Yoga = Art

There are a lot of themes I try to weave into my classes.

Self-love, gratitude, acceptance, living in the present moment, the list goes on and on.

Two people from different “parts” of my life (for lack of a better word) gave me some solid advice a couple weeks ago.

Yoga is an art. Treat it as such.

Art is a good way to cope, to have a safe release.

So, I asked my classes a couple weeks ago to make art. Dance in your space, paint the air with your breath, I said.

And, to add some extra art to the class, I shared three poems throughout class as well from my favorite book of poems as of late, Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur.

One being:

You

are your own

soul mate

Art takes so many forms. Paintings and sketches. Dances and plays. Musicals and film festivals. Coachella and Firefly, Bonnaroo and Merriweather Post, and Red Rocks. Red Rocks is natural art, forever changing with every crowd and artist that graces its landscape. Records and cassettes and CDs and lyrics scrawled on napkins, melodies hummed under your breath as you ride the bus to work, school, home. Books and novellas and poems and prose and novels and Kindles (yes, even Kindles have art) and old, smelly, yellowing pages from the back shelves in your local library.

Art is on our bodies. Stretch marks on hip bones and freckles in constellations across our cheekbones. Birth marks and scars, stitches and staples, bruises and band-aids. Colored hair, natural hair. Tattoos and piercings. Bright colored sneakers, black jeans, distressed denim jackets, earth toned beanies, shiny baubles on our ears, noses, wrists, fingers, resting on our collarbones. Toe rings and anklets, belts with shiny gemstones, worn belt buckles with a better story than I’ll ever be able to tell.

Art moves through us. In our minds, through our breath, off our tongues and onto another’s. Through the ripples of fingertips on keyboards, clinging to pens and pencils for dear life, against guitar strings.

Look at the way the clouds paint the sky, different every day. Art can never be replicated. You can try to recreate a Picasso, but it won’t be the same. Not that it won’t be good, but it won’t be the same. The shades of yellow and orange will be different, because you can’t mix the exact way he once did. Maybe your yellow is brighter, but the human eye can’t tell. Maybe you swirl your brush right, and he swirled it left. There’s art, the act of looking at it, analyzing it. And there’s creating art. Neither can be replicated. No one sees one song the same as another. A song might bring me joy, and bring you sadness. It could take me back to a happy time, and you to a time of heartbreak. Warrior II doesn’t feel the same in my body as it does in yours. My stance might be shorter, longer, heel to heel rather than heel to arch, but it’s still the same posture, and it’s still beautiful.

Different bodies do yoga for different reasons. Different minds, backgrounds, colors, sizes, shapes do yoga for different reasons. I don’t come to the mat for the exact same reason you do. On Monday, maybe I needed to detox from the weekend, and you needed to wake up from a weekend sick in bed. On Tuesday, I’m stressed, and you’re already zen. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I want a mental practice, to meditate in my flow, and you want the physical workout. No matter the reason, no matter who you are, you’re an artist on your mat. You’re creating a masterpiece with your body, mind, and breath.

Even as you’re sitting still, perhaps in child’s pose before class begins, or easy pose with a tall spine, you’re making magic happen. And your breath, even as we breathe as a tribe, inhale, exhale, listening to your teacher’s cues, could never match your neighbors. Yours might be deeper, your neighbor’s might be louder. Yours might be ujjayi, your neighbors might be out their mouth.

Art is magical in that it is unique to the artist. Yoga is magical in that it is unique to the yogi. Art is creating something new, every time you begin to create. Yoga is creating something new, every time you step into your studio, your mat, your safe space.

Art is a safe haven, yoga is a release, art is calming, yoga is enlightening. Art is beautiful, yoga is powerful, art is a choice, yoga is a lifestyle, art is healthy, yoga takes bravery. Art takes willpower, yoga takes commitment, art is a perspective, yoga is learning new things every day.

Switch up ‘yoga’ and ‘art’ and every word, in my opinion, in those sentences are still the truth.

When I plan my classes, I journal beforehand. All the thoughts in my head pour out onto paper and then I speak these words, as best I can, to my class later on. Sometimes I journal for days before a class, trying to figure out what message I want to paint in our vision to be our guide for 60 minutes or so. Sometimes, the message doesn’t come across as clear as I’d like it to, because I myself cannot fully understand what I’m trying to speak.

