Category Archives: Living Yoga

My Running + Yoga Story

The running came before the yoga. And let me start off by telling you that my running journey wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. I HATED running up until my sophomore year in college, even though I played soccer and basketball for many years. I viewed running as punishment. Something that happened when we messed up in practice and a way to put myself down by comparing myself to others. In college, this all changed. I began to run just for me. Not to be faster or in shape for my sport, but because I wanted to be healthier. Little did I know that it would teach me how to love myself.

The Sanskrit word, Ahimsa, do not harm, is a common expression you hear in the yoga world. That’s why some yogis turn to vegetarianism. However, an incredibly powerful meaning of this expression is to not only avoid harm to others but to be kinder and more compassionate with ourselves. Throughout my youth and teenage years I most definitely did not abide by this principle. I turned to putting myself down as motivation to be my best self; thinking the meaner I got the more I would be able to push myself. The opposite happened. I just began to hate myself more.

Once I began to run for myself, those miles began to be the time where I was able to actually gain perspective. I was able to see how awful I treated myself. I imagined saying what I was saying to myself to a friend. It was horrifying. I watched my reactions when I couldn’t run as fast or as far or when I surprised myself and ran my best. I also began to see my determination and my strength, both of which I never knew existed. I was relentless to run when it was cold, raining and/or snowing. I did not let the weather or things outside of my control deter me from my goal or from doing what I desired for myself.

My most enlightened moment came when I ran my first marathon, the Philadelphia Marathon in November of 2005. The farthest distance race I had run before taking on training was 10 miles and it was quite a trip for me to cover distances and speeds my old self would have never thought was possible. Crossing that finish line was a life-changing experience. I found a love for myself that I never thought could exist. After years of self-hate, self-doubt, and negativity, my running and marathon training allowed me to connect me to my best self, for I had done something I thought I could never do. AND I DID IT. I, without a doubt, would not be where I am today without this experience.

Fast forward five years and seven marathons later. My body grew tired and injured. I was completely burned out. My running high and confidence I gained through running were weaning. I needed something else. I couldn’t rely on the miles, the quest for personal records, and race accolades as methods to love myself.  I was desperate to find a way to connect with myself again. That’s when yoga came into my life.

After years of colleagues and friends encouraging me to hit my yoga mat, I finally did. I found the most wonderful teacher at a local gym and fell in love. Through the practice of yoga, I realized I was perfect exactly as I was and I didn’t need a race medal to prove that. I was able to watch, listen, and practice Ahimsa in a whole new way. Trust me, this process took YEARS and is still something I still have to practice and remind myself. Now ten years+ into practicing yoga, I have learned that I don’t just have to be on my mat to practice this. I can do it when I’m trying to put my 7-month-old daughter to sleep, when I’m trying to get a stroller, a baby and dog down 2 flights of stairs to go for a walk, when I get down on myself because I feel like a did an awful job teaching a class, when I yell at my husband, and when I feel like I’m not doing enough as a yoga teacher, mom, friend, and wife. Yoga is everywhere and is a way of being mindful; paying attention on purpose without judgment (definition by Jon Kabat-Zinn in Wherever You Go There You Are).

Running and yoga have changed my life. They have allowed me to discover and love myself in a whole new way; to see and feel my determination and strength both through movement and in stillness. To be comfortable with the uncomfortable and to get real with things that are very hard in my life. Especially now as a new mom, they have been game changers for how I practice self-care. The more I can watch, listen, and empower myself, the better I am for the most important job I will ever have, being a mom.

Being a human is hard. It’s easy to hate. It’s easy to judge ourselves. I encourage you to find something, whether that’s running and/or yoga or not, that allows you to be more compassionate with yourself. Self-compassion always wins.

With love,
Cara

 

 

Open Yourself Up to the New Year

Cheers! 2018 is here. Now more than ever, this is YOUR time. Not your time to make a laundry list of everything about yourself and your life that you dislike, but to ask yourself, what do you want to cultivate and create?

Journaling and meditation are two powerful tools to ignite this questioning process and will give you all the answers. Below I have outlined a “jump start” mindfulness exercise to get this process going for you. Once you have established your intention, share it with at least one other person. The more we communicate and share our aspirations with others, the more likely they will come into fruition. Enjoy and let me know how this goes for you!

