Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kick the Freshman Fifteen

Yep, it's that time of year again. School time, which also makes it easy for those healthy habits you worked on over the summer to drift away and for the pounds to start creeping back up. Stress, alcohol, and sleep deprivation are among the many factors that cause college students to gain weight, especially freshman who are trying to adjust to college life. However, this is NOT a one way road. You do not have to be a representative of one of those statistics that shows college kids gain weight, like the one recent study that showed 1 out of 4 college freshmen gain 5% of their body weight within the first semester. Prove to yourself (and those statisticians) that you can stay off the bandwagon and take your personal part in preventing American obesity. With a few simple preventative techniques, you can not only avoid the freshmen 15, but may even lose the Healthy Human 10 (hah). Check out the following tips, and whether you're a college student or not, put them to use!

Hit the Gym- With organized high school sports out the window, and long-nights of studying, friends, and goofing off filling in the space, it's easy for college students to lose the active lifestyle they once had. Although it may seem hard to fit the gym into your schedule, exercise is important and should be made a top priority. Cut off a little of the daily time spent on facebook, and get your booty to the gym. Most campuses have fully equiped, onsight gyms that are free for students' access. Exercise can be a great way to de-stress and take your mind off what may be a grueling workload. Also, instead of snacking during your study breaks, try doing some yoga which will help calm and clear the mind and will better your concentration for when you return to your work.

You Booze, You Won't Lose- Alcohol is loaded with empty calories and easily contributes to packing on the pounds. Allow yourself an occasional (key word) drink, but limit yourself to one or two. Don't be that crazy freshman kid drinking Wednesday night through Saturday, unless you want be "that" crazy, no-game beer-bellied freshman. Also, skip the fruity mixed drinks which tend to be higher in calories, and instead stick to something lighter such as a minty mojito. Drinks, such as a 10 oz. margarhita which contains around 550 calories, will have you guzzling down more calories than a McDonald's Big Mac. Have more than one, and you'll be on your way to over 2 jumbo hamburgers with cheese and everything. So avoid having to deal with your weight and your worrisome parents nagging when you come home by avoiding getting the beer-belly altogether.

Big Belly Buffets- Most colleges have at least one all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeteria. This doesn't mean you should eat all you can eat! Instead, be choosy and don't overload your tray. Skip the burgers and french fries which are probably half-ass anyways, and give your attention to the salad bar, the only area that offers food which isn't half dead. Aim for a colorful plate and try to get something from every food group. Choose lean proteins and foods that are baked or steamed, rather than fried. Avoid the ice cream bar and pick up a few pieces of fruit on your way out (one for dessert, and some for breakfast).

Eat Breakfast- Those who eat breakfast tend to be less overweight. Breakfast helps keep your metabolism speedy and your blood sugar steady, helping to avoid that feeling of wanting to binge later on. It will also keep your mind on track for when your sitting in those classes that may be a little hard to pay attention in. Simply set your alarm a mere ten minutes earlier and chomp down on an easy-to-make bowl of whole grain cereal. Grab a banana or apple and head out the door.

Keeping Track- You may want to keep a food journal so that you are aware of roughly how many calories are going into your body. You may be surprised at what you find after you write everything down. Also, weigh yourself at least once a week to make sure you're maintaining a steady weight. If you go above 5 pounds over your normal weight, make sure to work a little harder the following week. Don't let your weight gain get out of hand.

Stress Free- Try to limit your stress and have a good time. Enjoy college, socialize, and do things in which keep that smile on your face. A healthy person is a happy person. Keep yourself healthily busy and get the most out of your experience at college, which will help keep you from eating when your bored. Do some yoga or deep breathing when you feel hungry so that you can tune in with your body and make sure that hunger is what you truly feel. You may want to find a partner who is as dedicated as you in keeping fit and healthy. You both can help to movtivate eachother in warding off that frightful freshman 15. Most of all, enjoy the year and don't be too hard on yourself. Have an occasional indulgence and have fun! Good luck!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Backpacking Day 3

The final day! I can't believe the trip has come to an end so soon. I'll definitely be going for at least a week next time. So last night was fun, getting to know each of the random individual's personalites that stayed at the shelter. Each one was so distanct and so open. Ironically, one of the packers was a journalism teacher! Maybe it was all the good energy that helped me get a little better night's rest last night. Though I still woke up a few times, feeling my neck being strained with out its usual comforting prop of a pillow. Nonetheless, I was already beginning to adapt to this style of sleeping.

