I hope with all my heart that you will consider joining me on August 19 at the Dunes Club for an evening of live music and dancing under starry skies and luminarias in support of organization that is lighting up so much hope and potential in our community, Shri Yoga.
Just yesterday I was teaching mindfulness to a group of 25 5th graders at the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket. Even though we're just a few weeks in to our summer program, I'm already seeing a level of trust, respect, and rapport being established, allowing me to connect with them on deeper level. As I led them through a guided meditation at the end of class, it brought tears to my eyes to see their fidgeting and chit-chat subside as they focused on the rise and fall of their breath.
Along with my Pawtucket kids, I also witnessed inspiring growth with my transition students at North Providence High School over the past year. The increase in their self-confidence was visibly and audibly apparent in many of the kids, and it was a humbling honor to earn their trust, and to be a part of their growth as well as their joy.
My Monday night class of men from The Fogarty Center and Venture Community Services never fails to lift my faith in the power of community. The students and social workers in this class carry my spirits week after week.
I've seen the power of Shri programming in every organization I've worked with, from The Learning Community to Girls Leadership Collaborative, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State, Woonsocket Head Start, and more.... even as far as the LRI school in Nepal!
I'm learning how it truly takes a community to support this kind of work, and we are grateful for every dollar invested in our programming. Additionally, the 6PM Wednesday night open class I'm beginning next week at Shri will support our mission, and I hope you'll consider attending a class and bringing a friend or two :)
I'm deeply honored to represent Shri, and grateful to Heather Bryant and Alison Bologna for creating a pathway for me to channel my passion into service while also also keeping the rent paid in what's grown to be the home art/yoga studio of my DREAMS here in East Providence, RI :)
We hope to see you on August 19th!
I've been pretty excited to share this sequence of photos for quite some time, beginning with my first day hike in NH in September 2014 up until my journey to Everest Base Camp with Driftwood Adventure Treks this past April.
I've noticed that I can still get caught up in comparing myself to others in my professional and personal life and feel like a bit of a late bloomer, or a lone wolf, or some combination of the two, and when my mind goes wandering down that road, I can get pretty down on myself.
Looking back on these photos and seeing the progression of self-confidence and joie de vivre that is clear as day lends a lot of perspective. It leads me to believe I'm exactly where I need to be on this path. To touch into this sense of calm in the midst of so much life transition is something truly awesome- something to celebrate and give thanks for.
This is the whole inspiration for my interest in leading retreats and expeditions. I'm drawn to creating opportunities for women who are craving a return to their wild nature but not sure where to begin. My vision is for women to be able immerse themselves in the outdoors, perhaps for the first time - challenging their comfort zones, and waking up to more of their power, confidence, and joy. I also see a path for this in yoga and the creative arts. The ultimate vision is some combination of the three, while fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.
This is the year it all comes together, and I am so grateful for all the support I have and will continue to receive along the way <3
"Like everyone, I need to reset my professional compass."
Eight years ago I stepped through the doorway of online entrepreneurship through my Etsy shop.
I was super energized about silk painting, serious about sharing my craft with the world, and inspired to earn an income doing something I truly loved.
I invested in a brand new Macbook Pro to show the Universe just how serious I was, and trusted the investment would pay off. It did. By nearly 3,000%. It was a total joy.
In celebration, I'll be holding a few days in my calendar over the next two weeks to create some new hand painted silk scarves and neckties and posting them for sale (and then, switching gears to focus on an upcoming artist residency with SEEN RI, which I am SO excited to share with you!)
You know how it seems like every time you travel, your bag somehow ends up expanding, even bursting at the seams, by the time you're ready to take it back home?
My fellow Ladies Climbing Coalition friend and travel partner May pointed this out to me at the end of our 17 day journey through the Kombu Valley to Everest Base Camp with Driftwood Adventure Treks.
It stopped me in my tracks as she then observed how travel does the same thing with our bags that it does with hearts: it fills them up and leaves them more full than when we began.
It seems to me that the more we open ourselves up to experiences and people that allow our hearts to be touched and cracked open, our souls to be moved and stirred, the stronger our hearts radiate back out into the world.
This was the first big international trip I've ever embarked on, and it shook me to my core. There will undoubtedly be months of processing and assimilation to come. But something that's immediately apparent to me is the realization of how travel equally challenges and rewards our willingness to embrace our vulnerability by gifting our hearts with a deepened capacity for empathy.
