Two Hundred

A Year of Yoga: Fast Forward to Summer 2015

Pose: All of the poses

Location: All of the places

So I wanted to take a time out from my 2014 Year of Yoga project to fast forward to the present. It has been almost a year since I returned from my European adventures. If you continue to follow this blog, you will see the end of our adventures, our return home, and some of our settling back into California life.

Currently I am about a month away from my 38th birthday and about 6 months away from graduating with an MA in Speech and Language Pathology. My husband, B, had the very sweet idea to send me to Costa Rica for yoga teacher training as a graduation gift. It’s a 4 week, 200 hour, intensive course that takes place in January 2016. After I finish my degree I will apply for my license to practice speech pathology. This process takes between 4 and 6 weeks, during which time I can’t work. So the plan is to utilize that downtime by furthering my yoga journey with teacher training.

If you have followed my yoga journey and have been inspired even a little, would you consider making a contribution to help me pay for the tuition costs of yoga teacher training? I will be paying for my travel expenses, but the tuition expenses are about equal to that.

Contributions can be made on my indiegogo campaign page. Even $5 is an incredible gesture that I promise to pay forward with yoga goodness.

Thank you for following dear readers! Namaste!

One Hundred Ninety Nine

yearofyogaJuly23A Year of Yoga: July 23, 2014

Pose: Headstand Variation

Location: Þórsmörk; Iceland

We spent the day mostly relaxing before hiking over to this side of the park. We found a great campsite courtesy of some lovely Icelandic gentleman we met yesterday in the hot spring. Tomorrow we hike up about 3000 ft. and trek across snow fields and between two glaciers before descending to the coast and Skogar.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Eight

yearofyogaJuly22A Year of Yoga: July 22, 2014

Pose: Bridge with leg raise

Location: Laugevegur Trail; Iceland

This was our last full day on the official Laugevegur Trail. In the first part of the day, we crossed over this magnificent gorge via this bridge. After a long day of hiking we arrived in Þórsmörk. Þórsmörk is a National Park nestled in a beautiful valley between several glaciers. It is one of the more popular destinations in Iceland both for locals and tourists. There are multiple campgrounds and hiking trails. We headed to the nearest campground which boasts a hot spring, restaurant, and showers. We enjoyed time in the hot spring with a couple beers and chatted with many lovely people about the trek. Afterwards we had dinner in the restaurant and ran into our old friends; the leaders of the Welsh teenagers. They were enjoying dinner in the restaurant while their charges had to cook for themselves outside. We had a great time recounting the trek and getting a little tipsy : ) One of the best things about backpacking is how much it intensifies appreciation for simple luxuries like sitting in a chair, eating a good meal, and taking a hot shower. We will be taking a day off from trekking tomorrow. We plan to spend the day hanging around Þórsmörk, and eventually end up camping on the other end of the park, which puts us closer to Fimmvörðuháls. That is the trail over the glacial pass and down to the coast. But first, a day of reset.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Seven

yearofyogaJuly21A Year of Yoga: July 21, 2014

Pose: Pigeon Variation

Location: Laugevegur Trail; Iceland

Today is B’s 38th birthday. Happy Birthday love : )

We hiked some beautiful country today, including past this beautiful waterfall. Although you can’t swing a dead cat around Iceland without hitting a beautiful waterfall. When we arrived at the night’s destination, we met our campground neighbor. He was a cute young Scandinavian and it also happened to be his birthday….21st. We ended up hiking to a nearby gorge and sipping whiskey from our flasks together in celebration of the guys’ birthdays.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Six

yearofyogaJuly20(2)

 

