Browsing Tag

yoga

Writing Retreat in Vermont with Emily Rapp & Jen Pastiloff.

October 22, 2015
Annual Vermont retreat with Emily Rapp.

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Quaint, picturesque, honest and completely unique; Stowe is better than anything out of Rockwell’s imagination.

Stowe Mountain. This is a true New England four-season location. Yoga retreats in spring and summer are perfect for hiking, horseback riding, swimming and tractor hay rides to the Stowe Farmer’s Market. Fall yoga retreats include all of these wonderful activities, but add in New England’s fabulous and unbeatable fall foliage. Winter brings skiing, skiing and more skiing. Downhill or world class cross-country are minutes from the retreat doorstep along with guided snowshoeing and the winter-wonderland that is Stowe village.

All retreats include three meals a day prepared by a local chef, natural horsemanship classes, yoga and unlimited dips in the outdoor jacuzzi or stops in the indoor dry sauna.

All rooms on property are unique, many with multiple beds to fit almost all room sharing requirements. Please note that all bathrooms are shared with multiple rooms or people.

Outfitted with warm duvets and views, these cozy rooms all meet up in the heart of the lodge, the yoga room and kitchen.

Natural horsemanship is open to all, but is, of course, optional.

Join us in the beauty of any season and come see what all the fuss is about!

Join Jen Pastiloff and Emily Rapp once again in Stowe. After the last two year’s sold-out and life
changing retreats, they knew they had to do it again.

This retreat is nothing short of life-changing!

Jen Pastiloff is best known for her Manifestation Retreats® around the world and for her essays and online presence. Emily Rapp is a renowned author and professor. Join them both for 4 days of yoga, Manifestation Workshops with Jen, workshops with Emily, gorgeous foliage, wine tasting, horses, hiking and whatever else your heart may desire in the Vermont mountains. This is the perfect retreat for all level yogis and writers. It will be a journey into the self and out into the world. There will be a yoga/Manifestation workshop every day as well as a writing workshop with Emily.

How do you write the story of a life? Why is it important to tell these personal stories? Memoir is an art form that shines a light on deeply subjective experiences in order to illuminate universal truths about being human. Through discussion, writing exercises, and supportive sharing, we will generate material, consider issues of ethics when writing about ourselves and other people, and map out a plan to deepen your writing life.

Writing sessions will be generative and focused on mining your memory for significant details/memories/experiences. Discussions and exercises will be geared specifically toward writing personal narrative. Yoga with Jen includes writing as well but will be less focused on “craft” and more on exploring the unconscious mind and beliefs. Jen uses the yoga as a vehicle to get you to go deeper into your writing.

Emily has taught writing in the MFA program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, The Taos Writers’ Workshop, University of California – Palm Desert, and the Gotham Writers’ Workshops. Her second book The Still Point of The Turning World (March 2013 Penguin Press) is the story of a mother’s journey through grief and beyond in dealing with the fatal Tay Sachs Disease.

Atlanta! The Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human.

August 8, 2015
Join Jen Pastiloff in Atlanta March 8th. March 7th sold out. Click the photo above.

Update: The workshop in March was so full that we added a second, and there was still a long wait list. Unfortunately, I am only doing ONE in August so book asap.

This workshop is NOT your typical yoga workshop nor is it about the asana (poses.) It’s about being human. It’s about letting go of fear. Join us in welcoming Jen Pastiloff back to FORM {yoga} with her signature Manifestation workshop. What are you manifesting? If I wasn’t afraid I would…? How may I serve others? What makes me come alive? Who would I be if nobody told me who I was? Questions like this and many more will be sought out and answered in this unique workshop which truly connects the mind and body. This truly unique workshop combines body movement and writing (as well as a few dance parties and singing and some kicking and laughing ). All levels welcome. Expect to flow, sweat, sing, write, dance and laugh as you let go of what is no longer serving you and manifest what you want in your life. This workshop is nothing short of a life changing immersion.

Expect to go beyond your comfort zone. Come see why Jen travels around the world with this workshop and sells out. This experience is about life: unpredictable, sometimes messy, beautiful and human.

*Please bring a journal & pen, some water, an open heart and a sense of humor. Studio will open 20 minutes prior to the workshop.

