Just a quick little round up post of things I’ve discovered are great:
First, remember my post last month when I mentioned friend Yosra and the inspiring way she’s battling cancer? Well, you are going to want to take a look at this beautiful video with Yosra, put together by the tour crew for Beyonce. And check out Yosra’s website chronicling her fight while you are at it.
Second, I’ve read some great writing advice recently (which happened to also be beautifully illustrated). 1. Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling
And finally, I will leave you with pictures of adorable puppies. Mark and I have talked about getting a dog for years now…and I’m still not sure if we are ready. But we sure had a great time getting to know lots of great dogs and cats at Meet the Breeds today. Here are just a few highlights:
P.S. If you want to read my yoga insights, I’m writing about the power of using props in your yoga practice over on my other blog, KateAsana.
A new, possibly regular, feature.
I read a lot of different things during the week, I’m always pinning, clipping things, planning to write about them or use them to inspire something else. Of course most of them remain clipped and forgotten. So here’s my own little best of the internet this week — good weekend reading that just may inspire a Katastrophic Thought or two.
- Parents Naming Babies ‘Yoga’ ( Yoga Dork): There has been a trend for years of celebrities naming their kids ridiculous things, but now regular people are jumping on the bandwagon. A few they called out: Thinn (for the parents that have decided that their kid should have an eating disorder), Espn, and yes, Yoga. I decided long ago that in I ever have a boy I will name him Snuffleupagus, so I guess it’s OK, So long as you don’t want your kid to ever be president. Also how cute is “little baby Lupagus.”
- My So-Called ‘Post-Feminist’ Life in Arts and Letters (The Nation): A revealing look inside the the outrageous sexism that she encounter in her career as a journalist and author. This example, towards the end of the article is the most telling:
The Times’s obituary for Yvonne Brill, renowned rocket scientist, winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, leads with, “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. ‘The world’s best mom,’ her son Matthew said.”
The past is not gone. Or as Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Until it is, we should not be expected to get over it.
- Stroke Patient To Get Wish, Will Meet Bob Seger (NPR) I have a special place in my heart for my homestate hero Bob Seger –I grew up on his music. But even if I wasn’t a fan, I’d still find this story a tearjerker. This woman woke up from a coma and asked to go to his concert–not only did he and the nursing home staff make the wish come true–she went there in a limo, had front row seats and got to meet him back stage.
- Yoga Project Changes Lives In Nairobi’s Slums (NPR). I’ve been saying it for years–yoga is good for what ails you. And this story of how yoga is helping life people out of poverty, and give them hope or even just a little bit of peace is really inspiring.
- And finally, if ever there was a show-stopping argument for marriage equality: this from NPR’s StoryCorps: Adoptive Dad Dreamed A Dream That Brought Him A Son. It always gets me to hear the story of a child and dad who have such a loving relationship, how could anyone say this couple didn’t “deserve” to be parents?
One of the many great things about summer is all the free outdoor yoga classes (yes, mine included…). I’ve done yoga in Times Square, Prospect Park, Coney Island, and today after work I walked two blocks and took a great yoga class in Bryant Park. Its good to take your practice outside, experience the interesting mix of peace and distractions, and try out different teachers.
But this post isn’t about yoga, well not completely. This post is about something the teacher said in the class in the park. She was trying to get the 200 or so people in the park to do this pose:
Yeah, that’s right. It wasn’t happening. I’ve been doing yoga for 7 years, and this was nowhere near happening. And I wasn’t alone, there was probably 2 out of the 200+ people this was happening for (and even for those 2, it lasted for about 10 seconds). I have always thought of these as “show off” poses, and I’ve been fine with the idea that I’ll never reach them, I’ll give it a shot, but it’s not for me. And maybe I’m right, but maybe not. Who knows.
Like I said the yoga pose isn’t the point. It’s what she said when we were all looking at her like she was crazy.
“Another word for miracle is repetition.”
Something might look crazy, something might seem impossible, but sometimes if you keep plugging away at chaturangas, or writing, or running, or sewing, or holding your breath underwater, or baking, and one day you are in that crazy arm balance, or have finished a novel, or ran a marathon, or made a skirt, or are swimming laps, or made a cake.
