What Happened When I Started Yoga?

yoga2.jpgStory Time!! What might come as a surprise to you is that starting yoga was my new years resolution in my junior year of high school. The surprise is that it actually stuck.

I think I had maybe been to a few classes here and there. A beach class on vacation on time. An extremely awkward intro to yoga video in gym class. But nothing legit. My first legit class was on a snowy day sometime in January 2014. My friends and I parallel parked in downtown Princeton, filled the parking meter to the brim, and arrived at our very first yoga class. Gratitude yoga had a 4:30pm (after-school) beginner flow. Seemed appropriate.

There are a few things that you need to get used to when you’re new to the yoga community. Continue reading What Happened When I Started Yoga?

What Happens At Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga is misleadingly self explanatory. Of course it’s hot. But what the name neglects to describe is the steam. The sweat. And most importantly the stink. But I’ve been to hot yoga enough times that I have developed a few tips and tricks to help you get through a hot yoga class without slipping in a pool of your own sweat.

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Continue reading What Happens At Hot Yoga?

What’s happening in MY life? #1

In case you wanted to get to know the voice behind the blog a little more: keep reading.

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First off, my name is Claire Towell and I am currently in the home stretch of my sophomore year at Rutgers University. And by home stretch I mean finals. And by finals, I mean the Walking Dead. But outside of finals week, Rutgers is amazing. There is truly a place and an activity for everyone at Rutgers. I am able to sing in an A Cappella group on campus, take photos and do social media for the Recreation Marketing Team, hangout with an extremely diverse group of friends, and practice yoga at FREE classes on campus. I would definitely say that I’m thriving here. LOL.

Other than being a college student, when I’m at home I’m a nanny! Currently I am suffering from an intense case of baby fever because the family I work for has a newborn baby girl. SO CUTE. SO ADORABLE. NOT ENOUGH WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT. It might be a little bit weird to post a photo of her on her since she’s not actually my kid. So you’ll just have to take my word for it that she’s adorable.

Overall, being a 20 year old college student, everything is stressful. School is a lot. Work is a lot. Social events are a lot. Health is a lot. Basically, life is hard. It’s hard to be a multi-tasking millennial. It’s hard to try to be the best version of yourself all of the time. It’s hard when you feel the need to impress everyone and be perfect all of the time. It’s all just a lot. For me, practicing yoga makes it all feel like a little less.

I thought coming to college would be a piece of cake. I didn’t think that it would make me so stressed that I needed to eat 4083792318 pieces of cake to manage it. I thought making friends would be easy. I didn’t think that seeing 23082978673 beautifully intimidating college girls a day would hurt my self esteem the way it did. I thought I would be overwhelmed with excitement, not overwhelmed with schedules and deadlines. Obviously, being almost finished with my second year here at Rutgers, I have found my peace. I have found my daily routines. And I have found out a lot about myself. Having yoga as an outlet at college was such a huge part of me finding my place here at Rutgers. Yoga gives me time for solitude and reflection. Yoga gives me time to observe my breath and my body and cultivate self love. Yoga provides a community of supportive friends. Yoga gives me my mat. For one hour I get to shut off the outside world and just live on my mat in my own little tropical island. My mat is my ninja-training studio. My mat is my happy place. One yoga class at a time.

Please if you want to know anything more about me, my life, and my yoga practice don’t be afraid to ask!!

Namaste. xx.

What Happens When You Self-Reflect?

Self reflection is difficult. It involves candid honesty with ones self. Something that as humans, we often avoid. When I ask myself, “how is my blog doing”, do I like the answer? Yes and no. On the one hand my blog does excite me. I love the way it looks. I love the way I set it up. I love the title. I love the topic. I love the images I have chosen. I LOVE my post about memes. But am I happy with my blog? Overall: Eh. Maybe a little. I have so many ideas and plans for my blog that have not come to fruition just yet. I would conclude that currently I like my blog, but there is still potential for growth. This is often something that happens to us in life. We have all of these plans of the future, but then life happens and we lose track of what we really want. We get caught up in the little things that we don’t focus on the big ones because they do not illicit immediate satisfaction. We do not prioritize our time accurately.

