Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This book is written to me, and about me.

Knowledge and Experience do not necessarily speak the same language. But isn’t the knowledge that comes from experience more valuable that the knowledge that doesn’t?” 

“ There us more to knowing than just being correct.” 

“It’s just that there is something more, and that something more is what life is really about.”

“Everything has it’s own place and function. That applies to people, although many don’t seem to realize it, stuck as that are in the wrong job, the wrong marriage, or the wrong house. When you know and respect your own Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong. One man’s food is often another man’s poison, and what is glamorous and exciting to some can be a dangerous trap to others.”

“The wise know their limitations; the foolish do not.”

“Once you face and understand your limitations, you can work with them, instead of having them work agains you and get in you way, which is what they do when you ignore them, whether you realize it or not. And then you will find that, in many cases, your limitations can be your strengths.” 

“The way of Self-Reliance starts with the recognizing who we are, what we’ve got to work with, and what works best for us.”

“Sooner or later, we are bound to discover some things about ourselves that we don’t like. But once we see they’re there, we can decide what we want to do with them. Do we want to get rid of time completely, change them into other things, or use them in beneficial ways?”

“So rather than work against ourselves, all we need to do in many cases is point our weaknesses or unpleasant tendencies in a different direction than we have been.”

   Sometimes words you read are exactly what you need to hear. This book is amazing.. I’m seriously obsessed. I can tell it’s going to be that one book that you come across in your life that you read and re-read again and again.. So much that I am learning.. LOVE IT :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff


“The essence of the principle of the “Uncarved Block” is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed.”

“When you discard arrogance, complexity and a few other things that git in the way sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the uncarved block- LIFE IS FUN”

“From the state of the Uncarved Block comes the ability to enjoy the simple and the quiet, the natural and the plain. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work, add as that may appear to others at times.”

      Who would have thought a book featuring Pooh Bear could have so much to offer? Just in the first two chapters there is much to take away.. Simplicity is something I am trying to live. In our culture we are bombarded with STUFF.. most of it we don’t need or use, yet we still have the desire for more.
     The older we get the more sucked into this life of consumerism we become. We work 40 plus hours a week in jobs that most of us hate- because lets be real.. spending 40 plus hours doing something that we HAVE to do isn’t any fun at all. We lost that ability to be spontaneous when we got all this stuff that we have to pay for. Responsibility that we gave ourselves begins to weigh on our hearts and bodies until eventually we snap. Choosing to take another path is what we all can do.

I choose to live simply
I choose to believe that "Life is Fun”
I choose to be spontaneous.
I choose to be HAPPY

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Bio :)

Crystal came to yoga in 2007, developing her practice independently thru books and self determination. Although she had never set foot in a yoga class, she had a strong desire to share the practice with others. In 2008 she became 200 hour Yogaworks certified under the teaching of Natasha Rizopolous. In the years that followed she was faced with the unexpected challenges of teaching; struggling to bring her playful, energetic attitude and her love for the practice together in her classes. Looking for an alternative way to feed her practice, she took her first Redefining Balance workshop with Adi Carter and Holly Coles. Slacklining and Handstanding her way through a whole new practice literally turned her perspective upside-down and fueled the desire for more fun and play. In 2011 she completed the Yogaslackers teacher training. Blessed with the voice of Jason Magness constantly in her ear, she learned the importance of discovering our edges and pushing past them, to realize what lies within.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

“Yet although they enjoy the spacious glories of Paradise, nevertheless, when their merit is exhausted, they are born again into this world of mortals. They have followed the letter of the scriptures, yet because they have sought to fulfill their own desires, they must depart and return again and again.”

“Whatever someone offers me, whether it be a leaf, or a flower, or a fruit, or water, I accept it, for it is offered with devotion and purity of mind.”

“Fix your mind on me, devote yourself to me, sacrifice for me, surrender to me, make me the object of your aspirations, and too shall assuredly become one with me, who am your own self."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Coco and Flip take on Tahoe

    The time has come where the thoughts we manifested about heading to Wanderlust in Lake Tahoe CA have materialized! Flip has been working hard to get everything in line for us to drive out there and its happening :) Wanderlust is a super fun yoga and music festival- with lots of amazing people presenting and  attending. We were a part of Wanderlust in Stratton VT a few weeks ago and are really looking forward to seeing our west coast slacker family for lots of play time including slackline, longline, acroyoga, hooping and awesome music. For more info click the link below :)

Wanderlust Festival

From Wanderlust VT:
 Flip, Garret of Barefoot Truth and Coco
 Acroyoga fun :)
 Raining, cold but awesomely fun- watching friends take the water line :)
 Coco, Adi, Flip and Danielle
Coco, Sam and Flip  

More details of our trip will be revealed as they come together- so look forward to lots of blogs, video and photos of the adventure coming soon :) Plans are to leave Thursday July 21 from the East coast-  with two possible slacklining workshops in between to help fund the trip- (Chicago and Salt Lake City?) and arriving in Lake Tahoe Sunday July 24 or Monday July 25. Wanderlust begins on July 28th thru the 31st-  after which we will start our return back to the East.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Who’s inside?

