Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Tales of a Traveling Yogi

Hello my fellow yoga friends!  Before I get into the happenings of the past few months, please allow me to indulge in a little shameless self promotion...

Vote for me

Click on that button, watch my silly video, and then "share" it via 1 - 5 methods to vote for me 1 - 5 times!  A bunch of students and friends and family members have already been sharing it around via Facebook and let me tell you, nothing warms the heart quite like one of your beloved students saying "vote for my teacher!"  

Of course, Stephanie's promo might take the cake: "Wouldn't yinz rather see this lovely lovely filming in Bora Bora or Cairo? Then VOTE FOR HER so she no longer has to make videos of Pittsburgh."  HA!

Definitely on the bucket list...doing my own Standing Bow by Machu Picchu..although it proooobably won't look like Zeb's.

If I win this contest I get to travel around the world for six months, checking off a "bucket list" of 25 activities/experiences I develop with the folks running the contest.  In exchange I provide them with a bunch of content - blogging, taking photos, etc.  And when I get back,  I get a cool fifty thousand bucks.  AMAZING.

Okay, but seriously, here are two reasons why I think I'm perfect for this:

1) I am a 30-year-old woman with no real responsibilities (family, mortgage, etc).  Until I bought secondhand furniture from my student who moved back to Germany (shout out to Barbara T as in Terhaag!) I could fit all my worldly possessions in my car.  Some might say this is "lame" or "pathetic" or "when are you going to give me grandchildren, dammit" but hear me out mom!  

I'm mature enough that the My Destination folks running the contests can trust me not to get drunk on Raki and pass out in an alley in Istanbul...but I'm young enough that I'm (presumably) relatable to the young-uns and can still do things like try to learn how to whirl like a Sufi dervish without fear of embarrassment.  So, kudos to me for still living like I'm 25!

2) The international Bikram community!  I am lucky enough to be a part of a worldwide network of teachers and studios that I can easily tap into thanks to handy 21st century technology.   The teachers from my training group alone are now living in Mallorca, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; Kona Hawaii; even Beirut, Lebanon; and then when you expand outward to friends of teachers that I know, teachers of's pretty awesome and extensive and exciting.

So, I'll be able to get a real sense of local culture from people who actually live in the places I visit, and with whom I have a very strong shared connection of this yoga love, without actually having to master the local language.  Because let's face it, I am not a language master.

So you can trust that I won't end up here...

There's more, but at this point you're so overwhelmed with enthusiasm you're saying "what's that link again??" So here it is..... thanks for watching!

P.S.  I'm not trying to be one of the five who gets the most votes because let's face it, ladies like this have that all sewn up.  But I'm sure the five picked by the judges need a fair number of votes to get their attention.  So, your help is much appreciated.  

Also, everyone who has helped me out here in Pittsburgh will be invited to my celebratory brunch at the Grand Concourse when I win.  I still can't believe how many Pittsburghers have never didn't make it into the video but it is THE BEST.

Okay, so that this isn't an entirely self-promoting entry, here are a few travelling tales of the past few months when I've been remiss as a blogger:

Over the holidays (yes, it's really been that long!) I went to the town of Lancaster, PA for a cousin reunion.  I'm the oldest of 17 total cousins on my dad's side, and since my grandparents passed away and many of the cousins went off to college and became grownups in their own right, we haven't all been together in a very long time.  

So my aunt and uncle hosted a bunch of us at their house, where we ate the same food and played the same games we remembered as kids, and added some new ones (and if you haven't played Eat Poop You Cat with fifteen people, you haven't resulted in fairy prostitutes traveling from South America to North America to find people to pinch their muffins and let's just say I haven't laughed that hard in years).

And of course, I wanted to try out the Lancaster Bikram studio, and my Uncle Steve and cousin Karla were game.  They're both hugely fit people - Uncle Steve runs his own boot camp class, and Karla can throw herself into the air with a bendy pole like this:

How does she DO that!?

