July 30, 2008

Finding Yoga in Your Area

Are your mind and body ready to find a good yoga teacher in your neighborhood? Visit Diane's post at Everything Yoga. She gives you lots of information to help you start your inner adventure!

updated 1/11/2012

Road Trip! The Best Ice Cream in America

Time for another road trip!

Who doesn't like ice cream? Even those of us who are lactose intolerant will risk...a lot...for a bite of cold creamy goodness. If you're on the hunt for the perfect ice cream this summer, Forbes Traveler has compiled their list of the best places in America to get your dairy fix. Serious Eats has summed it all up for you in this article. It seems to me that the state of Colorado has more than its fair share of great shops -- good thing I get out there a lot!

updated 1/11/2012

July 29, 2008

Road Trip! Safari

If skiing to the South Pole is a little too sub-zero for you, how about a safari? Baltimore Magazine just ran a nice article about a group of women who packed their bags for a two-week South African adventure. The end of the article gives you some safari basics and places that can arrange a trip into the wild for you and your friends.

link updated 1/11/2012

British Woman to Lead Team of Women to South Pole

Felicity Ashton, a 30-year-old British scientist plans to lead a team of eight women from Cyprus, Ghana, India, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Jamaica and Britain to the South Pole. The goal is to leave in time to reach the Pole by New Year's Day, 2010. Felicity is recruiting adventurous women right now, so if you hail from any of the countries listed above and are interested in joining the Commonwealth Women's Antarctic Expedition, click on over to www.commonwealthexpedition.com. Don't delay, application deadlines are in August. Wondering if you have what it takes to ski to the Antarctic? According to Stuff.co.nz,

Aston said she would not be looking for the most athletic sportswomen, the most accomplished skiers or the most widely travelled: "I will be looking for women who inspire me, women who are reaching beyond the expectation of others and following their own path."

link updated 1/11/2012

Yoga: An Inner Adventure

This is a guest post from Diane Cesa, yoga therapist, writer of The Everything Yoga Blog and sooo much more. For more about Diane, see her "Adventurous Woman" post.

If you’ve yet to have an experience with yoga (or perhaps you’ve had a bad one), you may think that yoga is all about wearing stylish yoga clothes, or bending yourself into pretzel-like positions, or sculpting a tight bum or ripped abs, or burning incense and chanting OM (typically in a cave high a top a mountain in some foreign land). There are a lot of off-base ideas about yoga out there. There’s also a commercialized version of this ancient practice out there as well. Unfortunately, all of this buzz about yoga has focused attention in the wrong place.

Yoga goes beyond the cool clothes, the lean bodies, the talk of vegetarianism and being eco-friendly, the label “hip, cool, and sexy,” and anything else that you might believe or have heard about yoga. Open your mind and welcome to the wonderful world of yoga…

What is Yoga?Often you’ll hear that the definition of yoga is union or to link or join. Those are correct but it’s not simply about joining to something else for the sake of union – it’s linking to something purposefully, intelligently. For example, if a person who starts practicing yoga is a smoker, overtime he/she may unlink from smoking and link to yoga. There is a joining to something positive, which then negates the need to join to the cigarettes.

If you go back to the definitive text on yoga – The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali – you’ll find that yoga is defined as concentration. It’s the ability to direct your mind in a chosen direction for a period of time. This is a reminder that the benefits of yoga go beyond the physical. A regular yoga practice can literally change your mind. We’ve all heard about the importance of being in the present moment and bringing awareness to your life. Yoga trains your mind to do this. It doesn’t stop all of your thoughts, it merely changes the quality of your mind. This is why people who practice yoga regularly report feelings of well-being, calm, and focus.

Unfortunately, the commercialization of yoga has changed the way people teach and practice. Some of the yoga you find out there today is a far cry from the yoga that was practiced in ancient India. Here are some myths that I commonly hear from folks in regards to yoga:

I have to be thin and flexible to practice yoga.My clients come in all shapes and sizes, in every age. There’s no one “type” of person that practices yoga. That’s the beauty of it – it’s universal. You don’t have to look a certain way, be flexible, wear special clothes, have a lot of money or fancy yoga gear, subscribe to a certain religion or follow a guru to practice yoga. All you need is an open mind and a willingness to be intimate with yourself.

