Paddle for a Purpose

Paddle for a Purpose-2
Have you ever felt the injustice and hopelessness in the face of environmental destruction. For months, I’ve been really worried and upset about one of my favorite places to recreate in the Berkshires. Spectacle Pond in Sandisfield, MA is just down the road from my home and I often go there when I need to get away from it all, and it is one of my favorite paddling spots.Paddle for a purpose-3

Last weekend, I was on my Stand Up Paddleboard early in the morning. Aside from a small fishing boat, I had the pond to myself and had a beautiful yoga practice on my SUP. At the end of my moving meditation, a STRONG voice came through, “You’ve got to do something about the Pipeline Project here”.

You may have the heard the good news that Kinder Morgan pulled out of their main project in the Berkshires. When I talk to people, what many don’t know that there is a smaller  project proposed in Sandisfield, on state forest land that only ten years ago was protected by law in perpetuity. (Incase you’re wondering- that means FOREVER). There are old growth trees in the area and fragile habitat. Not to mention a gorgeous pond- Spectacle Pond. The pond water is slated to be used to flush and test the pipeline section once it is built and then be pumped back into the pond.

This project is a high stakes issue, even though small. Kinder Morgan wants to use Federal Law to over take State law in what could be a precedent setting action as the pipeline company asserts that its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval for its Berkshire County route, supersede the state’s constitutional protection of conservation land there.


I’m planning a critical mass paddle. I want to get as many kayakers, canoeists, and stand up paddlers as possible together on Lower Spectacle Pond. I am planning this a fundraising paddle to support the legal fees of BEAT-Berkshire Environmental Action Team who is fighting for this. I also want to raise awareness of what is at stake if this project goes through. If donating isn’t in your budget, please, just show up. Let’s make this issue visible and show we care!

Read more here:


Paddle for a Purpose: Stop the Pipeline

WHO– Paddlers of all kinds (kayak, canoe, SUP) Please wear your PFD

WHEN-JUNE 25th 10am-12pm.

WHERE– Lower Spectacle Pond. Cold Spring Road, Sandisfield, MA


DONATE-suggested donation $10.

Check out the Facebook event to stay up to date.

Contact your legislators- Give em a call!!representatives/c1cqj

I may need some volunteers to help on the water or with parking, let me know if you want to pitch in.

Can’t make it? Save the date for July 16th. The Sugar Shack Alliance says “At present we have looked at the area behind the Great Barrington Town Hall for a noon rally,Saturday, July 16th followed by a gathering 2 p.m. at Spectacle pond, with music and maybe ice cream/fruit dessert.

Posted in LIfestyle, Yoga Adventure

Mudra for cooling summer heat

Jala Mudra the element of wat

During the summer heat it can be soothing to focus on the element of water. Jala Mudra helps to calm fiery irritation and promotes tranquility and will help you go with the flow.

There is a Mudra for each of the five elements and Jala Mudra represents the element of water. To make this gesture, touch the tip of the ring finger to the tip of the thumb. The ring finger stays relatively straight but relaxed rather than making a circle shape.

The summer months are known as the Pitta season in Ayurveda. As the season continues and heat builds, it can be common to develop excess Pitta. Symptoms of excess Pitta are indigestion, heart burn, skin rashes, and irritability.

Spending time near water or moonlight, eating cooling foods, using a cooling oil like coconut oil for self massage, and mudras can help calm or balance Pitta.

Jala means lake. As you hold this Mudra, imagine your self sitting near a cool tranquil lake or pool. Imagine cool and comfortable water washing over each area of your body. Visualize waves or ripples relaxing each part of your body. Feel your innate peace and serenity.

Posted in Mudras Tagged with:

Ditch drugs, use food as medicine

On Friday I returned as a guest health expert on Mass Appeal and chatted with host Seth Stutman about foods that help digestive distress, reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar and help maintain thyroid health.

Foods that Help Improve Your Health
Making changes in your diet can be very beneficial. In this talk I will show how upgrades to your diet can improve some common ailments
1. Digestive Distress. Many people suffer from bloating, gas, indigestion, or IBS type symptoms. Instead of reaching for an over the counter pill, adding naturally fermented foods can improve symptoms dramatically. Naturally fermented foods include things like pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha apple cider vinegar and are fermented with friendly gut/intestinal bacteria. Most common are lactobacilli which is also found in yogurt. Many times digestive distress is caused by an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria in the intestines. Use of antibiotics and consumption of alcohol, can kill friendly bacteria that are essential for gut function and upset the healthy balance of gut flora. Consuming sugar can also make these bacteria flourish. Look for products that contain live cultures that are traditionally produced. Any of these products that are produced with vinegar do not contain live cultures. Think of the traditional pickle barrel at a New York deli.
2. Thyroid Problems. Studies have shown that thyroid issues can be linked to Iodine deficiency. Instead of going on thyroid medication, sometimes for life, act preventatively by making sure you have healthy iodine levels from your diet. It’s estimated that 1 in 7 women have an iodine deficiency. Our main source of iodine is iodized table salt. However we are often told reduce our salt intake.This may be difficult because processed foods contain high sodium that is cheaply produced and not iodized-ironically creating high sodium levels, and iodine deficiency.
Best sources of iodine: 1. sea vegetables 2. saltwater fish and other seafood 3. quality iodized sea salt.
3. Blood Sugar Imbalance. Research suggests cinnamon lowers glucose, possibly by boosting the effect of insulin in the body. Apparently the presence of cinnamon in the blood stream allows the body to get ride of excess sugar in the blood. Add it to teas, rice, oatmeal, you can even chew on cinnamon sticks.
prop- cinnamon sticks.
4. Inflammation – Any disorder that ends in “itis” is considered inflammation. Inflammation is considered an early warning sign for heart disease and cancers. A great anti-imflammatory herb is Tumeric. Tumeric has been shown in studies to help relieve arthritis and has been used in treatment to help heart attack patients recover. Studies are currently under way to use tumeric in the treatment of cancer. Tumeric is a yellow Indian herb that is often used in curries.

