Monday, November 6, 2017

A moment to introduce myself

Hi. This is me, @yogimagee otherwise known as Natalie. That's my husband and daughter and vizsla Bebe in the photo you see. Just a friendly reminder that I'm a real person and so are the members of my family. I share my life on this blog and social media and I know by doing so that means I'm taking a risk of opening myself up to criticism. But let me remind you, again, that I'm a real person with real feelings and this blog is for me and my intended audience. If you don't like what you read here I have a handy tip for you, close your browser and move along. I keep my comments open for those who truly value what I have to say and have questions to ask. The comment option on my blog is not so anyone can leave their hate filled comments on my page. So it's really as simple as that - don't like what I say, keep scrolling. Don't want to attend one of my retreats? Then don't sign up. Have your own opinions? Start your own blog. It's really as simple as that.

I don't welcome negativity here and that's not why I started this blog. Again take a good look at the photo above. I'm a real person, this is my real family, and I'd like to keep sharing my life through photos and adventures but I ask that you respect the people in the picture above by keeping any rude or hateful comments to yourself.
Thank you friends!

What Remains: How a Car Wreck Brought us Closer

****This post also appeared on Denver Metro Moms Blog***
At the beginning of August, I was in a car wreck. It was a Friday and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” was playing on the radio. I was in a good mood because my husband had called to say he was going golfing with a friend and asked if I could bring his clubs to the office. My husband rarely ever makes plans with other friends on a whim, so I was happy he was going to get outside and enjoy the beautiful day. I often feel guilty because I’m home during the day (I work nights) and get to take advantage of the outdoors all the time while he works and our daughter is in school.

Just as I was exiting off I-70 towards downtown on the I-25 interchange, it happened.

Red tail lights. Traffic coming to a complete stop. People slamming on their breaks. Me not being able to stop fast enough. A car in front of me I didn’t see there a moment before. Perhaps he changed lanes at the last minute. I’m not sure, I was singing and happy and that’s the last thing I remember before the impact.
There was smoke in the car. My face hit something and my head flung back. My arm was white hot and I looked over and it was covered in blood. The hood of my car was bent up in some unrecognizable shape. I waited to be hit from behind, but thank goodness that didn’t happen. I sat in the car not knowing what to do. I pulled down the vanity mirror to see if my nose was broken. We had just gotten new brakes, new tires, and I had gotten a car wash and vacuum. I was supposed to sub a barre class at a studio I teach at that evening. I was at a complete loss of what to do next.

My car, as it turns out, was a complete loss.

My husband and I are not a one car family. He works downtown and I’m a flight attendant. Our daughter goes to school and I teach exercise classes. I run yoga retreats all over the state and hike in the mountains in my spare time. My schedule is all over the place and though we live in walking distance of a Walmart and biking distance to some breweries and the Westminster light rail, life is easiest for us with two cars. We didn’t have gap insurance on our car and we had only paid on it for three years, so once it was totaled out, our insurance company made us turn in the rental car. Not having gap insurance means we owe on a car we don’t have anymore, which puts us in a position where we can’t buy another car until the previous wrecked one is paid off. So life after my car wreck has become interesting and frustrating all at one time. One thing I didn’t count on, however, is how having one car has brought our family closer.

We were busy.

