Fall into It

After 60 minutes of long holds, trembling triceps, I was finally there. Dear, Shasvasana. My heavy breathing coming to a pause, my lips parting, and eyes falling heavy.

 

In that state of rest, my yoga teacher whispered reminders to be still. To be comforted in this instant. To relish in the moment. And quell our worries and push away those nagging anxieties. We were here. Perfect in this moment.  And exactly where we needed to be.

 

With a crazy work schedule like I had last week, it’s seemingly impossible for those words to resonate.  Heck, I’m even on my work email Sunday night. But we must let them. Be still with your breath and comprehend that you are in this moment—not yesterday’s argument or next month’s job review. You’re here now. This is the opportunity to remain grounded. And to find perspective. Challenge yourself to ride life’s waves and not connect every dot in your life. Be patient enough to endure and strong enough to believe.

 

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WIAW: Well Actually Tuesday

WIAW is back. Thanks, Jenn

 


6am:

After several failed attempts to evade my alarm, I pried my eyes open one-by-one. With mismatched yoga apparel on and a Yogitoes towel in hand, I spent the following hour depleting my body of any and all liquid. That, my friends is what a Hot Power class will do to you. I then tried to salvage what I could of my previously presentable hair and drag myself to work; rosewater spray saved me in the office.

Sweating front row

Sweating front row

 

8:30am:

A few meager endeavors to replenish my liquids occurred while working at my desk.

Infused water. It's like it's spa day in the office

Infused water. It’s like it’s spa day in the office

One for me. One for my colead

One for me. One for my colead

Green monster

Green monster

 

Noon on the dot:

Hangry monster attacks. Need.lunch.now. Luckily, I was overly ambitious this past weekend and did meal prep. Very rare occasion, folks.

 

Roasted Tomato Zucchini :

  • Spiralize two zucchinis

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  • Add can of fire roasted diced tomatoes to frying pan

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  • Sautee tomatoes with bell peppers (any additional vegetable), cumin, pepper, salt, and nutritional yeast

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  • Add protein of choice (I used Beyond Meat from Whole Foods)
  • Top spiraled zucchini noodles with sauce

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  • Bon appetit

 

Snacks:

Not far and few between. Chocolate. And lots of it. Sorry, I consumed my little treats too quickly to photograph.

 

8:05pm:

Tomatoes are my favorite food, if you did not already know. And I prefer to say food because they’re technically a fruit not a vegetable, and when they’re compared with other fruits its a tough call. I digress, tomato salad with balsamic glaze and a faux chicken salad. Delish.

Summer on a plate

Summer on a plate

 

8:35pm:

And then these happened just because. There’s never a wrong time for coconut. Martha Stewart circa English basement in North Dupont. Crazier things have happened?

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How is your Wednesday shaping up?

Om On

After three weeks of chaco attire, sporadic runs, sitting on planes/trains/automobiles, and erratic eating, there comes a time to get back into the swing of things. That entails using my stove (which I have yet to do in my new apartment), jumping back into a workout routine, no longer living out of a suitcase, meal planning, budgeting, girls nights, and…

Hiking chic

Hiking chic

 

 

The fear. The fear of yoga. Grappling thoughts of tight hamstrings, overwhelming heat, chaturanga fatigue, inflexible everything, and slippery mats filled my head this last week. There’s no wonder that yoga becomes an addicting activity, as the ease of postures and breath come with practice and commitment. And a fallen yogi must get back on her mat regardless of sore hips from 23 hour plane rides and a bowl or three too many of mango sticky rice. It must be done.

Om on

Om on

 

 

And Monday night I did it. Thank you, Mimi for kicking my butt all over the exposed brick. Long, long, long, strong holds were the theme of the class. An hour and fifteen minutes of planks, hip openers, and fire jumps gave me the overwhelming soreness the next morning that I needed. To my surprise, she led me through a new, deep heart-opening camel to wheel to standing transition. Not as scary as it looks.

 

 

 

I’ve found that I can more easily jump back into double digit runs than I can unwaveringly flow into a power vinyasa class after a respite. Yoga for me varies every single day. It’s a constant journey of stronger self, striving to be present, discovering new balances, and that slow but sure handstand.

