Category Archives: Uncategorized

Summer Reflection & New Rides


The Ledges, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Ledges, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Last month my son and I retuned from a wonderful vacation back to my birth state of Ohio.  While vacationing, I had the opportunity to hike to and through some amazing valleys, ledges, and waterfalls.  While in nature I took the time to live in my moment, looking into the lush green foliage, sun illuminating the many wild flowers, and the creeks and rivers gurgling purposefully through the rocks and ridges. I would close my eyes and breathe in deeply, for a moment expanding my awareness through the bubble of calm that is the atrium.

Sometimes I could hear cars, but in those moments the sound seems distant. Instead I notice the pocket of beauty that I’m in. I hear the quiet breathing of the plants. Here, in the middle of the city of Cuyahoga, I am still.

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Just like this place, a haven of stillness in the center of the city, we need to pause in the center of our lives.

Sometimes, our schedules, our commitments, our responsibilities, they weigh down on us. We see it in the rounded shoulders, the downward gazes, the barely perceptible sighs as we give our attention to all the things in our lives that need it. We may seek externally for something that might allow us to have a break, to stop everything from rushing along… just for a moment.

Here, within the rhythms of the days, we take time to touch the stillness. We create the pause we are looking for, the chance we are seeking to step out of the rush for a moment and into ourselves.

Each time we come here, we immerse ourselves in yoga, but we do not withdraw. Rather, we are here to live yoga, to integrate it into life, to swirl our eager way into this space and then to breathe the stillness out into the rest of our lives.

The more we take this pause, the more we are able to pause out there, in the swirl. The more we dive inside, the easier it becomes to see. And the more we practice this stillness, the better chance we have to find clarity in the middle of a grand decision, or pause in the middle of our emotions, or find silence in the middle of our anxious mind-chatter.

Because the truth is, there is a sacred space within. We carry it everywhere we go. The entranceway is the breath, the exitway framed by a sparkling new world that greets eyes fresh from meditation.

Clarifying our minds and coming back and back to the present does not necessarily mean we never suffer doubt or pain. But this practice does invite us to master it, again and again, in shorter and shorter time periods. In just breathing and listening we align with ourselves and our purpose. And from the haven of our inner sacred space, we are able to step back into our lives with calm presence.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to hold space here in this beautiful location, to have had some small part in spreading stillness within the community here. I see it on the faces of all the beautiful souls who join me on their mats during each yoga class. I have lost count of how many times I have seen someone sit down on their mat and sigh… not the heavy sigh of responsibility, but rather the deep, soul-easing sigh of coming home. The kind of sigh that allows worry to just slip off the shoulders because the inhale was so big, and that lets emotion swoosh away along the smooth slide of the exhale.


Through just breathing, and reconnecting, we unwind ourselves from the threads that bind our mind to our lives. Through just taking a moment, a pause In-Between, our soul has a chance to breathe also. When we stop, and observe, and step behind our mind for a moment, we shift. Our eyes become that of the watcher, our perspective becomes the unchanging. We enter our inner, sacred space.

The truth is, we are enormous. We are connected to an infinite sea of existence. The mind itself is an infinite reservoir of flux, always changing, always clinging to something new and painfully letting go of something old. But the fundamental law of the universe is Balance. And if we have an infinite reservoir of flux, we must also have an infinite reservoir of stillness… somewhere.

When we take time out from the demands of the world outside and dive underneath the skin… when we truly feel ourselves… we know the immensity of our essence. We see our path through life with a different perspective, one that rises above the crowded emotions of the mind and takes in all the elements that have come together to create this moment in time.

When we take time to dig underneath the tangles and the layers, we find that fertile ground from which to grow. When we pause for long enough, the binding tangle unwinds, and space opens up. And we flow into what is right.

I enter the studio and gym doors, a relaxed smile on my face, smooth floor calling. Once again, I take a deep breath. I release it in a sigh that comes from somewhere deep inside, and all of the ups and downs of the outside world dissipate.

This is enough. A stolen moment. A deep breath. A sacred space, wherever it may be. A safe bubble of peace, inviting us to enter the still reservoir that each of us contains within us.


New Rides are up and published on my Ananda website, so check em out!!

