Where in the World

 

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I am writing this at an old wooden table, sitting on an old wooden chair, with the above lush landscape directly in front of me. Gorgeous doesn’t even begin to cut it. Breathtaking might.

I recently realized that in the midst of the working two jobs, test-taking and friends-visiting madness of July, I haven’t made it super public that I’m spending this whole month of August out of the U.S. of A doing the things that nourish my spirit: yoga, writing, and exploring new places. So I’m using this post partly to brag about being in Italy right now facing the picturesque view and also to articulate just what it is that I am doing during a full August off, and why.

The best way to explain this is also my favorite way to plan for a yoga class: through themes. Each leg of this five-week trip has a different theme. I’m sharing them below.

Italy: Pleasure

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photo via cocceto.com

I am currently in Tuscany on a yoga retreat with the talented Francesca Bove and a dozen-plus lovely yogis. It’s only day two and so far, I went on a run / walk through the hills surrounding the villa we’re staying at, dined on a breakfast of fresh-cut prosciutto, eggs and muesli, took an hour-and-a-half-long yoga class, and sat by the pool to read and nap. The theme of this trip is pleasure because too often pleasure gets misused in the work-hard, play-hard culture New York City immerses itself in. Pleasure, in a relaxed way, means (for this trip) not only drinking a glass of wine with dinner, but going on a wine tour. It means eating slowly to taste the most subtle flavors of artisan olive oil…and attending a tasting at the vineyard it’s made at. It means practicing yoga with an abundant view of the Italian countryside, and it means putting sunglasses on during savasana and letting the sensuous sensory experiences Italy is so known for marinate so that there can be space to take it all in.

England: Literary

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photo via britishtours.com

Right after this retreat, I’m going to England to take two continuing education creative writing courses at the University of Cambridge. This year, when I took Teaching of Writing as part of my graduate program, I had a lot of feelings surrounding wanting to make sure that I am a teacher-writer / writer-teacher, and not only a teacher of writing (I’m studying to be a middle school English teacher). In other words, I want my practice as an educator and as a writer to disrupt the narrative of “those who can’t do teach” and change it to “those who can do teach.” I also have an extraordinarily hard time writing in New York City, and I’m sitting on quite a few works in progress. I would say that I need to carve out the time, except for the fact that with my working-grad school schedule, the time just simply doesn’t exist, and I’m starting to think that small geographic changes to encourage creativity can be a good thing. We can do it all…just not all at once, after all. But back to my plans for the trip! While I am spending the weekdays intensively writing and attending plenary lectures, I’ll spend the first weekend in Oxford doing a tour of the medieval literature that was born there and hopefully getting enough free time to go to the Bodleian Library for the Jane Austen exhibit! That second weekend, I’ll be in London (yay!) and plan on going to the British Library, as well as both Daunt and Persephone Books!

Finland: Design

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photo via finland.fi

I’ll be spending my last 10 days of this trip in Finland with my boyf who’s moving there for the academic year. He’s moving there to study wood architecture and I’m traveling there so that we can experience Finnish culture together before his courses begin. Finland has a magnificent history and practice of design in both broad and specific ways. Finnish society seems to set itself up for success using infrastructural and architectural design. During this trip, I want to attend some art festivals going on and explore the amazing architecture throughout. I want to focus on something that I really do believe is the backbone of how society functions: design. I want to be able to carry that knowledge with me into all that I do because it can only help when we see the world through a variety of lenses including though not limited to pleasure, literature, and design.

