Finding Yoga

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The room was mind numbingly stuffy. An aroma of sweaty feet filled the air. The teacher was on an elevated stage with a head-set microphone. An oscillating fan sat behind her. Every 15 seconds or so, the fan head would turn towards her, rendering her voice horribly robotic. To my left, a women in her late 60s wearing tube socks was fighting a losing battle against her gas. To my right, my adventure buddy was growing weaker trying to hold in her laughs more successfully than Betty Boop over there could hold in her farts. The wall in front of us was lined with cracked mirrors, allowing us to gaze into each other’s eyes at the most awkward of moments. Behind us, full floor to ceiling glass walls creating a fish tank effect for every curious gym goer. Faint sounds of techno music and thumping treadmills crept into our space, miraculously overpowering the plinky-plunky music coming from the teacher’s sad little iPod. I was sure I was doing everything wrong, and I never felt less graceful in my whole life. This was my first yoga experience.

Somehow, I survived this traumatic event, and continued practicing yoga intermittently over the next five years. I would go with a friend, but never really on my own. I was never fully convinced it was for me. I always associated “working out” with competitive sports, or running, or some kind of boot camp class. Yoga? I wasn’t sure of the point. But still, I would give it a try here and there.

This winter, yoga found its way into my life again. I ended up back in New York in my childhood home, numb from an overload of emotions I didn’t know how to deal with. My plans of traveling and creating a life with my partner were halted. He went his own way, and I had to decide what mine was. I was extremely dismissive and quick to change the subject whenever questions about my life were raised. The thing I was most certain of became a blur. I withdrew. I became a total introvert. I was not myself.

After the holiday season, I joined the local gym and started running again. I needed a distraction and was open to anything that could help. It felt nice to be exhausted physically instead of emotionally, but still it wasn’t scratching my itch. They had flyers at the gym for group classes. Cycling, kickboxing, zumba, and of course, yoga. I decided to give it another try. What else did I have to lose, right?

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I arrived a few minutes early for the 8am Tuesday class. The teacher was off to the corner balancing on one foot with closed eyes. A few people trickled in and laid down. Mirrors to the front, glass windows to the back. Uh-oh. I thought about leaving. He started to direct the class towards the front of our mats. There was no turning back. His voice was calming. His instruction, very clear. His adjustments, helpful. No silly music. No microphone. No gimmicks. Between each pose, he gave us words of encouragement. He was saying all the right things. Do not judge yourself. Do not judge others. Focus on this moment, and this one only. Inhale new beginnings. Exhale all that you don’t need. Be patient. Relax. Smile. I held back tears with every one of his statements. How did he know that I needed to hear all of this? Each class made me feel physically energized and emotionally cleansed. I attended every session that I could. For that one hour I could turn off my brain and work towards something positive. Finally it clicked, right when I needed it most.

I craved more yoga. I wanted to learn everything about it. More than anything, I needed to step away from my life to focus on myself. It’s something we rarely get the time to do, but I happened to have the luxury of time. And whether I liked it or not, a total lack of commitments. I began looking at yoga teacher training programs all over the world. Diving in head first seemed like the only logical option. I had no real background in yoga, and I was pretty out of shape, but oh well. It excited me. Thought bubble to ticket purchase spanned three days. I figured if I was going to immerse myself in yoga, I might as well do it in the mother land: India or bust!

So here I am now, on a beach in South Goa, pushing myself farther than I have in a long time. Each day is packed solid with practical classes, theoretical classes, meditation, and an insane amount of sweating. The group of us, 15 yogis from all around the world, were brought together by a common interest; to learn. What a beautiful thing. It’s been six years since I graduated college, and to be buried in notebooks and manuals again feels wonderful. I’ve learned that yoga is so much more than stretching in a room of brightly colored mats. It’s a way of life. I’m thankful every day for my horrible introduction into yoga, because somehow it got me here.

This winter, I wanted a quick fix to rid myself of painful emotions, but one of those doesn’t exist. Time passes and we hope to heal. With yoga, I know that I am making an honest effort to better my mind and my body to help me through this challenging chapter, and all others that may come my way. There is no end to this story. There is no finish line. There is no award for the best asana. And that’s ok. I found yoga, and with it, a better version of myself. Each day I can wake up happy knowing there is still more to find.

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*  One month in India flew by, and at times, life stood still. That’s the balance we all seek I suppose. Here is a recap of my amazing time in the amazing land of India.

 

Marsha Hovey : Resume 2k16

It’s a challenging task to redo a resume. You feel a lot of self loathing for how your resume once looked. All of a sudden it needs to be shiny and new, wildly unrecognizable from the sad one you once tossed around. There’s an undeniable desire to change and update ourselves as we go. So while we’re at it, the resume needs a reset too.

