The mountains are calling….

September 21, 2019
I learned the coolest thing studying for my licensure exam (well, lots of cool things but this one stands out….) and that is:  of
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to self-actualize – that is to meet one’s personally defined need to grow, to
be creative, to find meaning in one’s life – NEVER ENDS!!!! Why is that so amazing?  Well, every definition and description
of Maslow’s theory that I’d read prior presents the six needs in a linear fashion, that they are stages one passes through to
get to a defined end point. But we all know that’s not how it feels to accomplish things, to be in process with life!
Here they are fyi:
  1. Physiological needs, such as needs for food, sleep and air.
  2. Safety, or the needs for security and protection, especially those that emerge from social or political instability.
  3. Belonging and love including, the needs of deficiency and selfish taking instead of giving, and unselfish love that is based upon growth rather than deficiency.
  4. Needs for self-esteem, self-respect, and healthy, positive feelings derived from admiration.
  5. And “being” needs concerning creative self-growth, engendered from fulfillment of potential and meaning in life.

Psychology Today describes Maslow’s theory thus: “Maslow’s hierarchy reflects a linear pattern of growth depicted in a direct pyramidal order of ascension. Moreover, he states that self-actualizing individuals are able to resolve dichotomies such as that reflected in the ultimate contrary of free-will and determinism. He also contends that self-actualizers are highly creative, psychologically robust individuals.”  From:

That said – 2 little words NEVER ENDS became like a beacon to me.  One I rushed to my daughter’s house to share with her because the implications are so important and they are this:  WE CAN RELAX a little.  We can BREATHE knowing that where ever we are in the process of self-actualizing, we can rest because we’re always going to be in this process. The rush to get there (i.e., pass that damn licensure exam) is going to be replaced by the next thing anyway, so WTH is the hurry?  I know what you’re thinking – you’re saying to yourself  – “hey lady, aren’t you over 50? ” (hmmmm, yes, I am), what the heck took you so long to figure this out?”  Well maybe I’m one of those smart/dumb people you know. I actually am one of those people, for better or worse – I hope you kinda like me anyway….but really, I am like that – a bit naive and yet smart on lots of levels, but still a bit dumb so maybe, I don’t know – maybe I’m just HUMAN!   But when I read that self-actualizing never ends I understood more about myself and that felt good especially because I always read this theory as a place of arrival rather than a process.  Maybe achieving my PhD is awesome for me but it’s not the end either, and I can always be in process, and that’s ok because according to Maslow (and who doesn’t love a great theorist?), I’m always going to be in process and that’s great because it means all my other needs are met (which is fantastic and awesome and I worked by butt off since I was 12 to get there – another story, but a good one, I promise)… I can be, I mean BE and take this exam and it’s all good no matter what!

And the mountains will continue to call – and I will go, and I’ll rest a little while I’m there – which will be new for me. xoxox

Climb every mountain
Search high and low
Follow every byway
Every path you know
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Every day of your life
For as long as you live
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream (climb every mountain)
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
Gotta love the Sound of Music where this song originates…. when Maria realizes her fate, when her inner self-actualizing potential (to marry and be a mother) meets the hard realities of her life (she thought she’s be a nun) – like when 6 volumes of study books meet my need to jump, run, yoga, barre and basically not sit anymore…..;0(   – not quite the same but feels like it!!!
Lots of love for all of our adventures.  Meet me on the other side of this mountain and let’s climb – together. How about in the Madonie Mountains – May 2020 –  Flourish Sicily – reach out here:  Come with Us!!!
Reach out – ask questions – JOURNEY TOGETHER.
Much love,

You’ve likely heard this before – some stress is good – it gets us up in the morning to work on time, it nags us to do our homework to reach our goals, and cajoles us to choose studying for an exam over another Netflix episode of – insert your latest crush title here. It elbows us to save for retirement over splurging on a new pair of Choo’s, and it gets us to cut the grass before it gets so long we’ll have to do it twice to finish.

Like any relationship though, it’s best to read the signs along the way, and to address chronic, underlying issues before they show up sideways.  We usually can see these sideways signs in our life before we recognize them in our bodies.  Having lots of accidents lately?  Avoiding opening the credit card statement?  Misplacing the overdue medical bills month after month? Getting snippy with your loved ones for no reason – or worse – for really little things like the way they put away the dishes?