Summer Yoga Teaching: July

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July Yoga Teaching

Saturday 7/1 5:45pm (60 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

Monday 7/3 7pm (90 min) Vinyasa 2 at Harlem Yoga Studio

Thursday, 7/6 7:45pm (60 min) OmPower Flow at One Yoga for All

Friday, 7/7 10:45am (75 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

Wednesday, 7/12 5:45pm (60 min) Community Class at Harlem Yoga Studio

Thursday, 7/13 7:45pm (60 min) OmPower Flow at One Yoga for All

Friday, 7/14 10:45am (75 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

Wednesday, 7/19 5:45pm (60 min) Community Class at Harlem Yoga Studio

Wednesday, 7/26 5:45pm (60 min) Community Class at Harlem Yoga Studio

Thursday, 7/27 7:45pm (60 min) OmPower Flow at One Yoga for All

Friday, 7/28 10:45am (75 min) Yoga Open Level at Harlem Yoga Studio

The theme at Harlem Yoga Studio for July is third chakra – manipura – and the theme at One Yoga for All for this month is “letting go.” The third chakra is centered around personal power – our core (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually). Its element is fire and its actions are those of transformation. Pairing this concept with “letting go” has been an exercise in the true meaning of yoga itself: union…in order to find balance. The third chakra is often misperceived as the chakra of control – of toughness – yet the work of transformation cannot be done without letting go of that which does not serve us.

More specifically, because this month began with a long weekend that encouraged us to reflect on the state of the country – of the world – I decided that I wanted to focus my classes on how we can use this sense of personal power and letting go of that which takes us out of the present moment to focus on kindness. The yoga practice can fuel our ability to be kind in the world, if we use it to nourish ourselves from the ground up. And so I continue to close my classes (and this blog post) with a poem to inspire a fruitful transition from savasana into the rest of the waiting world.

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Read the full poem here.

Want to stay up to date on my yoga goings-on? Follow me / the blog on Instagram at @growinguponom! 

 

The First Day of Summer + International Day of Yoga

I started off the longest day of the year extending my waking hours even further by waking up at 5:39am to catch a flight to Indianapolis. While I was productive on my flight, I was productive with a purpose: I did the work I needed to do (and which I fully enjoy) so that I could take some time off during this vacation, and return recharged. This is only too appropriate as I intend for this to be the theme of my whole summer. I want to be disciplined Monday through Friday during the times that I am in my home city so that on weekends and during my whole month of August in Europe (Eeeeeeeee! – More on that later!), I can gallavant, rejuvenate, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Today is also International Yoga Day and I am grateful for the reminders I’ve gotten on Instagram (I’m having a wee bit of FOMO concerning not being at Yoga in Times Square, but ya can’t be everywhere at once). Those Instagram reminders are what reminded me just now to do some sun salutations, which should be my go-to after being on a plane, but somehow isn’t always. I did some sun salutations, truly felt the spirit of summer in my bones – in my joints – and am now settling down to tell you, dear readers, my summer plans.

These plans that I am about to share are not concrete ones – there will be a variety of separate blog posts for that, including transforming this site into a travel blog for the month of August! Instead, the plans I would like to share now are broad; they’re more intentions – things that I would like to do – simple pleasures to invite in – that will bring about (I hope!) the feelings of summer: joy, ease, rest, and warmth. This summer, I would like to…

  • Say YES to the beach, and more! A few years ago, I read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (oh, hay, Scandal). At the time, I had to dismiss some of her methods; it was impossible – working two jobs and attending graduate school – to make “yes” my default answer; in fact, I had to say no more. But this summer, I want to take advantage of the opportunities that arise when saying “yes” more often, especially when those opportunities involve going to the beach!
  • Go to the Farmer’s Market weekly. I want to start shopping at the farmer’s market. I love the Union Square Green Market, and the farmer’s market near Columbia, but I’m definitely open to trying some more out.
  • Walk the city. For obvious reasons, I walk so much more in the summer than I do any other season. This summer, in the United States and when I go abroad, I want to fully embrace flaneuserie.
  • Relish in yoga clothes. Whenever I can this summer, I intend to be either in a swim suit, sun dress, or yoga clothes (I want the latter to be the majority of my summer wardrobe). I want to develop a chic yoga clothes look, and take care in my appearance, which can be hard to do in sweaty New York, but can be an invaluable way to start the day off with positive self-esteem. But most importantly, I intend to be in yoga clothes because I intend to be doing more yoga and teaching more yoga (I already have!).
  • Enjoy time with friends. Time to pop the rose with good company, y’all!