“Let him seek liberation by the help of his highest self, and let him never disgrace his own self. For that self is his only friend; yet it may also be his enemy.”

“There, where the whole nature is seen in the light of the self, where the person abides within his self and is satisfied, there, its functions restrained by its union with the Divine, the mind finds rest.”

“It is not possible to attain self-realization if a man does not know how to control himself; but for him who, striving by proper means, learns such control, it is possible.”

    Think highly of yourself/ see who you really are and have self control. Ah yes- two things that I have been working on for a LONG time. Self control is the easier of the two for me, though I haven’t been showing much of it lately have I? I ended up smoking a cigarette yesterday and I felt so sick for at least 1/2 an hour- I felt like I was going to vomit, Yum. I can’t even tell you why I smoked it, I just felt like it and thought- it isn’t a big deal.. But afterwards I felt disgusting and weak. Hey I’m human- I can have a moment of weakness- and I’m moving on, simple as that.

    Thinking highly of myself and seeing who I really am is very challenging. I’ve had many talks with so many people, mostly relating to the way my body looks on the outside. Jason and I talked so many times about my skewed body image, but also my negative attitude about myself as a person. I used to constantly be negative about everything that I was doing/ trying to do. Don’t get me wrong I still get that way but I’ve been actively working on it and have been getting much better at giving myself credit for the things I’m accomplishing. When someone you look up to so much tells you that your awesome and  that they have never seen anyone learn and accomplish acrobatics as quickly as you have (when they have taught thousands of people) you have to take that to heart. Jason has spent so much time with me in that way- talking to me and letting my cry and get things off my chest. I really don’t think I can repay him for all of the life changes that he has talked me through or allowed me to realize.
    I constantly go through these feelings of not being accepted, not being a part of what I so badly want to be. I always think that people don’t want me around- or that they don’t like me. This has stopped me from reaching out to people- and let me tell you, asking for help or human connection is one of the hardest things to do. Putting yourself out there exposed and vulnerable sucks, right? Yes it does- but if I have learned one thing, it’s part of the human condition- everyone has at one point or another felt the same exact way. We are not always willing to be honest with ourselves or others when it comes to this.. We always want to put up this front that we are super strong, nothing can touch or hurt us, we are independent... But the fact is that we all crave human connections. We have been making connections from the moment we were born- each and every single person that we have met in this life has had something to share or impart into our lives. Even the negative interactions have taught us something.
        Every path in my life that led me to meet the Yogaslackers- all of my struggles of teaching yoga, the feeling of just giving up, and the last urge to follow this yogic path- were intensely challenging. Looking back on them now, I know that it was all for a greater purpose. I met these amazing people and with that I ended up learning so much, not just because of them- but really they were the vehicle which helped me to attain a higher self. They nurtured and consoled me and they continue to be an amazing support... To them I will be forever grateful for pushing me to really look inside of myself to realize and see what is already there.
       Let us make a conscious effort to find what already lies within us, because that person is amazing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


"Having abandoned the fruit of action, he wins eternal peace. Others, unacquainted with spirituality. led by desire and clinging to the benefit which they think will follow their actions, become entangled by them. Mentally renouncing all actions, the self-controlled soul enjoyed bliss in this body, the city of nine gates, neither doing anything himself nor causing anything to be done” 

“The joys that spring from  external associations bring pain; they have their beginnings and their endings. The wise man does not rejoice in them.”

“He who is happy within his self, and has found its peace, and in whom the inner light shines, that sage attains eternal bliss and becomes the spirit itself.”

“Governing sense, mind, and intellect, intent of liberation, free from desire, fear and anger, the sage is forever free”

    Non-attatchment is what I’m taking away this morning.. Let us have no expectation of anything in this life. As I am living more in the moment- and less in the past and whatever the future brings I feel like I’m learning to follow this more and more. It is much easier to let go of the past I feel like- letting go of expectation of the future is going to be my biggest task. Sure it is a whole lot easier to just say I have no hopes for what comes next, but actually living it will be my biggest work. So badly I want for everything to work out in the ideal way. Of course I know that isn’t the way it will work- and really what fun would life be if our expectations all became reality?