Workshop purchases are non-refundable, but may be transferred to another individual for the same event only. If you notify us via email a studio credit LESS a $25 administrative fee will be issued (yogareformers at gmail dot com) with at least 72 hours notice before the start of the event. No other refunds or credits are available under any circumstances. Due to space restrictions our workshop policy is firm.

 

depression, Guest Posts, Owning It!, Sexuality

The Coming Out Post

June 23, 2015
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beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Renée Greiner.

I wanted this to be eloquent and researched with facts and figures to legitimize my pain. I wanted a weekend of three days to write this post to y’all but it can’t wait any longer. I’m in a 14 month program at Johns Hopkins University for nursing; and I’m being inundated with information and rules and patients with cardiovascular disease comorbid with obesity that beg some real empathy, the kind of empathy that everyone deserves and is lacking in our fast-paced system.

I thought at one point that yoga could heal it; or that I didn’t need therapy; or I didn’t need support; or my ingrained homophobia would just poof disappear. Because it seems so antithetical to be carrying around this deep shame when so many states and people are starting to finally realize that we aren’t child molesters.

And for the record, I used that term on purpose. I’m sick to my bones with the fact that even a teeny, tiny or maybe a bigger portion than I know associate me and the LGBT people I know with people who do awful things.

I am gay. I’ve toyed with the word bisexual because my sexuality is somewhat fluid, and I don’t know exactly where I’ll be in 10 years or so; and it just seems so nice to have a partner who can impregnate you, and then have a child who resembles you both.

But really I’ve toyed with word bisexual to avoid the bigoted stuff that lesbians face in large. The stuff that doesn’t go away if you chose to love the same gender. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, healing, Yoga

The Girl I Meet on the Yoga Mat

June 16, 2015
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Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff.

Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff.

By Janna Marlies Maron

Plank pose. I hold myself up with arms and feet. Blood pulsing through my biceps and I feel strong. Pull belly in and I feel healthy. Holding in plank pose I breathe in; I breathe out. I remember how hard it used to be for me to hold this pose. Just 15 seconds and I started to shake. I could not hold it the entire time and had to lower knees down for support. Today I do not shake. I hold until the teacher instructs us to release.

I pull hips up and back into downward facing dog and stretch heels down to the mat. Hands press the mat away; spine stretches. Again I recall what it was like when I first started practicing yoga. In downward dog, knees bent and heels up. Holding that position and I lost my breath.

I move through the poses and watch myself as if I am not me but another student in the class. I watch and remember what she was like when she first started to practice yoga. Not even when she first started, but when she was the most depressed after her diagnosis nearly three years ago. She felt weak and unhealthy. She spent half the class or more resting in child’s pose. She wondered why she was even there. Continue Reading…

Forgiveness, Guest Posts, healing

The Hardest Word To Say To Myself

May 20, 2015
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beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Sara Saldez
This morning I woke up, a few times (as been the situation for a while now) until I finally pulled myself out of bed at 7am. This is the latest I can leave my bed if I want to shower, and attempt to look decent for a day of work AND get to work on time.

I have been struggling with sleep for the last few weeks. Nightmares, dreams in constant fast forward motion, and actual panic/anxiety attacks in my sleep. Today it took its toll on me at work. I was attempting to engage in my daily duties during my down time, when I felt ill. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was feeling, but I know it was a combination of feeling light-headed, queasy and not all, together.

On the drive to work, I was having a mental battle with myself over accepting that I have depression in its real form (and not just in feeling low and mis-diagnosed), and between wanting to feel a sense of “normal”, whatever form that may be this week.

I have always known things were harder for me. Situations that I saw other people getting themselves into and out of with relative ease, put me in a horribly crippling position. I couldn’t understand why things to seemed to be easier for some people and not for me. But life and things got in the way of me getting a real diagnosis and some real help, until May 20th last year.

For those who know me, they know the significance of this date, and for those of you who don’t, my mother passed away on May 20th, back in 2004. And last year when I was house-sitting in Sydney and experiencing major panic attacks and anxiety attacks, my gorgeous supportive friend decided it was time to see someone for real about what was happening.

So that date I received my diagnosis, and I accepted it. I also graciously accepted the help that followed. Fast forward to almost ten months later, and I am still receiving the help I need, but am again at war with my mind. You see, I am struggling with forgiveness. That seems to be the hardest word for me in this present time of my life.

