Link It Up: Must Read Posts on 6.29.2012

It was another solid week around blog land so I’m sharing the love again with links to some of my favorites…

I’ve been called a cupcake in the past, but find out who Cleveland’s Real Cheerleaders are over at Xstatic Process. Highly recommended reading for anyone trying to better their city.

While I’m always sad to see a blogger leave the state of Ohio, I can’t help but feel excited for Heidi to start anew in Arizona. Check out the post for the amazing photos from her recent trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon with Columbia. 

I’m absolutely in love with Unicorns for Socialism right now, especially these tips for surviving & mastering confrontation.


Thanks to the NEOFoodies Facebook page for the reason Why You Should Spiral-Cut Your Hot Dog for GrillingThis is happening on Sunday at PIP HQ. 

Seawheeze sea salt caramel bars? Yes, lululemon, I’ll gladly make these.

And I’ll be inviting myself over Kimberly’s house for dinner if she keeps making dinners like this one. YUM.


Over at Yoga Journal: Priced Out Of Yoga? has caused quite the stir on another Facebook group page. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

From the primary source for all my yoga news: Bloomberg Businessweek reported that a sequence of yoga poses cannot be copyrighted. There goes my patent for child’s pose to savasana to meditation. That would be the best class EVER.

And the appropriate follow up to my suggested yoga flow: an old post I just discovered: Why Yoga’s Not a Workout over at Elephant Journal


YOUR TURN: share a “must read” from this week or give yourself some blog love in the comments! I’m off to work hard this Friday so I can play hard this weekend!

events for you to enjoy around Greater Cleveland in July 2012

Time to get your calendars out! Here’s what’s happening in Cleveland over the next month or so…


OBA July Cleveland Blogger Theater Tour with PlayhouseSquare Partners

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012 6:00pm until 8:00pm
  • We’re partnering up with PlayhouseSquare Partners to get a behind-the-scenes look at one of Cleveland’s finest institutions! Includes complimentary food and beverage care of the organization!
  • Cost: Free!!
  • RSVP over at the Facebook event page.


Workshops at Nishkama Yoga: register at Nishkama’s MINDBODY website under the Workshops tab:

  • Basics 101 with Bethany from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at Nishkama North Olmsted
  • Study of the Yamas with Kelly on July 21 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at Nishkama North Olmsted
  • Basics 101 with Kim on July 22 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at Nishkama Independence
  • Study of the Niyamas on July 28 with Kelly from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at Nishkama North Olmsted
  • Cleanse with Whitney on July 29th from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at Nishkama Independence

Summer Fire Walk

  • Saturday, July 14 from 4:30pm to 7:30pm
  • at East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland
  • from the Shakthi Unlimited FB event pageAfter building team energy and confidence, each participant walks across a 10-20 foot strip of hot coals. While the embers burn out, what is left is a sense of heightened energy within each person, and incredible trust among the team and a wonderful sense of self. 
  • Cost: $125 per person
  • To RSVP, please visit

Yoga Rocks The Park Cleveland – Session #3

  • Saturday, July 21st starting at 10:00am
  • at Lincoln Park in Tremont
  • Includes a class with Cleveland’s own Krysia Maciuszko
  • Cost: $10 if you pre-register!
  • More info online at


Second Annual Parma Run/Walk for the Pierogies benefiting the American Cancer Society Parma Area Relay for Life 

  • Saturday, July 7 – race starts at 8:30am
  • at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus in Parma
  • From the race organizer: Once again pierogies will be provided to all participants by Parma’s own Little Polish Diner and Krakow Deli.  There will also be revamped course and new, exciting t-shirt design.
  • Regsiter online at

Let’s Move It! Mondays

  • on July 2, July 23 and August 6 from 11:30am to 1:30pm
  • at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland
  • From the website: Cleveland’s favorite lunch time walking program is back! The free exercise break is giving you the experience to Move It! around Cleveland’s best areas!
  • Cost: FREE to the public!
  • More info available at the Hermes site.