Legs are Smokin

May Newsletter

sprint into may

Ananda Yoga & Fitness

Spring is a wonderful opportunity to explore new beginnings. Nature shows us signs of new life with longer days and in each tender green sprout as we see the earth begin to emerge from the peaceful winter rest. We may feel these same energies stirring inside of us, reminding ourselves of our own connection to nature.

A good gardener know that in order to produce fruitful plants, one must prepare, nurture, and grow the soil first. Once that groundwork is laid, the plants are offered the chance to grow to their fullest and brightest potential. We may consider our body as the soil and our potential as the plant. In order to nurture our seedlings, we must first nurture where it will grow.

Yoga, pranayama, and meditation are gifts that we may use to prepare our body for our seedling potential. It is with these tools that we may begin to create and expand space, peace, and love within ourselves. What we feed our body is equally important, for our food is what grows us. When chosen mindfully, our food can work harmoniously with us, nurturing our body and mind. Begin exploring your connection to food and the ceremony surrounding it. Why do you eat what you eat?  How does what you eat make you feel in that particular moment?

Make a goal this month to plant healthy seeds of nutrients inside your body to help fuel you, both physically and mentally.


dahl quote

9 Reasons to Lift Weights

Watch a documentary about people who lift weights and you’ll likely be watching some of the world’s elite body builders hone their physique to abnormal largeness. Take a peek into your local gym and you’ll see something quite different. Sure, there may be a handful of body builders there, but they’re lifting right next to an accountant, a store clerk, a mom, and a retiree. That’s because all these people realize one thing: lifting weights is for everyone.

But is weight lifting really for you? Here are nine reasons the answer is yes.

#1: You Get Happy

Yes, exercise of any kind gets the happy chemicals running through your body, but lifting weights seems to have an advantage on your happy level. Why? Lots of reasons that are listed below.

#2: You’re More Useful

You were born with a great affinity to do something. You may be gifted to argue cases in court, cook an amazing meal, or keep cool while caring for a dozen 5-year-olds. Lifting weights helps you do each of them better. On top of that, it gives you the capacity to lend a helping hand when someone is struggling to lift a heavy box or open a stuck door.

Suddenly, you’re not stuck waiting for help when a demanding task is put in front of you. Instead, you bend at the knees and get to work.

#3: You Get Focused

If you’ve ever struggled with trying to figure out what to do at the gym, I’m here to help. That includes lifting weights. As your strength and the amount of weight you lift increase, intense focus is required to avoid injury. This focus in the gym—if you let it—will carry over into your non-gym activities.

#4: Your Body

Lifting weights does so much for your physique. Push yourself hard enough and your body will amaze you constantly. But your physique isn’t the only beneficiary of weight lifting. Lifting helps your body fend off illnesses and injury by helping you shed unwanted pounds, lowering your blood pressure, improving your heart function, and more.

#5: You Do the Impossible

When you start lifting weights, you can’t imagine lifting any more than you do in your first session. Three weeks later, you’ve already passed the impossible mark. By doing this over and over, you pick up a mental toughness and confidence that will aid you in all areas of life.

#6: You Eat Better

Have you been struggling to keep your daily calorie count down? Nothing helps you stay in line better than working out. Your regular weight-lifting routine makes you more aware of what you put in your body, making it easier to say “No” to those temptations that are always around the corner.

#7: Your Bones Get Stronger

While the first thing you may notice after lifting weights is stronger muscles, your bones are also secretly gaining strength at the same time. Since the risk of osteoporosis and broken bones only increases as you age, guarding against them with weight lifting only makes sense!

#8: Your Balance Improves

Staying on your feet may not be an issue today, but as you age, it will become one of your top priorities. This is especially true considering how often elderly people lose their balance and wind up with life-altering broken bones. Lifting weights at any age will give you a balance and boost in core strength that will last throughout your life.

#9: Your Brain Function Increases

Believe it or not, people who lift weights aren’t the meatheads they’re made out to be. Quite the opposite. Research has proven that lifting weights actually has the power to improve your brain’s ability to do its job.

Reach your fitness potential faster by coupling your good diet with a challenging exercise program. I’m here to motivate, instruct and encourage you to reach your goal.