A Year of Yoga: July 20, 2014

Pose: Baby Cobra

Location: Laugevegur Trail; Iceland

This is our 2nd day on the trek, and our first day having to ford an icy cold stream. But we were ready for it and made it no problem. We camped this evening by a beautiful lake and in the company of a charming group of Welsh teenagers. We heard a lot of people complaining about “Molly”. She was washing her over-trousers with baby wipes and didn’t show up to help with supper. In fact, I wrote a short story about a mixed up girl and christened her “Molly”. We ended up chatting with their group leaders for a good portion of the evening. They are secondary school teachers who lead groups on treks every summer. The deal for these teens is that they earn points towards college acceptance by participating in these treks. The treks are almost 100% led by the kids. The adults just sit back and make sure no one dies….meaning they might get lost, they might go hungry, they might run into unforeseen challenges. But the adults just let the kids work through it. I think this is absolutely brilliant. How awesome for these kids to learn survival, leadership, conflict management, and problem solving. We were pretty friendly with the group to the point where we felt comfortable making fun of their ketchup and pasta. They retorted back that the U.S. is responsible for ketchup. Touche.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Ninety Four

yearofyogaJuly18A Year of Yoga: July 18, 2014

Pose: King Pigeon

Location: Hot Springs; Landmannalaugar, Iceland

The weather has not been great today. We walked from our guest house to the bus station in the rain. We could barely see anything through the bus windows as we rode the 3 hour ride to the interior. Once we arrived, it was still raining. We hurriedly pitched our tent and got inside to warm up a bit. But we’re finally in Landmannalaugar! We’ve been looking forward to this for literally 3 years. So we put on our bathing suits and made a run for it to the warmth of the hot springs. We probably spent 2 hours in the pools, talking with other travelers, exchanging stories, and prolonging the inevitable pain of exiting the warm pools into the 40ish degree rain. We did eventually suck it up and get out of the pools. After changing back into some warm and dry clothes, we embarked on a short hike before cooking some food and heading to bed. I did find 2 items I needed in their little supply shop…woolen knitted socks and a quick dry towel! I’m ready to trek!

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eighty Five

yearofyogaJuly10A Year of Yoga: July 9, 2014

Pose: Balanced Plank

Location: Le Loing River; Grez-sur-Loing, France

It has been raining pretty much since we got here. But we had to get out of the tent for a walk anyways. The main highlights are that a random cat joined us in our tent for a little while and we have eaten the most incredible croissants and french bread from the local bakery.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Sixty Two

IMG_1853A Year of Yoga: June 12, 2014

Pose: Half Lotus Twist

Location: Montserrat

Today we took the train about an hour northwest of Barcelona to the beautiful monastery of Montserrat. We arrived in time to listen to the boys choir perform and then wandered around the monastery buildings for a bit and ate a picnic lunch. After lunch we hiked up to the rocks. There are some incredible rock formations with outstanding views of the surrounding area. Some of us (not me) are afraid of heights and had to hang back a bit. So me and D took turns climbing out onto this picturesque little ledge.

Photography Credit: D

 

One Hundred Fifty Nine

yearofyogaJune9

 

A Year of Yoga: June 9, 2014

Pose: Prayer Squat

Location: Peter’s Garden; Rural Catalonia

C is here for a week! One of her priorities when traveling is to seek out cool art environments. She has dubbed them “outsider art”. Peter (of Peter’s Garden) calls them “places like this”. We rented a car and drove into rural Catalonia and found this special place. We wandered through the beautiful garden sculptures and buildings and then sat and enjoyed wine with Peter himself.

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Fifty One

yearofyogaJune1 copyA Year of Yoga: June 1, 2015

Pose: Bound Side Lunge

Location: Somewhere in the Italian Alps

Our Italian friends drove us up to the mountains today where we met with some of their local friends, enjoyed one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had, and wandered around this beautiful park. My favorite memory of today was of my friend’s youngest son L shouting “Che Bella” as we rounded a corner and the snowcapped peaks became visible. Beautiful day with beautiful people.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

 

 

One Hundred Forty Six

IMG_4814(1) copyA Year of Yoga: May 27, 2014

Pose: Wide Legged Split

Location: Barceloneta Beach. Today I got my first look at the beach here in Barcelona. We live about 3 miles from the beach so I decided to make it a run. I have an on again/off again relationship with running. We’ve been in one of our “off” phases for a while. I am pleased to report that we got along quite well today! In fact, I shocked myself by setting a personal best time for the first mile (just over 8 minutes). Now if you’re a runner that probably sounds mediocre. But I am that person who couldn’t get around the block without having to slow down and walk and clutch my side while wheezing and cursing. The first time I ran an entire mile without having to stop, my time was close to 15 minutes. So 8 minutes was awesome! Once I arrived at the beach I really wished I had worn my bathing suit so I could cool off in the water. Instead I settled for wading and enjoying the breeze.