 

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The Resume

Jasper Kahn in Frequency Snowboard Journal

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For the full res file: click here – – – > freq_article

Lost 2012 Footage

For most of 2012, I had a little Contour camera on me at all times. And now, hours of footage just sit inside my computer. It’s the plague of technologically advanced home movies I guess. They just sit. Although, it’s not that much different than the stacks of VHS tapes at my parents. Well anywho, here is some of the lost footage from the dusty ol’ laptop. May it live on at least for 15 seconds.

I Broke a World Record (with 1599 other gingers)

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It’s true. My sister and I added to the largest group of natural born redheads ever assembled in one area. Now, we are waiting on the exact head count, or should I say…redhead count. *chortle chortle* But it seems like today in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland, we made our way into the Guinness Book of World Records for most gingers loitering in one spot. I have to say, I am ginger proud, but it was rather alarming being with so many pale looking people as the sun beat down on our virgin scalps. There were a few moments where we thought that someone was playing an evil trick, to wipe out a large portion of the remaining redhead race. However, we made it through, with only minor sunburn.

Going through some serious ginger checkpoints, all participants had to sign some waivers, wear a white t-shirt, and bring a photo of his/her redheaded self as a child. Ya know, to prove authentic carrot top genes. What a sight. Redheads of all ages, holding up childhood photos of themselves, proudly stating that they’ve been this way fo’ life. For the first time ever, I had a very hard time finding my sister in the crowd after being separated. Now I know how those regular old brunettes feel everyday.

The Redhead Event was not just a stop on the American Oddity tour, it also worked to raise money and awareness for skin cancer, which redheads are undeniably more susceptible too. As my sister currently battles with melanoma, I was very excited to know that so many smiling faces joined in on the day to raise funds for such a great cause. No matter how pale, or tan you may be, sunscreen really can save your life. Lather up, and enjoy the sun like the rest of us day walkers!

So, all in all, pretty solid day. Broke a world record, made some bystanders feel uncomfortable, and shared a very strange moment of glory with my sister. Thanks for the Kodak moment Portland. You continue to impress me with your bizarre events.

 

See the full recap from Oregon Live here —> http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/08/a_guinness_record_1600_redhead.html

Oh right, I write.

Some days, I forget that I liked writing before I was forced to. Funny how that happens. You dream of writing, and then great, you do that. You are a writing machine. Banging out blogs, press releases, articles. Then it keeps going. Sterile emails, passive aggressive work memos, Facebook posts, tweets…wait a minute. Those things aren’t writing. No one publishes tweets and slaps a Pullitzer on the cover. No one discusses the deep meanings behind a lengthy 2am Facebook rant. Or do they? Oh no! Next up on the English 101 syllabus, The Subtexts of Your Texts: Pitfalls and tips for proper message sending.

We’re all fucked.

I rode a segway. No really.

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I recently took a trip to the Windy City to visit my boyfriend and the Evergreen Skateparks crew while they finish up a new project in Villa Park, IL. About 40 minutes away from the western suburb sits Chicago in all its glory. Deep dish pizza, mega hot dogs (no ketchup of course), and urban/midwest characters fill the streets. A new addition to the city in the last 5 years, which really gets people irked, is the segway. Arguably the nerdiest and most ridiculous form of transportation available, the segway offers tourists a way to see Chicago minus all that terrible walking and exercise. The rider of this device will endure heckling, laughter, and general hatred for what he/she is doing to America. Most importantly, being seen on one of these space scooters is the least cool thing someone can do. Ever. So naturally, I took a segway tour of the downtown area.

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It all happened so fast. One minute we were strolling through the Art Institute feeling distinguished, and the next we were bleeding red white and blue getting American on Segways. In all honesty, I had stupid amounts of fun. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. Not to mention, with the over sized orange bike helmet sitting back on my head like a true segway gaper, I looked damn good. After a quick lesson on pitfalls and dangers of the machine, we were touring the city like champs. We were soon taken off training mode, hitting top speeds of 12mph. Yea, I know, we were cruising. People laughed and pointed, and had genuine looks of disgust, but none of it mattered because I was segwaying my fucking heart out.

I say this to you now as an experienced segway operator; if you are ever faced with a spontaneous opportunity to throw caution to the wind and take a segway tour…do it. If you are too concerned with your cool image being tarnished, well get over it. Your perma grin will last for hours and your Instragram likes will reach record levels. With a little whiskey in your veins, your segway under foot, and your lover at your side, the entire world is yours for the taking. Ride on everyone, ride on.

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