Top 5 Tips to Keep You on the Mat

True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.
— Aadil Palkhivala
dancers pose yoga

I've been practicing yoga, on and off, for almost 10 years. I mainly just dabbled with it for a while, but became more consistent with practicing in the last few years. Yoga is the only thing that can effectively silence the ever-going chatter in my mind. I must admit, however, I didn't achieve this instantly. It took persistence and dedication to consistently show up on my mat until I started experiencing the benefits of the practice. Through my years practicing, I've learned that yoga is much more than cool poses, controlled breathing, and various flows. Yoga, in many ways, is a lesson on life. It teaches you when to hold and when to let go. It teaches control: of breath, of body, of mind. It teaches you to be flexible, yet strong. It teaches you there is always more to discover and further depths to be reached. But most importantly, for me however, it teaches balance - literally and figuratively. As I search for balance while moving through poses, I somehow find that balance and centeredness in my daily life.

I don't claim to be a yoga expert by any means; my practice isn't perfect and I still have a lot to learn, but I really love yoga and am a big believer in the benefits to be gained from this practice, and truly believe everyone should give it a try. I feel like I've had so many conversations with friends who say they want to start yoga, but don't think they'd be good at it, or they tried yoga once and got bored or discouraged, so I put together a list of my top five tips to keep you on the mat. Whether you're a new yogi, retired yogi, or regular yogi who needs some motivation, I hope you find this helpful :)

1. Be Patient:

If you're not naturally flexible, it will take time for your body to stretch far enough to get into these poses, but that's okay! Almost every class I've ever taken offers modifications for all levels, and in time your flexibility will increase. Just understand that unless you are already flexible, or are the real life Stretch Armstrong, this will take time to develop - consistency will be key!

2. Variety is Good

It's important to try a variety of yoga styles, classes, and instructors. There are so many different styles of yoga, it's important you find the one that's a fit for you. Very often people will give up on yoga after an experience with their first class. I've heard people say, "I tried yoga, but it was so boring," which leads me to believe they just need a class that moves at a little bit of a faster pace. Or alternatively, "I tried yoga, but the class moved too fast and I didn't know any of the poses," which leads me to believe they need to start in a class that moves a little slower. Read the class descriptions online, or call the studio before you go, the receptionist should know what to recommend after you tell her what you're looking for!

3. Be Okay with Being a Beginner

Everyone has to start somewhere and one of the least threatening places to begin something is in the ball of love that is a yoga studio!

4. Show Up

The most obvious, yet most difficult. After you find a class you like, glue that hour into your schedule as your date with yourself and your mat, and try your hardest not to let anything come between it. The more you show up, the more all of the above will get easier for you, and the more you will begin to feel the benefits of your practice.

5. What to Wear, What to Wear

The focus of your practice should certainly not be about what you're wearing, but I do firmly believe it's important to wear something you're comfortable in so you're not distracted by your clothing riding up or slipping down while trying to perfect your crow pose or moving through a flow! That is why I love the apparel by Zobha and Marika. The leggings I'm wearing are by Marika and might as well be a second skin. They fit so perfectly and the material is great quality so you don't have to worry about your leggings becoming see-through while in a deep stretch. Also, can we talk about this Zobha bra top? How adorable?! I love the mesh overlay and the straps' detailing on the back. This top looks great on its own, peeking out under a tee or tank, and transitions extremely well for outfits outside of yoga class.

One of my favorite things a yoga instructor said once at the end of class was, "The divine light in me, bows to the divine light in you," which is in essence the meaning behind the word "namaste". So I will leave you with that :)

Namaste, sweet souls.

xx
tg

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Dressed In:

| Bra: Zobha | Leggings: Marika | Sneaker: Nike | Hoodie: Similar | Mat: TJ Maxx

 

Thoughts: A Shade Over 18

It’s the possibility of having a dream realized that makes life interesting.
— Paulo Coelho, 'The Alchemist'

When I was in college I photographed my grandfather for my final project in Photo Journalism. He was 76 years old and a T'ai Chi Chih and Reiki master, who was teaching classes at local senior centers and nursing homes. Although this alone was an interesting enough concept for my professor and peers, I realize now that I wasn't just taking pictures of an old man teaching other old people the zen ways of T'ai Chi Chih and Reiki. What I was doing was photographing a man continuing to live out his passions despite his age and the limits of his elderly body. 

