Tree Climbing and Lilac Admiring in Highland Park

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

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Yesterday I was awakened by the kiss of sunbeams blazing through my willowy translucent bedroom drapes. It was a perfect sunny day here in Rochester. The sun shone through a cloudless sky (although, I always have loved clouds, too). Temperatures lingered in the upper 70’s (F). It was far too lovely of a day to stay in bed, although…feeling the sun on my face was also too pleasant to not allow myself to linger for just a bit.

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It was a perfect day to go to Highland Park; Rochester’s exquisite 155 Acres sprawl of rolling hills, sunken gardens, magnolias, tree gardens, amphitheatre, and, most of all, over 500 varieties of lilacs. It is just one week before the city’s 115 year old spring Lilac Festival begins. The festival is held in mid-May yearly, and includes area and regional art, food, and live music (some of this year’s lineup include The Campbell Brothers and The English Beat). Given that it was such a beautiful day, I thought I’d visit the park before the crowds of nearly 500,000 people show up to wander this lilac fairyland with their funnel cakes and Genesee beer.

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The park’s lilacs cover over twenty-two acres of the park’s land. A colorful array of lilac trees and shrubs sprinkle the park. I visited as many of them as possible, taking in each one’s ambrosial aroma.

 

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One of my other favorites in the park (aside from the lilacs, of course) are the breathtaking magnolias, which are now sensuously blossoming toward the sun, reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe’s feminine paintings.

 

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Perhaps my favorite place in Highland Park, though, is the majestic peace graffiti tree. It is still one of the best climbing trees I’ve ever visited, even after all of my travels. 

Yes, I do love climbing trees. Given my summer attire, I wore the aftermath of scrapes along my forearms and legs as a reward from this venture. But, it was worth it. It is always worth it when climbing trees.

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Raising the heat in a Winter Wonderland – Yoga Raving in western New York

When most people think of Rochester, NY, the first thoughts that come to their minds are not likely to be “cosmic,” “vibrant,” or “spirited.” – But they did not see what was happening last night at the Harro East Ballroom in Rochester’s downtown city center.

For three hours last night this city I call home, which is so often dreary and ever- grumpy during the mid-winter months, lit up with incandescent lights as over 215 people gathered to laugh, dance, stretch and move in an exhilarating yoga practice. This is what happens here when we have an event like a Winter Wonderland Yoga Rave.

A yoga rave is an event that is part yoga practice and part dance party, and uniquely weaves together high-energy music, a spirited vinyasa yoga practice, and an overflow of florescent color in the form of glow sticks, “bling rings,” and glitter. The expertise of professional DJ’s and some of the area’s most acclaimed yoga teachers led the event.

The concept of bringing a yoga rave to Rochester was introduced by Aimee Senise Bohn.  Aimee is a registered yoga teacher with over eighteen years of experience in the practice. In addition to teaching various yoga workshops for both yoga teachers and those who are new to yoga, she also leads yoga study trip to India and teaches her own eclectics style of yoga called Shri Vinyasa Yoga.

Rochester’s first yoga rave was held in March 2012, and the response was so favorable that another one was planned for this January. The event was co-taught and coordinated by Aimee and fellow renown Rochester yoga teacher Randi Lattimore, who is also the Mind-Body Coordinator at Rochester’s Midtown Athletic Club.  Breakthrough Entertainment’s DJ NAPS and DJ A provided a dynamic amalgam of high voltage music to create a perfect blend of party, yoga, and savasana.

 

 

 

 

 

Who would have thought this was happening on an 18-degree (F) evening in western New York? Well, what many people outside of our city may not know is just how amazing (and large) our yoga community is here.  During these months when I start to feel nostalgic for Thailand’s sunshine, or wonder why I didn’t move to southern California or Santa Fe fifteen years ago, our yoga community is one of the things we have in Rochester that makes me most proud to be here. I’ve visited yoga studios in dozens of locations in other cities, states, and even countries, and I am always struck by some of the talented teachers and beautiful studios there are here in Rochester.

We have over twenty-two yoga studios in the greater Rochester area (including surrounding suburbs), and thousands of local yogis who are practicing styles ranging from vinyasa to Iyengar, from restorative to Bikram, to name just a few. So, if you do have a reason to venture into western New York, I recommend stopping in Rochester, and place taking a yoga class (or several) at the top of your list of activities to partake in. And, if you are really lucky, maybe there will even be a yoga rave event while you’re here. I’ll see you there on the mat…or maybe even with a hula-hoop.

Until next time, namaste.

*A special thank you to Juliette Pellegrino and Diane Harris for sharing photos for this post*