This site is a window into my life of travel, yoga and life long learning. It's meant to inspire others as I reflect on the awesomeness of our planet, the diversity of humankind and the abundance of beauty all around, if one chooses to pay attention.
There’s a lot happening in the World as we speak. I don’t need to give you a recap. But I will say that I have found myself unable to breathe freely this last week. It’s been intense to say the least. I leaned on Yoga heavily. Just to be able to breathe.
I have uploaded a new 50 minute session to my YouTube Channel “Yogamatique”. In this session, the breath work was primary and the poses complementary. Nothing fancy here. Some of the classic poses to help you breathe and get grounded.
I hope this weekend you can re-calibrate a bit. You can start the weekend off by … just breathing …Just Breathe & Yoga …
I hope it helps you!
Don’t forget to subscribe to “Yogamatique” YouTube channel, to never miss a session!
Times are hard. Uncertainty looms ahead. What can we do? We can take one day at a time, be productive, find ways to keep grounded and positive.
With all this in mind, I decided to take my practice outside, find a nice patch of grass and just flow! For 35 minutes I just let things go, let the moment dictate my sensations and my next steps.
So this week’s theme is “Flowing to the Future”.
It’s not just a name. It bears profound resemblance to what we are facing. Moments of difficulty, moments of imbalance. What do we do? We self-correct, we take it down a notch or re-adjust our course.
So as you flow through this totally improvised 35 minute session, expect the unexpected and enjoy! Remember to course correct when you need to – drop knees in Plank Pose, find Child’s Pose as many times as you need to. And just have fun.
This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I have no idea what lies in store. A long bicycle ride? Staying home a lot? Blogging? But I will let it flow … embrace whatever is in store …
Two of my favorite activities are bicycling and yoga. So I decided to combine them and take my yoga mat out for a spin!
Enjoy this video of my jaunt by the American River in Sacramento. Doing yoga outdoors by the river was amazing.
It was also a reminder that it’s ok to get creative and modify one’s activities to try something different. I truly had a blast and I encourage you to slow down a bit and think of ways to do things differently.
Especially you cyclists out there keeping an eye on your Strava times! Ditch the app and breath some fresh air on a pause to do yoga! Bici Yoga is my new favorite activity!
Check out a 5 minute clip of my adventure below and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel “Yogamatique”.
This is a one hour class that is the perfect combination of building heat & strength (Yang) and cooling down mindfully and relieving stress in body and mind (Yin).
I put this together with a lot of thought so that you can all begin the weekend with a great feeling! I hope you enjoy this.
Even if you are a beginner I encourage you to try this routine. I have labeled most of the poses and go through the minute actions required to benefit from the poses and movements so this is a great way to familiarize yourself with some yoga terminology as well. Before you know it, you’ll become a yoga geek like me 😉🙏🏽.
Here is the YouTube link below. Please do subscribe so as to keep getting the uploads and also support my new endeavor “Yogamatique”, the yoga boutique 😀❤️.
I left Buenos Aires for Cali on August 7th by way of Bogota. I had an entire day in Bogota and being the biking aficionado that I am, I decided to take a tour of the city with Bogota Bike Tours.
Some great graffiti! The National Museum
I had done the tour in 2017, but I never get tired of visiting the sites in this city and having a guide and being on a bicycle is definitely the way to go. I say that in all seriousness – there are parts of the city where you don’t want to be stuck without an escape route. A bicycle and a pair of strong lungs are my ticket to safety … anywhere … Having said that, these sites we visited are quintessential Bogota and a must see.
Among them are the graffiti lined streets, the fruit and vegetable market and we even made a mad dash through the red light district – a somber reminder of the often unseen reality.
We also stopped for some amazing coffee at a coffee roaster’s Cafe de la Fonda .
Cafe de la Fonda, Bogota
And last but not least we played Tejo, a Colombian game where you throw huge steel discs on to targets set in mud/earth that explode (yes there’s gunpowder involved). Welcome to Colombia!
Playing Tejo and having Poker
After the bike tour I had a great meal at “La Puerta Falsa” in the Candelaria neighborhood. I had Ajiaco and it was to die for! It’s a regional soup with chicken and you have it with corn and avocado.
Having Ajiaco at La Puerta Falsa
And since I was in the neighborhood and had the afternoon free, I took the teleférico (cable car) up to the Church of Monserrate at a height of over 10,000 ft, giving you an amazing view of Bogota all around. It is indeed named after the Monastery of Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain.