Sure it’s a cliche, Rome wasn’t built in a day, if at first you don’t succeed try try again, but cliches are there for a reason. And so what if it’s cheesy, some days it might not work, but some days a thought like this may be just the reminder you need.
I read this blog post the other day about committing 15 minutes a day to writing, she makes a lot of good points in it, one being that “Repetition builds momentum.” Its hard to find a large block of time to write, so you don’t do it and then weeks or months go by with no progress, but a few minutes a day, and you have a chapter in a few weeks.
Practice might not make perfect–your novel might never get published, you might fall out of the handstand after 10 seconds, you might finish the marathon dead last but you are lapping all the people on the couch who never even get started
Remember me? It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post, but I swear I have a good reason. I got a new job!! On August 1st I started as an Associate Editor at Entrepreneur.com . I’ve very excited to be working full time again, and I’m really enjoying it so far (I must know what I’m doing with this whole blogging thing, since a large part of my job is editing their blog!).
Of course this change in my schedule means that I probably won’t be posting here as much, but I love having an outlet for some of my many Katastrophic Thoughts, so I’ll try to make and stick to a revised posting schedule. I’m thinking twice a week is probably doable.
Anyways, aside from the new job, I’ve been pretty busy enjoying life:
1) I have crossed TWO more Life Long Goals off my list
I took a 5 week sewing class at Brooklyn Yarn Cafe, and learned to make a tote bag, pajama pants, an apron, and a skirt. I even bought a sewing machine and have been doing a few simple things, I’m by no means even intermediate, but I know how to sew a little now.
this is the skirt I made!
I also FINALLY convinced Mark to ride a bicycle built for two–we rented one on Govenor’s Island, but another couple stole it from us and we almost missed our chance–until Mark said “but it’s her life long dream!” It was fun, but it turns out tandem bikes (or at least this one) are inherently sexist–the woman HAS to ride in the back (talk about a metaphor on wheels) I will now make it my person mission to have this injustice rectified.
another life long dream–check!
2) I participated in The Great Urban Race, it’s a large scale scavenger hunt all around the city–nearly 900 people competed. My team was the “Pre-existing Conditions,” it was disappointing compared to years pass since two of the clues were printed wrong leading all of those 900 people to the wrong locations (this is why editors are so important!) and a lot of the challenges were more about the sponsors’ products than mental or physical challenges.
Our Team: Shawna, me, Mark and Bryan: Pre-existing Conditions
It was still a fun day, and even though we finished in a not so great time, we won 64th place which because of a deal with a sponsor who I am not getting paid to name, means we could go to the national championship in Las Vegas (if we pay for ourselves…so no thanks). Since the race hasn’t owned up to or apologized for how they botched this year’s race, I think this might be our last year.
3) I attended my first roller derby! It was a double header starting with the Men’s team the New York Shock Exchange vs. some team from St. Louis that won, and then the main event: the Brooklyn Bombshells vs. the Bronx Gridlock. I loved it! I made a sign and cheered and had a fantastic time. The Boombshells won, and we plan to go see them in the League Championship in October. Also I may be adding another life long dream to my list: Becoming a Roller Derby Jeerleader
4) I’ve been teaching yoga in the park. I’m teaching open level donation based Vinyasa classes in Prospect Park every Sunday afternoon in August at 3pm. If you are in the city, click the link for all the details. I’m donating all the money to the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.
5) I’ve been doing lots of other fun New York City summer stuff, including seeing Into the Woods at Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park. It was the best play I’ve seen in recent memory, if you are in the city, brave the early morning lines and get FREE tickets!
We also got our wedding pictures back–more on that over on the wedding planning blog eventually, but in the meantime here’s one.
Here’s a fun experiment. Pick something, it could be anything. Say it’s babies that look like Winston Churchill. And you’ll start seeing that thing everywhere and you’ll think to yourself–“Wow there sure are a lot of babies that look like Winston Churchill in my general municipality…” But they have always been there and you just haven’t noticed.
