Dates. I am talking Calendar dates. If you opened this thinking you were going to read about those other kind of dates then I am sorry to disappoint you. I have always remembered significant dates just like dad. Today is one of the more joyful and memorable dates. Do you have any dates that you remember each year?
April 8. My sister’s birthday. Today’s a pretty special one. Happy birthday to mi Hermana! I love you. I hope you have an awesome day and that the year ahead is very happy and healthy. Happy big sister’s day!
1 year ago today a beautiful baby arrived.
2 years ago today I ran my first race.It was a half marathon in Punta Cana. Don’t laugh, I had only been running 6 weeks. On days like today I am glad I blog my races so I can look back. Wow, what I have learned over the past two years! I wonder in 2 more years how much I will grow.
21 years ago today on April 7, 1994 we said goodbye to my grandpa. I remember the night my mom received the phone call and the chair I sat in as I listened from across the counter in the kitchen. I knew what had happened. I was 14 years old and still remember the feelings that night. Every year on April 7 I remember the passing of my grandpa and also remember some of our most special times with him. I don’t recall ever bringing up this day to my family but today I decided to call my mom and remind her. We talked about our last memories with grandpa… the trip mom and I took to visit him just weeks before he passes away and mom brought up a meaningful experience in my life at the age of 13. Even though he was ill, he and grandma traveled to attend this event because it meant so much to them. Mom recalled how chipper, happy and how much energy he had at that occasion. I remember one moment so clearly when grandpa and I stood on the Bimah together as he told me how proud he was of me in that moment and he also mentioned how proud he was of my mom, his daughter, for something specific he explained to me. The picture above is from that event. I remember how much I loved to write, mail and receive hand written letters to and from my grandparents when I was in elementary and middle school. As I write about this right now it occurs to me that this is where my habit and passion for writing began. I’m glad my aunt returned this letter to my grandparents back to me from 1988.
After swim practice tonight, for the first time in years I felt sensitive thinking about the passing of my grandpa. 21 years later I felt sad. I could hear his voice, mostly his laughter. Then I heard my grandmas voice too. Vividly remembering her singing a song she used to sing. I remember liking it so much that one day I kept asking her to sing it over and over while secretly tape recording her until she realized it. I was probably about 8 years old. I looked through my boxes of photo albums and came across my album from the event at age 13 and found a beautiful album and a book my aunt put together for us of my grandparents lives. I plan to read through the entire book before I sleep tonight. There was also a loose two page letter that first fell out of the book. It was a heartfelt handwritten letter my mom wrote me as I prepared to go to college at the age of 16. Seeing all of this tonight made me glossy eyed, but happy. The book includes pictures of things my grandparents loved to do. There’s pictures of grandpa gardening- something he loved to do, and other things they enjoyed doing. There are personal letters about the memories of my grandparents written by each of their kids (my mom, aunts and uncles), their hand written recipes, and letters grandpa’s brother wrote to family while he served in World War II. The book ends with one of the last letter my grandma wrote to her children. Grandma passed away on April 3, 2009.
I remember a very happy, compassionate, accepting, loving man. A grandpa who constantly gave love and laughter to his children and grandchildren. I still remember what it felt like each holiday season when we’d drive 14 hours to my grandparents, pull in their drive way, and run to hug them. I still remember what it felt like as a kid to hug my grandma and grandpa. I’m not sure why I don’t know the exact birthdays of my grandparents and yet somehow I remember the days they left. I guess in some ways I celebrate on these days the story of what they taught me. They remind me to be a loving and passionate person. They live on in my memory. I will always remember my grandparents. Remembering grandpa today. With love…
You are moving away in the morning. You are sitting on my sofa across from me for the third night in a row…talking about the things we talk about, and laughing at the funny and special ways we are connected. You think I’m also working on my laptop as we chat… and I am…but I’m taking a moment to write this because I don’t want to look up and tell you what I’m feeling right now. I want our last evening to be peaceful and happy.
You are headed somewhere else and even though it is somewhere familiar to you, you are still about to navigate all that comes with newness. Excitement, relief, settling in, and the unknown that follows. I will still be here. And life will keep moving forward, and we’ll still be friends although our coming days will be quite different. This makes me both sad and happy. But know that I am happy for you.
