A Yogi’s Reflection

Ok, so I’m not the perfect yogi. Having been a sprinter for years, I’m explosive. Despite my dance training, my balance isn’t always up to par. And my flexibility–yikes! On a good day, I can barely touch my toes. I’m also admittedly competitive. And when I’m not up to par, I get disappointed in myself. As is human nature, I have the tendency to bring these things to the mat. I stumble. I attempt crow pose and fall–every time. My heels will likely never touch the ground in downward facing dog. I glance in the mirror during a warrior pose and wonder why my pose does not match my fellow yogis. I struggle with breathing. My legs and arms shake during planks. My hair falls out of the braid I spent precious minutes before class weaving. I (only occasionally–I swear!) arrive late and have to rush into my practice to catch up with the flow of the class. My yoga practice looks far from a Lululemon ad.

However, does that make me less of a yogi? Isn’t the point of yoga to come as you are, and do the best you can on the mat? Yoga isn’t about picture-perfect poses, though they are nice to look at (I’m looking at you, kinoyoga and beachyogagirl on Instagram). Yoga is about the journey, about improving yourself, about the feeling you get when you enter and exit each pose. Yoga is personal. It’s about finding yourself through a series of physical poses. It does not matter whether your pose equals another; your practice is entirely your own. Yoga does not demand perfection. It only requires dedication and practice. It’s important to remain mindful of that.

I’m a yogi. I’m human. I’m doing the best I can.

x. M

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park (1)

A few days ago, S and I went on a walk in Mill Creek Park, one of my favorite places in Youngstown, a city only an hour or so away from Cleveland. Mill Creek is always a great place to escape from suffering from too many symptoms of the Rust Belt. With my camera in hand, I captured some of the best parts of May in the park. Near Lanterman’s Mill, a popular visitor destination, there was plenty of fresh greenery to view and warm, sweet spring air to breathe.

Even Tux was enjoying himself!

All smiles after his long hike.

All smiles (and in need of water)  after his long hike.

Can’t wait to get back to the park soon! Once I heal up (which, fingers crossed, should be really soon), I can get back to my routine of daily summer runs on the park’s many trails.

x. M

Hellos and Goodbyes

SayYesGraphic

Hello! This is my very first post on CLEtoSEA, a blog I hope to use to chronicle my joys, anxieties, events, antics, mishaps, growing pains, and everything in between as I pack up my things and move from Cleveland, Ohio to Seattle, Washington, the location of my new school and my new teeny-tiny studio apartment (it’s less than 500 square feet!). I cannot wait for this new adventure.

Before saying “Hello” to Seattle (which I will do officially in September), I first had to say “Goodbye” to Cleveland and the school I had learned to love most, John Carroll University. In my four years there, I had developed many friendships through being active in a sorority, the varsity track and field team, and other groups on campus that had become more like family to me. Saying goodbye to these people and these organizations was not an easy task, but luckily I had my senior-year housemate, A, to remind me of this quote: “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.” I knew that I would always have these memories and friendships to call on, long after my days at JCU were over. However, as graduation came closer I realized (especially upon coming down with an unfortunate and untimely injury that cut my final track season short) that it was time for me to move forward from these activities, taking the good that came from them into my future.

As for saying “Goodbye” to Cleveland? I can’t say I’ll ever fully be done doing that. I think NEO (and Cleveland especially) will always be part of me. Cleveland has been doing big things lately, with the Cleveland Flea, the food scene  (also here & here), and–have you HEARD about the Cavs?! I’ve more or less turned into a closet fan lately, seeing what good a successful sports team can do to a city and cannot wait to see what this championship run will do. I’ll always be a Cleveland fan, rooting for the city in this renaissance it is experiencing. There’s a lot of hometown pride there.

I’ve never been one for risks, for doing things too far out of my comfort zone (though my comfort zone has been stretched through my years of dancing and running hurdles), but it’s time to give it a try. A John Carroll professor who is well-known on campus for his friendly demeanor stopped me in the hallway the not too long ago and commended me on my “courage.” He said that what I am doing is unusual for a graduate of John Carroll (most JCU grads stay in Cleveland or go back home) and that what I am doing is brave.

I’m not yet sure if it’s brave or crazy, but I can’t wait to find out!

x. M

P.S. Here is a photo of my graduation cap!