#flyastranger Instagram Challenge

The Revolution starts one person at a time.  That is why @kohayoga and @acropedia are starting a contest called  #flyastranger to start out 2015.  With this challenge/ contest the top 3 folks will get a Sure Design T-shirt or tank.

My story of  how #acrorevolution changed my life starts with me and a stranger (#flyastranger ) back in April, 2009. I was 31 years old and, at that point, I had given up on relationships.  I was on my way to Italy, but before I got to the airport, I had to get a pair of purple pants. I missed that flight, but luckily I rescheduled the flight for the next day. Albeit fate brought me back home to Venice, CA.

I took my yoga mat and my hula-hoop and walked to the beach. In that short walk, I saw a man throwing a ginormous sand bag in the air and catching it. I knew instantly that he was going to be my partner, at least my flying partner. I then asked this stranger (#flyastranger) if he wanted to fly and he said, "no". Since I don’t take “no” for an answer easily, I strategically placed my mat within the strangers eyesight. I started to fly other strangers. The stranger that said “no” ran up to me and asked for my business card, I gave him one and the rest is history.

That stranger, Whaka,  and I have been together and are partners in life and flight.  We have a 4 year old, travel the world, and teach acro, yoga, thai massage, and paddleboarding.

I am not saying if you fly a stranger you will find your life partner, but you will spread the revolution of acro (#acrorevolution). If you have never flown a stranger, you will get to be amazed by their responses: "that is amazing", "I feel so good", "I didn't think you could fly me", “my life is forever changed”, “do you need a place to stay” and you might hear from random strangers "will you marry me?"

So to start the new year, we are inviting you to #flyastranger Instagram contest.

Here is what you need to get started:\

Knowledge :  how to fly(acropedia.org is a great place to start) or take a class acromaps.org is a great to find a class near you

Stranger:  find them in a bar, library, yoga class, party, grocery store, etc…

Spotter:  if you feel like you need a spot please respect you and the flyer

Photographer:  you can do selfies or whatever works just make sure you capture the moment

Tag:  @kohayoga  and @acropedia

 Hashtag:  #flyastranger   #acrorevolution

Fly:  at least 10 people.  If you are an overachiever you can fly more.

Extra Credit:  include a story of your flight

Every few days we will post a picture  inspiration of how you can fly you’re a stranger, but if you have the skills use them and be creative.  The top three contestants will win a Sure Design tank or t-shirt.

The winner will be announced in February, 2015.

 

 

Why You Should Cross SUP Off Your Bucket List

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) has significantly gained popularity over time. Water sport enthusiasts from around the world use it whenever waves are not adequate for surfing.  You can even do it on a lake, a river, or any body of water.  Here are the following reasons you should cross paddleboarding off your bucket list.  You can do it with us on the famous Pewaukee Lake, WI if you'd like!

1.  A Strong Work Out

Paddleboarding may be an extremely intensive type of exercise. Paddlers must master strength and equilibrium in order to keep good position and move their boards forwards. Depending on your own place, your work speed could change from simple to demanding. Whereas, gliding over steady water like in safe reefs is more relaxed.

koha_yoga_on_the-board

2.  Growth of Core Strength

While SUP provides full body workout, its effects are greatly accentuated on your core muscles. You will end up using your legs a lot for balancing.

Still, it's your core abdominal and back muscle groups that are always put to use to stabilize yourself over the board.

3.  High-Resistance, Low-Impact Workout

Burning great quantities of calories while keeping your joints relatively safe is one significant edge of SUP. Injuries brought on by high impact exercises for example running and weight lifting infrequently worry paddlers. Even those athletes who are recovering from joint-associated injuries can substantially take advantage of the sport.

4.  Improves Total Fitness

Since paddleboarding combines strength and cardiovascular training into one fun sport, enthusiasts can readily see improved complete fitness on themselves. With this advantage, many athletes and trainers use SUP for cross-training to improve power and durability.

5.  Boosts General Health

The aerobic training SUP supplies substantially improves the cardiovascular health of its professionals. For this reason it is said that paddleboarding can significantly reduce an individual's risk from stroke and heart attack.

With your weight checked, you may have better protection against obesity-associated ailments like stroke, heart attack, diabetes, depression, and joint problems.

Being out in the water having fun will also enable you to fight stress. Tension is among the new largest culprits in regards to health problems. SUP will help improve your own body's immune system by alleviating stress.