Upcoming Trainings With Andrea

Basic Aerial Yoga Training

Have you ever wanted to try Aerial Yoga, learn the basics, or possibly teach aerial classes?  If so, this training is for you!  Come join us in Minot, ND this September to begin your Aerial Yoga journey!  Click here to learn more and register!


Check out some new and sweaty ride profiles for your classes or for a great workout at home!!

Grow in February

Happy February everyone!!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful winter, and that all is well with you.


I’ve got a few new blog posts up on my Ananda Yoga & Fitness website.  The latest post is our Growing in February goals.  It’s never too late to join in and #GrowIn2017!!


I also have some new spin ride profiles!  Check out the Valentine’s Day ride!  It’s a love hate kinda ride.  😉


If you are looking for a good read, check out Rare Objects by Kathleen Tessaro.  I absolutely loved this book and the story line!


I also recently read A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  What an amazing book from a first time author.  Definitely read it.  You’ll find yourself laughing and tearing up during this fast read.  My favorite character was the cat.  You’ll understand once you start reading.

Growing in 2017

Happy New Year Everyone!!

Well, I know it has been forever and a day since y’all last heard from me in the blogging world.  My life became busier, so something had to go to the wayside.

We’ll I guess you could say I’m back.  I will not be blogging everyday.  However, you will hear from me several times a month!  I’ll continue to share my life in fitness and wellness with y’all, but my goal is for us to all work together and grow together in our future endeavors.

Ananda logo with text

My blog will now move to my website Ananda Yoga & Fitness, so check out my latest post for a quick briefing on our 2017 outline of growth!

I’ve also just published a new spin profile, Everybody Up!  It is a fast paced, sweat dripping Interval Ride!  Check it out while it is on sale!!

Five Whole Years

A picture my son took from the Uhaul when we entered North Dakota for the first time.

A picture my son took from the Uhaul when we entered North Dakota for the first time.

Five years ago today, I woke up for the first time in North Dakota.  I remember waking up and wanting to get the house unpacked…Well, the coffee, mugs, and coffee maker unpacked.  Once the coffee was in me, I dove into setting up our “temporary” house in North Dakota.

I broke-down each box and stowed them away in our basement, because I knew I would be returning to our home in Florida within a few years.


It is five years later, and we are now permanently in North Dakota.  We decided to sell our Florida home last year, and it finally sold last September.  I’m so sad to see that house go.  That was the home we brought our son home from the hospital to, where our son made his first and life long friends, where we got our first family dog, Lady…Where I woke up and there was NEVER snow on the ground.  Our Florida home was the best first home our family could have ever asked for, and I’m beyond grateful for the time we had there.


We have quite the good life up here in good old ND.  Our whole family has made so many amazing, kind, and caring friends here…except for the dogs.  The cat and squirrel population seem to not want to make friends with them.  My husband and son get to fish and hunt almost year round, so we are saving some money on the grocery bill, and when you have a growing son that is a BIG deal!  This year my little man got his very first turkey too!


Since it is our five year anniversary living in North Dakota, Mother Nature (in all her infinite stupidity) decided to celebrate with snow this morning…Bless her cruel little heart.  So, here’s to more adventurous years in North Dakota!

A Grandfather’s Legacy


Everyday I’m beyond thankful for my grandpa McEwan, and the wisdom he passed down to me during my youth. He was an amazing man who lived through the Depression and served in World War II.

My grandpa McEwan was never one to lecture, scold, or posture about anything. He always had a smile on his face and that glowing smile made you smile too. The first major life lesson he taught me is the one that has stuck out and stayed with me my whole life, and here is that story…

I was 4 years old and spending part of my summer with my grandma and grandpa McEwan in upstate New York. Everyday my grandpa and I would go for a walk to the post office and library. If I was lucky we would take a little detour into the local pharmacy and get some candy. Lucky for me my grandpa had a huge sweet tooth, so these detours would happen more often than not. However, grandma couldn’t know about them, or we would get lectured about ruining our appetite, and something about me getting hyper from all the sugar.


One day we took a detour to the pharmacy to get candy. This time my grandpa handed me one of the bulk bags to fill with candy, rather than just picking out a few pieces. Oh man! I was in heaven when he told me to fill that bag up with my favorite candies. I’m sure my eyes had to be as big as saucers, and my heart rate went up in anticipation of all that sugar that was about to send me into the biggest sugar high of my life. I went to town filling that huge bag up with all the best candy and chocolates in the store all while contemplating how to hide the candy from grandma when we got back to the house.

