power lunch anyone?

Thursday, March 22, 2012
Nantucket, MA.

It’s nearly 11 am and it’s still super foggy and drizzling outside… but I’ve got a good idea to beat a case of the dreary Thursdays : spend your lunch break with me today – and . I’ll be teaching the next 4 Thursdays in a row at The Yoga Room… We’ve playfully decided to call the class Hour of Power, and it’ll be just that. 60 minutes of get your sweat on, purify your chi, and rock your asana. It won’t be Slow Flow, and it won’t be Dynamic Flow – it’ll be something in between. There won’t be a dharma talk, meditation, or a savasana – you can do that at home (or at Sunday Sadhana), just good old fashion asana. The bump and grind of good music, heated ujjai breathing, you and your mat. Get in, get down, get out.

$15 drop-in, $50 for all 4 Thursdays.

~Om,
Bliss

The Places In Between

Monday, March 12, 2012
Nantucket, MA.

The Places In-Between; A Slow Flow Vinyasa Master Class with Caitlin Marcoux

 Dear Tribe, I’m excited to announce I will be teaching a special class at Yoga On Union in New Bedford, MA. on Saturday April 15th.

about the workshop:

Come explore the in-between places; the moments that happen as your asana evolves. This Slow Flow workshop will be a mixed level, down-tempo, vinyasa based class open to ANY student with a desire to take their practice deeper. Lunar in nature, this Slow Flow practice will focus on linking hip-opening and heart-opening postures with Chandra Namaskar (Suyra Namaskar C) and other lyrical vinyasas. The flow of the class as well as individual vinyasas will be meticulously decelerated so that a deeper technical understanding of the postures can be explored and greater attention can be paid to the psychosomatic experience therein.

For a Slow Flow sneak peak check out the video below. Many thanks to the two special yoginis: my sister Ariel Marcoux and dear friend Patricia Dolloff, for their participation.
Their practice brings me great joy.
Om shanti, om 
~Bliss

The Daily Meditation

Saturday, February 18th, 2012
Nantucket, MA.
 

Let’s be honest. Yoga, like life, is a practice, and I am far from practicing either perfectly. I’ll be the first to admit that I have rediculously high expectations for myself, and I’m really good at beating myself up when I fall short. I want to be able to do things, most things, (okay, everything) well, if not specatularly well. And when I don’t, which I won’t, because I can’t, I get frustrated and discouraged. And believe me, I know that as a yoga teacher this isn’t exactly politically correct to admit. I’m not supposed to be goal-oriented or ego-driven. In fact, I’m supposed to be non-judgmental, patient and compassionate with everyone, including myself. I’m accepting and understanding of everything, and I embrace all sentient living creatures with equal amounts of love. But let’s be real for a moment? It’s just not that easy.

As yogis and yoginis we hope to practice the yamas (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation and non-hoarding) and live a life full of mindfulness, and compassion. It is a noble aspiration be as mindful of our first breath as our the last, and all the breaths we take in between. For most of us, there will be breaths that will stack up as hugely alert (focused pranayam, the first breath drawn after a 90 second hold beneath the waves, an exhale which crowns a baby’s head, a gasp taken in horror or ecstasy, or the last sigh before the soul leaves the body). Others, here and there, are simply stolen from the atmosphere on autopilot, our attention diverted to the many other things swirling around in our minds. When we practice mindfullness we try to be  aware of as many breaths as possible.

Whether it’s adhering to a schedule of daily asana and/or meditation, taking my 2 year-old to the beach, or finding time to fold and put away 3 loads of laundry, one of the things that gets in my way is my desire to  do it all. Things, sometimes many, fall by the wayside-because that’s what happens with life, and  I often feel disappointed I when I don’t accomplish more. I feel bad when I don’t make time to study, and worse when I haven’t had an opportunity to reflect on my spiritual path. And I think that because I am a yoga teacher, there are times I feel an additional pressure, to navigate through my life with fundamentalist’s fever. I either berate myself when my mindfulness slips and slides: when I say something judgmental about someone, get angry at my partner, feel enraged when someone hurts my feelings, or yell at my child. Real yoga teachers don’t loose their patience with their off-spring, do they? Well, yes – actually… they do. I’ve asked around. We do. And I’m going to be honest with you: I do too.