I just secured a full time teaching job, after over 15 months of no secure lengthy contracts (read; unemployment), I just joined the gym again (after more than two years away from any gym, although I had yet to go to a class/workout), and things were finally falling into place and looking on the rise. So why the battle with forgiveness? I am not sure. But that battle continued tonight, on the mat.

I have been feeling the pull to yoga for a long time now, and I have purchased books, attempted my own flows both on land and in the pool, but I had yet to go to a class, to experience yoga in a place, that in my mind, filled me with dread.

I know I look nothing like the others in the class, but I went anyway. I never used to wear singlets to the gym, and therefore endured more heat and restriction than I should have, and tonight I came out of the dressing room in a bright pink singlet. NO SLEEVES. And I took myself to the mat, and attempted my first class. As we were lying there, coming into our breath, the instructor asked us to set our intention for the class. She mentioned words like love, happiness, abundance etc, but it was the word forgiveness that hit me like a bullet to my head and heart simultaneously.

I started to tear up. I knew this lesson/session was going to be about forgiveness. And boy, I wasn’t wrong. As I fumbled and attempted my way through the next 60 minutes of poses and stretches and breathing, tears streamed from my face not once but over four times. Each time I tried to do a pose that I struggled in – I heard forgiveness, and cried. For previously, I have never been kind to myself. I am the first to be super harsh and tear myself down. To others, I have pearls of wisdom and compassion and kindness in spades, to myself, hatred, fear, rejection and lack of compassion and forgiveness. I would be the first to pick apart all the parts of myself that weren’t so easy to like. I had been working on loving the parts of me that were easy to like. But somehow, the other stuff was just too hard. Being heavy is hard. Being unkind to myself is hard. I was tearing myself down. This wasn’t anyway to treat myself. Continue Reading…

Contests & Giveaways, Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, Retreats/Workshops

Free Spot At Jen Pastiloff’s Retreat in Honor of Every Mother Counts

May 3, 2015
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Flash 3 day contest on instagram! Don’t have an account? Sign up! It’s easy and fun!

Do you want to attend a my Manifestation Retreat over Mother’s Day in honor of  Every Mother Counts & global maternal health? (It’s next weekend so you have to act FAST!) Everything will be paid for including a spot at the cooking class but you must provide your own transportation to Ojai, California. Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization started by Christy Turlington Burns dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

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Rules:
1⃣ Follow
@jenpastiloff @everymomcounts & @bloominglotusjewelry on Instagram.
2⃣ Post a picture
of you and your mom OR You and your child  on Instagram after you follow all 3 of us.

3⃣ Tag us ALL in comments & use #everymothercounts so we can see it!

4⃣ must follow us all & tag us all in comments section.

Info on retreat here at jenniferpastiloff.com.

You’ll also win a $108 gift certificate to Blooming Lotus Jewelry!!

Continue Reading…

Jen Pastiloff’s The Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human. Seattle April 26th.

April 26, 2015
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beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88*Please note that I am doing TWO workshops in Seattle. Saturday April 25th a nd Sunday April 26th.

Book Sat here.

Book Sun here.

You do NOT have to be a yogi or know yoga.

I led 4 sold-out workshops in Seattle in 2014 and I am headed back April 2015. I love my Seattle tribe so much!

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Here is a little blurb I just wrote on my Facebook page:

Vulnerability alert: Let me tell you about stepping out of your comfort zone and fear and being ballsy and what that looks like to me. A few years back I started doing these workshops which have since morphed into something else entirely. I have no idea what to name this thing. What to call it. It’s not really a “yoga” thing but I do it at yoga studios and we sit on yoga mats. It’s not really a writing thing because you don’t have to be a writer or even like writing but we write. And we share. And we laugh. And we cry. And it’s heavy but also really really light. And like, how do you describe that? How do you say, call up a studio in Chicago and say, “Hey, I want to come do this thing I do there at your place. I can’t really describe it. You’ll just have to see for yourself. People will come. Trust me.”

And I mean, there’s a deep knowing that I will sell it out (but there’s also the other part of me that’s like, “OMG, you have never been to Chicago or Vancouver or whatever city it is. Who do you think you are?”

