Celebration. Gratitude. Joy.

Sunday hiking around Bon Tempe Reservoir in Marin with Shane

Sunday hiking around Bon Tempe Reservoir in Marin with Shane


Recently I’ve had a lot to celebrate. Shane and I are celebrating eight years together. Here we are just yesterday on a Sunday hike in Marin up at Bon Tempe Reservoir. We’ve always loved exploring the outdoors together; after all, we lived on the road for 256 days when we graduated Georgetown.  I’m also celebrating a lot recently because I’ll be attending the Klingenstein Summer Institute, hosted by Columbia University’s Teachers’ College. On top of that I’m celebrating 2.5 years of my commitment to steady yoga practice, and I’m celebrating 6 months gluten-free and dairy-free (I went cold turkey! No problem).

Despite all of these reasons to celebrate, Shane and I made a new pact recently— that our new commitment we’ll approach as a team is to celebrate more often, express more gratitude, and experience more joy.

Celebration, gratitude, and joy sound easy, but for anyone who knows life in the Bay Area, it’s not. There is constant pressure surrounding housing and fuel costs, compounded by the stress of long daily commutes and endless competition for jobs, resources, and status. The San Francisco Bay Area is a beautiful place to live, but it comes at a great financial cost, and if you’re not careful, a great emotional cost, too.


My first three years of living in San Francisco have consisted of me comparing myself to others, what others do, and what others have. Believe me, if you approach life this way, your glass will always come up half empty. Very recently my yoga practice and healthy food choices have helped me to gain some clarity. I’ve realized that I need to actively work on a reversal of perspective. I’ve made a commitment to myself, and promised Shane, that I will carve out more space in my life for daily expressions of gratitude, all from a positive perspective.

On Instagram I’m loving the hashtag #stopdropandyoga. It doesn’t matter where you are, you should just strike a pose to express thanks to the universe for everything you have. It’s good for you! I’m lucky Shane is such a patient photographer. In my case I express gratitude for having explored what my body can do in the various asanas, and I express gratitude for living in one of the most breathtaking places in the world.

Bakasana (crow pose) at Bon Tempe Reservoir in Marin

Bakasana (crow pose) at Bon Tempe Reservoir in Marin

Another thing I’ve done recently to express gratitude is that I’ve been jogging around my gorgeous city, or I’ll hop in the car, and I’m rediscovering places I used to take for granted. I live seven blocks from these gorgeous mosaic stairs on California St. I set up my camera and turned the mundane into a memorable experience.

Trikonasana on California Street steps

Trikonasana (triangle pose) on California Street steps

My yoga practice has also opened me up to talking with more people. Up at Sutro Heights Park, I was struggling with my camera, and Siphuong saved the day. She took photo and video and sent everything to me right on the spot. She had one of those sweet new iPhones, one of the big ones! I was grateful to have a total stranger step in and help me out in my yoga photo shoot. Look how beautiful it turned out! Yoginis always talk about opening your heart, and then good things will happen to you. I always think that sounds so corny, but it’s true!

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Arm balances on the edge of Sutro Heights Park

One of my yoga teachers at Yoga Tree recently asked me why I like arm balances so much, and I told her “it’s the closest we’ll ever get to flying.” Perched on the side of Sutro Heights Park with this incredible view of the Outer Sunset and Ocean Beach, there seems to be a grain of truth there.

3) JOY

The point of today’s blog post is to share with everyone my new tendency towards happiness; that is, happiness = celebration + gratitude + joy. After all it’s only Monday, and I feel a great sense of gratitude for another anniversary with Shane, my blossoming yoga practice, my ever developing career, and my gorgeous city.


Vasisthasana (side plank) on Baker Beach

It boggles my mind when I used to look through the half-empty lens. I couldn’t see this picturesque scene that was a mere few blocks from my house!

Happy during an impromptu yoga session at China Beach

Happy during an impromptu yoga session at China Beach with Shane

I learned it doesn’t kill me to loosen up and smile a little bit. It doesn’t hurt you; it actually feels good! I wish everyone a happy week! Happy Monday!

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6 Comments on “Celebration. Gratitude. Joy.”

  1. lesleyah May 19, 2015 at 04:18 #

    What a lovely blog. I adore that photo of you in front of the GG Bridge

  2. Lisa Young May 19, 2015 at 04:49 #

    Very, very nice!

  3. Shane Young May 19, 2015 at 07:53 #

    i liked your blog. to bad there isn’t a way for me to like it.

    Shane Young 703-282-9687

  4. Bulldog Travels May 19, 2015 at 21:02 #

    Love your attitude! I have been doing yoga for years and I love it. I have been doing it pretty regularly now about three plus times per week. I wish I could do it more!

    • Marisa LaValette May 26, 2015 at 07:34 #

      Hi Jenny! Where do you go to yoga in the Sacramento area? I go to Yoga Tree. Do they have any popular yoga studios out by you?

      • Bulldog Travels May 26, 2015 at 07:57 #

        Hi there! There are tons of yoga studios all over the place in Sacramento. My favorite is north of Sacramento in Auburn. It’s called Canyon Spirit Yoga. Susan is my favorite instructor.

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