An ongoing series of entries ...
What A Year 2018 was Soul Tribe
WOW Soul Tribe! We’ve done SO much together as a spiritual community/ sangha!
Lots of Workshops:
8 Limbs of Yoga, the Chakras, the Sage Ceremony/Cleansing Workshop, Conscious Eating, Yoga Nidra, Full Moon Workshop, Mommy & Me Yoga for Mother's Day, Simply Yoga, and lots of Meditation,...
My Yoga & Service Retreat to Nicaragua
The Yoga, Meditation & Journaling Retreat in Madison, Connecticut.
We Gave Back:
Movie Night where you brought donations for shelter animals.
Pink Yoga for breast cancer/ Griffin Hospital- We donated $545
Our End of the Summer Yoga & Pool Party where you brought donations for Spooner House.
And we made Homeless Bags where so many of you so generously donated items and your time to put these together.
I also launched Kimmarie Yoga Goodies – tank tops, meditation cushions, Shanti essential oil blend, Kimmarie Yoga mala bracelets, KMY sage bundles, Mantra Mat Spray, Peace, Love & Pottery incense burners, and KMY Inner Glow Facial Scrub.
There is nothing that lights me up more than coming together with all of you too deepen our spiritual practice together! So much gratitude for all of you for allowing me to do what I love by sharing the gift of yoga with you!
With SO much gratitude- From my heart to yours ❤️🙏❤️
Namaste- Kimmarie xo
Watch this video montage I created of all of the Kimmarie Yoga events from 2018. (Gives me goosebumps! ✨)
Yoga & Service Retreat to Nicaragua
In February 2018 I traveled with the company Journey as the yoga instructor on a service retreat to Nicaragua. Seven "Soul Tribe" members traveled with me to join 18 others to refurbish a school in a underserved community. The second half of the trip was spent seaside doing yoga and meditation, kayaking, paddle boarding, horseback riding, volcano surfing, and getting to know the country and culture
The kids at the school were so excited to see us and just wanted to play and help in any way they could. We did a ton of painting to brighten up their school on the inside and out. We also did a lot of planting and gardening, helped to fix and install playground equipment, and watched teary-eyed as new flushing toilets were installed to replace the cement holes in the ground.
We learned that the average time kids in Nicaragua go to school is 5.9 years. Since there aren't enough schools in many areas, many children have to walk 5 miles each way along dangerous, unpaved roads to get there. Studies have shown when school refurbishing projects are done, the children get excited about going to school, take pride in their school, and usually attend for a longer time. It was so rewarding to help make a difference in the lives of these kids!
Monty's Beach Lodge was home for the next few days. This little slice of sea-side heaven right in the middle of a very poor community was like a beacon for all those around it. Monty, originally from Canada, opened Monty's Beach Lodge 12 years ago fueled by a desire to show his kids that, "Not everyone lives like this." The endless opportunities and jobs he has provided for people in the community is so beautiful and inspiring!
As a guest at Monty's, the beautiful surroundings, variety of activities, 2 large open-air yoga decks, and personal care and attention were so welcoming! Teaching yoga overlooking the ocean, paddle boarding and kayaking at sunset with volcanoes in the background, horseback riding on the sandbars at low tide, watching baby sea turtles make their way to the ocean, a night-time bonfire on the beach with other travelers from all over the world...and connecting with like-minded people who came together as strangers and left as friends! My heart is full, and I am SO grateful to have had this opportunity and experience!
Namaste Thailand (I bow to you, Thailand)
I spent the month of October 2017 in Thailand as an assiatant instructor on a yoga teacher training (YTT) with Path of Yoga. Rory Tollen and James French were my instructors when I completed my YTT in India January 2016, and asked me to assist them on this training. This was an opportunity I could not pass up!!!
Going to Thailand and visiting this lush, spiritually-rich country was a check off my bucket list!
For the training we stayed in Sanpatong, a small town south of Chaing Mai where most of its people are Buddhist and many years ago was know for its successful tobacco farming. Home for the month was Koamai Lanna Resort, a renovated tobacco plant with many of the old vine-covered buildings still intact and used. Lush tropical vegetation, a large inground swimming pool, open air yoga shala, oversized swing supported by huge trees, and newly added glass enclosed cafe made up this fairytale like property.
Mornings started at 630 with yoga, pranayama (breath work), and meditation until mauna (silent) breakfast at 10am. The days for students were filled with lecture and hands-on learing about all aspects of yoga from philosophy and lifestyle to anatomy and chanting.