6.  Enhances Stability

Stability is a major variable in many sports. yoga, Football, basketball, wrestling, and mixed martial arts are just some of the sports that reward athletes with strong sense of balance. Paddling while standing over a going board needs one to develop your core muscles and be quick enough to adjust your position promptly.

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Sign up for your Stand Up Paddleboarding experience today.  www.kohayoga.com/book

5 Things Paddleboarding Taught Me about Being a Parent

koha_yoga_kids paddle board

There are lots of ways to learn parenting skills. Books, seminars, Youtube, and friends are all good resources. Or, of course, there's trial by error, which is the way I do almost everything. After some reflection, I discovered that I learned that parenting and paddleboarding have a lot in common.

Paddleboarding is one of our family obsessions, obviously, because we have a paddleboard business in Wisconsin & have paddle/yoga retreats to Costa Rica. What does this have to do with parenting? There are five main steps to conquering the art of paddleboarding. When reflected upon, each step can be applied in a metaphorical sense to parenting.

 

I. Consistency is Key

            Consistency breeds strength of body and character. Paddleboarding is no easy task. It requires constant effort until you “get the hang of it.” At first, it is hard to balance or even turn your head from left to right. But, as the old saying goes, “if at first you don't succeed, try again.” The same is true with parenthood. It is extremely important to show your children consistency, be it with household rules, personal morals and ethics, manners, or character. A good parent is reliable and dependable – a consistent, stable fixture.

II. Balance

koha_yoga_balance_sup

            Your paddleboard will capsize if you cannot maintain balance. Hopefully the worst that will happen is that you fall and get wet. We learn from our mistakes and, having already made them, can avoid doing the same in the future. Parents have a lot to balance. I learned that it's okay if, as a parent, I drop a couple of things during my balancing act. It happens. As long as the important stuff gets done, the little things will come together.

III. Just Do It

            Sometimes, you need to just do it. Plain and simple. Reading articles or watching Youtubes just don’t cut it. There is no physical substitute for paddling, meaning if you want to paddleboard then you have no choice but to paddle. The same goes for parenting.  Books, friends advice, & Youtube only give you a shallow understanding of what it means to be a parent.  Experience and the journey become your teacher. There is no alternative; you're in it for life, so start paddling.

IV. Remember Why You are Doing This

            Every action you preform has a reason behind it. When I first started paddleboarding, I sometimes  wondered “Why am I doing this?” Then I remembered why – to enjoy nature & get fit at the same time.  You are not racing anyone, you are not competing, there is no timer or app telling you how great (or not great) you are. When you feel stressed about parenting, remember not to compare yourself to others or that will lead you down an unhappy path. Being a “good” parent, like being a good paddleboarder, is neither a race nor a destination. It is a journey to be enjoyed.    

V.  SLOW DOWN

          The biggest lesson I learned with both paddling & parenthood that the rush & glorification of being busy is an illusion.  When you are a parent or a paddler you learn the rhythms of life and the paddle.  Enjoy every second, breathe, & be present to what is around you...and when you feel like everything is going too fast around you just SLOW DOWN!

Nomadic Family Secrets to Success on the Road

Koha-yoga-on the-road

My life of travel began when I was 17 years old and headed to Greece with one of my best friends, Athena. Since then, I’ve been to many countries, nearly all 50 states, and married Whaka.  We continued our precious, unique lifestyle.

When I became pregnant with Tahi in October 2010, I thought our lives of travel and adventure had received its termination notice.  I saw all the adventures of our past as out of reach now that we were going to have a child, so Whaka and I searched for books and discussed how to keep our lives filled with adventure. Still, we came up empty handed.  No worries, we thought; this wide-open future would allow us to carve our own path. And so we have.

There is something unique about Whaka and I – some would call it strange – because we share the desire to be adventurous, nomadic, constantly moving.  We have a hard time staying in one place for more than six months.  The life of the road is in our blood; therefore our daughter Tahi became a nomad in the first few months of her life. We also do not want to be our daughter’s only teachers; we want life, experiences, places, and wonderful humans from all over this planet, to help raise our child. 

In carving this path for our family, we learned so much. And what we have learned can be applied to every day life – to those not on the move, and to singles and married couples, as well. 

Our 2014 Tour so Far

Our 2014 Tour so Far

We want to remind each of you that if you dream of being nomadic and adventurous, this lifestyle is within your reach.  Sometimes, it is not easy and sometimes, you feel like it might not be worth it when you are in the middle of the craziness that can occur.  But at the end of the day, you will not regret the lessons you have learned, the people you have met, and the joy you have created by being nomadic – either as a family or alone, making inseparable connections along the way.

