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. 



The sunset last night at my favorite Pittsburgh view spot.



Yoga Flow Pittsburgh


Yoga Flow Pittsburgh website homepage. Source: yogaflowpittsburgh.com

There are many things I want when it comes to my yoga practice. I like the place to be hot, but not too hot. I like the instructor to walk around and be engaged in his or her students as well as the practice. The atmosphere has to mesh with me and so does the music. I haven’t had to look hard in Pittsburgh to find good yoga that fits well with me. Currently, I frequent the Shadyside location of Yoga Flow Pittsburgh, and since the day I walked into the door I’ve been hooked.

With four locations in the Pittsburgh area, Yoga Flow has a fantastic atmosphere to get your mind and body connected. All of the instructors I’ve had have been great; they make the effort to connect to their students as well as get their students to connect to a practice.  On their website, Yoga Flow welcomes people to their company with this message:
It’s something different for us all that brings us to a yoga class. Perhaps it is to increase flexibility, gain strength, enhance physical fitness or to relieve stress. At each Yoga Flow studio, you will find that whatever your motivation is for being there, you are welcome to our family.”  


Instructors, courtesy of the Yoga Flow Pittsburgh website

The instructors at Yoga Flow are both professional and personal, and they are so open with their students. When I first experienced Yoga Flow Pittsburgh, I was struck by the peaceful atmosphere I stepped into as soon as I walked in the door. People were quieter, the lights were dim, the air smelled like incense and the mat. I had never practiced hot yoga before (hot vinyasa flow, not to be confused with bikram) and at one point during the practice I was overwhelmed at how amazing my limbs felt from the heat. Yoga Flow’s instructors are experienced, kind and sensitive yogis who very obviously want to share their knowledge of yoga with students and help them revive themselves. The studio strives for challenging routines that have room for inversions and rest, depending on what your body can handle. Yoga Flow studios are beautiful, with hard wood floors, places to put your belongings, and plenty of supplies like towels and blocks. Yoga Flow Shady Side prices range from $14 for a drop in ($8 for students) to $112 for a 10-punch pass ($75 for students). 

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh and looking to practice, Yoga Flow studios are a definite option to consider. Owned by Dominique Ponko, a ten-year yoga practitioner and teacher, Yoga Flow Pittsburgh studios are dedicated to helping and healing each student that walks into its door. 



In the forest without shoes on


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.

The yoga victorious

Photo Jan 23, 10 40 56 PM

Just after Christmas, I started a core workout program. Mainly, I just wanted to exercise my core muscles more and tone everything up (bathing suit season is coming soon!), but I also wanted to challenge myself, to work toward a goal.

The workouts are great for feeling the burn, as all workouts should be. I really feel like I’m getting somewhere. But I really felt like I was getting somewhere when the new school semester started and I was back to my yoga class, finally mastering crow pose and even some balancing poses I previously hadn’t been able to hold before. I attribute it to my workouts, of course (pictures of those will be up soon, I assure you).
But sometimes, small victories happen that mean just as much as staying up in crow pose for over 5 seconds without falling on your face.

After a workout the other day, since my mat was already out, I decided to stretch a little bit and do a sun salutation or two while I was warmed up. I’ve been trying to work on my hip flexors lately because the lack of flexibility in them was proving difficult in practice. So at the end of my practice, after a few lunges and pigeons, I sat and let my hips relax in a butterfly pose, while my hands went to my heart. And I breathed. That beautiful, end-of-practice breathing to let everything sink in and let your mind relish in the wonderful treatment you gave it, and your body, in the past minutes.

And then I realized, my calves were on the floor. My heels were pulled in as far as they could go and for the first time, my calves were on the floor. Seems pretty simple, right? Something I probably shouldn’t feel totally ecstatic for, right? But man, it felt like a milestone. I did it!

Namaste all, and may you too be victorious this week.