After our purchase we walked, I skipped, back to my grandparents’ home. Instead of going inside, my grandpa led me to the car and told me we were going to go for a quick ride before we went into the house for lunch. He told me to bring the mammoth bag of candy with me, so I was beyond content. While we went on our quick drive, my grandpa told me a story about his time in World War II.

My grandpa was stationed in China, I don’t know what part. However, I do know it was a mountainous area, because he talked about how pretty the mountains were. He began by telling me he was stationed near an orphanage, and would always take trips to the orphanage with his translator in order to bring whatever food and little toys he could for the children. Then, he began telling me about his first Christmas spent in China, and it became a story that I would have him tell me over and over again for the rest of his life. I’ll tell it to you like he told it to me.

“Things were really hard for everyone in China during the war. There was no food, China was going through many problems of its own, and the war did not help. Sadly, many children were sent to orphanages, because their parents could no longer afford to feed them. They wore the same clothes each day, didn’t have toys like you do, and scarcely had enough to eat. For Christmas I wanted to do something extra special for them to make them smile and be happy. I sent letters home to your grandma, friends, and family. I asked them to mail me any clothing, toys, or items a child might need or like. And boy did everyone send as much as they could! So, now all I had to do was deliver these gifts to the children. Steve (my grandpa’s translator) and I decided that I should play Santa for the children on Christmas. So, Steve went out and found me a reindeer, which was a donkey, and a sled, which was a very battered cart. When I arrived and handed out the gifts, food, and clothes the children were so excited, and their smiles lasted for days to come.”

After my grandpa told me this story I had a ton of questions about all the little children in the orphanage, but I didn’t get to ask them, because we had arrived at our destination, and there were a bunch of kids running around the house we had just pulled up in front of.

My grandpa told me we were going to go visit with the family and to bring the candy with me. So, I got out of the car with the candy, and started heading with my grandpa across the yard full of children to the house. The mom and dad came out of the house to greet us. My grandpa introduced me, and the mom told me how she used to have my grandma as her teacher in high school, and my grandpa was the principal.

At this point all the children came circling around me and started eying me and my candy. I won’t lie; I hugged that bag of candy to my body like it was my very own baby I had to protect. My grandpa gave me a nudge and asked me to give them some candy. I figured this was no problem, I could give each of the children a piece of candy and have a ton of it left over for myself. So, I started handing each kid a piece of candy. Boy did their eyes light up when I did this. After giving each kid a piece of candy, my grandpa told me to give the oldest child the whole bag of candy! I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the ground at that point. All my precious candy was gone! I had been robbed of the greatest sugar high of all time! I turned my head to look up at my grandpa, and I was about to ask him why he wanted me to do this, but he gently took the bag from me and gave it to the oldest child. We then said our good-byes and walked back to the car to head home.

When we got into the car I asked my grandpa why we had to give them all the candy. His response was to have me look at the children in their front yard. He said, “Do you see them? Look at their smiles! They are a family without enough money to buy candy, and you get candy every day. This is a very special treat for these kids. Now, would you rather eat that candy yourself, or would you like to make multiple people smile and feel happy by giving them your candy?” I was only 4 years old, but that lesson sunk into my little brain and stayed there for life. After looking at the children smiling, and showing their parents and each other all the different candies, and realizing I helped make them happy, and gave them something special, I decided I didn’t want the candy for myself at all. I actually asked my grandpa each time I visited them if we could go take candy to the children again.

Later in life I learned that the couple who lived in that house could not have children of their own. Instead, they chose to foster children in their home.

In that lesson and many other examples my grandpa set for me as a child, I learned that if you can help someone in any way, or if you can just make them smile that you should do it, and I always have.

Sadly, I was fired from teaching at the YMCA in Minot recently for teaching free classes in another community.

I teach free classes to people in my community, which is over an hour drive from the Y in Minot. I started teaching these classes for free, because people in my community do not have the ability to join a gym over an hour away, take classes, and I needed fitness volunteer hours for some of my certifications. Once I completed my yearly volunteer hours, I kept going with the free classes. I teach them for free, because I don’t need the money, I love seeing everyone feel good about themselves after class, and hear them talking about how much fitter and stronger they feel.