But

I do not listen to that voice for very long. I put on my big girl panties and shut that voice up and carry on with my cup of coffee and hush that little voice that says, “How dare you create something that is not definable and expect people will show up?”
Why do I hush that voice?
Because I did do that. I am doing that.
Is it scary as f*ck? Yes.
I do this ALL BY MYSELF. I have no team of agents or managers or bookers. Just some balls. (Well, not really. Betty White says a vagina is tougher than balls, but whatever.) I pull my bootstraps up and carry on.
My word right now is TRUST.
I do not fit into any mold or any “yoga” box or literary box or self-help (it ain’t that, nor is it ‘woo-woo’ or airy-fairy) so I simply have to trust that I am on the right path. That people will keep coming.
A couple weeks ago at my Miami workshop, people drove from all over the state and country. I had a moment where I thought, “This is what trust looks like.”
It’s like that line from the movie Field of Dreams. Maybe that is what I am saying in my long-winded Jen Pastiloff way, “If you build it, they will come.”
They will. they do.
Nonetheless, it’s so nerve-wracking and scary and exciting and all of that, each time I book a workshop. It’s terrifying and exhilarating to stand up there and be totally vulnerable and naked and well, human.
That is why it’s called The Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human.

I know some of you are new to this page as it’s grown quite a lot in the last few weeks and are probably all, “Who the eff is this Jen?” I’m just a human being (as wayne Dyer says, “I am a human being, not a human doing.”) I’m just a human being who is trying to make her way in the world. I bump into a lot of things, I drop a lot, I mess up, I curse. Sometimes I am an asshole (thus, I created the “Don’t be an asshole” series) but every day I am trying to be a better human. I am trying to listen more, to be more open, to be less afraid. That is what my workshop is about. And I intend to take it all over the world. I am.
Is it scary? Yes.
Do I need to trust? Yes.
Do you need to trust more? I have no idea.
Do you? Only you can answer that. I am not going to sit here with my coffee and make blanket statements about you. You need this. You need that. I have no idea. Only you do.
I just know that no matter how freaked out I get that I am going to another country or another city to do my wacky indescribable workshop, I will go anyway. I will lead it as best as I can, with as open of a heart as I can, with my deaf ass ears as open as they can be, with my sense of humor intact. And I will do my best to show you what it looks like to do something even when you are shitting bricks of fear. I love you guys. Here’s to forging into the unknown with grace. xo
Jennifer Pastiloff

Take that, fear!♥

There’s beauty in being afraid, ya know? What does it look like? It looks like doing it anyway.

**Bring a journal and an open heart. There is yoga but you do not have to be a yogi. All levels welcome!

Read this to get an idea of what my workshop is like. 

ps I will also be in Seattle at Hauteyoga’s sister studio shefayoga Saturday April 25th. Book that one here. 

 

Jen Pastiloff’s Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human. Seattle April 25th.

April 25, 2015
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*Please note that I am doing TWO workshops in Seattle. Saturday April 25th a nd Sunday April 26th.

Book Sat here.

Book Sun here.

You do NOT have to be a yogi or know yoga.

I led 4 sold-out workshops in Seattle in 2014 and I am headed back April 2015. I love my Seattle tribe so much!

Here is a little blurb I just wrote on my Facebook page:

Vulnerability alert: Let me tell you about stepping out of your comfort zone and fear and being ballsy and what that looks like to me. A few years back I started doing these workshops which have since morphed into something else entirely. I have no idea what to name this thing. What to call it. It’s not really a “yoga” thing but I do it at yoga studios and we sit on yoga mats. It’s not really a writing thing because you don’t have to be a writer or even like writing but we write. And we share. And we laugh. And we cry. And it’s heavy but also really really light. And like, how do you describe that? How do you say, call up a studio in Chicago and say, “Hey, I want to come do this thing I do there at your place. I can’t really describe it. You’ll just have to see for yourself. People will come. Trust me.”

And I mean, there’s a deep knowing that I will sell it out (but there’s also the other part of me that’s like, “OMG, you have never been to Chicago or Vancouver or whatever city it is. Who do you think you are?”

But

I do not listen to that voice for very long. I put on my big girl panties and shut that voice up and carry on with my cup of coffee and hush that little voice that says, “How dare you create something that is not definable and expect people will show up?”

Why do I hush that voice?

Because I did do that. I am doing that.

Is it scary as f*ck? Yes.

I do this ALL BY MYSELF. I have no team of agents or managers or bookers. Just some balls. (Well, not really. Betty White says a vagina is tougher than balls, but whatever.) I pull my bootstraps up and carry on.

My word right now is TRUST.