AUGUST SNEAK PEEK: Bike MS Pedal to the Point Ride

  • Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5
  • Starting at Brunswick High School – headed all the way to Sandusky – and back!
  • From the event site: Bike MS is a fully supported ride that begins in Brunswick, Ohio and travels throughout the northern pastoral countryside to Sandusky. A spaghetti dinner and various evening activities await riders upon arrival in Sandusky. On the second day, the ride then returns to Brunswick.
  • Cost: all riders must fundraise a minimum of $250 before the August 4th start. First time riders can use code NEWRIDER2012 and their registration is free!
  • For more info, visit the MS event page here.


Still in June: Waterloo Arts Fest to benefit Arts Collinwood

  • Saturday, June 30 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm
  • in the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland – along Waterloo Road
  • From the event site: More than 10,000 people are expected to spend the day on Waterloo seeing and making art, catching live performances, shopping an array of vendors, and noshing on local eats, as well as visiting the one-of-a-kind businesses that make this burgeoning district unique
  • Cost: FREE!
  • More info available at

Sunflower Wine Festival to benefit Prayers for Maria

  • Saturday, July 14th from 4pm to 12am
  • at the Old River Shopping Area on Old Detroit Rd in Rocky River
  • From the Prayers for Maria website: The Sunflower Wine & Craft Beer Festival will host nationally renowned wineries and craft breweries… Live music until Midnight featuring Monica Robins and the Whiskey Kings and Cleveland’s Breakfast Club
  • Cost: Admission to the street festival is FREE! A $40 at-event Garden Wristband is required for admission to the Wine and Beer Gardens.
  • For more info, please visit the event website.

Shoes and Clothes for Kids’s 7th Annual Luau on the Lake

  • Saturday, July 14, 2012 from 4:00pm until 7:00pm
  • Wendy Park on Whiskey Island in Cleveland
  • More info from the FB event pageNow in its 7th year, Luau on the Lake is a Hawaiian themed event to benefit Shoes and Clothes for Kids. Guests enjoy a day fit for a Tiki God with great food, beer, wine, soft drinks, sand volleyball, music and fabulous views of Lake Erie–all to support a great cause.
  • Cost: $40.00 for General Admission (before July 11th or $50.00 after and at the door.) $50.00 for the Big Kahuna VIP (pre-sale only through July 11th).
  • Order tickets at or call 216.881.7463, ext. 5.

10th Annual Taste of Tremont

  • Sunday, July 15th from 12:oopm to 8:00pm
  • in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland
  • From the FB event pageOver 50 restaurants, galleries, artists and other Tremont businesses participated, offering fine food, beer, wine and art along Professor Avenue, the commercial heart of the neighborhood.
  • Cost: FREE!
  • Visit for more information.

AUGUST SNEAK PEEK: Ten Years of Rhapsody: A Progressive Arts Alliance Celebration

  • Saturday, August 11th starting at 7:30PM
  • at House of Blues in downtown Cleveland
  • From the PAA website: featuring live hip hop performances, a tribute to Project Five featuring Councilman Matt Zone, hands on arts education experiences for all ages, a silent auction and more!
  • Cost: tickets start at $25 for general admission
  • To purchase tickets, please visit the House of Blues website.

Plenty to do, so get out and do it! What’s on your calendar during the month of July?

yoga teacher training: assisting my first class

This last teacher training weekend had a heavy focus on the anatomy of the body. Fully armed with her MacBook, a projector, a display screen and our skeleton model we lovingly call “Slim”, our teacher Laura lead us through the muscles of the lower half of the body. As she has an highly in depth medical background, I feel like I’m getting a little something extra out of my training at Nishkama Yoga.

I am a brand new student to anatomy and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the medical lingo. All the terminology was going in one ear and out the other. Even terms I thought I knew – fibia, tibia, femur – I was still managing to mix up. It all started to sink in once we were on our mats. As we held poses, Laura would ask, “what muscles are working right now?”  I very rarely was the one to answer, but every tenth question, I’d squeak out something. I did my best to soak everything up as it was being presented, both physically and verbally.

