Jenny Ravikumar

December 15th, 2014

Magical Mondays: Goal Check-in!

It has been quite a while since I’ve done a Magical Monday post and I felt it was time to get back into the rhythm. I list my gratitude daily via notebooks and conversations with friends, but there is something so soothing about sharing it here. It somehow feels more real. As much as I loved Free Love Fridays, it just didn’t have the same appeal. I love the idea of ripping the band-aid off a new week and jumping into Monday with loving arms and happy thoughts!

This week I’m feeling gratitude because I have begun to think about my final goal check-in. Granted the new year isn’t quite yet and I do have a few more weeks to get some things done prior to the end of the year, but today seemed like a great day to check in!

My words this year, if you remember from this post (or this post) were Strength, Abundance & Love. I do believe I have stepped into these words fully. I’ve lost weight and gained muscle, strengthened my inner self, opened my own business and created an even more loving environment for myself and my family. I would say I was on target with these words and am excited to explore the next two weeks to see which words will pop up for 2015!

My year’s goals are as follows:

1. Finish my 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training — I’m not crossing this off yet, but it will be complete before 2015!

2. Complete my Reiki Certification 1.12.14 COMPLETE! ….. 6.22.14 Reiki 2 COMPLETE!

3. Complete my Thai Massage Certification

4. GO TO INDIA!! November 5th-25th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our magical Ganesha Temple Elephant

Our magical Ganesha Temple Elephant

5. Host a (few) successful yoga retreat(s)

6. Write for Huffington Post and/or Daily Love — This year I truly branched out with my writing. I started with Boho Daily from Tiny Devotions and wrote several articles with them over the course of this year. I also write regularly for Activewear USA and as of November I was published in the Huffington Post!!!! You can see both my articles here and here.

7. Embrace my style I definitely embraced my style and began to come into my own. I used Stitch Fix a lot, which I LOVE. You should totally sign up here!

8. 15 Mani/Pedis — IIII IIIII II — I was very close. I have a few weeks left to get 3 more!

9. Monthly Massages — Okay I was not good here. I received about 5 massages this year… I should have done more!

10. Scuba Dive!! 3.5 – 3.10.14 — we did 7 dives in 2 days in the Florida Keys and I saw my spirit animal… another octopus… I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!

11. Host a Diwali Party — I wish we did this one, but with going to India so close to Diwali we never got ourselves in line to do the party. Next year we shall, we promise!!

12. Take a trip with friends

13. Create a new tradition — Yes and Yes!! I started attending a new church and have been doing new moon ceremonies each month.

14. More time in Wolfeboro!!! — We spent more time in Wolfeboro this year than we have in the last 3 years, so yes I definitely checked this off my list!

15. Ambassador for a yoga product — I became an ambassador for a jewelry line called Shop Compliment and wrote many sponsored posts. Still working on becoming an ambassador for a yoga product specifically.

16. Begin writing my book — I started in September. Very slowly, very surely.

17. Go to a place I have never beenPittsfield, VT ~ INDIA ~

18. DJ more often! – I only DJed three times this year.

19. Read more for FUN!! (Non-yoga/business books ~ even though those are fun, try new books) — Heck yes… library, book club, nerdy friends. Check, check, check.

20. Find the perfect home Moved into our #ravikumarden on June 1st!!

21. Meditate daily – Uh, nope. Need to work on my own meditation practice.

22. Try something on Pinterest monthly — Yes! Yummy new recipes, a few styles ideas for my Stitch Fix account and a lot of yoga inspiration. I definitely used pinterest at least monthly.

23. Eat more fish & veggies — I did pretty well here. Fish is not always my forte (unless it’s sushi), but I made an effort and when we were in India we ate a lot of fish and veggies!!

