Monday, December 28, 2015

What was, what is and what will be - closing out 2015

At the end of each year or beginning of the New Year I write a blog. My blog is a reflection of all that I accomplished the past year and all I look forward to in the year to come. In January of last year I closed out my blog with this:

“For the upcoming year I’ve decided to seek out and be open to more adventures. I want to travel, to continue to build Yogi Magee Expeditions, to inspire others through healthy living and to change lives through fitness. I want to expose my daughter to as much of the world as possible and hopefully teach her as much about it as I can along the way. I may be continually tired, over-worked and over-committed but as long as there is life in my veins I won’t stop moving and putting myself out there. I’m ready to learn, I’m ready to dive in, I’m ready to work and I’m ready to sacrifice now so I can live the life I want later.”

Looking back on 2015 it would seem that I accomplished this and more. Nearly every month had a highlight which sometimes involved my business Yogi Magee Expeditions and other times my family…sometimes both. So here are my favorite moments of this past year:

January: Visiting Telluride with my husband and Charlotte and hiking the Jud Weib trail that I’d previously done on my Telluride Yoga + Hiking Retreat.

February: Spending a weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch and cross-country skiing with Charlotte for the first time.

March: Celebrating Charlotte’s second birthday and welcoming the terrible two’s (which I didn’t really think were that bad).

April: Co-leading my first yoga retreat in Belize. From staying on a private island to wind sailing, swimming with sharks and sea turtles and hiking through the jungle there were a lot of firsts on this retreat for me. I’ll never forget being drowned out by the sound of ocean and wind while I was teaching or using rocks to anchor our yoga mats and late night hermit crab racing.

May: Hiking the Tetons in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and staying in a gorgeous mansion courtesy of my friend Leanne’s job at Inspirato. We drove to Idaho and had huckleberry milkshakes and had dance parties and late night hot tub sessions every night. My favorite adventure was making it to inspiration falls which we’d previously been turned back from the first year I went due to snow.

June: First camping trip of the season plus a Michigan vacation and finishing the Collegiate Peak 14er’s on Columbia Peak.

July: Checking San Luis Peak off my list, celebrating Chad’s birthday with sloshball and our Anniversary Trip to Telluride where we summited Sneffles. The end of the month was spent hard at work on my first Glamping Retreat in Walden where I had the pleasure of teaching yoga, hiking and getting to know 18 adventurous women all while sleeping in tents and yurts.

August: Climbing Castle and Conundrum Peak then leading my Telluride Yoga + Hiking Retreat which had amazing weather and awesome attendees.

September: Managed a weekend getaway in Crested Butte with my friend Michelle where I climbed Mt. Crested Butte from base to summit then experienced my first Chili and Beer Festival. My husband and I also managed a weekend getaway to hike South Maroon Peak and checked out the Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood. Also took Charlotte up her first 14er Mount Evans.

October: Took Charlotte to Steamboat for the second time in her life where we stayed in Oak Creek and climbed Fish Creek Falls. My in-laws came to visit and we hit up the Mountain Goat Lodge B&B in Salida which has been on my “to-visit” list a long time.

November: Paid my sister and friend Lisa a visit in DC on a mother-daughter trip with Charlotte and found out I was going to be an aunt! Spent our Thanksgiving in Michigan and enjoyed a weekend of snow and sun.

December: Took Charlotte on her first snow shoe trip up in Nederland and became hooked on the activity ever since. In-between having family visit I’ve been taking Sunday’s to get outdoors and snow shoe when I can since it’s a cheaper alternative to skiing. Being from the South I’ve usually shied away from outdoor winter activities and now I can’t get enough of them.  While my husband worries about Charlotte in the cold, I feel it’s important to expose her to life outside the house where she can appreciate nature and all Colorado has to offer.

So there you have it, my year in review. I typically don’t make resolutions but rather I try to evolve each year. I’m constantly thinking of new ways to expand my retreat business and build my classes at the studios I teach. I’ve met so many new women from these experiences that it only fuels my fire to do and teach more. Becoming a prAna ambassador has allowed me to teach to a different audience and reach new people who I previously wouldn’t have had the chance to meet. Next year I’m leading some retreats in places like Nicaragua and Tulum where I’ve never been and I’m excited to get out of my comfort zone. I’m going to try surfing and more stand up paddle boarding and hoping to add more 14er hikes to my list. Adventure, to me, is how one comes to appreciate life. I’ve had a lot of scary moments this year - hikes where I’ve felt I’ve gotten lost or stuck. What those feelings taught me on the mountain is that I’m even more brave and capable than I give myself credit. No matter what has happened to me I’ve always found a safe way out and have become stronger through each experience.

So for 2016 my goals are to pursue more of what makes me scared….more of what makes me fearful. Fear, on the mountain is what keeps you alive….so I have no doubt that will serve me well off the hills as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanks Lululemon and the cheerleading team for never picking me

There's no awards for being the best yoga fact that's not even a thing. It's impossible to be number one at something that's a constant practice. However, I once believed that the highest honor that could be bestowed upon any yoga teacher was being a Lululemon Ambassador.

