Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011!

Onwards and upwards! Photo illustration by Christopher David Ryan.

Ready for a glamorous celebration to ring in the new year?

I hope you're wearing glittery things, eating tiny fancy hors d'oeuvres, and smooching your love as the ball drops.

I will be!
Crab bruschetta? Yes please! Photo via This is Glamorous.

Gold heels? Yes please! Photo via This is Glamorous.

As you consider the year ahead, you may be setting some goals for yourself. Need fun and creative ways to view them daily and remind yourself to stick with your resolutions?

Lovely lace? Yes please!  Photo via This is Glamorous.

Creative Goal Setting:
  • Chalkboard goals. Keep them visible and add to your home's decor by writing your dreams and ambitions largely.
  • Goals on Twitter, Facebook and the blog. Share your ideas with your followers, and ask that they help hold you accountable.
  • For the wild at heart: tattoo goals! Ever thought about getting inked in a way that's artful and reminiscent of your life goals? A friend of mine recently got a beautiful phoenix on her hip to symbolize rebirth and renewal. That's a pretty sweet way to remind yourself of your own beauty and power!
  • Framed goals on your desk at work. You spend as much time there as at home, so why not post some as conversation starters / reminders? Consider getting your friends and office pals to do the same, or put together a collective goal frame or area where people can share and encourage each other to stick with their plans for success.
  • Keep a notebook. Doodle your goals. Make thought bubbles and connect your ideas together. Add action steps. Be creative and have fun! Then post the pages to your fridge so you can see them regularly.
  • Use online tools to track your progress. Try FutureMe and email yourself in the future. This is probably the most fun and amusing way you can kick yourself in the bum to get going and get inspired to meet your goals! Also try Goaltender via Lululemon's site, or 43Things.
  • Goals as passwords. This one's pretty nerdy, but if you set your passwords for email, online banking, or other websites to reflect your goals, you'll be reminded of them on a consistent basis -- probably more often than any other way!
Bursts of gold? Yes please! Photo via This is Glamorous.

How do you set goals? What are your hopes and dreams for 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wish List

In 2011, I will practice my handstands and headstands.

What postures are you looking forward to rocking in 2011?

Number one on my list is the headstand, followed closely by Standing Head to Knee. I want to be able to hold the posture for a full 60 seconds.

I also wouldn't mind these lovely finds via the illustrious Coffee and Yoga.

Ready to take flight.
Best spinning dress ever.

This would look great as a poster on my wall.

These would also look great poster-sized at a yoga studio.

Isn't that the cutest coffee mug cozy?

Wrapping Up 2010

Balance and beauty in 2010: it's been a great year! Photo via F***YeahYoga.

Thank you, readers, for following Alive in the Fire's first year!

It's been wonderful sharing 2010 with you and I'm so proud of the steady growth that Alive in the Fire has seen over the past few months.

As we wrap up the year, I wanted to extend a huge thank you to all of my faithful readers and generous partners, as well as offer you all the chance to provide some feedback abut the blog.

I'd love to get your thoughts on what's been great and what could use improvement. 

What do you love about the blog? 
What would you like to see more of?

Please leave a comment below or send me an email, and encourage your fellow yogis to do the same.

Check out that increase in page views! I love it. Thanks for your loyal readership, yogis and friends.

Here are some of the highlights from 2010:
  • Hundreds of readers and followers from around the world, including yogis in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, the U.K., South Korea, Australia, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, India and Malaysia!
  • Over 200 posts written and published.
  • An ever-growing Twitter following and inclusion of the Twitter account (@aliveinthefire) on lists such as: yoga, Bikram yoga, Etsy Friends, Healthy Chicago, Evanston, and Fellow Yogis and Yoginis.
  • An incredible Winter Extravaganza featuring giveaways from over 30 generous Etsy sellers and a large variety of yoga studios and yoga wear companies. A big thanks goes to all partners for offering readers hundreds of dollars in yoga and gift merchandise throughout the holiday season. And don't forget: the winning isn't over yet!
Special thanks goes to:

105 Yoga in Oak Park
Grateful Yoga in Evanston

If you're interested in getting involved with the Winter Extravaganza, head over to our Partners page for more info.
Photo via Coffee and Yoga.

