Monday, September 22, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Thursday, August 21, 2014
In life no matter what you’re doing I find it imperative to put your best foot forward. Go hard or go home. Since I’ve been dedicating so much time to my yoga practice I’ve been getting endless questions about yoga in general but mainly HOW TO START. Here are my 5 most important things to think about when starting to practice yoga.
#1 JUST DO IT!
There is no right or wrong way to start practicing yoga, you just have to do it. Find a class to take, it should only be around $20 give or take a few dollars, and go in with an open spirit and mind. Get yourself in the game and even if you don’t like it at first give it another try. Remember it may not have been the yoga that you disliked but the fact that you were outside of your comfort zone. Don’t give up!
#2 KNOW YOUR RHYME & REASON
If you’re thinking about incorporating yoga into your life, first ask yourself why. I say this because the reason behind your decision can very well determine how you manifest your practice. I made the decision to start for mental health rather than physical. The idea of getting a peace of mind while also getting exercise intrigued me, but my main goal was not to get fit although it was a plus.
If you want to do yoga for physical health, that’s fine too. It helps build total body strength but a lot the poses focus on core strength. You can take yoga just about anywhere that provides fitness classes, a gym, a yoga studio etc. If you’re more like me and are interested in the meditation and more mental aspect of yoga then you definitely want to go to a yoga studio. Knowing exactly what you want to get out of your yoga class will help you decide where you are best fit to take the class. Do your research; ask around, you’ll figure it out.
#3 MAKE YOUR DISCOMFORT ZONE COMFORTABLE
As a beginner you may feel intimidated by other yogis and maybe even feel like a complete amateur. This is an understandable concern. No your chair pose may not look like the girl’s in front of you but one of the most important things to keep in mind is that your practice is your practice. You can and will only grow at your own rate and practicing in a suitable environment can help you maintain this positive attitude. Like I mentioned in #3 Know Your Rhyme & Reason, you must find an environment that works best for you to make this slightly uncomfortable transition as comfortable as possible. The more comfortable you are in your surroundings the more focused you can get. The more focused you are the more you will gain from your practice.
#4 DON’T GET STUCK IN YOUR WAYS
Yes I mention being comfortable. Being comfortable is an important part of yoga however, don’t confuse comfortable with complacent. Find a place where you feel at home to conduct your practice but don’t put yourself in a box. Try a new class, a new teacher and even visit other studios. With that said if you usually go to a yoga studio try visiting a class at a gym instead and vice versa. Once you’ve come to grips with the fact that yoga is solely about your personal journey and stop comparing yourself to outside entities you will feel confident enough in self that you are able to step outside of what you are used to and expand your practice. Every class, teacher, & studio/gym has something special to offer. In the end leaving yourself open to explore your practice will only enhance your craft.
#5 PLAN TO PROGRESS
If you take your practice seriously it is inevitable that you will grow both mentally and physically through yoga. Just like in school or in your professional life you have something that you are aiming to achieve. Whatever that is for you, find it and work towards it. As you may recognize by now from reading my previous posts, setting goals is the basis to accomplishing anything. As you grow in your practice maybe set a goal for a particular pose that may have been of difficulty to you when you first began. Keep practicing and growing your strength and soon enough you will gain what you lacked to carry out that pose with pride. Having that light at the end of the tunnel will keep you motivated to persevere through the rough patches that you will encounter at the beginning. Use the people around you that are more advanced as examples and motivation rather than competition. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Some of these points I didn’t have anyone to tell me I had to kind of learn along the way so I felt it was important to share. Grab a yoga mat and some comfortable clothes (preferably cute also, when you look good you feel good) and get into that yoga class. If you want to start off slow and try it at home there are a number of videos and books that can assist you. One book in particular that I really loved is a book/flashcard set called Basic Yoga For Everyone by Gertrud Hirschi. I declare this a must read for anyone who practices yoga regardless of where they do it.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
During my time studying in France we would travel to many cities, some in France and others in neighboring countries. Though often times we would only spend a few days in each place, with proper planning we were able to see a lot, do a lot and truly experience the unique aspects of each place we voyaged to. I made it my mission to stay active in an effort to avoid boredom and homesickness but also, to fully soak up all that Europe had to offer in just a matter of months. So since I’ve been back home in New York I’ve realized the outlook I had while abroad slowly faded away. When in our comfort zone, we tend to forget to appreciate the little things. We easily overlook what special things we have to offer, what special things our friends have to offer and that which can be offered by our surroundings. So I decided to pull it together and be appreciative, utilizing all the wonderful things that are available to me.