Posted in Healthy Eating

Mudra for Inner Joy

Hansi mudra

Need to feel your inner bliss? Try Hansi Mudra the Mudra for Inner Joy. Today I graduated from Divine Sleep® Yoga Nidra training. In our graduation we each chose a Mudra to represent our hearts deepest longing-our Sankalpa. Hansi Mudra completely resonated with me.

During the week we studied the five koshas (more on that in a future post). Yoga Nidra takes us through each kosha or body or component of the self. The fifth kosha is the Bliss body or the Anandamaya Kosha, our sense of self that is associated with bliss, the universal energy, and is closest to our true self of divine spirit. Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra creates a framework for us to connect with out bliss body, and it’s a gift when it happens. I was lucky enough to experience myself in this way during one day of our visualizations/mediations/journeys. The best part was the knowing that this is part of my true nature, simply and always. Makes me really want to SMILE that’s for sure!

Hansi Mudra is the Mudra of the Inner Smile and Anandamaya Kosha. It’s core quality is Unfolding Positive Qualities.

To do this mudra touch the tips of the thumb, first, second and third fingers together and extend the pinky finger. Arms are held out to the side with elbows touching side body with little fingers pointing up.

While practicing this Mudra imagine the smile of every cell in our body. Repeat to yourself three times “My inner smile radiates throughout my being, reminding me of my essential lightness and ease.” Hold for 5-10 breaths.


Posted in Mudras, Yoga

Dressing for Spring Yoga Adventure

Does the late winter/early spring have you searching for the perfect layers? Try a soft shell jacket and light weight fleece hoodie combo for your adventures.
Mountain warehouse soft shell

Today the sun was out and I could forgo my hat, scarf, millions of warm layers and just snowshoe with a tank top, a  light fleece and a soft shell jacket. It was divine. I was in fact even a little too warm! That’s exactly why layers are a must this time of year.

I recently came across the British company Mountain Warehouse. They’ve been around for a while but are now starting to sell their products in US markets. They’ve asked me to check out some of their gear and write about it and share it with you all.

The Willow Women’s Showerproof Softshell

I’ve never actually had a soft shell, but I thought it would be the perfect jacket for in between seasons. This jacket is wind proof and can stay water proof in a shower-not a downpour.

Fit– This jacket has a very flattering fit. It has a long slim fit with flat no bulk detailing. The waist has a nice taper at a tailored belt side piece. I normally wear a women’s 8-10 or medium top in US sizes. I got the size 10 in the English size and on the tag it said it was a women’s  US 6 so I was worried that it would be too small. Luckily it fit perfectly.

Mountain warehouse willow soft shell side view

Libby photobomb!

Libby photobomb!

Quality-I found the quality to be quite nice. The soft shell exterior is a brushed poly blend. There is a soft fleece interior. The zippers, toggles and snaps are all well made. All of the stitching looks well done.

Performance-I found it to be wind proof, I have not yet tested its “shower proof” ability. I think this jacket is a little more on the fashion side of performance than the techy gear side. I need to get a picture of the detailing, but the snaps on the cuff and waist band are cute and fashionable more than just functional.

Use for- I will use this jacket for around town, dog walks, day hikes, snowshoeing and travel. If I was doing a big day hike or camping or more mountaineering I would probably chose a more technical jacket.

More to follow soon as I review the super cozy fleece hoodie next!

Come and see these amazing snow conditions for yourself on my Yoga Adventure this weekend!

Posted in Yoga Adventure Tagged with: ,

How to clean your yoga mat

DIY Yoga mat cleaner

Does your yoga mat need a spring cleanse? Why not treat it to a spa day and DIY your own mat cleaner with essential oils?

I’ve detoxed my home from chemical cleaners and make my own using vinegar, water and essential oils. It’s easy and smells delicious!

For my household cleaner I usually use a 5:1 ratio of water to vinegar but for my mat spray, I dilute it more at an 8-10 to 1 ratio because I don’t want my mat to smell too much like vinegar.

After that is mixed in a spray bottle I added about 10 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender oil. Tea tree oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial so it’s great for a yoga mat. I simply love the smell of lavender oil. I find it very relaxing and soothing, so it naturally enhance the state of mind I want to be in for yoga. Lavender oil also has cleansing properties, making it a great choice.

Choose your own blend of favorite oils and enjoy a chemical free clean mat!

Posted in Yoga Tagged with: , ,

Eating healthy while travelling

Just because you are on a trip, doesn’t mean you have to throw all your healthy habits out the cargo door! Last week I visited Mass Appeal and shared my tips for eating healthy on vacation.

Need some more help strategizing? Contact me for some health coaching! Spring is a great time of year to make healthy changes!

Eating Healthy While Traveling

Snack during the day – Try planning light picnic/snack lunches with healthy things like carrots and hummus, apples, berries, nuts, whole grain bread and cheese, grapes, etc.

Make your own meals if available – If you can rent a house, apartment or studio with a kitchen. Then you can cook some of your own meals. You’ll also save money!

Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

Try not to go to the restaurant too hungry so you aren’t starving when you get there and fill up on bread. Think about how white flour actually makes you eat more and store fat, and pass on those empty calories so you can fully enjoy what you ordered.

Split an entree with a friend or maybe split a salad or app and an entree or find an appetizer to have as a meal.

Before you open the menu, check in with yourself. Ask yourself: how hungry am I really? If I were to make my own dinner what would I cook?

Skip dessert – Have some fruit or a bar of dark chocolate stashed in your mini-fridge if you need a sweet something. Or just keep it in check, do you need dessert every night you eat out or can you just do one night split one with the table.

Posted in Healthy Eating

Mudra for the heart

In honor of Valentine’s day, I’d like to share a mudra for the heart. Purna Hridaya-the Gesture of the Open Heart. 

Photo on 2-11-15 at 3.10 PM


To do this gesture, interlace all the fingers with the right index finger closest to the heart. Stretch the thumbs downward to touch and create a heart shape. Relax the shoulders back and down to naturally align the spine.

Purna Hridaya is the mudra for the Manumaya kosha, or the psycho-emotional body, so it supports us in riding the wave of feelings-whether positive or challenging. Physically the mudra releases constriction in the upper chest and brings breath awareness to that area. It is an energizing mudra. This gesture balances and opens the heart chakra and helps create a sense of compassion and self acceptance. The core quality of this mudra is honoring thoughts and feelings.

Purna means full and Hridaya means heart. May you have a full heart on Valentine’s day everyone.

Posted in Mudras

Upgrade your dessert for Valentine’s Day

Today I was back in the Mass Appeal studios sharing my absolute favorite dessert to make. I love it becauses it’s quick, healthy and delicious.

Raw Cacao Truffles

2 cups raw almonds
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
2/3 cups raw cacao powder
6 figs
3/4 cup coconut flakes

Grind almonds to a fine meal in a food processor add the rest of the ingredients except the coconut flakes and pulse to combine, mixture should resemble a wet cookie dough. Scoop out and roll into balls, wetting hands helps prevent sticking. Roll into coconut mixture and place on a plate. Chill or freeze 30 minutes before serving. Keep refrigerated for best results! (I’ve also used cashews and walnuts)

Dates provide fiber which helps keep blood sugar stable, and cinnamon also helps stabilize blood sugar. So even though you are eating the sweet honey, you aren’t setting yourself up for a sugar crash.
Raw honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal and strengthens your immune system.
Raw cacao is very high in natural antioxidants and magnesium and contains a mild stimulant.

Posted in Healthy Eating Tagged with: , ,

Trail Report: Frosty Hike, Toasty Yoga at McLennan

This past weekend, we finally got the weather on our side for a great yoga adventure! It was sunny with beautiful blue skies and there was event a layer of fresh snow- over the ice...Hiking at McLennan Reservation with Tracy Remlius


We won’t have to worry about that thanks to this weeks storm Juno. We got about 8 inches during the storm and today we picked up at least another 3 inches. It’s going to be prime snowshoeing for our next Frosty Snowshoe, Toasty Yoga! Next time we travel to the Tyringham Cobble!

I always feel so grateful to live in a town with three (plus) Trustees of Reservations properties. McLennan Reservation is a gorgeous one when you feel like you need time in the forest. You hike up a long a roaring brook (a feeder to Hop Brook). Various rock ledges create beautiful rushing mini-waterfalls and pools. The beavers have taken up again at the top which creates Hale Pond. The trail is lined with stone walls to remind you of it’s not so distant past as a pasture land and estate that once made up Ashintully Farm- owned by Rob de Pester Tytus and wife Grace Henop and then subsequently preserved by Grace’s son, composer, John McLennan.

If you’ve ever wanted a sneak peak into our Toasty Yoga portion of the day in John McLennan’s music room, here you go!

I’m convinced this is one of the most beautiful rooms I’ve ever practiced or taught yoga!

yoga class in the berkshires

Photo by Evelyn Garvey

Yoga at Ashintully

Photo by Evelyn Garvey

Posted in Yoga Adventure

Yoga Classes

Mondays 7-8 at the Barn at Ashintully Gardens, Moderate to Vigorous. Beginners welcome.


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