I’ve organized these lessons, from life on the road with Whaka and Tahi, into six categories:

1.     Be Organized and a Minimalist

Part of our desire to be nomadic is that we want a simple life. We actually want to spend time with our daughter.  We figure if we lived our lives at the pace we did when we were in L.A., we would have to work too much to afford even a tiny studio.  So we decided to get rid of our stuff, hit the road, and play the game of being nomadic.  We wanted to teach our daughter to love life and living.  We wanted to be with each other, not get caught up with “things.” 

You – and that includes most of us – think you need things, until you let go of most of your things and realize that much of what you own sets up an illusory life.  In reality, you need a lot less than you think.  The less you have, the easier it is to float through this world.  Then the question comes down to: How do you deal with the things you do need? 

When we first started our nomadic life we did not have an RV. We had three carry-on pieces – one for each of us – and a fourth piece we shared.

packing_cubes_koha_yoga_uses
  1. We learned to choose clothes we loved and even though we have fewer clothes than most, we still have clothes we don’t even wear.   We learned to rely on quality clothes, less of them, pieces we can layer, and then to get rid of clothes we were not wearing.
  2. Most folks think that Tahi just won’t have toys, but she does.  She gets one basket (that she can take in and out of the RV).  If we get a new toy, she has to get rid of another toy; this teaches her non-attachment.
  3. We do have electronics (Kindles are great because we can rid ourselves of most of our books); and we have a basket where all the gadgets live.
  4. We have two toiletry bags, one for inside the RV, and one we use when we travel with (it comes in and out of the RV or on a plane trip).
  5. If you plan on being nomadic, we recommend that you own:  GRID IT, quick-dry towels, fewer pairs of shoes in favor of warm, wool socks; and quick, or solar “ways” to recharge your phone, camera, computer, or Kindle.

2.    Be Thankful for Your Friends and Family

Being a nomad is the perfect way to teach our daughter how to make friends.  Our nomadic journey usually sends us on a loop:  L.A., Costa Rica, Wisconsin, and up the west coast and the states that take us over to Wisconsin – and we have even been to Australia and New Zealand.  So every year, we do this loop and see our friends and their babies grow – like markers in our lives.  We see them, talk about how much our children have grown and continue to develop our friendships.  It is a gift to have friends in all corners of the world who are not nomadic, for they provide us with a landing station to reconnect.

koha_Yoga_familes_and_friends

Our running hypothesis is that human capital and kindness is way more important than economic capital. Even though we now have an RV (after years of sub-leasing or AIRBNB), we usually pull up to someone’s house, in the front, or the back, or on the street, and spend anywhere from one day to four months in and out of their houses.  Though we have a shower, it is way easier to shower where the water is not limited to 40 gallons for ALL water consumption.

When Whaka and I were not nomads, we always opened our home to travelers; most folks called us a “free hostel.” But we knew that our kindness and openness would be “paid” back.   We have been paid back, but that does not stop our gratitude.  We say thank you through cards, by giving massages, by trying to clean up more than we dirtied and making our friends’ spaces look better than before we came into them. 

What if you don’t have friends in a city? Use the library to recharge computers and phones, and as a quiet, free place to work. Sometimes, we find a hot yoga studio for rejuvenating warm yoga and a shower.  None of the studios mind if Tahi takes a shower with us at the same time.

3.   Create Ritual to Ensure Grounding Within

Every night, to prepare for sleep, we brush our teeth, go to the bathroom, read our books, and engage in our candle ceremony.  It does not matter if we are in Eugene, Oregon, or Pavones, Costa Rica: We observe the same ritual. We learned this ritual, what we call “the candle ceremony,” from some friends in Oregon. We light the candle and we say why we are grateful.  We blow out the candle (by we, I mean Tahi).  It is our way to keep “consistency” in our family.

Every day, I practice the Art of Living, a breathing technique that helps me start the day out right.  Whaka does oil pulling every morning and uses that time to be quiet and contemplative.   Whatever you do, it is important to find your own way to Ground Within and realize that you are the creator of your peace or your not-so-peaceful days.