Recently I was at the gym and a colonel from ROTC at Rutgers was working out next to me. He began asking me questions about my hobbies and interests. He asked me if I was a ballet dancer, and I replied “no, but I practice yoga a lot”. He then asked me if I was a yoga teacher and I replied, “no, but one day I would love to do the teacher training, I just don’t have the time for it right now.” He THEN, asked me what I was doing with my time instead of yoga teacher training. I said I’m a student so I’m studying, working, being social, and sleeping (I REALLY value my sleep). Here’s where the deep stuff comes. The colonel asked me a question: “If you lived until you were 90 years old, and you slept for 8 hours every night, for how many years would you be asleep?”. My flustered self responded 3 days like an idiot. (negative self reflection LOL). But basically, the answer is 30 years. You would be sleeping for 30 WHOLE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE. The colonel asked me how old I was, I replied “20”. “You’re still asleep.” he said. He was right. I am still asleep. I am not waking up every morning doing what is most important to me. I am not prioritizing my time the way I should be. I am asleep at the wheel.

The moral of the story is, if you really want something, you will make the time to do it. Whatever you want, but you are not yet working towards, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just do something different. Re-prioritize your time so that you are spending it on the things that you really want in life. Make the time to life your dreams one step at a time. In regards to my blog, I haven’t followed through with all of my ideas for it because I am spending my time on other classes or activities, or SLEEP. But if I could take just 20 minutes out of the 24 hours in a day to working on something for my blog I know it could get that much better. So wake up people. And stay woke.

Namaste. xx.

What Happens When You Have Competition?

The yoga community is not competitive in the yoga sphere. If it is, then you have the wrong motivation. There are many angles and perspectives one can take when deciding to create a yoga blog. I personally like to add a down-to-earth, humorous voice to my posts. I think this is something unique in the yoga community. Often times yoga is seen as something radically peaceful, and painfully boring. It can also seem extremely intense and intimidating to some. I want my blog to create a community who can share tips and tricks and yoga fails. This way we can all help each other and have a laugh at the same time. My blog does not focus on one specific aspect of yoga. Many yoga blogs center around meditation and breathing/relaxation techniques. Others purely focus on aesthetic balance poses that are eye catching and definitely help a blog gain followers. Other blogs may go deep into Buddhism principles and explain many of the origin stories of yoga. Then, you have blogs like mine that are written by someone who is passionate about yoga and can’t decide on a specific thing to focus on. Thus, I am giving a broad overview of my experience beginning yoga and my how I incorporate yoga into my lifestyle now.

My yoga blog is a place where I do not try to be someone else. I use these posts as a way to express myself. I write in the voice that I think and speak in. I try to make this content as authentic and candid as possible so I can form a relationship with those who visit my blog. Thank you to everyone who actually reads these posts and enjoys them. Please feel free to give as much feedback to me as possible and let me know what posts you want to read about!

The light in me honors the light in you. May you have shanti, shanti, shanti, peace, peace, peace. Namaste xx.

What Happens When You Search for Content?

367193811_1280x720.jpgThis is a photo found on the Creative Commons search engine. It’s pretty candid right? The pose is pretty commendable, Overall I would give this photo a B+. The subject in the photo is dong everything she needs to do (quite well I may admit because that is a forearm stand which is REALLY DIFFICULT). The location is very scenic and natural which aligns quite well with the yoga aesthetic. The colors are all very contrasting and pleasing to the eye. But let’s be real. The quality of this photo is sub par. Nothing that you would be ridiculously proud of. Nothing that you would try to protect with your life. This was probably taken with a phone or a low grade digital camera. Lets be honest, iPhone quality is better than this. But this is the type of content that you can find for free. Free of money and free of copyright. Relevant content but subpar at best.