Cheers to 2018 and everything it has to offer us!
With love,
Cara

Open Your Heart to the New Year Mindfulness Exercise
All you need to complete this exercise is a pen and paper and any props that allow you to sit comfortably.

1. Breathe. Everything starts with the breath. In order to move through stuck thoughts and energy, we need to find connection with the breath. Find a seated position that is most comfortable for you, close your eyes and come into a breath that feels best for you.

2. Count 20 rounds of breath. Keep the breath slow, deep and relaxed. If you find you’re trying to rush it, take another 10 rounds of breath. Nice, slow and steady.

3. Meditate for 5 minutes. Let your breath stay at a constant relaxed state, set your phone timer for 5 minutes and drop right in. There is no “right” way to meditate. Meditation is just a process of paying attention and listening. Notice your thoughts and pay attention to what your feeling. Then let it go with each and every exhale.

4. Journal. Get your paper and pen ready and answer the following questions as they relate to 2017/2018:

  1. What was your biggest accomplishment?
  2. What was your biggest failure?
  3. What were you most proud of?
  4. What was your greatest fear?
  5. Who in your life inspired you the most?
  6. Who in your life caused the most heaviness?
  7. Where in your day to day did you feel the most unsettled?
  8. Where in your day to day did you feel the most energized?
  9. What’s your biggest decision for 2018?
  10. What’s one thing that you would do if you knew you could never fail?

5. Reflect on your answers. What themes repeated themselves? What feelings came to surface? Underline and circle those answers.

6. Write a letter to yourself and incorporate the following:
> what do you want to let go of?
> how do you want to feel?
> what do you want to create for yourself?
> What is your intention for the new year. Let this be a statement.

*It’s important to stay away from goals when writing this letter. If you find this is difficult for you, take a step back and ask yourself, what do you need to get there. For example, you want to meditate more. Instead of writing out your meditation training plan, think of an inspiring statement that lays out the foundation to make it happen. For example, your statement could be “be more and do less”. 

7. Breathe again. This time instead of counting, repeat your intention. Taking the example above, you would inhale “be more” and exhale “do less”.

8. Seal in your intention one more time. Bring your hands to your heart and once again declare it yourself.

9. Now declare it to a friend. The more we communicate our intentions the more they come alive!

10. Namaste!

 

Acceptance

Acceptance is a tough concept to practice. For if we accept something, are we choosing to be lazy or to not make things better? I’ve been struggling with this concept since pregnancy and now post-baby.

I’m living in a completely different body than I was a year ago. My body is healing. I’m not getting the sleep I once did. I’m carrying around some pregnancy pounds. And I’m feeding another human. I’m itching to be where I used to be in my yoga and my running practice. I’m craving those endorphins and feeling confident in my own skin. But my body is not ready yet. I need to accept it.

But when I should accept and when I should push? How am I suppose to get stronger if I don’t try? It’s a constant ongoing conversation with myself.

A few days ago, I completed the Fox Foundation’s 5K FoxTrot. I went in with no expectations. I accepted where I was and how my body was feeling. I ran the first mile and then ran/walked the rest of the race. I walked as soon as I could feel my form slipping (core weakness huge factor) and ran when I felt strong again. I listened to how I felt in that moment and accepted it. Was it challenging? Yes, incredibly challenging! Every time someone passed me when I was walking, I wanted to say “I had a baby 9 weeks ago and I need to take it easy”. It’s amazing how our ego plays into everything. And this wasn’t the Boston Marathon. This was a casual race for charity! But again, it’s hard to not compare to our past selves or our expectations.

I have to accept this new body I’ve been given. Instead of looking at what I can’t do. What can I do? I ran/walked a 5K nine weeks after having a baby. That’s pretty amazing! I’m also learning. I’m learning to listen and to take care of myself in a whole different way. If I don’t take care of me, how I’m I suppose to give in other areas of my life?

Acceptance is hard but it can be our teacher if we allow it to be. What can acceptance teach you?

 

9 Months Pregnant! Here’s What I’ve Learned

I can’t believe that I’m 36 weeks pregnant (9 months!). The time seemed to pass by so slowly during the first trimester when I wasn’t feeling too well but now, as my due date is right around the corner, I can’t believe it’s almost here! Eekkk!