Now tell me, what are your summer plans that are more like intentions?

How to Slay Finals Without Losing Your Zen

Disclaimer: I write this as someone who already lost my zen during this lovely finals season (can you smell the sarcasm?). As a result, I’ve had to consciously find ways to reclaim my calm during the chaos. This is very much so similar to how I came to yoga. I was stressed out and the kind of person that needed yoga, not the kind of person who would seem to just naturally drift on into an asana / meditation combo. I tend to find that those are the people who get the most out of the practices.

  • Find an accountability buddy and commit study time to them. Text them when you are going to start studying and when you are going to finish studying. Research shows that accountability increases productivity and the likelihood that sh*t will get done.
  • Keep your spaces clean and de-cluttered. My boss makes sure that her desk is gorgeously decluttered before she leaves work every day. I admire that so much…the ability to leave with clarity and begin again with clarity. When it comes to any space, that’s what high-quality work demands, and it makes it that much more pleasurable.
  • Have an exercise plan (a challenge, even!) that is a #treatyoself for this period of time. I started doing SoulCycle’s Turn It Up 10 challenge when finals first started to hit. The endorphins help with the focus, calm and levity. The 45-minute classes make the timing doable and the lack of a commute makes the exercise totally conducive to studying. It’s a great release for the stress and I’m making the exercise work for me during this time, not the other way around.
  • Practice studying in a hygge way. As you know from the blog, I’ve been a big fan of hygge this year (who hasn’t, really?). This is all to say…get COZY when you study. Drape a blanket over you. Grab a cup of tea. Wear your comfiest PJ’s or yoga clothes.
  • Bask in how fun using a planner can be. I absolutely adore my planner. Lately, I’ve started using bullet journaling techniques in it. This allows me to schedule in time to have fun and practice self-care. In my planner for this weekend, for example, are all of my assignments, and a manicure / pedicure appointment.
  • Do at least one de-stressing activity a week; #treatyoself. Maybe this is said mani / pedi. Maybe this is a special restorative yoga class. Maybe this is a massage or a walk through the park. Whatever it is, schedule it as a way of making time for it. That way, when you return to your work, you’ll do so with a fresh and refreshed perspective.
  • Create a mise-en-place every time you sit down to work. A mise-en-place is a culinary strategy: laying out all the ingredients and tools so that it’s all within reach. I first learned about using the mise-en-place as a strategy for doing work from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast. It’s by far the best strategy I’ve gleaned from that show. Having everything in one spot makes doing the work so much easier and the distractions much fewer.

15 Ways to Re-start the Day (after it has already begun)

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I don’t know about you, but there are days that just don’t go as planned…or that just don’t go well. I find it a lot harder to do a mental re-start at, say, 3pm, than at 7am, yet the need to re-start, rejuvenate, and recharge can be just as necessary when the day is halfway through.

Okay, I’ll get less abstract here. As you all know, I went to Indiana over my spring break to spend time with my guy. The morning we were going to do our day trip to Indianapolis to go to this fantastic brunch place, I overslept…by three hours. The people who know and love me best were so proud of me when I told them this; balancing work, graduate school, and a side hustle has left me with a fairly high strung and generally early schedule that makes sleeping in a challenge. However, I did not see my morning of necessary rest in this light (heck, I didn’t even see the rest as anything resembling a necessity). Instead, I woke up totally freaked out that I wouldn’t have time to do yoga before being in a car for an hour and a half. I had an icky feeling all day, was a tad reactive to certain situations, and deeply craved a more grounded and yogic perspective. It wasn’t long before I realized what I needed to do: start my day over! So, to spread the love of the starting the day over in the middle of the day practice, I am sharing this list of ways how here.