View of Bogota from Cerro Monserrate
The next morning I caught my flight to Cali and thus began round two in this amazing city. I was again staying at the Hostel Pajara Pinta in the neighborhood of San Antonio. I had my own private room. The hostel option is a great option because you have more communal areas such as the kitchen and dining areas, so it’s a great way to meet people and make new friends. That’s how I met Laura and Raul at breakfast one day. We ended up chatting for more than 2 hours. You see Raul Senior, their dad, was an avid cyclist and had started a bike club in Baranquilla where they live. The club’s name Biela Quilla is a play on words base on their home town of Baranquilla. Raul Senior was an upstanding member of society and he encouraged everyone to pick up a bike and ride to stay healthy. He was also a bit crazy, and would ride to far away places like Santa Marta and Cartagena. I can totally relate and my eyes lit up listening to stories about their father.
Sadly Raul Senior had passed away from cancer a few months prior. Laura and Raul were in Cali attending a national bike summit where their father was being honored. I was moved by their story and their devotion to their dad. Laura must have sensed it – she took one of her Dad’s bike jerseys out of a backpack and gave it to me. I was speechless. And honored. I promised her I would ride to the top of Mission Peak in my hometown of Fremont wearing it. A month later, on September 12th, 2019 I kept my promise and rode up to the summit of Mission Peak wearing Raul Senior’s Biela Quilla jersey.
Mission Peak, Fremont
I hope to visit Laura and Raul in Baranquilla one day and go on some rides with this wonderful bike club Biela Quilla.
The next person in the cast of characters is Paula. Paula is a friend of one of my cabin mates (from NY) during my trip to Antarctica eight months prior. So now Paula and I were connected by way of NY and Antarctica. Such is the beauty of traveling, never missing an opportunity and keeping an open mind.
Paula immediately invited me to a birthday bash for one of her friends. I got to hang out with local Caleños, other Colombians and a few foreigners from Greece and Germany. It was a really fun time. And I was immediately accepted into the group.
As luck would have it, this was the start of a week long music festival called “Petronio de Alvarez Music Festival”, fondly referred to as just “Petronio”. It was way more than a music festival – it was a celebration of Afro-Colombian music, food and culture. More than 100,000 people descended on Cali for this festival from all over the world.
With Paula and Soffy at Petronio
I made plans to meet Paula and her friends at the venue for Petronio, the first night I went (and there were many!). I almost didn’t find Paula. The network was so jammed that our messages were delayed by up to 15 minutes! And it didn’t help that we were moving with the crowd … but we eventually found each other and we had a great time listening to the music and dancing it up! I met Soffy, Paula’s friend that night and the three of us had an awesome time. We ended up leaving at a decent hour and getting dinner with some of their friends. I would be easing into the Petronio gently (many more nights to come!). And I had found my tribe in Colombia. I adore Soffy and Paula.
I repeated the festivities in Petronio a few times with my new found friends and one night we ended up going to an after party. I can say with certainty that the after party was even better than Petronio itself.
An entire street in a residential area transforms itself into a street for music, dancing and food. People actually move furniture around, offering their homes as part of this event. I think we left this venue at around 8:00 am. The energy just keeps you going and you cannot help being a part of it.
For the next few days I focused on my yoga practice and La Pajara Pinta had the ideal space for yoga on the second floor terrace. I made a few more friends and some folks joined me for yoga. One of the goals of this trip was to examine the role of yoga here among the locals as well as the travelers. And I was pleasantly surprised. I see Cali as having great potential for being a place to host future yoga retreats!
With Just a few days left of Petronio I went one more time with some fellow travelers from the hostel. It was a blast. I took advantage of the great seafood and I had a crab dish which was to die for! I could get used to Afro-Colombian Pacific influenced dishes!
This was the last night of Petronio and it did not disappoint. We all had a blast, made some local friends and danced the night away!
Right Photo: With Garcia, Alex, Soffy and Andres
Part of my extended Cali Tribe
And yes, we did go to the after party one last time!
Next stop Buenos Aires round two! Zig-zagging across South America! Watch for the next episode!
Doing something with purpose makes all the difference. Doing yoga with purpose in these uncertain times can help you in many ways. It can help you get grounded, be more mindful and also get more out of your practice.