I’ll speak of ancient teachings. The Yamas and Niyamas, ahimsa, svadyaya, etc. etc. etc.

And I’ve only briefly studied these, in teacher training and on my own time, in books and online and with other teachers. But I still speak to them, because they add depth to this practice.

If you look at a piece of art, you’ll see a lot of things. Color, brush strokes. Word choice, syntax. Melodies, the bass, the drum beat. But then you look deeper. You analyze. Why did the artist choose to do this? Why that word over that word? Why this rhyme scheme/rhythm/shade of purple? And you, in most cases, infer, unless the artist is there beside you.

Why did we go from Warrior II to Crescent Lunge? Why did we breath out of our mouths instead of our noses this time? Why are my hips tight, shoulders rounding in, core engaged? Why are we doing what we are doing? Breathing this way or that? Flowing or meditating? Opening our eyes or closing them? Why did you choose this intention over your usual one? Why this song during this part of the flow?

I’m a bit neurotic, in a good way, when it comes to my classes. I change the playlist until it feels perfect for the message, the energy of the class, the time of day, the size of the class I’m expecting or accustom to. I’ll change the flow as I go if a particular class seems more advanced, or less so. I’ll add extra time in savasana on sleepy days, and build more heat before we start to flow on cold, snowy, I-would-rather-be-in-bed-but-I’m-here-anyways days.

When I write, it’s not too different. I take deep breaths when I’m feeling frustrated or losing focus. I step out of my space when I need to clear my head, similar to how I step into my yoga space when I need to clear my head. I find a balance between the two, and they keep me grounded. I can’t write while in bed, that’s where I rest. Rather, I write with two feet on the ground and my hands constantly moving, even if they escape the keyboard or the grasp of my pen to lift my coffee mug, clear dishes, leave a tip, put my jacket back on in a chilly coffeeshop, adjust my hair, answer the phone, doodle on a napkin. I close my eyes when needed, and keep them open to welcome in the light, color, inspiration surrounding me in every environment I take on. I switch up words. I play certain songs when I want to delve deeper into a certain mood. I turn my phone on silent and don’t answer it for an hour or so, and I dread turning it back on again. The flood of messages ruins my zen. I find solace in my safe spaces. In my journals, books, pages on my laptop, on my mat, my meditation pillow, walking to yoga class or writing class or one of my favorite writing spots.

There are two things, besides friends/family/etc.etc.etc. that got me through high school fairly unscathed. It’s not that I didn’t love high school, I did, I do, it was a blessing to me, it shaped me into who I am today. Those years gave me so much. But those years, those drastic, ever evolving, painfully full of feeling teenage years. They gave me my yoga practice and my writing. My love for art didn’t truly come about until the end of senior year, I would say. I dreaded museums, now I crave them. I enjoyed music, but I never truly felt it until more recently. I skimmed paragraphs of books I bought, but now I have too much respect for writers and musicians and artists to skim over their work. I glue my gaze onto every word on the page, off their lips, into my ears, through my eyes. I appreciate all that went into a work of art. Including a yoga class. I’m grateful for all my teachers and the flows they create, the wise words they speak, the advice they give me, the support in their presence, the life in them is art itself. The way my teachers, my fellow yogis, students, writers, friends, family choose to live their lives is my greatest inspiration.

Yoga and writing. Two things I sometimes lose track of, but they’re the foundation of who I am. I love words, sharing them, meditating on them, scratching them out and starting from zero. I love yoga, flowing and finding stillness, breathing and tuning in to the inner works of my mind, body, breath. I love the community that comes from both of these things. Yoga gave me CorePower, Yoga Love, some of my favorite people in this world. Yoga has given me experiences I’ll never forget. I crave feedback now, rather than fearing it. Writing gave me a new purpose. An internship, writing jobs, a second major I was never planning on. A community that gives me critiques and compliments, ideas and “this is a terrible idea.” Writing gave me one of my best friends, and she taught me to accept the critiques, to embrace them, to see where they take me. She taught me to be brave with my words, that they are good enough to take me farther than I thought. Writing gave me HerCampus, The Tab, Folk Rebellion. Connection and friends, kind words and encouraging feedback, building blocks and stepping stones, a foundation that began in high school has created a magical life for me now.

