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Finding a Bit of Tranquility in the City of Brotherly Love

Feb 12, 2012 // by admin // Blog, vacation, Yoga // No Comments

Every February I make my way to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, to attend one of my fraternity’s annual leadership conferences. This February, I also made my way to find a dose of tranquility. I arrived in Philly at 8:15 AM yesterday and after settling in a bit, I met up with one of my first Tranquil Space (“TS”) teachers, Colleen at Dhyana Yoga to take an all-levels vinyasa class together. (We actually have been planning this for over three months.)

We went to Justin’s class at the Rittenhouse studio. It was exactly what I needed yesterday – a perfectly paced, challenging, core-building, sweat-producing yoga class. It’s been a while since I sweat this much and it felt great. We started the class right off with slow (5 breath) navasana crunches. The sequencing was intense at times, a lot on one leg, and holding poses for five long breaths before transitioning – but that was all part of the challenge. Justin emphasized not only finding your edge in each asana and listening to your body, but also pushing up against the edge to see if you can find a new edge. Although I wasn’t finding my way into handstand at each opportunity that arose, I did find myself having done over 120 navasana crunches to build core strength, flying into bakasana (crane), twisting and flying into parsva bakasana (side crow), and pushing myself beyond where I might otherwise stop. It was awesome. Next time I’m in Philly, I will be going back.

My brunch - the Healthy Elvis - it was delicious

After class, Colleen and I met up with a former TS tranquility concierge – Lisa, who’s also in Philly now, at Continental for brunch. Lisa’s been pursuing her 200-hr certification at Dhyana Yoga and Colleen is actually exploring one of their immersion trainings. We enjoyed a delicious brunch, while talking about yoga, teacher training, and life. It was really cool how Tranquil Space brought us all together. I even brought some of the new TS flair for them (maybe you can see it in the picture of the three of us).

Lisa, Colleen, & Lisa

After brunch, Colleen headed home, while Lisa and I made our way down Walnut Street to do some shopping. We had a great time making our way into Lululemon and then getting a little lost in Athleta – we found a few too many great pieces to outfit us for teaching and taking class, even bought a matching top, because it was just too cute. It was so much fun.

pants and patterned top from Athleta, blue & gray top and gray top from Lululemon

After the great afternoon out and about, i headed back to my conference. I had such a wonderfuk afternoon. I am definitely planning to get back up to Philly again soon for another visit filled with yoga, friends, and shopping.

Celebrating the Season…

Jan 4, 2012 // by admin // Blog, Events, food, vacation // No Comments

There were so many posts that I wanted to write over the course of the last month and with all the holiday cheer, I didn’t quite find the time to write them, so I am playing a little catch up this first week of the new year. Here are some of the highlights of my holiday season…

A Girls’ Night Out for the Holidays with some of the girls

We enjoyed some good food…

house fries with truffled parmesan

mushroom pesto pizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

white pizza with basil pesto

fried deviled eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, we had a great grab-bag.

the grab-bag

 

And here are the girls…

Abby, Jessica, Amy, & Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alison, Nicole, & me

 

 

I went home to NJ to celebrate Christmas. It was a great time with my family, getting opportunities to catch up and have a lot of fun.

me on Christmas Eve with my parents Christmas tree

 

 

 

I came back from a great trip home with my family to Virginia to host a game night for me and some of my friends on New Year’s Eve. It was a great way to ring in the new year.

New Year's Eve game night - playing team trivial pursuit

New Year's Eve game night - playing team trivial pursuit

New Year's Eve game night - playing team trivial pursuit - our trivial pursuit host

 

New Year’s Eve was a blast, as was the rest of the holiday season. This was truly a great holiday season, and although I’m happy that things are slowing down, I’m excited for what the new year is going to bring and hopefully, seeing all of these friends and more throughout 2012.

How did you spend your holidays? What are you looking forward to in the new year?

 

Bookending a long drive with yoga

Oct 6, 2011 // by admin // Blog, vacation, Yoga // No Comments

copyright: Tranquil Space, LLC

This week I’m spending some time in NJ with my sister and nephews. I visit them a fair amount and this trip is special because my younger nephew just turned 1. And 99% of the time, I drive up to NJ. Sometimes, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the time to take a yoga class either right before or right after the 4 hour drive, which I’ve often found can help combat some of the usual stiff and tight feelings all around my body after the long drive. This trip I made a decision that I would bookend my trip with yoga. I had the time, so why not. So, yesterday at 12 noon, I could be found at Tranquil Space‘s Arlington location for the noon on-the-go (a one hour mixed levels vinyasa class). And at 6 PM, I was at Dancing Foot Yoga in Red Bank, NJ in a mixed-levels anusara-inspired slow flow class.

