About cmontoy

I'm young, living in a city and getting ready to graduate from a liberal arts university with a degree in photojournalism. My plans after graduation are very up-in-the-air, and I plan to gallivant the globe someday with my camera, doing documentary work. I've been practicing yoga for three years now and apart from falling on my face multiple times a week, it's going well! Enjoy, whoever you are, and namaste.

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6 Things a Serious Yogi Still Does

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Endings

My brothers and I after graduation

My brothers and I after graduation.

So I graduated college yesterday. I managed not to fall in my five inch heels or cry off my meticulously applied makeup, and I had a great day with my friends and family. I graduated summa cum laude with distinguished honors, an academic excellence award and a member of Alpha Chi College Honor Society. The past four years have been great and I’m sad to see them go, but I’m also excited for the future.

Endings are funny. Whether its high school, a relationship, a marriage, a school year, an assignment or even a vacation, we close the book on a chapter of our lives that we will never be able to get back. Along with that, time is funny too. I remember cutting my hair off three and a half years ago, wondering how I’d ever learn my way around the city and make friends in a place where I knew nobody. Today, Pittsburgh is my city. It’s my home. And I’ll leave it sooner rather than later to embark on the next journey of my life.

My degree in photojournalism will take me to many places and to do many things. I will always relish in the road trip to wherever I go, the new adventures I’ll find there and the home I’ll make there. Just like I did with Pittsburgh. 

Namaste.

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The sunset last night at my favorite Pittsburgh view spot.

 

A comprehensive guide to the 8 Limbs of Yoga

^^^^ Check out a photo shoot I did with Rachael, a beautiful yogi. Her spirit is so amazing, and as I let her do whatever pose came to her while a thunderstorm echoed under the bridge, I realized how the 8 limbs of yoga can translate from the art form of yoga to my art form, photography.

The 8 limbs of yoga. Us yogis, we live by them in our practice, and we all aim to take them from the mat and into our daily life. And the truth is, without them, where would the evolution of yoga have gone (if anywhere)?

http://www.preceden.com/timelines/67066-important-moments-in-yoga-history
Click the link up there ^^^ for a very cool timeline of important moments in the shaping of modern yoga, including when the sutras were written.

Confession: I didn’t know about the 8 limbs until I bought a new mat about 4 months ago. I know I know, I’m sorry! I’m not worthy! But better late than never, right?
On the paper label wrapped around the mat, there was a section entitled “Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.” The description was this:
“The following wisdom is from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, written thousands of years ago. The practice of mystic yoga can be categorized into the following eight parts:” etc etc. Obviously I cut it out, and it now lives on a shelf above my bed. I read it from time to time to remind myself why I came to practice, how far I’ve come, how far I have to go and what yoga is meant to be. And let me tell you, as a twenty-one-year-old whippersnapper in the midst of a city, they mean something totally different than older yogis who are wise and more stable than I am. But that’s also what yoga is about: applying these basic principals to ourselves, no matter how different we may be. So here’s what they mean to me, and how I learned about them. I could go on and on about these eight limbs, as I’m sure you can too, but I’ll keep it brief so you don’t fall asleep on me (or quit reading because you’re bored, that woud be bad too). Bear with me, there’s some really cool infographics to simplify all this for you as you go along.

  1. Yama: universal morality, control of the senses. Yamas are our attitude toward others and how we are to deal with things outside of ourselves. The five wise characteristics in yamas kind of remind me of the commandments of the Bible, except softer, gentler (and totally less daunting). The gist of them is this: don’t take more than you need (don’t steal), neutralize your greed, have compassion for all living things, speak the truth and control yourself. Pretty easy, right? Simply put, control yourself. Think about your actions, pay attention to the world around you and live to your means.
  2. Niyama: Personal observances, or how we relate internally to ourselves. There are also “rules” for this, ranging from cleanliness, finding self awareness in everything we do, staying fit, keeping pure and being content with what we have. Personaly, I need to remember this one. It’s really easy to get caught up in all the Continue reading

Quiet Surrender

Video

This video is long overdue (and not the video I teased about yesterday either). With a lot of technical difficulties, I finally got it finished, uploaded and converted for you all to enjoy. This semester you’ve all been hearing about the benefits of yoga, how my teacher is basically my hero (and my friend), and how I feel about yoga. In this video, I gave a voice to both her and I. I had another interview, but I decided that this piece deserved a piece of me in it, as it is personal and sensitive and near and dear to me. I could go on and on, but I’ll let you just watch it!

