New Frontiers 2015
By: Michelle Grambeau

Taking a few weeks off from practicing and teaching at Pleasure Point Yoga, I went on assignment to New Zealand.  I was there attending a multidisciplinary event called ‘New Frontiers’.  This gathering was held to explore our collective well being and the realities of our changing global environment.  I did not know what to expect from this island and this experience, what was unearthed was a deep awareness of the connectedness between personal and global health.


“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
-The Lorax


I slowly stepped foot into the wild of the native forest. Here at the edge of Middle Earth, the land itself seemed to sigh in limerick and in song.


Every cell in my body was on high alert as if at any moment a golden secret were to be whispered to my soul.  As I walked deeper down this steep valley, pathless and thick with vines, each step brought me closer to the wildness from whence I came.


My time here in Aotearoa (the Māori name for the islands of New Zealand) was spent diving deep.  This deep dive did not take me from one beautifully protected park to the next but rather into the depths of the ecological situation we are facing as a planet.


Over the course of 6-days a selected group of specialists and system thinkers from around the world came together to explore the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ frontiers of our collective wellbeing.  Through the various avenues of Digital Media, AgTech, Entrepreneurship, Education, Culture and Investment we got down to the nitty gritty science of our current systems—From top-down and bottom-up we explored solutions to channel intellectual, educational, financial and technical capital toward creating regenerative economies.


On the softer side, the container of the New Frontiers event, made ample space for embodied awareness and ritualized self-care.  Based upon the understanding that collective change comes from first stepping within. There was a great emphasis placed upon the transformative power of art, music, yoga, sustainable food and the healing arts.


Imagine a room full of leaders who hold the keys to creating equitable change and policy to heal our planet.  These individuals must be properly rested, fed, hydrated and in a state to make grounded, clear headed and integrated decisions.  Throughout our time here it became increasingly evident that our individual wellbeing plays a role in the greater story.   As Ken Ausubel Founder of Bioneers so graciously reminded me:


“It’s all alive. It’s all connected. It’s all intelligent. It’s all relative[s]”


When we choose stand in the face of unprecedented global environmental degradation it is easy to disconnect, to run from the alarming truths of our current reality.  My hope for our future comes from a place that embraces technology’s role in reconnecting us to ourselves, to one another and (in the next stage) to the natural world.  It is easy to see that what we need on an individual level is “same-same” as what the earth is calling for—clean water, clean air and fertile soil.


In this moment, start small, use your food as an access point to understand our interconnection to the natural world. With each bite remember our connection to the “earthly elements” that make us whole.  Give yourself the spaciousness to assimilate new ways of being, new ways of seeing and new ways of eating.  The very fabrics of our neural pathways have an ancient need for the space, quietude and time to grow. Use your presence and your breath to calm inflammation in your system. Fill your soul.


Start small.  Start by looking in.


When the fire of inequality pours toxins into my waterways and blazes through the forest lungs of our home it strikes me at my core.  In these moments of forgetting I am tempted to numb-out and shutdown.  Tears, strength and hope swirl together as I remember how connected we truly are.  Moving further into the depth of our ecological story I travel back down the valley and into the heart of the forest—whispering gently she says to me:


“Listen closely, it is from silence that all solutions are born.”


Meditating on Mavericks
By: Kyle Thiermann

This winter in particular I’ve become slightly obsessed with Mavericks. It is a relatively new goal of mine to eventually make it into the Mavericks contest, and it’s quite an undertaking to do so in a responsible way.

Sometimes it feels like big wave surfing is an entirely different sport from regular surfing. I’m learning so much. It’s even inspired me to pick up free diving, which is a sport I’ve wanted to try for a while but never pulled the trigger on. By the way, did you know that free divers, people who go deep underwater with only the air in their lungs, are more likely to have girl babies because of the pressure on their sperm?! I didn’t find that out until this year. Crazy.