Intersection of yoga and running

Intersection of yoga and running

 

Hope I can manage yoga and a trail half this weekend. Wish me luck!

Any yoga or running plans?

Growing Up

How can something be so exhilarating, momentous, and painful all at the same time? A time that we can feel utterly jaded and bitter while still having so many niceties and lessons to come. During this confusing time the best years of our lives, there’s a constant learning curve. We begin to grow up regardless of if we really want to. A new realization every step along the way

 

-I’ve yet to see the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, so dad’s shoulders still might be the highest place in the world. Even if they’re not, his arms are always open, welcoming a hug and cry.

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-Being employed in the real world is a little different than that summer job at the ice cream parlor you use to have. You’ll have a cry session in the office bathroom and get papercuts and see an optometrist three times in a month because you forget to blink at your computer screen (true story). But you will also befriend coworkers, stifle uncontrollable laughter during your Monday meeting, and have more than three digits in your bank account–at least until you pay rent. And as many keyboard shortcuts and impressive Excel outputs as you’ll learn, you’ll still be more perplexed by that coworker, the sole person on the planet who manages to not gain a pound at her desk job.

 

-There’s no longer any excuse to be on, at, or near the floor. Ergo, my taking up yoga and training for five months. Sitting in sukasana on my mat is now socially acceptable, who knew? The days of cart wheels and handstands and tumbling around the grass are gone. Though if you learn to do handstand pushups you can have some fun while looking super hardcore at the gym. And then of course, you’ll instagram it…

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-Doing taxes for the first, second, or fourth time will not make the process more inherently clear. I guess keying away at Turbotax is a right of passage. A right I look forward to delegating to my accountant.

 

-You’re going to dislike things you shouldn’t, love people who are wrong for you, and miss opportunities you should have valued. Understand the mistake, the frustration, the loss. And move on from it. Work to be happy and feel it in every cell and fiber of your being. Remember that life will go on.

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-Proclaim you’re going through a quarter-life crisis. To multiple people, on a myriad of occasions. It happens.IMG_3100

 

-Choose comfort over style. I’d like to be advising you that pain is beauty but come on. As many times as mom told you to wear sneakers with your jeans and tennies with your dress for those long walks, you may argue that she was institutionally insane or just plain pragmatic. That barefoot walk through the Meatpacking District may just be the smartest decision of your life after a night of too high a heel and too close of a fractured toe.

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-Unless you hire a sous chef, you will not have the bountiful, fresh fruit salads of your childhood. Ones in which you picked out the ripest of blackberries as your dad and mom chopped away. Instead you will rely on the simplicity of biting into an apple or finding diced mangoes on extreme sale. It’s a sad truth right here.

Mangoes on saleee

Mangoes on saleee

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-You’ll learn to wake up on your own. Without the pour of water over your head or the slight touch of a head rub. You’ll wake up to the garbage truck terrorizing your street at the same hour before dusk every day. You’ll wake up with the approximate 19 minutes you need to commute to work without breaking into a frantic run. You’ll wake up early (gaaaasp) because you’ve come to adore the quiet, reflective time the morning allows you.

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-Take the time to see beauty. Subjective beauty at that. It’s never too late and you’re never too inexperienced to just create. To pour your thoughts out onto paper, to imagine colors that were never “meant” to be paired together, to fulfill your dream regardless if it fits the mold. We did it in our coloring books on the floor of our bedrooms, so why not now?

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-Host a dinner party just because. Because you have your own kitchen, because you no longer have a curfew, because you have a semi-functional albeit rusty cutting knife, and because you need your wine cabinet restocked. They’re the dinner parties of your parents that we you watched from your bedroom. But with a few more paper plates and liquor bottles.

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-Call in sick to work, so that you can fly home just to have waffles and sit by the pool. There’s more validity in that than you know.

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The Weekender

We spend the majority of the day at our desks wishing away our week, drumming our fingers, and imploring the clock to turn faster. And then the weekend is gone before we begin to unwind a single degree from the maddening week.

A productive and inspired weekend adds an extra degree of elation to the reprieve from work. And the sudden appearance of spring  sunshine and transition from my puffer jacket to light cardigan within days, may add to the delight.

 

Pilates and a wonderful yoga class with some lovely ladies.