  1. SUN SALUTATIONS – While they are meant for the morning, doing them in the middle of the day is a phenomenal way to channel that morning fresh start energy. My yoga teacher suggestion is to do five rounds of Sun Salutation A. If you’re feeling ambitious, three rounds of Sun A and three rounds of Sun B work great as well!
  2. MAKE A CUPPA coffee or tea – Allow the ritual of the beverage to re-set your brain, heart, and mind. Make it a mindfulness practice as you sip the beverage peacefully and maybe catch up on blogs, the paper, or magazines as you do so.
  3. WASH YOUR FACE – Splash cold water over your face and apply face wash and moisturizer. Breathe deeply as you massage your cheeks. This is especially good if one of the reasons you need to restart your day is because you need a bit of a wake up!
  4. SET AN INTENTION – Write down an intention for the rest of the day. How do you want to act? How do you want to perceive yourself? How do you want others to perceive you?
  5. INVERT THE BODY – Go upside down! This can be a downward facing dog, shoulderstand, headstand, or handstand (it can even be legs up the wall!).
  6. MEDITATE – Set a timer for ten minutes. Put your hands on your lap. Press your feet into the floor beneath you. Close your eyes or focus on one point in front of you. Breathe deeply. Namaste.
  7. 10 DEEP BREATHS + PRATAYAHARA – Pratayahara is one of my favorite niyamas (abstentions) of the yoga practice. It means to shut out some / most of the senses as a way of drawing inward. It can be incredibly rejuvenating, especially after a long day with a lot of external stimulation.
  8. SEX – Speaking of stimulation…with yourself or someone else sometimes it provides just the reset.
  9. 1-MINUTE DANCE PARTY – Blast some Beyonce. Turn off the lights. Rock out.
  10. PHONE A FRIEND – This 75-year-long Harvard study says it all: connection is the most important contributor to happiness. Feeling connected can be as attainable as a call to a long distance bestie.
  11. JOURNAL – Write about why you need to re-start the day, and how you can go about doing it. You might be surprised by what comes up!
  12. TAKE A NAP – Literally go asleep and wake up anew. This is something that I tell my students when they emerge from savasana: to stretch out like they’re waking up first thing in the morning…even if it’s 7pm. Start fresh!
  13. TAKE A WALK IN NATURE – Go outside and breathe in some fresh air. Fresh air, plus the lateral motion required in walking can do wonderful things to simply re-set the brain.
  14. SING IN THE SHOWER – Just do it. You’ll thank me later.
  15. STRETCH – Forward fold. Roll up vertebrae by vertebrae. Lift your arms up in the air and flex the palms like you’re doing a handstand on the ceiling. Take a big breath in. Really, it can be that simple sometimes.

Yoga + Social Justice: The Preliminary Inner Work

YogaSocialJustice-HomePage4.jpgAs part of the Yoga + Social Justice training that I am thrilled to be able to participate in at Laughing Lotus San Francisco, I was required to fill out a detailed and thought-provoking questionairre. As part of Radical Self-Care for Radical Action (#RSC4RA), I am documenting every element of this training for this blog! I am writing this now from San Francisco, two hours away from joining the training myself. I missed the first day and, unfortunately, Jasmine’s class this morning because of train troubles and needing to be in NYC an extra day, but such is life. In the spirit of this training and RSC4RA, I am setting an intention for the day: gentleness + calm.

Anyways, I want to share with you some of my answers to the deep questions asked of me by the organizers of this training. Here goes…

What is social justice to you?

Social justice is a collective understanding that all members of society deserve to and should be treated with dignity and respect. It is the belief that all people deserve everything needed for physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Yet social justice does not stop at that understanding. Rather, that understanding translates to direct action that bridges gaps so that individuals become closer to obtaining all that they need to be Whole and have their existence in the world affirmed.

What is your understanding of privilege?

