August 28, 2011

Camp Camp - Yoga

I went up to Camp Camp to teach yoga. I was on the schedule for 2 classes a day - a morning class from 7:00 am - 8:30 am, and an afternoon class from 3:30 - 5:00 pm.

I wanted to differentiate the classes a bit, so advertised the morning class (before breakfast, competing only with the morning swim and the fallout from late nights) as a stronger practice. I ended up doing a pretty basic power class most days. The afternoon class was more of a gentle / all levels class. Turned out to be a perfect call - I had a strong core of morning yogis (8-12 every day, a few came every day and most came a few time) who liked the core work, liked the flow. The practice was in an open building, so getting the body warm was an issue - I used flow and pranayama to get the heat up.

The afternoon class was a bit less well attended (6-10) and a bit more of a "drop in" feel; not surprising considering that it was competing with all the other great camp activities. But very sweet to have students who had never done yoga before.

I really loved teaching. It was a challenge to come up with a full week's worth of classes (especially the morning session, with lots of regulars) and it was such an honor to have students coming back every day. Although I am trained in power yoga and that's my normal practice, it was a bit out of my comfort zone to teach 6 power classes in a row. Good growth opportunity.

I brought up my yoga toys - mats, blocks, straps, tennis balls. There were mats at the camp but many of them were pretty funky. Next year I hope to invest in a pile of yoga blankets to bring up - would have been useful for gentle classes as well as the power classes.

I was really touched by the lovely "camp-o-gram" notes of thanks and positive feedback I got in my "Buddy Bag". Each day there was some little bit of positive affirmation, and folks came up to me all week saying "I've heard good things about your yoga classes"

So, call it a win. If Camp Camp will have me next year, I'll be back!

Camp Camp - Overview

Just back from a week at Camp Camp, a GLBT summer camp that celebrated its 15th season. I was supposed to be up there through this morning, but the impending hurricane cut the program short on Saturday and I decided to take off yesterday afternoon. I feel much better knowing that my home is secured, my dog underfoot, and I have no reason to travel today!

P.S. - I'm rewatching this video and now a lot of these folks I count as friends (Clink! Nick! Kerry! Phil! Shannon! Goody!). Kind of getting teary, watching with post-camp eyes! My friends!

I was officially at Camp to teach yoga; having applied for and obtained a Staff position to teach two classes a day. But it's an unpaid gig; staff positions simply get you a reduced fee for a week at camp (depending upon number of hours worked) so I was just as much a camper and participant as anyone else.

In a word, Camp Camp was amazing. 250 GLBT campers spent the better part of a week doing typical summer camp things, building community, and enjoying friendships, adventures, and night time celebrations.

I ended up bunking in Sappho cabin, a larger bunkhouse on the shores of the lake. It's a quieter part of camp, wedged in between the men's cabin Greg Louganis and "the condos", a cluster of interconnected men's cabins. The Sappho residents were a bit older "early to bed, early to rise" women (as opposed to younger, "hang out all night talking" women) and that fit my needs and preferences completely. Sappho was also fairly close to the place I taught yoga; quite handy. Very sweet energy in Sappho cabin.

The cabin was simple but functional. Screened windows, no shutters or glass, and rough single bunk beds that were functional. We all got bottom bunks (so we could double up mattresses), and used the top bunk for storage. Couples pushed their bunks together and used air mattresses. Decent toilets and showers, plenty of hot water. 12 women in Sappho and I never had to wait for the bathroom or shower. I slept OK - I tended to wake up early and start thinking about my morning class. One good trick was to line the sides of the bunk with a blanket (I used my yoga blanket) which kept the heat in, blocked the breeze, kept light and sound out (especially when I went to bed early) and let me do a little reading without disturbing others if I woke up during the night.

In addition to the cabin affiliation, everyone was assigned to a Rainbow Group - a small band of fellow campers who met daily to check in, communicate camp news, and who did a few of the evening activities together. I was in Yellow group, which ended up being 2/3 men and 1/3 women (probably close to the mix at camp) under the leadership of a veteran camper / staffer called a Rainbow Group Leader. We ended up having some good discussions during rainbow group each morning after breakfast.