Throughout the year, Alive in the Fire has featured some pretty awesome posts. Which was your favorite?
  • Bikram basics: a guide for beginners on how to prepare and make the most of your first session in the Torture Chamber. Plus some reasons your body will thank you for doing the yoga. 
  • The one, the only: Real Men Do Yoga series! An awesome compilation of stories from Bikram yogis around the world including John, Hans, and Joseph. This series will continue throughout 2011, and don't forget you can submit your story any time (and win a prize!).
Photo via Yoga Dudes
  • Living green and keeping clean with all-natural products: some reasons why you should eliminate harsh cleaners and unhealthy foods from your cupboards. Plus, where to shop in Evanston for local green goods.
Photo via PrAna.
Thanks for enjoying the ride with me. And please do leave your ideas below with ideas for the future of the blog. Namaste and happy 2011!

Hello, California


Yesterday and today I have been lucky enough to enjoy some California sunshine and visits with friends. I especially enjoyed the way the leggings I wore matched the blue sky.

We went on a little adventure to Anthropologie and I loved all their creative decorations. Too bad I couldn't afford any of the adorable dresses!

Reindeer antlers gone wild!

Pinecone mania.

Thread it.

Have you done any post-Christmas shopping? 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The World's Youngest Yoga Teacher

Photo via the Daily Mail article which I discovered via F***YeahYoga.

Can you imagine teaching yoga at age six?!

I just discovered this amazing article about Shruti, the world's youngest yoga teacher. She has been teaching adults at an ashram in northern India for the last two years. Incredible!

As the article reports, 'Her trainer, Hari Chetan, 67, set up the ashram 35 years ago and as soon as little Shruti became one of his students, as a tiny four-year old, he spotted her talents." 

Photo via the Daily Mail article which I discovered via F***YeahYoga.

Major props to both Shruti and Hari for the patience, courage and energy it must take for her to teach classes (starting at 5:30am) as well as perfect all the postures she practices. The little girl has a killer scorpion pose already!

Her teacher says she's a natural, a fast learner and a perfectionist, and her students say she is extremely patient and has even helped them calm their anger. I say: amazing!

Change Your Life

Photo by the one and only Cassi Saari.

Anyone know this famous Rilke poem? I was reading it over again today, trying to inspire up some poetry, and I fell in love with the last line all over again.

Plus, it's an all-around fantastic poem to be reading as the year draws to a close.
Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Ranier Maria Rilke
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced 
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

These beautiful words are based on an unfinished statue, and the way it took the breath away of a poet as he viewed another artist's work. Have you ever been blown away by art so fully that you feel you must change your life?

Now is the time of year that I think about the transformations we go through, the way our art changes, our circle of friends shifts, our time spent moves toward new activity. 

This is definitely the time of year when I look back, and there's a lot from 2010 to remember.

A year ago my sister had a newborn; now she smiles at a little boy and prays with him and teaches him how to speak.

A year ago today I was about to experience a panic attack, a tough bout of depression, and a long haul climbing back to my usual energetic, well-slept self. Today I feel amazing, so much more in tune with my personal needs and capabilities, and now I know that I have the power to avoid ever slipping into such a dark place again. I'm well-armed with family and friends that mean the world to me, with my yoga practice, and with a life spent doing the things I love. (And a blog where I can write about them and share them with you, dear readers!)

I couldn't be happier to be here, guys. Thanks for reading!

A year ago I didn't know the joys of Bikram or whether I'd have a steady job that I liked after graduating from Northwestern. Today I work full-time at a company I love, and I have plans to complete Yoga Teacher Training and fulfill my dreams of sharing this yoga with others.

A year ago none of us were who we are today.

It's been a crazy year, yogis! It's been an awesome one, too. Hope you are having fun taking a glance back at where you've been, and getting pumped for what's to come. Here's wishing you a wonderful close to 2010, and please share your stories past, present and future!

As for the Winter Extravaganza... a big congrats to Emily. You win the NYE giveaway! Please contact me with your mailing address so we can get those goodies shipped.

And speaking of shipping, if there are any winners out there who are still waiting to receive loot (and who have been waiting a while), please contact me ASAP. I want to make sure you all get your gifts in a reasonable amount of time. 

A big thanks to all our wonderful Alive in the Fire partners, too. You guys are some of the most generous people I've ever encountered (honestly!) and I hope you've enjoyed the exposure to the lovely Bikram community here at the blog. 

Namaste to all, and happy impending 2011!

Photo by the tall and talented Cassi Saari.