Here’s how our afternoons went once upon a time. On the days when I would fly at night, my husband would take our daughter to school in the morning and pick her up after work. I would come home from flying and nap, then in the afternoon go to teach at 4:30pm. Sometimes I’d go straight back to the airport after teaching, which meant I wouldn’t get to see my family for a few days, even though I was technically “home.” If I didn’t have to fly after flying I’d be home around 6pm from teaching, we would eat dinner and then put my daughter to bed. Sometimes I’d be the one to take her to school the next day and my husband would leave for work, then I’d run errands before teaching again. 
Since I’m a part-time flight attendant and have some flexibility in my schedule, I haven’t been flying as much now that we only have one car. Now if I do, my husband has to drop me off at the airport at night and in the morning I have to take the light rail, then the free mall ride downtown to pick up his car at the parking garage near his office. When I don’t fly, he rides his bike to the light rail and takes it downtown, but there are still days when I teach that I have to pick him up first… he drops me off at the yoga studio, I teach while he picks up our daughter, then he comes back and gets me. Sound confusing? It is. Every day we have to plan out our schedules and what make sense and who needs the car for what. To make matters worse, the only car we do have is a big diesel truck that requires a huge amount of space to park and has to be turned off in the Starbucks drive-through so they can hear you order. 

What has become ideal, however, is the amount of time we now spend as a family. Not flying so much has allowed me to stay at home and take my daughter to school, get the laundry done, clean the house, walk the dog, write, go hiking, and everything in-between. My husband’s health has improved because he’s riding his bike to and from work and we spend less money in gas (plus one less car to be insured). Since he drops me off and picks me up from teaching and flying, there’s no guessing on his part where I am and when I’ll be home. Taking the light rail from the airport to downtown has allowed me to get some reading time in and manage my time on my Instagram account, which is an integral part of my small business. We grocery shop together, spend time working on the yard and spend less time apart as a family. My friends have been saints, offering to pick me up to adventure or borrow their car when they are out of town. People really come through with you in times of need and though it’s not perfect, I’m enjoying our time as a family and trying to find the silver lining in the wreckage. 

We won’t always be a one car family.

In time, we’ll have the other paid off and be able to purchase something else. Then I’ll most likely be back to flying and teaching more, and our lives will go back to being busier. However, my car wreck taught me to slow down and enjoy the every day moments – and I won’t forget that. It has brought our family closer, and I’m thankful.
I consider myself fortunate to have no more than a scar on my arm, as my constant reminder of that day. I also feel fortunate that my daughter and dog weren’t in the car, and the person I hit was not hurt.

Sometimes we get in a rush and when we aren’t vigilant with our attention, accidents happen.

I can’t go back and undo what happened, but I consider it a waste if I didn’t learn anything from that day. Not having two cars isn’t the worst thing in the world and, if anything, we’ve realized it is possible to get by on less than you think you need and get closer to the ones you know you need. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Why Adventure Costs Money....and why you should be happy to pay it

Let’s be clear about one thing: Yoga is not a hobby.

I recently posted a notice about one of my Yoga and Hiking Retreats next year in a Women’s Outdoor Facebook group. I’ve had several ladies from this group join my retreats before and thought it would be a good way to advertise my trip since this adventure focuses on all things outdoors. At $450 for three nights and four days which includes apres hiking soup, dinner and breakfast, your stay, 4-5 yoga sessions plus guided hikes and swag (because who doesn’t love a free Yogi Magee hat and tank top) it’s one of the most affordable trips I do. Sure, prices have increased from what I was charging a few years ago, but that’s because I’m more experienced now, there’s more of a demand to join my trips, there’s only one of me to lead them and honestly, I have to make a living as well.

So I was a little taken aback by a comment from a girl who scoffed at the price of my retreat in the comment section under my posting. Not only was she complaining the cost was almost as much as her rent (where do you live in Denver btw where rent is less than $1k a month?) but she likened yoga to a hobby that only elitist could participate in.

This coming from someone who’s in an Outdoor Women’s Group where people regularly look for suggestions on $500 (minimum) backcountry ski gear set ups, talk about the merits of ski passes, compare $1k to $4k mountain bikes, etc etc.

I kept my response to her brief but polite. However, part of me was raging on the inside. Since when is fitness, mental and physical health a hobby? Why is it considered bougie to have a yoga studio membership or attend a weekend long retreat to reset your mind and body? This girl went on to say she usually camps alone in dispersed camping areas and hikes because she doesn’t have the money to spend.

Oh but darling, you are spending money.