Yoga is stress-relief.Yes, yoga can help reduce your stress. However, to classify yoga as only a stress-reducer is selling it short. Yoga is a holistic practice that involves your body, breath, mind, emotions, and your personality. All of these aspects are linked together so when one is changed, the others change as well. This is how yoga – when practiced as it was meant to be practiced – transforms a person. The truth is, stress-relief is only a small part of what a person who practices yoga regularly experiences.

Yoga is exercise.
Yoga is definitely not exercise. If you’re viewing your yoga practice as a workout, then you’re missing out on the subtler benefits of yoga – and shortchanging yourself. First of all, the goal of exercise is to accelerate your heart rate. In fact, the goals of exercise are often physical. The goal of yoga is to even out and lengthen the breath and to change the quality of the mind. Rather than release the sympathetic nervous system, yoga consciously supports the parasympathetic nervous system. While exercise is one-dimensional (exercise often works one part of your body) yoga is multi-dimensional and works you as a whole – your body, breath, and mind.

I don’t think I could keep up in class.I am trained in an old tradition that believes that the yoga is adapted to the individual rather than the individual must adapt to the yoga. That means that the practice goes entirely at your own pace (your movements match your breath) and the function of the pose is more valued than the form (in other words – it doesn’t matter how you look, but how you feel in the pose). The idea is not to force your body into postures to look like your teacher or the student on the mat next to you (this isn’t a game of monkey see, monkey do). The motto here isn’t “no pain, no gain.” It’s about tuning into yourself and your body and practicing in a way that feels right to you. Your breath is your barometer – if you’re holding your breath or you find that your breath is choppy, then you need to back off. That’s why yogis practice what’s called Ujjayi Breath (that’s the sounds-like-Darth-Vader breath) – because it makes the breath audible and brings your awareness to it.

How Yoga Brings Positive ChangeThoughts run through our heads 24/7, and it’s quite easy to get pulled out of the present moment and lost in the sea of thoughts (this is how you end up living your life on auto-pilot). Yoga gets you out of your head and into your body while at the same time focusing your mind. Movement to breath engages the mind – believe me, when you’re matching your movements to your breath you’re thinking about/focused solely on what you’re doing. That means that your mind is in the present moment rather than wallowing in the past or the future. You’re in the moment, in your body, and one with your breath. In this way, yoga is truly intimacy with self. Of course like anything else, you have to practice consistently to reap the benefits. It’s better to practice for 10 minutes every day than 60 or 90 minutes a few times a week.

For me regular practice is essential because it's easy to get lost in the static of the world or the static of my own thoughts. My yoga practice roots me in the present and gives me the space to discover and engage with myself. At the very least, it provides me with the perspective I need to know when I’m in the present or lost in thought. That awareness alone has changed my life.

What makes yoga a true adventure is that it takes you inside -- it's an inner adventure. Yes, it can affect your body in positive ways, but its true magic is that it goes deeper. And deep work like that can have profound changes on your life.

updated 1/11/2012

July 28, 2008

Chickee Camping

The Everglades are always an adventure but camping in Everglades National Park takes your vacation to a new level. Open year round, the Everglades offers opportunities for tents and RVs, on the ground and on the beach, but for my money, the real adventure is camping in a Chickee. According to the the park's camping page, "Chickees are located along rivers and bays where dry land is inaccessable. They are elevated 10' x 12' wooden platforms with roofs. A walkway leads to a self-contained toilet. You'll need a free–standing tent, since stakes or nails are not allowed. No campfires are allowed on chickees. Some paddlers have difficulty accessing chickees from their boats. A loop of heavy rope may be helpful." Click here for the Everglades National Park "Wilderness Trip Planner" I think you might also need a good supply of bug repellant.

updated 1/11/2012

Adventurous Woman: Yoga Writer, Teacher & Therapist Diane Cesa

AWB: Hi, Diane. Thanks for visiting and sharing some of your experiences with yoga. How long have you been doing yoga and what started you on this path?

I started practicing yoga about 10 years ago, but I’ve had a regular practice (5-7 days/week) for 8. I still consider myself a beginner, which I don’t want to change. I enjoy being a student of yoga rather than labeling myself intermediate or advanced. By remaining a student, I keep an open mind about yoga.