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Union Market explorations. We were a bit overwhelmed with where and what to eat.

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Reading and more reading.

 

Cherry Blossom 10 miler. And PR for this distance.

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Brunch on brunch to refuel.

 

Meal prep for the week. Hello, less rushed mornings

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Protein pancakes Protein pancakes

Mangoes on saleee

Mangoes on saleee

Hummus central

Hummus central

 

 

Discovering an amazing oasis in DC. I couldn’t even believe I was still in the city–lounging in the grass doing Acroyoga to the beat of the Drum line. IMG_3034IMG_3040IMG_3042IMG_3045  IMG_3043

 

Tell me about your weekend

Spring Renewal

I hope you all had a happy weekend or Passover or Easter depending on your beliefs. I experienced some poignant reminders in between the beautiful spring weather and the dismal rain. I often feel that my time on my yoga mat is my church, my spiritual time. To set an intention for myself at that moment no matter the challenges my day brought–it’s my chance to move forward from the stress and tears that came before I stepped on my mat. To move without thought in harmony with my breath. To rejuvenate. To renew. To be. Yoga means union. The union of the body, the mind, the breath, and God. Yoga philosophy teaches us that everything is God, you are an image of God, you are one with God and grow as God.

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Following my beautiful time on the mat next to wonderful friends and a unison of breath, I attended an Easter service near the White House. The reverend spoke about the resurrection and moving away from “Befores” and “If onlys.” His words truly resonated with me. How often do I spend my time in that frame of mind? Thinking about when I was in college and things were easier, when my parents were still together, if only I had taken those prerequisite courses, if only I had done a language immersion, if only I had lived closer to my grandmother.  Easter is about renewal and change and moving forward. A new dawn with beginnings and opportunities. What is different and uncomfortable and hard allows us to grow and to begin.

 

In between my poignant lessons on renewal, I spent time enjoying the cherry blossoms (only one tree, don’t be misled), maneuvering around tourists invading DC, hunting for eggs and tiny vodka bottles, consuming too many chocolates after 40 days, and hosting a cramped (I need a real living room) but festive and joyful Easter dinner for twelve.

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Any lessons for you this weekend?

Sore Morning

 

I couldn’t help but feel like this after Mysore yoga this morning.

Mysore is an asana practice within the Ashatanga Yoga tradition–each asana builds upon the previous and prepares for the successive. The class is not led but rather the students practice the sequence at their own pace and through memorization of the series. What makes this practice so transformative for your practice is that the teacher is able to take the time to assist each student individually with physical adjustments and verbal cues.

Back in college, a friend (hi Becky)and I discovered the 5:30am Mysore classes and how they advanced our practice and complemented our running–strengthening and stretching muscles that were prone to injury. Two years later, I’m trying to ease back onto Mysore. I need to recommit the sequence to memory and learn how to contort my body into poses I use to have, but it will come. I took my first Mysore with a couple of my favorite yogis last week, and this morning was my second. I’m still elated. I guess that’s what finally getting Bhujapidasana and having a good morning of drop backs will do to you

Bhujapidasana

Bhujapidasana

Back drops from standing

Back drops from standing

 

Any poses or goals you’re working at?

May I Be

“may i be i is the only prayer–not may i be great or good or beautiful or wise or strong today… may i be me….five foot eleven, brown hair/eyed, smart, serious, happy, frustrated, impatient, joyful, running, sleeping, smiling, eating, trying, believing, listening, being & becoming.” -EE Cummings

 

Flowing through our Surya Namaskars on Saturday morning, we saluted the sun. These series of poses are Sun Salutations. The sun was radiating through the window, and the “blizzard” we had expected days prior was gone. Spring was in the air. As we moved through our salutes, our teacher spoke of the idle waiting we do during winter and the opportunities that emanate as spring arrives. It’s a time for us to finally plant our seeds. To cultivate. To ignite. To be and become, as EE Cummings said. It’s a season of blossoming. For the hyacinth and the cherry blossoms and ourselves.

 

It was nice to take a moment this weekend just to be. To spend time in the kitchen, to snuggle, to celebrate birthdays with my family and friends, to stay have breakfast in bed, to reconnect with my mat, to drink champagne, to feel the sun permeate my skin, to run along the Potomac with 75% of DC, to take a breath, to not plan my entire day.