Woke up before 7 this morning, just in time to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. We ate breakfast alongside the whistling sound of a distanced train. I've been hearing the traveling of a lot of trains this summer. I'd also get to listen to them toot their whistle during almost every morning meditation at Yogaville. If I didn't already have a romanticized image of trains from listening to others such as Thoreau, I surely do now. They are now linked to the multiple good memories of great experiences I have been able to take part in.

We hiked a 7-mile straight stretch today, right into the town of Harper's Ferry. My body was really starting to complain today, and I have to admit that the idea of a shower never sounded so good before. However, there wasn't too much time for my mind to spend thinking about my aching body and a nice cool shower. We passed through numerous overlooks and views today which were, to say the least, amazingly surreal. I found where the noise of my early morning train was rooted at one of the views. Shortly after we arrived, a several minute long train came chugging through the trees along a track that lied alongside the river. Picture perfect.

Most of today was downhill, which to many sounds like a relief. Although I could run downhill for hours and never want to stop, I find backpacking downhill quite difficult. In fact, I may even say it's as challenging as hiking uphill, though in a different way. Your legs have to use a lot of muscle to keep you and the weight of your pack from tumbling down the mountain. I feel like it tones a part of your legs that doesn't often get reached, or at least get pushed.

After making it down the mountain, we walked for several miles on a bike trail that lined the Potomac river. This led us into the town of Harper's Ferry, our ending destination. After unloading our gear, we stopped in at a restaurant to eat our first real meal off the trail. I'm sure we got a few looks because I'm also sure we didn't look spick-and-span clean. The tourist-type couldn't quite relate to our grunge. Anyways, lunch was great, and I enjoyed the fresh, cooked food.

I'm going to miss these days traveling peacefully through the beautiful green tunnel. Overall I have to say that hiking without a backpack is in many ways more enjoyable, however the experience of living your life straight out of a backpack is irreplaceable. All you need to survive encompassed in one little backpack that you humbly sling over your shoulders; Carrying your life with you as you travel to places you'd never be able to go otherwise. I've had just a few days to take in the innate peacefulness of nature, coming across blackberries, frogs, sassafrass and other little treasures along my way. And now its time for me to go back to living in civilization. Only a couple weeks before I'll be in the hustling and bustling city again. Hey, life's meant for changes, and good can come from anywhere. Peace can be made anywhere.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Backpacking Day 2

Made it ten miles today! That was a great work-out. However, we stopped to talk to several thru-hikers along our way who aimed for 20-25 miles in a day, so I can't be so proud of my distance. Although, they assured me that ten miles was great for a novice.

When we arrived here at the shelter, there were about 8 young guys awaiting us. Too bad they had already planned on continuing further to the next shelter until settling in for the night. Bummer, haha. Everyone we've met on the trail so far has been more than friendly. Though I can recognize a lot of tired faces, they are all happy nonetheless. I sure as hell am having a blast and would love, love to try going for a longer period of time on my next backpacking adventure.

There is lots of talk in the book of which hikers can write in when they stop at this shelter about bears being near this shelter and using the spring. There are also entries warning us that we may be sharing the shelter with other creatures, such as snakes in the rafters, and bees. That's comforting. Hope I don't run into any of those going to the bathroom at night. Speaking of night, the noises last night were beyond phenomenal. It truly did sound like a live symphony, and since I was having trouble falling alseep (yeah, try sleeping without a pillow on a hard surface sometime) I was visualizing myself conducting the insects' orchestra, haha. However, the orchestra didn't really need a conductor, it was utterly beautiful as is.