I came to yoga at a time when I was asking myself, “Is this all there is?” They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears and boy, was I ever ready! The transformation aspect of yoga is what drew me to the practice even though it started out as just physical for me. I mixed it up into my workout regime which, back then, consisted of cardio and resistance bands. I thought that yoga would round out my workout and create some balance. Still, lurking underneath the surface, I was craving something deeper. And I certainly got it.

AWB: How has your view of yoga changed over the years?

When I first started practicing, I stepped right up to the yoga buffet. I sampled the different styles and practiced with a variety of teachers. It took a few years to go beneath the surface of what we consider yoga in America – the big name teachers, the fancy acrobatics, the one-size-fits-all yoga. When I began to feel that I was acting as if yoga were exercise, my true journey began. That’s when I felt the pull to go deeper – study yoga philosophy and the ancient yogic texts, study one lineage and go deep with that lineage. Ten years ago, I only had a vague sense of the power of yoga. Now I’ve experienced the power and the transformation first-hand and I know how deep the well goes. I’m not even close to the bottom.

AWB: What is a yoga therapist and how did you get into that line of work?

I am often asked the question what is a yoga therapist and I still find myself hesitating over the answer. The truth is, the term yoga therapy is redundant. Yoga IS therapeutic. I think here in America we need to use the term yoga therapy to distinguish yoga as it was meant to be practiced (a holistic practice) from Americanized yoga (which can be exercise with an Eastern label). To me, yoga therapy is about tailoring a practice to the individual’s needs and stressing function over form. In other words, it’s not about how you look in a pose but how you feel in it and how being in that pose affects your system.

I’ve always been interested in healing modalities – physical therapy, massage therapy, etc. Years ago when I was dissatisfied with my career and thinking of a change I realized that I could marry that interest with my passion – yoga. It was a giddy feeling and I forged ahead without even thinking about it.

AWB: What is your next big yoga adventure?

Every time I unfurl my mat, it’s an adventure. I just try to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey.
In addition to completing my in-depth study in the Krishnamacharya lineage, I’d also like to start working with folks online. It can be difficult for people to find yoga therapy in their area, and I’d like to make it a bit more accessible.

Right now I’m planning to launch a regularly scheduled live chat called Tea with the Yogi (I’ll be posting more information about that to The Uncommon Yogi Facebook Group -- and I’ve started a yoga coop of sorts in which I share free yoga resources/information with members (more information and a sign up form can be found here.)

AWB: Diane can also be found writing at The Everything Yoga Blog.

updated 1/11/2012

July 25, 2008

A Handbook for Adventurous Women!

This is the best thing I've seen in a long time.

YOU CAN DO IT! The Merit Badge handbook for Grown-Up Girls is the vision of Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. An adventurous woman herself, Lauren dreamed of creating a book that would help women try new things, realize their dreams, and fill their lives with wonderful challenges. This book, offers opportunities for dreams big and small, bold and gentle.

YOU CAN DO IT! will motivate you with 60 separate merit badges divided into seven categories.

Dare: Badges range from dancing and firewalking to starting a rock band
Create: Badges range from gardening and filmmaking to building a web site
Learn: Badges range from speaking a foreign language and playing an instrument to cooking
Play: Badges range from yoga and skydiving to billiards
Deal: Badges range from breaking bad habits and money to car care
Connect: Badges range from meditation and family rituals to volunteering
Dream: Here you get to build your own badge

For each badge, YOU CAN DO IT! offers steps to help you achieve your goal and help from a mentor -- an accomplished woman who is an expert in her field and offers sage advice. By the way, there are actual badge stickers at the back of the book.

I can't say enough good things about this book. Even it's creation is a work of love. Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas was killed on September 11, 2001 aboard United flight 93. It was Lauren's love of life that inspired her sisters, Vaughn Catuzzi Lohec and Dara Catuzzi Near to make her dream a reality. Proceeds from the sale of YOU CAN DO IT! go to the Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas Foundation, which supports charitable causes including college scholarships, a birthing room, neonatal units, and a women's care center.

Thanks to Becky, an adventurous woman who told me about this wonderful resource!