4.   Movement is Needed Daily

As if moving from place to place is not enough, we recommend that your body keeps moving to match the travel you are doing (either daily, weekly, monthly, or bi-yearly).  Well, of course if you know anything about us, you will know that we love to fly. We also travel with an Omni sling, which we hook to a tree to create aerial yoga anywhere in this world. But as a family, our main movement would be flying, giving, and receiving Thai massage, yoga, and walking. The gift of light is something we do as a family and it is something we give as our human capital.    When we get cranky, we know we need movement.  Tahi always says, “I need my exercise.”

Sometimes, folks use “traveling” as a vacation from their “normal” lives of exercise and diet.  If we did that, we would most likely weigh double our current weights.  “Traveling” is vital for our family’s happiness, which usually leads to something glorious because we don't really take breaks from our eating and exercising routine.  When we arrive in a new city, we immediately find the best park and walk to it.  We meet new parents, and Tahi has a chance to exercise in new surroundings.  Taking walks is also a great way to familiarize yourself with the city you are about to call home for a while.

5.   Alone Time is Necessary

Alone time is important – whether you are traveling or not.  But when you are traveling, most likely in tight quarters, if you don’t take that alone time, you just might bust.  Cultivate alone time to recharge so you can keep going. Head to a yoga studio, a coffee shop, or go for a walk – whatever satisfies your need for quietude. Just remember that alone time will help you see your situation more clearly every day.

6.    Share Your Gifts

koha_yoga_flying_all _over

This is the most important nugget of knowledge we have learned.  We have taken trips just to chill – also very important – but learned that those trips should last only about seven days.  When you are nomadic, you are traveling, floating, or cruising through this world, but if you are not contributing to the betterment of the world, your spirit starts to diminish.  The way we contribute, or give back, is to create ways for us to teach Acro or Thai Massage.

Whaka is usually able to create work everywhere we go; who doesn’t want a massage with a Maori healer?  Depending on how much we plan, we can teach from city to city, like our Up & Over Tour.  Sometimes, we hold private classes or workshops with our friend’s friends.  This not only generates an income, but it makes our lives worth living.  Sharing our gifts is why we were put here on this planet, and we encourage all of you to do the same.


A final note: Being nomadic is not as exotic as it might seem; also, it is not as scary as I am sure some of you are thinking. Having Tahi, liberated us from thinking that we had to work a typical 9 - 5 job.  We threw off our chains and have opened up our world to limitless possibilities. Tahi has learned a lot on these travels, which will hopefully propel her into being a confident child, then adult. We trust that everything will work out perfectly and so far, that thought has proven correct. 

5 Things I Learned About Relationships While Playing Acro

Let’s face it: Sometimes relationships can just get dull and routine. The passion might dwindle, hectic lives keep us running from here to there with little free time, and the connection can just become loose. 

Whakapaignia and I have been playing Acro (or flying yoga, or circus yoga..whatever you want to call it)  for 7 years plus and we learned a lot from flying each other, flying others, and how flying helps our relationship. In a society in which social connections tend to be shallow and vague, Acro can certainly take your relationship to a new and interesting level.  It tends to make you playful, joyful, and happy and who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?  Perhaps one reason relationships take a dive is because playfulness is lost.  Remember in the beginning of your relationship how much fun it was to flirt and kid around?  Remember the little teasing, showing off, touching each other, etc.? By engaging in Acro, you can bring the essence of playfulness back into your relationship quite easily. You will feel like a kid in a candy store or the excitement you used to feel on the teeter-totter. 

 

Acro is simply a form of yoga between two people that combines yoga poses (usually on top of someone else’s feet), Thai Yoga Massage, and a bit of acrobatics. It involves beautifully synchronized acrobatic and therapeutic flying. You might wonder what flying means when it comes to Acro. It’s simple. The person on top of the other person’s feet is the flyer and the person holding that person up is the base.  This synchronicity helps people to learn to trust each other, communicate better, and re-connect in a meaningful and spiritual way.  Acro has brought our souls into a wonderfully refreshing union full of balance and confidence that you just don’t normally get from other common couple activities.  Here are the few nuggets of wisdom we have gained flying with each other.

#1.  The Practice of Being Present

5_Things_I_learned_about_relationships_While_Playing_Acro_1

Acro  keeps us present with each other. You cannot be thinking of your past or future while you are flying your partner around, because the consequences are physically tangible; your partner will fall.  In a partnership it is important to learn how to fall (literally and figuratively) with grace and ease.   Reality shows up when you are holding the weight of your partner on your feet, this opportunity gives you a chance to practice each moment as it comes with acceptance, laughter, and love.