To this day when I think of privilege I still think of the Peggy McIntosh article on “invisible backpacks” that we all carry. I probably read it for the first time when I was in middle school and realized that my own backpack contained within it the fact that I’ve never been in a situation where my basic needs were not filled. With that privilege comes a complete lack of understanding for what that is like for others. I remember when I filled my first emergency food box as part of my AmeriCorps work and was told that I filled it with the bare minimum. My supervisor told me that when people are in crisis – when they lack in their basic needs – we need to approach our service work from a place of abundance. That was when I realized as well that my own privilege informs my biases. In this new year, my primary intention involves learning when to listen versus when to speak up, and in doing so, to call myself and others out – in the most gentle and implicit ways – on our privilege.

How do you navigate privilege and/or social justice as a yoga instructor?

I want my yoga teaching and practice to mirror my overall philosophy on yoga: that it is a bridge and a way of life. Yoga is a technique for getting to higher practices…like doing the work and actually serving people and causes. So, for me, I navigate social justice as a yoga teacher by not teaching yoga full time. I don’t yet know if that is the right decision for me, but what it does mean is that I get to infuse my day-job as a third grade teacher with as much yoga (both the asana and a yogic attitude) as I can. This comes with practice. Through practicing at Laughing Lotus NYC I am able to refuel so that I can give to others. I have had times when I’ve had very little to give because I wasn’t refueling. This is a tension I find in my activist and teaching life in general: taking the time to fuel up so that I can respond rather than react to all the various chaotic life that comes up when immersed in service.

What is the relationship between yoga and social justice and privilege?

During this new era, I believe that we need to keep activism and social justice efforts continuous and sustainable; we cannot afford burnout. While burnout and activism have had close relationships to one another, so have healing practices and social change methodologies. We need to learn how to systematically refuel during these trying times. Yoga is a thoughtful, spiritual, emotional, and physical way of refueling so we can approach Social Justice Work from a place of intentionality and responsiveness.

What are three Yogic teachings or practices that bridge Yoga and Social Justice?

  • Tapas – steady discipline (this means writing down actions – representatives to call! – in my planner, and carefully planning out the lessons I’ll teach).
  • Aparigraha – non-possessiveness – as a way not to hoard conversations around social justice. As mentioned previously, my intention for the new year is to gauge when I need to listen versus when I need to speak up. Also, determine when I need to speak up and do so thoughtfully. And then, I intend to act from that space. I think it is imperative to act with intention. To act unintentionally is to act carelessly, and we can’t afford carelessness. I also want to acknowledge my own privilege and my own unique experiences. I want to use them to be a better listener anda better activist…which are really one in the same.
  • Setting an Intention – As a yoga teacher and a practitioner, the asana practice offers me a specific time and ritual around intention-setting and asking myself (in the post-election words of writer Elizabeth Gilbert), “Who do I want to be in this situation?”

written from stanza coffee in san francisco’s mission district, a convenient 1/2 block away from laughing lotus sf

 

2017 Intentions

Happy New Year!

While I am not the biggest fan of resolutions, I am a lover of intention-setting. I think that what deters me from setting resolutions is the idea that we somehow wake up radically different on one single day of the year. It denies the essential fact that change is a process. Intentions are inherently processual; they are all about setting an intention to begin a change or even a particular attitude that a change might represent. Intentions accept us where we are, as we are, and encourage us to be better – not “new” – versions of ourselves. So, without further ado, here are my intentions for the year to come. All I can try to diligently do is my best to infuse them into my everyday.

  1. Gauge when I need to listen versus when I need to speak up. Also, determine when I need to speak up and do so thoughtfully. And then, I intend to act from that space. As I’ve clearly written about on this blog before, I believe we are entering (have entered?) a new wave of activism. I think it is imperative to act with intention. To act unintentionally is to act carelessly, and we can’t afford carelessness. I also want to acknowledge my own privilege and my own unique experiences. I want to use them to be a better listener and a better activist…which are really one in the same.
  2. Live Lightly. These words are the lock screen on my iPhone and a fierce inspiration that came from another blogger, Miranda of Miranda’s Notebook. She writes,

