In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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Earth Day, Yoga Day

For the last several years, I have been responsible for bringing one of my favorite yoga instructors to town.  I do the promoting, and all the arrangements.  This year we closed our studio and one of the guys that taught with us opened his own place.  He has a beautiful studio but it’s just not the same of course.  Meaning it’s not downtown in the heartbeat of the city.  But none the less it’s awesome. 

Since this was his studio, I let him take care of all of the event stuff.  That also meant that he would receive the split of cash and I was very much OK with that.  All I had to do was write a check and show up this year.  I didn’t have to check people in, I didn’t have to meet the caterer when she brought lunch.  I didn’t have to make sure folks were feeling OK – too hot or too cold?  Who cares?  I was taking the class.  And a great class it was.  What a way to celebrate Earth Day with Thomas.  Nothing like 6 hours of yoga to make you feel vibrant and ready for spring.  Thanks  Thomas – see you again in November.

yoga kirsten 3 yoga kirsten 1 yoga kirsten 2


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Nothing But Love

This past weekend was an amazing one.  Every October, I bring one of my favorite yoga teachers to town.  This year, he was able to stop by and offer a one day practice on Sunday.  He always stays with Joan, as they sport a pretty cool pad.  A few of us gathered at her place for a small dinner and conversation on Saturday evening.  We had a great turn out for the class and drew several people in who’d never taken yoga with him before.  Here’s some highlights.

Thomas adjusting Alex in down dog

Robyn, Matthew, Judi, Terra and Barbara in the back forty

Michelle, Joan, Marilyn, Kim and Chris havin’ some hot tea on the break

Kirsten and Sunshine.  The last time we had a photo together, she was 4 and I was 18.  It’s a long story that I won’t go into.  That was in 1984 so now you know how old I am!

After the class we had some snacks at hot tea.  The weather was amazing that day and I know every one was anxious to get outdoors.  I know that I was.  So I did.  I returned home and spent a few hours in the dry dust weeding my garden.  My asparagus looks great, I think we’ll be able to harvest more than a couple of stalks this year.  Some of my herbs are coming back and so are some of the onions I missed picking last year.  The strawberries look good too!

Enjoy the day, but avoid the pollen if you can help it.  It’s bad out there!


Retreat Reminiscing

IMG_1290This past weekend I brought one of my favorite yoga teachers to town.  This marks the third year Thomas Fortel has visited our area and it’s been a real treat every single time. 

We’d originally planned to meet at OTC so we wouldn’t disrupt our meditation group that meets on Saturday mornings.  But I had a last minute change of heart.  Our group was smaller this year and the space at OTC was gigantic.  And we didn’t just have one space reserved over there, we had two.  The other space was reserved for our catered lunch. 

We moved to the studio with no regrets.  The feeling at the studio was amazing and everyone agreed.  We settled in on Friday evening with pranayama, soft spinal twisting and restorative postures.  That evening pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend, which was slow, steady and quiet.

On Saturday we enjoyed over a full hour of meditation and breathing.  This is the total treat of the whole weekend.  The quiet and the focus that happens when meditating in a group field is amazing.  When the lights come up, everyone is so relaxed.  Eyes are wet and black with mascara that’s left the lashes and bed hair is abundant.  And the best part is that no one cares that they look this way.  After that we eased into an active asana practice for a couple of hours.  We took in some partner work, inversions and vinyasas. 

 After our active practice we enjoyed a catered and extremely healthy lunch.  Candi Davis, caterer extraordinairre, served us some wonderful yogi wraps, quinoa salad, white beans with butternut squash and fruit with an assortment of hot teas.  We took in gluten free brownies and raspberry oatmeal bars with our tea as our after lunch sweet.  She brought all glass dishes, cloth napkins and real silverware and carted it away afterwards.  It felt very good knowing we had no trash or extra clean up on our part.  I have her number if you want it.  She really puts her heart in the meal and you can taste it. 


On Sunday we all arrived at the studio happy and a bit sad to know this was our last day together.  We engaged in that quiet group field again for over an hour.  After that Thomas stepped it up a notch with a very active practice including inversions followed by a much shorter relaxation.  As always, there were a couple of people that showed up that I’d never met and that’s always really cool.  It’s work getting all of this together and happening.  It takes more than just me and I am so thankful for the help that I receive in order to make this event and others happen.  View more photos here.


There’s something about really diving in for more than an hour or two that soothes the soul.  I’m still receiving positive feedback and I would really like to thank those that chose to spend their weekend in this way.  Thanks Thomas, for giving us a wonderful retreat and we know we’ll see you next year if not before.


Kirsten and Thomas on Sunday at the end of the retreat.

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Yoga Retreat with Thomas Fortel

Wow.  The retreat went so well.  It really did.  It’s amazing, that how, even if you don’t feel well, you can just trek onward, and it’s OK.  The best thing for this cold, was the pranayama practice, it really was.

View more retreat photos here.

We had a nice practice of a few hours Friday night at the Firehouse.  We basically settled in, and time flew by, as it often does in the yoga room.  There was a little bit of noise toward the end when we were resting.  The democratic Halloween party was starting up downstairs, but it was all good.  They backed off, we finished, a good time was had by all.