I have always dreamed of living on the Mediterranean, so when Brandon applied to teach a study abroad, I convinced him to apply for Barcelona. As it worked out we ended up in Sevilla instead, but spending 6 weeks here after the program ended was our consolation. After all I had built up in mind about living here, I confess I was a little bit let down by this beach. The beach area used to be an industrial sector and has only recently been transformed into a seaside tourist destination. The sand is very coarse and rocky and it’s small, crowded and dirty. But, nonetheless it was a surreal moment to stand on this beach with the Barcelona skyline behind me and realize I had dreamed about this and now I was here! So grateful and happy.

Photography Credit: Me (iPhone and gorilla pod)

 

 

One Hundred Forty One

IMG_4669(1) copyA Year of Yoga: May 22, 2014

Pose: Chair Variation

Location: Parc Guell, Barcelona. Today we decided to take a walk up to Parc Guell, the famous Barcelona, Gaudi-designed park. It sits on a hill offering some lovely views of the city. We had heard from our hosts E and A in Sevilla that the city is now charging for entrance into the park and we wanted to see what the situation was. On the one hand, I was pleased that only parts of the park required a ticket for admission. Much of the park is still accessible for no charge. The disappointing part was that all the Gaudi designed parts of the park now require a €7 ticket for admission and there’s a limited entrance schedule. You cannot just walk up and buy a ticket and go right in. You purchase tickets for a specific time. It seems that Barcelona has a complete monopoly now on Gaudi-designed spaces and if you want to see more than just the exterior from behind a gate on the sidewalk, be prepared to cough up a lot of euros.

We decided to explore the free areas, which are still very beautiful. We got some very lovely views and gorgeous weather. We made our way up to the high point of the park which is a huge cross. There were plenty of tourists and street performers to navigate through, but it was still enjoyable. I don’t know what I expected in such a big city with a huge tourist industry, but somehow I saw Barcelona as less of a tourist trap than somewhere like Paris or Rome. After a couple days though, I’m adjusting my expectations. There are a lot of tourists here. Thankfully the neighborhood we live in is far quieter with more locals and less tourists than a lot of other neighborhoods.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Thirty Seven

IMG_4601A Year of Yoga: May 18, 2014

Pose: Wide Legged Split with Side Bend

Sanskrit: Upavistha Konasana

Location: Siete Lagunas under the shadow of Mt. Mulhacen; tallest mountain on the Iberian Peninsula. Today we hiked up to Siete Lagunas. Our campground host gave us detailed instructions for the hike and was glowing about its beauty. This was an all day endeavor; at least 8 hours. We left early enough so that we would have time to order pizza in the village. Pizza seems to be our family’s meal of choice after all day hikes. It became a tradition in Curry Village, Yosemite a few years back. The first part of the hike leads through beautiful terraced farms on the outskirts of Trevelez. We saw plenty of cows and horses. Pretty soon after that there is a great look out point with an information sign pointing out places you can see from the view. It was a spectacular view of the river gorge and the surrounding mountains. After some more climbing we reached a refugio (a hut built for emergency shelter). We stopped and took our lunch break. The place we were sitting had more ladybugs than I’ve ever seen in one spot. I also accidentally stuck my hand in a spiny bush. After a rest, we kept going and the trail got steeper and steeper. We had several river crossings and walked next to melting glaciers. It was incredibly beautiful. One last little push up a super steep rock pile and we finally made it to the lake. There are supposed to be 7 of them (siete lagunas) but we just stopped at the first one for a rest before heading back. While we were resting there were several mountain goat/deer type animals grazing around us. I wish we had more time to hang out up there, but if we wanted to get back in time for pizza we had to leave. As it turned out, we got back too early for pizza because our American schedule is so deeply engrained in us. (See typical Spanish schedule in previous post). We had to wait an hour before we could order our food, so we showered at the campground and rested. Finally we were able to gorge ourselves on pizza and then crash. We are waking up very early in the morning to start the 8 hour drive to Barcelona. Wishing we could have spent more time here in the mountains.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

