Family ties

Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 7.02.55 AM
Maryland looking ravishing

Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 7.03.09 AM

This past weekend I spent a grand total of 26 hours in Baltimore, Maryland.

We had two big events going down. My brother and his fiance’s engagement party/BBQ and my Grandma’s 90th Birthday Brunch. As my trip grew nearer and nearer, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I found myself going on and on to my poor boyfriend’s ear about why my family was so awesome. But really it takes an afternoon of QT time with my family to fully understand.

I have a huge family. With 5-6 Aunts and Uncles on both sides, each having 2-5 children, and many cousins starting their own families.. and it just keeps getting bigger. Growing up, I spent a ton of time with cousins. They are your immediate best friends. You come out of the womb and it’s like, yep I have about 4-7 BFFs lined up. Unfortunately, my family and I left Maryland when I was in 3rd grade, 16 years ago. It’s always kind of a bummer watching from afar as everyone grew up, got older, and did things with their lives. I saw second cousins that I hadn’t seen since they were babies. Now all of a sudden they were up, walking around and were these little adults. And they’re are hilarious. There are cousins who underwent growth spurts and voice changes that I can’t even begin to comprehend. Especially since I’ve remained the same age…(ha)

Whenever I am about to embark on a treck up North, there’s always a little anxiety. An anxiety stemming from seeing a large group of people you haven’t seen in so long. But without fail, this slight anxiety is immediately washed away and filled with an immense feeling of pure love. The entire 20-something hours I was there, I was in rooms full of laughter among family members with people that I would do anything for. No matter what.

I had the gift of the opportunity to reconnect with cousins, meet second cousins, and simply learn about their lives. It was really amazing. Like, my cousins are awesome. I left that weekend on a cloud. I just..I just love my extended family. When we all get together, no matter if it’s my Mom’s or Dad’s, I leave with my sides hurting from laughter. It’s simply always a good time.

In his speech at the engagement party, my brother made an amazing point. The best part about family is that when we come into town, no matter how long we’ve been gone, we have this huge base of support. We might not pronounce “tournament” correctly and overuse “ya’ll” but when we land at BWI in Baltimore, we know we’re home. No matter what.

Inspiration: Ahimsa

449dcf88e3fb85b77436f009c8e67eb4 633694bf4e584b79078835eee69ec9f3 ahimsa

I had an amazing week on my mat.

At Gaia Flow they always emphasize focusing on your own practice and not looking at your neighbor and try to do their practice. To not go further than you can. To not strive to go somewhere your body isn’t ready for.

Prior to my Wonderlust 2013, I assumed this didn’t apply to me and I jumped right into their hardest level courses just as fast as I can. It’s not that I’m an overly competitive person, it’s that I saw people doing amazing poses and was just like “Yep, that. I want to do that. Now. Right now.”

But now we’re post euro trip. As I’ve said before, I had to start back in the easier classes. The more I’ve stuck with these so called “easier” classes it the more I realized how I was becoming more flexible and more graceful in moving from pose to pose. It’s been kind of an amazing thing to be a part of. I’ve really changed my outlook on my yoga strategy and am looking forward to mastering those foundational poses and improving my practice. One of the girls whom I I have yogi envy of, stated that she has been practicing for 8 years. I, on the other hand, am going on 8 months. So can I really expect to be at her level? Hell to the absolute no. But the improvements I’ve seen in my practice just make me so excited to continue my yoga journey, one downward facing dog at a time.

The other reason that my yoga week has been so amazing, is that we are working on practicing Ahimsa this week. Ahimsa is practicing nonviolence. Do no harm to yourself or to others. Or as the image above states, peace with yourself, peace with the world. If you have love for yourself, you’ll spread that love into the universe. Every class you go to the instructor may have a different perspective, anecdote or suggestion on how to bring this into your life. I believe that taking my yoga practice a little slower is just one way to practice Ahimsa, but that’s just on my mat. The beauty and the goal of Gaia Flow Yoga is what you bring from your mat to your life. So one of my instructor’s provided us with this little nugget:

If you truly love yourself, you could never hurt another.

– Buddha

I just loved this and really connected with it. Because truly, if you love yourself, you know how important happiness and love truly is. So you would never want to steal that away from someone. Whether it’s a stranger, a close friend or a family member. I think this is just amazing inspiration and a great goal for yogis and non yogis alike. I plan on bringing this into my everyday life. Although I do believe I never purposely cause pain or harm to those close to me, what about those strangers you pass on the street or the barista at your local coffee shop? I wouldn’t say I’m ever openly rude to them, but why not smile, ask how they are, and actually care about their response? In the end, they’ll feel great and you’ll feel great.  (The practice of ahimsa also might explain why yogis are just so happy and nice all the time)

All that to say, my yoga practice and my instructors at Gaia Flow were such an inspiration for me this week. Now excuse me why I go drink a gallon of water to recover from last night’s sweat fest on my mat. TMI?

Inspired by humans

Between the bombs in Boston and the explosions in West, Texas, it’s been a rough week for America. But, like all tragedy, comes beauty. Since I’ve been at those marathon finish lines (to run a half marathon, to be clear) and West is so near, both of these events really struck home. This week I’ve been so inspired by the people with such big hearts and are doing big things to honor Boston or help those displaced families in West. I can’t imagine the fear, anxiety and just absolute terror that those present at the Boston marathon underwent. I can’t even begin to fathom having your entire town wiped out. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, I’m not sure where I stand on religion. But this week I had so much faith in humans and our country. Between the Google docs listing places for West residents to stay, marathon runners who ran right through the finish lines all the way to the hospital two miles away to donate blood, and the immediate reaction for donations throughout Texas, it’s truly an amazing thing. Although there was a lot of evil and hate circling around, I think it’s comforting to try to also hear the positive stories of people helping and the loving messages that filled our newsfeeds. As soon as tragedy strikes, there’s always going to be love and a need to help our fellow man.

So this week I was inspired by the human race. By the human instinctual tendency to care for those who are suffering, to bring others up when they’re down, and to cry and hope together as one.