Springing forward

Are we there yet?Here we are with crazy weather for the first official day of spring. Stormy drifting snow with icy road conditions made for a tense and treacherous drive to the airport. Never before have I been so grateful and excited to leave behind a Canadian winter. So here we are: my dream has finally arrived, after months of a long harsh cold haul that had me itching to escape to warmer climes. We’re finally on our way to Spain! Don’t get me wrong. A well earned tour through various yoga studios in the Toronto area with our yogaFLIGHT flair has me grateful to have had the time that we did connecting with an ever expanding community. Yet I am thrilled to be springing forward on this marvellous equinox evening to the warmth of Europe.

It’s been a long time it seems that I’ve played tourist abroad. Spain will be an incredible adventure that hasn’t any set direction or expectation, apart from milder sunnier weather :).

Lufthansa rocks!Landing in Frankfurt after a wonderful Lufthansa flight has me on top of the world, although I feel physically drained and exhausted from little sleep over the past week. Several all nighters this past week took their toll as we crossed the Atlantic; I crashed deeply and soundly for much of the flight. I’d highly recommend the exceptional friendliness and attentive courteousness of the Lufthansa staff. The german culture with the meticulous emphasis on detail has me happy to recommend and fly with this airline anytime!

Meeting with our friend Mic at the airport has me grateful for world travelling friends who go out of their way in being hospitable. I’m constantly reminded by the generosity and lovely spirit of my friends in this lifetime. How lucky am I to be living the dream life that I am?! This trek into the European unknown has me excited about sharing it with my husband and best friend.

What excites you about travel and springing forward into life? What has you most grateful about journeying into the unknown?

I Married Up!

This would be our final morning yoga class of Alumapalooza 2013. With 23 people in attendance (many of whom are returnees from their first-time yoga experience here in our yoga tent this week and from previous years), we felt very privileged to build and share in the community that has grown at this field location each Spring in Jackson Center Ohio, end of May. For three years running, we’ve volunteered our yoga services to the greater Airstream collective, cultivating a sense of yoga solidarity and exploration that didn’t quite exist before in Jackson Center. We have always enjoyed the prospect of returning to the Mothership of Airstream’s birth and revisiting with our Airstream family (once a year gatherings it seems). It’s amazing how an aluminum home can draw such reverence, interest and pride.

I was thrilled to be offering a yogaFLIGHT class for kids with slaDE, once again. But in actuality, it’s more of a giant play session. My husband has such a wondrous knack with teaching children, skilfully weaving an engaging and spellbinding varying story that has us adults enamoured with his style of yoga play. This year, we taught something near and dear to our hearts … the 12 young participants learned how to skydive, from exiting an airplane, teaching them how to ‘steer’ their canopies, to landing with a finesse and flourish. And of course, slaDE took them all for an ‘airplane’ ride afterwards. A few of the children stayed around afterwards to try out some of the more involved yogaFLIGHT moves that we play around with … ‘4 Step’ and ‘Shoulder Stand’. The boys did marvellously! I had to laugh when the one young boy, who was being spotted by our friend Kelly (while I roamed to take photos), exclaimed rather independently: ‘I’ve got this’ ~ translation = “Don’t spot or support me. I want to try this on my own”. 🙂

Antsy Maclean finished off a magnificent day with a rip-roaring spellbinding evening of 3 hours of raw wicked talent, interlaced with many an Airstreaming song. Antsy is definitely a favourite with this rVing crowd :), especially when he sings songs like: ‘I Married Up’.

It being the final farewell evening to spend with friends here at Alumapalooza, we chatted and cuddled, sang and laughed until our weary bodies begged for rest. Oh how I will miss our friends! Until next time, fare thee well ….

Yoga and Alumapalooza 4

Alumapalooza 4: Our 4th year of returning home to the Mothership! Airabella’s birthplace, 22 years ago. Oh how we love to return home. I liken a trip to the Airstream factory as a trip to the ultimate candy store. 🙂

Our first official day as this years Alumapalooza Yoga Instructors started out beautifully with our 7:30am yoga class … 20 people in total! The weather was pure perfection, and with a freshly raked mown lawn under the big top tent, the earthen carpet for those to practice on was soft, clean and so very compelling in its true connection to Mother Earth, in every sense of the word. I love it when  people who are new to yoga, make the effort to come to our morning classes, never having attended any sort of class before. From the outset, we were very clear that these classes were purely a practice of breathing and stretching where we learn to listen to our bodies. Becoming attuned to one’s senses and connecting with in the inner world can be a very new experience for many. Any of the extra benefits of yoga (such as flexibility and strength) are just that … additional perks rather than goals. No excuses necessary or allowed! We had 7 new attendees, 4 of them new to Alumapalooza. YAY!