This pregnancy journey has been a wild ride and has taught me so much. I wanted to share some important lessons and reminders:

Listen to what your body is telling you. Whether you’re pregnant or not, when your body changes, it can be frustrating. I know throughout my pregnancy this is something I struggled with. I can honestly say that it wasn’t until I was 6 months pregnant that I finally accepted the change and began to really view my body as beautiful. The body is an incredible thing. It changes, adapts, and grows as we need it to. Instead of putting it down and trying to control the way it changes, it’s important to ask ourselves, why are these changes occurring? What are our bodies telling us? Are you growing a baby in your body? Are you stressed and overwhelmed and need to make changes in your life? Do you need more time for self care? All these changes start within ourselves and they will never stop happening. Instead of judging what’s on the outside, we need to assess what’s happening on the inside.

Even if you love it, if it’s not serving you, let it go. This is been a tough lesson for me to learn during my pregnancy. As you all know, I love running. It connects me to not only myself but to my community. I love nothing more than running with my RunYoga crew on Monday nights and my Marathon Sports Boston peeps on Wednesday nights. It was incredibly hard to let go. Around month 7 or so, I started to get inner groin pain while running. I decreased my mileage and frequency of runs but even running 1 mile per week was causing me pain. I heard so many stories of people running up until they went into labor and didn’t understand why this was so different for me. But it was time to say goodbye. Running was not serving my physical body and it was causing me so much frustration. I finally let it go. I looked at it as an opportunity to switch things up. I started swimming, upped my walking game (which Rudy was very happy about!) and kept my yoga game on point and felt so much better. Will I run again? Yes! Will it be a while? Yes! Is that OK? Yes! I’ll start to run again when it serves me both physically and mentally.

People love to help you. Let them! I take incredible pride in being independent. I love owning my business, managing my schedule, and taking it all on myself. Well, when you’re pregnant you can’t do it all anymore. This took me until months 8 of my pregnancy to realize. I can’t carry large speakers for events. I can’t do all the errands and manage a full time teaching schedule 6 days a week. I can’t carry my harmonium up and down flights of stairs. When people want to help you, let them! My husband has been trying to teach me this lesson throughout my whole pregnancy and I’m finally listening (sorry Jon! love you!). It’s hard to accept help. There’s something really empowering of being able to take charge and do everything yourself but I’ve learned first hand of how beautiful it is to let others in and to accept that vulnerability. People love to help and feel good helping you. Let them!

People judge you. Ignore it. Embrace your journey. Especially at this point in my pregnancy, there’s no hiding that I will be having a baby in the next couple of weeks. Because of this, I get comments regarding how I look all the time. I have found it so interesting that people I don’t even know have something to say about how I look (I get at least 1 comment every day from a passing stranger). I’m totally fine with these comments and I even add to the conversation but I know for others it’s tough. It’s important to remember, that pregnancy is an incredibly fascinating experience and it’s a beautiful thing to see. Just like our lives. Things change. Things shift. Things transform. Don’t get caught up in the comments and opinions of others. Let your journey and path be true to you. Just like every pregnancy is different, everyone’s life journey is unique.

Lastly, I finally know what’s it like to have boobs and to actually have cleavage! This might not be an important life lesson but it’s something worth mentioning and I thought I would end this blog post on a light, humorous note 😉

Can’t wait for you all to meet you our baby girl!
Sending love!
Cara

 

 

My Biggest News Yet!

IMG_6933
I’M PREGNANT! My husband and I are so excited to be welcoming baby girl Gilman into the world this August. This is something we have always wanted and truly feel incredibly blessed with this gift.

The journey to becoming pregnant has taught me so much. It’s always important to remember that our biggest challenges are our greatest gifts. They allow us to grow and discover a deep strength that we never knew we had.

I’m so excited to share this amazing news with each and every one of you! My due date is August 13th and I’m planning on teaching right up until then. I will be taking some time off after the baby comes, so sadly, the RunYoga Spring series will most likely be the last series for 2017. I will keep you all updated on my schedule as we get closer to this exciting date!