Links updated 1/11/2012

July 24, 2008

Galavanting – Online Women's Travel Magazine Launches

From PR.com

Chicago, IL, July 23, 2008 --(PR.com)-- Galavanting, a new online women’s travel magazine, officially launched July 15th to thousands of readers in its first week.

Editors-in-chief Kim Mance and Katy Quissell recruited a diverse and impressive group of women writers to tell their stories of adventures from around the globe for the inaugural online issue.

Mance says, "We take women as seriously as women take their travel adventures. We provide lighthearted, funny essays and tips, but you’ll find no fluff within Galavanting’s content. We’re smashing the stereotypes that surround women travelers—and women are flocking to it. It’s a lot of fun.”

July’s travel feature essays and entries on the worldwide blog give perspectives from women on topics from apartment-swapping to staying safe while traveling alone.

Quissell, who uses her master’s in public health from Columbia University to pen travel tips on protecting one’s health, says, “We want to empower women to discover themselves and far off places, while creating a trusted community atmosphere.”

Galavanting also works to connect female travelers to the communities they visit and profiles women-owned businesses in popular travel destinations. Its launch issue features Valerie’s Chicago Chocolate Tours, Kimberley’s Parisian Events, and Anitra’s Lova Lava Land Eco Resort in Hawaii.

Mance and Quissell will embark on an edgy, adventurous trip next month while shooting the first Galavanting destination web-video in Costa Rica. They will also highlight local women-owned businesses, and sustainable tourism opportunities for women on a budget.

updated 1/11/2012

July 23, 2008

Camping in our National Parks

The National Park Service has an amazing array of public lands for all of us to enjoy. Happily there are a lot of camping opportunities ranging from primitive sites for your adventurous backpacker to lovely cabins complete with coffee makers and maid service. The more popular areas book months in advance so if your dream vacation isn't available this summer, go ahead and book something for next summer--or this winter! For a list of National Parks by state, click here. To get to the official site of a particular park click here and type in its name. For a list of parks and sites under the National Park Service in alpha order and links to their official pages, click here.

Photo credit: William Bradfield

updated 1/12/2012

July 21, 2008

Adventurous Woman: Turning 100!

On July 19, 2008, Kathryn Mathis of Westminster, Maryland celebrated 100 years of adventure.

From the Carroll County Times:

...Taking advantage of the summers off from teaching, Mathias enjoyed traveling and would venture out with friends or other groups of women to discover the world. Europe and Australia are just a couple of places she’s explored, and she said her travels were important accomplishments to her.“She’s a very adventurous person,” said Mathias’ stepdaughter Mary Ellen Mathias Carosella, who came from San Diego with her husband to celebrate....

updated 1/2/2012

Adventurous Woman: Michelle Halbsgut

From the Bucks County Courier Times:

Get ready for adventure, women
Bucks County Courier Times

In the past few years, Rosemarie Dziedzic has been kayaking, target shooting, tubing and hiking. She draws the line at skydiving, anything with snakes or crocodiles and caving — in that order. But count her in for any other adventure that Awesome Adventure Women cooks up.

The company, started three years ago by Michelle Halbsgut of Milford in Upper Bucks, arranges adventure tours for women like Dziedzic, who have an adventuresome spirit but aren't likely to plan their own trips.

“I have no time to organize or even think about what to do for entertainment,” said Dziedzic, a day trader and part-time chiropractor who also lives in Milford. “It's perfect for the working person. ... That's the uniqueness of the club. You just wouldn't have done some of these things on your own. And you don't have to go by yourself.”

Halbsgut, “49 and holding,” said she has always enjoyed outdoor activities.

“As a child, I just always liked the adventure,” she said. “I was climbing the rocks at the lake when I was 3 years old. My grandmother was nervous, but my mom said, "Let her go, she'll know when she needs to come down.' ”

Halbsgut stayed home for several years raising her two children, who are now 19 and 21. When she got divorced, she said she realized she needed to go back to work and started her own massage therapy business. Halbsgut also teaches leadership skills for organizations in Chalfont and Philadelphia.

She said she “makes good money” from massage therapy, but Halbsgut really wants to help women overcome their fears.

“I had always been an adventurist,” she said. “I kept hearing that other women wanted to try the same thing. You don't want to go alone. I want to give them that opportunity to get over fears, take the challenge and exceed at that challenge, and feel good that they did it.”

