2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Thanks for the hard stuff

    Wed, November 27, 2013 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    thanksgiving_rockwellI like the idea of sitting with your chosen ones on Thanksgiving, and before digging in, talking about what or who you’re grateful for. We didn’t do that in my family, but I wish we had.

    I am thankful for all the things one is often thankful for. There are the basics, of course: food, clothing, shelter. And then, as we move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, my thankfulness begins to include love, friendship and growth.

    Aha! Growth. Here’s where we find the other part of what I’m thankful for. How do we grow? We encounter challenges. The sticky stuff: heartbreak, failure, challenge.

    When we’re in the thick of it, it’s hard and messy to wade through. When we reach the end, we can look back and see the richness of our experience. Or not. Sometimes it takes quite awhile to see the fruits of our labor.

    The icky stuff changes us. It makes us stronger, more empathic, compassionate, kind. It helps us know what to say and what not to say to people when we see them going through similar situations.

    I don’t know about you, but I learn more from failure and heartbreak than I do from success. When I succeed at something, I think, “Wow, how lucky! Wonder how that happened? Who knows!” I attribute a hefty dose of magic to the positive outcome, and move along.

    But with despair, I stop, sit and contemplate what happened. I consider my actions and where I went off course. I learn all the ways I can work toward a happier ending next time.

    So this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for all my mistakes and hard times, and how they have shaped me into who I am. And I’m also grateful for how the hard times have shaped you, too. We are all connected in more ways than we’ll ever realize.

  • Wherefore art thou, men?

    Tue, November 26, 2013 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Baron Baptiste in bakasana (crow pose).

    Baron Baptiste in bakasana (crow pose).

    No, this post isn’t me looking for a date.

    In the Mark Whitwell workshop I attended earlier this month, we got into a group discussion about where all the men are in yoga.

    The writing professor I happened to be sitting next to, who was not a regular yoga practitioner or attender of yoga workshops, leaned over and said, “Is this typical attendance?”

    He was referring to the fact that there were about seven men in the room, surrounded by about 50 women.

    I nodded. Yep, that’s typical.

    Yesterday, my editor handed me a newspaper section from the Albuquerque Journal, with an article entitled “Dude Yoga.”

    Essentially, the author, Eric Niiler, who wrote it for The Washington Post, wondered the same thing. And it’s not really anything new. He thinks men believe yoga to be too touchy-feely, too boring, too easy, and yet, too hard at the same time.

    I don’t know what the answer is, though I’m sure it’s partly all of the above. I think maybe men are intimidated to walk into a roomful of women, and feel like they look foolish. I’ve also heard men say no way to being in a room of women wearing tight clothing and contorting their bodies into somewhat suggestive poses. So there’s that, too.

    It’s ironic that yoga actually started out as a practice for young boys. And then somehow, in our Western translation of the practice, the men got lost.

    Classes across the country are primarily women, though I do think you’ll find more men in Bikram and hot, fast-paced vinyasa classes. Those are two of the more physically challenging styles available.

    I’d love to see more men in class. It’s nice to have that yin/yang balance between masculine and feminine energies in the classroom. And I am stoked when guys sign up for the teacher training at the studio where I teach, and go on to teach. We only have five or so men on the schedule right now, among the dozens of female teachers.

    What do you think? Where are the men? And how do we get them to show up?

  • Lululemon founder in hot water

    Wed, November 20, 2013 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Chip Wilson

    Chip Wilson

    Open mouth, insert foot. That seems to be Chip Wilson’s modus operandi this year.

    Wilson is the founder and chairman of Lululemon, the popular brand of yoga pants you’ll see on a huge portion of yoga practitioners and regular gym goers around the country.

    These are the same pants that were vilified earlier this year for being see-through when the wearer bends over, as you tend to do in a yoga class.

    However, to be fair to Lululemon, when I teach or practice yoga, I often spot see-through yoga pants, and they’re not just Lulus. A lot of brands seem to have this transparency problem.

    I own several pairs of Lulu pants and a couple of their tops. I’m not the biggest fan of the clothing, to be honest. I love one of my tops, but the material of the pants really bothers my skin. And mind you, these are $100 pants, though I did get mine at a discounted rate. Methinks I should be LOVING them and wanting to wear them EVERYWHERE, even in the shower.

    However, the commentary I’m hearing from Wilson makes me itchier than any yoga pants ever could.

    I’m not the only one Wilson is turning off. He’s not making any friends lately, including one guy named Steve Colbert. You may have heard of him. He aimed the spotlight directly at Wilson on Monday, and it wasn’t pretty.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/430608/november-18-2013/alpha-dog-of-the-week—chip-wilson?xrs=share_copy

    So, what say you, wearer of Lulus? Do you care that Wilson criticized women with curves? And made those bizarre comments about birth control pills and divorce rates? What about the way he mocked Asian folks?

    Send me an email or comment below: jen.mulson@gazette.com.

  • Mark Whitwell spreads message at yoga workshop

    Mon, November 11, 2013 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Mark Whitwell told me to enjoy my life and that I am already perfect.

    The nationally known yoga teacher held workshops Saturday and Sunday at the Manitou Art Center and Manitou Bindu. Local yoga teacher Jessica Patterson brought him as part of her RootEd Apprenticeship & Teacher Training Program. He is one of her teachers.

    I attended the Saturday afternoon session, which included lecture, Q&A and practice.

    Mark Whitwell

    Mark Whitwell

    Whitwell is a charismatic presence, standing heads and shoulders above most people. His gray hair is long and he had it plaited into a thick braid on Saturday.

    He offered simple messages about enjoying our lives and being only ourselves, as nature does not work in duplication. The act of searching, which I am 100 percent guilty of,  implies you don’t already have what you’re looking for. But you already do have exactly what you’re looking for, he said. You always have.

    Teachings like these always sound so good when you’re sitting right here, absorbing the speaker’s energy, but then you have to go back out into the real world and interact with real people. He realized it, though, and told us we weren’t allowed to leave until we understood what he was saying: That we’re all already perfect, beautiful creatures. There is nothing to be done, no search to be had, no more knowledge to accrue.

    “There are no steps to be taken,” he said.

    We had a discussion about why there were only 7 men in a room of dozens of women, and why that’s the case in most of Western yoga. He encouraged us to go out and teach the men. Why do you think there aren’t as many men in yoga? I’d like to ponder that in a future column.

    We ended the workshop with a yoga practice.  He said we all need to do seven minutes of yoga every day. To breathe and match the inhale to the exhale. Doing this will heal our relationship with ourselves and then with our loved ones, and we will achieve greater intimacy.

  • Free acupuncture for veterans

    Tue, November 5, 2013 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    acupuncture earTwo local acupuncturists are offering free services to active duty military, veterans and their families.

    I just talked to licensed acupuncturist Carol Penno, who founded the weekly treatments in June. She, along with Diane McCarty, another local licensed acupuncturist, provide a simple five-point ear acupuncture protocol for patients.

    “The ear is a microcosm of the whole body, like in reflexology,” Penno said. “Parts in the ear correspond to parts of the body. It helps balance the mind and body with the five points.”

    Treatments can induce a relaxation response, stimulate endorphins and potentially provide relief from pain, she said. It is an accumulative process, so people are encouraged to come weekly.

    Look for a longer Live Well column on this topic later in the month.

    It’s from 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, VFW No. 101, 702 S. Tejon St.; 330-8788, facebook.com/coloradospringsacupunctureforveterans/info