew an amazing weekend was ahead for all of us.  Her warm energy was received instantaneously.

We arrived Good Commons Friday evening at 6:15pm with 5 guys, 11 ladies and a dog named Apple.  Tesha welcomed us under the sign which read “What happens at camp stays at camp.” I’ll do my best though to fill you in on some of the highlights.

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Friendships.  The coolest people seem to attend yoga retreats.  Seriously.  I’ve been lucky that both yoga retreats I’ve attended in the past year had such an awesome mix of friendly and interesting people.  I could not be be more thankful to have spent three days submerged in my yoga passion and leaving with a new group of friends.

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Yoga.  Meditation.  Relaxation practice.  Yoga taught with experience, understanding, and knowledge.  Yoga taught from the heart.  All six of our yoga classes led by Jocelyn Krasner were incredible.  Jocelyn is an inspirational instructor with an ability to communicate her yogic knowledge that allows both beginners and experienced yoga practitioners to grow and transform.  If I had to pick my favorite classes from the weekend I would say the invigorating 2-1/2 hour morning classes, specifically the “Cultivating Balance” session on Saturday and our final class on Monday, “Welcoming Fall,” were my absolute favorites. Inbetween, we made the seasonal transition with “An Ode to Summer” which included plenty of meditation, pranayama, restorative and a relaxing Yin Yoga class in the evening shortly after our nature hike.  I think every retreat should offer a Yin Yoga class.

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Our yoga retreat leader, Jocelyn Kranser

Nature.  Relaxation.  Most of us went on a scenic 2 hour hike after lunch on Saturday.  The weather was overcast and misty making it pretty comfortable hiking weather.  Check out the perfect spider web.  The people who stayed back from the hike explored the area, biked, went for a massage with Jessica, or just kicked back and relaxed.

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Friendship.  Yes, I said friendship already.  Saturday evening things got cozier.  We’d been together 24 hours and it started to feel like a group of 16 people who had known each other longer than just a day.  After our gourmet dinner some of us hopped in the outdoor hot tub and shared plenty of laughs.  I’ll never forget the frozen banana bread the guys found to ice my ankle but that’s a funny story that’s too long to get into on the blog. If you’re one of the retreaters reading this who ate banana bread for breakfast the following morning I assure you that the yummy bread you ate was a freshly baked loaf that our fabulous farm-to-table chef, Melissa, had just pulled from the oven.

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Exploration.   After our energizing yoga session and lunch on Sunday we had the chance to visit the historic birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge and check out an artisanal cheese making factory.  Cheese…Yum.  We stopped and hungout at a Folk Festival that was held there too.  Beautiful.

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Our final evening of yoga and the bonfire was something special and personal so instead of blogging about it I’ll leave that just a memory in my mind.  Jocelyn’s special touches made each of the yoga classes extraordinary and unforgettable.  I hope to attend future retreats with Jocelyn.  Her next one is February in Mexico. I’m excited to learn about the details soon.

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Notice my “I will let go of” card.  I threw it on the fire and it landed outside the fire on the right.  I’m telling you… I’m not meant to fully let go of what’s on that card!  Maybe just shift my perspective.  The group roasted s’mores.  I just ate straight up dark chocolate.  Yum.

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Life’s transitions allow us an opportunity to find inner direction and engage in the process of self renewal. As the season of autumn approaches it’s the perfect time to discover that direction and set intentions to create the next phase of our journey.  I feel reenergized after this weekend and ready for what lies ahead in the new season and remainder of 2013.  This weekend provided the space some time to reflect on the past and envision part of what I wish to create in the future.  Thank you, Jocelyn, for providing this opportunity.  I will always be grateful for this experience.

Learn more about Jocelyn Krasner at Your Whole Life.

The rest of the images I’ll share on facebook 

8.28.2013

I have a dream.

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Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, thousands and thousands of people will gather on Washington National Mall today to honor the event and the March on Washington that took place half a century ago. The event kicks off today at 11 a.m. EST.

I remember memorizing the speech in second grade and being excited about the power of our dreams.. What’s your dream?  Make it happen.

8.27.2013

NOVEMBER 17-23, 2013 BELIZE YOGA RETREAT

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Join us November 17-23, 2013 in Belize for our Yoga Adventure & Relaxation Retreat!  Reflect, renew and restore before the holidays as you nourish the mind, body and spirit in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Spend 4 days in the scenic Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, visit Mayan ruins, and enjoy 3 days on the awe-inspiring beaches of Belize—a world class destination for the naturalist and adventurer.

Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights (3 day packages available upon request)

Meet your yoga guides and check out one of last year’s retreat experiences. 

Contact Yoga Peach for more information.

Activities and amenities included:

  • First-class accommodations
  • Morning and evening yoga in breathtaking and serene natural locations
  • Guided meditation, time for reading and reflection
  • Hiking and nature walks along trails in a beautiful nature preserve
  • Swim in the pristine waterfalls
  • Yoga and guided tour of ancient Maya ruins
  • World-class snorkeling
  • Sunset catamaran sail
  • Delicious and healthy gourmet meals prepared by our private chef
  • Daily made service
  • All transportation within Belize

Additional activity options:  scuba diving, fishing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, cave tubing, birdwatching, zip lining, horseback riding, river canoeing, and hiking the world famous Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave.