Read the rest of the article here.

July 18, 2008

Victory! (garden)

In this era of minimizing carbon footprints, eating local produce and being a friend of the environment, the Victory Gardens of WWI and WWII are making a comeback.

Groups of concerned individuals in San Francisco, Detroit (as reported by the BBC) as well as cities and towns around the globe are working to re-establish the concept of growing food on public lands, unused lots, and even containers.

Starting a Victory Garden movement in YOUR town is a great adventure for you or your club. AND since you'll be on the cutting edge of a worldwide trend you'll all be uber cool. Click here to get started: Starting Your First Vegetable Garden (GardenGuides.com) or How to Start a Vegetable Garden (eHow.com).

updated 1/2/2012

July 16, 2008

Guerrilla Gardening

There's gardening and then there's GUERRILLA gardening -- finding a piece of neglected or unused public land in the middle of an urban area and making it beautiful. It's becoming so popular around the world that it, of course, has its own site: guerrillagardening.org
Some people plant under cover of darkness, some leave homemade flower boxes around the city, some have been known to fill potholes with dirt and flowers. I see this as a community service project not some kind of urban warfare. You have to make sure your little bit of earth is appropriate for a beautification effort (and I'm not encouraging you to do something illegal). Here are some great photos of guerrilla gardeners in Tokyo, Toronto & Tijuana, and a story about guerrilla gardening in the Los Angeles Times.

July 10, 2008

Road Trip! 878 Places to Visit Before You Die

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has produced a list of "878 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value." The World Heritage list includes sites that are cultural, natural, and mixed. A number of them are endangered. Organized alphabetically by country, the list is interactive allowing you to click on an entry for pictures, maps and background information. Time to get out your passport!

Updated 1/14/2012

Yes, You Can! Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

The August issue of National Geographic Adventure features 14 skills for "Everyday Survival" by Laurence Gonzales. Check out NGA's blog for skill #8 "Get Out of Your Comfort Zone." Gonzales' states that facing new challenges causes a rewiring and growth of the brain; whereas doing the same-old same-old makes you, well, the same and old. Gonzales' suggestions? Take up an instrument, learn a new language, write with a different hand or, heck, go seek out a new adventure!

Updated 1/2/2012

July 8, 2008

Yes, You Can! Be Open to Growth

I was visiting my favorite yoga spot, The Everything Yoga Blog, where I learned about an interesting article published in the New York Times, "If You're Open to Growth, You Tend to Grow." The article reports the findings of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck who has discovered that people who believe they were born with innate ability or a fixed amount of talent are less likely to fulfill their potential. These people are concerned about making mistakes and "falling from grace." It's the people who believe that they can continue to develop their abilities, who are willing to make mistakes and learn from them, that go on to live up to their greatest potential.

The article pertains to business people but the concept can easily be applied to all aspects of life. To live up to your potential you have to be willing to take some risks, make some mistakes and then move forward. In short, you have to be an adventurous woman.

July 7, 2008

Interactive Adventure Map

National Geographic Adventure has a great interactive map of adventurous things to do this summer. Just click on a dot and get ideas for weekend getaways in your neck of the woods.

Updated 1/2/2012

July 2, 2008

Road Trip! Not Just ANY Fireworks...

Fireworksguide.com will show you where to find the biggest, baddest fireworks displays on the planet. There are lots of shows happening throughout the year so keep your picnic basket at the ready.

Want to enjoy pyrotechnics without actually moving from your current spot? Click to watch London's amazing New Year's Eve 2011 show, or New Year's Eve celebrations in Taipei, Syndey, Berlin,  Burj Khalifa Dubai or Seattle.

Updated 1/2/2012

Road Trip! The Finest Tourist Attractions America has to Offer

Celebrate America's birthday and the weirdness that is America by planning your next road trip with the help of RoadsideAmerica.com. Visit the world's largest sausage, the pyramid of modern mummification, mystery spots galore, endless giant fiberglass animals, six foot tall ears of corn, castles, roadside "creatures," and of course the world's largest ball of twine. Roadside America lets you search for attractions by type, town or state. They'll even help you plan your trip: Jolly Green Giant, meteor crater, world's largest burger, armory museum, gravity hill, giant rooster....