If I don’t punish myself for being a “better yogi”, I might find myself pushing back against the practice with a rebelliousness that harkens to my angry, jaded and nihilistic 20′s: So I passed a judgment, I might say to myself, so what…everybody else does. I lost my temper; um, well he did yesterday…and so on. But this response is childish, and no less toxic that the aforementioned self-flagellation. So I remind myself, as I’m doing here, in print, that letting up on myself is the better option, and every day presents us with yet another opportunity to recommit to the path of mindfulness.

The truth is, I make mistakes. We all do. And maybe you haven’t, but I’m going to venture a guess that you’ve probably lied at some point, such as I have. I’ve stolen. I’ve acted out of jealousy, and anger. I’ve been competitive in my asana practice and envious of other teachers and students. I am extremely insecure from time to time, and especially depending on where I am in my cycle I can be emotionally unpredictable and even volatile. I don’t floss my teeth every night, and I haven’t used a neti in months. I once lost my patience with my late husband, who was dying of cancer, and asked me for a glass of water at the end of a very trying day. I yelled at him. He was dying. Did I mention he was dying? He forgave me, because he hadn’t an ounce of anger, resentment or judgement left in his body those last few weeks, he was already moving into a more enlightened state of consciousness. I didn’t forgive myself for years.

I got there, eventually, because I finally accepted that I couldn’t carry that kind of pain around with me and be the kind of person I want to be. I knew that at the time, (27 and on the brink of losing someone I was very much in love with) I did the very best I was capable of. There are other things I haven’t accepted yet, and travesties I haven’t forgiven yet but maybe, with time, and practice, I’ll get there too.

I might not, at this point in my life, be able to take a month-long retreat to India, or Bali, or some other exotic spiritual destination, nor can I bow out of my parenting responsibilities and instead bow to the feet of a guru, or keep my every thought focused on devotional intentions – and actually, if I’m honest – I don’t want to. But I can work here, within the context of my pretty awesome life, and practice meaningfully within the scope of my relationships. I can be a yoga teacher, and a yoga student. A mother and a lover.Shiva and  Shakti. I can practice patients with my son. I can practice thoughtfulness with my partner. And I can practice engaging with the people in and around me with compassion and love. My practice will not be perfect. But I am committed to being the best possible me I can possibly be.

My partner recently told me that he wasn’t interested in being in a relationship with someone content to settle for less. It’s a good thing I’m not either.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.
~Bliss
 
 

Fear & Snowboarding in Massachusetts

1
February 11, 2012
Great Barrington, MA
Butternut Ski Resort 

 

Sitting here in the snack bar at the base of Butternut Mountain, outside of Great Barrington, in an absolute shit storm of anxiety, I can’t help but ask myself why? Why do I consistently put myself in uncomfortable situations, expecting they will get easier? Probably because, on some level, I continue to expect that at some point I will somehow rise above the most basic of human emotions: fear.

Ironically I know I won’t though, because there’s no magic fear-removing fairy godmother involved. There’s only me, and the many different flavors of fear. The situations change; graduate level chemistry class, a social engagement with people I’m not comfortablHe with,a meditation technique that feels inapplicable, falling in love, travel to a foreign country, a business meeting about something that feels out of my depth, crowds, surfing, math, cancer, parenting, being alone for an extended period of time, loved ones with terminal illness, the immanent death of a spouse, pending divorce, how I might be perceived by my community for getting divorced- no lack of scary events, but I remain the same. I am the common denominator that does not change. And, though we are making progress,  fear and I are still not comfortable with each other. So here I go again, stubbornly forcing myself into an anxiety creating situation, and now I must figure out how to gracefully move through it.

