Spring

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Spring

Sneak peek from a little yoga shooting just after graduation!
Self-portrait.

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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.

 

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.

Today, I’m thankful for my feet.

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My favorite shoes: Vibram Five Fingers, the alternative to bare feet.

My niece will be one-year-old this month, and she’s on the cusp of walking. It’s adorable. She can pull herself up and stand and walk around holding on to something, but when she’s up without anything to hold on to, plop! she’s down on her butt, looking pouty and, to be honest, completely heart-meltingly cute. But when she stands, she’s got this look in her eye like “look at me, I’m up on my own two feet!”

Sometimes, we forget about our feet; after all, they’re all the way down there. We shove our feet into sneakers, boots, and if you’re like me, five-inch heels. We keep our feet cooked up in socks and shoes for hours a day. We let our feet get calluses, we forget to cut our toenails, we let the pretty polish on our toes get chipped. But our feet… They’re really kind of everything, aren’t they?

They carry us through life. Literally.

Currently, my laptop is resting on the insides of my feet (I’m sitting in a loose butterfly pose). To get out of bed in the morning and start our day, the first thing that touches the ground is our feet. When we jump, hop, skip or run, we land feet first. Even the ever-popular saying for someone motivated and starting something successfully is “hitting the ground running.”

Often times when I’m practicing I connect my mind to my feet by simply thinking “strong feet.” They’re the basis of balancing poses, where we find our mountain, and the other half of our down dogs. Our feet are where we root into the earth.

So have gratitude for your feet; without them, we’d have no independence. They carry us through life. And every once in a while, give ‘em a pampering. They deserve it. You deserve it too.

Setting intentions: What are you accomplishing as you practice?

At the beginning of most practices, you set an intention. That intention may be to gain motivation, refresh your soul, untangle some chords in your brain, calm your nerves, send energy to somewhere, etc. When I began my practice tonight, my intention was to gain some peace of mind. With graduation in just two months, I’m freakin’ out. I’m working on applications to jobs all over the US, and I may have to leave Pittsburgh just when, for the first time in my life, I feel like I belong somewhere. Am I a failure if I stay here? Will I succeed if I go? What if no one wants to hire me? What if I can’t financially support myself? Where is my life going to go? They haunt me, these questions. They haunt my thoughts while I’m awake and my subconscious during sleep. So I walked in tonight with the intention to leave with some peace of mind from all of the insecurities and confusion going on inside me.

After a really great practice, my teacher, Rachael, read from Judith Lasater during savasana:
“The greatest discipline is surrender. So often we confuse ambition with discipline; we think that pushing ourselves to do more proves that we are disciplined. When you practice yoga today or any day, focus instead on how much clarity and discipline is required to let go. Let go of your expectations, let go of what may no longer be possible, let go of your resistance.”

 And then I started crying.

I realized many things at that moment. There are things I can’t control in my life, so why am I trying? I have always said that wherever my life takes me, I’ll go. Why am I freaking out about it now when that moment is upon me? I have been preparing for this moment for the past four years of my life. I’m ready. I’ve always been such a planner, a control freak. But I need to let go. I need to keep doing what I’m doing and let my life pan out the way it’s supposed to. I need to tell myself, “breathe, Camelia. You’re ready.” I need to surrender.

Rachael concluded our practice tonight by saying, “As you take the next few moments to just breathe, imagine what it would feel like if you surrender more often in your life.”

I left with peace of mind.

Namaste. May you all surrender a little more in your lives this week, and always.