Where in the World

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 4.55.51 PM.png

I am writing this at an old wooden table, sitting on an old wooden chair, with the above lush landscape directly in front of me. Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to cut it. Breathtaking might.

I recently realized that in the midst of the working two jobs, test-taking and friends-visiting madness of July, I haven’t made it super public that I’m spending this whole month of August out of the U.S. of A doing the things that nourish my spirit: yoga, writing, and exploring new places. So I’m using this post partly to brag about being in Italy right now facing the picturesque view and also to articulate just what it is that I am doing during a full August off, and why.

The best way to explain this is also my favorite way to plan for a yoga class: through themes. Each leg of this five-week trip has a different theme. I’m sharing them below.

Italy: Pleasure

addtext_com_MTY1ODMwMTY3MTcy.jpg

photo via cocceto.com

I am currently in Tuscany on a yoga retreat with the talented Francesca Bove and a dozen-plus lovely yogis. It’s only day two and so far, I went on a run / walk through the hills surrounding the villa we’re staying at, dined on a breakfast of fresh-cut prosciutto, eggs and muesli, took an hour-and-a-half-long yoga class, and sat by the pool to read and nap. The theme of this trip is pleasure because too often pleasure gets misused in the work-hard, play-hard culture New York City immerses itself in. Pleasure, in a relaxed way, means (for this trip) not only drinking a glass of wine with dinner, but going on a wine tour. It means eating slowly to taste the most subtle flavors of artisan olive oil…and attending a tasting at the vineyard it’s made at. It means practicing yoga with an abundant view of the Italian countryside, and it means putting sunglasses on during savasana and letting the sensuous sensory experiences Italy is so known for marinate so that there can be space to take it all in.

England: Literary

addtext_com_MTcwMzM0MTY3MjY1.jpg

photo via britishtours.com

Right after this retreat, I’m going to England to take two continuing education creative writing courses at the University of Cambridge. This year, when I took Teaching of Writing as part of my graduate program, I had a lot of feelings surrounding wanting to make sure that I am a teacher-writer / writer-teacher, and not only a teacher of writing (I’m studying to be a middle school English teacher). In other words, I want my practice as an educator and as a writer to disrupt the narrative of “those who can’t do teach” and change it to “those who can do teach.” I also have an extraordinarily hard time writing in New York City, and I’m sitting on quite a few works in progress. I would say that I need to carve out the time, except for the fact that with my working-grad school schedule, the time just simply doesn’t exist, and I’m starting to think that small geographic changes to encourage creativity can be a good thing. We can do it all…just not all at once, after all. But back to my plans for the trip! While I am spending the weekdays intensively writing and attending plenary lectures, I’ll spend the first weekend in Oxford doing a tour of the medieval literature that was born there and hopefully getting enough free time to go to the Bodleian Library for the Jane Austen exhibit! That second weekend, I’ll be in London (yay!) and plan on going to the British Library, as well as both Daunt and Persephone Books!

Finland: Design

addtext_com_MTcwMDQzMTY3MjEz.jpg

photo via finland.fi

I’ll be spending my last 10 days of this trip in Finland with my boyf who’s moving there for the academic year. He’s moving there to study wood architecture and I’m traveling there so that we can experience Finnish culture together before his courses begin. Finland has a magnificent history and practice of design in both broad and specific ways. Finnish society seems to set itself up for success using infrastructural and architectural design. During this trip, I want to attend some art festivals going on and explore the amazing architecture throughout. I want to focus on something that I really do believe is the backbone of how society functions: design. I want to be able to carry that knowledge with me into all that I do because it can only help when we see the world through a variety of lenses including though not limited to pleasure, literature, and design.

The NYC Summer (Sand) Bucket List

As I write this, sitting at the airport about to board a flight to Nantucket for one of many getaways this summer, I semi-ironically decided to write a post about the city I tend to leave so often these hot few months. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I love New York with all my heart. I was born in Manhattan, raised in Manhattan, left to Connecticut for College, and then to Portland for AmeriCorps, and then I returned to the city that birthed me. I return, again and again, because wherever I go, I am a New Yorker through and through. I’ve been a New Yorker in Oregon, in California, in Cuba, in Florida, and all over the globe really. And while staying in NYC 24/7 is definitely unsustainable for me (hence the frequent getaways), there is so much the city that never sleeps has to offer…especially in the summer!

Here are my recommendations for what to do during a summer in NYC (all tried and true, I promise!).

Shakespeare in the Park

 

I miss the days of camping out in Central Park, getting kicked out when the park would close, and then ushered (pun intended) back into the outskirts of the Great Lawn. Shakespeare in the Park is one of my absolute favorite initiatives in NYC. Put on by the Public Theater and held at the Delacorte Theater smack dab in the middle of Central Park, the whole experience from waiting in line for hours for those FREE tickets to seeing the show itself is so, so special and worth it. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is headed into its third week!

Outdoor Yoga

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 3.52.41 PM.png

There are quite a few options for this one and I’ll list all of them below. All have rotating teachers. Click the links to find out more. Oh, and all except the Laughing Lotus one are fo free!

Smorgasburg

static1.squarespace.png

Smorgasburg is this former Portlander’s dream. Series of the most gourmet and hipster food trucks line up in both Prospect Park and Williamsburg. There are plenty of picnic tables and small bites to enable trying out a wide variety of yummy-ness.

Wanderlust 108

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 3.55.25 PM.png

I ran the 5K and did the meditation + yoga in this mindful triathlon almost two years ago and it was such a highlight! Find out more by reading a former post here. It’s coming up in the beginning of September.