    One big realisation I’ve had in living lightly is that everything is connected. What first started me on this journey was the desire to be more productive and fit more in my day. I then realised how closely productivity is linked, not only with good systems, but with my energy levels. You don’t have a great morning routine unless your evening routine ensures you’ve got a good night’s sleep. To have more energy, you need to exercise and eat right. Cleaning out your closets, developing your own style and living in a space that reflects your personal values and taste allows for organised, empowered living. Just as you can get trapped in a negative spiral of bad habits and unhealthy choices, so too can you be transformed by the positive cycle that starts with just one good habit, or one powerful statement like I want to be more productive.

  3. Embrace hyggeIt’s been getting a lot of buzz lately and I’ve personally found that there’s a reason for that. Hygge, which has no real direct translation from its Danish roots, is the epitome of what it means to be comfortable in our homes, and to make our homes soothing and comfortable places we’d want to be in. It involves sipping warm beverages, cozying up in corners with a good book, and lots and lots of blankets. Because it’s been getting so much buzz lately, it’s my pleasure to have culled together some resources on the subject: the Tea & Tattle Podcast has an episode entitled “All About Hygge,” The New York Times has a fabulous article on it, as does The New Yorker, and I have a Pinterest board entirely devoted to this art of getting cozy!
  4. Read 50 books. I set a Goodreads goal this year by joining their 2017 challenge!

What are your 2017 intentions? Broaden the possibilities of what this year can look like in the comments!

Who do I want to be in this situation?

Welcome to the Radical Self-Care for Radical Action blog series. This series serves as a multigenre and strategic compilation of ways to avoid or heal activist burnout. During this new era, we need to keep activism and social justice efforts continuous and sustainable; we cannot afford burnout. While burnout and activism have had close relationships to one another, so have healing practices and social change methodologies. Every week, both leading up to and following the inauguration of a president that has Cortisol levels running high for many, expect a post on what it means to heal oneself in order to heal a country. From neuroscience to yoga to meditation to cardiology, learn how to systematically refuel in these trying times.

liz.pngI felt personally asked the question on the left when I read a Facebook post by author Elizabeth Gilbert that reached 1,684,931 people. She wrote of her and her partner’s election night experience:

So we got really quiet that day, and we each asked: “Who do I want to be in this situation?”

The answers came, same as ever:

Calm.

Strong.

Open-hearted.

Curious.

Generous.

Wise.

Brave.

Humorous.

Patient.

That is the only question that EVER really matters.

I insist that we can learn — with practice — how to choose our emotional state in all situations. This has to be true. If this isn’t true, then we are TRULY AND THOROUGHLY FUCKED — because our state of being is literally the only thing in this world that we can control.

This is not denial. This is not complacency. This not me cheerfully saying, “Oh well! I’m sure everything will be fine!” Sometimes things are not fine. Sometimes the diagnosis is terminal cancer. Sometimes the dark forces win. Sometimes the outcome is dreadful.

But all our practices in peace and grace and equanimity and courage are for TIMES LIKE THESE — for times when you do not get the outcome that you want. This is when it matters. When the shit goes down, and the shit goes wrong, and when the shit gets real — that’s when the shit gets interesting. That’s when the test comes: Who will you be now? Right now. Right this moment. Because that’s the only part that is up to you.

Decide who you will be today, Dear Ones. RIght now. DECIDE. You can do this. This is what all your training and practice has led you to. Show the people around you what a calm and peaceful strong mind looks like. (Trust me, they need it. They already know what a panicked mind looks like; show them what a calm mind looks like.) Ask yourself again and again who you want to be, and believe that you can be it.

Nobody gets to take your emotional state away from you, unless you give it to them.

This is how you lead. This is who you are. This is how you BE.