I do not fit into any mold or any “yoga” box or literary box or self-help (it ain’t that, nor is it ‘woo-woo’ or airy-fairy) so I simply have to trust that I am on the right path. That people will keep coming.

A couple weeks ago at my Miami workshop, people drove from all over the state and country. I had a moment where I thought, “This is what trust looks like.”

It’s like that line from the movie Field of Dreams. Maybe that is what I am saying in my long-winded Jen Pastiloff way, “If you build it, they will come.”

They will. they do.

Nonetheless, it’s so nerve-wracking and scary and exciting and all of that, each time I book a workshop. It’s terrifying and exhilarating to stand up there and be totally vulnerable and naked and well, human.

That is why it’s called The Manifestation Workshop: On Being Human.

I know some of you are new to this page as it’s grown quite a lot in the last few weeks and are probably all, “Who the eff is this Jen?” I’m just a human being (as wayne Dyer says, “I am a human being, not a human doing.”) I’m just a human being who is trying to make her way in the world. I bump into a lot of things, I drop a lot, I mess up, I curse. Sometimes I am an asshole (thus, I created the “Don’t be an asshole” series) but every day I am trying to be a better human. I am trying to listen more, to be more open, to be less afraid. That is what my workshop is about. And I intend to take it all over the world. I am.

Is it scary? Yes.

Do I need to trust? Yes.

Do you need to trust more? I have no idea.

Do you? Only you can answer that. I am not going to sit here with my coffee and make blanket statements about you. You need this. You need that. I have no idea. Only you do.

I just know that no matter how freaked out I get that I am going to another country or another city to do my wacky indescribable workshop, I will go anyway. I will lead it as best as I can, with as open of a heart as I can, with my deaf ass ears as open as they can be, with my sense of humor intact. And I will do my best to show you what it looks like to do something even when you are shitting bricks of fear. I love you guys. Here’s to forging into the unknown with grace. xo

Jennifer Pastiloff

Take that, fear!♥

There’s beauty in being afraid, ya know? What does it look like? It looks like doing it anyway.

**Bring a journal and an open heart. There is yoga but you do not have to be a yogi. All levels welcome!

Read this to get an idea of what my workshop is like. 

ps I will also be in Seattle at shefayoga‘s sister studio Hauteyoga Queen Anne Sunday April 26th. Book that one here. 

 

Guest Posts, Manifestation Retreats, motherhood

Jen Pastiloff, Christy Turlington Burns & Every Mother Counts Give Back This Mother’s Day.

April 22, 2015
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Do good for yourself, while helping us improve maternal health. Join me over Mother’s Day weekend, May 8-10th, for a 3 day retreat in Ojai, CA, where a portion of proceeds will benefit Christy Turlington’s Every Mother Counts. Please mention the organization when booking. Click here to sign up or email barbara@jenniferpastiloff.com.

Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother.

They inform, engage, and mobilize new audiences to take actions and raise funds that support maternal health programs around the world.

To join in this retreat you do Not have to be a mother. Just be a human being with a heart. No yoga experience required although there will be some yoga within the workshops.

I am so excited to support my friend Christy and EMC!

Christy Turlington Burns is a mother, social entrepreneur, model, and founder of Every Mother Counts. Having endured a childbirth complication herself, Christy was compelled to direct and produce the documentary, No Woman, No Cry about maternal health challenges that impact the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. As a result of her global advocacy work she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of The Year in 2013, and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative Minds in 2013. Prior to her work as a global maternal health advocate, Christy enjoyed a successful career as a model while continuing her education and pursuing other interests. She has co-created public health communications campaigns about smoking cessation and prevention since 1997 and launched an award-winning website, SmokingIsUgly.com. Christy is also the author of Living Yoga: Creating A Life Practice (Hyperion 2002) and has written countless articles, essays and op-eds for magazines and newspapers on the subjects of wellness, maternal health, feminism, poverty eradication and human rights. Christy is a member of the Harvard Medical School Global Health Council, an advisor to the Harvard School of Public Health Board of Dean’s Advisors and on the advisory Board of New York University’s Nursing School. She holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Studies and has studied Public Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. A three-time marathon finisher, Christy resides in New York City where she lives with her husband, filmmaker Edward Burns, and their two children.

ps, Christy is running the London Marathon this coming weekend on 4/26 to raise funds and awareness about the fact that thousands of women and girls still live too far away from the care and supplies needed to ensure safe motherhood. You can check it out here. 