Lets shift
    Talks and plans are in motion for a cross country road trip with Flip to Wanderlust Lake Tahoe. For whatever reason- even though I want to go and do- there is fear or hesitation. I’m letting it go and saying what the hell, lets do it! As long as things fall into place with my job in North Adams then I will just do it.. Fear no more and enjoy each day as it comes!
    As I speak with my parents I have been asked a million times what I’m thinking- what are my plans. They are extremely worried about me and the paths that I’m about to take. I appreciate it, really I do. However I have to let them say their piece and acknowledge it- but not let it hold me back. Their fears will not be pushed on me like they were in my childhood. Even when they are in place for my own good, sometimes you need to make your own mistakes and choices without being influenced by others, even when they are just doing it out of love.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From the Bhagavad Gita

  Such a large part of a yoga practice is self study. For years I’ve always wondered about and kind of faked this part. Sure I can bust out some intense yoga asana, but ask me to sit and meditate for just 5 minutes and my skin crawls after 30 seconds. I’ve always had this untamed amount of energy just pulsing within me. I’ve been drawn to activities that help to regulate the flow of this prana- and even in my yoga practice I focus of vigorous vinyasa (flow) based practice. I have not been rounded at all when it comes to my practice or in life. I’m balls to the wall- intense and determined to do whichever asana alludes me. 
    Mediation and stillness allude me more than any part of my yoga practice. Now I’m not saying that I want to sit and meditate for 20 minutes- yeah right, hah! But maybe someday it will happen. I’m trying to focus on the small accomplishments first. Let’s start with 5 minutes shall we? When reading through the Bhagavad Gita this morning I came across this:

“Having attained peace, he becomes free from misery; for when the mind gains peace, right discrimination follows. Right discrimination is not for him who cannot concentrate, there cannot be meditation; he who cannot meditate must not expect peace; and without peace, how can anyone expect happiness?

   How can I expect happiness in my current state? I have been told and told; people have attempted to FORCE me into meditation and stillness without success, surely because they have seen it’s exactly what I need. But we can’t help or force someone who needs help, to be helped. If I can’t sit with myself for 5 minutes and find some sort of contentment, how can I ever find contentment within my life as a whole? 

   Having been driven by my need to accomplish physical feats I have missed the whole point. This is not only a physical journey- but largely (esp. for me) a mental and spiritual journey. It’s so much simpler for me to focus on that which I am already good at. But the mind... well that is a whole other story. 
    From the beginning of my teaching I have had expectations of what it was going to look like, what I was going to accomplish..The fact of the matter was I was viewing teaching as a way to make a living- Yes it does need to be that for me as well. However it’s more about how yoga feeds me, and what sharing of yoga can do for me as well. Who cares if I can do 100 Chaturanga’s? Sure maybe they would be impressed- but not if they knew I couldn’t sit still for a simple meditation, or a gentle yoga class. 

“Let not the fruit of your action be your motive; nor yet be enamored of inaction. Perform all your actions with the mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity.”

   I have veered away from things that I knew I had the potential to fail. Why? Because I care about the result. What will people think if I fail? How will I feel??? Learning to be detached from the result is a hard lesson but one that is so important. The thought of not trying things because of this need to succeed is ridiculous. Whether success or failure is the result, the fact is that there is something to be learned, growth that will be made no matter what the end result. 
    Jason once told me that the general idea or goal of what you want or who you want to be is great to have. If we look upon it as the idea or starting point that puts us on the path. There needs to be no attachment to that specific thing- but focus on the journey itself. During the journey the end result that you thought you wanted may change- but the thing to take away is that it led you to where you are at this moment. 
    Where you are at this moment is where you need to be. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Turning self-destructive into self-motivation