That food you bought to go camping? That’s spending money. The gas it took to get you out of town to that remote camping spot since you refuse to pay $20 a night at a real site? That’s spending money. The sleeping bag, tent, grill, hiking boots, air pad, maps, backpack, camel bak, water filter, camp stove, propane, camping chair, cooler with beer, tires to get you in the back country, bug spray, (get my point yet?) that you packed up to take with you? That all cost money at some point or another as well. But, like your daily Starbucks, you’re willing to pay because it makes you happy. It makes you feel good to get out in nature and spend $5 on firewood and ice to have a nice fire and spend your time watching the stars over Netflix.

I get it.

So let me explain, what it is you’re paying for when you join a yoga retreat my friend. You’re paying for someone else to plan the trip for you, do the cooking, schedule your day from adventures and hikes to yoga and meditation, secure the location 6 months to a year out and put down a deposit so that you, my friend can decide last minute you want to go somewhere. You’re paying for someone to bring an assistant to make sure you’re safe, to take photos of you on a badass camera so you don’t have to take selfies on your iphone, someone who finds other badass women to join so that you can make friends in a pressure-free environment, someone who tells you what to pack and when to show up so you don’t have to think.

You’re paying for an experience that you wouldn’t otherwise have because maybe your friends aren’t into hiking and back country hut trips and you have no one else to go with. You’re paying for someone to lead you to an alpine lake you wouldn’t have known was there so someday maybe you take your kids or husband back to that spot.

And yes, that’s a luxury.

So if $450, or $600 or $800 or whatever seems too pricey for you and you’d rather go at it alone. Please, by all means, plan your own adventures. But don’t balk at the price and turn others off to an experience just because you’d rather pay money for cable TV than save for a yoga retreat.

You’re not my market anyways….

(but if you are check out for all my retreats or email to be added to my mailing list!)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Bash and Dash: Outsourcing my daughter's Birthday party

Last year for my daughter’s birthday I really went above and beyond. I spent an exorbitant amount of money on cake, cookies and blueberry pies in the shape of butterflies. I had a fairy garden made, I hired Tinkerbell to come to the party, bought balloons and even borrowed a bounce house to inflate for the kids. My invitations were custom made and full of glitter and Charlotte had her own look alike Tinkerbell outfit. Even with all my perfect Pinterest party planning the inevitable happened – people cancelled last minute and only 8 kids showed up to the celebration. I’m sure Charlotte wasn’t devastated by I was and I vowed after eating the last of the leftovers by myself I wouldn’t go overboard on her birthday again.

So this year I outsourced.

We hire people to clean our houses, do our dry cleaning, teach our kids how to swim and even walk our dogs. Why shouldn’t we hire someone to do our child’s birthday party for us? When I found out the place she takes gymnastics at on Monday’s offered birthday parties I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough. I’ll take the Big Birthday Bash please – the one that includes invites, 2 hours of fun, set-up and take-down plus goodie bags. I wasn’t about to have another party at my house where no one showed and I was left to do all the work.
I credit the other mother’s at Charlotte’s preschool for giving me the ideas. The past year she’s been in school she started to get invites to other children’s parties. Seeing these birthday bash’s hosted at places that didn’t include a home address sparked the idea. I vowed I wouldn’t go overboard like I did in the past and that the party would be the gift. I only needed to bring a cake and that’s all I told myself I would buy. A birthday party for less than $500 would make my husband and bank account happy plus no house cleaning before and after. A win/win for all.