The Rockaways

18040.jpg

photo via nycgovparks.org

My mantra for beaching it up in the Rockaways is as follows: TAKE THE A TRAIN! Last summer, I seem to have forgotten that I am in fact a New Yorker and let the boyf drive and finding parking was one of the most miserable beach experiences of our lives. If you go, suck it up and take the A to the depths of Queens. Get off. Walk a few blocks to the boardwalk. Grab arepas and taro fries (a must!) at Caracas. Then, find a spot on the crowded beach and soak up the sensory overload…and the sun.

Summer Yoga Teaching: July

IMG_4728.JPG

July Yoga Teaching

Saturday 7/1 5:45pm (60 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

Monday 7/3 7pm (90 min) Vinyasa 2 at Harlem Yoga Studio

Thursday, 7/6 7:45pm (60 min) OmPower Flow at One Yoga for All

Friday, 7/7 10:45am (75 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

Wednesday, 7/12 5:45pm (60 min) Community Class at Harlem Yoga Studio

Thursday, 7/13 7:45pm (60 min) OmPower Flow at One Yoga for All

Friday, 7/14 10:45am (75 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

Wednesday, 7/19 5:45pm (60 min) Community Class at Harlem Yoga Studio

Wednesday, 7/26 5:45pm (60 min) Community Class at Harlem Yoga Studio

Thursday, 7/27 7:45pm (60 min) OmPower Flow at One Yoga for All

Friday, 7/28 10:45am (75 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

The theme at Harlem Yoga Studio for July is third chakra – manipura – and the theme at One Yoga for All for this month is “letting go.” The third chakra is centered around personal power – our core (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). Its element is fire and its actions are those of transformation. Pairing this concept with “letting go” has been an exercise in the true meaning of yoga itself: union…in order to find balance. The third chakra is often misperceived as the chakra of control – of toughness – yet the work of transformation cannot be done without letting go of that which does not serve us.

More specifically, because this month began with a long weekend that encouraged us to reflect on the state of the country – of the world – I decided that I wanted to focus my classes on how we can use this sense of personal power and letting go of that which takes us out of the present moment to focus on kindness. The yoga practice can fuel our ability to be kind in the world, if we use it to nourish ourselves from the ground up. And so I continue to close my classes (and this blog post) with a poem to inspire a fruitful transition from savasana into the rest of the waiting world.

IMG_4773.JPG

Read the full poem here.

Want to stay up to date on my yoga goings-on? Follow me / the blog on Instagram at @growinguponom! 

 

The Yoga Teach Recommends: How I Spent My 4th of July Weekend

I am rarely in the city on July 4th (and yes, I am one of those painfully self-aware obnoxious New Yorkers that refers to this one tiny city as the city). Yet this summer, I had so much travel planned before and after the holiday weekend that I knew I’d need to spend this holiday weekend at home…and it was just so fabulous! Walking around New York and simply living my life minus the massive crowds in the heinous humidity and work / giving myself the abundant permission to relax…it was just what I needed. I went in with very few solidified plans. It turned out that most of my friends were in town as well and equally excited to take advantage of the manageability of this usually chaotic urbanity. Being patriotic and therefore consuming media and doing activities that encourage critical thinking and deep questioning about the country we live in can – and, I think, should – be done all year round. Take what you like from this post and do it / consume it any time of year.

This Fourth of July weekend,

I ran…

The Rise Up 5K

I’d been training for this 5K for a few months now and am so humbled by and grateful for the process of steadily improving at something with a beginner’s mind (post on why I run forthcoming). I did it with my friend E and we accomplished our one goal: to run the whole way. As we exited Corona Park, we reflected on how great it felt to run for such a good cause (the proceeds / registration fees for the Rise Up 5K go to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Immigration Law Center, the Trevor Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I can only assume that they’ll continue happening across the country and cannot recommend it enough (lots of people walked the whole way as well – it’s a 5K that’ll meet you where you’re at)!

I did yoga at…

Laughing Lotus and taught yoga at Harlem Yoga Studio.

IMG_4741.JPG

the lovely Laughing Lotus welcome area

I lounged in…

Central Park’s Great Lawn.

IMG_4755.JPG

 

I ate at…

Community Food & Juice (for that post-run brunchy brunch) and Sweetgreen. I love the summer seasonal menus at both of these spots!

 

I listened to…

This OnBeing episode on the power of telling all of US history, especially the parts white supremacist culture has tried to hide all these years. It blew my heart and mind wide open all at once.

TIK14.067-HR.jpg

image by Titus Kaphar / Jack Shainman Gallery, via OnBeing.org

The Hamilton Mixtape. Not gonna lie. I was pretty hardcore about having this playing the entire Fourth of July. The Hamilton Mixtape takes history – a complicated, convoluted, amazing, and often deeply problematic set of narratives – and breathes life and power into it so that we can use a recognition of history on our own terms to understand how to shape the future. BTW, “Helpless” by Ja Rule and Ashanti is my absolute favorite.

download-1.jpg

Civics 101 (Podcast). This podcast is amazing! In short (10-15-minute long) episodes, Civics 101 is a podcast from NPR that explains the roles of various jobs in the White House and essentially, how our government functions (both in its intended ways and in the inadvertent roles it takes on).

icon_512508710-4a932100b360584c5e29bdc53951f0ad7eb5d3ec-s400-c85.png

How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend? What are the ways in which you stay civically engaged? … What’s your favorite song on the Hamilton Mixtape?!

written at moss cafe while sipping my very first matcha latte