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.

 

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

In the forest without shoes on

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In the forest without shoes on

I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but ever since I started getting better at balancing, I tend to do yoga everywhere. I climb up on rocks, I step up on railings, I go out on a limb. In this case, I went out on a fallen tree that was over a creek to do this eagle pose. And really, there is just something about doing yoga outside in the fresh air that is just soooooo vitalizing.

My first experience with watching yoga instead of practicing

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I think we can all agree that yoga is something truly beautiful. But have you ever sat and watched a practice in person, and not just in a video?

This past Tuesday, instead of practicing in the class I take at school I decided instead to watch the practice instead. I decided to watch the practice both with my eyes and through my camera lens, and I must say, I’m still in awe at how amazing a practice is in person.

Seldom times we think about the other people in the room when we practice, but that’s the whole point of yoga: we work on ourselves for that amount of time. Nothing else (and no one else, really) matters. So I was struck when I was watching this practice at how beautifully everyone moved, together but ever-so-slightly separate with each person’s individual pace. As I took in the whole room, I noticed some things: the variety of dress, from dance clothes to athletic shorts to leggings and spaghetti straps. I noticed the variety of skill level: from guys with too much muscle to bind their arms to dancers that can twist and bend like it’s nothing, and everything in-between. But what I found most beautiful while watching was the variety of people that came together to practice. Like all universities, some groups don’t mix. The jocks don’t particularly mix with the dancers, the dancers don’t mix with the psychology majors, the business majors don’t mix with the photographers, and so on. All of that is forgotten, though, when each person steps into the room with their mat.

The best thing about yoga, in my opinion, is the fact that it does not discriminate. Anyone can practice. Young, old, flexible, barely able to touch your toes, seasoned yogis or amateurs, yoga has something for everyone. In the threshold of the doorway, we leave everything behind. No one is better than anyone else in the room. I had known this before, of course, but I had not fully understood it until I watched a group of individuals, who are all so different, both move and breathe together.

Now that, my friends, is truly beautiful.

Namaste.

Sneak peek from my practice shoot

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Sneak peek from my practice shoot

Last night I had the pleasure of shooting the yoga class I take at my university. Of course I have seen videos of practices, but I had never watched a practice before. I was struck with how utterly beautiful yoga is, and how so many students, ranging from dance majors to psychology majors to sports, arts, and entertainment management majors could come together and move as one.
So here’s a sneak peek from my hour-long shoot. Stay tuned for more to come!