I had my phone up at camp, but cell service was very spotty and electronic tethers (phone, text, web, music) were actively discouraged. So I used it primarily as a clock for yoga classes, to play yoga music on occasion, and to take just a few photos. As usual, I left my camera home and was way too "in the moment" most of the time to take pictures.

While at camp, I did the following:

* Took a kayak out, for a quick lesson, a solo tour of the lake, and a guided marsh nature paddle. A long time goal and now that I've been out, eager for more.

* Went swimming a few times at the beach / dock, I forget how much I love the water and swimming.

* Made the simplest of stained glass art (thanks, Amy!), I liked the process and would gladly take on a more challenging piece next time.

* Took a volleyball lesson (yay, Nick!) which ended up being one-on-one. Very helpful, although I never made it out to the sand court to play.

* Spent some time with Circus Arts (Tigger!) where I messed around with juggling (I already have some chops but we worked on my form), plate spinning (I totally loved and bought myself a set of plastic plates to play with), and stilts (pretty hopeless)

* Played a game of kickball (fun) although I got my bell rung falling over going back for a fly ball. Good to play again but at 50, maybe I do not need to again :)

* Got a massage on Friday afternoon, much needed and appreciated after a week of teaching yoga 2x a day but grabbing my own practice as I could.

Never made it to the climbing wall or the ropes course (I was busy during the introductory ground school). Did not find my way to the dance studio (no surprise there), cooking classes, drawing, pottery. Also missed out on tennis, basketball, softball, frisbee golf, flag football, drumming - my days were just too full. So lots of fertile ground for next year!

In addition to the daytime activities, there was fun stuff to do every night.

Monday: Welcome dinner, we sat with our rainbow group

Tuesday: Barn Dance. I loved the energy and the music, but did not dance, and burned out a bit halfway through.

Wednesday: Quincinera, a celebration of the camp's 15th year, sat with rainbow group and there were some competitions, including a "america's top designer" inspired outfitting of the group "princess and escort" using tissue paper.

Thursday: Tea Dance. Indoors due to weather but a blast, a few friends dragged me out to the dance floor where I boogied til I dropped.

Friday: Talent / No Talent Show. They asked for volunteers to work backstage so I ended up one of three backstage managers. Which was a lot of fun, meeting the campers who performed. A healthy mix of serious talent (music, spoken word, magic and juggling, broadway dance), semi-serious talent (music with some comedic bits), and some drag shenanigans.

Saturday: Camp Camp Dance Dance. I took off early due to the impending hurricane so I missed out.

There were also a lot of "late night" activities - campfires, movies, a pajama party. My duties called (7 am yoga class) so I was in bed early (10 or 11) pretty much every night.

Meals were a cut above institutional / camp food - salmon a few nights, veggie / vegan options, lots of greens (veggies and salads). Great desserts. I ate well, and with all the outdoor activities and walking around the camp, I was hungry. Meal time was a time to come together and talk, and I mostly sat down randomly - sometimes with cabin mates, sometimes with new friends, sometimes with yoga students, sometimes with strangers.

Bottom line: I had a blast, met some amazing people, and hope to be back in Maine next year!

August 17, 2011

The Cobbler's Kids Go Shoeless

You might know that one of the things I do* is code websites. I work very popular tourist attraction, a fairly well known medical professional (whose site is pretty dated), and a handful of other clients. I'm not a graphics genius, but a fairly good plugger with HTML (I tend to hand-code, a dying art, and also muck around with javascript).

Anyway, my own website is perhaps 7-8 years out from it's last overhaul - its technically archaic and its content is similarly obsolete. I have a few empty hours this week (end of summer slowdown, one of my big clients is out of town) so I'm going to see what I can do this week. No promises - heading off the grid onSaturday for a week and I suspect the week I get back I will be swamped. But it would be nice to have my website overhauled before September wraps up.