12 hours before, during election night, I saw a fellow yoga teacher’s Facebook post:

so far i’ve stress eaten handfuls of organic frosted flakes, piles of chips and salsa, and too many squares of dark chocolate. my belly hurts {and so does my heart}

This post had 183 likes and more than 42 comments detailing similar election night experiences. When it came time for me to write a post of my own, a few hours after I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s, I was exhausted and could not have told you what I’d eaten that day. My hair was greasy, and my vision blurred in and out of focus.

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#24SevenYoga Challenge with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition

0612_01B_760_428auto_int.jpgI am thrilled to announce that I am participating in the #24SevenYoga challenge with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Head over to Instagram (@GrowingUpOnOM) to see what I’m posting. Here’s what I’ve posted so far…

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But I am getting ahead of myself. First, I need to tell you what this challenge is and why I am doing it. I have been a long-time fan of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. A longer post is forthcoming on the subject, but the work of YBIC is very near and dear to my heart. I started practicing yoga because I needed a way of moving my body that didn’t result in self-hatred. I never, beyond my wildest dreams, expected to celebrate my body. And that is just at the surface-level; yoga allows me to celebrate so much more than my body through my body. The Yoga and Body Image Coalition takes that sense of celebration, accessibility, and so much more into account in its vision:

Our coalition is committed to developing, promoting and supporting yoga that is accessible, body-positive and reflects the full range of human diversity. We advocate yoga as an essential tool in personal transformation, from the inside out, including a critical social justice component. We inform, educate and work with organizations that are ready to shift the current media paradigm to one that is more inclusive, equitable and just, and challenge industry leaders and media creators to expand their vision of what a yogi looks like.

The #24SevenYoga challenge, in partnership with Yoga International, is an attempt to showcase how yoga and mindfulness has the power to influence our daily lives both on and beyond the mat. Capturing the moments of the practice being infused into all that I do has been a mindful experience in and of itself, and I highly recommend it for those seeking some added deep breaths this week.

To Enter:

  1. Follow @carlystong, @ybicoalition, and @yoga_international
  2. Share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #24sevenyoga

Additional hashtag suggestions (but not necessary):

#whatyogalookslike #whatayogilookslike #ybicoalition #yogabodyimage #ybic #everybodyisayogabody #smashingstereotypes #accessibleyoga #everybodyisayogabody

  1. Tag three friends.

Daily ways to practice #24sevenyoga (Share your photos of what these look like for you!):

Monday: Love yourself—maybe that means taking a yoga class, but maybe it means having a spa day, sleeping in, or saying “no” to people or commitments that sap your energy.

Tuesday: Spend time in nature—improve your mental wellness, boost your immunity and creativity, and get your daily dose of Vitamin D and fresh air.

Wednesday: Find balance—find peace amid chaos. Show us your progress pics or a picture of you falling out of a yoga posture, share a photo of you being productive in a messy space, etc.

Thursday: Meditate—move your awareness inward in any form, from stargazing to starting a journal to sitting in stillness.

Friday: Give back—practice the art of blessed action (seva): selfless service done for the good of others.

Saturday: Connect—spend time with friends/family, write a letter, meet someone new, etc

Sunday: Nourish yourself—share your favorite recipe and a photo of the end result!

6 States, 12 Yoga Studios: My Summer of Wellness

I’m having a real first teacher summer…and am loving it! Besides producing online courses, working on a grant, and doing grad school online (I don’t like to be bored, okay?!), I’ve been traveling a bunch to see loved ones + friends. I’ve prioritized doing yoga or some form of yogic-like exercise every day this summer and the results are in in the form of all the studios I’ve visited across the country. That, and I’ve even re-discovered and just plain discovered some studios in New York that are, well, not Laughing Lotus. Here’s where I’ve been practicing this summer. It’s a long post because I am very aware that it has been a very long time since I’ve posted! Let’s go East to West, shall we?

New York, New York 

5 Pillars Yoga

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  • Location: 92nd St + Madison Ave
  • Vibe: Upper East Side
  • Phenomenal Teacher(s): David Regelin
  • Asana Style: straightforward slow flow
  • Intention: Move with intention, steadiness, strength, and from a place of light-heartedness too.