With love,
Cara

Trust the Process

Take a deep breathe in. Fall is here and it can be overwhelming! New schedules, new roles, new places, i.e. CHANGE, takes time for adjustment and its important to give yourself the space to find perspective.

dsc00245

This is something that I have struggled with this month. As someone who loves a schedule and routine, this month as been challenging for me as I have been traveling for teaching and taking on new projects. Instead of trying to micromanage my schedule to find comfort, I have been working on becoming grateful.

As mentioned in my “Our Thoughts Create the World We See” blog post, our words have a powerful effect on our perspective of the world. So when I find myself feeling overwhelmed by change, I tell myself that this is not happening to me but for me. Every road block and every transition is providing something for us to learn and grow from.

Turning to this place of gratitude has been powerful not just in my life but I hear it day after day. A good friend of mine is about to embark through a number of huge changes in her life. In talking with her on how she was dealing with it all, she said,  “Instead of looking at what I HAVE to do, it’s important to look at what I GET to do.” Such a beautiful way of putting everything into perspective.

We can’t control what happens to us but we can control what happens within us. Let gratitude give you the perspective to see change as an opportunity to grow and to view life events as a gift, not an obligation. Trust the process.

Love,
Cara

Our Thoughts Create the World that We See

After spending this past weekend at Kripalu, I finally got the itch to write. As many of you know, Kripalu has always been a place of transformation for me and having the opportunity to not only be a student at this special place but also a teacher, opened my heart completely.

13405606_895435892281_512539412_o

During my stay, I took an inspiring workshop, The Energy of Our Thoughts led by Izzy Lenihan. It provided a lot of connections and reasoning to what I commonly say in my classes, “our thoughts and our words create the world that we see.” Our thoughts are the most powerful tools for change and if we can practice pausing and watching our thoughts, i.e. what our yoga practice is all about, then we can reduce the suffering in our life. Sounds easy right?

Obviously, it’s the hardest thing we can do and why we have suffering in our life. On average, we have 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day and many of these thoughts are the same thoughts that are repeated each and every day. For us women, 1,300 of these thoughts are negative. Our thoughts become habits and so we become stuck in these cycles, in yoga we call these sumskaras.

The question becomes how do we break these cycles of thoughts and pull ourselves out of this negative whirlpool? We destruct these barriers by working on the unconscious part of our mind. Everyday we experience the five following emotions: love, joy, anger, sadness and fear. I guarantee one of those emotions stands alone and zaps a majority of your energy every day. For me, that emotion is fear.

During the workshop, we were instructed to write a letter to our most dominant and unpleasant emotion. Here’s what I wrote in my letter:

Dear Fear, 
You show up every morning to scare and intimate me. To make me feel like I’m not worthly of love or worthly of my role in this world as a yoga teacher, wife, sister and friend. You zap my energy and you’re exhausting! I keep waiting for the day when you will fade away but you’re always there; waiting in the wings. Yet at the same time, you motivate me and you almost inspire me. By experiencing you, I know it’s because I care and I’m afraid of failure. If only we could work together. Without you, life would be so much easier.

We then had to have our emotion write a letter to us. Here’s what fear wrote to me:

Dear Cara, 
I’m here to let you know what you’re capable of. I’m your inspiration and keep you on your toes. What pleasure would you have in life if everything was certain? I bring excitement into your life and allow you to properly plan. Uncertaintly keeps you alive and it allows you to better appreciate what you have.

This exercise was very interesting for me. It allowed me to be very present with my emotion and instead of attaching my self worth to it, I was able to take a step back and observe it. I was able to LEARN from it.

“Honor your emotions and befriend them, for they have a lesson for your soul.” Such a beautiful way of putting it. Instead of letting the emotions of our thoughts drive us, how can we seperate from them and learn? What can they teach us?

Our thoughts create the world that we see. Instead of getting stuck in the energy and habits of our thoughts, we have to break the cycle. It’s time to work with our emotions by facing them. I encourage you to go through this same exercise. Write a letter to your most dominant unpleasant emotion you’re experiencing and then have that emotion write a letter to you. What did you learn?

I will end this blog post with this beautiful quote,

“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” –Chinese Proverb

With love,
Cara

I’m Back! India Recap

I’ve been home from India a little over a week now, and with every day that I’m home, I realize more and more how much this experience has changed my life and my perspective.