I spend my days writing, reading, yoga-ing, breathing, creating, finding inspiration, seeking new connections. I’m not afraid of this life anymore, I crave more of it. Deeper breaths, more meaningful words and friendships, strong connections, understanding of all that going ons in my life. Stillness, energy, love, love, love. I find all this in my work. And I’m blessed to say I work in both these areas that I love so dearly. Not all yogis and writers can say this. But if you work towards it, manifest it, build your life around these things, whatever your favorite things are, you’ll find they come to you as easy as the breeze bites your exposed cheeks in winter time.

Until next time,

Caroline xx

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Perspective On: Horoscopes

Read on to see the words that come to mind when I think of the sweet souls that I know in each sign:

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

  • Loving
  • Friendly
  • Strong critical thinkers
  • Interested in everything
  • Loves to talk
  • Passionate
  • Hard working
  • Zealous

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Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

  • Great sense of humor
  • A chameleon
  • Enjoys reflecting on the past
  • Quiet
  • Loves love
  • Humble
  • Romantic
  • Peace seekers
  • Love traveling
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Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

  • Highly intelligent
  • Spectacularly hilarious
  • Jack of all trades
  • Humble
  • Quick thinkers
  • Nostalgic, often times
  • Mischievous
  • Youthful
  • Fun to be around

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Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

  • Open-minded
  • Modest
  • Balanced
  • Caring
  • Level-headed
  • Opinionated
  • Home oriented
  • Sensitive
  • Offers nice compliments, almost always

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Leo (July 23 – August 22)

  • Passionate
  • Spiritual
  • Wonderfully enthusiastic
  • Happy with themselves
  • Social
  • Fun loving
  • Optimistic
  • Gives good advice

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Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

  • Spiritual
  • Quirky
  • Forward-thinking
  • Observant
  • Dreamer
  • Humble
  • Tend to be quiet
  • Love knowledge
  • Fearless

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Libra (September 23 – October 22)

  • Natural leaders
  • Genuine
  • Sweet
  • Put-together
  • Adventurous spirits
  • Determined
  • Flirty
  • Quick on their feet (thinking wise)

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Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

  • Great listeners
  • Good memories
  • Sensual
  • Enjoy reflecting on the past
  • Fall in love easily
  • Adrenaline lovers
  • Worrisome
  • Careful

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Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

  • Picks up on emotions of others
  • Caring and compassionate
  • Sensitive
  • Creative
  • Authentically themselves
  • Lots of smiles
  • Bubbly
  • Socially conscious
  • Hopeless romantic, and they’ll admit it

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Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

  • Driven
  • Kind hearted
  • Successful
  • Creative
  • Environmentally conscious
  • Welcoming
  • Hopelessly romantic (but they’ll never admit it)
  • Hard working
  • Sensual

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Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

  • Focused
  • Goal-driven / goal-setters
  • Musical / music lovers
  • Innovators
  • Outdoorsy
  • Grounded
  • Excited
  • Fearless
  • Independent

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Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

  • Adventurous
  • Free spirited
  • Friendly
  • Fun-loving
  • Soft-spoken
  • Motivational and supportive, always
  • Emotionally motivated
  • Optimistic
  • Searches for happiness wherever possible

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Sending you love to the stars and back,

Caroline

Read my last post here

Get Spooky With It

Happy Spooky Season!

The leaves crunch beneath the steps of my sneakers and fall into my hair as it blows in the bustling breeze. Autumn is here, and Halloweekend is just a few days away. My outfits fill a drawer in my dresser, hidden behind the curtain of a dark wood. A flame burns in front of my as I type away, paper after paper, for my classes. My room leaks out pumpkin smells and I sip apple cider from the local juice shop. The weekends prior have been filled with costume shopping, hikes, and haunted houses. Now it’s time to really start celebrating before the leaves give up on falling and tired of changing, and the spirits mix with us for a quick moment of our lives.

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Let’s talk all things Halloween

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Try out one of these yummy (vegan) autumnal recipes:

  • Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pumpkin Nog:
    • Juice of one small “pie” pumpkin
      1/3 C filtered water
      1/4 tsp ginger
      1/4 tsp cinnamon
      1 tsp local raw honey
    • Juice the pumpkin in your juicer (save the pulp and seeds to use in some of the other recipes). Pour fresh juice into a blender. Add spices, honey, and blend. Dilute to taste with water. Chill or serve immediately.