So they were super awesome at their first Bikram class, and I was so touched that they were willing to participate.  My favorite moment for sure, happened during Fixed Firm, though I didn't know it at the time; Uncle Steve was struggling a bit with the form of it in the first set, so during the savasana rest in between, he whispered not-so-quietly to me "am I doing that right?  should my knees stay on the floor?" I whispered back "I'll show you in the next set," and then the teacher led us into the sit up.  

It wasn't until we were back at the homestead and Uncle Steve was telling his hilarious tale of his first Bikram experience to the assembled cousins, and he said "and then everyone shushed me!  I didn't realize they were so serious!" that I realized that the loud "SHHHHH SHHHHH" sound everyone makes sitting up for second set could be seen as an actual shushing of the newbie.  Now THAT'S hilarious.

Why yes, this WAS my FB profile photo for a while until I noticed the poster in the background...

In February I got to fly over to San Francisco, CA for a few days, my home for three years, and that was a delight, catching up with dear friends from all the various worlds I inhabited while I lived there, nonprofit and yoga and party time alike.  I taught a class at Mission Yoga which went pretty well, took classes from some of my old training buddies (look what has happened to our favorite dreadlocked yogi!!), ate some amazing food, drank enough delicious coffee to drown a small child, and, in one of the highlights of the trip, took a yoga class from one of my old favorite teachers, Sarah Baughn.

How does she DO that?!

Before class, she and I had been talking about how teaching styles shift as you grow as a teacher, and Sarah's style have shifted to a really intense, correction-heavy one.  It was amazing, and I don't think I've worked that hard since my first few months training with Zeb, or maybe even Emmy Cleaves back at training.  Sarah would stand behind me, in, for example, Half Moon and say "okay now more stomach in.  chest up.  get rid of the flat spots on the side.  Don't let go of that stomach!  now more down. stomach!" for what felt like six hours.

It was exhilarating and I felt like jelly afterwards, and I can't imagine it would be a sustainable way to practice over the long term (because I WOULD DIE) but I learned so much!


Speaking of learning so much, I also had the chance to travel to Severna Park, Maryland for a week in March and teach for Emily and Phil Vendemmia, two Bikram Yoga supastars.   There's been a rash of babies in Maryland (including their adorable nine week old son Ari) and so they were a little short on teachers.  I lived in their sweet basement apartment, taught two classes a day, took at least one class a day, and picked up a whole bunch of new information.  Emily and Phil are just the nicest, most generous people, and it felt like a marvelous yoga vacation.

This is neither good nor bad, but the Maryland community isn't quite as happy-go-lucky as the community we have here at Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh.  Case in point: at the very first class I took in Severna Park, the teacher walked into the room and said "Good morning everyone," and like a kindergartener I loudly chirped "GOOD MORNING" in response and I was THE ONLY ONE.  That was my first sign that, in Maryland, I should probably tone down the silliness.

But really, it was super fun, I can't recommend these studios enough - and I'll be back in early May!

This is how I try to feel when working on Sleeping Yogi

Oh, and while Shannon and I stayed behind and threw epic keggers in the yoga studio lobby (alas, knowing us, it would be more likely keggers full of green juice instead of beer), Zeb and Leigh headed off to New York City, NY and placed 2nd and 17th IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, respectively.  AWESOME!  They made Pennsylvania proud.  Check out these incredible routines:

So now Zeb is training for Internationals in June, please be sure to wish him luck!

Stay tuned for more exciting stuff coming up over the next few weeks... for example, I'll be teaching Nite Sweats on Friday, March 29th at 8:30pm.  This is Bikram Yoga with music, lights, dancing, and general silliness.  I HIGHLY DOUBT you can find anything more fun than this next Friday.  

Besides which, while I wish I could dance like this I generally look more like this.  Join me in terrible dancing land...AND besides which, all the proceeds from this donations-only class will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, a cause you know is very near and dear to my heart.

This is TOTALLY going to be me.

Also, on Saturday I'm going to try CrossFit for the first time (or at least, that's the plan).  We've had a lot of Crossfitters lately and I want to see what it's all about.  I MAY DIE.  Wish me luck!


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