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At-A-Glance

4 Days / 3 Nights in the Rainforest

Our estate cottage accommodations at the Hidden Valley Inn & Reserve are set in a private nature reserve set on 7,290 acres of wilderness in the Maya Mountains of Belize.  Cottages are surrounded by the beauty and diverse landscape of a reserve with nearly 100 miles of trails, crystal clear creeks, majestic waterfalls, verdant ravines and breathtaking vistas that are home to many of Belize’s native cats, rare raptors and wildlife. Over 80 species of wild orchids live here, clinging to the walls of rocks and fern that line aqua-blue jungle pools.  The continuous flowering of these plants throughout the year produces nature’s own kaleidoscope of brilliant colors and the crisp air is always heavy with a fragrant, exciting aroma.

3 Days / 3 Nights on the Beach

Just steps from the Caribbean Sea, enjoy your beach mansion accommodations on the beach overlooking the world’s second largest barrier reef.  Relax by an outdoor pool and tropical gardens, or venture into town and get to know the friendly people of Belizean.  The fine white sand and crystal blue waters will suit us, no matter our mood.  Feeling adventurous? Kayak, snorkel, swim, or try some water sports.  Want to unwind? Simply sit, breathe, sunbathe, or read, enjoying the breeze and views on some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches.

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Day-By-Day

Itinerary (subject to change):

Day 1 (November 17):  Following the transfer from Goldson International Airport, arrive and check-in at the scenic Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve which is the largest protected area in Belize, boasting an immense Rain Forest and natural Wildlife Sanctuary.  In the evening we will take a short walk for sunset yoga on one of the most picturesque platforms, Yokol Chen, as we listen to the sounds of water below us.  Join us for optional meditation to follow above the pool deck in the screened porch “Mantra Room.” Savor your first dinner in Belize, then relax and settle into your luxury accommodations as you drift off to the sounds of nature.

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Meals: Light Hors d’oeuvres upon arrival, 4 Course Dinner 

Day 2 (November 18):  We will take a refreshing morning walk along the Motmot Trail to the Om Shanti yoga platform nestled in a broadleaf valley. Om Shanti is the perfect place to take in the sunrise. Following our morning Vinyasa Flow, enjoy freshly prepared breakfast. From there, we’ll tour the property, including an easy hike to the Secret Pools and breathtaking Butterfly Falls, where we will have a chance to relax or swim in the falls. On our way back, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch with breathtaking scenery. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the pool, reading a book, or unwinding at the spa. If you prefer to continue your adventure, go for another hike or try mountain biking as you explore the property. In the early evening, we’ll stretch deeply with Yin Yoga at sunset on the Awat Balam platform, with a view overlooking the Tiger Falls. The platform sits at the top of a ravine surrounded by the pine forest, where we can practice yoga and breathe deeply to the sounds of a rushing waterfall and the mountain breezes through the pines as you look over and across the steep valley.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and 4 Course Dinner

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Day 3 (November 19):  Join us for another delicious breakfast before we set out on an exciting and adventurous day ahead. We will visit the Caracol Mayan Ruins, where we’ll begin with an energizing and inspiring yoga practice at the ancient ceremonial site, followed by a guided tour detailing the history of the ruins. Caracol is the largest of the Maya sites found in Belize today, deep in the Chiquibul Wilderness. Excavation and preservation of Caracol began in 2000, with the restoration of Caana, The Sky Palace. Caracol boasts impressive views of the surrounding jungle.  Next, we will continue to the Rio Frio Caves and Rio on the Pools where we’ll have the opportunity to take a refreshing swim. Upon our return to Hidden Valley, we will relax with sunset yoga, followed by our final gourmet dinner at this resort.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and 4 Course Dinner

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Day 4 (November 20):  We begin our last morning in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve with sunrise yoga and breakfast.  We will then transport you from the rainforest to the beach villa location.  After checking into our luxury accommodations, unwind by the water and acclimate to our new tropical environment on the beach.  A relaxing evening of yoga and meditation to the sounds and scent of the ocean breeze will be followed by dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5 (November 21):  Salute the sun with Gentle Vinyasa Yoga or Oceanfront Yoga Sculpt, followed by a light traditional Belizean breakfast on the open veranda with spectacular views.  Relax and explore until mid-afternoon, when we’ll go on a snorkeling adventure, exploring coral formations and an abundance of marine life.  Upon our return, enjoy the afternoon exploring the beach, swimming, kayaking, or relaxing as you overlook the clear blue Caribbean waters while sipping a fresh tropical beverage. Just before sunset we will escape to a beautiful surprise location for yoga followed by a cultural dinner experience.