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You’ll probably see a lot of Harley Quinn’s this weekend, but if you want something different check out these shops:

If you’re in Boulder and still in need of a costume, check out these spots:

  • The Ritz
  • Goldmine Vintage
  • Buffalo Exchange
  • Ragstock
  • Goodwill

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  • 13 Nights of Halloween on Freeform
    • Find the schedule here
  • American Horror Story on FX
    • Wednesday is the Halloween episode! Who’s excited? This girl. This girl is so dandy-ly excited.
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show
    • Find a local showing here

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  • Check out a haunted house
    • Field of Screams in Maryland
    • Frightmare Compound in Colorado
  • Carve pumpkins
    • Get creative and outside of the norm with cool designs like these:
  • Paint pumpkins (if knives aren’t your thing)
  • But before the last two, pick the pumpkins first!
    • Munson Farms in Colorado
    • Larriland Farm in Maryland
  • Grab some apples, and make something yummy from what you collect
    • Like this vegan applesauce recipe:
      • 6 Jonagold apples, cores removed
        1 lemon, juiced
        8 dates
        1/2 tsp cinnamon
      • Combine ingredients in a food processor. Serves 4.
  • Create an autumn simmer bowl

And of course, a playlist for you to get spooky with:

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Happy Halloween!

Until next time,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

On the Mat: Living Your Best Life

This week on the mat, I’ll be speaking about living your best life, and what that means for each and every one of us.

It’s different for everyone. What makes you light up? What’s your golden nugget? That thing you could do all day, every day, and talk about for hours before and after. Are you doing this/these thing(s)? If you aren’t, what’s stopping you?

This is your wild lil’ lifetime, so why not live your very best life!

For me, I’ve had moments on my mat, on trails in Utah and Colorado and Alaska and back home in sweet Maryland, where I think, “this is how I want to spend the rest of my life” or “I was born to live this way.” But then sometimes I fall off track. I won’t hike for months at a time, and I find myself missing the mountain air, or the feeling of dipping your toes in the water after a sweaty climb. My mat stays in the corner of my room for a couple weeks, and I feel my practice slipping from between my fingertips.

Why am I not living the way I want to? I could think of a million excuses. I’m too busy, it’s the holiday season, it’s summer and hot yoga doesn’t feel as good as it does in the chill of January in Colorado, I have an exam next week, and a paper due Wednesday, and my friends wanted to go out, I wasn’t feeling well, I would’ve been running late to something or the other if I had tried to squeeze it in, my stomach was upset, I had a headache, and on and on and on.

Are any of these valid? Well, yeah, occasionally. But why should I sink yoga, hiking, running, writing, reading, and all the things that make me feel most alive, lower on my to-do list when they are when I feel like my most authentic and happiest self?

So many questions, too many excuses, and yet there’s no denying: my best life is right in front of me. It’s in the car driving through the Rockies with my mom, watching my favorite shows with my favorite people, sitting in coffee shops in the city writing like I am now, on my mat in a sweaty yoga class, on the trail, with dirt on my feet and the wind whistling through my hair, the leaves jingling along to the tune the bird’s are singing from the tree-tops.

I’m done with the excuses, and you can be, too. When doubt or a ‘no’ rises to the surface of your mind as your contemplating how you hope to spend your day or your weekend, imagine an ocean wave crashing over it. The space between your brows softens, your jaws unclenches, and you’re going to do exactly what you want to do. The paper you’re writing can wait, and maybe a hike or whatever you’re craving will clear your head. Your exam won’t get any feelings hurt if you take a couple hours off from studying to do what makes you feel best.

As a firm believer in mental and physical and emotional well-being above all else, I’m always surprised by how easily I let my priorities slide to the bottom of my to-do list when the going gets tough.

Life’s all about balance, on the mat and off, in your mind and body and spirit, so this week, let’s work towards finding that balance. If you need a day off, take it. If you need to go to a nighttime yoga class so you can get your homework out of the way, sip some green tea as you work and then grab your mat, sling it over your shoulder, and get your yogi butt to class. (Kind of talking to myself here, it feels like?)

Essentially, find what makes you excited. What amps up your heart rate and where you would rather be when you’re sitting in lecture (while still living in the present moment, of course). Write these things down on the top of your to-do list, in sharpie, and don’t cross them out for anything.

When you want to go on a road trip, grab your friends and your keys and hit the road. Manifest how you want to spend your next summer, with a bomb internship, maybe? Or traveling the world? Or cozy at home with your pets and siblings? Cultivate your best life with your best humans around you, they’ll push you to be your best and motivate you beyond what you thought you were capable of. Plant yourself in the best city or town or wherever you need to be for the time-being to root down and grow, and never be afraid to dig up your roots and re-locate. Growth happens in the craziest, strangest, and sometimes the most subtle, ways. Embrace it all, this is all we’ve got.