All that being said, I have made some progress. As you can see from the list above, there has been no lack of opportunity. When I was a kid, I had few tools in my fear-coping tool box. But I have yoga now, and because it helps me stay grounded in the present, I have a better handle on reigning in my anxiety these days, then lets say 5 years ago? Okay, well, sometimes. I’m not doing the best job right now, but hey, it’s a practice….

It’s not a panacea for everything, but yoga helps with a great many things. It teaches us to focus not on the “what if” projections of the future but on the present moment at hand. Judith Lassiter, an amazing yoga teacher, author and physical therapist, wrote a great little chapter on Fear in her book, “Living Your Yoga”, in which she explains

One of the interesting things about fear is that it exists in relationship to the future. When there is actual danger present, I am not afraid. When you are truly present in the moment, even when that moment is life threatening, you are not afraid.

So true. Take handstand for example. The thought of practicing handstand used to scare the hell out of me. Projections about what would happen if I fell over would flood my mind, my heart would start to race, and I’d begin to sweat almost immediately. Fears about failure would take over. ‘What if I’m never actually able able do handstand?’ ‘Does that mean I have a sub-par asana practice?’ and so on… My ego would engage and become goal oriented, task driven, and a downward spiral of self-reproach would start, even before my first attempt. This went on for quite some time, until I began to soften with myself, and send myself a little compassion. Watching my breath helped me focus my attention on the sensations of my body in the present moment, I began to calm down.

With a calmer Self, and consistent practice I’ve managed to look the monster that was once handstand in the face, and the fear has dissipated. I still fall over all the time, but I know what happens when I fall, and thus spend less time projecting about what’s going to happen when I do. I already know. More importantly I’ve been able to practice patience with myself. Handstand is humbling. It’s a difficult pose, and unless you have a background in gymnastics, or your genetics simply stack up well against gravity, it’s a pretty challenging no matter who you are. It rarely happens overnight for students, and having patience with yourself is key.

Today my fear is wrapped up around snowboarding. I’ve never done it before, and now that I’m here, I not sure that I want to start. But it’s too late, we’re here. My feet are cold (literally and figuratively) and armpits are sweaty, and I wish I could jump into the rental car and drive far and fast away. I have heard stories all week long about how much it sucks to fall time after time on one’s ass, how sore I’m going to be the next day, how steep the learning curve is, and how frustrating it can be. One of my closest girlfriends told me a story about how scared she was to jump off the lift and made a humiliating trip all the way back down the mountain on the chair.

So as I sit here anxiously watching the clock,  until it’s time to wrestle with my rented snow boots and track over to my lesson, I am faced with several options: I can sit here and worry about the approaching event, and all the many different ways I’m going to fall, fail and frustrate myself. Or I can begin the practice of grounding myself in the present moment. After all, nothing bad is happening right now. 

I listen to my breath, and try to smooth the next one out. Inhale a little deeper. Exhale a little longer. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Okay, time to go.

Love,
~Bliss

yoga. yoga. yoga.

2
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Nantucket, MA.
 

Round Two: FEBRUARY Specialty Classes

Dear Tribe,

I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be running a second installment of Strong Girls: Yoga 4 Teens. Of course, I love teaching all my classes, but this one has become, by far, my favorite yoga class to teach each week. The next session of this class – strictly for pre-teen and teen girls will begin Monday, February 13th and will run for 4 consecutive Mondays from 3-4:00 p.m. Strong Girls Yoga focuses on building body awareness, self-esteem, core strength, agility and above all else CONFIDENCE.

Pre-registration and payment in full is required to secure a spot. Class is limited to 15 students to ensure individual hands-on instruction. Students do not need to have attended the first section of Strong Girls, and class is open to students with a broad rage of physical fitness. Please e-mail me with additional questions.