I was responsible for teaching some Sanskrit, and lessons on Conscious Eating / Conscious Living. I also taught some of the morning yoga practice on some days. (Teaching yoga in a beautiful open air shala in Thailand to 22 students from all over the world = VERY cool “pinch-me” moment!!! ☺️)
Free time allowed me the opportunity to explore Thailand outside of the little bubble our resort provided. A 45 minute sung taew ride (a small yellow, open back bus, their version of a taxi) (cost- 20 Baht =0.60 US dollars! Yes, really!) gets you to Old City Chaing Mai. With its 30 plus temples, monks walking around in orange robes, street vendors, little shops, artsy cafes and eateries, hostiles and boutique hotels, massage studios, cooking schools, and open air markets, there is so much to do and see!
My first visit of three visits to Old Chaing Mai I went alone and LOVED wandering in and out of all of the spectacular temples! With their inlaid multi-colored glass tiles, gold accents, massive awe-inspiring Buddha statues, ornate light fixtures and chandeliers, and beautiful gardens, they took my breath away! I enjoyed delicious vegan Thai meals and leisurely walking in and out of the little shops. Taking advantage of how inexpensive things are in Thailand, I bought myself an adorable wood- carved elephant ring (20 Baht= $0.60), a cute pair of wide-leg, patterned pants (250 Baht= $7.51- AND the shop owner hemmed them for me right there for no extra charge!!), and got a 50 minute pedicure for 300 Baht including tip! ($9.05)
Another check off my bucket list- I spent an AMAZING day playing with elephants at Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. Spontaneous tears came to my eyes at the first touch of these sweet, playful, gentle-giants! We were able to feed them (they LOVE bananas!), give them a mud bath, and then bathe them in a river. My heart was exploding during this whole experience that I will never forget!
A perfect sunny Monday morning was spent with the whole group at Doi Inthanon National Park hiking lush green trails through the jungle and swimming in cool, healing waterfalls! Being surrounded by the beauty, sounds and smells of nature at its finest with everyone fueled my soul!
As I write this on the plane back home and reminisce about the entire month- long experience, I think perhaps the best part of my time in Thailand was the people. I'd be doing an injustice to the culture if I didn't mention how kind and accommodating the Thai people are- always friendly, with a warm welcoming smile! But more importantly,
the 19 students, Rory and James, the other assistant Valerie- the 23 of us became family over the 4 weeks we spent together. Coming from every corner of the world, and with ages spanning over 4 decades, we bonded over shared meals, laughter and tears, unexpected revelations and "ah-ha" moments. Minds were expanded, hearts were opened, and walls were broken down. We learned about each others' lives and loves, our struggles in the past and present, and our hopes and dreams for the future.
Throughout this month long journey I have renewed my gratitude for yoga and it’s role in my life- for the continued opportunities it brings for more meaningful experiences, deeper connections with people, and continued opportunities to follow my heart!
Kob kun kaa, Thailand! (Thank you, Thailand!) I will never forget you! ❤️
April 2017 Service Retreat to Guatemala
A long time dream of mine - combining yoga, travel to amazing places, and service work finally came true for me with this trip! I traveled to Guatemala as the yoga and mediation instructor for a service retreat with a company called Journey and 11 beautiful people from my "Soul Tribe" came with me! While there we built homes for 2 days- the "Impact" part of the trip. The next 2 days, "Integration," we spent doing yoga, meditation, excursions, getting to know the culture and people of Guatemala, and exploring this beautiful country.
My husband Johnny and I were put with 5 other volunteers to build a house for a family in two days. During that time we bonded with the other volunteers and the very grateful family. The family we were building for had 25 people- 2 parents with 5 of their 7 children, their spouses, and all of their children, all co-exising with the 10 or so dogs and puppies, kittens, chickens and baby chicks, a pig, and a dozen pet pigeons.
It would seem this family is living in extreme poverty- no running water, only dirt floors in their home, and a stone hole in the ground, down the hill, with tarp walls and tree limbs as their toilet. However, this family was rich in so many ways!
They have a deep family and community connection and support network, a strong work ethic, and a deep pride for their culture and a desire for the next generation to not only carry on traditions, but to continue to do better than the generation before.
At the end of our second day, when Johnny and I had to leave the build site and say goodbye to our new friends, I was brought to tears and filled with emotions I couldn't really explain! All I know is that the time spent with all of these people and my experience in those two days has moved me and changed me- heart and soul, and I will never be the same!