It seems like over the past year I’ve had to say goodbye to the people I am closest to. This one is no easier than the rest. With just a few weeks notice that you’d be leaving, it hasn’t really seemed real that tomorrow you will be gone. Maybe I just don’t want to face it but tomorrow I do not have a choice. I know we will stay in contact, no matter how terrible I am at text and chat. I will make efforts to improve these skills. The people who are about to meet you will love your joy, laughter, loving nature, calming presence, pretty face, positive energy and healthy lifestyle. I hope they know what a gift they have.
I am so lucky to have spent these last three days and nights together. Wherever I am, there will always be a place for you. So here’s to us, our friendship, the passions we share, and to all of the ways we connect and understand one another. May you have a safe and joyful journey, Ashley.
p.s. You are gone. Walking you down to your car just now ached. It’s now real. Farewell, friend.
I don’t blog about birthing nearly as much as I’d like to but tonight I had to share this beautiful birth. What an amazing dad doing skin to skin with his baby at birth amongst many other incredible things. What a beautiful couple and family. A truly beautiful birth captured by nhancephotography. Thank you for sharing.
It occurred to me this evening that my departure for Hypnobabies Instructor Trainingis just four weeks away. It’s so exciting although it’s time to really buckle down these next two weeks to finish the course requirements in order to be able to attend training. Everything is due by April 3 and I still think that I have a ways to go. My six book reviews are completed and I’ve finished Power of Birth Languagecourse and exam. That class was one of my favorite parts of the course so far. I’m part way through the 50 hour Hypnosis Training Course and look forward to completing it along with the study guide and exam. I know some of the ladies in training are already finished with all of the requirements and it seems like most are ahead of me. It’s tricky (often exhausting) to balance studying, two businesses, and training for Ironman. I am passionate about all of them and they all mean so much to me. There are days where I wake up a little overwhelmed and sometimes ask myself What do I need to do first? How do I fit it all in? When is it acceptable to make a little room for my social life? Lately I look at where I am and all that I have left to finish over the next two weeks and I believe this is the first time that I wonder if I may fail. Wait, no. That can’t be true. This only occurs for a brief moment before I remind myself of the power of language, my thoughts, and that what I focus my attention on will bring me my outcome. I am trying to remind myself that this isn’t the first time I have had high pressure under tight deadlines and I’ve somehow always pulled through. Occasionally the pressure enables me to exceed my goals. I have a choice. I haven’t failed yet. I have committed to this course because it is so incredibly important to me. Tonight is another Friday night dedicated to studying. I have two weeks left to focus and complete all course requirements. Before I know it I’ll be boarding the plane to New Orleans for training and soon after that I’ll be a Hypnobabieschildbirth education instructor. I must remind myself of what I have accomplished in the past and then envision the future. Focus on failure and you will become one. Focus on success and you will become one.
Why do I love teaching yoga to moms-to-be? Teaching prenatal yoga is a different experience than teaching my other yoga classes making it one of my absolute favorite yoga classes to teach. There is great joy, special energy to experience, and I have great appreciation for each moment shared in each and every prenatal class.
As a yoga teacher, prenatal yoga teacher, and birth doula, some of my birth clients and yoga students ask me whether or not it is okay for them to attend general yoga classes that are not geared specifically to soon-to-be-mamas. Yoga classes can be modified during pregnancy with guidance from instructors who have some background on yoga for pregnancy. You’ll want to avoid some things like heating breath work such as kapalbhati or bhastrika, jumping, twists, core work, deep forward bends, postures done on your stomach and back without props and over-stretching in general. So what’s left? Trust me…. LOTS! Some people think prenatal yoga is gentle yoga– it isn’t. It can be gentle if that is what you are looking for but it doesn’t have to be. Private small group prenatal yoga series are designed specifically to fit and meet the desires and needs of expecting moms. Just like any other yoga class, prenatal classes can be anything from most gentle class with emphasis on birthing affirmations and meditation to a very active class working up a light sweat. Most of the women I’ve worked with are looking for a nice balance of exercise, gentle stretches, relaxation and meditation. The one thing all prenatal classes have in common is that they are all beneficial to pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum. While parts of a prenatal class may feel just like a “typical” yoga class (I use the word typical lightly as there’s so many types of yoga) most of the poses, stretches and sequences in a prenatal class prepare women for the new life they will bring into the world.
I’m so happy about the private group prenatal series I started teaching this afternoon at Priya and look forward to learning more about these five ladies goals over the next four week. If you were in my class this afternoon, please feel free to provide me feedback after classes or if you prefer you can always call or email me. I truly appreciate the time you are taking to do something so beneficial as you prepare you to meet your baby. I want to ensure that I create a space where we accomplish all of your specific goals so it is extra important in these classes for me to learn what you are comfortable sharing with me and to hear your honest feedback.
