Thursday, December 29, 2011

love & service Houston, TEXAS Retreat: Jan 2012

Jump start the new year with Love and Service. Enjoy yoga play time and quiet time with a beautiful Texas yoga commUNITY. Let the weekend to guide you into the New Year with intention and delight.

Grace Yoga Texas Retreat 
Jan 6-8, 2012

Retreat Includes
Weekend of fun, community, conscious discussions and activities on Love and Service. Potluck meals, 3 Vinyasa yoga practices, 1 thai & fly class, and Saturday night acro jam. Come rejuvenate in a lovely Mexican hacienda in the quaint west Houston town of Fulshear, Texas. Expect to share rooms and beds unless otherwise requested. Linens and kitchen supplies will be provided. In the spirit of community service, all meals will be community prepared/eaten. Please bring your favorite dishes to prepare and share. Thai massage is available for additional fee. (Email to book in advance or sign up on site.) FOR DIRECTIONS, SEE BELOW. 

$175 early registration by Dec 31st (email for payment info/RSVP)
$195 after Jan 1, (for cancelations, $50 non-refundable fee)
$75 Saturday all day
$25/class drop ins for Friday night or Sunday morning 

Mail Payment to:
Melissa Smith
3902 Rivermoss Lane
Katy, TX 77494

OMazing Events
5-7pm arrivals, settle in
7-9 Sankulpa yoga practice

7am walking meditation
8-9 breakfast on own
9.30-11.30 Vinyasa class
11.30-3.30 commUNITY pot luck lunch/free time*
3.30-5 Thai and fly
5-7 community dinner
7.30-late acro jam

8am walking meditation
9-10 community breakfast
10.30-12 class
12 departure

*Please join us for pot luck lunch and share in commUNITY and talk about our passions, Saturday, Jan 7th, from 11.30-3.30pm. This is free and anyone is welcome as part of the love and service Texas retreat. It's pot luck, so please bring something (yummy) to share.  Email to RSVP. 

Yoga Class Descriptions
Friday, 7-9pm, Sankalpa Yoga Practice
Asana and Pranayama, meditation, and stillness will culminate in setting a Sankalpa (like a resolution, but with a yogic twist) to guide us into the New Year with intention, intensity and delight.
We start where we are: on the banks of our own river; recognizing what change might be needed to begin our journey. A Sankalpa is designed to bring out the best in us. It's effect is to awaken our willpower within by uniting conscious awareness with our dormant unconscious forces. Sown in fertile ground with the heat of Asana, watered with breath, tended to with faith, humor and trust, we take the first step. Ultimately, very similarly to extending our yoga practice "off of the mat", a Sankalpa can become a motivating force that we live with and move towards every day.
All levels welcome. Melissa will offer variations and modifications to increase or soften the physical challenge.

Saturday, 7am walking meditation 

Sunday, 8am walking mediation
In walking meditation we use the experience of walking mindfully while using our breath as the focus. With bodies in motion, awareness is heightened, and we will seek to pay attention those sensations that arise. You will experience your body very intensely, and uncover deeper connections.

Saturday, 9.30am-11.30 Vinyasa Yoga

Sunday, 10.30am-12 Vinyasa Yoga
Experience a slow flow yoga practice that explores the balance between foundation and fluidity of postures and builds upon the principles of Leeann Carey YogaAll levels welcome. Melissa will offer variations and modifications to increase or soften the physical challenge.

Saturday, 3.30pm-5 Thai & Fly
Learn the fundamentals of therapeutic flying in this healing, relaxing and transformative group practice in a safe and supportive community environment. We'll also give and receive a Thai massage sequence. Everyone will have an opportunity to base and fly. No prior yoga experience or partner required. Come, play and have fun!

Saturday, 7.30pm-late acro jam
Playtime under the starry skies means fun, safety, personal responsibility and creative exploration. It's playfulness within a safe space. Weather permitting, we'll have a bonfire with dancing, acro, therapeutics, Thai massage and lots of love. Release ALL expectations and just have a good time. (*$25 drop in fee applies for the JAM, if you're not attending retreat).

Directions to el rancho:

If you have a toll tag, entrances to the toll off 59 S, 610 and Westpark, or Gessner and Westpark. Take the toll all the way until it ends (which is right past Grand Parkway 99). Keep going straight down what becomes 1093. You’ll hit Fulshear about 12 miles down the road. Take a right on FM 359 at the Shell Station. Go down about 1 ¾ miles and take a left at Rogers Road. Go till it dead ends and take a right on Pool Hill Road. We are down the road on the left and you will know it is ours by the yellow stucco walls. The numbers are difficult to locate b/c they are not on the actual walls. Address is 6030 Pool Hill Road.

I-10 W
Take I-10W. About 7 miles past Katy and Katy Mills, take the Brookshire exit. Take a left onto FM 359 and go under the freeway. Go down FM 359 about 4 miles. Take a right on Hunt Road. Take a left at the cross street, which is Pool Hill Road. The ranch is down on the right and you will know it is ours by the yellow stucco walls. The numbers are difficult to locate b/c they are not on the actual walls.. Address is 6030 Pool Hill Road.
You will need the gate code to get in: TEXT 713 357 8817 or 713 854 9333 for GATE CODE.

