Author Archives: Kristin

Hello Beautifuls

Finals week has finally come. My life for the next week will be reduced to little more than eating and staring at textbooks. And, as always, more yoga. Since I last wrote I believe I’ve maintained a steady 4 days/week and I’m fairly proud of that! I’ve started incorporating sequences from my Yoga Sequencing book when I don’t have a full hour and a half to devote to my primary series. I know it’s totally allowed to take a shorter Ashtanga practice, but I like doing these sequences because they incorporate poses I don’t get to do in primary. I can definitely see a significant improvement in arm strength over the past few weeks, which is odd because I haven’t necessarily done anything extra for my upper body. I suppose I am just now seeing a few new developments that have come from gradual strength development. Either way, I’m not complaining.

I also ran ten miles over four days this week! I’m proud of myself for getting four days in at the gym this week on top of four days of yoga. I don’t know where all this free time came from but I am thankful for it! I don’t see myself having this much time to devote to exercise next week, so I will probably just look to getting my four days of yoga in. That is more than good enough for me. I have a bad habit of getting disappointed in myself when I find the motivation/time to exercise more than usual and then can’t keep it up, but I am working towards realizing that I am putting effort in to my health to feel good about myself, not to achieve any sort of “goal.” There are no hard and fast rules for when I have to exercise or how often. I just need to do what makes me happy and what I have time for.

As always, my life has changed a bit since my last post. I am quitting my new job (I know, what’s wrong with me?) and I’m working at my bank again. I am happy with this decision, although I feel bad for not being able to keep a job AGAIN. I know it’s best for my professional and financial life, but I’ll be on the job hunt again after spring semester starts.

Anyway, this entire post is just for procrastination. There is only so much studying one can do at one time.

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Yoga Selfies and a Brand New Mat :)

Four days of yoga this past week, everyone! Proud of myself for getting on my mat/to class that many times in spite of my crazy busy week. I will be going to a hot class tonight, which will bring my total days to 10! 1/10th of the way there 🙂

Last week I bought a Manduka PRO mat and this Yogitoes mat from my studio last week and I am in LOVE. This mat is AWESOME and I am so glad I made this investment. I can definitely tell the difference from my last mat. I find myself pulling it out to practice at all random times of the day. I don’t think a $100 mat is at all necessary for a valid yoga practice, but I can certainly say that this mat has drastically improved my practice and my attitude towards my home practice.

Yesterday I took my new mat outside for some nature yoga with my yogi-photographer boyfriend. I love taking yoga photos outside, maybe a little too much. Anyway, I managed a pose I’ve been working on unsuccessfully for a few weeks now:

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and I was kind of shocked at how easy it looked. This pose was (and is) extremely challenging for me, but for all you know from the picture I could have stayed in this position all day. This is, to me, a part of the beauty of asana: the ability to find stillness and grace in the face of challenges. However, it is also arguably a source of frustration in our practice, especially today with the ever-growing presence of yoga selfies.

I’ll be honest, my instagram is full of photos of various poses I’ve been working on. I love sharing my practice with other practitioners online. I love the IG yoga community and I don’t plan on removing myself from that any time soon. But how many times have you looked at someone’s “yoga selfie” on instagram, thought it looked easy and then attempted it only to find out you don’t have half the strength required to perform it? My guess is more than a few. I know it happens to me almost daily, because I am a sucker for #stopdropandyoga-ing any time I scroll past a pose I’ve never seen before. I honestly think joining the community has done me the most benefit, because now I know that the yoga has a way of making itself look easy regardless of how hard our bodies are working. Consistently taking photos of my own practice reminds me that behind every successful asana is practice, sometimes years of it.

"Practice and All is Coming" - Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

“Practice and All is Coming” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Yoga Beyond Asana

I have done yoga a grand total of twice since my last post (That’s day 4 and 5, people). Not even close to my “daily practice” I was talking about last Wednesday. Life happens. Some people have the time in their day (or the discipline to make the time in their day) to squeeze yoga in between all their other obligations. Perhaps yoga is not high enough on my priority list (trust me, it is) and other people are more passionate about their practice than I am, but I don’t think that’s it. I think that I am a full-time college student and a part-time worker, and the part-time typically manifests itself as three full days of work on my three days off of school, not to mention I have to take care of (feed, clean up after, etc.) my wonderful dog (and my wonderful boyfriend).