In the latest upload to my YouTube channel “Yogamatique” I offer a well thought out 35 minute session where the poses are held a little bit longer giving you a chance to find your purpose. You can pull back a bit or push farther (see intro video below). But having 3 or 4 breath cycles to work with gives you ample time to make corrections and if you struggle and fall out of a pose – just get back on the horse again.
Today is Friday – this is a perfect way to start off the weekend. Find some mindfulness, find some challenge, find some sweat … find some purpose!
Here is the intro and below it the link to the YouTube video.
Link to YouTube and the embedded video below. Please subscribe to never miss an upload!
I have been on the go for the last several months as some of you know. One of the things I missed the most was my yoga blocks. I was able to retrieve them a few days ago and used them during a live yoga class I taught by zoom a few days ago.
Props in yoga are meant to stabilize and make you safer. They allow for more growth. In longer held poses they make the poses more sustainable, helping you get more out of the pose.
Quit the notion that if you are using a prop you are weaker or lacking something. We all have different bodies and we all have different lifestyles, so our bodies react differently to yoga and we need to acknowledge that.
I put together several short snippets of my prop heavy class. There are poses without props here too. But check out how I taught my students to use blocks and a strap in the following poses. And if they didn’t have them they could use hardcover books and a towel.
Ardha Chandrasana, Forward Fold, Prasarita Padottanasana, Gomukhasana, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, Supta Baddhakonasana were just some of the poses we used props.
I hope you check it out! If you do – props to you! 😉
Here is the link to video in my YouTube channel “Yogamatique”. I hope you subscribe as well.
Having just had the most amazing five weeks in Colombia, I left for Buenos Aires on July 22nd with a full heart. I had a one day stop over in Chile and I spent it with my two favorite Chileans Christian and Natalia. I had met them in the Atacama Desert on a tour of the high altitude lakes Lagunas Miniques and Miscanti, almost three months prior.
But such is the beauty of meeting like minded individuals during one’s travels. If it’s meant to be, you’ll see them again! They treated me to a fabulous seafood dinner accompanied by a delicious Carmenere. We had the last three months to catch up on and it was a fantastic evening. Christian had his own really cool story. He left the corporate world to pursue his passion of making handmade leather products. Check out his wonderful line here www.atelierperpetua.cl .
The next morning I caught my flight to Buenos Aires, my home away from home. The next two weeks I spent teaching yoga, attending Spanish language meetings and reuniting with my friends. One day I went to La Rural with Leonardo. We scored some free Fernet and had some amazing beef at a stall. And of course, it was great seeing all the exhibits.
And we all got together at my favorite restaurant in Buenos Aires – Sarkis, serving Armenian food. Go figure! But it’s so good that it’s worth the 1 hour plus wait!
I was staying in an apartment in a less touristy part of Palermo and it was close to a cafe called Cafe Cortázar named after the famous writer Julio Cortázar.
I would spend hours in this nondescript cafe writing away. I became part of the city in this writers’ cafe. August is winter in Buenos Aires, so it was nice to sit with a “cafe con leche” or good Malbec and plug away. I was expanding my yoga ventures as well and was having success in my classes.
I had met two lovely sister Barus and Lucy from Slovakia during my travels in Cuba 2 years prior.
And they happened to be in Buenos Aires! I showed them around “my” town and we even saw opera at Teatro Colon.
Traveling is such a great opportunity to learn about different cultures and make good friends in far and distance places. And reconnecting with someone after a few years is the best. Respecting that human connection and giving it the value it merits is the ultimate reward.
Sure museums and landmarks and sites are great, but to me getting to know a people, how they live, what makes them tick … those are indelible!
So having my fill of joyous moments with friends past and present was great, but Colombia was calling again! And the August wintry cool of Buenos Aires sealed the deal.
On August 7th I flew back to Cali, in search of warmer weather and some yoga initiatives … How would they fare? Keep an eye out for Part 5 of my year of travels!
New Videos Uploaded to my YouTube Channel “Yogamatique”.
The playlist is titled “Feed Good Friday” as I made these four video clips on Friday. I went with the flow and came up with a challenging vinyasa flow, followed by three traditional Surya Namaskara B’s.
Next we have some fun balancing in Garudasana, Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and Utitha Hasta Padangusthasana. We also stretch out the hamstrings in Padangusthasana and Parsvottanasana.
And the last video is a a cool down of sorts. We do Bridge pose 3 times, a twist, Happy Baby and then Savasana.
Here is the link to the playist (the stand alone embedded videos are found below too).