After renting a Mini Cooper on our honeymoon, I am now noticing Mini Coopers nearly every other block in our neighborhood. I don’t think more residents of Park Slope have all decided to buy awesome cars in the last 3 weeks, it’s just that I’m more aware of them now.
So, maybe it’s just a product of being a yoga teacher, but I think I spy a new fitness trend in our midst. Combining yoga to other activities.
I submit the following as evidence:
1) Yoga and Cycling: There are numerous options for this indoor (spinning classes that combine 30 mins of cardio and 30 mins of asana here, here, here, and probably a bunch of other places). And outdoor bicycling trips that stop for yoga breaks (you can even do it all over the world! or here )
2) Yoga and Hiking or Running: Notorious purveyors of Ayn Rand philosophy and overpriced yoga clothes Lululemon Athletica have a yoga and running club (plus there’s several others). Yoga and hiking trips are exploding all over the place, there’s even one in my beloved Prospect Park.
4) Yoga and Laughing: This has been around for awhile, and is equal parts heartwarming and cheesy, but I think it could be fun but I think I’d have to close my eyes to not feel silly.
5) Yoga and Karaoke: This is the newest yoga trend (in a world where “trends” are less then 100 people doing something). “I’m on a mission to spread joy and have people feel good,” says the teacher Jennifer Pastiloff–in her Karaoke yoga classes students sing and dance while they do yoga. I have nothing snarky to say about this because it sounds like something I would really enjoy.
6) Yoga and Drinking: Okay so I don’t think anyone is suggesting drinking while doing yoga, but there’s a new yoga studio/bar that’s opening in Brooklyn–it’s a yoga studio by day and a bar by night. And some yoga studios offer special wine tasting and yoga events.
I’m sure there’s a lot more things yoga is being combined with, archery? bowling? scrapbooking? Any ideas for the next yoga-combo trend?
Yesterday was the first day of Summer, and the hottest day of the year so far. To celebrate, there was a (free!) massive (and massively sponsored) yoga event in Times Square–what started with 3 people a few years ago grew into 14,000 participants this year. It was a unique yoga experience to be sure.
I took the 3:30pm class, and when I arrived at 42nd street and Broadway (aka Hell on Earth to any New Yorker) the line for registered ticket holders winded around the block while a yoga clothes fashion show took place on the stage and blasted from the dozens of speakers. After a short wait, I was given a free yoga mat (!) and a bag of goodies from the sponsors (hummus, water, magazines, yogurt, etc) and then ushered by the NYPD to a spot of pavement smack dab in the center of it all (and unfortunately right next to a heat blowing vent for one of those flashy electronic signs).
There were peppered amongst the thousands, some hardcore yogis (there was even a couple showing off some acroyoga when the class ended), but at least around me, it seemed a lot of first timers or at least people who don’t practice regularly. Which is pretty awesome, if I was new to yoga I don’t think I’m choose a 95 degree day in Times Square with thousands of other people to try it out. And while thousands preregistered, there was also a sizable line of people (some dressed for yoga, some in business or street clothes!) that just walked up and decided to do some yoga in the middle of the hottest and longest day of the year.
The event was called “Mind Over Madness” with the tag line: ” Anyone can find tranquility on top of a mountain.
Can you find it in the middle of Times Square?” And yes, it was more distracting than a quiet zen studio class, but I’m kind of used to classes with noise coming in from the hallway or weight rooms, or from the street below, or practicing in the park with lots of noises, or in my living room with the cats going crazy and the birds chirping. And there was nary a moment of silence in the room when I taught a bunch of 5 year olds yoga. Yoga is a practice of drawing your senses inward and noticing but not attaching to the distractions and thoughts vying for your attention.
More distracting than the noise of Times Square was the spectators–dozens of people lined the barriers and just watched and took pictures and a giant screen projected the class and the instructor. I was towards the center but off to the side, so my mug never made it up on the big screen, but I’m sure I’m sweating in a lot of strangers’ photos.
It was a unique and fun yoga experience, and even if you’re not into yoga at all it’s kind of a once in a life time experience to lie in the middle of the road in Times Square and stare up at the clouds in the blue sky past the buildings.