We spent our last 2 days at a beautiful hotel overlooking Lake Atitlan. Our first morning there I led a 7am yoga class on the rooftop overlooking the lake and volcanoes. We spent that day in San Juan exploring the markets and participating in an ancient Mayan ritual that translates to "Open Honey Heart" that was led by two gifted Shaman. The ceremony was emotional, heart-opening, and an experience that deeply connected all of us in the group!
On our final day, we took a beautiful 45 minute boat ride across the lake.
Once there people had the opportunity to zipline in the jungle and see monkeys, go swimming and cliff jumping at a beautiful beach, or explore the local village and tour a weaving collective run by 20 families.
The trip culminated with a group dinner back at the hotel where lots of gratitude, laughter and love bonded all 26 of us! Half of us (my "Soul Tribe" who came on this trip with me) who were now closer than ever, and other half, whom were strangers 4 days earlier, and now felt like family!
I am deeply grateful for this experience and all of the people whom were a part of it! I can't wait for the next one in 2018!!!!! :)
Healthy Crock Pot Pea Soup Recipe
November 7, 2016
Fall is here and so is soup season! This past week I made a huge pot of pea soup in the crock pot and it was SO easy and SO yummy! (And BTW- it's also vegan!) What I love is now I have several containers of soup in my freezer for easy meals in the future! Below is the recipe I used:
1 bag/16oz dried green peas- rinsed in strainer
1-1 1/2 c chopped potato
1-1 1/2c chopped carrots
3 stalks chopped celery
1 Tbs. dried minced onion (I didn't have a fresh onion on hand, otherwise I would have use that.)
2 bay leaves
2 quarts/64 oz low sodium organic vegetable broth (I use Pacific brand)
salt and pepper to taste
Put all of the ingredients in crock pot, cover and set on high. That's it!!!
I thought this would only have to cook for 6 hours, but the peas were still kind of hard, so I cooked it for a long time. Just keep checking it every so often and give it a stir. Towards the last couple of hours, I tilted the lid so the pea soup would get really thick- that's how I like it. I tend to like my vegetables in pretty large chunks, so chop your vegetables to your desired consistency. Also, I used VERY little salt and pepper because I didn't think it needed it after it was all done, but again, season it to your taste. Enjoy!! ;)
Two of My Favorite Non-Yoga Books
Sunday, October 2, 2016
I love reading, mostly realistic fiction, and lately when discussing favorite books, these two keep coming up first in my mind.
First is The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom. He's the author of the popular Tuesdays with Morrie and Five People You Meet in Heaven, but The Magic Strings...is quite a different read from those other two! Initially I wasn't really into it, but then I loved it, and it just kept getting better and better with each page! I finished reading the book on the plane ride home from India this past January and was sobbing in my seat!
My second favorite is Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Such a beautiful story and so many great life lessons! At then end of my yoga classes, I read a "Meditation Story" or quote to my yogis during savasana. There were several times while reading this book that I chose my meditation story from a passage in the book that I felt was particularly inspiring or thought provoking. And this book too was the source of a few tears during some particularly moving scenes!
What are some of your favorite books?? Message me thru the Contact page, and maybe I'll put a list together of your suggestions for a future blog post!
Happy reading! :)
Essential Oils- All Purpose Cleaner
Sunday, September 25, 2016
For many years I've made my own laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner. However, just recently I've gotten into using essential oils and have added them to my home cleaner recipe for even better results and an added fresh scent. For today's post, I'm giving you the ingredients for my all-purpose cleaner. I use this in my kitchen and bathroom daily.
In a quart sized squirt bottle add 2c each of water and white vinegar. Add 20-40 drops essential oils, and 1 tsp (or 2 squirts) dish soap. Good essential oils to choose that have powerful cleaning properties are citrus, lavender, mint, eucalyptus, or tea tree. I put 20 drops of lemon and 20 drops of tea tree oil in mine. Here's to happy and healthier cleaning with no toxic fumes or effect on us or the environment!! :)
Yoga & Meditation on my patio
Saturday. August 20, 2016
Last night from 615-745 I had a yoga and guided meditation class on my patio in Shelton with 14 of my yogis. What a great night! (We all hung out afterwards for some wine and snacks and enjoyed the beautiful night and eachothers company.)
I asked that my yogis bring a non perishable food or paper goods item to donate to Spooner House, a local shelter and soup kitchen. My yogis showed up with bags full!
After I finished work at the salon today I dropped off the donations. The two volunteers who helped me unload my car looked like it was Christmas morning and were SO grateful for the shopping cart full of donations! It is so simple to make a difference in people's lives! Thank you generous yogis! You rock my world and warm my heart! Namaste!