11251206_10156303888915161_2555346138523776545_n

Tuesday, January 5th was the day that I left for India and it feels like years ago. I woke up that morning in my husband’s arms with a strong feeling of love and calm, despite the anxious energy I was feeling about my trip. Going to India was a big deal. I’m not much of a world traveler so the thought of getting on an airplane and traveling across the world was terrifying. Plus, I heard story after story about the ins/outs of traveling to a place like India—poverty, sickness, jet lag, culture shock, etc. I was prepared for anything and everything but I was still terrified. However, this all changed that morning when I woke up; being in my husbands arms and experiencing that feeling of love and calm, I knew this trip was destiny and it would change my life.

This same feeling came over me when I arrived at my gate at the airport and met two of my classmates. Our program, SuperSoul Yoga 500 hour Advanced Teacher Training, had established a Facebook group and even though I was “friends” with everyone in my program prior to going to India, I had no idea what to expect. Our group consisted of people from all around the world—Australia, Sweden and Austria. However, once I met my classmates, I knew that I would be spending time with some amazing and inspiring people. I felt a sense of comfort and home just a couple minutes into our conversation.

IMG_6418

Arriving in Mumbai late the next night, however, was a little less comforting. You can feel and see the pollution in the air; it’s this thick foggy haze. There’s constant beeping, everyone feels the need to use their horn all the time, and they also never drive in their own lane. And there’s extreme poverty.

I woke up that Thursday morning to singing. I looked out my window and down below and I saw this.

IMG_6430

At first, I thought there was construction going on next to our hotel and the construction workers were blaring a radio. Then as I got closer, I realized that those were homes and the singing wasn’t coming from a radio, but were voices from those living below. As I listened closer, I was able to make out the words and it was the same phrase repeated over and over again. They were chanting the maha mantra, called the “great” mantra;

“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna
Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama, Rama
Hare, Hare”

Which translates to, “Oh Lord, let me be of service today.” Little did I know that this chant would be something that I would chant everyday during my stay in India and also something I would bring home with me.

Our stay in Mumbai was short, as we left for the Govardhan Eco Village later that day to officially kick-off the start of our teacher training program. My Eco Village experience was much different than Mumbai. Everything was quiet, peaceful, and simple. We were welcomed with a candlelit dinner and this is how and where we ate every meal; outside under the cover of trees under the sun or under the star filled night sky.

12650817_10156378199085161_2696631708778061807_n

Everything we ate came right from the farm and all the farm labor came right from the cows that lived there. Every product that came from the Eco Village was a sustainable product—soap, shampoo, etc.

12400446_10103335580571733_1080780326586993822_n

In addition to 21 people that were part of our teacher training program, we shared this home with the great Radhanath Swami, monks, an orphanage and other visitors from around the world. Even though each community of people were so culturally different from one another, there was a special sense of oneness among everyone.

12512309_10156303890060161_2884756141444226177_n

IMG_6619

Our days at the Eco Village were full days—6am yoga practice which included meditation, chanting, pranayama and asana till about 8:30am. Then breakfast and a little bit of free time. Class time from 10am to 1pm. Lunch from 1 to 2pm. Sometimes a break from 2 to 3pm. Then class from 3 to 5pm. Satsang (songs and stories) from 5:30 to 7:30pm or so. Dinner till about 8:30pm and then some of us would gather before bed to play harmonium under the stars. We called ourselves the Radharani orchestra.

12552812_10208268948030570_4926052831770696802_n

12540898_10103350239075973_7106617044483645385_n

1929995_969140406505952_5931057650114827421_n

As hard as it was to get out of bed at 5:30am every morning, once I walked outside into the beauty of the morning, I was grateful for it. The stars were incredible—so big and bright and the light from the moon was so vibrant. Walking to yoga every morning reminded me why I had come so far from home to complete this advanced 500 hour teacher training certification; to reconnect with myself.

IMG_6505

IMG_6481

The attraction of completing my 500 hour teacher training certification with my favorite teacher, Raghunath Cappo, is what lured me into signing up for the program. Traveling to India was an added bonus since I knew I would most likely never have the opportunity to travel this far ever again. Yet deep down, I also knew I needed some major me time. Every morning that I walked to that yoga shula under that star filled sky, I allowed myself to remain open to whatever that day had to teach me and offer me. And each day had so many offerings and learnings.