 

If you are attentive, you will see that Acro prompts you to own your present moment; be attentive to it and then you will see it, appreciate it, and feel happiness and peace.  Acro allows you to fully appreciate you for who you are at that very moment and embrace and accept the beingness of your partner as well. It is a spiritual experience that allows you to reconnect on a regular basis. As you partake of this divine opportunity with your partner, it then becomes a shared experience that seals your hearts together in a new, fresh, and meaningful way.  After all, life can get busy with work, errands, tasks, etc.  We know that something is off in our relationship when we have not taken the time to fly, a.k.a time to BE with each other.

#2.  Take responsibility

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Taking responsibility for your part in your relationship increases the chances of it working out incredibly.  Many couples tend to blame each other when things don’t work out (trust me there are times where we blame each other too). When you get into the habit of blaming it makes you want to point the finger at someone else, but when you engage in Acro, you will find out quickly that you are responsible for yourself and your partner for him or herself. When your partner falls it requires both of you sharing responsibility and being mindful of the present moment (it takes at least 2 to do acro). Pointing fingers won’t take you anywhere, but taking responsibility will cause you to fly higher and happier, partnering together in anticipation and joy.

#3.  Communicate Compassionately

Communication is vital in a relationships. Too many couples stop communicating or just do not know how to communicate.  Too many problems go unresolved because of lack of communication, so it is important to see the necessity of honesty and openness in such We love practicing  Compassionate Communication while flying and not flying.  When you fly, you get to practice the compassionate communication technique, which we modify to look like this:

1.     Observe the Triggers: Observe while you are flying, what triggers you.

2.     Feelings. Once you have observed the point that made you trigger, then share the sensations you experience based upon your observation or maybe guess the feelings that your partner might be experience

3.     Needs and Request. Clearly state what you need and make a request (not a demand).

Here is an example of what could happen while you are flying.

"I notice that your breath is short (observation). I am feeling a bit rushed. (feeling)"  Would you be willing to take a break and we try this again in 10 minutes? (needs and request)”    When you make a request, the answer might be “no”.  If they say “no”, let it be a jumping point for a discussion to happen. 

It might seem silly that while you are flying you have to go through all these stages to get your point across, but it is worth it. Sometimes, you can do all of this in one sentence or it might take a lot of practice to articulate your observations and feelings.  Regardless of how ridiculous this process seems, once you practice it in play, it gives you the practice for when you really need it.  (i.e. when you are about to fight with your partner) and this will be your saving grace.

 

#4.  The Gift of Giving  &  Receiving

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A wonderful aspect of flying, besides bringing play back to your relationship, is that you get to give to your partner without expecting anything in return. Even so, usually the other person wants to give back. Whakapaignia, on a good day, is 100 pounds heavier than myself and to be able to fly him around in a delightful way makes me feel like a mini super hero. It also makes him feel aligned, adjusted, and happy.  When flying, Whakapaignia has this wide-open heart and has a desire give to me.  Maybe I don’t fly right after Whakapaignia gets finished, but maybe he makes me dinner or gives me a mini Thai Massage session. 

By flying your partner you started an amazing cycle of Giving and Receiving.  This gift will hopefully never end; it will perpetuate your relationship into a practice of appreciation.  An added benefit is that after flying each other for over a few weeks, you both will be stronger, more flexible, and inspired.

#5.  Open Your Heart Daily

Open_your_heart_daily_Koha_Yoga_Relationships_Acro

Acro is a deeply intimate experience and contrary to what a few may believe, it has nothing to do with sexual intimacy. After all, intimacy is not sex. Rather, intimacy is a feeling of being deeply connected, passionate, and loving toward yourself or another and Acro fosters the development of such. People hear about the way Acroopens up the heart to give and receiving more love, as well as experience transformation individually and together, and they are eager to come and learn more. They want to experience it first-hand.  We’ve had many people report that Acro really helps them to open their eyes to see their partner, and humanity in general, for who they truly are: perfect, whole, and complete.  That is why we encourage everyone to fly and to fly someone else every day.

Whether you play Acro with a friend or your partner, you will gain the awesome qualities of trust, surrender, balance, and playfulness.  If you commit to playing with your partner on a regular basis, I assure you that your relationship will reach a different and hopefully an exciting level. Your boundaries will diminish, you will feel more connected, more sure of yourself individually and as a couple, and ultimately more HAPPY.

After all, that’s what we all want and Acro/Flying/Playing helps us get there.