Whether or not these things ring a bell – how about the physical symptoms that get overlooked… irritable bowel syndrome, shallow breathing, dizziness, poor sleep, repeated broken toes, or heart palpitations when you think of….- insert your current relationship struggle?  The first step is to recognize the signs in your body when stress is going overboard before these more severe symptoms begin yelling at you to pay attention, before you get into a vicious stress cycle that’s difficult to break.  The image below is borrowed from my friends, Drs. Michele & Mark Sherwood, from the Functional Medicine Institute in Tulsa who work tirelessly to provide tools for your wellness.  Check out their work!

All that said – the way to break-up with stress is to activate the relaxation response, the feel good physiological processes that crowd stress out.  Take one minute now, close your eyes and simply feel your breath – in and out, up and down, just sense yourself and listen.  Begin to awaken to how you FEEL, right now.  If you do this today, and again tomorrow, just for a few minutes, you can change your life, break-up with stress for good, and even better, make stress a friend rather than a toxic enemy.  For more tips, tools, or to have a session in-person or remotely, drop a line here at my private practice.  We’ll get in touch and work on that break-up for good.

In well-being,


What is courage?

January 28, 2019

I never thought of this until today while listening to Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach in their On Being talk with Krista Tippett…..there is rage in courage. What? Courage comes from cor (heart in Latin) and age (with) = with your heart. Or in Brene Brown’s language, wholeheartedness. Where does ‘rage’ come in? This seems at odds…..with your whole heart seems loving, kind, yet rage or raige in Old French, refers to madness, spirit, passion – or rabies in Old English – you get the idea. Wild heart, maybe?

Many years ago at my first yoga training, we were asked to identify a word that we could become, grow into, a way of being that would spark our higher nature and our fullest life. A word that identified what we desired to take from the fire of transformation that our week-long, 14 hour per day yoga practice would birth for us. Mine was courage. One does not choose their word from a rationalized process or dictionary. The word comes from the spiritual world and lands on your head like bird poop in a Roman alleyway. How is it that my whole heart and my rage can be activated at the same time? For me, I’ve come to learn that there is a sense of injustice in the world that I aim to redress while at the same time loving the difficult, heart-wrenching problems that enter my office in my work as a psychologist. Wholehearted with people who show up, and at the same time incensed by the trauma and heartbreak that the people I treat have endured. I can tell you firsthand, it takes a lot of courage to show up. If I bring only wholeheartedness, I will break from the gory details of their suffering. If I bring only rage, I will be unable to empathize enough to be helpful. There is rage is courage, and I’m glad I can sit with the light and the dark of this growing capacity within, and assist those who show up in my office with my whole heart, while activating my rage to reach upstream toward the problems that brought them to my office to begin with. It helps a lot. Thank you Glennon and Abby.

Kindness.  “Be nice” our mamas said.  So simple.  So right.  Yet, we see often the highest worldly rewards going to those exhibiting completely opposite behaviors. Why does it work that way?  Well, if we want ‘good’ things to happen, then kindness comes without the expectation of reward. It’s naturally fulfilling, on its own.  Even better than that – kindness wires a pathway in your brain toward increased kindness and it begets itself.  Kindness breeds more kindness.  And the secret of all behaviors is that all of them – from brushing your teeth to saying “please” and “thank you” – wire pathways or routes in the brain that make those behaviors come more naturally, easily.  That’s how habits work too. Practice, practice and what you practice becomes a way of being.

Kindness – it starts with your word – keeping your word, being “impeccable with your word” to quote the first of The Four Agreements.  Start there and work on only saying what you mean, what you can commit to doing, under promising and over delivering. No one wants too much wind in their environment (:0) isn’t the word ‘blowhard’?) – because excessive wind makes quite a mess. Don’t we know it as hurricanes are routinely given people names!  So, be kind to yourself and right now forgive yourself the times you’ve not followed through – for when you may have prioritized other things over your word – then move on – and begin today – keep your word, say less (you’ll stay out of trouble), and begin to practice kindness with your word and your actions.  Good things are on their way!