After a long, restless night, we got up bright and early (around 7). I was too uncomfortable to sleep any longer and figured it'd be good to start hiking earlier while it was tad cooler. However, being in the 90's for consecutive days, it really wasn't much cooler in the morning. Though we did avoid the beating sun overhead for a few hours. After a couple of miles into the hike, we can to some large overhagning rocks overlooking a beautiful view of the mountains. We stopped there for awhile to take in the scene and load up on some protein bars. Go figure, my appetite has been pretty ravenous throughout this experience. My new appetite matches my new additional weight. Although I'm pretty sure it'd be impossible to gain any real weight out here with all the strenuous hiking we're doing. After our stop, we continued about another 3 miles to a cutesy, historical park where we breaked for lunch and talked to a mom who was backpacking with her two little boys. They looked about nine or ten years old! From doing this with my mom, I'm able to fully see that this is a great opportunity to spend some quality bonding time with none other than the one who birthed me. There are long stretches of trail where it's just me, my mom, and nature. This allows me to really get down with her, no outside eyes on us. She let me in on some of her childhood stories (which were actually quite comical, like the imaginary family of lice she pretended to keep in her hair), and I shared with her some experiences of my first year of college, my first year away leaving my mom in an empty house. Her last kid off to college, at the same time she begins to slowly distance herself from her irresponsible, often absent husband. A space she'd been dreaming of for awhile, yet almost too much space for her to handle. A new beginning for her as well as me. And there were also long stretches of the trail where we were both silent. At times almost reading each others thoughts, for I know her better than any other being in my life, and other times just simply enjoying each other's presence. This is the kind of experience that builds memories that stick. And I knew that those two little nine year old boys backpacking with their mother would have something spectacular to look back on, something that'd they never forget. And their mom was probably overly joyed to be able to share these moments with her two sons, be able to learn with them, be with them, and have their almost undivided attention, undivided company for those few days hiking on the trail. I thought about my own joy of being here with someone I admire and love as I drifted off to sleep on a bench in the middle of the park.

My mom woke me up after my much needed nap. We hiked to the uncanny, bear-tenured shelter which leaves me where I am now- comfortably sitting on a bench, leaning back against my pack which has positioned itself perfectly against a nearby, towering tree. We actually just got company, so it looks like we won't be alone (human-wise) tonight like we were last night. Maybe I'll persuade one of our visitors to take a hike to the spring with me and scare away all the bears. I'm going to go get on that...and go do a little socializing. Peace and Joy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Backpacking Day 1

Whew. Just made it to the shelter where I'll be spending the night. It's actually a relatively nice place, conveniently located next to a fresh spring and accommodated with a wooden swing which I'm currently seated on as I write. I'm backpacking with my mom, which is great because she's super fit and keeps an even pace with me. It looks as though we'll have the place to ourselves tonight which alleviates us from having to set up a tent. I'm not really in the mood to use the last of my energy to put together a tent.

Halfway into the hike I felt surprisingly great and was even bummed that we hadn't planned on tracking more mileage the first day. However, around the 7th mile I started to change my mind. My shoulder's were screaming for me to take of my pack, and my legs were starting to feel all the extra weight I had added to them. I was relieved when we finally made it to the shelter. At last I could shed my pack, prop myself up against a tree or in this case a nice, wooden swing, and relax. Although, I can't seem to shed these incessant gnats that are swarming around my head. They're everywhere! I'm trying to decide whether gnats enjoy dirty humans or freshly clean humans better. I've heard that insects are attracted to the perfumey scents of soaps and shampoos, but I imagine they also like sweat, and at this moment I'm a pretty sweaty, dirty girl. Anyways, they've been attacking me since I've stopped hiking, looking at me like I'm the juiciest thing they've seen all week. It's not quite as bad under the roof of the swing...maybe it's the intricately strung spider web on the side that's keeping them out. There are quite a few gnats trapped in the web.

So accessing my body...my shoulders are pretty tight, and I'm pretty sure they'll be sore tomorrow. Other than that, I feel pretty good. I'll probably do a little yoga later to loosen up.
I've learned that I could definitely benefit from some hiking boots. My beloved running shoes aren't so lionized by me while I'm backpacking. Definitely not enough support for me and my extra 20 or so pounds. How could I ever be a runner and overweight at the same time? Let's hope it never gets to that point...Though I'm not discouraging overweight runners, especially those trying to lose weight. More power to you!

Anyways, like I mentioned before, I'm super dirty already. Oh sweet Earth, inclined to cover my body within a few hours. It was definitely a scorcher outside today- somewhere in the 90's when we began our hike. It didn't take long at all until I looked like I had just gotten out of the shower with my shirt on and everything. Nothing beats a well-deserved sweat though. Pumping oxygen, having fun, both are worthy of breaking a sweat.

It's super peaceful right now. At the beginning of our hike, we ended up crossing paths with a lot of dayhikers and crossing several noisy roads. I was actually a bit irritated because I just wanted to be in the tranquility of nature. But that doesn't matter anymore, because I've alas made it to a place of complete stillness, with the exclusion of some furry little creatures and beatiful-winged animals running around. Ahhh, the sounds out here are amazing. I'm sure I'll enjoy them even more tonight, when nature's sounds become magnified creating a live orchestra performed lullaby. Helping me drift off into a well-deserved sleep. It's actually going to be strange sleeping out here all alone (besides my mom) in the wilderness. There was a sign on the way that warned us to watch our gear because of recent bear activity...so maybe I won't actually be so alone tonight, haha. I do hope that the flies and gnats go home soon and let me be alone...though I'm sure the mosquitoes will be willingly taking their place to join me.