Just Beyond Yourself: A Poem
By David Whyte
Half a step
and the rest
There is a road
When you see
the two sides
at that far horizon
and deep in
of your own
it’s the road
how you know.
need to be.
Who's up for a summer getaway with YURTS and Yoga, FOOD and Fitness and so much more?! I'm SUPER stoked to be partnering with my awesomely talented friend Colin Aina of 212 Health and Performance to offer you an AMAZING summer getaway at Driftwood, located near the foothills of the White Mountains, July 6-8!
Enjoy fun and engaging outdoor fitness and yoga classes customized for all abilities, with built-in coaching designed to help you leave feeling empowered, inspired, connected, and rejuvenated.
In your down time, wander remote walking paths, take a dip in the salt water pool and hot tub, go for a hike in the White Mountains, visit the adjacent horse stables, or lounge in one of the hammocks.
Additionally, enjoy gourmet meals, nightly activities, music, and thought-provoking campfires with AWESOME new friends.
Colin is a world class athlete and head coach with an awesome sense of humor. He and I both share a passion for helping people step outside of their comfort zones and bring out the very best in themselves while having a ton of fun along the way!! If your abs aren’t sore from our classes they most definitely will be sore from all the laughing 🤣😭😭
This retreat WILL SELL OUT so please don't delay! Register today to reserve your spot and bring a friend or two!
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest."― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
To be fully alive: acoustic afternoon and art reception
Sunday, March 18, 2018, 3:00 - 6:00 PM
134 Salt Pond Rd, Wakefield, Rhode Island 02879
To be fully alive and completely awake is to continually be thrown out of the nest. - Pema Chodron
Join artist, yoga teacher, and community builder Joanna Read for her first art reception in over a decade and enjoy the musical talents of singer/songwriters Lisa Couto, Jen Long, and Kate Mick.
Connect with local nonprofit Shri Yoga and learn more about their community outreach programming and sample tasty Shri bark, proceeds of which help fund yoga classes for communities in need.
Writes Read, “The act of uniting community, musicians, and causes dear to my heart, as well as bearing art to the world that has helped me gain a better understanding of my light and shadows, is a larger than life dream come true. This celebration marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in my life as I enter my 33rd year and am proactively deepening my engagement with Rhode Island and international communities through service, adventure, and courageous acts of creativity.”
$10 suggested donation for the musicians and the event is BYOB. Proceeds from art sales will support the vibrant community Mark Lahoud has cultivated at Java Madness, as well as help fund Joanna’s Shri International yoga outreach initiatives, beginning this April at the LRI School in Kathmandu.
The exhibition runs March 9 - April 5.
About the artist:
Joanna’s art is an extension of her curiosity for understanding the natural world. Along with backpacking, climbing, and surfing, art is a contemplative instrument for understanding how the behaviors and life cycles of nature apply to her own process of self-discovery and regeneration.
A freelance artist, silk painter, and muralist, she also teaches yoga for All That Matters, Central Rock Gym, and Shri Yoga. She combines her skills in wilderness survival and professional coaching to craft engaging, beginner-friendly adventure travel retreats that seek to explore and redefine the edges of one’s comfort zone.
This April she’ll be co-leading a trek to Everest Base Camp with Driftwood Adventures. Learn more at joannaread.com or follow instagram.com/expressionsbyjo.
Live music by:
Singer/songwriter from Rhode Island whose eclectic style incorporates Pop, R&B, Rock and folk influences.
Vocalist: Assembly of Light Choir
Founder: The Whale Guitar Project
Hauntingly beautiful banjo & vocals that soulfully manifests light and dark.
Visit katemick.com for summer tour dates.
Use code EXPLORE in my online boutique for an additional 20% off already reduced prices on art originals, plus hand painted silk, eco yoga mats, and more! Valid through 7/16/17.
True to the myth of the Phoenix, since launching my online gallery & boutique seven years ago, the growing pains, and resulting transformations that have occurred during this time, have been extraordinary! What's more, it feels like this is just the beginning. :)
After ten years of serving the nonprofit sector, I'm spreading my wings to follow my calling as an artist, yoga teacher, and metaphorical river guide for adventurous souls seeking to explore and breathe new life into their limitless, vibrantly creative potential.