House number: 281.533.9017
Jennifer's cell: 713.854.9333

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Fulfillment of Hope

gift of hope: the elegant birdcage woman 

The anticipation, the wonder that comes from taking the post box key chain garnished with a small Ganesh and the hope that rises as the key turns and the mail slot reveals packages upon packages. Or the disappointment as most often nothing but papers filled with advertisements spill out unwillingly into my expectant hands.
This Christmas Eve was my first to spend alone as a newly single mom. Not for want of invitiations. I had many. Grateful for the abundance of friends and outpouring of their graceful companionship, I still chose to spend the evening with some thoughtfully sliced carrots, hummus and a glass of Malbec. Love Actually (the movie) kept me comfortably uncomfortable with the thought that yes, indeed, “love is all around”.
I don’t dwell on the fact that Christmas has become a barrage of commercialism. Instead I chose to... <click to view rest on Elephant Journal >

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

melissa let's go of fear

Monday, December 12, 2011

lulu lemon yoga play list

Walking in, unrolling your mat ready for commUNITY yoga class... it's Easy by Lionel Richie...
Easy, Lionel Richie (thank you for the suggestion, king of Sunday morning leisure, carl)
Beautiful Day, Donavon Frankenreiter (pure sweetness)
Class begins... the theme... your soul... "you feel a river moving in you, a joy. you can feel that river flowing when you reach out and help someone in need, when you are in love, when you come through the fire of a difficult endeavor, or when you finally surrender to a painful situation- when you stop fighting the fear of heartache, and you give over the reins to something greater. When you tire of your own constriction and you open, come what may, to the flow of life, you and your soul become one, you feel a river moving in you, a joy." - E Lessor, Broken Open
The Day I Decide, Simon Gentry (album: Atmospheres. Simon: photographer, musician, yogi...)
Bolo Ram, Wah! (there's a short version & a long one. I prefer the long one.)
Angel Echoes, Four Tet (electronica and great to flow to)
Lotus Flower, Radiohead (love the strange video)
Dog Days Are Over, Florence + The Machine (if you haven't bought the The B-Sides Alternative to this song. download now. awesome)
Freedom, George Michael (takes me back to 1990 when I...) Let the Drummer Kick, Citizen Cope (also check out holdin on by Citizen Cope)
Words, Anthony David (turned on to this song by the beautiful Rose)
Bein' Green, Andrew Bird (who doesn't love the Muppets? Ok, well... give this song a go... I relate.)
Give Thanks, Fantuzzi (absolutely lovely. thank you, Laurence. I think of you every time I hear it.)
The Day Before the Day, Dido (stunning vocal)
Woodsong, Carlos Nakai (in almost all of my yoga playlists, American Indian Flute)
Ave Maria, Ashana (this is beautiful, year round)
Post class, bonus songs for Acro Playtime...
Mahna Mahna, The Fray, the Muppets: The Green Album (yes, i ❤ the Muppets)Shake It Out, Florence + the Machine (makes you wanna shake it) Reach Out, I'll Be There, The Four Tops (mo-town)
Om Hari Om, Gypsy Tears (acro yoga kirtan band, great sound find it on CD Baby)
He Ma, The Bhakti House Band (makes me grin)
Mine Is Yours, Cold War Kids
One Red Thread, Blind Pilot (a new great find from a Zen friend)
The World At Large, Modest Mouse Weighty Ghost, Wintersleep (I'm in love with this song; the choir comes in and love it.)
Moth's Wings, Passion Pit
Hey Mama, Mat Kearney (my sweet acro partner's fav... coming to houston in concert in the spring)
Open Your Eyes, Snow Patrol (mighty good)
I Summon You, Spoon
More playlists:
lulu lemon community class playlist
soundtrack of my life, by Melissa on Elephant Journal

Gratitude for lululemon city centre houston for having me!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

waking up a different person

In 2010, I embarked on a mission to LIVE. Just get up and live a life that I've always dreamed I could. That mission rolled over into my 40th year. After hosting the an epic birthday party where everything from a gospel choir, to a beautiful dred locked fire thrower to a kirtan band was present and ready to usher me into the next decade, I woke up and faced a decision I have been grappling with for over 2 years. 
My 2011 journey has ebbed and flowed with both tremendous trials and explosive joy. I've morphed into a low-paying, intrinsically rewarding nomadic yoga lifestyle that is simultaneously intoxicating and displacing. the rest on Elephant Journal. 

In December I will embark on a daily writing journey called #Reverb11. Thanks Elephant Yoga and Michelle Fajkus for the push. I'll be a few days behind but then, no worries. Who says I have to be like everyone else anyway?  

December 1 – Palabra (Word) Encapsulate your 2011 in one word. Why that word? What would you like your word to be for 2012? Why?