There is so much happening in My NYC in the next few weeks, so instead of another “this weekend in my NYC” post, this one will feature all of my plans for the rest of the month. I’ll likely follow it up with an overall what I’m doing this summer post. But for now, here it goes, (what’s left of ) My June 2012 in NYC:
Thursday 6/14: Mark and I entered the online lottery for Shakespeare in the Park and won tickets to see “As You Like It” last night. I’ve lived here for 7 years (Mark has lived her for 13) and this was the first time either of us went to Shakespeare in the Park–people wait in line all day for the free tickets for these shows and I can see why–it was amazing. I really want to get to see “Into the Woods” in July or August as well.
Friday 6/15: I don’t know if we’ll actually make it to this tonight, but no matter because it’s offered every 3rd Friday from June-September: the Down & Derby Roller Disco at Dekalb Market. Last year we went to the pop-up roller rink under the Highline, and it awakened in my long lost love of having four-wheels on each foot. I picked up a sweet rainbow striped pair of skates for $9 at a thrift store and now I can’t wait to roller disco it up to 70s and 80s music. Also you should shop and eat at at the Dekalb Market at anytime during the summer–it’s an awesome market made in shipping containers with lots of great stores and yummy food (I got a cool little red riding hood teapot and a had one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches of my life there during my birthday weekend in April).
Saturday 6/16: It’s our friend Bryan’s birthday and he has planned a ridiculous 19-stop food tour..I can’t eat that much but we plan to join him for a few of the stops like brunch at Two Boots (514 2nd St. near 7th Ave in Park Slope) and ” Life Altering Doughnuts” at Doughnut Plan (379 Grand St. on Norfolk). We also plan to go for a long bike ride, stopping at various thrift stores and if we get hungry again, stopping by the Smorgasburg at the Brooklyn Flea.
Sunday 6/17: This will be our first of at least two visits to the amazing Governors Island for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. I’ve become something of a Jazz Age enthusiast in the past year. I wrote an article about Jazz Age art for Time Out New York a few months ago, and since then have gone to several 20s-themed parties. This party is not only at a beautiful location, but has great music, old timey cars, dance lessons, and so many awesome outfits. We’ll be back to dance it up 20s style again for the August 18 & 19 event. Plus I plan to cross another life long goal off my list there this summer by renting and riding a bicycle built for two.
Monday 6/18: The first of the summer outdoor movies in Bryant Park: Psycho (we will visit many of the others like Movies with a View in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Hudson River Movies, later in the summer)
Wednesday 6/20: In the afternoon I’ll be doing yoga in the middle of Times Square as part of the Solstice in Time Square: Mind Over Madness Yoga, then that evening I’ll laugh for free at the Comedy Central: Indecision in the Park at the Central Park SummerStage.
Thursday 6/21: If I didn’t get enough free outdoor yoga on Wednesday I’ll go to my first of many free yoga in Prospect Park from Bend and Bloom Yoga this evening.
Saturday 6/23: This will be my 2nd year marching in and 7th year attending the Coney Island Mermaid Parade–it’s one of my favorite events of the Summer.
Monday 6/25: Our first Yankee game of the season. My husband is a huge Yankee fan and since knowing him I’ve gotten slightly more into the sport–I don’t know that I’ll ever enjoy watching it on TV, but going to a game in person is always a fun event.
Tuesday 6/26: The Ultimate 90s Trivia Night with NY1 Pat Kiernan at the Bell House. There are 4 things that make this perfect for me: 1) I love the 90s–it was my hay day, 2) I love Trivia and am married to a trivia know it all 3) I love NY1 and Pat Kiernan 4) the Bell House is one of my favorite venues for shows. We are going with two of our friends that also love 90s and trivia- it’s going to be legendary!
Thursday 6/28: I’m going to the Marvel Premiere of the new Spider-Man movie, because I have connections..
Also happening this month: 1)My Little Sister graduates from High School, we were matched almost 5 years ago when she was in 8th grade–I’m so proud of her (she will be pre-law at John Jay College in the fall), I am going to take her out to brunch to celebrate! 2) We are going to try to get back to our favorite warm-weather restaurant: Habana Outpost 3) A friend of ours in doing an improv show at PIT 4) we might also try to make it to the Met rooftop, another summer tradition, 5) a lot of other fun stuff!