 

One Hundred Thirty Five

IMG_4528

 

A Year of Yoga: May 16, 2014

Pose: Standing Hand to Big Toe with Forward Fold

Sanskrit: Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana/Uttanasana

Location: Our campsite at Camping Trevelez. We left Sevilla today for good. It was quite a commotion this morning realizing how much we had to fit into our rented car. Brandon went and fetched the car at the train station and was able to park at Plaza Pelicano. This gave us plenty of time to figure out how to tetris everything in without the pressure of being double parked. The girls and I kept bringing bag after bag of stuff from the apartment while Brandon stayed with the car puzzling things out. Our last trip out of the apartment was definitely tearful and emotional. The moment I realized we had everything and I needed to leave the key on the table and walk away forever….so hard. It hit me in that moment that it was the second time I’d had to do that and wouldn’t be the last of this trip. Although we were in our California home for 8 years and here for only 11 weeks, the emotion was the same. It was gratitude mixed with grief and apprehension.

We loaded into the car. Everyone was squeezed in pretty tight with all the stuff, but today we’re only driving about 4 hours. We went without GPS this time and relied on maps and signs instead. We did pretty well. The drive into the mountains was beautiful and we arrived at our campground no problem with plenty of daylight to spare. We chose a pitch that was on the high point with the vista of the village of Trevelez (you can see behind me). It was nice to be out in nature with decent weather and a good glass of wine. Oh, and my Portuguese poncho is coming in quite handy!

Photography Credit: Brandon

One Hundred Twenty Eight

IMG_4238A Year of Yoga: May 9, 2014

Pose: Extended Twisting Chair

Sanskrit: Parivrtta Utkatasana

Location: Parque Maria Luisa. It’s hard to believe, but we are down to our last week in Sevilla. Ten weeks doesn’t sound like a long time, but in that time we found a home away from home. There were so many things we planned to do and now that we’re down to our last week, we realized we better hurry up and do them. Today we took a picnic down to the park, spent some more time wandering around the beautiful Plaza de Espana, and then went for a bike ride along the river. We have been wanting to go to the Isla Magica water park but we can’t seem to find any information online about when it opens. So we planned to ride the bikes down there to see if we could figure it out. The bike ride along the river was great. I really miss riding bikes. Unfortunately when we got to Isla Magica, the whole park was closed; probably because of Feria. I guess tomorrow I will call their information line and try to figure out if the water park is open. It’s getting really hot here and a water park is sounding really nice about now.

Photography Credit: Momo

 

 

One Hundred Twenty Four

IMG_5530A Year of Yoga: May 5, 2014

Pose: Boat Variation

Sanskrit: Navasana

Location: Under the Salisbury Crags on the way up to Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh. This is our last morning in Scotland. We decided to get in one last little hike and got up early to climb up to Arthur’s Seat. It was a lovely morning, the weather was perfect, and it was relatively uncrowded. There were a lot more people climbing up by the time we were headed down, so I’m glad we did it early in the day. Lulu chose to sleep in but Momo got up and climbed it with us. Momo has been working on her own blog which highlights her travel adventures through the eyes of her stuffed frog which she has had since she was 2. This morning as we were headed back to the apartment, we realized froggy had jumped out of Momo’s pocket and was no longer with us. People, you have no idea what a tragedy this was. Brandon, being a good dad, ran back to look for him and I walked a devastated Momo back to the apartment. She climbed directly into bed and just started crying. Now if you want to hear the story from froggy’s point of view and discover the ending, you can find Momo’s blog here. 

The rest of our time in Scotland was spent purchasing souvenirs. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to locate my family clan tartan. I was told that Caulder is one of those minor clans that no one ever asks for so I would need to have it special ordered. Well maybe another time I’ll do that. Instead I bought tartan that looked similar to ours. I also spent way too much money on a beautiful Harris Tweed bag, Lulu got a cute plaid hat, and we definitely had to take back some Scotch. I definitely left a part of me in Scotland. Cannot wait to return and see more.

Photography Credit: Brandon