Family Activities

Would You Save a Life if You Could?

Most of you know me as a yoga instructor, but that is simply one aspect of my life. I invite you to  come along on my journey and get to know me better. And I would like to get to know you, as well.  I am a mother of two children and a daughter. Ten years ago, my dad, Bob Shively, was diagnosed with Myeloma, which is a cancer of the blood and bones. The "C" word is super scary, especially when in relation to yourself or a loved one. My father's diagnoses came as a shock. They gave him only a coulple years to live at best. The doctors said to expect his bones to deteriorate and that the only available treatment was pain management.  


Well, let me tell you a little more about me. I am extremely close with my whole family. We have always been very supportive and loving. I am super sensative and also empathetic. When my dad was diagnosed, it felt like my world shattered as I am sure many of you can relate. I felt so helpless. All I could do was to pray and pray for a way to help him. Low and behold the very next day in the mail there was a flyer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who offer a variety of fundraising events in honor of or in memory of anyone you know who has suffered from a blood or bone cancer of any type. I knew at that very moment I was up for the biggest challenge of my life! I quickly conspired and got my best friend, Katherine Shrout, to agree to "walk" a full 26.2 mile marathon with me in Honolulu, Hawaii!  We had a fundraising minimum to reach in exchange for our airfare and room for four nights, which was bonus motivation. So.... we thought who can't walk 26 miles? We've got this! Hahaha.... many laughs and many long training hours later we quickly started running more and more realizing how time consuming it was. Needless to say we BOTH finished the marathon. I love you Kat for pushing the limits with me, for standing by my side through tough challenges (including three broken bones in my foot) and for helping to save lives!

This year my daughter, Morgan, asked me to join the Team in Training Hike Yosemite Event on June 10th. Morgan is quickly becoming my new best friend as she grows up and becomes her own unique person. I am so proud of who she is and I love the way she makes me laugh. Her positive spirit will grace the world for years to come. But anyway, I realized that it being the ten year anniversary of my marathon that this is just perfect timining to celebrate my dad's life and the fact that he has truly beat all the odds. Ten years ago there was no treatment for his cancer besides pain management. Today, there are finally options that are available thanks to the research that was made possible by people like you who donate money to fight these diseases.

When Morgan and I decided to do the walk, the universe sent me another sign. My high school friend, Susan reached out to me. Her nephew, Paul Wilson, was in the hospital fighting for his life with leukemia. Susan asked if I would be willing to go to Children's Hospital to do some yoga with him just to change up his routine and relieve his boredom. I was honored. I realized this year I will hike and participate in this event not only in honor of my dad, but also to help find a cure for Paul's leukemia.  My goal is to use my able healthy body to give hope to these courageous people of all ages who are suffering and holding on with every ounce of dignity just to smile for their families. Cancer knows no age and no boundaries. It robs us of precious time, life and memories.  

If we have our health, we are truly blessed. Let this remind us to be grateful each and everyday. To hug the ones we love. To prioritize what is TRULY important. AND.... I invite you here and now to become a part of this quest to end cancer! I invite you to be a part of my team to help save the lives of those who are suffering! The money I raise goes to research, family support and patient care. I have seen results from the money that I raised ten years ago at the Honolulu Marathon. I am forever grateful and I will continue to pay it forward by doing all I possibly can when I can to advance cancer research for all of us.  

Sometimes it takes a villiage...but together we can move mountains!

All is possible!

In full gratitude,


P.S. - If you would like to support our team, you can learn more and donate at:

Morgan and my team name for this event is, "Not so Main Stream."

Or you too can register to participate in the Team in Training Hike Yosemite event at:

Tips for Combatting the Growing Obesity Epidemic and How the PHIT Act Can Help

Obesity is a gowing epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, "Obesity related illness including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers are the leading causes of preventable death." It is truly "sad" that this is happening in our country. Ironically S.A.D. is also the acronym for the Standard American Diet

Our government considers this to be such an enormous problem, with health care costs going through the roof, that Congress is working on a bill called the PHIT Act. The PHIT Act will provide tax incentives to encourage physical fitness by allowing you to take a tax credit of up to $1000 as an individual, or $2000 per household for fitness expenses such yoga classes and gym memberships.

Inactivity is now the 4th leading cause of death in the USA and it contributes to the number one leading cause, which is heart disease.  Exercise and meditation, combined with breathwork can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Type 2 diabetes can also be reversed with a combination of a diet rich in plant based foods and physical movement. 

Inactivity is a HUGE problem and electronic devices and video games are adding to it. Physically fit kids on the other hand have been proven to get better grades in school. Add yoga to their physical activity and you will also see an increase in focus, memory and concentration.  I would eventually love to see all schools incorporate yoga and meditation into the school day and I believe we are headed in that direction, but we are not there yet. So parents, bring your kids and teens to yoga in the evenings or on the weekends. Even consider practicing yoga together. It is a great activity for the whole family! 