 Isn’t it true that when we are in stressful situations we immediately begin self-destructive behavior? In the past my first instinct has been to restrict what I’m eating and focus on whats wrong with my body. The two go hand in had of course- and it’s the one thing in this life I have alway been able to control. In my teen years I would restrict everything that went into my body. As I got older- I realized that I didn’t want to starve myself any longer- and this is when I became a vegan. This seemed like a happy middle ground. There was still restriction, still “rules” that I would follow- any way to keep my disordered eating in check. My first bout with veganism led me to lose a crap load of weight, and become really unhealthy. I started to lose hair in clumps and had my hip bones protruding inches from my body. Eventually I started to feel so shitty- tired and miserable that I ate meat again for a month or two, and went to a vegetarian lifestyle. That lasted a year or so before I once again went down the same road. This time I was smarted about it- I would eat lots of veggies and started to really love cooking. But after 4 years of this life when I began to focus more on getting my body healthy thru yoga and working out more and more- that life no longer suited me. I started to DREAM about eating sushi.. Raw tuna in particular.. I would wake up just wanting to eat this- during this time I started to have alot of stomach issues, tons of pain no matter what I ate. I was munching on tums multiple times a day. I went to the doctor- everything seemed ok, except that I was told I had an ulcer. Eventually after weeks of dreaming about this fish I ate two pieces... I swear my body was so excited- and it didn’t reject it. Instead after weeks of contemplation- I started to eat eggs and dairy.. For the first time in a while my body was running much more smoothly. Instead of ignoring what it was trying to tell me, I listened, and everything with my stomach got so much better. I felt stronger and more able to do the things that I wanted to do. More yoga, strength training and cardio. Shortly after I went to teacher training and felt better than I had in a long time. I was not only feed my body I was listening to it and feeding my soul.. Yoga had led me to this.
    Teacher training pushed me to see what was going on inside- which ultimately led to all of these changes that I have mentioned with my life. Unfortunately it also led to so much pain during this self-discovery period and I started to smoke cigarettes to deal with the stress of it all. Dealing with everything has of course been so much harder than I anticipated- and probably because it really came as a surprise to me.. all of these emotions that I have been holding inside were thrown into my face like a huge wave crashing into me. There is no other way to deal than to dive right into it.
   However- smoking isn’t the way that I want to take these things on. Why can’t I be strong enough to just deal with them? I know that I am- and I’m letting go of this crutch from this moment on. It doesn’t support the lifestyle that I am seeking.. So as this new person emerges- I am knowingly going to change my patterns. I’m going to eat what is good for my body- drink what is good for my body and really focus on putting in positive action.
   As I write this I am setting down the outline for what I want to be. Coco is a strong girl who will be 100% honest, 100% of the time. Bottom line.. The cigarette that I just put out, will be the last. Just like eating the right foods will heal me, so will making healthy decisions. I’m not going to sit back and let life happen to me because I’m afraid of failure. That’s just stupid- and I’m NOT going to let myself take the easy way out..
  I am strong, smart, determined, and just way better than that. I must do things and make decisions to support the life I want.. not destroy it.. I’m turning it around right now- I will self motivate and I will achieve anything I wish to.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When what you want is 50/50

   Time and time again the same thoughts go through my head. “Which path is the right path?” I wish I had a crystal ball to gaze into the future- that would make the decision so much simpler. How can I want two very different things at the exact same time? There is nothing worse then not being able to make a decision. It’s not as simple as choosing which toppings I want on my pizza or what I want to have for dinner tonight.  It is so much more than that. One choice is to stay in my marriage- settling in a sense for what I have, albeit making it better. The other is casting everything that I have in favor of following the Yogaslackers way of life- the life of no consistency, no stability, but one that is fueled by my passion for the practice. Not knowing where I will sleep from night to night or where my next meal will come from. The second choice a much more ambitious one- one that could leave me with absolutely nothing.. literally. if I fail. I have had this second life in the back of my mind coupled with the thought of “what if?” What could happen if I risk everything, my husband and my home included to try and chase this career for lack of better term. It seems that I am at this fork in the road- neither way seems like it is clearly the right or wrong choice. For over a year now I have considered this, wondering.
   In the last weeks there have been many a tear shed, many a late night conversation, all unfruitful. In so many ways I just want to know which is the best path- while James has stood by waiting for me to make some sort of leap in one direction or the next. Until last week I had felt like I had his support in the sense that no matter what he would always be there in my corner cheering me on.. My ever present other half. When the finality of divorce came up- it was a shocker to me. I’m not sure what I thought would happen- mostly I think I assumed that we would just take a hiatus while I sorted through the tangled mess that has become my minds thoughts and chatter. But I always thought we would end up together. There has been nothing scarier than the thought of fully losing James. In the end I really just want him in my life- and the idea of friendship that we have built; our relationship as lovers coming in second. As I look around at the space that we have created to live within there was this yearning for something more. Automatically I would think that just being without James was the solution- but after getting a small taste of what other men are I realized very quickly that he is the one for me. Unfortunately it was a bit too late as he had stood up for himself and my lack of adequate appreciation and voiced his feelings about his lack of happiness within our coupling. In the last 8 years there has been so many positive things that were a result of us being together- and now as I stare this departure in the face I feel nothing but sorrow. I don’t want to let go of everything that we have for something that I don’t even know will work.
     We have been caught up in this life of every day- losing sight of ourselves within our relationship. True I have no other relationships to compare to this one- but I think it has been pretty amazing for the most part. Sure we have had many things that we could have done without- many things that we struggled to overcome. But when I look at the man that I married I see now more than ever what an amazing man he truly is. He is someone that I not willing to give up; not quite yet. I know that I am asking and expecting too much of just one person, but is it too much really? He has said that I have to prove to him that I want to be with him. I’m not sure what I can do to ease his mind and make him believe me. I know that the way our relationship has shifted in these two months- minus the pain and suffering- has really been amazing. He is enjoying his time and freedom as much as I am- but for me it is just showing me where we can improve. Being married isn’t about losing who you are and just become this one person... its the two people who bring very different things to the table coming together for something much greater than that. The ability to share a life together- but still being the people that we are and want to become.
     There is still so much of me that is left uncovered. Yoga has led me to this path or self discovery, but I don’t feel like I need to leave the man I love to accomplish finding out all of these things.
     During our conversation this afternoon of everything, James said that he regretted the fact that we got married when we did. This statement, even though it was an innocent one, was so hurtful. To think that there could be any regret about who and what we have become made me ache. Yes things would have been different- but would they have been better? The way that things played out happened for a reason. There have been times that I questioned why James and I had stayed together- that thought of what if.. once again. But when it comes right down to it, James has made me a better person, has been my biggest cheerleader, my rock and my family. When things were completely out of control he was the voice of reason. There where times where I felt like I was held back- but really I was pushed forward.
    So now I’m here standing in front of the fire. When all I want is to have BOTH. I want the man I married, the man that I love more than anything in the whole world- AND the ability to share this practice of yoga, which will lead me to have a life of constant motion- a life that he wants no part of.  How can you love two things so much that are so completely different? Why can’t I just choose one? Why can’t he want this too? Can’t there be a happy medium- one that can make us both happy and fulfilled?
      James wants to have a family- which is something that I want with him as well- just not right at this moment. But do I take the chance and do that with him hoping that I can still make a go at being this yoga teacher? Or do I just hope that if we split ways now so I can attempt the teaching and that we will end up together if that is in the cards for us. The thought of him doing that with anyone else makes me sick...
   I’m just stuck in this never ending circle now.. I just don’t know what to do.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I swear I will..

Post more often.

A whirlwind of a tornado has swept over my life.. It’s a good thing. In the last two months my life has dramatically changed more than I ever thought possible. Yogaslackers teacher training led me to discover a whole lot about who I am and who I want to be. Ultimately it’s about wanting to chase after life- I really want to go for it, Balls to the wall. James and I are currently separated, which was a product of this self realization. I’m unemployed. I’m meeting tons of amazing people- the members of Barefoot Truth and thier families whom welcomed me like an adopted child. They have housed me and fed me all out of the kindness of their hearts- without asking for anything in return.. EK, whom is seriously a kindred spirit- going through much of this along with me. I surfed for the first time yesterday and KILLED it.. sure I’m no pro but for a first time out I was pretty darn good if I say so myself! I’m allowing myself to be completely open to whatever possibilities come my way- this is a huge one. Part of the reason that James and I are separated is that I have never been on my own. Sure we have been together but I have been with him since I was 17-25.. in that time frame one changes so much and I kind of lost myself in our relationship. There is something to be said for working hard on the bond that you have with someone else- but with that I never fully developed the person that I want or and supposed to be. Over the last two months I have seen just a small glimpse into this person and I have to say that I really like what I’m seeing.
    That is not to say that there isn’t so much work to be done- that really goes without saying. But what I am saying is that I want to be whole. There is a part of me that has never really come out of the shell. But  as time has gone one that little part has been pecking and clawing her way to the surface. I will say that my yoga practice has greatly increased her strength- however it has also made me completely vulnerable. This is such a good thing- since I have kept myself at arms length from so many people for no reason other than I’m sensitive and I don’t want to be hurt.. But opening myself up in that way has really brought me so much more that I am completely willing to give it 100%. Sure leaving a life where I have a stable home and husband and pretty much a comfortable situation seems a bit extreme- and maybe I will look back and think that it was the wrong thing to do. But I have to try. I will regret NOT trying way more than giving it everything that I have. I want to work on myself and figure out what I need to study- both spiritually and physically. The physical part of my life is my comfort zone- But when I was pushed so much to my brink physically- the truth about what I was holding on to and hiding came RUSHING out- and I was not ready for that.
    During that time I leaned on the shoulders of the new friends and family that I became a part of durning teacher training. At the time I just needed that contact, that unconditional friendship- because unlike friends back home who all know and love James this people were only invested in me.. I really connected with Dan- and because of the way things went we unfortunately no longer are connected.