"I'm just a shade over 18," he would say. He never saw himself as old.  Little did we know at the time, he was in the last two years of his life. He passed away over five years ago, but it's crazy how strong I feel my connection still is to him, and how he somehow continues to teach me despite his physical presence being gone.

So as I turn another year older, and 18 has become a decade behind me, I'm realizing I, too, am just a shade over 18 - an ever growing, ever aging being, with a sense of freedom, and a wide-eyed look of excitement at what lies ahead. I used to have this idea as a kid that when you get older your dreams disappear; you become an adult, and "real life" responsibilities ensue. Part of that is true - real life responsibilities DEFINITELY ensue. But, as someone who is through the majority of her twenties, I can tell you the dreams never go away. The person you wanted to be when you grew up, is still the person you aspire to. You might be closer to becoming that person now than you were then, or maybe not, but the dream is still there. 

Another thing I realized is the idea of "growing up" is a lie. To me, "growing up" always felt like there was an implied end point. Like you needed to cross a finish line and once you arrived, well, mission complete. You're now an adult. Go on and do adult things. But what I've learned is rather than growing up, we are more accurately growing INTO, and when I think about my grandpa, I know that's what he was always doing. Growing more and more into who he felt he was. I am grateful for his example. 

So here's to Chapter 28 in my book of life. I know they say you're not supposed to share your wishes, but what the hell - my birthday wish is that we never grow up, but always grow into. 

To forever being just a shade over 18.

xx
tg

 Me at five years old. Originator of the hand on hip pose? Maybe.

Me at five years old. Originator of the hand on hip pose? Maybe.

 My Grandpa, Joe Lomonico // Taken in 2008 as part of my final project for photojournalism.

My Grandpa, Joe Lomonico // Taken in 2008 as part of my final project for photojournalism.

Thoughts: 2015 Reflections & 9 Inspirational Quotes to Kick Off the New Year

Happy New Year's Eve and Soon-to-be 2016!

Every morning on New Year's Eve I wake up feeling very reflective. I can't help but go back and review the last year: the wins, the losses, the risks I took, the times I played it safe, the lessons I learned, the things I'm still learning, the big moments, the small and subtle yet significant moments, the goals reached, and the ones I'm still working on.

I then start thinking beyond myself and about the big things that happened in our country and world that defined what the year 2015 was. It was a year where love won. A year we screamed that #BlackLivesMatter. A year the internet got as crazy over The Dress as they did over The Pope.  A year tragically bookended by dimmed lights in the City of Light. A year where the former owner of Miss Universe decided to run for president, and the current host wasn't sure who won. With one year coming to an end, and another one about to begin, I'm sure we all do this to some degree. Reflection. I think it's important. To see how far we've come in 365 days and decide where we want to go in the 365 days to come.

I hope you celebrate tonight, in whatever way that means to you, because that's what New Year's Eve is all about. A celebratory farewell to the past year and all it's given you, as you joyously welcome the new year and all it has in store. As many of you know I'm a sucker for quotes, so to celebrate here I put together 9 inspirational quotes below to kick off the new year.

Also, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of YOU. This was a year of beginnings for me in many ways, and one of my biggest beginnings was starting this blog. This little space I've created on the internet, full of my thoughts and outfits, is a slice of my heart and I can't tell you how much it means to me that you follow along. Thank you <3

Here's to the 2015 that was & the 2016 that will be - Happy New Year! (clink!) 

xx
tg