I know I say I’m busy a lot. I think part of me wants to justify my lack of asana practice to myself because I follow so many wonderful people who find the time to practice every day, and I have a hard time not letting their “successful” practice affect my perception of mine. But I KNOW that’s not how it should be. My practice is mine. Practicing asana only four times in a week doesn’t make me a better or worse yogi than anyone else. Asana is only one small piece of what yoga is. I talk about my asana practice online, I post pictures of my advancement through asanas online, but that is only one segment of my yoga journey. The rest is personal, things I don’t think or want to consistently publish online. I just wish I could separate success in asana from success in yoga, because that’s not what it’s about. Maybe I’ll never gain a huge following because I can’t put my foot behind my head or do a handstand. My yoga is still just as valid as anyone’s.

Like I said, I think part of me is justifying my lack of asana practice recently. I am excited for the day I accept that I do asana when I can (and trust me, I love my practice. I rarely ‘skip’ practice simply because I ‘don’t feel like it’) and realize that yoga extends far beyond how many downward dogs I fit in a week.

Namaste.

Day 2: My Studio

My Day 2 was actually this past Saturday, but I’m just now finding the time to blog about it because my life is crazy busy. I went to the Ashtanga class at my local studio, Southern Star Yoga:

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This is the ONLY studio in my city (another reason I can’t WAIT to get out of this town). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it. They offer late night hot yoga which I go to literally every night I get the chance (usually this ends up being once a week) and an intermediate level class on Thursdays. But the Ashtanga class is, well, alright. I don’t really get any instruction and it’s a lead class, which means I have to follow the instructor rather than pace myself with my own breath. I also stop my primary series early and they obviously do not. I just find myself enjoying Ashtanga a lot more by myself in my house rather than at the studio. I understand the importance of an instructor, but I think I’m going to wait until I move to start going back to an Ashtanga class.

Since then, I had my very best best friend come for a visit and I started my NEW job at an awesome seafood restaurant downtown (no more 4 am nights delivering pizzas!), so free time was hard to come by. I’m going to hot yoga tonight FOR SURE, and I plan to keep up a daily practice for AT LEAST the next week since I took three full days off.

I’ve recently become obsessed with “yoga selfies,” because I think they’re a great way to measure progress and I’ve recruited my boyfriend to take all my pictures so I can take them outside, and, honestly, I think I look cool. This one (so far) is my favorite. I put it up on Reddit to see if anyone would take the time to draw me, and they did! SO cool.

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                                                    I got drawn! Thanks to JP from r/RedditGetsDrawn

That’s all for now. I’m kind of a little bit in class right now.

Tales of an Ashtangi

I’m sure that those of you who consistently read my blog posts have figured out by now that I am a woman who doesn’t know what she wants. A few months ago I was diligently weight training 6 days a week and now I’m suddenly a “dedicated yogi”? What gives?

To be honest, I don’t know. I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out me. Who am I? What am I that isn’t what other people want/expect me to be? What DO I like? So, yes, right now I am a dedicated yogi. I love yoga. I love reading about yoga, I love doing yoga, I love how much happier I am on the days I’ve done yoga. Literally nothing bad has come into my life since starting a dedicated practice, and I hope that I stay committed and it always keeps me this happy and excited to be alive.

All that being said, I am officially starting 100 Days of Yoga TODAY! I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now and since it’s still stuck in my mind, I decided to roll with it. I tried this before on Giveit100, then I moved back to the states from Greece and my whole life went way out of whack and never quite got back to the same calm routine I was used to while I was there. I won’t be using that website again and I will not be including pictures/videos every day, just because my yoga space is not very picture-friendly and I do yoga alone most days, so it’s just not reasonable for me to expect to get a picture every day. I will try to include them when I can, especially when I do a new pose for the first time or if I get super excited about something, i.e. first time holding Grasshopper pose (Parsva Bhuja Dandasana). This is Big News for me because I tried it just a few weeks ago and couldn’t even get into the prep pose:

Look at that smile :)

Look at that smile 🙂

I’m also not going to dedicated myself to daily posting, because I know I can’t commit to that with my schedule. I plan to shoot for 4-5 days a week, and if I get six, good for me. Most days will be Ashtanga, but I have started taking hot yoga at my local studio, so that will count as well. I am going to dedicate myself to posting MOST days, catch-ups allowed, and I am dedicating myself to NOT GIVING UP until I reach 100 days, no matter how long that 100 days lasts.