So, Barbie is a yoga teacher now. Would you take her class? I think I would just out of morbid curiosity. It would be fancinating to see how a six foot tall woman with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips could manange any balance pose without toppling over or a back bend without snapping in half.
Further more, what’s with the chihuahua? Who brings their dog to a yoga studio (besides Ryan Gosling, who let’s face it would be forgiven even if he was the one who peed in the corner)? And yes, in true Barbie fashion she’s saturated in pink and teal and as YogaDork points out resembles Paris Hilton more than any real yoga teacher I’ve ever seen.
She’s part of the “I can be” series, which features Barbie in various professions such as world’s easiest hurdle jumper, the most sparkly engineer, and a “kid doctor” (it’s called a pediatrician Mattel).
But still this is kind of a good thing, right? For one it’s a step up from the “math is hard” talking barbie–she’s likely mastered algebra if she’s become an engineer. I’m all for encouraging girls to enter into male-dominated science and math professions, but why can’s she do it in normal clothes? And the enginner and “kid doctor” seem like an anomolgy among the babysitter, cheerleader, ballerina, dancer professions. Plus there’s the whole implication that we still have to tell girls that careers, while boys’s dolls (er, “action figures”) just get to blast things and have super powers.
I digress, aside from telling people you somehow need a dog to do yoga, there’s nothing wrong with the yoga teacher barbie doll that isn’t something that’s wrong with Barbie herself (the pink, the body proportions). And as someone who has spent much of the last year teaching yoga to 3-5 year olds, I certainly think that introducing yoga to kids is really beneficial, even if they have to “play yoga” with this doll. After all when I was 5 I “played” workout with a naked doll along with my mom’s Richard Simmons records and it didn’t turn me into some nudist aerobics instructor.
We took our honeymoon driving up the California coast in a mini cooper convertible from Santa Barbara to Napa with stops in Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Napa, and Muir Woods. We flew out of San Francisco International Airport, and after a hellish unexpected 4-hour layover in LAX at the start of the trip (note: LAX isn’t a good place to be a vegetarian), SFO was like a travel dream come true.
Aside from the wide selection of food and shopping options that I’d be interested in even if I wasn’t held captive, there’s the famed new yoga room. Seeing it was like spotting an oasis–I was sad that the trip was ending and that we had a cramped 6-hour flight in front of us (don’t believe what you’ve heard about honeymoon upgrades). The room is small and dimly lit–I would guess less than 5-6 people could comfortably practice in it, and while you can still here the frequent terminal announcements, it still felt like a place of refuge.
I used the room for only about 15 minutes just before boarding my flight and there was only one other person in the room the whole time–a woman who for the first 10 minutes I’m pretty sure was napping. The room is stocked with mats, blocks and bolsters and while I wasn’t wearing yoga clothes, my traveling outfit still afforded enough movement to move though some hip-openers, twists, and a couple sun salutations. During the time I was in there, the door was opened about 10 times with curious travelers peeking in then leaving, but I imagine as it’s around for longer that will taper off. When I was done I felt soooo much more relaxed and that combined with the presence of my new husband helped me through the next 6 hours with a baby screaming throwing things at us. Every airport should have a yoga room–it makes the constant degradation of air travel so much more bearable.
(cross posted on KateAsana)
The next time you hit snooze and look for a way to justify skipping exersice think of Tao Porchon-Lynch, Guinness Book’s “World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher.” She’s 93 (the previous title was held by 91 year old Bernice Bates)
Porchon-Lynch teaches yoga four days a week, does ballroom dancing and guides wine tours in New York State (sounds like my kind of lady). And as if that’s not inspiring enough, she’s a great example that you can start any age and no matter what state your body is in. While she’s been practicing yoga since she was 8 years old, she didn’t start teaching until she was 73! Further, at 87, she had hip surgery but a month later she started dance lessons.
I believe that we can always reach just a little bit further,” said Porchon-Lynch. “I’m inspired to bring yoga into others’ lives along with helping people unearth new talents.
Now get moving whippersnappers!