In addition to my regularly scheduled classes at The Yoga Room, I’m pleased to be offering 3 more specialty yoga classes this month at the Nantucket Fitness Studio: Core Yoga, Yoga for Triathletes, Athletes & Warriors and ROGA: Real Ryding & Yoga, which I co-teach with the awesome powerhouse Lisa Wisentaner – proprietor of the Nantucket Cycling + Fitness Studios.

I hope you can join us for any one of these 3 dynamic reincarnations of traditional yoga, or find me on the mat and at one of my 4 weekly Yoga Room classes.

Light & Love

~Caitlin

Beginner’s Core Yoga: This Sunday

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Nantucket, MA.

Nantucket Fitness Studio, here comes Yoga

Introducing new students to all that yoga has to offer can be electrifying. But to be completely honest, it can also be a little overwhelming – at least for me. Intermediate & advanced students are easy students: they’re already hooked. You don’t have to “sell” them anything, or urge them to have faith (at least not on a regular basis) that the yoga is “working”. They already know, just by the way they feel, that the practice is having profound effects on their lives. That’s why they’re back, week after week, class after class. But the newbies… they don’t know yet. And in fact, if they’re anything like I was, they’re probably a little bit skeptical.

I was the worst skeptic of all: As a yoga woman I was anti-new age, anti-”spiritual”, even anti-lavender. In college I chopped off all my long blonde locks, and dyed my new pixie cut black, wore nothing but wife-beaters and donned a pair of 16-hole Doc Martins. I was an Enya-knocking, breeder-bashing, militant feminist atheist.  So it’s super ironic  that I’ve ended up a home birthing, baby-wearing vegetarian massage therapist, yoga teaching Mom. And while I’m covered in tattoos and I still wear biker boots and a blade in my back pocket, you might say I’ve embraced my softer side.

It might be the yoga. Shhh…. don’t tell anyone.

Anyway, this Sunday, I’ll be back in the studio teaching beginners; a responsibility I feel 3 parts excited by and 1 part anxious about. Excited because introducing people to yoga, all of them:  the would-be skeptics and the Self-Helpers alike, is just that: exciting. For some, it’ll be a whole new world, and for me, it’ll be a whole new opportunity to serve. Anxious because it’s just not easy. Without a doubt, new students arrive to class with certain expectations. And though it’s not for me to meet them or not, it’s always a practice for me  to be okay with myself, and with yoga, when it’s seems class is falling short. I have to remind myself that yoga is not necessarily going to resonate with everyone as powerfully as it resonated with me. And even I had to get out of my own way before I could allow it to full take hold.

So if you’re reading this, and planning on coming to class (this Sunday the 15th from 11:30-12:30 at The Nantucket Fitness Studio), try to come with an open mind. You can rest assured that you will get your internal fires lit, and your heart rate up. We’ll do a little centering,  a lot of core, some stretching and even some reflection. I’ll talk to you in English, not Sanskrit (that will come later) and do my best to make things approachable and applicable. An hour’s not a lot of time… you’ll have to come back for more. ;)

Love,
~Bliss
 
at the time this was written Beginner’s Core Yoga at the Nantucket Fitness Studio was full. There is a wait list, but I expect we will be able to accommodate additional students – so please visit our website, and put yourself on the List. If the wait list is full, please be sure to sign up for the next Beginner’s Core class Sunday the 29th. 

New Winter Class Update

Thursday, January 5th, 2011
Nantucket, MA.

“ABC-DEF-GHI-JKL-MNOP-QRSTUV-WXYZ
It’s the most remarkable word I’ve ever seen 
ABC-DEF-GHI-JKL-MNOP-QRSTUV-WXYZ
I wish I knew exactly what I mean
It starts out like an “A” word as anyone can see
But somewhere in the middle it gets awful “QR” to me”

Okay, I’m covered in tiny pasta stars and listening to the Sesame Street channel on Pandora. The highlight of my day was sneaking some green juice into Griffins sippy cup and getting him to eat said tiny pasta stars. I haven’t talked to any adults in person all day, and I’m actually enjoying Ernie’s original rendition of the “Rubber Duckie” song.