A quick and final note on partners: I will be posting more in-depth in the next week on what it means to partner with Alive in the Fire, how you can get involved, and the benefits of getting exposure to this Bikram yoga and blogging community. If you've got a small business -- yoga related or not -- and want to promote your goods through a lively, green, and growing outlet, please contact me today @ aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. I am looking forward to collaborating with you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Get to Yoga Giveaway

Mika Yoga Wear in action via the company's Facebook profile.

If you're like me, then practicing yoga is one of your biggest resolutions for 2011. In fact, the entry on your list probably reads: 

More yoga, more yoga, more yoga!

Are you ready to hit the Hot Room for some Bikram sessions? 

Signed up for some Hatha, Yin, Ashtanga and Kripalu classes to balance out your fire?

Maybe you need a little push toward your mat. Perhaps a hot top from Mika Yoga Wear would help? This line is inspired by dance wear and is made to hold up especially well in the heat.

Who wouldn't want to wear outfits that allow you to do this?! Mika Yoga Wear in action via the company's Facebook profile. 

Evanston yogis, maybe you could use a free week of classes, and a little break on your bank account? I've got you covered. Nick and Lela Beem, the generous owners at Grateful Yoga in Evanston, are donating a free week pass to today's giveaway.

Lela and Nick Beem of Grateful Yoga in Evanston are incredible teachers and some of the best studio owners I know.

Today's giveaway features one item from Mika, plus a free week of classes at Grateful Yoga in Evanston, IL! (Open to Chicagoland residents only, please.) 

To enter, please check out each site and enter a comment below about why you're excited to get back to your mat & which Mika piece you'd love to have.

Double your chances of winning by doing any of the following. Be sure to note this in your comment below, so I enter your name twice!

  • Check out Mika's social media sites and leave feedback on their Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube site. While you're at it, read owner Laura's stellar LinkedIn profile and connect with her there.
  • Read Nick Beem's blog about all things yoga and the way he balances being a teacher, business owner, and loving husband.
  • Connect with Grateful Yoga on Facebook.
More about Mika Yoga Wear, the supportive, sexy line you've got to try:
Developed by a Hot Yoga yogini, each piece in the line was made with the right understanding and care. We make flattering hot yoga clothes that move with your body & hold shape during perspiration. Bonus? Most pieces in the collection can be worn numerous ways, allowing you to get creative with your yoga wear. The Mika line offers women comfortable, durable & flattering yoga wear looks at affordable prices.
Get to know Lela and Nick Beem at Grateful on Davis Street! You can tell from their teaching style and their interaction with each other that their relationship is like their yoga: all about love, love, love.
More about Grateful Yoga, one of the best Evanston studios:
We've been in business for five years, supported by students who value a mindful practice that's a balance of effort and ease in a peaceful, non-competitive environment.  Our teaching is informed by the full breadth of the yoga tradition, as well as the modern insights of growth psychology, kinesiology and neuroscience.  Come try one of our 13 weekly classes, which range in level from Basics to Intermediate. We also offer private instruction, yoga therapy, prenatal yoga, and 8-week stress relief groups.

Grateful Yoga is located at 1108 Davis Street in Evanston. Email for more info about their class offerings.

Last Look at Christmas

Merry Christmas! A little look at our 2010 celebration.

I figure I better post these before it's New Year's, right?

Merry Christmas! It was a lovely day filled with family, food, laughs, and relaxation.

Grandma and Z playin' with some toys.

Mom and Dad are napping on the couch, which means prime time for playing with Auntie!

Candles and a fire in the fireplace. Mmmm.

Sis and Brother-in-Law toast!

Mom, you made amazing turkey!

Love you, twin sis! 

Quality Lincoln Log time in after dinner.

Zeke the puppy! One of his favorite games to play :)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  

Love you, family. Thanks for such a wonderful Christmas.

New Photography Finds

Wedding photos via Paper + Lace.

This morning I stumbled upon some stunning wedding photos at Paper + Lace Photography that I couldn't resist sharing. I love the sense of candidness in the work.

Love that pooch!

Beachy kiss.

I also fell in love with the site An Afternoon With... In this innovative project, photographer Michael Mundy spends an afternoon with people in their spaces (generally gorgeous loft apartments or rooftops of urban buildings). The results are magical! Read more about the site here.

Photo by Michael Mundy.

Photo by Michael Mundy.

Photo by Michael Mundy.