30-Day Challenge

If you’ve known me for more than a month and I haven’t gone somewhere that’s a pretty rare month in my life. I’m known in my circle of friends as The Wanderer, The One Who Can’t Stay Put, The Commitiphobe. I like to move, I dance around the world soaking in as much as I possibly can. So when I committed to the 30-day PoYoMo yoga challenge I kind of laughed at myself. Can I really do this? Generally when I say I’m going to do something, I put my head down and do it.

           

Yoga has been in and out of my life for years. Recently the practice has been more in that out. Sure, 30 days of yoga, I can do that! Unknowingly to myself it was easier in some ways and way way way harder in others. I knew I wouldn’t make it to the studio every day so I stocked up on Baron Baptiste DVDs, Jillian Michael meltdowns and easy flow Giaim vinyasas to mix up my home practice. Amanda and Jared’s classes that I attended were awesome, but what I didn’t expect was my home practice to flourish.

            The idea of doing yoga at home, by myself was daunting. Honestly, I felt stupid. It didn’t seem real if I wasn’t surrounded by the amazing bodies that attend hot yoga. The heat building in my bedroom by my own breath seemed labor-some and lame. But practice by practice I felt myself improve. I bended into poses at home and then bent further as Jared’s class pushed me to try new things.

The first time I got into Crow pose I looked around to see if anyone noticed, I then fell. But then I laughed. Acknowledgment of a pose is not what I should be looking for. I laughed because I realized that mid success and smiled as my body fell, when I got up to try again I smiled brighter. My home practice became mine. It became more real every time I set my mat down.

            I practiced yoga for 34 days in a row. At home, at the studio, sometimes after a few drinks I did a few vinyasas, I led a group of friends through some salutations when we visited the beach. Not every practice was perfect, but I earned each day by moving my body. Each practice led to learning something new about myself, improving my practice and staying committed. As my body improved I noticed my mind shifting too; instead of being annoyed and frustrated at work, I’d breathe, take note of the situation and find something positive in it. I was becoming one of those people. And I liked it.

            The support of the studio, the yogis, and even the facebook updates helped keep me accountable. However, the best thing I found through out the month of September was my own motivation and commitment to myself. No one was forcing me to drip sweat for an hour, no one was giving me a prize at the end. The prize was completion, the prize was knowing that I did it on my own and with support. I felt pride and strength at the end. I continue to practice because I continue to see myself grow.

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A Friend Who’s Finding Her Soul Via a Camera and Smiles

In a far far away place known as Chicago, there lives a rad little lady. She runs along the Lakeshore in the wee hours of the morning, teaches children by day-time and captures moments of lovers, families and sunsets on the weekends with her camera lenses. Her name is Emily Alt and boy does she have a deal for you!

My former co-worker, friend and fashion inspiration has begun a venture in a photography business this year. She specializes in making YOU look fabulous while capturing the moments that matter most: weddings, reunions, senior photos, family portraits, basically anything you want. I swear she either only photographs attractive people! She’s that good.

With the holidays coming up she’s running a sweet special and a giveaway—holy moly who doesn’t love something for free!? Especially when you get to get all dolled up, hang with your family and Emily!? I’m jealous, if I wasn’t kicking it here in Thailand sipping on Thai Coffees 24/7 I’d be figuring out a way to rig the thing and win myself. Maybe I’ll bribe her with a tasty glass of vino when I eventually return.

 

Check out her website HERE.

Click HERE for more details on the giveaway.

Email here at emilyaltphotography@gmail.com

 

I’m so glad that even though I’m here far away in Thailand that my friends back in the USA are doing awesome things that I can be a part of. Even by just writing a blurb here on WordPress I get to connect with friends from the past and hopefully help her carry out her dreams of capturing your life and spreading joy this season.

 

Cheers!

Wai. Why. Why?

Here in Thailand to greet someone you wai. Much like the cheek kisses received in South American countries you wai when you greet and when you depart. A wai is a bow or a prayer like motion to show respect and say Hello!

However, it is also a sign of value, a sign of admiration and it’s just what you do. There are three levels: high wai, middle wai, and low wai.

 

The High wai is reserved for those in the highest standing: a Monk, the King (or an image of the King,) and a Buddha symbol. The hands are placed in a prayer at the forehead and you bow down with a smile.

 

The Middle wai is for those in a higher standing than yourself: for elders, for educators, for your boss, your mother and the police officer that you may be paying off to not giving you a ticket. The hands are placed in a prayer at the nose level and again, you bow with a smile. Always a smile.

 

The Low wai is for those in a lower or equal standing: your peers, coworkers, friends and children younger than you. The hands should be placed at the chin and you bow with a smile!

 

Thai wai: everyone's doin' it!

Thai wai: everyone’s doin’ it!

One common thread throughout this country is the amount of smiling the people do. Thailand is literally called The Land Of Smiles—Thai people not only smile when they’re happy but, they smile when they’re nervous, confused or curious. I’ve found myself catching onto this ritual. The language barrier is so great that when I have no idea what someone is saying I just have to put on a big goofy grin and try to remain calm with the fact that I have no clue what is happening around me. I repeat the phrase that is so common here Mai pen rai. Translating to never mind! don’t worry! it’s okay! It is more than just a phrase, it’s a way of life in the Thai culture.

 

School starts tomorrow and I’m teaching Kindergarten, 4th-6th and 9th-11th grades. I’m terrified. I’m sterrified.

 

 

Mai pen rai.