You see I, like most people just getting started in the yoga world, once had no idea what Lulu was. I would see people in class with tight fitting spandex clothing all with the same inconspicuous logo on the back or pant leg and wonder, "what the heck is that company?" I wore yoga pants from target and old navy and pretty much any tank top I could find. I'm sure on more than one occasion I wore leggings that were see thru. Fashion, in the sense of working out eluded me because I had always just thought of gym clothing as something you sweat in not something nice. Imagine my sticker shock when I went into Lulu for the first time and saw the prices. My mom bought me my first pair of leg warmers from there that I begged for which were somewhere in the ballpark of $32. My mother in-law bought me my first top, which I'm also sure I hinted I wanted, for around $50. My husband purchased my first pair of black leggings for me which hovered around $100 and I swore was the only thing I wanted for my birthday. It wasn't much of a collection but it was a start.
remy leggins from prAna- $85 for the best butt of your life

When I became a teacher I saw other teachers becoming Lululemon Ambassadors and I thought that was what I wanted. I didn't know why I wanted it, it just seemed awesome to have a clothing company tell you that you were great. They show up to your class and make a big deal of asking you one day and then you get to teach in store here and there. I went to a few of their vino and vinyasa events which were always packed but to me didn't seem any better than the experience I had at my home studio. Why would people come and practice yoga in a clothing store sandwiched next to dressing rooms and clothing racks? Oh yes, because it's free.

I realized however, that's not who I am. I'm not Lulu material because I'm just not that type of girl. In jr. high and high school I tried out for cheerleading and dance team every year and never made it...not once. I finally, at the urging of a teacher, applied to work on the school newspaper. I showed up to school one day to a big sign on my locker welcoming me to the team of writers. It was one of the happiest days of my life to finally be acknowledged for a talent I had all along.
in Angelica duster and prism capris

Enter prAna into my life. I was connected with the manager of prAna through one of my retreat attendees and it was an instant fit. prAna makes clothing that isn't just for yoga but for hiking, rock climbing, traveling and living a well-rounded sustainable life. Rachael and I met for coffee and could have talked all day about our lives and goals and adventures. She brought me on to teach Barre in store and gifted me with some amazing pieces to start my prAna addiction  collection. Everyone who works in the store is friendly and carefree and the students come eager to work and learn. More than just the clothing or teaching, it feels like a place I can call home and the mantra of the company aligns with my values and goals. One look at the website or in store and the girls aren't standing around looking perfect with yoga mats, they are climbing rocks and surfing and living life on the edge. I even found out Shiva Rea, my sister soulmate yoga idol is an ambassador for them. It's a match made in heaven.
wearing the vinyasa hoodie

The reason I was never chosen to be an ambassador for another company wasn't because I wasn't good enough like I always was because something out there better was waiting for me. Just as with anything in life, if an opportunity hasn't happened yet it's probably because another is in the cards for you.

I started leading yoga and hiking retreats because no one else was doing them and no one else ever asked me to lead a retreat with them before. Had I been asked before I may have never started Yogi Magee Expeditions and built the business I have today that only continues to grow. Yoga teachers in Denver are a dime a dozen and prAna wasn't looking for someone ordinary they were looking for someone like me who sought adventure and was combining passions in a way no one else was. All along I thought I had to be someone else to get where I wanted to be and all I really needed to be was myself.
featuring the misty top

Had I been a cheerleader maybe I never would have nurtured my love of writing and become a Journalism major. Maybe I wouldn't have this blog you're reading now or become a part of the Denver Metro Mom's Blog. I can say to everyone out there that has a dream or goal to keep pursuing what inspires you. Follow what you are good at and instead of wishing you would get asked to participate get off the sidelines of life and jump in the game. I promise those around you will take notice. If I had never had the dream to take people glamping then yoga and yurts wouldn't have happened and I wouldn't have met the amazing women that are in my life today. Don't wait for opportunities to come go out and make them for yourself.

"Accept everything about yourself - I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end - no apologies, no regrets." - Kissinger
keeping warm in my halle pants and diva jacket!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Adventures in snow shoe hiking with a toddler

When a friend asks you if you want to snow shoe hike on your day off you say yes....even if it means bringing your 2.5 year old with you. What else would you do? Stay at home? Run errands? All those things you can do any day of your life that don't matter or won't make memories?

So you suit up and go.

And perhaps you invite your nanny and her friend along with because the more the merrier....or the more to carry her....
You go despite the 30mph winds that are blowing and despite the fact 5 miles round trip in the snow is a lofty goal. Because maybe, just maybe, in the trees the wind will die down...

You remember what it feels like to be in the woods, alone, to play in the snow and to sweat and to work hard and be in pain in your shoulders and back from the weight of that which you carry...

Breaking trail, making new tracks through the snow. You walk with the others but you also walk alone. There's something about fighting and finding your way that not only strengthens but humbles a person. You question why you'd leave the comfort of your warm house for this just as much as you question why you don't do things like this more.

There's frozen lakes and three moose. There's silence and laughter. The snow swirls around and the wind dies and the sun starts to shine just as your daughter starts to get restless and have a meltdown.

And you don't make it to your destination....but you realize the journey was your destination.

Because the people you are with...they are just as content to turn around and head back as you are. And you realize at that moment you've chosen the right type of people to be on this adventure with....people that want to help you and check on you...inspire you and take care of you. You leave with such a feeling of happiness that you can't believe it's over. So what else to do...but plan it all over again...
I cannot promise you it will be easy, but I can promise it will be worth it
Because a child will never remember the best day of her life as watching television...and no one ever frames photos of their kids playing on the Ipad.