I am also planning on re-vamping the blog to make it more yoga-centric. I have a lot of yoga reading in my future, so maybe I’ll even be able to TALK about what I’m doing past “yeah, I really like this!”

That’s all for now, beautiful people. Namaste.

The Journey is the Goal

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I am literally addicted to arm balances. As I practice primarily Ashtanga and I am lucky if I get a full 90 minutes of practice time every day, I don’t have a lot of time to practice arm balances (like Eka Pada Koudinyasana, my new favorite pose! (above)). I typically do them in passing during the day, just to see “if I can.” Sometimes I fall flat on my face. But other times my balance and strength come together in just the right way and I find myself successfully keeping my feet off the ground and it feels like flying. Sometimes I don’t even feel how hard my arms are working to keep myself there; there is just bliss.

And then I fall. And then I spread out on my mat and try to calm my breath. And then, when I try the pose again, my arms buckle under my weight. But the next day, I get up and do it again. And again, the next day. And I find myself in balance just a little bit longer. Each asana is just a little bit easier. While I would love to be able to instantly find myself in each pose I scroll past on Instagram, I am grateful that it takes a lot of time and effort to find myself in “challenging” asanas for even a short time. I appreciate that I have to work toward improving myself, and I appreciate that success does not come easy. Because I love this journey I have found myself taking. The journey of Ashtanga yoga, the journey of figuring out who I am and what I am meant to do to be the best version of myself.

I hope that I never find myself at my destination. I hope I am always striving for improvement. I hope I never think of myself as having “finished” yoga. We are never finished with yoga, just as we are never finished making ourselves our most awesome possible selves.

The goal is not the goal. The journey is the goal.

Changes

Here I am again, all! I don’t really know where to start with this post. The last time you heard from me I was in quite a bad place. While I can’t say that my life has magically turned into sunshine and cupcakes since then, I can say that I have spent the last few weeks sitting myself down, so to speak, to try and figure my life out. If nothing else, I have decided one thing for certain: I am not happy, and it’s about time that I change that. I used to think it was me, that I was totally in charge of my own happiness and that if I wasn’t happy, it didn’t have anything to do with my surroundings or what I was doing and that it was all my mindset. To a degree, I totally believe that to be true. However, I have realized that where I am and what I’m doing aren’t exactly the things I imagine myself doing in my dreams.

I have gone through four years of college, one of them in the perfect city of Thessaloniki, pursuing a Banking and Finance major only to realize that I have absolutely no desire to enter the banking industry.

I lived in Oxford for two years, absolutely miserable, then left for a year in hopes that the time away would allow me to gain a new perspective and appreciate the city, or at the very least push through my last two years here, only to end up in tears almost every night. This place brings me no joy, and the life I am living here is so out of sync with everything I want to be.

All this is to say, I am making a change. I don’t know exactly what my life’s purpose is, but I know that it isn’t banking and I know that it isn’t in Oxford, Mississippi.

I do know that I want to pursue my journey with Ashtanga yoga and I know that I want to help people. I have lived so long doing the things other people want me to do. My college choice, my major choice, how I look, how I act… almost everything I do or am is decided by anyone and everyone but me. This has caused me nothing but unhappiness and severe anxiety, and I don’t wish this on anyone in the world. I want to help people realize that all they have to do is what they want to do.

Everything you do should be in pursuit of your dreams. As long as you pursue your life’s purpose, everything will fall into place.

I have a strong feeling I’m about to make a very, very large leap of faith into something completely unknown and completely terrifying. But I know that I will come out on top.

Namaste, beautiful people.