Saturday morning’s 9:30 class was a sweat fest and by Saturday night, I was FULLY aware of my gluteus muscles. Sunday morning I was ready to learn bright and early by 8AM. First thing, we continued our discussion of the anatomy while learning various assists to regularly taught yoga poses. As the hour creeped on, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for another intense 90 minute vinyasa class at 9:30AM. Lucky for me, I had an out.

As we cleaned up the studio in prep for students to arrive, Laura asked if anyone wanted to assist the day’s class. It only took me a hot second to say I would like to assist. She looked back and said “okay, you’re on.”

That’s when the anxiety kicked in and I crawled into my head. I grabbed a yoga strap and hung out in the office until it was time to begin, trying to remember all that we went over that weekend. I quickly remembered the importance of jumping right in as it was the first steps towards reaching my end goal of becoming a yoga teacher.

For 90 minutes, I followed Laura’s assist cuing as Lori taught one intense vinyasa flow. As we worked our way around the room, I learned a few things…

Assisting is mentally TOUGH.  We had 15 people in class that day and trying to remember each person’s preferences was intimidating. Who had the fused hip? Who’s knee has been tweaky lately? Who’s the uber flexy person that I should be reminding to bend their knees? Who’s the person that said “I really prefer not to be touched”? I did my best to stay present with each student as I joined them on their mat in order to give them the right assist for their body.

Don’t expect to remember the flow of the poses. If someone would have looked at me half way through class and said “what’s the next pose”, I would have shrugged my shoulders. An assistant’s job isn’t to remember the flow – just be there to support it.

An assistant must be nimble. Rule number one: don’t hurt your students. Rule number two: don’t get kicked. I almost got a love tap from one of our taller male students, but managed to sneak about without getting a foot to the face.

You will sweat just as much assisting as if you were practicing on your mat.  Assisting is not passive by any means. Different students meant exerting different levels of strength. I think I actually surprised a few when I nearly lifted them off the ground in a few downward facing dog assists!  I was just as sweaty as the students were after class – and was very thankful to sneak home for a lunch break shower!

Don’t teach what you don’t know. Follow up: don’t assist what you don’t know. We’ve gotten into a wide array of assists, but by that point on Sunday, we hadn’t discussed savasana assists. Since I hadn’t learned them, it wasn’t right for me to do them, so Laura and I took that time to step outside and talk about my first assisting experience.

Second follow up: You don’t have to be able to do a pose to teach/assist a pose. While I’m pretty strong in standing poses and back bending, arm balances are still something I’m working on in my own asana practice. That said, I know the correct cuing to guide someone into a crow pose or a headstand. Precise and concise communication is the key.

Sometimes, a squeeze of a hand is all the assist you need to give. As our class was filled with fellow TTs, I tended to gravitate towards them as I knew they would be more understanding if I gave them an awkward assist. During the building of the flow, Lori threw in an extended side angle pose towards the end. When she called it, I found myself near a certain TT (one that I tend to bear hug whenever I see her – I just love her to pieces). As her top hand was extending outwards, I reached out and gave her two first fingers a squeeze. Nothing more than that – I just wanted to give her a little extra love in that moment. Turns out, that’s exactly what she needed as she later told me she was about to collapse on her mat. My small assist gave her the motivation to regroup and finish strong.

LONG STORY SHORT: I was incredibly grateful that I stepped up that morning to assist as I learned a lot that morning. I learned more about my fellow TTs, my teachers, our students and myself – all which will help as I continue this journey. As we’re four weekends done, I can’t believe we only have five more until I have that RYT certificate. Before you know it, I’ll be the one telling you what to do on your mat. AND I CAN’T WAIT!

What’s your feeling on yoga assists? Happy to get a massage during savasana? Want to be manhandled in a twist? Happy to just be left alone?

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