For class tonight, we’ll be flowing and opening our hearts up to the future, and hanging out upside down for a bit. If you’d like to flow this week, find me here:

7 PM Monday Oct. 3rd — Mind Body Studio @ the CU Rec Center

6:15 PM Thursday Oct. 6th — Bear Creek Rec Center (@ William’s Village)

Tonight’s playlist can be found here:

 

Here’s to living the greatest lives we ever have —

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Until next time,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

Read my last thoughts post here!

Thoughts on: Hope

Hope, for me, comes in the mornings when the sun’s rays are peeking in and skipping around on top of my bed. Or at night, after I put my journal onto the spot on the shelf above my bed, and the moon’s lines draw temporary tattoos on my face, my walls, my white pillow cases.

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Hope is what gets me up in the morning. It urges me to list the things I’m grateful for the moment my mind begins to stir and the planner in my head starts to fill up. I hope for a wonderful day, full of inspiration, creativity, learning, growing, loving.

Hope is why I have faith in this world despite the terrors of everyday life that have become expected. There’s a light in the future, and the dark can’t last forever. The sun will rise again, and I want to live to see the day. I want each and every being to live to see the day when violence is scarce, self-love is a top priority for all, no one fears being themselves, and veganism is the norm (my hope runs real deep on that note).

I have hope for my family, my friends, and the strangers next to me in whatever coffee shop I end up in today.

To be more specific: I hope for a magical future for my mother, filled with adventures and cuddles with my kitten, Cali, and long walks with my dog, Holly. I hope that whatever she wants, comes her way, at some point in time or the other. I hope we travel to New York City for my 20th birthday this winter, and back to California together real soon. I hope she sticks to her passions, her talents, her photography, and her greatest gift: loving. She loves deeper than any other human bean I’ve ever seen, and I hope I can love half as magically as she does. Her wisdom knows no bounds, and I hope she sees this in herself. I hope she loves herself as deeply as she loves her children, because we wouldn’t be the spectacular lil beans we are if it weren’t for her compassion, kindness, and constant hope and faith in our family and the relationships we’ve formed beyond parent and child. I hope (and she always reads my posts, so I guess I know) she realizes she’s one of my very best friends, and I sincerely hope that never changes.

(If you can’t tell by the length of that last bit, I miss my Mother Theresa & cannot wait for her pretty soul to be here with me in less than two weeks) 

I hope for a long life for my kitten and pup, full of food and play and naps in the sunshine, sometimes curled up beside each other.

I hope for a perfect school for my little brother. I hope for a perfect career for my older brother. I hope they know I have zero doubts that they’re going to lead the most awe-inspiring lives.

I hope my father finds adventures in his day-to-day life and continues to find success in his career.

I hope each and every one of my family members continues to astound me and inspire me to work as hard as they all have to come to where they are now. I hope their lives are filled with love, contentment, peace, and magical experiences.

I hope my friends grow beyond their wildest dreams and create the most fulfilled lives, the one’s we’ve always talked about.

I hope each and every being I cross paths with, whether it be once, twice, or a thousand times, finds peace within themselves, their relationships, and whatever they might be going through.

I hope you, sweet reader, find inspiration somewhere within my words, and that the word ‘hope’ still has meaning to you after I’ve repeated it so many times. I hope the very best for you, no matter where or who you are, because we’re all trying our very best to be the best at any given moment despite any roadblocks, and I hope you keep this in mind when you meet someone who’s in a bad mood, or someone cuts you off in traffic.

I hope you have a magical Monday after you read this, or whatever day you come across this.

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To the rest of the world, and say this with me (in your head, probably is best, or aloud, if you’re really down with this): I hope every being is free, content, wild, and finds some form of hope within their day-to-day life. Whether it be a cow grazing in a field, a child on the bus to school, a teenager driving to class, a working human headed to the office, a parent with their children, a grandparent with their grandchild, a bee buzzing around a flower, a raindrop falling off a leaf. I hope every molecule and all that these molecules create in this world find a piece of freedom, or whatever it is they are searching for, today, even for a fleeting moments. And if you experience this fleeting moment, grab onto it, or how it makes you feel, and invite it to stay for a while.

