10 Lessons I've Learned From Yoga

June 21, 2017

"Get out of your head and into your heart. Think less. Feel more." ~ Osho

Happy International Day of Yoga!!

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I thought it would be fun to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite yoga photos, as well as some lessons I've learned in the 3 years that I've been on the mat. Of course, I am by no means done learning as I go through my regular yoga practice, but I have learned some some pretty amazing lessons.

1. Buy TWO yoga blocks - not long into my yoga practice I wanted to get some accessories for my practice at home so I bought a yoga block. One single yoga block. I now realize that was kinda silly. While there are many yoga poses that you can do with one block, there are some I want to work on that require two.

2. When you want to get out of the pose, you need to stay in it - during each yoga class, it's your breath that keeps you centered, grounded. When I'm in a tough pose and want nothing more than to plop to the floor, I focus on my breathing technique and never give up. It's an amazing feeling to work through the uncomfortable poses and know that you were strong enough (mentally and physically) to stick with it.

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3. Finding YOUR studio takes time, but it's worth it - yoga studios are popping up everywhere, if they're not already established. Especially here in the DC area, it can be overwhelming to find a studio that you love. In my opinion, it's not just about the classes you take. Your instructor(s), fellow yogis, and the whole vibe of the studio is so important. It's fun to make friends and trust me, you will! You'll start to see the same people in classes and develop a bond. It's incredible!

4. YouTube yoga is a good alternative - I'd much rather practice yoga at my studio, with my favorite instructors, but if I can't make it to class I'll get out my iPad and find a YouTube yoga video. It's certainly not as intimate, and a bit harder to focus (for me, anyway) but it works. Sometimes I'll even skip the YouTube part and put on a soothing Pandora station while I go through my own practice. (I like the Soundscapes & Lullabies Pandora station.)

5. There are so many different types of yoga; try them all - It's a lot of fun to try different types of yoga classes to see what you like best. My favorites are Vinyasa, Hatha, and Restorative (especially on a Friday night.) And if Artoga is offered near you, try a class...I highly recommend it, it's so much fun!

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Naturally Me, Yoga Diaries, Yogi, Yoga Pose, Yoga Lessons, ToeSox, International Day of Yoga, International Yoga Day, Artoga

6. No one cares if your feet look perfect - I remember reading an article about this a while ago and the more I think about it, the more I realize it's true. No one cares what your feet look like, or the fact that nail polish has come off 2 of your toes. Everyone is there for one goal: to deepen their yoga practice and connect with their soul and breathing. If I have chipped polish, oh well!

7. Yoga will help you live better off your mat - literally every time I finish a yoga class, I'm much more calm, less stressed, and have a more positive outlook on the world. I try to keep that balance off the mat - especially during the work week. If I am stressed, I always find myself going through a round of breaths, too, just like in class. And I don't even realize I'm doing it!

8. Our bodies are beautiful - it is seriously amazing what our bodies can do. Even during a simple act like walking, there is so much that needs to happen throughout our system to make that happen. Yoga is just another way to challenge our body and muscles in ways they may not be used to. (Which is a good thing!)

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9. Not flexible? Not a problem - a lot of people have the misconception that anyone and everyone who practices yoga is super flexible. That's not the case! Sure, we do get more flexible as our practice grows - but it takes time. And constant work. But here's another thing to remember: it doesn't matter how flexible you are a year from now. During a yoga class, the instructor always tells us to stay within our scope of practice, and modify a pose if needed. There are plenty of times I have to do that, and it's okay. It's better to take your time (as well as avoid injury).

10. It's never too late to start practicing - as much as I wish I'd discovered yoga years ago, I'm so glad that it's been part of my life for over three years now. I can't imagine life without it! While it may not be for everyone, it's never too late to step on the mat and see where it takes you. (And if yoga has taken a backseat in your life for a while, it's never too late to jumpstart your yoga practice again!)

Namaste, friends! <3

What lessons have you learned through your yoga practice?

My Summer 2017 Bucket List

June 16, 2017

Since there are just five days until the official start of summer (woohoo!), let's celebrate by thinking about all the fun activities we have planned, shall we?

Of course, I plan to spend as much time outside as possible and now that I bought mineral sunscreen, I'm ready to go! (Side note: does anyone else use mineral sunscreen? When I applied it, I couldn't rub it in all the way so my skin looked white. Any tips or tricks?) I also purchased a few other summertime necessities I've linked below.

Anywho - I'm just so excited for everything summer (even my birthday) - so let's jump right in! ;)

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My plans for the summer include:

1. Hiking at Great Falls - I've already done this with some friends, but it certainly won't be the last time! Plus, the main view of the falls were closed so hopefully it'll reopen soon. I love all the trails, even just walking along the canal, and the fact that your $10 admission is good for 3 days.

2. Visiting Soleado Lavender Farm - there's just something about spending a relaxing day in a lavender field that I'm just drawn to. I also think it'd be fun to take a lavender wand making class, or try some lavender honey! (Also, it's located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain which I always go to!)

3. Paddle boarding - My first paddle boarding class was last summer with Paddle Nova and my friend and I LOVED it. I definitely want to take another class (or several) - including the yoga paddle boarding class they offer.

4. Skydiving - fun fact: my dad and I were supposed to go together years ago, but when we got to the airport, we found out I wasn't old enough (and he went without me!). It's time I jump out of a plane!

5. Butler's Orchard - I love this place in the summer and how you can pick your own fresh fruit. Strawberries, black raspberries... give me all the fresh fruit! And they always have fun events happening, too.

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6. GoApe - I "went ape" a few years ago and loved it. You're literally in the trees which is a pretty unique experience. I also like the fact that you can go at your own speed and choose to take a more challenging course, too. And the zipline? I could do that all day!

7. Rock Climbing - as someone who has never been rock climbing, I'd love to go to Earth Treks Rockville. I've heard so many good things about it and it's the perfect way to get started.

8. Sandy Spring Adventure Park - I don't even remember how I discovered this place but holy cow it looks SO fun, especially Glow in the Park!

9. Whitewater kayaking - this was all my Dad's idea but I'm totally on board to try this! About two years ago we did whitewater rafting and that was a blast so I can imagine how much fun the kayaking version is. I just bought this Havaianas wristlet that will be perfect to take along. It's made of a water-resistant silicone, comes in 17 colors and it's on sale!

10. Trying Splash Cycle - I just saw this article a few days ago and I'm intrigued. It's a cycle class... yep, you guessed it... in a pool where you are pedaling against the water resistance. (This article is gives you a great overview of what to expect.) Now that class have started in DC... who wants to go with me??

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It also wouldn't be summer without lots of outdoor runs, pool time, froyo/ice cream trips, and a cookout or two. Hopefully there will be a beach trip in there as well, since the last time I was on a beach it was freezing!

PS: I definitely bought one of these sporty swimsuits that I posted about - can you guess which one? It'll be perfect for paddle boarding and whitewater kayaking. You can shop all my summer must-haves below!

What's on your bucket list this summer?