It's been a dream of mine for years to see my Phoenix printed on a yoga mat and quite literally practice standing strong in the midst of the fire. It's also been a dream to get involved with Shri (Support - Honor - Respect - Inspire) Yoga ever since their opening. Until now, I'd stuffed both of these dreams into the "someday" box, and it took a complete life overhaul to bring them back into the light.
Through this Kickstarter, your purchase of a Phoenix print or eco-friendly yoga mat will help bring these dreams to life (and you can even pledge for a private yoga class or wellness coaching, too!): offering meditative totems of hope in times of disparity, while simultaneously supporting my journey into Shri Yoga's "Path of Service" yoga teacher training, where I'll deepen my connection to under-recognized populations right in the local community.
With the direct support of the Phoenix, over the next three months I will be studying with Shri Yoga Founder, Alison Bologna, to learn the principles and techniques of teaching Shri yoga outreach classes. This 60 hour immersion will dive into:
About the Phoenix
I created this painting around the Fall Equinox of 2013. I was 28. It came about during a time of tremendous loss and grief; at the time, my entire life felt as though it had been shattered to pieces. So many of the people, places, and activities that I had come to identify myself with suddenly vanished, and I had no idea who I was anymore.
To cope, I'd travel to the mountains every weekend and cry until my mind became too tired to think any longer. With my mind finally stilled, I'd practice letting the sadness move through me like water, sometimes like a flooded rush from a mountain waterfall, other times like transient vapor slowly rolling in and blanketing the highest mountain peaks. I practiced sitting with this feeling, over and over and over again.
Gradually, the pain started to transform. Though I couldn't see it at the time, it was becoming fuel for creating something new; something that would fill me with hope and breathe new life into me. This was my yoga.
The idea for the Phoenix came to me as I was sitting under an old oak tree. I only had a vague idea of what it would look like. Even still, the pull to explore this concept was inexplicably compelling. I knew I needed to move through the process of bringing this piece to life, however it took form. It was the first time in my creative life that I truly felt I couldn't not do it.
Over the next three days, I found solace in my art studio and dove deep into the colors and textures of my grief. As I rhythmically dragged my fingertips across the canvas, a funny thing started to happen. I could feel my pain slowly shifting into curiosity. When the piece reached a crux point where I wasn't sure if the next step would "ruin" it or bring it all together, I felt that undeniable stoke in my heart saying go for it. It was there that I let myself go completely and surrendered to the process.
After all, it really didn't matter how the painting turned out - it was the taking action and being fearlessly present that was healing me. I became so completely immersed in the process that I grew unaware of my own hunger, thirst, or need for sleep. For those few days within Autumn's threshold, time felt like it was suspended. It was magical.
The Phoenix is what came out of that beautiful gift of creative release.
I learned through this process how tremendously healing it could be to allow myself to sit in the heat of difficult feelings and continue to let them wash over me and feel into them, rather than numbing them out or muscling past them.
To further support this process of svādhyāya or inward reflection, I said yes to a 7 year dream of becoming a yoga teacher through Eyes of the World. Through this year-long program I was challenged and pushed in tremendous ways to sit with my aversions and discomforts, to dig deeper than ever before into questioning who I was, and how I wanted to show up in the world. Eventually this opened the doorway to a lifelong journey of questioning everything I was (and am) not.
I've been teaching yoga ever since, and continue to make art that explores my deepest feeling states and curiosities within the physical world.
From a young age, art and yoga have both served as pathways for transformation, safety, and healing, My thirst for exploring the intersections of these practices is unquenchable - both in the vein of serving others, as well as in deepening my own path of (un)knowing and awakening.
About the yoga mats
These yoga mats are SOOO awesome!! They are made of a high quality, eco friendly, BPA and phthalates free, cellular vinyl. They offer a soft cushion feel, and contain a mesh center membrane for dimensional stability. Each one measures just under an extra long 74" x 24" wide, weighs approximately 3lbs, and is a comfy 1/4" thick.
The more you use the mats, the more "grip" you'll get with your holds, which is fantastic. Caring for them is simple: you can wash them with lukewarm water and a towel, and once they've dried, just roll them up and put them somewhere safe.
Non-toxic and latex free and 100% made in the USA.
Work with me
With this Kickstarter, I'm STOKED to be offering private and small group yoga sessions for local Providence-area folks, as well as some opportunities for wellness coaching! We can talk all about your goals and objectives and craft something custom just for you - this is all about how YOU want to transform!!
Thank you so, so, SO much for your support!!