* Engineering, teaching yoga, chasing hot air balloons, website design, playing music

August 11, 2011

Holed Up

Think it was last Thursday; there was a lot going on in Hartford and friends were posting all over Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere - Billings Forge, the Wadsworth, an art openings, music. Any one of those might have lured me out. But I was up to my usual tricks - spent the day working with clients in Essex and the evening on the yoga mat - by the time 8 pm rolled around I was done. came home, grabbed some food, spent some time unwinding and puttering, and went to bed.

And I realized that I've been kind of holed up, withdrawn. It's been months since I've done anything randomly social (creative cocktail hour, Phoenix After Hours). I completely blew off the Jazz Fest and Monday Night Jazz. I rarely make it north of New Britain Avenue, forget going all the way into Hartford.

Part of that is busy life - folk fest takes a lot out of me and the weekend after was a family reunion. There's been a bunch of work to catch up on in between those, as well as plenty of time teaching and practicing yoga. My condo is a mess; I've been slowly picking away at that. And the summer heat (I recently installed a small window A/C unit in the bedroom, but the house / office does not have AC) has been a bit draining.

I feel a bit more social stirring, and I suspect I'll be popping back up in the world soon. One more summer obligation / vacation (a week in Maine, teaching yoga at GLBT summer camp), and then the fall, and perhaps the emergence of Jude from her cave....

August 10, 2011


I've been working with a shoulder injury for over a year now. I think it started with a tear in the brachialis or maybe the deltoid insertion; it only really impacted chaturanga (I could lift from low plank to high plank all day, support myself in Pincha Mayurasana, but lowering down - ouch!) and working around or compensating for that; I messed up the right shoulder. I suspect balloon chasing (specifically, the crown line) as responsible, although lots of chaturangas and carrying extra weight would be exacerbating factors.

I've been living with it for a long while; knowing that having a daily yoga practice was not giving it a lot of time / space to heal up, not wanting to go to the doc (cost and really, I'd be advised to rest it!). So the last year has been a time of humility as I drop my knees for chaturanga and avoid really strong upper arm / shoulder work. I'd toss in a full chaturanga once in a while just to see where I was at, but other than that, I've been good.

But lately I've been feeling pretty good about it all; tossing in more full chaturangas, taking stronger postures. Today, in Marcia's hot class, I did pretty much every chaturanga with knees up, jumped (as opposed to stepped) back and forward about half the time, and to prove a point, took Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel - definitely outside my normal "still injured" comfort zone.

I'm not about to go into kick ass shoulder work just yet (or ever!), and ought to drop some pounds before moving forward into advanced arm balance work, but it does feel good to be getting that shoulder / upper arm back, and to reclaim parts of my practice that perhaps might have seemed lost for good.

Time (and a little wisdom and loving kindness) heals....

August 06, 2011

Asana on LaSalle

Lululemon Athletica and West Hartford Yoga collaborated on a special outdoor yoga class this morning, on LaSalle Road in West Hartford Center, led by Barbara Ruzansky.

I think the WH Police expected 50 people or so, imagine their surprise when we pulled in close to 500 (484 was the official lululemon count).

A few days back I started sniffing around to be sure Barb could connect her wireless headset to the sound system. I was a little shaky on the sound system lululemon had rented (a battery powered PA from Taylor Rental, never did get teh power or model) so I decided to bring the studio kirtan sound system. It rocked all the way to the back rows.

Some more flickr photos here.

And some pretty amazing photos by David B. Newman for the West Hartford Patch, here. The wide shots (I think the cleaning crew let him sneak upstairs at the Elbow Room) really convey the scale!

August 05, 2011


On July 14, 2011, fearful of the Tea Party's insistence of "no retreat, no surrender" vis a vis increased taxes, I pulled my 401K out of the stock market, and wrote:
The Dow is at 12,491.61, the NASDAQ is at 2,796.92. Let's see where things are 2-3 weeks from now...

So they came to a pretty crappy resolution to debt ceiling crisis, and as of today, the Dow is at 11,383.68 (down 8.8%), the NASDAQ is at 2,556.39 (down 8.6%).