I was told by my superior at the YMCA that I had to quit teaching free classes in my little town, or they would have to fire me. She explained that they saw my classes (in a town over an hour away) as competition to their classes at the YMCA. I didn’t and still don’t understand this. Especially since the YMCA is a nonprofit organization. If anything I would think they would want to help people in the community. Especially since I’m helping those in a community where there is no access to fitness.

My grandpa’s voice and teachings came right into my head as I sat there in the office being given this ultimatum. I told her that I would not quit volunteering my time and helping others. I was taught better than that from my grandpa. Plus, I really believe that in order to make the world a better place you need to be generous, kind, and helpful whenever you can.

So, I’m no longer teaching my classes at the YMCA in Minot. I’m beyond sad about this, but I’m going to keep my head up, and be proud of my morals and values.

To all my wonderful friends and regulars in class…I love ya all, and I feel like I’m abandoning you. Each one of you has become so much stronger both inside and out since the first time you wandered your way into class. As a group we have seen each other through cancer, infertility, loss of loved ones and pets, terrible horrible no good very bad days, weddings, births, and so much more. Please keep supporting each other, cheering each other on, and most of all…Keep making each other SMILE and LAUGH! Your smiles will always stay with me!

Spring Cleaning Challenge

Spring is here…Contrary to what mother nature has dumped in my front yard (5 feet of snow).  I know many of you out there are already enjoying warmer temps and are ready to start getting everything aired out and cleaned out.  It is still winter here, but I am beyond ready to clean things out and get ready for summer too.

I decided to come up with a list of things I needed to clean out and organize.  After thinking and pondering, I came up with 20 different areas of my household to clean.  Now, there is no way I could take a full day, or multiple full days to do all of these things at once.  Therefore, I’ve decided that during the month of April I will complete one task on this list per day.  Since there are only 20 cleaning tasks, I will have 10 “free” days incase I’m too busy to get to a cleaning task.  Feel free to join me in this Spring Cleaning Challenge!
20 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Non-Candy Easter Egg Stuffers

Is anyone else out there sick of the Easter candy?  In our house quite a bit of it ends up in the trash or eaten, and I’m not sure which is worse at this point.  Therefore, this year I’m changing things up for the first time and not putting candy in the Easter eggs.  Yes, I’m biting my nails and nervous about the outcome of this new experiment, but I’m just so sick of the junk and candy each year for each holiday.

This year I am putting Legos in my son’s Easter eggs.  I’m going to put all the pieces from the Lego set pictured above into a bunch of eggs and hide them.  When he wakes up in the morning he’ll find the directions booklet in his Easter basket, and I’ll tell him that he has to find all the eggs in order to put his new Lego set together.  My guess is that he will be really excited about this, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Now, I’m sure I’m not the only mom out there who wants to put something other than candy in their Easter eggs, so here is a list of 20+ items that you can put into your eggs this year.  I actually went up and down the toy isles in Target the other day coming up with this list.  Just make sure you put age appropriate items in your eggs.
20  Non-Candy Easter Egg Stuffers

  1. Money
  2. Gift card/certificate
  3. Legos or Lego minifigures
  4. Race car
  5. Bouncy Ball
  6. Play dough
  7. Slime
  8. Silly Putty
  9. Rings
  10. Earrings
  11. Necklace
  12. Temporary tattoos
  13. Lip Gloss
  14. Chapstick
  15. Doll accessories
  16. Barrettes
  17. Stickers
  18. Squinkies
  19. Mini erasers
  20. Small action figures
  21. Glow in the dark stars
  22. Glow in the dark stones
  23. Magic grow capsules

What are you putting in your Easter eggs this year?

Crayon Art

Recently I was talking with some of my friends about what they have been doing during their winter days (we have a lot of them here, and more to come) with their children.  Most of us are on the lookout for fun creative activities to help occupy us and our children.  This got me thinking back to last summer when I was in Florida staying with my friend Kim…

Crayon Project

Picture a beautiful, sunny, 85 degree day.  Perfect weather for playing outside, going for a run, heading to the beach, etc.  Therefore, you would expect us to be outside making the most of such a great day…Wrong!!  Instead, Kim and I decided we wanted to try a craft we saw on Pinterest.  I’m sure many of you have seen the whole “melt the crayons” art work that has been floating around Pinterest.  Well, we gave it a try, and it was a smashing success!  Kim and I were actually way more into it than our son’s were.  Our kids just wanted to play outside and enjoy the weather.