So far I’ve taken a trip to our country’s capital to do some historic sightseeing, traveled to Rhode Island and experienced what summer is like there on 'college hill’, did yoga and pilates in not only Bryant Park but also in Brooklyn Bridge Park and a whole lot more. These are just a few of the things that I decided to participate in to make the most out of the weather that will soon be coming to an end and to stay physically and mentally active. I say all this not to give you a recap of my summer but to help you understand that in keeping your options open to experience available opportunities you promote personal growth. The more we do, the more grow. Take a walk through the park you pass on your way to work everyday. Go see that movie that didn’t really seem like your cup of tea but you thought was interesting. Keeping an open mind will only leave room for knowledge to fill up that space. If nothing else, trying new things can help you to figure out what it is you actually like and what you don’t.
Regardless of what your interests are it shouldn't be too hard to find a new experience that will be enjoyable to you. It’s the small experiences in life that we can easily ignore or hold ourselves back from because it’s not in our regular routine. Step out of your normal agenda and add something new. Spice it up! These are the very experiences that though they are small, can open you up to a world of wisdom and knowledge. Just remember when you catch yourself selling a small experience short that the beautiful world renowned monument that we know as the Eiffel Tower is built up of more than 20,000 LITTLE pieces of iron to create a structure that stands 1,063ft tall. Start off small and allow yourself to try new things. The small steps will grow into larger ones and you will grow as a person.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Doing some celebrity instagram surfing I came across Khloe Kardashian’s profile and saw this meme that included a quote from the late great Dr. Maya Angelou. In true Brionna fashion my mind began to wander on the topic of love.
love [luhv] Show IPA
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
Sexual passion or desire.
a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
So this is the definition of love that Dictionary.com provides, however I’m not completely convinced that love can actually be defined in one particular way. If I had to describe love in one word it would be dynamic, it is a force like no other. To put it plain and simple, and of course to quote one of my favorite movies, “love is the thing, you know.” (That’s Sex & the City if you didn’t know!)
We may ask ourselves after every breakup or heartbreak how can something that’s held in such high esteem, hurt so bad. To answer this question I like to look to the phrase God is love simply because that particular combination of words correlate in my mind. The way in which God moves is often times mysterious yet clever, unexpected yet welcomed. The same goes for love. The conundrum we call love is an ideal, though it cannot be solved and sometimes seems unattainable most of us strive to achieve this in its truest and most genuine form. If we as humans are put on this earth to love, how is it that love can hurt so bad and why is it that we have to go through 80 different loves in order to find our one true love. There is a simple answer to that question: Everything is a process.
What makes love so dynamic is that it’s comprised of many facets and even a simple discussion of love will lead you down the road to other topics. Even as I sit and think about it, the concept of love easily sways my thought process to the topic of destiny and fate and that in itself will take you to another concept of soul mates (Oh, and there will be a future blog post dedicated to soulmates). These are all ideas that are heavily related but for now I’ll keep my endless thoughts on a leash and focus on one thing only – NOT GIVING UP ON LOVE.
Love is just like anything else in life, it may not come easy. What I like to think differentiates this special little enigma though, is the fact that we were put here on earth for this reason, so its kind of a given. What is most important to understand about love is that it is a process. You will never reach a new destination without first traveling there. My birthday is coming up & I’ll be going on vacation but I’m not going to close my eyes, open them and be on a tropical island. No, I have to pack myself up, get myself on a plane and then arrive to my destination. Consider your failed relationships layovers, delayed flights, and pit stops to your final destination of enchanted love. Since I’m going with this whole trip theme, how often do you get caught in traffic and say, “Ahh screw this I’m half way there but its too much traffic, I’m going home”? Only like never right? The one failed relationship you just had could put you closer to your prince charming. Not only will trials and tribulations help you appreciate him when comes but recognize that you may not have been ready for that prince if he came knocking any earlier. Every experience comes with a lesson. Sometimes you cross paths with people for the sole purpose of learning something you never would’ve had you not encountered them. Respect the process.
We all deserve love, but more importantly we all deserve to make someone outside of ourselves feel the same love we desire. To simply remember that life and love are both processes should be enough to get anyone through when they are feeling down on love. Define love in your own way and seek out those who measure it the same as you do. No matter how many times you thought this was the one and it wasn’t “have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time”, it will happen when its meant to.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Monday, July 28, 2014
I'm not the biggest sports fan - in fact I hate just about everything that has anything to do with sports (with the exception of the physically fit male players) but there is one thing I do know about all sports known to man. In basketball the object of the game is to make a basket against the opposing team. In soccer the object of the game is to get the foot driven ball past the goalie of the opposing team. See the commonality here? Each of these very popular games has an object - A GOAL. If Lebron James ran after Kobe Bryant on a court for hours and hours with no direct goal or purpose would you actually watch the game? Okay, so maybe some of you may love seeing these players in action so much that you would watch them any way, but ask yourself how long could you actually sit there and be entertained. To me this can be summed up in one word --> BORING! So if you wouldn't watch a game that didn't have a definitive goal, why would you live a life with no definitive purpose?