Of course, I didn’t exactly follow my plan. I spent $168 on a cake and cupcakes from Valhalla Cakes in the Highlands but the princess castle funfetti cake tasted as good as it looked:

I also had custom cookies made by CookieCoterie, a lady I found on Etsy because, honestly, who doesn’t love a good cookie? The amazing part was, however, I was able to drop off all the treats, decorations, light up wands, noise makers and balloons at the site of the birthday party and they set everything up for me. We arrived to a beautiful party room with a table set up for the kids to eat and the cake and favors on display. I always purchase a book for my daughter on her birthday for people to sign and they made sure it was at the front by the waivers for the parents to fill out. Once all the kids arrived the girls there entertained the kiddos for an hour with games, gymnastics moves and music. We ordered pizza which arrived right on time and the hostesses served all the little ones while the parents chatted and ate. They then brought over the birthday cake, dimmed the light and led the birthday song before cutting it and serving that or cupcakes. We opted not to open presents so after the kids ate the teachers let them play in a giant castle they had created from gym mats. At the end they corralled all the children for a group photo, helped us carry the presents to our car and sent everyone off with a free class and goody-bag.

Much like a wedding coordinator, these party hostesses kept us on schedule and the momentum going throughout the evening. They made Charlotte feel like the special girl that she was by letting her lead the activities but treated the guests with equal kindness. We had a lot of friends there with their second babies so, for them, it was a lifesaver to have someone else dole out the food and beverages to their child. For me, the best part, was not having to clean my house beforehand, getting a chance to talk to all my guests and walking away from the party without leftovers or a destroyed living room. We celebrated with a trip to the brewery afterwards.

My husband, who isn’t much in favor of grand birthday gestures, was sold. He 
made the comment that never again would we have a party at our house. While it was fine for the first three years, it was nice to be able to invite up to 20 children and not worry about the ramifications of everyone showing up. Ironically we had 13 attend this year and I believe there’s something less intimidating for people about showing up at a public place rather than a private residence.

While I know I don’t have to plan anything for another year, I’ve already been online researching where we can hold our next birthday bash. Outsourcing our party planning was the best investment I’ve ever made in our mental sanity and, just like hiring a house cleaner, now I can never go back to my life prior.
Maybe I’ll even actually follow through with not going overboard next year….

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How to avoid adult diapers: a kegel journey

I remember the first time it happened to me. I was about 6 weeks post-partum taking a bootcamp class at the training center where I currently teach. I went to the instructor’s class who was subbing for me while I was on maternity leave in hopes of supporting her and getting my body back. Somewhere in the middle of burpees and jump roping it happened, although I remember not being completely aware. At the end of class I was horrified and glad I was wearing black pants and couldn’t get out of the gym fast enough.

Yes friends, I had peed my pants.

Let’s be clear, I’m not someone who pee’s my pants. Before I was pregnant I could count on my hands the number of times it had happened and most of those incidents were before the age of 8. My doula use to text me when I was pregnant reminding me to do my kegels, which I thought was more to be funny than anything else. I wasn’t even sure what a kegel was, let alone how to do one to be honest. What I experienced in the gym that night I wrote off as a fluke, something that would get better over time.

Only it didn’t.

I didn’t really recognize I had a problem until I found myself wandering the aisle of Walgreen’s one day looking at the “Bladder Control” products. Let me tell you, that’s a lonely aisle to find yourself stranded on. My only options, it appeared, were glorified maxi-pads and oddly shaped tampons unless you count the full on adult diapers. These might be an OK alternative for some, but not for myself who teaches 4 hours of spin classes a week. Let’s just say I tried it all and none of it stayed in place, provided adequate protection or helped the situation. My doctor suggested wearing a pad or surgery as options.
Fabulous. I had one kid and suddenly I’m doomed to pee my pants the rest of my life unless I want painful surgery or embarrassing products.

Then I met Rebecca.

Rebecca came on my yoga retreat in Tulum and the first thing I noticed about her, besides her amazing red hair was her necklace. When I complimented her on the silver bullet looking object hanging around her neck she told me it was a vibrator. This is how I was introduced to her company, Vibrant ( and all the products they had to offer. She invited me to the warehouse upon our return from the retreat and I accepted this offer with a mix of curiosity and excitement.

Rebecca and her colleagues at Vibrant make you feel so comfortable talking to them that it’s almost like therapy. Within minutes you’re confessing your most intimate secrets in hopes that maybe they have a product that can help. She told me about their variety of kegel strengtheners and offered me two choices: the standard silicone balls or the kGoal. Anyone that knows me knows my phone is pretty much glued to my hand 24/7 so the idea of a new age device that came with Bluetooth and an app was most appealing. Plus, I still wasn’t sure what a kegel was or why I needed to strengthen them. But I was promised I might not pee my pants and better orgasms so it was worth a shot right?

So began my love affair with the kGoal.

The kGoal by Minna is a small blue half-deflated balloon shaped exerciser designed to give one bio-feedback on how your internal muscles are functioning. There’s an app with games, yes I said games, which you download on your phone and sync with reminders on how often you’d like to “work-out.” My
personal favorite is shape shifter, which is a five minute workout where you use your pelvic floor muscles to open up gates to fit shapes through. The app keeps track of your progress and lets you know how you’re doing from one day to the next. How do you know you’re doing it right you ask? It vibrates when you squeeze and stops when you don’t. Having a husband who finds it sexy and encourages you to use the product is an added bonus.

So what was the result? After a month of using the kGoal I feel not only more in touch with myself, but have also noticed more control over my pelvic floor when teaching. The worst part about teaching a cycle class is that, not only are you riding the bike, you’re yelling instructions at the students which means everything down below relaxes. Using the kGoal twice a week has strengthened my pelvic floor as well as my confidence. Using the games, getting text reminders and the bio-feedback from the kGoal has contributed to the success of the product because now I know I’m actually doing my kegels right. I liken it to trying to teach yourself yoga versus going to an instructor and actually having someone show you the correct form.

After I had my baby my focus was on the outside of my body and how it looked. I wasted several years and a lot of time by not bringing focus to the internal parts of my body as well. Will my pelvic floor ever be back to where it was pre-baby? Let’s just say I’m not going out to buy a trampoline anytime soon, but I feel myself getting stronger by the day. My hope is that other women out there realize they aren’t alone in this journey and there is a better alternative than the dreaded bladder control aisle at Walgreen’s. You don’t have to be embarrassed or wear black pants at the gym forever, trust me.

There’s help and there’s hope and it starts with a kegel strengthener!

Use my code YMagee15 for 15% off at

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sky Pond Adventure....fourth time's a charm

Coming up with an adventure is easy, executing the plan to make it happen is the hard part.

I’ll admit, when my alarm went off Friday at 5am, my first thought was to text my friend Kelsie and say I couldn’t get out of bed. I just recently took over management of our QiFlow Edgewater studio and I had been up late for a teacher’s meeting the night before. Not only that but I had taught two classes, done studio hours, had a meeting, taken a class and I hadn’t had time to even clean my house or do laundry let alone answer my Yogi Magee business emails. I felt overwhelmed when I woke up and no one had offered to sub my 4:30pm barre class so I knew the day would feel rushed to get up to Rocky Mountain National Park, hike almost 9 miles and make it back in time.

But I needed this day.

We were late, of course, getting to the trail head after swapping cars and stopping for coffee so we didn’t start hiking until 8:30am. I’d been to the Loch Vale three times prior without making it to Sky Pond. Two other occasions we were supposed to go to Sky Pond but the hike was re-scheduled due to weather and timing. To understand this hike you have to understand that Sky Pond, is like the name sounds, it’s the end of the line and you gain 1,600 feet of elevation. In summer, you have to climb over rocks that frame a waterfall making it treacherous but in winter you cross a steep slope and avalanche terrain over landscape that few dare to blaze. My husband and I tried last year and lost the trail because not many people venture past the Loch and we hadn’t been up there in the winter so we weren’t sure where to go.