Being Connected

October 3, 2017

There’s something just magical about connection – first conected to ourselves through meditative activities (i.e., meditation, yoga, music, creating art, sports, walking – whatever works for you).  And most of all, connection is especially sweet when we have those wonderful moments of connection to each other.  That feeling of ‘you get me’ that’s special and tender and so much fun. I’d love to hear how you connect to yourself and to your friends, family and loved ones.  Most often, it takes some quiet time without competing noise and motion to feel that resonance.  In psychological terms, connections to others that are close and healthy are referred to as ‘attuned.’  Daniel Siegel, MD describes attunement in his books as “how we focus our attention on others and take their essence into our own world.”  Think of the way a caring mother looks into the eyes of her baby.  It’s the present moment understanding of how another human being is feeling – an awareness in real-time to their internal, emotional state.  You know what that feels like – when you look into the eyes of your beloved and feel that they see you. They know you. We teach how to connect to ourselves first – how to be intimately aware of ourselves and how we feel so that we can meet the world with a quiet readiness – a connected body/mind energy that’s ready for anything.  Learn more about attunement on youtube:  HERE

Let me know your questions and comments.

See you on your mat!


A yoga studio in East Rochester, Flourish Yoga Project can help you enrich your life through our Pilates, Meditation, Cardio, and Yoga classes & programs.

Your Body Story

September 8, 2017

Movement is life!

What’s a body story and more importantly, what’s YOUR body’s story?  Every body holds the imprint of its past – experiences good and not so that are held in the cells and tissues often described as muscle memory or simply pain.  These memories are easy to see on the skin – the largest and most visible organ of the body, in scars and structure that identify life events.  For example, I have two almond sized scars on my lower right leg from a steel pin that once held my tibia and fibula together after getting hit by a car when I was 5. Ouch! That was really painful and there’s a whole story underneath those scars of buried memory, deep pain, and a tendency to look three ways when crossing the street.

Most often as body stories show up in yoga class, there’s a sense of an old injury, or a discomfort that’s constant in particular poses.  People often just claim, “I can’t do that!”  Then there are those yogis, you’re likely one of them if your reading this far, that get curious about what their body can and can’t do in class. I always tell people that if you can breathe, you can do yoga – because the point of yoga is not to bend ourselves into pretzels (though that’s lots of fun and can be motivating for some like me who couldn’t move for six weeks after that car injury).  The point of yoga is to breathe deep, to connect within, and to explore where your body is right now, what its story is today. Because like all memory, overtime, the body story changes.  Dr. Bessel van der Kolk writes in his excellent book, The Body Keeps the Score, “memory is fickle; our [life] stories change and are constantly revised and updated…”  So too the body story that we’ve been carrying around for so long. As we get curious and look within the beautiful interior landscape of our body and its story, we can heal old wounds, and let go of remaining energy around past difficult events in our lives. That means we can feel what we feel without judgment and overwhelm (i.e., “I can’t do that!”), and without becoming enraged, ashamed, or giving up.  We can understand ourselves and go from there.

While the body never forgets, it beautifully changes and grows, and as you understand and integrate your body’s story, there’s a newfound sense of physical freedom and power within.  Dr. van der Kolk writes that through this kind if healing, there’s “a feeling that you are in charge of yourself….fully alive in the present and engaged with the people around you.” These are just a few of the benefits of yoga practice, of discovering your body’s story, and embracing all the twists and turns. See you on the mat!  Check out our full Class Schedule here




How Yoga Works

June 23, 2017

How DOES yoga work? Here’e one way to describe it: as you root into your feet in standing poses, you release negativity into the earth – that strong, expansive receptacle of rebirth and regeneration. As you breathe and focus on your breath, you dispel limiting thoughts and beliefs that hold you back.  From your feet (1st chakra, base)  and your head (7th chakra, crown) your root down to rise by becoming strong and light at the same time. This is referred to as sthira sukha asanam in Sanskrit, and represents the qualities of steadiness and ease. Read more here:

It’s also that amazing feeling derived from poses like half moon.  See you on your mat.

Carla Live!

I am so pleased to share our space with you in this TV interview segment called All About Town that serves the towns and villages on the East side of Rochester.  Whenever you get a chance to tell your story, you wonder “what did I leave out?” and “did I get the message across clearly?” Aside from some foot wiggles and saying ‘yeah’ a time or two, I would only add, if it didn’t come through, that I LOVE EAST ROCHESTER and am SO BLESSED to serve our Flourishing Community with yoga, movement, and an inquiry based studio.  AND, our TEACHERS are THE BEST – each and every one of YOU is a gift to our space and our mission.

