Archive for the ‘elephant’ Category

Grateful and Motivated

It took an elephant to remind me.

Last Friday’s threat to the African elephant snapped me out of my mind-numbing complacency.   There was a planned ruling to reverse a ban on importing elephant ‘trophies’ (and by trophies I mean body parts) from two countries in Africa. The African elephant is classified as ‘vulnerable’ and is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. They are temporarily keeping the ban in place, but no one really knows what that means.

I know what that means: we need to get off our butts and make noise.

THINK GLOBALLY.

Write a congressman.  Write a senator. Contact a wildlife organization, such as the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.  This organization works to protect and preserve the African Wilderness and its inhabitants, particularly endangered species such as elephants.  Do something to be heard for the herd.

So, I did. But then I thought, now what? How do we continue to make a difference, especially as we head into the holiday season? And then it hit me.

ACT LOCALLY.

It sounds so…trite, as you’ve probably heard it so many times it doesn’t even register.  We can all look at the big picture and easily get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the world’s problems.But we have no excuse for not helping out in our own backyards.  Please don’t brush it off and think ‘anything I do won’t matter, it just won’t make a difference, and do I really have the time and energy to do something?’

Actually, you should and yes you do. We need to have the time and energy to make changes. We here at Laughing Elephant Yoga have 3 super easy ideas for you to help make a difference this holiday season:

#1: Lisa Rae teaches Mommy and me/prenatal classes and one of her students approached her about collecting items for  the babies at the Rhode Island Crossroads homeless shelter. YES. Yes, we can help. Details to follow, but there will be 20 ‘giving tree tags’ with specific items coming to the studio within the next week. Please corner Lisa when you see her!

#2: A member of our community recently adopted a puppy through the East Greenwich Animal Protection League. We at Laughing Elephant LOVE this organization, and they kind of fell off our radar this Fall. (our bad) So I took a moment and checked in; they quickly responded, asking for help. We are now collecting donations through the holidays for their animals: gift cards (to pet stores like Petco), puppy collars, martingale collars, small leashes and slip leads, Kong toys, treat puzzles, etc…We will  have a box at the studio if you’d like to drop anything off. Want to make a monetary donation? Click here: http://www.gofundme.com/build-our-animal-shelter  They do so much for our four legged friends and they could really use our help.

Example #3 (in reverse) : Our global jettsetter, Megan Eddy, who always thinks big picture, took a trip to Cambodia last Spring and fell in love with the area and the children at the school where she taught English. She sadly noted these children had nothing, and when she came back, was determined to raise funds to buy them backpacks and bicycles.  She and her friend Debbie Reisert are asking for donations : https://www.gofundme.com/bicyclesandbackpacks/donate

See? Three simple things you can help with…pick one…or all!!!!

Yoga teaches us to reach out when others pull back.   We need to help those that are unseen and  have no voice. Be moved.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Please.

 

Ever grateful,

The Laughing Elephant Yoga family

 

 

 

Blessed Are The Flexible For They Shall Never Be Bent Out of Shape.

My whole life is based on movement.

I crisscross the country as a sports producer for ESPN,  joining my merry band of tv misfits along the road to creative brilliance.

I also co-own a yoga studio in East Greenwich, RI, a way station for souls who come for the physical  and stay for the spiritual and community acceptance.

So what happens when that movement comes to a grinding halt? When you have to find other ways to be flexible?

In March 2014 I was slowly coming off the road and got sick. Like strep throat and mono sick. Like I’m so sick and tired I can’t move sick. And then I couldn’t raise my left arm.  Countless tests, doctors appointments, PT appointments later and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. Until I went to the neurologist, who diagnosed a brachioplexus injury brought on by the mono. Apparently mono, an autoimmune illness, can attack nerves. Recovery time?  Two years. Two. Years. Try lugging a bag of heavy tapes cross country with the use of one arm. Or try to chattarunga when you have no feeling in your left arm and you collapse on the way down. My best friend is an amazing yogi and my favorite teacher, and she listened and lovingly argued with me as I struggled with not being…enough.

What. The. Freak.

I was mortified when I was asked to be a Lululemon ambassador; crap, I couldn’t do anything; how could I represent!  I hid when I went to the NYC Yoga Journal Conference and took Seane Corn’s class.  I love this woman and was embarrassed by my clumsiness.  I would fall off my bike…ALOT…  because I couldn’t hold onto the handle bars tightly and it would throw off my balance.  I refused to give in to any of it.  I would lie on my mat every Tuesday night in my friend Sharon’s class. I would do some sun salutations and then, exhausted, lay down and silently cry. Rivers of tears. God love my friend who was so encouraging and let me just soak it all in from corpse pose, appropriate because I felt like death most of the time. I did this for months. And over time, I slowly gave in. I put my beloved bike away, rolled out my mat, and leaned into the stiffness, stillness, numbness, the quiet, and the not knowing.

And that’s where the magic began.  The tiredness started to ease, and while my arm remained numb and wouldn’t move, my lower body could. When I realized I didn’t have to be perfect, I could be good. Enough. And it was enough. So I modified. And modified. And modified. My legs got strong and by focusing on the things I could do as opposed to the things I couldn’t, I became more flexible. Also, within the movement, I prayed. Really hard. I dove into my reliable Catholic standards of Hail Mary’s, Our Father’s and Acts of Contritions. And I threw in my favorite Hindu chant for good measure: Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha. Ganesha, my hOMe boy, is the remover of obstacles and the bringer of new beginnings. I used it all. It became a body prayer. I started to peel away the layers and removed those things that no longer served me. And I became me again. I realized it was okay to be vulnerable and to rely on others. And I didn’t always have to live up to the ESPN producer/yoga studio owner/yoga teacher persona.  I became strong again, in different ways.  I didn’t have to be perfect. I could be good. And it was enough.

Almost two years later, I have regained 85% of the movement in my arm, but it’s still numb.  It’s also a reminder of how far I’ve come.

When there is no struggle, there is no strength. Amen.

2016 Strong

2016.

A new year can be a new beginning.  A year to shed the unessentials, say yes to new opportunities,  and thrive.

If I have one prayer for our community, it would go like this:

Let us let go of the things that no longer serve us.  When we give everything we’ve got and it doesn’t become what we want, let it go. Sometimes we just need to surrender.

Let us run towards our dreams.  What have you been wanting to give yourself to? Choose something for 2016, and commit. Pour yourself into it, will it with intentions, and work towards making it a reality.

Say yes. And say it with enthusiasm and passion.

Show up. Our Susie Gurfein says don’t just survive, thrive in 2016! And Rob Bell preaches that ‘you have to use all your energies for your precious and sacred work. Give your best self to the world.’

Your best self indeed.

Happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.

Love,

Lori and the Laughing Elephant family