Sometimes, you have to look back at where you’ve been and remember why you went, where you’re going and how far you’ve come. With the explosion of yoga in the past ten years, yoga has gone from a purely spiritual practice to a commercial venture in some ways. In a lot of ways the real meaning of yoga is kindled, but like my instructor said when I interviewed her, “you can go get ‘the mat’ and ‘the pants’ at the store, but you don’t need any of that crap to practice.”
One of the great things about yoga becoming popular though is that it enables people like me to practice; young, overworked college kids who need to destress in a different way than going to the gym or running or classes like zumba. Yoga adds another option to getting fit, in every single way imaginable. It’s a game changer.

I’m such a tease: a massive post coming very soon!

That’s right folks, I’ve been working on a really cool, super awesome, fantabulous post for you all this past week.

I’ve been waiting to write a post on the 8 Limbs of Yoga for a while now while I dove into research about yoga, its roots and experiencing the 8 limbs for myself. I have you a post that I will warn you about right now: get a cup of coffee or tea and sit on down, because you will be reading for a while! But honestly, who doesn’t love reading something adequately researched and written in (slightly) witty 21-year-old language? Like the photo above, the post will have shots from a beautiful photo shoot I did last week with the yoga instructor you’ve all heard about this whole semester, Rachael. I’ll also be bestowing some more data visualizations on you, maybe another timeline and some much needed found photographic excellence. Who knows, maybe I’ll even put up another playlist! We’ll see how ambitious I get here (finals are tough).

So if you’re ready, like this post! And send some good vibes my way in the next few days as I finish up my undergrad degree!

Namaste, y’all.

Data journalism & yoga: an (un)likely pair

Journalism changes day-to-day nowadays, and one of the coolest things about journalism is its delving into data. Comment boxes, open questions and surveys allow us to create visualizations about trends, likes, dislikes, history and basic information. And that’s what I did here: I sent out a survey (which, if you participated, THANK YOU!) and created visualizations out of my answers. Click on the graphs to be taken to a more detailed version; I hope you find these relationships and visualizations as interesting as I have. I will be distributing out another survey soon for my final in my multimedia class (I promise I’ll keep this blog going once the semester is going!), so stay tuned!

View Surveygoers in a full screen map

First, above is a link to a map of the hometowns of 11 of the over 20 people that took my yoga survey. Check it out, and next time you could be on it!

Every bit of my survey data, in a word cloud customized and based on the frequency of the text.

Every bit of my survey data, in a word cloud customized and based on the frequency of the text.

Next, above is a word visualization. The larger the word, the more frequently it came up in the survey questions and answers.

Relationship between practice and benefits in yogaPurple: mental health benefits
Green: physical benefits
Mustard: emotional health benefits

Above: A matrix chart of the relationship between what brought people to practice yoga in the first place (stress management, physical exercise, a spiritual experience) and what the people within these categories felt the best benefit of yoga is.

relationship between yoga practice and benefits

Many EyesGreen: mental health benefits
Blue: physical health benefits
Red: emotional health benefits

Above: A multi-faceted matrix chart detailing the relationship between what brought people to practice yoga in the first place (stress management, physical exercise, a spiritual experience) and what the people within these categories felt the best benefit of yoga is. This relationship is then broken up into categories of what my survey participants think yoga is, a spiritual discipline or a mental/physical fitness program.

yogis and thoughts on yoga in the olympics

Many EyesBlue: I’m confused, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of yoga?
Green: Yoga in the Olympics is an okay idea.
Red: yoga has no place in the Olympics.
Tan: yoga in the Olympics is an awesome idea!

Above: A matrix chart shows the percentages of surveygoers that practice yoga on various levels, and in those percents, what those people thought about the idea of yoga in the Olympics (which is not happening, but what people said was interesting nonetheless).