The main thing that I’m learning is breath control, and the biggest way I’m practicing breath control is by going to the 7:00AM classes at PPY. I’ve done yoga sporadically for the past few years, but as I’m taking big wave surfing more seriously, I’m congruently taking yoga very seriously as well. In the past, I practiced yoga to get more flexible. If I wasn’t becoming flexible as quickly as I expected to, I would get frustrated, ‘try harder,’ and get even more frustrated: obviously not a very safe or sustainable way to do yoga.

Now, however, with my intention to practice breath control in the studio, it’s allowed me to soften around the whole experience because, all of the sudden, I’m not trying to control something external, my flexibility, but rather, turn my focus inward on my breath. This, ironically, actually increases my flexibility… whew, exhale!


Caps of Love

Caps of Love
By: Ashley Domsic

Hey there ppy
My name is Ashley Domsic.

I want to tell you all a little bit about the idea behind my creation, Caps of Love.

After working for years in the restaurant industry, my eyes were opened to the amount of waste that is created on a daily basis. While standing at the bar waiting for my drinks I would hear the clink of bottle caps hitting the metal garbage tin and at the end of the shift they would have a waterfall of caps that would all be thrown away.

I thought “But why?!  They are so colorful and awesome.  I must be able to do something with them.”  So I began to collect these beautiful bottle caps. At first I was just filling small plastic containers.  Little by little the collection grew and I would come to work to find my name on gallon bags full.  Before I knew it I had bottle caps from China, New Zealand, Australia, India( thanks Aimee) Europe, Central and South America. Now I could take a bath in bottle caps…not that it sounds pleasant but you get the idea of how many bottle caps I have saved over the years and how my co-workers, family and friends have had fun collecting and been excited about being apart of the process.

I first started making bottle cap earrings for my coworkers with their favorite sports team logos and, of course, they loved them. So I kept making more and sharing them. I loved giving them as spontaneous gifts and before I knew it customers were asking for certain designs and for me to use their favorite bottle caps they had saved so they could give them as gifts as well.

I started to fine tune my process, working out the kinks so that the earrings would be of good quality and made with love. I spent countless hours hammering each cap flat, cleaning, gluing, cutting and hooking them. My hard work paid off and it felt awesome when I made my first sales. But I never felt right taking money for something that was recycled that I had fun making. So I looked around for an organization that I could donate some of my profits to.

I found the Homeless Garden Project, an incredible non-profit organization that works to provide job training education and support to homeless in Santa Cruz. I have stocked Caps of Love in their downtown retail store for the past two years and I have donated more than $3,000 to the project.  Half of the profit from  the sale of each pair of earrings goes toward helping someone in need and that feels great!
One thing that I love about having the earrings in the HGP store is that I know they are flying off my display. I am constantly adding new inventory, but I never see who is purchasing the earrings. For me there is no greater joy than seeing friends and strangers wearing these earrings. I usually don’t say anything but I can tell you I have a huge smile on my face and an exploding heart when I am dancing at a concert in front of my favorite artist and I see a perfect stranger in front of me wearing the earrings I made. That is the best part for me.  It makes me so happy to get little glimpses of like-minded people who love the earrings and, even better, who purchased them to support such a great cause.
The one thing that I am most grateful for is people who support local art and give the creators an opportunity to showcase their art. Aimee is such a huge support of bringing art to life, which was one of the reasons we had the art fair at PPY this past holiday season. It was a fun mix of music, paintings, drawings, jewelry, salves and an overall nice way for each of us to connect, shop local and enjoy our yoga community off the mat. PPY is such a beautiful space.  Each wall is filled with so much love from artists and teachers in this yoga community.  Aimee is the perfect example of a person who artfully guides us through our yoga practice and helps us open more space in the body and mind to be inspired and create. No wonder why there are always so many great things on the horizon at the studio.
I am so excited to finally be sharing my earrings with you at the studio. Enjoy.