I love you , Christy!

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Mother's Day Retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being.  Click photo to book.   "Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing. She listens. She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you. Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening. And what her kind of listening does is simple: It saves lives." ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Mother’s Day Retreat! Join Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, Calif this May for a life-changing weekend retreat. May 8-10th. No yoga experience required. Just be a human being. Click photo to book.
“Here’s the thing about Jen Pastiloff, folks. Here’s the revolutionary thing.
She listens.
She listens with an intent focus, a focus that follows your words inside you. Because she has hearing problems, she watches your lips as you speak, and she plucks the ash of your words from the air and takes it inside herself and lays it beside her heart, where before too long your words start beating as if they were strong, capable, living mammals. And then she gives them back to you.
Boiled down, this is the secret to Jen’s popularity. She can call what she does Beauty Hunting–she is for sure out there helping people find beauty. She can start a campaign called “Don’t be an asshole” and remind us all to stop a second and please, please, please be our better selves. She can use words like attention, space, time, connection, intimacy. She can ask participants to answer questions like What gets in your way? What stories are you carrying around in your body? What makes you come alive? Who would you be if nobody told you who you were? All of that is what it is. But why it works is because of her kind of listening.
And what her kind of listening does is simple:
It saves lives.” ~ Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Self Image, Self Love, Young Voices

A 19 Year Old Girl Talks About “Being Enough.”

April 20, 2015
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By Sarah B Levine

Note from Jen Pastiloff: I am currently writing a book for young girls based on the workshop that Lara Heimann and I have co-created: Girl Power: You Are Enough. Last week I was in my hometown of Philadelphia leading one of my workshops and right before it started I bumped into a beautiful young girl. I asked her if I could interview her. She said yes, having no idea what I would ask her. (My kind of human!!) The video is at the bottom so you can watch after you read her stunning post. I put a call out to young girls to write about when they feel the best about themselves, if they feel like they are enough, and a letter to their younger or future selves. I intend to include some in the book. (The book will also feature letters from various women to their younger selves, such as Christy Turlington, Cheryl Strayed, Ashley Ford Megan Stielstra, Emily Rapp, Angela G. Patel, Rachel Pastiloff, Lara Heimann, Rene Denfeld, Lidia Yuknavitch, Suleika Jaouad and more. I am so excited by this project that I haven’t been able to sleep. That and I have been binge watching Parenthood on Netflix but that’s a whole other story. It’s been a dream of mine to work with young women yet I had no idea how to start making it happen. Then, it just happened organically. They started coming to my workshop, in droves. So Lara and I gave birth to this baby. Girl Power: You Are Enough.

The time is now for this. So the beautiful girl I bumped into at the studio saw my call on Facebook and submitted her post. I wanted to share it here because, well. You’ll see. May we all remember that we are enough.

May we have people that remind us.

ps- I am reminding you. YOU are enough.

*  *  *  *

Dear Jen,

As per requested on your Facebook, I decided to answer what it means to be enough. And after a couple of hours at my computer going through tears, smiles, snorts of laughter and everything in between I feel I have captured a part of me I had been unable to acknowledge for a long time. A part of me that has been quiet and dormant as a voice in the back of my head for a long time. A part of me, I feel is also a part of many other girls, boys, young and old all over.

Thank you for already making a change in my life this past week. Everything happens for a reason.

Sarah B Levine (The girl you met at  your Dhyana yoga studio in Philadelphia impromptu interview)

 

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All of this happened in the comfort of my own home and mind. I crossed path with a number of people in my life that all encouraged me loved me and supported me and saw I was an old soul. Rarely what I am writing is what majority of those people got to see. This is what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

Why am I enough?

Why should I be enough? Who am I enough for? Who would ever love me? Why can’t I be looked at like that, with admiration? Why do my legs touch? Why is my nose so big, my belly not as toned or my butt droopy? Don’t take my picture it might point out a new flaw. My teeth aren’t as white or straight as hers. My hair isn’t as curly; I wish it were naturally more beautiful than I wouldn’t have to try so hard. These are the things that would go through my mind- sometimes more often than not. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, motherhood, Yoga

The Impulse To Breathe

April 2, 2015
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beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Wendy Fontaine.