Crayon Art


  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Crayola crayons…you choose the colors you want
  • Canvas frame…choose your own size
  • A hair dryer or embosser…the embosser will work better

Crayon Art

First, choose the crayons you want to use and lay them out on the top of the canvas to make sure they all fit properly.  Then, using the hot glue gun, glue each crayon onto the canvas with the tip of the crayon pointing to the bottom of the canvas.  Once completed, make sure the glue on the crayons has cooled completely before you begin to melt the crayons.
Crayon Art2

Now, using your embosser or hair dryer (make sure you have the dryer set on low, or you will blow melted crayon everywhere) begin heating the crayons.  Make sure you have your canvas tipped at an angle so the melted crayons can flow towards the bottom of the canvas.  I had the dryer pointed at the top end of the crayon in order to melt as much of it as I could.

Once you have finished, keep the canvas propped up until the wax has melted completely.  Then, hang your new art on a wall!!  I highly suggest you give this project a try if you are looking for something fun, easy, cheap, and creative to do!

***Note:  Over half way through our crayon melting, Kim got out her embosser.  We discovered the embosser worked so much better than a hair dryer.  The embosser kept the wax hotter longer, so that it could “flow” down the canvas more.  Not to mention, it didn’t blow the air out as hard as a hair dryer, making it easer to control where the melted crayon flowed.

Snow Day #2

Shoveling snow

After these last three weeks I firmly believe that it will never stop snowing, and summer will never come.  We have gotten more snow than I have ever seen in my lifetime, and that is the truth.  Friday and Sunday into Monday were truly terrible storms.  I took the above picture yesterday morning while shoveling the driveway, so you could see the amount of snow we got Sunday night.  I must thank my wonderful neighbor who came over with his snow blower and saved me a lot of work.  Is anyone else finding that this is a particularly harsh winter?

We got a butt load of snow on Friday, causing me to get snowed into Minot (I work there and it is an hour from my home).  This is the same day that we had our “girl’s night” out scheduled, and I was cranky.  Rita came to my rescue and set up a girl’s night of our own, and she let me crash at her lovely home for the night.  You are the greatest Rita!

Quite a few of us at the gym were having a bad week (myself included) and we all needed to get out and relax, so Rita called up some of our friends, and we headed out for dinner, drinks, and to see the new Halle Berry movie, The Call.  All of us had such a great time laughing and hanging out at dinner.  As for the movie…Our hearts were beating like we were running a marathon during the whole movie.  I wish I had worn my heart rate monitor just to see how many calories I burned from just watching the movie.  The writers did an excellent job keeping the viewer on the edge of their seats.  I cannot wait for our next girls night out, and we are now planning to have one each month!

Sunday brought our next snow storm.  Thankfully the worst of it didn’t hit till way late at night, so our friends could still come over for dinner.  I’m one of those people who love having company over and feeding them, and for dinner we had tacos…You can never go wrong with a taco night!  I also tried a new homemade Spanish Rice recipe, and it was a big hit.  I suggest you try it too.

snow day

I woke up Monday morning to school cancellations, and I was unable to get to work myself.  As soon as the sun came out my son and I headed outside to work on our snow fort and play in the snow.  I think the snow fort came out pretty well!  There was a long tunnel leading to the main part of the fort which was huge!  My son was able to launch quite a few snowballs at me from the safety of his fort.

I’m headed to the gym this morning to teach my two spinning classes and get in a run.  If your are looking for some workouts, try some of the ones below, or one of my treadmill or elliptical workouts!

  • Shape It Up – Shape up those muscles with this full body workout that uses supersets, with cardio circuits to really burn those calories. You can do this workout at home too!
  • A Freakishly Good Workout – A great leg and upper body workout that will chase your fat away.
  • Stability Ball Circuit Workout #2 – Another fun stability ball workout you can do at home with weights that targets all your muscles!