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My Journal

May 28, 2016

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Dear Month of May,

You are rainy but I love to walk with you.

Especially at night.

I walked round the corner, passed the house that has all the kid toys,

to the Lily of The Valley by the curb, under the sappy pine tree.

I bent down, took a deep breath and smelled the sweetest spring
air, the way my mother smelled when she went out to parties when I was a kid.

Pear, ylang-ylang, and Tuber Rose.

Only this is Lily of the Valley. The deepest spring greens and bells of white blossoms.

If I knew your addresses, I’d send a bunch.

Here they are in watercolor. No bigger than a Stoned Wheat Cracker.

Tonight is the last Saturday in May.

It’s time to eat popcorn under the weeping cherry and watch the sunset over the neighbors roof.

Lavender and peonies blooming.

I love you May.

xo

Jennifer


May 28, 2016

Joy-tagious On The Steps – Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Reach & Raise

IMG_0819Things I want to remember while leading 2,200 people in yoga on the Art Museum Steps for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Reach & Raise:

1. Joy is contagious. I’m inventing a new word: JOYtagious.

2. Doing yoga in a Patagonia jacket, with 15 knot winds, on a 50 degree day in May is fun.

3. 15 years goes by fast! What are you most proud of accomplishing? Live your dreams. Now.

5. Standing below Yvette Om singing,”I give my love to you…” I thought, That sums it up.

6. Long lines of arm-in-arm tree pose and chanting, “I am living my dreams.”

7. Mothers, daughters and soul sisters together like pandas in happy baby pose.

7. The sun coming through and waving to Lu Ann Cahn, Jean Sachs, Sandra Martin, Kevin Giordano, Yvette’s family, Jonathan, students and friends = meaning and beauty.

8. Knowing that everything I set as an intention did come true.

9. The Philadelphia sky line has changed, and so has my face and body.

10 My dream: To write a book about beauty and aging and illustrate it with watercolors.

After class, an assistant yoga instructor said to me, “The woman I partnered with said her dream was to be alive in five years. She has rare cancer. I told her to keep going.”

I want to believe you can do anything you set your mind to.

So I will say, You can do anything you set your mind to.

Keep going.

Peonies, lavender and wild onions blooming.

xo

Jennifer


April 13, 2016

Reach & Raise Event

IMG_3836.JPGOn Monday morning my friend, Dawn Altman​, introduced me to Usha Lakshmi, a yoga teacher at Still Point Yoga who said, “Oh, I love yoga on the steps! My daughter and I do it every year. It’s so inspiring and it’s our thing. I can’t wait.”

Yoga On The Steps (now known as Reach & Raise) IS one of THE MOST inspiring yoga classes I know.

People often ask, How did the event get started?

Fifteen years ago, I was 35 years old, alone up on the top steps of the Art Museum practicing yoga, thinking, I have got to share, share this view, share this optimism, share this beauty and meet new people. I need to get out of my rut and expand.

Two years later, Courtney Kapp, a student who I’d worked with who recovered from breast cancer, introduced me to Jean Sachs​, President of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. At our first meeting at Yoga Schelter studio, I shared my vision and we discussed the large fund raising event on the Philadelphia Museum of Art​ steps.

The first year 175-200 people showed.

Last year we had close to 2,000. Family, friends, loved ones: All invited.

No previous yoga experience necessary. The yoga class is for all levels.

If you ever need a boost of inspiration and confidence this is your event.

Next week I’ll post on the basics of the yoga practice and the inspiring theme of the class.

Enjoy!

 


January 15, 2016

Monday Evening – Inspirational Yoga

YogaClassJennifer’s Inspirational Yoga style works for all ages and stages of yoga practitioners to feel Inspired to trust and move at their own, comfortable pace.
Classes Include:

– Inspirational Vinyasa Flow Yoga
– Mindfulness Meditation
– Breathing Practice
– Guided Relaxation

Benefits Include:
– Balance – Body and Mind
– Relaxation and Ease
– Balance, Agility, Flexibility, and Strength
– Core stability
– Letting go stress, and anxiety

All levels welcome.


November 3, 2015

On The Waters Edge at Kripalu

IMG_3943Below the Berkshire mountains, and the sound of geese, I’m dipping my toes in the waters edge, thinking about swimming out to the red buoy; about half a football field.

There’s no lifeguard on the stand. It’s less than 70-something, and I rub my goosebumps. But it’s the last swim of the summer and my bones are screaming, Do it!

Two women under the golden trees, chat and take photos.

One calls out, “Do it! Go for it! Go!”

“Yikes. It’s cold,” I say.

“Nonsense!” says the other.

“You’re right,” I say and tip-toe to the lifeguard stand, leaving my stretch pants, sweater, towel and sunglasses.

“C-ooo-old,” I whine.

“Who cares. We got your back,” says the one taking pictures.

“Okay, here goes.”

I wade into the gravelly sand.

“Yikes. Cold. Go!” I say, lifting my shoulders and sucking in my stomach. One more deep breath and I lounge forward and begin to paddle, head up and dry. I’m kicking and breathing and stroking.

“Whoo-hoo!” I call out.

“Whoo-hoo!” they echo.

Six years ago I swam out and around the same buoy while attending a writing workshop at Kripalu. Now I was co-leading a retreat called Being Fully Alive with Cara Bradley at Kripalu and leading a meditation and writing workshop.

Earlier that day, while checking-in at the front desk, I noticed my name tag said: Faculty.

I kick, breathe and sink my head under the water and say Heaven. It sounds like: Haa-bin.

Rounding the buoy, I backstroke. A fireworks of autumn trees frames the lake. I’m in no rush for shore.

Magnificent, I say to the sky.

My eyes, face and lips descend into the water and towards the fire of leaves again and again as I crawl towards shore.

I wait until the last possible moment to touch bottom, icky, gooey.

The taller of the two women, take my picture before I grab my towel and says, “Amazing and worth every minute, right?”

“Yes!”

Before the gold flame dims, we take each others pictures and turn to walk up the hill.

Five days later I find and read this poem by David Whyte.

The Journey

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes
of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light
fades quickly now,
you are arriving.


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