To set goals is to for see your future and your purpose in life. I see a person with no goals to be someone who walks down the street completely blinded by what’s in their path to come, a driver with their eyes off the road. How can you ever tackle what awaits you if you do not prepare. Of course some obstacles are unforeseen but I like to live by the old saying, “if you stay ready, you never have to get ready”. Setting goals forces you to have a plan. It forces you to be ready. It motivates you to take the next step in your potential endeavors. I can remember in elementary through junior high school teachers implemented the “four square” concept for writing. It was basically an outline for an essay – a plan. Not only did I hate it back then but also I found it to be pointless added work. In retrospect, I can now appreciate that implemented outline because I can now appreciate the value of a solid foundation.
More than anything it is important to understand that you are in control, not anyone else. This is your life. You can't sit around and expect to be handed things because that's not how the real world works. Now being the open-minded person that I am I like to look at things from all sides of the spectrum. So let's speak hypothetically and say someone does hand you the key to success, if you don't first stop and think which way the key goes into the lock the door will remain shut. Take the Kardashian family for example. Sure people like to say "they are famous for nothing", lies you tell! The Kim Kardashian sex tape may have catapulted their fame, but it takes a certain kind of person to turn that infamy into a multi-million dollar empire such as the Kardashians have done. Kris Jenner took the reins of a not so good situation and strategically placed each and every one of her kids exactly where they wanted to be, but I digress. The point is she had a plan, she made goals, and the goals were not only set but I’m sure they were exceeded. How can you ever exceed a goal if you never set any to begin with? It will never happen.
Taking accountability is the first step. Own it! No player ever wins without getting in the game, but more importantly no game is ever played and won with out a plan. There are very few things in this world that we can control, ourselves and our own lives just happens to be apart of the controllable. Dream. Strategize. Set a goal. Plan. Execute!
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Sunday, July 20, 2014
My friends and I have a lot in common. We like similar music, television and just about worship all things that are widely considered ‘girly’ in life. During a routine sit down with one of my closest girlfriends we came across an article in a magazine that discussed the woes of being beautiful. Of course being the very opinionated gals we are it sparked a heavy conversation on life as “attractive women”. Sundays are normally my reading days, so in a search for mental stimulation I somehow found a post on TheFrisky.com about how hard it could be to be friends with a pretty woman. I promise you I went into this as impartial as possible, but I emerged from this article with a set opinion that didn’t surprise me at all.
I will not toot my own horn, or that of my friend’s, but its pretty safe to say we’re all attractive women. Not only do we have it together in the looks department but also we’re all college educated, possess a sense of style and are just generally well-rounded individuals. I almost neglected to mention the most important thing, that we are all damn good friends to one another! So I read these words…
“Let’s face it: Beauty is a privilege. It acts like a honing device for male attention, opens doors to clubs, causes compliments to rain upon the lucky ones. But if the parties aren’t careful, a beautiful friend and a regular-looking friend can get locked into a power dynamic. Of course, not every beautiful woman lords her privilege over her less beautiful friends. Still, some do. Beauty is a universally valued quality for a woman; it offers privileges that can always be relied on. The logic of one’s arguments or articulation of one’s emotions, unfortunately, are less reliable. And because plenty of women and men want to be around attractive women just so those privileges can rub off on them, some beautiful women aren’t used to hearing “no.” I truly think my friendship difficulties with pretty women stem from my challenging them with words or reasoning, instead of just falling in line with the power dynamic they try to exert. Jealous? No. I’m resentful. When it becomes clear to me that a beautiful friend of mine plays the “my way or the highway” card, I resent the fact that I’m being valued so little…”
As someone who has heard the words “you are so beautiful” her entire life I can honestly say my beauty has absolutely nothing to do with the way in which I live my life, especially not how I conduct my friendships. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t speak for all attractive women because let’s face it, some people have a completely different journey than others. Take my girlfriend who I mentioned earlier for example. During our discussion she felt that as a pretty girl people don’t realize it can be hard. She’s automatically perceived to be less than smart & judged by her looks all the time. Me on the other hand have had totally different experiences, therefore I possess a different outlook. I totally disagree with Jessica Wakeman’s post because I know first hand that its completely bull. I’m not devaluing her opinion; rather I’m deeming her diagnosis a tad unsuitable. Maybe she personally experienced a shit load of “mean girls” who thought because they were beautiful the sun rose and set on them, but to say that pretty girls are hard to be friends with? Girl, please!