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Practicing: Love

Every day is a blessing. Every day is unpredictable. Every day is complicated. Disheartening events in our own lives and other’s lives are part of the every day. It’s hard not to find ourselves somber at times. The world will continue to revolve–for it to continue on with love rather than hatred is up to us. We are part of something bigger than ourselves, we can inspire love, compassion, laughter, and light in each day and in each other.  The way we live our lives, treat others, and handle situations has boundless significance.

 

When I lived in Charlottesville, I became one of those runners beaming with a sense of community. Around every corner, we waved and at the top of each endless hill, we murmured good morning. The Yoga Sutras discuss the yama, ahimsa, meaning non-violence–physical violence and the violence of our words and thoughts. Each morning smile at a passerby, I was practicing ahmisa; running was my vehicle for instilling loving kindness.

 

The other day, a woman smiled at me as I walked through my neighborhood in DC after work. A genuine smile. One with sincerity and kindness. And I realized the stern, distant expression plastered on my face and on almost every other pedestrian. Living in the city, I hustle from gym to restaurant to metro with a hardened facade, never looking away from my phone or really meeting another’s gaze for too long. So concerned with our own matters and our own faced paced lives, we forget that the world is bigger than ourselves. I’d forgotten to smile. I’d forgotten my practice of ahimsa. I’d forgotten how powerful the compassion of a stranger’s smile can be.

 

Go out on Valentine’s Day, this day of love and every other day, and have a clear intention to act. To act with clarity and love and positivity. And remember Plato’s words, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Big Things

Big things are happening over here.

I have waved a tearful goodbye to my early twenties. My youth. But those years treated me well. I rang in my twentieth birthday in Tampa at Gasparilla (our Mardi Gras but with pirates), my big twenty first in Copenhagen which my dad flew in for, my twenty second in NYC with some besties, my twenty third in DC with a night out on the town, and my twenty fourth again in DC with good friends, bf, and family. And in between those celebrations in my early twenties,  I lived in San Francisco with my grandmother, became a pescatarian (note the correlation), lived in NYC with some of my best friends, spent five life changing months living in Denmark, visited over eleven countries while living aborad, ran my first half marathon, impacted my health dramatically by partaking in Mardi Gras, graduated from four amazing years at UVa, traveled to South America, moved to a new city, lived within a block of my brother, started my first job, ran a marathon, sauntered around Paris, became a yoga teacher, and……taught my first paid yoga class.

I think that was a fortuitous note to begin my mid-twenties (shutter) on.

 

The other weekend, during my jaunt home to Florida and in between walks in 70 degree weather with my dog and visits to my favorite restaurants, I poured over my scrawled class notes and prepared my perfect playlist. I was nervous. Reading the cues aloud as I paced around the living room helped to mitigate my turning stomach. The range of students I was expecting to teach put me at nerve–it’s hard to deliver the kick-your-butt class I prepared when there were going to be little fledgling yogis in the room. I didn’t want to scare anyone off or injure them.

 

This past Sunday, I went for a long run to settle my nerves–by body relaxed, my breath calmed, and I was ready to teach. I taught in the Avant-Garden room at the Salvador Dali Museum with views of the waterfront framed by the geodesic glass. My students began to pour in, one by one setting up their mats and props, including the supportive, Vanaynay (Hiii Vanessa!!). In Sukhasana position looking across at my twenty-three students, with one breath we began.

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I adapted. Adapted my class, adapted to the environment, adapted to audio issues. I toned down the “Grace Under Fire” (which my instructors had referred to my teaching style as) and taught to what the class needed at that moment on that Sunday. I became more familiar with each student’s ability through every assist and cue I encouraged.

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Time was impalpable. And in an hour and a half rather than shaking with nerves, I was receiving hugs and sincere thank yous from the visitors that day. Very fitting to experience the surreal moment of the teacher becoming the student, while doing so at a surrealist museum. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Laura, Henri, Ma, Richard, Flow Yoga, dear friends, all my TTs, and roomies for being so patient and encouraging during my five months of dedicated weekends.

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What was your first yoga class like?