Hope will get us through all. Love is all that’s real. I hope for love, and I believe we’ll get to peace, real soon.

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Sending you all the love in my heart,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

Read my last ‘thoughts’ post here!

Manifest that $*!t

If you’ve ever been to one of my classes, or most likely any other yoga class, you’ve probably heard this word before: MANIFEST.

The question is, what does it mean? And the other question, how does one manifest? Don’t fret, I’ve got (most) all the answers to your (valid) questions!

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It can be difficult to find a set definition for manifesting, so I’m going to be lazy & give you the one I found on Google:

“Manifestation can be defined as bringing something into reality or a visible expression of something. As a techniques, manifestation is usually done using positive thinking or the Law of Attraction.”

My experiences with manifesting + what I’ve been cultivating recently:

I started manifesting, without realizing what I was technically doing, sometime in high school. About junior year, I suppose. And ever since, my life hasn’t been the same. My dream school came into my life, and now I’m here. My yoga lifestyle grew, and now I’m a teacher and forever a student. My vegan lifestyle became a priority, rather than just a small piece of my life. My relationships grew, my dreams shot further into the universe than I ever thought possible, and I’ve achieved more than I thought I would by this time in my life. And this, this is only the beginning!

  •  Adventures
    • In Colorado, Maryland, around the world
  • Travel
    • Specifically: California trips, NYC trips, and studying abroad next year.
  • Scholarly success
    • Always a top one for me. I’m never not imagining myself studying hardcore & it all paying off.
  • Consistent creating + inspiration
  • Loving friendships and new relationships
  • A more consistent meditation practice
    • HUGE for me lately. Most likely more on this to come real soon omies!

If you’ve ever felt stuck, or you do right now, I promise you, manifesting will help. Whether it be a little or a lot, the more you manifest, the better you’ll feel. And the bigger the impact will be on your life.

Some things to get you started:

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Some tips on manifesting:

  • Manifest as often or not-so-often as you’d like, there aren’t any (real) rules!
  • Manifesting around full moons is the very best time to do so
  • Journal your manifestations, putting pen to paper helps to clear up your head space for even more spectacular thoughts to come to the surface
  • Use crystals to aid in cultivating your dreams
    • My favorites: Tiger’s Eye, Citrine, Rose Quartz, Moonstone
  • Write your manifestations on notecards or post-it notes & place them somewhere where you’ll see them daily
  • Put mini-manifestations as reminders on your phone, so at 1:00 every day, you’ll remember why you’re gonna keep on keeping on!
  •  Rid yourself of any anxiety, doubt, or fear that comes up when you think of your manifestations. Don’t let these things block you from creating a magical life for yourself
  • Be clear in what you’re desiring. Use powerful words, send out a strong energy and emotion behind your manifestations. Really mean it. (It’s like a patronus spell in Harry Potter, there’s gotta be a whole lotta something going into this!)
  • Believe it to be possible. Imagine whatever it is, whether it be traveling to a new place or acing your midterm, daydream hardcore. How does it feel to accomplish/create/do whatever it is that you’ve done? Where do you find out about your new job? Who will you tell first about your new friend or the cute boy you meet at that coffee shop?
  • You can manifest anything, really. Money or material things, sure. Maybe dig a bit deeper. Positive relationships, new friendships, strength in old friendships, new creative outlets, a good grade, or just an amazing adventure. It’s your life, you have the pen & the paper, create whatever you desire. You’ve got the power.

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Sending you strong, you got this $*!t vibes,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

Read my last ‘thoughts’ post here!

Get Connected, for free!

Okay, not for free. My classes at The CU Rec Center are $5 or require a BeFit pass. But getting connected? Yeah, I promise you’ll get that!

Tonight was my third yoga class in the Mind Body Studio on the third floor of CU’s dreamy Recreation Center. The theme: Connection

Why connection? Well, so often I don’t know my neighbor in my yoga classes. And that’s totally okay! But imagine if you knew that person’s name, the one with the on-point breath and alignment, and knew what they ate for breakfast? Or the most embarrassing part of their day? Wouldn’t that be cool? I think so!