24. More green smoothies & tea!

25. Scrapbook our wedding album (and the 3 years since our wedding) — Perhaps this will get done before Christmas?!

26. Use my DSLR Camera More – Hubby bought me a wireless card for my DSLR and I’ve been using it like crazy!!

27. Buy a Kitchen Aid Mixer for my mom — Not this year…

28. Try new forms of exercise — Walking more, Tone it Up videos

29. Write more love letters (handwritten notes sent to friends & family) — SO many love letters!

30. Speak at an event!

31. Take a sushi making class

32. Go horseback riding 6.12.14 — Stowe Mountain Retreat for Yoga Reaches Out

Magical Mondays: Goal Setting

I’m so grateful to do this each year as I connect and re-connect to my intentions and goals throughout the year. I love sitting down and not only looking to the future at the end of a year, but also to look behind me and see how far I’ve come.

This year I have opened a yoga studio, began writing for profit, established relationships with OMazing companies I’m proud to represent, went to India which is a country I have been craving and wanting for over 5 years and finalized the requirements for my 500 hour teacher training. It was a really great year and I’m so thankful to be in this present moment both looking forward and looking back.

~~

For today’s Magical Monday I want to leave you with the little things I’m grateful for!!!

The Little Things

Writing Magical Monday’s again, my mom & dad both in yoga this week, spending time with my husband and our puppy boy Apollo, Apollo’s holiday card from daycare, my new cappuccino foamer for homemade lattes, Jacqui Bonwell at the Shala (!!), Telling a student about India and crying, my new singing bowl, making my own chex mix, the promise of a Christmas movie marathon with my doodle next week, being published in the Huffington Post (again), buying our new tree, applying for a freelance writing position, new students walking through the shala’s front doors, the promise of January and the new moon, gratitude from my family across the ocean, traditions, grocery store playtime with my mom and lots of love, always.

Get out there – do yoga and make life sparkle!
Namaste
Jenny

December 12th, 2014

Balu Mama & The Scooter-bike

I like rules.

I’m a huge fan of having structure and organization in my world, and was always the kid in the front of the classroom with highlighters and questions. I enjoy being the “good girl” and really thrive within deadlines and specific structure in my life. This isn’t to say that I don’t also love to rebel against rules: the belly button ring at 17, my pink hair this past year (at 28) and a handful of tattoos along the way certainly add up to some social rebellion, but I would be a complete liar if I didn’t say that I like rules!

Needless to say, the streets of India were a complete shock to not only my mind but also my soul. More than once I asked my husband how everyone in this country could possibly be alive!

There were no apparent rules of the road and if there were any, they were found within the length of your horn honk or the number of times you flashed your headlights at oncoming traffic. A number of (almost) head-on collisions with cows, trucks, people, autos and monkey was enough to get my heart racing, so you could imagine my palpable fear when I experienced my first bike ride in India.

Let me pull back and set the scene for you a bit::

The entire time we were in India, Karthik and I were treated like royalty. We were never allowed to drive as we had 18 family members and 2 drivers at our every beck and call. I was never allowed to be alone anywhere (and even the bathroom became a family affair during one sari incident…). We were ALWAYS guarded with love and attention.

The one time we were not in a family car, we called one of our aunts to ask if I could experience the auto. An auto rickshaw is a small yellow taxi cab. The exterior looks like a short and stout auto that never seemed to grow into a NYC cab. It is open on three sides, with a small bar to guard one passenger and no windows or doors. The driver sits up front and the back and roof are the only enclosure. The backseat is open on both sides with the small bar being the only barrier between the passengers and the outside traffic and on the other side, there is no bar (as it’s how you entire the vehicle).

Auto (Rickshaw)

Auto (Rickshaw)

In America, this quaint cab would be the perfect fit for two adults and a handful of shopping packages. In India, this translates to a mom, dad and three children. The infant sitting on his momma’s lap as the two additional children are wedged between their parents. Dad sits on the edge with no bar and as mom places the child on her lap, his adorably chubby brown arms reach outside into the traffic to grab the attention of strangers while melting their hearts and letting us sweat with the fear that he may fall out of the cab. Personal space isn’t available in India, partially because of the population but more because of culture: everyone LIKES to be together.