This is going to be my best attempt at multi-tasking here,  so bear with me. The last time I did this, I published a post that didn’t really make sense and then regretted it later. But I’ve got a whole mess of new classes to announce and promote and I’ll be too tired to write about them once I put the little man down to bed. Anyway, I’m sitting on the toilet now and watching Griffin give himself a bubble beard in the bath. It’s pretty cute, and I’m feeling pretty damn lucky to have his particular flavor of company.

As per classes:  It looks like my next section of Prenatal Yoga is indeed going to run. (sometimes it’s hard to reach the minimum number of students I need to run the course in such a small community). Those classes (4 Sundays in a row) will begin Sunday the 29th and will be held at The Yoga Room from 3-4:oo p.m. If you’re interested or know anyone interested, please e-mail me to register this is not a drop-in class and registration is necessary. I’m pretty excited about this section of Prenatal Yoga, as I’ll be just returning from an Advanced Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, with shinny new certification and lots of new information to share.

I also have a bunch of classes I’ll be doing in association wtih the newest addition to The Nantucket Cycling Studio- The Nantucket Fitness Studio, at 9 Amelia Drive, aka the old Yoga Room “Annex” studio.  As part of Lisa Wisentanner’s Nantucket Fitness Beginners’ Series, I’ll be offering two Purely Beginner’s Yoga classes on Sunday the 5th and Sunday the 29th from 11:30-12:30 p.m. as well as a Yoga for Triathletes class on Saturday the 28th from 5:00-6:15 p.m. also a beginner’s class but with a focus on the particular needs of athletes and triathletes. To register for any of the classes at NFS, please go thru Lisa’s website.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’m also offering Strong Girls Yoga; a Semi-Private yoga class for teenage girls. This introductory yoga course is will run 4 Monday afternoons: January 9th, 16th, 30th and the 6th of February. The course is $60 per student, which is due at time of registration or at the first class this Monday. Strong Girls Yoga is something I’ve been dreaming about putting together for a long time now, and if it’s relatively successful, I hope to continue to offer. Please see the flyer below for more information.

OK. Time to get the baby out of the bath.

Om. om. om.
~Bliss

Juicing. Juicing. Juicing.

1
Tuesday. January 3rd, 2011
Nantucket, MA.

Wow… okay, so I had NO IDEA how fast I was going to rip through what I thought was a plentiful bounty of fruits and veggies in my refrigerator. Um, holy cow I’ve consumed a lot of plant matter in the past few days! This challenge (not going to the grocery store until the week’s end) is getting to get a little more difficult that I had anticipated.

BUSTED: I already had to manipulate the challenge a little this morning, when I realized that I was left without coffee beans for the week, and that Griffin was running dangerously low on soy milk. So I went. BUT, I didn’t buy any “food for myself”. Only soy for G man, and coffee – which isn’t a food necessarily. Right? Right.

Anyway, I’ve juiced 6 of my last 9 meals, and there’s very little left. What am I going to do? Take up donations? Eat less, practice more meditation? Ha, I’m going to be seeing auras before it’s all said and done.

Om,
~Bliss

A Green Beginning.

2
New Years Day, 2012
Nantucket, MA. 

It’s time to juice.

An Organized Thing of Beauty

Okay – so this week, one of my immediate sankalpas is to literally waste not want not. The idea is to NOT go to the grocery store ONCE this week. Not a single damn time!