So, this evening when the clock hand stepped to 7, I introduced myself as I usually do, and then I asked my yogi students, about 20 humans tonight, to find someone they didn’t know very well, introduce themselves, and share something, anything about their day. At first, I watched every, single yogis eyes go wide. It was like I had just told them they were going to have to read my mind to hear the cues for class. I reassured them, and then they were off. Chatting and laughing and smiling and shaking hands and moving closer together. Together. We’re all in this together! I reminded them of this as we moved forward in class. You’re never alone. Someone has your back always, right now, I have your back, your neighbor you just met has your back, the Earth has your back, you have your back. You got this.

Don’t sweat it, we’re all in this life together, let’s connect, breathe deeper, dig further, take this world by the hand and show it what we’re made of.

Here are some of my favorite poses that I threw into tonight’s flow:

  • Skandasana
  • Frog Squat
  • Supine figure-4

My favorite quote from the practice:

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and cities; but to know of someone who thinks and feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit this makes the Earth for us an inhabited garden.” — Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

And, lastly, the playlist I curated for the hour of flow:

 

Okay, not lastly. I tend to ramble after I teach. I’m super zen, but I just want to share everything. Share the details about how I felt, how the students who spoke with me after class were, how the energy in the room was.

And tonight, the energy was palpable and welcoming. Palms faced the sky without students even realizing it. Students spoke in soft voices after class to me with only the closet light shining on our faces. My pre-class music returned and acted as the soundtrack for the ending of tonight’s yoga party. I had asked my students to introduce themselves to me after class, since I don’t always get the chance to greet them as they enter, and most took me up on the offer. I heard from new yogis and old, some who went hiking over the weekend and others who were seniors in college, surprised that I’m a sophomore. Each hand shake was brought to me with eye contact and kind words from sweet souls. We were all in that hour of practice together, and we made it out alive. Sweaty, but alive. We spoke few words between each other, and it was mainly breath, but isn’t that the basis of all that life is? Anyways, tonight was magical, this practice is magical, and I’m so in love with what I do.

Until we see each other again–

Namaste,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

Read my last ‘yoga’ post here!

 

Talk Creativity To Me

Our world is full of people staring down at their phone, iPad, laptop, etc. Where did the eye contact go? When’s the last time you looked someone in the eyes for longer than a second? Why are we so uncomfortable with connection? When I changed my major (or added a major, technically), I realized how creativity allowed for a community to be built that I was unfamiliar with in my science major community. It goes beyond school, though. Even in yoga, we’re timid and shy around each other, despite the fact that we all have one huge thing in common. Creativity, on my mat, with pen and paper, in the classroom, in my favorite juice shop (AKA right as I type this sentence) can create a community, bond like-minded people, and make magic happen.

Why + How I Create

I write. I’m a creative writing (and psychology) major, so my classes give me an added outlet of self-expression.

I practice and teach yoga. Creating classes gets my brain flowing, thinking, twirling about on the imaginary mat in my mind. On the mat, I create shapes, strengthen my body as it’s my instrument, and paint silent poetry with my breath. Not to mention, when I teach, I watch 30+ bodies moving, dancing, singing to one another, sometimes without even realizing it, and it’s beautiful to be able to lead such a magnificent ancient art.

I create, necklaces and poetry and yoga classes and blog posts and essential oil mixtures, and I love it. When I was younger, though, I told myself I could never be an art major. In middle school art classes, I could barely sketch my own face. Now, I probably still couldn’t. What I can do, though, is describe how the moonlight sketches on my face as I fall asleep with my journal cascading over my chest, the ink from my pen racing around the blank white page. I can give you all the details on the freckles on my nose, the birthmark on the right side of my forehead, the acne on my right cheekbone. I’ll paint a picture with my words, and that’s my best, most pure form of self-expression. Give me a paintbrush that doesn’t have black or blue ink on the end? No, thanks, I’ll pass. But if that’s your form of self-expression, then you go, I wish I could make colors look like that magical on a canvas! Which brings me to my next point.