Your health is one of your greatest assets! Your body is your temple. WE can be in control of our lives for the most part. It is not easy to lose large amounts of weight, but it is not as hard as you may think if you break the weight loss process down it into small attainable steps. In other words, set simple goals that you can realistically achieve, be kind and accepting to yourself along the journey and know that there is always help. I have worked with clients who struggle with their weight and they have told me how intimidating it is to join yoga classes because their bodies literally cannot fully do many of the postures. I know that is a major point of frustration and discouragement. If that sounds like you, I am here to help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. I will modify everything in your yoga practice to make it work for you. 

I would strongly suggest if you are looking to lose more than 30 pounds that we schedule a private consultation, take body measurements (the scale is not always the best indicator for weight loss) and make a plan that will work specifically for you. I can teach you modifications that you can then use in group classes. I will also help by holding you accountable (accountability is a big motivator). Commit to yourself to creating a happy, healthy and active lifestyle. You will be amazed when many of your aches and pains disappear and by the energy and the enthusiasm that will flow back into your life.  You were designed to feel good!

Health & happiness,


PS -  My monthly membership cost is $130. If the PHIT Act passes, you will be able to write off $1000 from your yoga class fees annually on your taxes as an individual, or up to $2000 for a household.  You can even use this tax credit for Teacher Training and turn it into a money making venture for yourself! Please, I urge you, reach out to your Member of Congress and say YES to the PHIT Act! If you or a loved one (children included) are overweight, see me or someone who can help you.  


The Kids Might be Back in School, But There are Still Some Great Days Left to Relish Summer

Gearing up for school brings mixed emotions, but there's still time to make more great memories with your kids before summer truly slips away. For example, have you seen the new Hippopotamus Exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens?  It is really fantastic and a great place to take your kids!  


The Zoo's new Hippo exhibit, called Hippo Cove, was one of our favorite outings this summer! Both of my kids and I loved it and we highly recommend that you experience it for yourselves! The zoo has two brand new hippos: Henry and Bimi. They are truly amazing and fun to watch. It has been many many years since the Cincinnati zoo has had a hippo exhibit due to the very extensive and expensive filtration it takes to maintain a hippo environment (if you have ever visited a hippo pool in Africa, you know how dirty they get). The newly opened hippo exhibit earned a big fat WOW from us!!!! Cinci... Congrats! You knocked it out of the park! The underwater viewing area is especially amazing! 

Underwater portion of the new hippo exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo

Underwater portion of the new hippo exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo

Henry and Bimi are most active and playful first thing in the morning and from 2-6 pm.  Just next door, in the African exhibit you can also see the adorable baby giraffe. I know many people are anti zoo because they feel animals are better off in nature. I really respect that, and when I returned from my African Safari in 1990 it was very difficult for me to visit the zoo for many years. I now realize what a great educational vessel the zoo really is. Without it most would never get to see a real hippo or a giraffe.

Wild hippos in East Africa

Funny story... In 1990 I went on a youth trip to Kenya in East Africa. At that time I was between 8th and 9th grade and not so savvy about the dangers that lurk in the wilds of Africa. So one day my group was picnicking near a river. While the adults were setting up, some friends and I ventured down an embankment to the river. We thought perhaps we would cross the "big rocks" that were partially exposed out of the water and go to the other side of the river. Within seconds our tour guide was quite excited. Frantic some might say as he practically tumbled down the hill screaming for us to get away from the HIPPOS!!!! It was then I learned how dangerous these beautiful creatures really are. Thankfully we were all ok. 

Hippos have strong jaws and they will fiercely defend their territories.

The name hippopotamus comes from an ancient Greek word, which means "water horse." Hippos love to spend most of their time in the water, which keeps them cool during the heat of the day. But they also venture onto land at night to graze on grass. The average hippo weighs 3,300 pounds and can run over 30 mph. Although they appear "cute," they can be quite dangerous. In fact, hippos kill more people in Africa each year than any other animal. Fortunately for you, they can now be viewed up close at the Cincinnati Zoo in a safe and pleasant environment.  

Henry & Bimi at the Cincinnati Zoo

Henry & Bimi at the Cincinnati Zoo

This weekend (August 20-21st) the Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating Visitor Appreciation Days and tickets are 1/2 off the normal price, so take advantage of this special and go see these spectacular creatures.

Venture out and let me know what YOU THINK of the new hippo display. To my readers and friends not in the Cincinnati area, please tell me in the comments below how you will enjoy these last few bits of the glory days of summer where you live. You never know, there's still time to take a short road trip and make great family memories!  

Go catch fireflies and toast marshmallows... Summer is not over yet!  


PS- Don't miss the cutest baby giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo!