Off the mat...into Wisconsin. On the mat...back home.

New experiences make life amazing.

One of the greatest blessings of my current job is the travel that I do. Yes, I miss home (which stretches across two coasts right now), it keeps me off the mat in my home studios, and it can bring a wealth of delays and some added stress.

But I'm seeing parts of the country that I have never had the chance to see.

Like Milwaukee, Wisconsin - which I had the pleasure of visiting this past week.

At the Mars Cheese Castle

If you saw this on the side of the road - wouldn't you stop?

Straddling the Bears/Packers rivalry...I had to choose the Packers because I got to wear cheese on my head.
My co-workers thought I was being sarcastic when I asked for a tour of the city. I was being completely honest! I love new experiences. I love hearing about how people live in different parts of this country - let alone the world. I am horrible at geography - and didn't realize Milwaukee was right on Lake Michigan - amazing! I'm definitely going to try and make a trip happen in the summer to see how beautiful it is when the lake isn't snow-covered. And for anyone looking to open a yoga studio - it seemed like Milwaukee might be a bit of an untapped market!

The cheese in Wisconsin is really worth trying. I'm telling you the truth because - as you can see - I've been to the Cheese Castle. And I'm told that Thursday is the freshest day for cheese curds in Milwaukee. So next time, I'm going on a Thursday. The mid-west is slowly creeping up my short list for places to move after we finally make it to San Francisco.

Some important take-aways from this recent trip to Illinois and Wisconsin:

-Bring a backup belt. Because you never know when yours will fall apart in an airport restroom
-Be kind to airline personnel - no matter who they are and no matter how frustrated you are with the weather or with them. They have awesome powers for good when encouraged. My arrival in Boston on Thursday is living proof of that.
-When you visit a really cold place in the winter, people know you are really there to see them - and they appreciate it.
-It's amazing to see old friends after a few years and slip right back into conversation. I got to see a great friend in Chicago and catch up after 5 years. Such a blessing!

Being off the mat for a few days turned out to be a really great thing. I realized that a little break from yoga was just what I needed. Major shout-outs to the Hotel Amalfi in Chicago for a rocking fitness center right on my floor to get some much needed cardio into my life.

And after landing safely in Boston on Thursday night, I was ready to go back to my fitness homes this weekend. Starting with the SCLA for spin and training with Mary on Friday afternoon. There is nothing like spin to get your heart rate up!

And then on to BBY later Friday to take Freedom Joy for the first time in a great while. Peter Crowley is truly doing amazing things within those four walls of BBY on Friday nights. He takes this ridiculously different group of people and gets them to dance in the dark until they are out of breath and then does a powerful vinyasa flow. And my favorite thing about Peter is that he encourages you to do your own thing - and he really means it. He connects with the energy in the room and adds to it. But most of all, he creates a safe space for expression. I love that feeling of being free.

This morning, I was able to take Goldie Kaufenberg's Hip Hop class. Goldie has taken on a fair amount of Alex Austin's old schedule - which is a great thing for Boston! She led an awesome class this am to a packed house at SASY. She had an awesome playlist (great mix of new and old hip hop/pop) and her sequences were very well-tuned with the music and executed really well. I love being able to do sun salutations in the beginning of class at a pace that is mine - and she allowed a lot of time for this. It was a really nice way to start my day. I'm so glad that she is going to be teaching more for this last bit of time that I have in Boston.

As I sit here recalling a really great week, I'm grateful for the chance to experience a full life - whether it's eating fresh cheese in Wisconsin or rocking out in a heated yoga class in snow-covered Boston. It may not be the life I imagined - but it's a life that I love. And that is what's most important.

-Grateful Yogi