Give Art a Chance

Sculpt, paint, dance, draw, write, sketch, doodle, twirl, knit, sing, act, read, think. Just thinking is creating! Manifest your own dreams to make them a reality. Create your own fate. Work hard at whatever it is that you love, let it take you away from the world for a little bit every day. Create something you love. Something you stand for and beside, always. Create with your friends, teachers, professors, parents, grandparents, the farmer at the market, the student next to you at the library. Avoid putting up boundaries, and if you have some, knock them down. I refused to give myself a chance in the art world because I wasn’t good at one thing, and if I hadn’t found the courage to knock down the wall I built around myself, I wouldn’t be the happy human bean that I am with an imagination unafraid to run rampant.

create

For right now…

  • Journal about your day so far! What would you like the rest of the day to look like? How do you feel about the events and interactions so far?
  • Make a playlist to fit your mood when you’re feeling your most creative. Or just to fit your mood right this very second.
  • Write a story! Fiction or non-fiction. Or a poem. Just put words on paper, really, about any and everything. The person you sat next to at the bus stop today, or the guy next to you in line to get coffee, or your professor with the weird quirks, or your best friend and all the adventures you want to have together.
  • Read a book! Or go buy a book or order one if you don’t have a book right now. Even if you don’t have a ton of free time for pleasure reading, just carrying a book around can be comforting & stimulating to read a page or two when you’re waiting in line or sitting around campus in between classes.
  • Practice yoga, on your own or in the studio. Getting to your mat is the most difficult part, after that, it’s just you, your body, mind, and spirit, and you’ve got this.

Some tunes to jam/daydream/make magic happen to:


Happy magic-making,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

Late Summer Mood Board

Vision boards, or mood boards, are one of my favorite things to create. I draw from any and everywhere. My journals, books I’m reading, Pinterest, tumblr, Etsy, magazines, The Messy Heads. I pull the photos and words and poetry that line up with how I’m feeling during that particular day, or hour or week, and throw it together to make a spectacularly unique and magical collage that captures how I’m feeling or what I’m working on!

Recently, I made a mood board on Photoshop CC to capture my feelings as summer begins to wind down. Keep scrolling to see how I went from a random folder of pictures to a unique collage that I adore!

The mood/theme: Calming rays of light, shades of orange & yellow, splashes of earthy hues, psychedelic graphics, nature images, & some sweet poetry.

The pictures I chose (some of which didn’t make the final cut, or were literally “cut”):

The final result: (after about an hour on Photoshop)

latesummermoodcopy

 

What do YOUR vision boards look like? What drives your creativity? Send anything you make my way, I’d love to see it!

Sending juicy & creative vibes your way,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

 

From My Journal: May – August

This is my journal:

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

It has coffee spilled on most every page. Rips and tears threaten to pull the entire thing apart at the seams. Essential oils stain the corners of most pages. My journal has been to Alaska, to Colorado, to Seattle, to Maryland, and everywhere in between. It’s in its final run, and before I retire it I thought I’d put together some of my favorite entries and share them with you!

Some pages are overflowing with words, quotes, ideas, yoga class plans. Others have only a single corner full of my writing, or a half, maybe just a quarter. Certain entries have dates, others just the month, or nothing at all. Every page, though, is filled with words and ideas that brought me to where I am now. My brain dripped out onto these pages unlike any journal I’ve kept before. For once, I was consistent in my journaling, mainly because of the routine I got into during my yoga teacher training.

Keep reading to find:

Pages from my journal, a playlist for you to listen to as you skim through, and some journal prompts you might find aid in your journaling!

My Journal:

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Prompts:

  1. Put together a compilation of your favorite quotes from anywhere & everywhere. Something about having my favorite authors/artists words in my own handwriting is so comforting and motivating.
  2. Write about places you want to go, draw sketches of yourself there, manifest these travels.
  3. Write about your dream outfit, your dream night out on the town. What are you wearing? Who are you with? Where are you going? What happens?
  4. Write one word that describes how you feel today/recently. Scrawl it in the middle of the page in a font that fits the mood/theme. Fill the page up with drawings, quotes, other words that bring the word to life.
  5. Write 10 things you love about yourself. Take a picture, make it the background on your home screen.
  6. Write 10 things you love about someone else. Take a picture, send it to them.
  7. Write three sentences about a day in your life. Any day, at any point in time. Pull from real events. Make the weirdness, happiness, sadness, etc. shine through in only three sentences.
  8. Write about all your firsts. Your first taste of ice cream (or what you imagine that to be like), your first kiss, your first slow dance, your first bra, your first time away from home, your first day at a new school.
  9. Write about all the ‘firsts’ you still want to have.
  10. Write about your goals. Short-term, long-term, either works. Make a list. Fill up the page with everything you want to be and all that you already are.
  11. Draw yourself as a stick figure. What would you look like? How tall? Does the figure have a smile? What clothes does it wear? What is it doing?

Happy journaling,

Caroline

Read my last post here!

Read my last ‘thoughts’ post here!