For a few days I had been watching people without seat belts or helmets. I watched infants riding on motorcycles on their mother’s laps as she sat princess style in her beautifully woven sari. And yet I saw one accident the entire trip.

Rules of the road and personal space aren’t necessary in India. The love and energy overflows into everything they do and as such they know exactly what is going to happen on the road. They merge and speed and forget to look both ways, but everyone stays healthy and happy. It magically intertwines and works as their own system.

Our ride in the auto being the only experience outside of a family car, I was both excited and terrified when my husband’s uncle (my beloved Balu Mama) asked me if I would like to accompany him on his motorbike.

A motorbike is exactly what it sounds like: a motorcycle and a scooter combined into a motorbike. It’s not quite a scooter, or a bike or a motorcycle, but rather all three. I lovingly took to calling these scooterbikes by the trips end and if we ever move to India I will promptly buy myself a hot pink one! I imagine us driving around the city as a family (but my children are wearing helmets in this vision).

After an evening eating way too many bhajjis, games and rides at the beach, we ventured to our first of two restaurants for the evening. {Because one meal isn’t ever enough} In between our second dinner and the ice cream parlor, I was given my chance to ride.

Balu Mama & The Scooter Bike

A handful of motorcycles and scooterbikes

Our entire theory during this trip was to say YES to adventure, so when Balu Mama asked me to hop on the motorbike there was zero hesitation in my shaky voice. I may have been a little frightened but I never would have turned down the opportunity.

Balu Mama is a man who no one says no to. The patriarch of the family. Tall with a big Indian belly proving his weight in gold of how much love he provides in the way of food and belly laughter. A few days after we landed he told me “you now have three dads and I am one of them” adding to my already amazing dad and father in-law back home. He is the protector and the one everyone respects and bows to within the family. When we wanted to get engaged, it was him who gave the blessing. And yet, his eyes twinkle with love and the lines on his face prove the ability to laugh well. He is full of LOVE and security, so hopping on a bike with him was an easy choice, it was the only choice.

Balu Mama & Karthik

Balu Mama & Karthik

As I hopped onto the bike, I snuggled in closely by wrapping my arms under his and grabbing onto his shoulders while hugging my whole body into his back. We began to take off at just a few miles per hour (and yes, I was helmet-less). I squealed in excitement and terror as we wedged between autos and cars into the dark streets of Chennai.

As we continued I was clearly suffocating my new uncle and he kindly asked me to sit back a bit. I finally released my grip and sat back a few inches, being sure to hold onto his big belly as we drove faster, laughing into the night.

By this point, people were beginning to stare. An older Indian man with a young blonde chick on the back of his bike — we made quite the pair (and my husband joked he would be arrested later that evening for kidnapping)!

“These guys are jealous” said Balu Mama “and I can’t wait to tell them you’re my daughter!”

Our laughing continued into a strip of “open road” (that depends entirely on your perspective) and he asked me if I wanted to go faster. I did little more than mumble into his ear and squeeze his belly tighter for him to kick it into high gear. The wind was whipping through my hair as the dust flew up around us and our laughter mixed into the vibrant sounds of a bustling Saturday evening in Chennai. My fear was erased as we raced through the city streets trying to beat the rest of our family to dinner. Instead of fear, it was the love that came through: my life felt complete.

THIS is it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. The mother-land was awe-inspiring and beautiful, exactly what my soul needed. To see the stark contrast of poverty as it bordered new modern buildings on the street. I needed the dust in my throat to mix and swirl with the fresh pineapple juice I drank everywhere we went. I needed to devour food and culture. But most importantly, I needed my family.

After five years of togetherness I finally met my husbands aunts, uncles and cousins. I saw where he played cricket in the street as a child and I could feel every inch and mile of love that stretched from India to America in this family. India has served me exactly what I needed and so much more, and for that I bow to you.

Namaste
Jenny