Yes, it is true we all know that spoiled girl who wants to have her way and thinks people should ask ‘how high’ when she requests a jump, but don’t get that confused with every attractive woman. Being attractive is very similar to being born rich. This is the deck of cards you are dealt and you play them how you play them. Some people use their money to jump-start their lives and build something even greater, while others use it as a crutch and an excuse to be lazy. It’s the same thing with beauty, sure you may get free stuff sometimes or things may just go a smidge more easily for you than compared to the female that’s not as conventionally attractive. Trust I’ve had my times where it was blatantly clear I got over because of my looks but I’ve also had times where I was just as pretty and lost. Everyone is different.
Really it comes down to the person you are inside. Whether you are on the receiving end of the mean-girlerization or the giving end its about what’s inside of you not outside of you. I have a tattoo that reads ‘beauty is skin deep’. It’s the character and not the appearance. It’s you. If you are a pretty girl who allows people to think you’re just a talking head with no intelligence, whose fault is it but your own? If you are not conventionally beautiful and you feel as if you can’t be friends with pretty women, is it the pretty women, or is it you? I find it hard to believe that every attractive woman Jessica crosses paths with turned friendship into a “power dynamic” war. I mentioned in an old post that people like to look outside of themselves for happiness, but that’s not the only thing they seek outward for. Rather than look to place blame on others dig deep within yourself and think ‘hmm, I wonder if it was the superior attitude of that pretty girl or my preconceived notions and insecurities”. Let’s be clear if both parties are secure in themselves and their position in the relationship it can all work out. So let me clear it up, as some of my expressed thoughts may have seemed a bit contradicting. Beautiful women are not some mold or Stepford wives that were sent off the assembly line to think they are the rulers of all. Some do but not all, so to make a general statement such as “pretty girls are hard to be friends with” is complete malarkey.
Last and most importantly, ladies, any woman who would dare demean or devalue a friend because she doesn’t look the same or measure up is not a true friend, not a woman and surely is not attractive. You might want to do some self-reflection before you blame it on the “pretty girls”. Surround yourself with confidence. Be confident and I promise you, you may have 99 problems but this won’t be one!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Today I was sitting in statistics class when we began to explore a new chapter in the text. The topic was correlation, the branch of statistics that deals with the relationship between numbers. The professor then posed the question "how many people are needed for a relationship to take place" and the class answered collectively, "two". So I looked around and I said, "um that's a lie, I have a relationship with self. Me, myself, and I". Of course that was just me over thinking things as I usually do, but it really did get my wheels turning. So maybe in statistics the answer "two" may suffice but in life, just as my classmates did, people often look outside of one's self for what they can really retrieve from within. There are so many times in life when the bond with another is chosen over the bond with self. So why is it that we as humans can so easily sacrifice our healthy relationships with self for others?
In Psychology Today, Dr Melanie Greenberg writes that the biggest struggle in life is to know, embrace, and accept ourselves. Maybe that is why people choose to overlook their relationship with themselves - its avoidance. If you take a second to examine your life you will probably realize you have cherished relationships that you nurture in order for proper maintenance and growth. The same effort we put into these exterior relationships, we should also invest in ourselves. The one thing I pride myself on is actually being a good friend. It is important to remember that you, just like the other people in your life need the tender love and care you give out. The way you fight for that friend you’ve known for years, fight for yourself. The way you forgive that boyfriend who continuously hurts you, forgive yourself. The way you go out of your way for your siblings, sacrifice for you.
The good thing about this self-love is that it’s somewhat innate and I like to believe that as we grow up life has a way of dimming its blaze. Be the fuel that ignites the fire of your love of self. We are all guilty of neglecting self, even me, but it’s important to recognize that action and reverse it. Spend time with yourself, be productive and lead a life that will result in your happiness and only then will you gain the ability to embrace yourself and truly love you. Dwelling on your flaws does not feed self love but rather promotes a negative self image. We only get one body. We only get one life. We must make the absolute best of it even if everything in our life isn't the way we would have personally designed it. The most important relationship you will ever encounter is that with yourself because you can give to you, what no one else can. Commit to yourself and love you as you expect others to.
Love for you is not only acceptance, but also true care and respect. Holding such feelings for yourself is nothing but conducive to living a happier life. Valuing yourself will ensure you take proper care by means of prohibiting any and all things that attempt to bring you down or take you off track. When you love someone else there’s always that chance that said love can be unrequited, but this love is a love in its own class. Not only is the risk of unrequited love not a factor here but also you know exactly what to do to truly fulfill yourself even if you may not realize it yet. Martin Luther King Jr. changed an entire country with a little bit of love, so just think of the impact your love for yourself can have on your life.