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Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Salad or Light Meal, Dinner

Day 6 (November 22):  Wake up for an invigorating Vinyasa Flow and Partner Yoga practice. During this practice we’ll play and explore the benefits from the energy of a partner in yoga. The practice weaves in trust, compassion, strength, and inspires connection with others. This class is fun and contains lots of laughter.  Bask in the joy of friendship over breakfast, then enjoy the rest of the afternoon swimming, exploring or relaxing.  To celebrate our last evening, we will hop aboard a 40 foot catamaran and feel the warm tropical breezes as we sail and admire the barrier reef at sunset.  Island Appetizers, Sushi, fresh tropical juice, famous island cocktails, beer, soda and water included.  After sailing, we will return to our resort for one final dinner together. End the evening with reflection and meditation.

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Meals: Breakfast, Afternoon Salad or Light Meal, Dinner

Day 7 (November 23):   Beachfront morning yoga, followed by breakfast.  Enjoy your final morning on the beach swimming in the pool, ocean, kayaking or relaxing on the beach. Afternoon departures. Extend your stay on the beach if you wish, or head home relaxed and centered, ready to enjoy the holiday season.

Meals:  Brunch

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Our last day will conclude by 11:30am.  If you intend to depart Belize on November 23 please book international flight departures for 12:00pm or later. Please let us know if we can assist, if you plan to spend additional days in Belize.

View previous retreat images from our sandbar album and Maya ruins album  

Contact Yoga Peach for more information. See you in Belize!

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8.26.2013

Yoga Peach Belize Retreat Review

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Jessica Gorman joined us last December for the Belize Yoga Retreat 2012 with Yoga Peach.  Fifteen of us spent 4 days on the breathtaking beaches of Belize and 3 days in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve.  It was truly an amazing retreat experience.  If you’d like to learn more about our November 2013 retreat in Belize contact Yoga Peach. 

Thank you Jessica, for sharing your experiences in Belize!

What inspired you to attend the Yoga Peach Belize Adventure & Renewal Retreat?

Honestly, it was the painful loss of a friend to cancer last fall.  It sounds so lame to me to say “my friend died, so I needed to go   to Belize” but it’s pretty much the truth.  I needed something to break my sadness, to think, to regroup, to escape.  Having created and cooked for yoga retreats as my job, but never really participated as a guest, it seemed like a good time to give one a try.  I also wanted to take a trip that involved physical activity, wanting a change from the vacations where a huge focus of the day is meals, and I come back feeling like I need to recover.  When I searched online and found this retreat it seemed perfect.

How many years have you been practicing yoga and what style of yoga do you most often practice?

I’ve been practicing off and on since I was about 20- so 23 years, though I’ve been more consistent in the last 5 years.  I try to get to a class 3-5 times per week.  Bikram for a couple of years, when it was all that was local, but mostly vinyasa, though I’ve been stepping back into less flowy classes lately, where the poses are really broken down (would that be hatha? still not clear on all of the varieties these days)- I find that I learn a lot in those classes (even after so many years, some poses can be like new), and then really enjoy the vinyasa flow classes .

Where do you live and what is a typical day like for you?

I live mostly in Rhode Island, though I do a lot of work in New York, and Vermont.  With all of the travel, it’s hard to have a typical day or consistent routine.  I’m generally either working a 14 hour day, or not working at all.  A day off would hopefully include a yoga class or bootcamp class in the morning and a walk in the afternoon.  Dream day.

What was a typical day like during your retreat?

Morning yoga.  Coffee.  Reading.  Hike, snorkeling, massage.  Swim in pool.  Reading.  Yoga.  Dinner.  Reading.

What was your most profound moment while taking the retreat?

I hadn’t realized how intense the combination of yoga and these beautiful places would be.  I felt like I had an undefineable profound moment in every yoga class- trying to keep a lot of that with me as I return to daily life.

What were you mostly influenced by?

The locations, the nature- practicing yoga in these unbelievable places.   Also, the soul that Keli put into everything. Small embellishments and thoughtful touches within each yoga class, always keeping an eye out to make sure that each person was comfortable and happy, constant enthusiasm and joy, and an unfailing sense of humor!  I would unquestioningly follow Keli on any trip.

What were the top 3 benefits of taking the retreat?

The travel- leaving it all up to someone else, and having it be worth it (all of the little touches and surprises made it so special), feeling taken care of.

Being able to travel alone, yet in a group, and participate or not participate as worked for me.  Having this amazing adventure solo, but at the same time with all of these other people.  Sharing the travel, as well as the yoga, creates a kind of friendship that is unusual and pretty cool.

Feeling healthy- having some interesting changes and realizations, and growth, while not having to be too strict- I liked that there was yoga and rum punch.  And lots of humor!

About Jessica Gorman
Jessica Gorman is an East Coast based food stylist and private cook. She is also a founding contributor and manager of Wandering Star, a collective with a revolving cast of contributors who create healthy escapades involving food, art, yoga, nature and travel. Jessica currently resides in Newport, Rhode Island, however her work frequently lands her in both New YorkCity, and Vermont. Examples of her work can be found at jessicagorman.com and wanderingstarcollective.com

 

8.19.2013

Philadelphia Top Athlete

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Thank you Sporting Club Bellevue and Philadelphia for your support and selecting me as your Spring/Summer 2013 Top Athlete!  Thank you for this amazing opportunity.  I am truly grateful.

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