Saturday, we headed back to the Firehouse.  All of our stuff was already there, we were able to settle in quickly and enjoy a one hour practice of pranayama (breathing, in different forms).  It was totally awesome.  Something that I’m sure none of us take a full and complete hour for very often and we really should.  I like retreats like this, as a reminder of how important the breath really is.  It’s what it’s about, it’s our life force.  Thomas doesn’t do any yoga “tricks” or sorts.  He guides a steady, strong, practice with his gentle nature.  There aren’t that many surprises, it’s structured, it’s gentle and tough at the same time.  Like yoga should be, to me anyways.  After practice that evening, we enjoyed a potluck.  Not too many stuck around.  I feel some people were spent, some had traveled from afar and some didn’t want to be around people.  Completely understandable.







On sunday, we met at the new boathouse on Lake Springfield.  It’s gorgeous, it’s quiet and the sun was amazing this morning.  Just the drive out there, was so peaceful, knowing what was to come.  We adjusted to our new space, took it in, enjoyed the view of nature and started our practice.  Thomas is a seasoned astrologer (though I’ve never had a reading) I find it all extremely interesting.  He has lots of thoughts and ideas and I’m always open to anything, as we all should be.  The weekend was all about slowing down.  Odd.  How fast time flies when we’re not moving quickly. 

Sunday morning pranayama was followed by an active practice at the boathouse.  Lots of strong, standing postures, making good use of the legs.  I love half moon pose (ardha chandrasana) and we did it everyday.  I also love shoulderstand (sarvanghasana) but my head was too stuffy to enjoy it.  I took a quick headstand and that was it for inversions and me.  I wish I would’ve taken more photos, but I hate to be a distraction.  It’s a beautiful building.  Actually, both venues were stunning and I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy both places in one weekend.

People showed up that I did not know.  I love it when that happens.  My only regret, is not having time to make small conversation with all the people that I didn’t know and some of the ones I knew well, but do not see that often.  When you’re running this thing, you’re busy.  It reminded me (sort of, but not really) of my days at the video store, when lots of customers were in line.  Only, I felt much happier about standing on the other side of the counter at a yoga event.  Thomas brought some beautiful hats from one of his yoga trips to Peru.  I think most everyone bought one.  I bought two.  He also brought some cool berets from Paris.  I wish I would’ve got a photo of all the cool wordly stuff he brought with him to peddle.

Afterwards, I had a quiet lunch with a friend, went home and picked up a few walnuts.  It felt right to spend the rest of the day outside, reflecting on the weekend, nature and the small things.  My life is so much simpler than it used to be.  My house is way smaller.  Everything we have is old, but it’s paid for.  I don’t really want for a lot of things and that feels really good as well.  Retreats are good stuff and I feel extremely grounded at the moment.  Normally, I would’ve wanted to get all the photos off of my camera, work on the web site and start a “thank you” newsletter.  Nope.  Not tonight.  All I needed, was to get a few photos off of my camera, do this little journal entry, and head to bed.  Peace out.

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The Yoga Event Planner

I feel like I’m getting a cold, and I need to get rid of it.

In yoga land, Fall break at MSU will be over this week.  I will need to start my classes there once again.  Looking forward to that.  Great group and the class keeps growing, so I guess that’s a good thing.  This coming weekend is a yoga workshop I’m ramrodding here in town.  For the second time, I’m bringing in one of my favorite yoga teachers, Thomas Fortel.  I first took from him in St. Louis and loved his classes.  Not all yoga teachers seem approachable.  Some in fact, you can’t even get close to tell them “thanks” after the weekend.  I felt Thomas made space for everyone to greet him and if you didn’t greet him, he would greet you and tell you thanks for coming.  I liked that. 

I asked him to come here last year and he said yes.  We held our workshop at OTC, which is where we planned on holding it again this year.  Didn’t happen.  Even after we’d reserved the space.  They are under construction!  So, the stress of finding someplace to house up to (maybe) 50 people, for yoga began a few months ago.

The new boathouse at Springfield Lake was available for our Sunday practice only.  It’s a neat, cabin like structure with a wrap around deck.  You can rent canoes and kayaks out there as well.   One side is completely glass and overlooks the water.  I am so looking forward to having our event at this location.  One problem.  I still needed space for Friday and Saturday!

A fellow yogini offered us her Firehouse.  We’ve held the Malas there.  Though we probably don’t need this much space, we were running out of options.  And, it’s a beautiful building in a cool area, with a garden courtyard to enjoy wine and snacks after our event, weather permitting of course.  I took it.  It’s all good and we could afford both spaces, the event is on.  Registration has been decent, considering the economy. 







Thomas leads an awesome meditation and pranayama practice, which is how we start our class with him each day.  We will then enjoy a day of active and passive yoga, reflection and sharing.  It’s awesome.  And what’s more awesome, is I don’t have to drive to St. Louis, stay in a hotel and find my way around and a place to eat while I’m enjoying the workshop. 

Of course, when you’re the workshop organizer, there is work to do.  Lots of it.  There’s the advertising and promotion of the event.  The finding of the space to have the event.  Getting everyone directions to the venues.  Then there’s the keeping track of all the registrants and their checks.  Some are paid for the full weekend, some just one day only.  I will buy flowers, grab the incense, find a table cover and decorate the check in table.  I will have help.  He will be staying with a fellow yogini as my place is not worthy of company that’s not my immediate family!  I have someone to help me meet and greet and check people in, and watch the door for late comers.  It’s all worth it – to see how thankful everyone is after the event.  For most, it’s an opportunity they wouldn’t be able to experience due to the expense that occurs with travel and family obligations.

This is all so exciting and if you’re in town and able to come, it’s so worth it.  Honestly.  You can visit BOWS for more information.  Namaste.