Namaste Friends, Carla

Logo Inspiration

August 19, 2016
The koru and its infinite spiral form symbolizes the four pillars we aim to share in our yoga classes; movement, growth, strength, peace.

The koru, the shape on which the Flourish logo is based, means loop in Māori. It comes from nature and the silver fern frond native to New Zealand. Variations of it are used often in Māori art, carving and tattoos. Maybe because my first name starts with a C – I’ve always been drawn to how, in cursive, the tail spirals around itself to infinity. That feels like endless possibility to me. The koru has many meanings throughout the world. For Flourish Yoga Project, it symbolizes the four pillars that we aim to share in our classes and in our warm yoga home:  movement, growth, strength and peace. Through these four pillars, woven into our classes and workshops, we aim to infuse your days with a new life of calm in the chaos, harmony through the changes of life.  Join us as we flourish together!


Flourisher of the Month

Flourisher of the Month

My love affair with yoga began in the sixties. I was about ten years old. My father was doing his own yoga practice on the living room floor of our small city home. I would copy his poses. At first, it was a way to feel close to him, but as time went on, I also started feeling close to myself. Yoga calls this the “true self.” It was like magic! You come to the mat. You can be with others, and yet you are encouraged to go within. Get quiet. Observe the breath. There is enough space, mentally and physically, to be “alone”. Quiet, relaxed, strong, and safe. With others; yet alone. To me, this is the integrated practice of opposites. The “middle way.” I felt it then and I feel it now.

I was attracted to yoga because of my nature and because of the non-competiveness. I remember doing some practices from a teen magazine that helped with stress relief. It helped with my nervous nature. I took out books from the library. I practiced regularly as a young mother, especially with Eric Schiffmann and Ali McGraw’s iconic “Yoga Mind and Body” VHS tape. I took classes at community centers. Yoga helped me feel healthy, connected and productive.

In the early 2000s I joined Midtown Athletic Club. It is where I met Carla Giambrone. I fell in love with her classes and her Forty Day Workshop. Carla has the chops to get folks to “get real” and get connected with themselves and others. She encouraged us to share the thoughts and emotions that yoga brings forth in a safe environment. My friend Donna and I looked at each other and said, “No way!” Can’t we just do yoga and not deal with the “stuff” that comes up?

You can. You can do yoga for strength, balance and flexibility. But the real benefits are when you truly start to live the mind/body connection. I exploded with the hidden, difficult emotions during yoga teacher training in 2014. I was actually using my yoga practice as a way to avoid and deny many things that needed dealing with in an honest, open way. I was fifty and I was practicing heated power vinyasa six or seven days a week. In retrospect, it was like “cutting.” There is a fine line between hurting and feeling good. I did so much challenging practice, it numbed the emotional pain. I was crossing the line. Finally, it was too much. I ended up in the hospital and out of work for over two months.

It took three years from the “break through point” to find peace, excellent health and my “true self”…again. It was yoga that helped me find my way…again. I had a different relationship with my yoga at this point in my life. I learned to really listen to my body. I developed more patience with myself. I learned to set boundaries with myself and others. I learned to FLOURISH.

When you flourish, you are more connected. I was not sure how I would use my yoga teacher training when I finished the course, but the answers come when you are patient enough….still enough…. to wait and listen. I share my yoga with staff and students in Webster Central School District. I do this formally through classes for staff, an RTI structured study hall with students and the Varsity Football team. Yoga and Mindfulness also slip seamlessly into my Literacy classes. It really helps students relax and get ready to learn. But the place where yoga really “lights me up” is when it helps me to stay grounded and connected with students that really struggle because of personal issues. I feel a kinship with them. And for a moment, they can be their “true selves”. I have seen it resonate with these sweet souls. I see them relax, and I believe with all my heart that their continued practice of yoga and non-attachment will help them find their own way to FLOURISH.

Carla has always been there for me. She has this way of being simultaneously strong yet gentle; tough yet caring. Her classes flow fast and slow; contracting and expanding, standing and seated. It is that integrated balance of opposites that appeals to me and that I love. Thank you Carla, for sharing, teaching and opening your heart and this beautiful new studio!

Vickie Curry

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