12605345_10156343194385161_51072601464386096_o

12642995_10208295933865199_4374193074858554612_n

We immersed ourselves into the Bhagavada Gita, the Yoga Sutras, autonomy, sequencing, assisting, advanced asana/transitions, meditation, pranayama and had the honor of hearing from Radhanath Swami almost on a daily basis during our satsangs in the evening. This immersion into yoga and our disconnection from my day to day and regular stimulation—tv, radio, phone, traffic, daily hussle, etc.—allowed my mind to actually be clear for one of the first times in a very long time and I actually felt present. I felt like a sponge; taking it every piece of information and wanting to learn everything. I also felt a strong connection with the world around me.

DCIM104GOPROGOPR4291.

DCIM104GOPROGOPR4291.

The simpliness of living in the Eco Village was the most beautiful thing. You felt connected to everything around you—the night sky, the moon, the stars, the mountain views, the cows—the peace and stillness allowed you to magically open. One of the memories I will always take with me is the night of the full moon. We had our evening satsang on the roof deck of the building where we were staying, and as the full moon rose over the mountains, we sang and we chanted,

“Hare Krisha, hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna,
hare, hare,
hare rama, hare rama,
rama, rama, hare.”

As we chanted those words I just kept reminding myself to keep disconnecting to connect. To trust that whatever is meant to be, will be. To never forget the power of finding stillness in the self to exist in a higher state of mind.

IMG_7035

This higher state followed me right through the course of my training and even back to Mumbai where I spent my last day in India. Part of our graduation was participating in the annual flower festival hosted at the Radha Gopinath temple by Radhanath Swami. We spent the morning of festival plucking the pedals off of more than 3,000 pounds of flowers as Radhanath Swami spoke about the power of oneness and the power of love. Then that night, we headed back to the temple for kirtan as thousands of pounds of flowers were showered on us. It was such an incredible experience. The beauty of the flowers and the music, and being in the presence of a diverse community of people all united together, left me completely speechless at times with tears in my eyes and then at other times made me giddy and full of laughter. The energy in the room was indescribable. And that was my last night in India.

IMG_7362

12662519_10208563059783353_8015164778292501585_n

12688248_10156378221025161_1983954751251233658_n (1)

12644659_10156378214630161_5159067711993242897_n

The next morning everyone met for breakfast and we all said our goodbyes. It was such a tough day. To have spent over three and half weeks with each of these individuals for more than 13 hours per day and then to say goodbye was  devastating. I truly met the most incredible people and it was so sad to think that we would most likely not all be together again.

12654277_10156378199690161_4774258028579694103_n

This thought still gets me so sad as I write this blog post. The people that we surround ourselves with is so important—they can either bring out the best in us or the worst in us—and to have had such an incredible experience with these people that inspired me to be the best I can be, I’m forever grateful.

12508737_10156378198515161_6497866898620477579_n

I might not still be in India in the magical place of Govardhan Village with my amazing SuperSoul yogi’s but every time I play my harmonium and sing,

“hare Krishna, hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna,
hare, hare, hare rama,
hare rama,
rama, rama”

I’m able to go right back to that place in those moments—chanting before the sunrise, sitting and listening to satsang in the evening, playing harmonium under the moon light with the Radharani orchestra, or dancing at the flower festival. It will forever remind me to stay open, to be authentic and to trust whatever will be, will be.

Namaste yogis 🙂
Love,
Cara

IMG_6825

I’m Going to India!

That’s right! I’m headed to India to complete my 500 hour teaching certification with Raghunath Cappo. I’m incredibly excited yet completely terrified all at the same time, but because of that, I know I’m making the right decision to leave what’s comfortable and embark on a journey of challenge and growth.

IMG_4929

After taking a week immersion with Raghunath at Back Bay Yoga this past July, I was LIT up. I felt recharged and inspired as both a teacher and a student. I knew that this week experience had to continue in someway or another and sure enough, I found information on Raghunath’s 500 hour certification program in India on his website.