Anyways, I'm going to go. My rehydrated, dehydrated meal of beans and rice is awaiting me...oh boy haha. I'm actually pretty hungry, so I'm sure it will taste great whether it's really good or not...Night.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Backpacking AT

Backpacking was an unbelievable experience. Living and being in complete harmony with nature for a moment of life, what could be more peaceful? Symphonies of bugs, sights of mountains, scents of flowers, scenes of creatures.... an experience you can only come across once you leave the artificialness of civilization and discover for yourself what nature really means to you. The Appalachian Trail isn't even the most bona fide experience of Mother Earth you could observe. To get a real taste of the candid wonders of nature and absorb yourself in its true natural state you'd have to go out into the unmapped, untracked wilderness. (Like in the movie I just watched last night, Into the Wild...great movie!).

Meeting and observing other backpackers on the trail was almost equally as fascinating as the beautiful outdoors itself. These interactions revealed the beauty of nature in a whole different light. People from all different walks of life all joined together with the shared commonality of wanting to be on the trail, in nature, just living and loving the moment. Around the moments when you felt like you could use a little outside-world socializing, you'd come across a fellow hiker, where you could open up each other's stories, letting the words run out. So many interesting life stories, tales, views, bits of information, so many unique and different personalities. Almost always crossing paths in at least one area of sentiment, almost always sharing a similar regard for nature. Beautiful.

I did some brief writings of my daily experiences while out on the trail that I thought I'd share. For the next couple of days I'll be posting my thoughts and brief summaries of a few of my experiences. Tomorrow I will begin the series with day 1 of my backpacking extravaganza.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Backpacking Extravaganza

Tomorrow I am leaving for a few days to go backpacking for the first time in my life! I will be taking off on the Appalachian Trail in an area located in Maryland/West Virginia. Since it's my first time, I'll only be going for two nights, 3 days, but I feel that this will be long enough to at least introduce me to the joy of backpacking. Hopefully after this I can find time in the near future for a longer endeavor.

Just from packing for this I feel like I've already learned alot... Like the fact that I'm gonna be one smelly girl, who will extremely desire a massage after I get back haha. But for real, I've learned just how important every pound, 1/2 a pound, even 1/4 of a pound matters when packing your pack. All of these semi-pounds start to add up, weighing your pack down. And I'm pretty sure that the lighter the pack the more enjoyable the hike will be for you, the hiker. However, lighter gear often equivalates to being more expensive gear. It's like underwear, the less cloth you get the more you have to pay (makes a lot of sense, right?). But from what I've heard from fellow backpackers, light gear such as tents and sleeping bags is often worth spending the extra dollars.

I've also discovered that I'll be eating a lot of nuts! I have like 3 bags of nuts that I'll be taking with me. Since hiking all day with a heavy pack requires a lot of calories, nuts are the perfect way to pack in some energy with a punch of protein. I'm also taking some cereal, a couple PB&J's for the first day, and a few dehydrated meals for dinner....who knows how those will taste... I'm going to set my standards low so that I won't be dissapointed but instead maybe pleasantly surprised? Even that last statement however is likely to set me up for dissapointment, haha, but who knows, maybe they're better than I imagine. Either way, this diet is definitely off track from my normal diet which is packed with fruit and vegetables. The closest thing I'll be getting to fruits and vegetables is freeze-dried carrots and some raisins in my trail mix. Maybe I'll throw in some apples for the first lunch. But that's just part of the experience of backpacking...roughing it.

I'm pumped to get going (walking) and begin yet another first-time experience of my summer. I've already done long day-hikes on the Appalachian Trail, and all of my experiences have been wonderful and beautiful. I have yet to do any hiking in West Virginia, so I'm hoping it too is a scenic stretch of the trail. The AT stretches across 14 different states and is 2175 miles long. Thousands of hikers attempt to do the whole trail each year, but statistics have shown that only about one in four ever make it to the end (10% quit in the first week!). The youngest person to walk to the whole trail was just six years old, the oldest, 81! Wowzaaa.