I learned a lot today from the multitude of discussions being offered in the main tent …. many great tips on rV Organization by a new friend Ramona Creel, the tech tips behind axle replacement on the Airstream by our friend Colin Hyde (we are possibly due to replace all 3 of our tandem axles). I had a tremendous amount of fun learning how to fly a trick Revelation kite (‘The Rev’), with Joe and my hubby. Roving Happy Hour was a wonderful success! We’ve been hanging with a similar group for the past 3 nights, and I’m thoroughly enjoyingWe were very blessed to have lent to us the wide variety of personalities, talents and knowledge base of these various new & old friends. It’s been such an amazing day of weather, warm sunshine, a cool breeze and endless blue skies. We topped off our day with sunset kite dances. Spectacular! Life is pretty incredible and amazing.

Hippie Dippy

Another cool yogaFLIGHT experience in the middle of our day, driving through Indiana en route to Jackson Center Ohio for Alumapalooza 4. After an amazing unexpected skydiving pitstop in Fort Wayne Indiana, slaDE and I decided to stop for a quick toilet break and food stop. In western Ohio on Route 20 (Woodville), we stumbled upon the coolest diner I’ve ever had the pleasure of discovering and eating at. The Speed Trap Diner had the neatest hippiest dippiest signage and decorations EVER! The ladies bathroom was über cool as well, with a Marilyn Monroe iconic theme. The pictures will speak for themselves!

I also love the fact that slaDE dared the local waitress to experience a yogaFLIGHT, even though she had never heard of acro yoga and was completely reluctant and skeptical. I can’t blame her really, after seeing and photographing us geeking the camera yogaFLIGHT style.

Everything is AWESOME about this pitstop. Oh how I love being a photographer / journalist / yogi nomad (a yomadic hippie ?? :))!

Snow days in Texas

The threat of snow forecast for tomorrow has many Houstonians scrambling today, including many of the schools. Can you believe that the schools actually released the children either at mid-day or canceled attendance for both today and tomorrow — snow days, in Texas! How crazy is that? Anticipation of bad weather sends the city reeling until warmer temperatures step above the freezing level. For example, the shopping mecca of Market Street in the Woodlands was scheduled to close at 5pm … the Lululemon store is situated there, and for us, that meant our 5:30pm yogaFLIGHT workshop was unfortunately canceled because of the city’s ‘cautiousness’ (can you say paranoia?) over the potential threat of snow for this evening. What?????? Yes, if you’re a Canadian (or someone who lives in a snowy climate), you’re probably thinking the same thing that I am :).

Talent Contest

slaDE came in to the Airstream today, grinning from ear to ear, mentioning the idea of entering in to tonight’s annual Skydive City talent contest with a little demo of yogaFLIGHT. I was thrilled at the prospect …. why not get the yogaFLIGHT word out there?? Little did I know that there would be prizes for such an event.

With only 6 acts, some of them strange and skydiver funny, I was actually quite shocked to hear that we had won first place. BONUS!

The booty?

  • 3 jump tickets
  • 3 pack jobs
  • 3 drinks from the bar
  • a Skydive City t-shirt

Way to spread the love!

yogaFLIGHT on the Outer Banks

Thus far, our experience of North Carolina has been amazingly incredible adventure, sharing the journey with both old and new friends, generous in their hospitality, graciousness and spirit. It’s hard to believe that just under 3 weeks ago we left Canada. We didn’t expect to spend this much time in North Carolina. But I am so happy that we stopped to smell the roses, allowing for the opportunity to explore the State and discover the people more fully.

We started our morning off with a bike ride around the Wright Brothers Memorial. We knew that today was our last day in the area (on this trip anyway), so I really waited to revisit the Kill Devil Hill monument and Wright Flyer jungle gym. I took notice of the thickening clouds before we left, but really didn’t think that the rain would affect us, with only an hour out on the trail. Wrong! On our return from the Monument, the rain started to pelt us with growing fury. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh at my silliness for not bringing rain gear along with us. I actually enjoyed being caught mid-ride, delighted by the fresh smell of rain and nature as it soaked us to the core.

What started as a suggestion for a yogaFLIGHT demo with our hosts David & Kelly, at the yoga studio which he works out of (Outer Banks Yoga and Pilates, owned by Michelle ) turned in to a spontaneous complimentary yogaFLIGHT workshop with 11 participants wanting to play and fly! What a fabulous way to bookmark our trip here on the Outer Banks.

Play. It’s a lifestyle and a choice.

yogaFLIGHTplay |plā|

verb
  1. [ intrans. ] engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose : the children were playing outside | her friends were playing with their dolls.
  2. activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, esp. by children : a child at play may use a stick as an airplane.
  • To engage in sport or lively recreation; to exercise for the sake of amusement or enjoyment; to frolic; to spot.
  • To contend, or take part, in a game; as, to play ball; hence, to gamble; as, he played for heavy stakes.

Women skydiveAs children, no one questions our right or ability to play, to laugh and be joyous, to have spark, vitality, and take flight, to be whomever we imagine or desire to be, with no apparent reason. As a child, we give and laugh and love unconditionally. We plaY! But why is play limited to childhood development and growth? Why must we stop and grasp reality by the horns as an adult, often forgetting about our free and unstructured spirit of pleasure and release, of imagination and frivolity? If you seriously look at your spirit of play, is it limited to vacation time and summer holiday weekend getaways or drunken nights where one can let loose and reinvent the play somewhat forgotten? I’m relearning to play again, to let go and just be, as whimsy takes me, no commitments beyond that of my web work, my spouse and my family. To follow my bliss, of sorts. Playing with my yoga practice, yogaFLIGHT (which is ALL about play), my waking and sleeping hours. The release is incredible! I’m growing and flourishing, although it may not appear so on the outer edges. My inner world is expanding, joyously free. I am SO blessed. Learning to play and imagine and be authentically truly mE. No excuses. Loving life. Divine.