Let’s take a look at how and why this photo qualifies for Fair Use:

Purpose of the Use:

  1. Criticism/Comment favoring fair use
  2. Technically this is a blog for a college class AKA for teaching/student purposes
  3. I am not profiting monetarily from using this image on my blog

Nature of the Use:

  1. Factual and nonfiction based–> this is an opinionated post but not a fictional post
  2. I am not sure whether or not this is published but it seems to be a published blog post through a reputable website

Amount of Use:

  1. Small quantity because it is only used once on my blog and is not being duplicated
  2. I would say that this is not a significant portion of my blog and does not claim ownership of it either, it is a clearly borrowed photo used once

Effect:

  1. Only ONE copy is made
  2. This was lawfully acquired through the Creative Commons website
  3. There is definitely NO EFFECT whatsoever on copyrighted material
  4. There is definitely no licensing mechanism over this photo

As you can see there is a lot to think about when you’re trying to be frugal and use photos for free or without buying the rights to them. The Fair Use Checklist is very detailed and hard to decipher. Additionally, once a piece of content is identified as being used fairly, odds are it is not the quality that you are in search of. Moral of the story is: you win some you lose some. Act fairly and you will steer clear of drama and debate over content on the internet. Know that your purpose is to be as original and fair as possible.

xx Namaste.

 

What “da fuq” happens on the mat?

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“Confused Black Girl”

An iconic meme to personify the feeling on my mind at all times of the day. Not only is this my favorite meme. Not only do I relate to this girl on a spiritual level. This is a reaction I often experienced during my first year of yoga. There are many parts of a yoga practice that simply confuse you at first introduction. A yoga beginner has a multitude of “dafuq??” moments throughout their journey. Here is a compilation of those moments:

  1. When the people to either side of you drop into a split and you’re like “dafuq are you even human I’m just tryna avoid a charlie horse”2afd2e4237a9948ab8d7f3592dca5d7a.jpg
  2. When the yoga teacher pushes your back down in a pose without your permission and you’re like…”dafuq who said I could bend that far?”da0d20d98755ab9d5fddfdf6a655ad5c_yoga-dog-meme-yoga_400-282.jpeg
  3. When the teacher says a weird pose name like “srikvanasanamodbosdkjbcj” and everyone knows what it means, so you’re awkwardly examining peoples bodies to try and copy them. But its obviously a hopeless cause.hilarious-yoga-memes-5.jpg
  4. When you look at the person next to you and they’re just casually in a handstand. Yep so casual.                                                         images.jpeg
  5. When class is over and everyone says “Ohhmm” in unison. So you open your eyes, look around at the class with prayer hands, and reevaluate why you ever walked into this freaky, bendy, buddha, trippy jungle in the first place. 9f83e3c3d1f44aca055f141ef50ee692.jpg

And just like that, now there are other yoga newbies that come to class, look at me and think “um dafuq?”. (and one last yoga meme for your entertainment.

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What Happens When Your Audience Grows

Social media opens up the potential for online content to go viral. Social media in the digital age gives opportunities to so many more people to pursue their passions. If you have a passion for comedy you can create funny youtube skits. If you have a passion for photography you can edit photos and create a unique Instagram account. If you like to cook you can post recipes to Pinterest. The sphere of pop culture is no longer limited to the 1% on the radio and television. Making a name for yourself and spreading your brand is no longer an impossible dream.

There are many ways to share content through social media. For example, if you like my blog and my content you can post a link to a specific post on your Facebook account. It would be a good idea to add a brief caption about what my blog focuses on and why you like it. Then your friends and family would be able to learn more about your interests. Also, it gives people like me, who have a passion, and would not easily be able to pursue this passion without the creation of social media. When a brand or blog is shared to many readers online it has the potential to become a business.

Sharing a blog will help increase the audience of the blog. For blog editors like myself this is extremely helpful. Currently, with such a small audience and minimal feedback I am limited to creating posts that I enjoy. However, with a larger audience I will be able to receive more feedback and create content that is better catered to my audience. I would be able to ask my audience what they are interested in reading about on my blog and focus in on those topics. A larger audience takes a lot of the guesswork out of content creation.