 

Yoga Vida

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  • Location: 11th St + University Place
  • Vibe: NYU (a great locale for students to go to)
  • Phenomenal Teacher(s): Domenic Savino
  • Asana Style: straightup vinyasa
  • Intention: A safe environment to explore the tried-and-true practices of yoga.

Laughing Lotus

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  • Location: 19th St between 5th + 6th Avenues
  • Vibe: GLITTER
  • Phenomenal Teacher(s): Sheri Celantano, Deb Langley, Kenneth Frisby
  • Asana Style: Lotus Flow
  • Intention: Move like yourself…and sprinkle glitter all over!

 

Katonah Yoga

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  • Location: 17th St + 8th Avenue
  • Vibe: Hard.Core.
  • Phenomenal Teacher: Abby Galvin
  • Asana Style: Katonah
  • Intention: Fuse Taoism with the bodily practices of yoga to open everything up in an extremely intentional way.

 

New Haven, Connecticut

Fresh Yoga

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  • Location: 49 Orange St
  • Vibe: Get Your Yoga, No Strings Attached
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Kami + Ed Mikelis
  • Asana Style: Vinyasa Flow
  • Intention: Come in, get your yoga, open up your body, get a workout, and then move on with your day feeling refreshed.

Nantucket, Massachussetts 

Sconset Yoga Club

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  • Location: 18 Baxter Road
  • Vibe: Move + Be Still in the Sun
  • Phenomenal Teacher: Jenavieve Varga
  • Asana Style: YogaWorks
  • Intention: Practice yoga in the beauty of the sunlight, scenery, peace + quite of Nantucket, MA. It’s evident that the whole operation was created with a lot of heart by ladies who grew up spending summers on the island and now teach yoga in NYC most of the time.

Aspen, Colorado

Aspen Shakti Shala

  • img_3256Location: 422 E Cooper Avenue
  • Vibe: Movement = Pleasure
  • Phenomenal Teacher: Jamie Butemeyer
  • Asana Style: Vinyasa
  • Intention: Take practice seriously + lightly at the same time.

 

Seattle, Washington

Grinning Yogi

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  • Location: 345 15th Avenue E
  • Vibe: Fast + Fierce
  • Phenomenal Teacher: Nancy Hwang
  • Asana Style: Lotus Flow
  • Intention: Lose + find yourself at the same time…through movement.

 

Portland, Oregon

People’s Yoga

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  • Location: 44th + Belmont
  • Vibe: Dedicated + Full
  • Phenomenal Teachers: This time around, I took class with Linnea Solveig.
  • Asana Style: vinyasa with heart
  • Intention: Feel a sense of complete spiritual flow + fullness while practicing in a room filled to the brim with like-minded people.

 

YoYo Yogi

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  • Location: 13th + NW Hoyt
  • Vibe: Sheer Awesomeness
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Alex + Kristi Cole (yes, they’re a father-daughter pair)
  • Asana Style: joyful flowing cathartic vinyasa flow (yes, I am being redundant on purpose – it’s just that good!)
  • Intention: Move so fast and with such flow that you forget what you’re feeling when you walk in the door and walk out with those feelings processed + feeling good!

Love Hive Yoga

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  • Location: 1847 E Burnside St
  • Vibe: Yoga w. Heart
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Jessica Garay, Audra Carmine + Roger McKeever
  • Asana Style: Vinyasa + Hatha
  • Intention: Move straight from your heartspace + while doing so, stay in touch with what your body needs + wants.

 

Grinning Yogi

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  • Location: 30th + Division
  • Vibe: Fierce + Kickasana
  • Phenomenal Teachers: Chase Connolly + Tori Greising
  • Asana Style: lotus flow
  • Intention: Provide a dance-like flow that allows students to lose themselves in movement + the themes it’s paired with.

 

Written on the subway on my way to Laughing Lotus because hey, hOMe is where the glitteriest OM is!