I have a refrigerator full of organic vegetables, greens for juicing, and left over escarole and white bean risotto and lentil soup. I am not going to buy anything for myself to eat, and instead will use up every last scrap of food in this house until I run out. It might be hard to make something super sexy for each and every meal – but I think I have enough food to last me a month since I’m by myself. Not to mention the backlog of brown rice we have, and all that horrible whole wheat pasta we tried to throw out, but saved in the laundry room for emergencies.

Now that both the boys are gone for a few days, I’ve cleaned and organized the fridge, and rearranged the counter top appliances to make juicing even easier. There are bowls of washed apples and carrots, and bags of spinach and kale. I have some peeled ginger all prepped to go, pre-squeezed lemon juice, and collard greens and Swiss chard in the crisper. Where once the big stainless steal Breville Fountain Elite was pushed to the far corner of the counter and out of reach, it is now front and center: unavoidable, and will stare me down until I use it and clean it EVERY SINGLE DAY until no more juicing can be done.

The Mean Green Juicer

So that’s the gist of it. I’m going to juices as much as possible and eat the rest; even the mushrooms- which I don’t like. Let the detoxification and frugalness begin! Om om om.

Ah, dinner.

Love
~Bliss

The Artful Sankalpa

Saturday, December 31th 2011
Nantucket, MA.
 

Thursday night I had the opportunity to practice at the studio, not something I get to do often late in the week, so it was a real treat. Especially because It seems like ever since I completed the 60 Day Yoga Challenge back on the 10th of December, my asana practice has kind of fallen off the mat, and it’s amazing to me how having external motivators in place, like a challenge, can totally change the way we, or I as it were, approach self-discipline. Anyway, I was super psyched when I arrived at the Yoga Room to see that Susan had written the word Sankalpa on the dry-erase board, which is the Sanskrit word for will, purpose or determination, how perfect.

Sankalpas are intentions, similar to resolutions, and yet quite different. Sankalpas are often positive things we wish to cultivate – like peace, compassion, love, or truthfulness. Resolutions, on the other hand, are often about decreasing something, giving an indulgence up like alcohol, fatty foods, sugar, or TV… sometimes a list of New Years resolutions can feel like punishment, or self-denial.

So in this way,  a sankalpa is actually the opposite of a resolution. It’s about increasing not decreasing. And the process of creating more space for our intentions to grow, instead of the often difficult task of giving something up.  Sankulpas foster positive self-image, whereas resolutions can run the risk of making you feel like you’ve been perpetually coming up short.

Here we are on the cusp of yet another new beginning. And whether you believe this is the dawn of just another new day – which in itself is still a miracle, or if you celebrate New Year’s Eve as the end of one year, and beginning of a new chapter in your life, it is without a doubt a time when many people take a moment to reflect on the past and look towards the future with fresh eyes. The end of the December presents us with a  chance to re-evaluate where we are in our lives, our relationships, our careers and of course, our practice. So if writing down a list of resolutions is not your cup of tea, perhaps thinking about the sankalapas you wish to cultivate in the year to come will get you closer to a place of greater equanimity.`

Anyway, however deep your intentions are, or long your list or resolutions may be, I wish you many powerful and compassionate sankalaps in the year 2012. May your New Years Eve celebrations allow you a moment to be grateful for all that you have, and all the beautiful things to come.

I celebrated earlier this evening, as Griffin, Burr and I watched a Fantasia-esuqe sunset over Cisco beach on the Western side of Nantucket. The moment flooded my heart with love and gratitude as I watched my two most special people smile at the simplicity of the setting sun. Griffin excitedly  pointed to the great ball of fire in the sky exclaiming “hot” over and over again, while a big bright rainbow spanned the horizon behind us. It was the perfect ending to a transformative year.

Many thanks to all my friends, family, students, teachers and mentors for all there continued support. To my son, for giving me a reason so much bigger than myself to continue down the path of Self-realiztion. And to my partner, for nurturing me along the way.

Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu.

~Bliss

ps. I’m teaching tomorrow on New Years Day. Come join the sangha at The Yoga Room at 9 a.m.