Have you made time to play today?

Yoga rocksYoga is such a powerful tool, offering so many benefits beyond the physical and mental. For example, stress and anxiety relief. I love to center myself through focussed yogic breathing, slowing down my heartbeat, especially in situations where anxiousness does not serve me (such as when climbing to altitude in a jump plane, about to catapult out into the big blue unknown ~ aka skydiving). yogaFLIGHT is awesomeWhen I teach yoga, I love to see the reactions of those both new to the practise and those who flourished through time and dedication. Especially in teaching yogaFLIGHT workshops or even offering demos for the first time, the experience for most is unlike anything they’ve ever had, literally turning their world upside down. The rewards for offering play and light into our daily life can be joy-enhancing and life-changing. It can evoke imagination, generate curiosity, foster empathy, and of significant importance to us, it can build community. Often when we approach older adults about the benefits of yoga and the joys of yogaFLIGHT, we’ll hear such reactions as: “I’m too old for that”, “I’m not flexible enough.”, “I’m too heavy”, “I don’t think I can trust my partner (base) that much.”. Our challenge lies in teaching those with resistance to play that the joys of yoga and yogaFLIGHT is for all people, at all ages, at all times, regardless of body type, condition or age. For everybody and EVERY body (lovingly dubbed by our yoga mentor and quadriplegic friend Mary-Jo).

Dr. Stuart Brown, the founder and president of the National Institute for Play states that “When one really doesn’t play at all or very little in adulthood, there are consequences: rigidities, depression, no irony — things that are pretty important, that enable us to cope in a world of many demands.” He suggests that play helps us learn empathy, trust, and problem solving, and also enables us to develop our talents and character over our entire lifespan.

As play is woven into the fabric of social practices, we will dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children and the capacity of our corporations to innovate.

Here’s to playing more in our daily lives, creating an attitude of self-expression and pleasure that permeates everything we do, breathing joy and bliss in to an enhanced existence, living and playing with 100% of our being and essence.

** For those interested in learning more about yogaFLIGHT and our yoga classes, please feel free to . slaDE and I are more than willing to offer our passion for play and skilled instruction to those willing to take the leap in to the unknown, flying beyond the boundaries of keeping ones feet on the ground.

The LongLong Goodbye

Aluma-AfterParty:

John DeereI’d say about 1/3rd of the rally particpants left Alumapalooza yesterday in between the deluge of rain storms. A combination of the mugginess and sweltering moments of fiery sun had dried up the ground enough for a lone John Deere tractor to pull out eager rally-goers, wanting to leave before the mass Sunday exodus would start. What wasn’t expected by me at the crack of dawn was an all-too-familiar ‘alarm clock’ sounding, transporting me back to days of life on the farm, where tractors were a daily part of my existence. The John Deere was at work for most of the morning, a beacon of green to the silver bullets fearful of being stuck in the mud. Luckily, we were in no real hurry to leave Jackson Center. I in turn wistfully watched the continuous departure of Airstream by uniquely different Airstream, sprouting wings for their next destination, many making a beeline towards home, others off in search of new adventures and drier pastures.

The beauty of having a non-fixed schedule lies in the ability to be spontaneous and therefore open to opportunity and circumstance. Such began our day … our plan initially had been to depart straight for our friend’s Ash and Celeine’s Oz Homestay Bed & Breakfast and Skydiving Center. However, with the potential for hanging out longer with some of our new-found wonderful friends, enjoying the Alumapalooza after-party, we couldn’t help but be swayed in to staying another evening, parked on terra firma at the Terraport.

tractors on paradeOnce we were settled in to an open slot at the Terraport (Airstreams parked in every nook and cranny … we were lucky to find an available opening), we sat down for a lovely meal of leftovers from a delicious Indian feast that Eleanor had cooked for the Europeans mid-week. What an incredible cook she is …. and her brownies are to die for :).

The Jackson Center Community Days parade capped off our week of Airstream fun with a healthy dose of antique tractors, twirling & marching bands, and a squadron of antique & modern day Emergency Service Vehicles. Jackson Center is certainly proud of its community and the local residents came out in force to celebrate and show their appreciation.

yogaFLIGHT was on the agenda with several of our amazing new friends. The blue skies with a puffy cotton ball backdrop amidst the blossoming trees made for fabulous photos amidst all the shining aluminum.

friendsTo top off a perfect gorgeous Spring’s day, a group of us went out for a fantastic meal in Sidney Ohio at ‘The Spot To Eat’ restaurant (I highly recommend the Buffalo burger on a rye bun). Made for a fabulous evening of entertainment with 10 animated interesting people sharing amusing stories and kindred spirits.