The sign-up process for this program took AWHILE. Almost nightly, I would open the web page and read the description. I was so scared to take the big leap. The thought (and still the thought) of being away from my family, my home and my yoga/running community makes me terrified but I couldn’t stop visiting that darn webpage and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

And once I get stuck on something, it’s hard for me to budge because I know it’s lingering for a reason (i.e. I should do it). After a few weeks and probably thousands of visits to that webpage, I applied for the program.

So it’s happening….I’m going to India! The VISA is all set, I’m off to the travel doctor next week and I have begun my reading/homework prep for the training. I will be leaving on Tuesday, January 5th and will be returning on Monday, February 1st. I will be 2 hours north of Mumbai and will be staying at the Eco Village. Lots of yoga, meditation, philosophy and Kirtan!

I can’t wait to take this journey to India with you! Maybe this blog post will inspire you to take a new journey of your own? Don’t let fear stand in the way, if your passion or desire is lingering, chase after it 😉

 

Get FAST

47:11; I beat my 10K PR (personal record) by 4 minutes. Despite the pouring rain and less than ideal running conditions, I took on the BAA 10K and rocked it out.

IMG_4577  IMG_4574
T
he before and after pictures of the BAA 10K

My shift in running has happened over the past 8 months when I started to do one thing. I started to run with people. Since October, I have run with people that are faster or the same speed as me a couple times a week. Mondays, I run with my RunYoga crew. Wednesdays, I run with the Marathon Sports Boston Run Club. Fridays, I run with friends after my 7am yoga class at Back Bay Yoga and this past winter, on Saturdays, I ran and helped coached the Marathon Coalition as our runners prepared for the Boston Marathon. These runs keep me accountable and consistent and they’re FUN! I’m no longer looking at my watch watching the miles tick by. I’m laughing, chatting and enjoying each and every step. Running with people has allowed me to control my breathing, focus on my form and also understand my true potential as a runner.

IMG_4608 IMG_4767
S
ummer RunYoga Crew
IMG_3729   IMG_3724
W
inter RunYoga Crew

Last April, I was running with the Marathon Sports Boston Run Club and about 2 miles into my run, I looked at my watch. I was running a 8 minute pace and I felt amazing. I thought to myself, “this is way too fast”, but I held the pace. Fast forward another 3.5 miles and I finished with an average pace of 7:53min/mile. This was a pace that I’ve never run before, for at the time, I was averaging 9/9:30min/mile pace on my runs.

IMG_3511  IMG_4383
Friday morning runs along the Charles River

I mentioned this running victory to two of my running buddies with such pride. They were happy for me (of course!) but they wanted me think a little bit bigger. “Cara, you looked really strong out there. I’m sure you could up your pace to 7:30min/mile pace easy.” I thought to myself “no way!” but at the same time, I thought, “why not try?”

IMG_2940           IMG_3576
Running candids 🙂

That’s what I did. That next Wednesday, I joined the group and set out for a 7:30 min/mile pace. My two buddies and my other running friends were with me the whole way; encouraging me and pacing me. We finished that 5.5 mile run at a 7:20 pace. BOOM! Everything changed from there. I started to view myself differently. I started to run differently. Each and every Wednesday, I ran with my crew; targeting that 7:30 pace and using the run as a tempo run. When I got to the starting line of the BAA 10K, I was ready to own it. And I did!

IMG_4059  IMG_3068
Marathon Sports Boston Wednesday Run Club

Community is so important. They motivate us. They inspire us. They keep us on track and accountable, but most importantly they allow us to see our best selves and what we’re truly capable of doing. Running with others has done just that for me and I’m so incredibly grateful for it. I’m grateful for not only the physical benefits it has given me but most importantly, the friendships and memories it has created and how it has changed my perception of myself.

You want to get faster and be better? Let’s all run together. Who inspires you to be a better runner?

Opportunities for you to run with others:
> Monday nights: RunYoga, 6pm, Fenway (Fall session starts September 14)
> Wednesday nights: Marathon Sports Boston, 6:30pm, Back Bay
> Thursday nights: Boston Marathon Adidas Run Base, 6:30pm, Back Bay
> November Project: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 6:30am
> Marathon Coalition: Trains 15 charity teams for the Boston Marathon                

photo 5 (7)