As soon as one contraction ended, another began. The pain erupted from beneath my hip bones and a twisting, angry heat spread in all directions: up into my hardened belly, down to my bare legs, and out through my arms to my fingers, which were clenched into fists at my chin.

I asked the midwife, Renata, when I could have something, anything, for the pain. I had always expected that, when the time came, there would be some kind of medication. But labor rarely goes as planned, and in the moment – that wretched, unbearable moment – there was nothing safe for me to take. My baby girl was lying on her umbilical cord, and every time I had a contraction, her body and my body squeezed against the cord in a deadly embrace that pinched her only connection to oxygen. Drugs might have slowed, or even stopped, her natural impulse to breathe on her own once she was born.

Renata held my hand and rubbed my back. She pressed a cool cloth to my forehead, while I wondered if my child would survive. With each spasm, I filled my lungs and exhaled, over and over, like a surfer riding wave after wave.

I had learned how to breathe five years earlier, in a yoga class I signed up for after the World Trade Center towers burned and crumbled before our collective eyes. I had been a newspaper reporter then, writing stories about the people who died and the spouses and children they left behind. Quickly, the stories of loss had all become too much to bear. The images of people jumping from burning skyscrapers had taken my breath away. I wanted to go inward, to shut my eyes for a while. So I found a yoga studio, where the walls were the color of Nantucket hydrangeas and the candles smelled like lavender.

The teacher, Karen, was a petite woman with a soft voice and a graceful manner. She moved deliberately, with more awareness than I had ever seen in one person. Near the front of the studio classroom, I unrolled my mat alongside the other students and sat cross-legged, waiting for something I couldn’t name. Inner peace. Serenity. I didn’t know what.

The first thing Karen showed us was how to slow our breath by matching the lengths of our inhalations and our exhalations. Pranayama, she called it. Controlling the life force. It felt unnatural at first, but after a few moments, breathing seemed more like undulating – smooth and rhythmic, circular and endless. I could feel it and hear it. I could trust it.

I went back every Saturday, settled onto my mat and found that familiar pattern. We moved through the asanas, or poses. Some were challenging; others seemed nearly impossible. Just breathe, Karen reminded us. The trick was to keep a steady breath even when things got tough – when the room was hot, when our muscles were tired, when our minds were telling us to quit. Breathe in and out. Be full, then empty. Take it in and let it go. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Manifestation Workshops, Women

Women Are Hurting.

March 31, 2015
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beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Jane Eaton Hamilton.

Jen Pastiloff & The Hunt For Beauty.

There’s something I can’t get off my mind; it’s been nagging.

A couple months ago, Jen Pastiloff came to town.  She’s the wunderkind behind the online home for great essays, Manifest Station, and a yoga/writing workshop phenom.  I first came to know Jen through her site when she published my essay about Paris, ‘Things That Didn’t Happen,’ which now appears in the Caitlin Press anthology This Place a Stranger, about women traveling solo.

All this is a long-winded introduction to the fact that Jen asked me to attend her yoga workshop here in Vancouver, BC, when she came to town earlier this year at Semperviva Yoga, and, reluctantly, I went.  (Jen knew getting me out of my house was like pulling teeth, but she kept at me.)  Despite a background in dance, I’ve never been a yoga enthusiast, and I’m also an atheist, and morbidly shy, and the whole spiritual thing makes me roll my eyes.  I slid down the wall at the back of the room, gamely played along to the limits of my creaky old body, and kept my eyes and ears open.

And, folks, a bunch of things happened.

She calls the workshop, after all, “On Being Human.”

But the transformative thing, the thing that hasn’t gone away, was this:

Women are hurting. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, healing, Self Image, Self Love, Yoga

Teaching Yoga To Teen Girls With Sexual Trauma and The Connection To Us All

March 26, 2015
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beauty-hunting-jen-logo-black1-300x88By Anne Falkowski.

 

I had my own sexual trauma at thirteen. It took only a few minutes. I can’t remember it all, but can still feel the pebbles and grit embedded in my opened-up palms, see my ripped jeans, and taste the blood inside my mouth from where my face was shoved into the ground. I can still smell their boozed-up breath on my neck and feel their thick hands and fingers. It was a one time event, but my perpetrators went to school with me. I had to face all three of them for the next five years in classrooms and even at parties. I had no one to talk to, no therapy, no coping strategy.

I begged my parents and the male police officer, who spoke with me about it immediately afterwards, to drop it. I gave no details. Details would have made me cry.