Luckily, Kelsie had climbed the route in the fall so she had a great idea where to go. Since we had all pretty much made it to the Loch before we only stopped for a few photos before cruising on the frozen lake towards our destination. We were on a mission.

Once in the trees on the other side of the lake the “trail” stays close to a drainage that leads up towards the base of what is Timberline Falls. We were fortunate that someone had been on the trail before us so we didn’t completely have to break trail but the snow was still pretty deep in spots. Once we got past treeline we got a better view of the terrain ahead and had to decide if we should keep going due to possible avalanche danger. 

In the end we decided the snow was good, but we used caution because the previous tracks were wind-blown. I went first and then the others followed, staggering behind in case one of us triggered an avalanche.
Past the avalanche danger was a steep slope which I’m guessing, hugs the waterfall in the summer but was completely snow covered. I started up the slope and slide. I tried to dig my snow shoes in and would only slide backwards. Kelsie didn’t have poles and I forgot my ice axe so my concern was that she wouldn’t be able to make it up the slope if I couldn’t dig tracks for her. I stopped and sat down in the snow.
“What do you want to do?” they all looked at me from below. They told me it was my call. If I wanted to turn around, if I didn’t think I could do it they were fine with bailing on the expedition.

I felt, in that moment, that everything that had been going on in my life lately manifest itself in that moment. I’ve been forced to think a lot about my business, Yogi Magee Expeditions and where I see the future going. I’ve been forced to think about my career as far as teaching at various studios, managing a studio and flying. Personally I feel like I haven’t been spending a lot of time with my family because I’ve been in and out of the house and when I am around my family I feel pulled to my social media and emails. I’m trying to create a name for myself while also supporting a business I care deeply about and many times I sacrifice my sleep just to get the odds and ends met when everyone else is asleep so I don’t feel as guilty.

So I sat at the base of that slope and I looked up at where no trail was and had a decision to make. Do I blaze a trail and fight to get to the top or do I turn around, satisfied I made it that far but ultimately disappointed I still didn’t reach Sky Pond.

In my mind were the words, “you can’t fail if you never give up.”
I fought for it. I dug and I clawed and I finally got to the top of the slope and even though I couldn’t breathe I stood triumphant, waving the other girls on. 

Kelsie later told me if I hadn’t continued she probably wouldn’t have either. A few steps later we crossed Lake of Glass and then hit Sky Pond. There was no wind, practically an anomaly up there, and the sky was blue and the clouds were minimal. Days like this, don’t happen often, but I can say it was a perfect day.

We took photos, we ate lunch and we started back down to the parking lot. The initial down climb was treacherous as the slope was beyond steep so we used our snow shoes as crampons and toe stepped down digging our fists into the snow. 

We avoided crossing the avalanche terrain again in favor of down climbing some rocks then glissading down the drainage. From here we could see the trail so we connected back to it and headed towards the Loch. We made it up and down in 5.5 hours. The beauty and curse of hiking in winter is that there’s no danger of erosion so you can take any path you choose but you must be careful because tracks will often lead you in the wrong direction.

After another coffee stop I made it to the studio in time to teach my 4:30 class and though my legs were beyond tired I was happy I was able to fit it all in. My husband ended up picking me up from there and we had an awesome night of food, craft beer and celebration of his promotion. After a day outside saying, “fuck it,” to everything, I felt lighter, happier and even more ready to take on my day to day challenges.

The universe showed me yesterday that it is, indeed, possible to do it all. Taking adventures and time for myself isn’t always easy because I feel like I’m neglecting my other responsibilities. I’m not a person that gets massages, stays in fancy hotels for a night or even sits on the couch binge watching Netflix and eating donuts. So to me, taking this time for myself outside, is my way of self-care and I know I need to not feel like I have to apologize for that.
After all, the floors needing to be clean and laundry needing to be folded…that can wait.

Views like this only come once every three years for me. Thank you Kelsie, Maddie and Hilary for joining me for the perfect adventure day. :)