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 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 Five

yearofyogaJuly20A Year of Year: July 19, 2014

Pose: Knees to chest

Location: Laugevegur Night 1; Hrafntinnusker, Iceland

So our first day on the trail was interesting. It started out with decent weather and a nice hike. After the first few miles we ran into some much nastier weather and had to start crossing snow fields. I had opted not to lug my waterproof boots from home all across Europe. They are super heavy and this is the only time I would have needed them. But after today, I really wish I had just brought them. As we started crossing snow fields, my feet became soaked. Even though everything else I was wearing was waterproof, the wet feet and sweat from hiking were enough to make me hypothermic by the time we reached our campsite.

I don’t remember a lot. I remember being really cold. B pitched the tent and I climbed in. I took off my clothes but then was kind of frozen cognitively. I didn’t know what to do next and couldn’t make my body move. B finished settling the tent and climbed in and realized the state I was in (now I’m telling his story because it’s a blur to me). He immediately took action. He made sure I was dry and then put me inside a sleeping bag and threw the second sleeping bag over the top. He made some hot broth and I drank it. He also had the brilliant idea to heat up water, pour it into our nalgene water bottle and throw it in the sleeping bag with me. He also ended up climbing in with me for body heat.

Woah. I don’t remember things being that dire, but apparently I was on the edge. Before anyone (my family) freaks out about this story, we were adjacent to a hut which would have gladly taken me in if things didn’t improve. Thankfully I’m married to a guy that knows how to act : )

I was disappointed that we weren’t able to venture out after arriving. There are supposedly some incredible ice caves in the vicinity that we were planning to check out. But there’s always next time.

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 Ninety Three

yearofyogaJuly17A Year of Yoga: July 17, 2014

Pose: Headstand Variation

Location: Tjornin; Reykjavik, Iceland

We had a lot to accomplish today. Our main objective this week is hiking the Laugevegur Trail. It is a 5 day backpacking journey from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk. We are also adding another day of hiking from Þórsmörk to Skogar on the southern coast. The weather in Iceland is unpredictable at best. So there were many supplies we hadn’t brought with us and needed to buy for our trek. We spent the morning at the mall purchasing over-trousers, freeze-dried meals, and the like. I also purchased a beautiful traditional Icelandic wool sweater, which I have wanted since our last visit in 2011. I figure it will be a good layer for keeping warm out on the trail. We then realized we didn’t have trek poles and would most certainly want them. Brandon found a local camping supply rental place which rented us the trek poles for a ridiculously low rate and didn’t even ask for a credit card. Plus they tell you where their hide-a-key is in case you have to return them after hours. Iceland rules! After the mall we had lunch at the famous hotdog stand…you know the one where Bill Clinton was photographed when he visited. We were successful at finding all our supplies and spent the evening wandering around Reykjavik and remembering our last trip here. We also went to the local sundlaug (swimming pool). Iceland has a great swimming pool culture (more on that in future posts). Our bus leaves quite early in the morning to take us to the beautiful interior where we will start our hike. Getting excited to be out in nature for reals!!

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety Two

yearofyogaJuly16A Year of Yoga: July 16, 2014

Pose: Side Lunge with prayer hands

Location: The Lebowski Bar; Reykjavik, Iceland

I have so much to say about today. First of all, our flight from Paris was on a newer airline based in Iceland called WOW. Seriously fun and awesome airline. They now (2015) offer flights from the East Coast of US so if you aren’t flying from Europe, you’re still able to experience the WOW. The flight attendants were funny and the amenities were great considering it’s a smaller company. So fly with WOW. (Ok my plug for them is over).

We landed in Iceland mid-afternoon and took a bus that dropped us right at our guest house. Our original booking ended up being double booked so we were upgraded to another guest house. It was gorgeous and an easy walking distance to downtown Reykjavik. I would stay here again for sure. We picked up some beer at the airport where it is much cheaper and enjoyed relaxing with a drink before showering and heading out to the Lebowski Bar.

So, we found an ad on the in-flight magazine for this place. We are huge movies of the Big Lebowski. If you haven’t seen it, stop what you are doing immediately and go watch it. The Lebowski Bar was great. The food was fine, not spectacular, but there is a whole menu of White Russians (I had a “special lady friend”), a bowling alley and Richard Nixon bowling photo on the wall, and the movie is constantly playing silently on large screens.

I love Iceland. Of all the places I’ve traveled, it’s the one I know I’ll keep returning to.

And I made a cute dog friend who was waiting for his owner outside : )

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety One

yearofyogaJuly15A Year of Yoga: July 15, 2014

Pose: Wide leg forward fold with half way lift

Location: Roissy-en-France

This is the village nearest to Charles de Gaulle airport. Today is our last day in France. We took the train from our little campground in Grez-sur-Loing and have a hotel room near the airport. It was really nice to have a shower. As much as I came to love our little campsite in Grez-sur-Loing, it did become a little boring after 8 days of being rained on in a tent. I’m super excited to fly to Reykjavik, Iceland tomorrow. This will be our second trip to Iceland and we have some amazing things planned!