This is the first time that I took yoga on both ends of the long drive and I have to say, it was wonderful. Mary Catherine’s class at Tranquil Space Arlington on the front-end of my drive was a nice primer for the road; it warmed up my body and opened up my quadriceps, hip flexors, and hamstrings, preparing me for sitting for the next 4 or so hours. It also helped me open up my chest and back, as it’s incredibly easy to get closed off and tight when you sit behind the wheel for long periods of time.  If I didn’t end up with the opportunity to take class when I arrived near my destination, I felt like this had been a great way to kick off the long afternoon ahead. Tranquil Space is my yoga home and it’s where I teach. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to take this lunchtime class, which only happens on the rare occasion that i’m home on a weekday.

copyright: Dancing Foot Yoga

I was fortunate yesterday that the traffic was moderate and I made it to the local area in time to have an option of yoga classes to take. For as much as I thought I would take a class overlooking the beach, I decided to go with my go to yoga studio, Dancing Foot Yoga. When I first found Dancing Foot Yoga, they primarily offered Iyengar and Anusara style yoga classes. They’ve recently updated their schedule to include more varied offerings. The studio space is on the third floor of a three-story walk-up. It has high ceilings and hardwood floors. This was the first studio that I found in NJ, when I started looking for yoga studios near my parents. And I’ve found that almost any trip that I have time to get into a studio for my yoga practice, I have visited them. Last night, I went to Emily’s mixed-levels yoga class. What was cool is that she recollected me from when I attended a workshop she lead back in the winter – Anusara-inspired Neck & Shoulder Workshop. Emily is certified in the Anusara tradition, but began her practice with the Ashtanga tradition. So, last night, she lead us in an anusara-inspired slow flow. Lately, I’ve been craving slower more alignment based flows, so this was perfect. It was exactly what I needed after the drive. I came out of the practice feeling very relaxed and my body felt very open.

Bookending my long drive with yoga felt so great. It completely combatted the usual stiff and tight feelings that I often have after a long drive. I feel like I can say that this would feel great on any long trips, where you sit for hours at a time – trains, planes, or automobiles. It’s definitely not always feasible, but to the extent it’s an option or that even a short home practice to bookend the trip is possible, I am going to try to start making this into a habit.

What are things that you do to help prepare your body to travel? How do you avoid the stiffness that often comes with long trips where you sit for hours?

All about relaxation part 1 (a bit of a travel journal)

Jul 25, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events, food, vacation, Yoga // No Comments

After much planning and a lot of expectation, I find myself in an oasis, where I’ll find friends, brotherhood, yoga, food, pool time, and relaxation – not necessarily in that order. Yesterday was an incredible first day. After what is probably one of the smoothest first travel days of a vacation I’ve ever had, I ran into some friends, grabbed lunch, and unpacked, before the planned highlight of day 1 – a manicure and pedicure at the spa’s salon.

My toes in Marley by ZOYA

The salon was like a normal salon, but my nail technician was amazing. I had a 50 minute manicure, followed by a 50 minute pedicure, which included a full hand and foot massage (respectively), mask on my forearms and calves, and some nice conversation about this local. It was so good that I decided that a massage was in order for today. I get manicures and pedicures pretty frequently, but there was something about it after flying that made it that much more needed. And it really was great.

After the relaxation, I got to spend some time in the pool and hot tub, just relaxing and enjoying being on vacation. Got to catch up with friends before realizing it was time to go to get some food. And I have to say, I wish the restaurant we went to was in the DC area:

True Food Kitchen – Biltmore Fashion Park

True Food Kitchen is a dream for anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or on a gluten free diet. The menu items are labelled and there are multiple options in each category. I started my meal with a Cucumber Refresher. It is almost exactly like the Cucumber Lemonade that I love from Sweetgreen in DC. It was so refreshing and definitely nice after a late afternoon outside by the pool.

Me & my Cucumber Refresher, a cucumber and honey lemonade

And then, because I just can’t seem to stay away from pizza, I had to have one of True Food Kitchen’s vegetarian pizzas. It had all my favorite things on top, plus a bit of a surprise – Kale Pesto. It was delicious, the flavor combination (sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, pesto, mozzarella, and touches of olive oil) was fantastic. I did almost completely clean my plate. Everything was so fresh, and the crust was perfect, thin under the toppings and thick around the edges for holding. The flavors were absolutely incredible. I think I might try making a kale pesto when I get home. If I have a chance to get back to True Food Kitchen before my trip ends, I can’t wait to try something else.

Sundried Tomato & Olive Pizza w/ Kale Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella

It was a great meal, preceding an incredible light show, – a.k.a. thunder and lightening storm. Happily, the storm put me in bed around a normal local time, so that I could be up after 7 hours of sleep (a full night sleep by my book, even if that meant being up at 6:00 AM). Waking up to a gorgeous, warm, and relatively dry morning, I rolled out my yoga mat on my patio for a 60 minute yoga practice.

mat, towel, block, strap, and some new readings
the view for most of the practice
the view while looking up in trikonasana (triangle pose)

It was a wonderful practice. There’s just something about practicing outside, the energy that comes from being in nature, even if it’s a manmade oasis. I put on a little music, listened to the fountain from the pool next to the patio, and allowed myself to flow. I played with some different standing flows and who knows, they might make an appearance in a yoga class sometime soon. It was great to just let go and not have any expectations of myself.  And as I sit here and type this, I’m happy to share these first experiences of my relaxation – making time for some self-care, enjoying good food with friends, and taking time out for my practice. It’s the first full day of relaxation, which is off to a great start. Now time to get out and start the day.

Happy Monday! Namaste.