I’ll be fine.” I said.

What I wanted to say was, “Shut up. Shut up.

And like a miracle, they did. My parents and the cop, they shut up. In a span of less than fifteen minutes, they were gone.

I was left alone with the sound of my body hitting the pavement hard and the boys laughing and squealing in my head. It was like taking a deep inhale, closing off your ears, eyes, nose and mouth, and never exhaling again. I failed to mention “the event” again until I was 30 and in therapy for self-hatred so thick, I could stir it. Thanks God for the panic attacks that led me to the office of a persistent and wise therapist. I had no idea my low self-esteem and carefully hidden self-destructive behaviors were linked to what happened at thirteen.  All I knew was I had spiraled to a black bottom and couldn’t find my way back up. Continue Reading…

Eating Disorders/Healing, Guest Posts, Self Image, The Body, Women

On Being Naked.

February 17, 2015
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By Christine Molloy.

I have always felt awkward in locker rooms. I mean, REALLY awkward. So much so that since I left high school, I have not changed my clothes in one. This is pretty impressive considering how many gym memberships I have had and that in the last several years of going to my current gym, I have been in the gym pool hundreds of times.

I had a strategy for these pool trips though. First of all, I live five minutes from my gym and yes, that is as awesome as it sounds. So I would towel dry off, throw some ratty clothes on over my suit, and head home. Maybe twice I went down to the locker room to use the toilet. Maybe.

In the dead of winter, when it was too cold to do that, I would switch to another form of exercise and just not deal with the locker room issue. However this winter is much different because I have been battling foot injuries in both my feet and on top of a nasty autoimmune illness, the pool is really the only good exercise I can get at the moment. And, I enjoy it. I especially enjoy the hot tub before and after!

The locker room at my gym was recently renovated and has two showers and three or four toilet stalls. There is a sauna, lockers, and benches. That’s it. Which means there are no changing rooms, unless you use the shower and it is rare for one of those to be open. And here is where we get to the root of my problem with locker rooms:

People will see me naked.

Hey, we all have our hang-ups.

There’s no changing room, no cubicles, not even a more secluded corner of the locker room to tuck away my less-than-perfect body into. Total exposure of a body that many times, I even have a difficult time looking at. One that has the dreaded apple shape, cellulite, and just stuff hanging everywhere. You know how women start to complain about how as they get older, their breasts begin the downward descent into hell and they miss their perky boob days? Yeah, not me. My boobs started at the place that most women dread going to.

I know, I know. I have had people tell me that the other people in the locker room are so focused on themselves that they are not even bothering to look over at me. They are all thinking about their kids or pre-planning their work day in their head. I think that is true for some, but I am not buying that explanation for everybody. People are curious. It is just human nature.

I have not always hated my body and even now, I don’t always look at it in a negative way. But I definitely need more balance and more positive self-talk. This body has seen me through some serious shit and on two different occasions, brought me back from the brink of death. This is the body that has survived cancer, round after round of prednisone and so many other toxic medications, a daily battle with an autoimmune illness, a heart procedure, blood clots in my lungs, and a neurological condition that almost paralyzed me. After going through these experiences, you have to garner some respect for the body that gets you through day after day; but I still criticize my body. I think that is probably the main reason why I do yoga; by doing poses, it helps me focus on not only my strength, but also on the life force inside of me. Yoga reminds me of what I am capable of and the good that my body can do.

But it does make me wonder, when exactly did this start for me? That feeling that my body wasn’t good enough? That I wasn’t good enough? I do know with absolute certainty that there was nothing in my childhood that made me feel ashamed of my body. According to my mom, as a toddler, it was hard for her to keep clothes ON me! And in my household growing up, being naked was not a big deal. We all walked naked from the bathroom to our rooms and back and once the teenage years came for me and my brother, the walking became a fast streak! And a T-shirt for me. As a kid, neither one of my parents every pressured me about losing weight and I was never told that I was ugly by either one of them. Even well into my adulthood, my dad has never mentioned one word about my weight or my eating habits, although on occasion he has tossed a positive compliment my way when a weight loss has been noticeable. Dad, you did well!

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that's it! Summer or Fall 2015.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Yoga + Writing + Connection. We go deep. Bring an open heart and a sense of humor- that’s it! Summer or Fall 2015.

Continue Reading…