One of the best professional and personal decisions I’ve made to date is my decision to become a prenatal yoga teacher and birth doula. Over the past few years this opportunity has filled with so much education, happiness, love, hope, optimism, growth and strength from all of my yogi and birth doula moms and dads. Thank you to the ladies who joined me this Sunday afternoon. I look forward to seeing you again next week.
December 21. The Winter Solstice means the shortest day of the year is here which also means we begin to receive one extra minute of daylight every day until we spring forward again. I meet myself on the mat to greet the summer and winter solstice. I began this morning with my new weekend ritual arriving the yoga studioone hour early on either Saturday or Sunday with a light Vegan breakfast, coffee, water, and something inspirational to read. Fifteen minutes before class I enter the heated studio for meditation while I lay down usually choosing Supta Baddha Konasana with blocks (heart bench). This beautiful pose will lift and open your heart while gently opening your hips and shoulders. It occurred to me during this time that the solstice fell on the beginning of the new holiday week which also means I welcome a significant new age in the days ahead. Birthdays are an opportunity to reflect, give thanks, set new goals, and celebrate all that we have become.
Justine led an incredible class this morning which was one of my strongest practices of the month. When I refer to strength in yoga I not only refer to physical strength but also to mental and spiritual strength. My practice today was graceful. As I flowed smoothly I became fully aware and in tune with my body, my breath, and the strength and grace of my practice. Physically graceful. Internally graceful. As the year draws into the the final days all that was in 2014 fades away as many sit at the fireside feeling the heat anxiously trying to get it “all” done, realizing there is much we have not done. Pausing, let’s take a moment to realize it is now of no matter and give thanks for all that has been. Stop. Connect. Breathe. Three words to help ground you and connect you during a season that can sometimes lead to more stress and anxiety, than joy and cheer. Funny how the word “holidays” can be synonymous with leaving behind the stress of your daily life, to be filled with the stress of obligations that don’t quite feel like much of a holiday at all. The year has been both light and dark. On the darkest day of the year, may I ask you to consider taking a few moments to reflect on what this word “holiday” truly means to you? I invite you to create space for the things that mean the most to you. Focus on creating time for yourself and for those who are important to you. Fill these final days of 2014 with love, joy, movement and connection to yourself and those around you as we move gracefully into the new year.
I’d like to start my Friday morning giving thanks to the kind guy who paid for my parking at yoga this morning. I went out last night and as I approached the meter this morning I realized that my credit card was in last night’s purse. I already got a ticket at yoga for being 3 minutes over my paid meter time a few weeks ago so I figured I just wasn’t meant to practice this morning. But then the nice guy standing next to me with a yoga mat asked if he could cover my parking so that I could still get my practice on. So yeah, his kindness and 5 bucks made my morning. It’s those little acts of kindness that often make someone’s day so I’ll try to do the same for someone else this weekend.
Class began and the instructor asked us to start in Tadasana (mountain pose). Basically standing up tall and bringing awareness to the breath. Somehow my head still wasn’t functioning well because although I heard her, I took myself into Uttanasana (forward fold) with my head reaching down towards my mat while gazing between my legs at the the people behind me. I wondered why everyone was standing up while I was bent forward with my tailbone reaching towards the sky. TA-DA-SA-NA, Keli, TA-DA-SA-NAHHHH. As I quickly brought myself to stand and join the others in Tadasana I smiled, laughed inside, and gave thanks for being present on my mat this morning. 75 minutes later I walked out the door feeling a total yoga buzz and pumped for a productive day ahead. Feeling totally with it now and wonderful! Namaste.
Begin your Thanksgiving with a yoga practice embracing gratitude. A fun and invigorating class that uplifts your spirit and makes your mind and body feel great too! An all levels moderate Vinyasa practice for experienced yogis and those who are brand new to yoga. It is best to practice yoga on an empty so before you feast join us for this donation class.
Begin your Thanksgiving Day by connecting with yourself while making a difference. 100% of your donation will benefit Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation – MMRF to support the research and development of a cure for cancer. Suggested donation $20. Please share and invite friends. Class is limited to 35 participants.
I am so incredibly excited for the opportunity to guest teach at Priya Hot Yoga, Philly’s newest yoga studio, on Thanksgiving morning. Come check out this beautiful studio and start your thanksgiving giving thanks on the mat.