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Ninety

yearofyogaJuly14A Year of Yoga: July 14, 2014

Pose: Bound Half Moon Variation

Location: Camping Les Pres; Grez-sur-Loing, France

Today is Bastille Day. It’s basically the French equivalent of the U.S.’s Independence Day. We weren’t entirely sure what to expect celebration wise from the locals. We found that actually, it’s pretty much exactly what we do every 4th of July….with one exception. The music that accompanies their fireworks display is awesome 80’s pop instead of cheesy Sousa marches. But it really is a crowd gathering in the local park next to the lake, drinking beer and wine, children twirling glow sticks, and then shooting off a bunch of fireworks. Fun times. Before we headed to the lake, I tried to balance on this trampoline for a pose….it was really hard. Then some cute German girls came along and I felt a little silly jumping around in there with preschoolers.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eighty Nine

yearofyogaJuly13A Year of Yoga: July 13, 2014

Pose: Watching the World Cup Final with the locals

Location: Camping Les Pres; Grez-sur-Loing, France

Argentina v. Germany tonight. It was an insane crowd of mostly French and Germans. The French were making fun of the Germans (in a friendly way), but the Germans didn’t have much of a sense of humor. Until Goethe scored of course. Then it was all schnapps and smiles. The party went on all night. Long after me and B went to bed we would sometimes wake up to the sound of merriment. There was a lot of evidence the next morning in the form of empty liquor bottles and beer cans littering the common area. But it only happens every 4 years! I’m a little bummed it’s over.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eighty Eight

yearofyogaJuly12A Year of Yoga: July 12, 2014

Pose: Bird of Paradise

Location: Champ de Mars

We took the train into Paris for the day. Thankfully it isn’t raining! We spent most of the day at the Orsay which I prefer to The Louvre. I’ve always been more into modern art. We had a picnic planned for the week we stayed here previously but it was rained out. So today was our “do over” Eiffel Tower picnic.

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 Eighty Three

yearofyogaJuly6A Year of Yoga: July 6, 2014

Pose: Pyramid

Location: The Louvre, Paris

Today is our last full day in Paris. We started at the Louvre and had to wait in line in the rain for about an hour. We ended only stayed a couple hours. It’s just too overwhelming. The obligatory viewing of the Mona Lisa was underwhelming and highly annoying due to the number of people who only want to walk around with a screen in front of them instead of actually experiencing the art. We had originally planned to have a picnic at the Eiffel Tower but the rain deterred us. I decided to hit up some vintage shops (no luck, but still fun), then we found delicious macaroons, walked through Luxembourg Gardens on our way to the Montparnasse Cemetery. Unfortunately we were disappointed to find the cemetery was closed. We finished the night at home with wine and cheese and bread and weird French tv. Tomorrow we travel to a campground in Grez-Sur Loing which boasts the “most beautiful forest in France”.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eighty Two

yearofyogaJuly5A Year of Yoga: July 5, 2014

Pose: Seated Twist

Location: Lawn of the Louvre

Today is Lulu, Momo, and B’s mom’s last day in Europe. For the past year I’ve been so excited about B’s mom taking the girls home for us so B and me can spend a few more weeks here on our own. But now that the day has come, I’m freaking out a little bit. We mostly spent the day organizing and packing and then headed out to dinner at a place several people recommended called Le Refuge de Fondues. On our way we walked through the garden at the Louvre and snapped this photo. The restaurant is supposedly a riot where they serve wine in baby bottles, are over the top rude (to be funny), and you have to sit with strangers. We were so disappointed not to find it. We had an address and our map app, but it was nowhere to be seen. We even asked several locals and they all looked at us like we were crazy. If anyone knows whether this place is still around, let me know! I’d love to try again some day. We ended up settling for some other place and talked about all our adventures with the girls. The girls talked about what they were both looking forward to upon arriving back in California. Del Taco was at the top of their list. We put them in a cab tonight with B’s mom, their passports, and most of our luggage. Me and Momo cried and hugged each other. I’m kind of tearing up right now remembering it. Ugh. Hard stuff to let your babies go knowing they have a long trip ahead of them and it will be weeks before you see them again.

Photography Credit: Brandon

 

One Hundred Eighty One

10492051_10204696254709920_6375492030326937464_nA Year of Yoga: July 4, 2014

Pose: Cruising the Seine

Location: The Seine near the Eiffel Tower

Today we slept in which was much needed. C said goodbye. We won’t see her again until she returns to California in October. We had flower shaped gelato cones. We watched the first half of the France vs. Germany World Cup match with the locals. The pub was packed from the television to the street. Finally we enjoyed a lovely dinner cruise and amazing views of Paris from the river. That’s how we celebrated America’s birthday : )

Photography Credit: Erny

 

One Hundred Eighty

yearofyogaJuly3A Year of Yoga: July 3, 2014

Pose: Warrior 3 Variation

Location: Gardens at Palace of Versailles

Today we all took the train out to Versailles. This was one of Lulu’s “must sees”. It was quite crowded and we had to wait in a long hot line to get into the main palace. C took off to check out Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet while the rest of us were herded through the palace. It’s really beautiful and insanely opulent. Not hard to see why the working class of France hated this monarchy. The gardens really were the most beautiful part.

Photography Credit: Brandon