Wish me luck, and hopefully I have lots more to say for when I get back!--Peace and Joy

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It's peach season!! Lucky for me, I live only a few minutes away from a fruit orchard. That being said, I just got back from picking a basket full of softball-size peaches (and ate a basket full while doing so). Peaches are one of nature's many candies...they're so naturally sweet, and juicy, and delicious, and oh-so yummy...and paired with a bowl of vanilla ice-cream, they're extra "oh-so yummy" and sweet.

Take advantage of these summer treasures now because once they go out of season, you can rarely ever find peaches that get anywhere close to the taste of fresh ones. Like many fruits, peaches are super versatile. For a treat, pair them with ice cream, use them in a pie or tart, or cover them with brown sugar and cinnamon and put them on the grill. For a healthier treat, you can pair peaches with yogurt, cook them in oatmeal, or mix them with blueberries for the perfect fruit salad. My favorite is to just wash them, chop them up, put them in a bowl, and enjoy them plain...Mmmm.

Peaches are rich in cancer-fighting lutein and lycopene (the nutrients found in tomatoes). They are also a good source of potassium and are high in vitamins A & C. Peaches are full of fiber and full of water, making them a lo-cal food. While they do contain some sugar, it is all natural and this helps to give them their remarkable sweet taste.

Plan a time to go out and get to a local orchard. Maybe make it a date with someone special. Picking peaches under the sun in the beautiful countryside can definitely be an ideal, romanticized opportunity. Or, take the little kids you babysit, your nieces or nephews, or any other little kids you are close with. Picking fruit is a fun experience, especially when you get to watch smiling little kids while doing it. Kids love eating fruit, and to them, an orchard will look like a never-ending heaven of sweetness. Or go to an orchard by yourself, enjoy your quiet surroundings, and use the time to go within yourself or observe the beautiful nature that surrounds you. Maybe use the peach-picking as a sort of meditative practice.

Whatever you decide, get out there, get picking (and eating), and have fun!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yoga Makes The Body (& Soul) Feel Good

So I find myself waking up by 8 every morning (around 6:30 the first couple days back), which is good because waking up early allows me to keep my morning meditation/hatha routine. Though I'm not waking up quite as early as Yogaville (5:3o), I still feel as though I get so much more accomplished during my mornings than ever before.

Give it a try one day. Challenge yourself and get up early enough to watch the sunrise (around 6). You'll be amazed at how good it feels to start your day early, and also amazed at how beautiful the sunrise is! Also, rising early allows you more time to spend outside. Try adjusting your bedtime to an hour earlier than normal and then shift the time you wake up to an hour earlier. I guarantee you'll feel better both inside and out.

I've been doing yoga practically everyday. I just got back from a long weekend at the beach where I was blessed to be able to do yoga on the sand every morning...SO great! From my experience, yoga makes your body feel exceptionally great. I find yoga to be energizing, refreshing, and just plain fun. It loosens up all your muscles and joints (great for runners and other athletes), and subtly tones the body so you look lithe and sleek. Paired with a vegetarian diet and you're sure to be looking and feeling good in no time.

If you're new to yoga, definitely give it a try and just have fun with it. Try doing some crazy animal poses. Challenge your body to stretch in ways you've never thought possible...but remember to only take your body to where it's comfortable. Yoga is not a competition...it's more like a free-flowing, fun-loving dance where you let your soul loose and your limbs glide. I like doing it in the morning just before breakfast. I work up an appetite and feel great for the rest of the day. Whether you're feeling tired, sad, crappy, down, etc., a full yoga sesh. is sure to leave its imprint on your mood and a smile on your face.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm Backkkkkk...and a Certified Yoga Teacher! Woohoo

I'm alas home after an intense month of being fully immersed into the science of yoga. Yep, you heard me, according to Yogaville, yoga is best defined as a science. In the past several years yoga has gone completely mainstream. Being used to advertise everything from cell phones to trains ("our train rides are as relaxing as a yoga class"), there are few people who haven't at least heard of "yoga". However, few Americans are truly aware of what this intricate science actually is. In Yogaville, I was refreshingly reconnected to the roots of yoga, where everday I breathed, ate, and slept yoga- the real yoga.

Many people are well aware of Hatha, the physical side of yoga which includes all the sun salutations, the downward dogs, the headstands, and all the other intriguing poses that the billboard models are often twisted into. Tons of newly introduced yoga-goers arise each day and go to their morning power yoga, or level 2 or 3 yoga class, where they sweat through pose after pose, straining their body until they look like someone on the front cover of Yoga Journal Magazine. In the back of their mind, there may be a voice telling them not to strain or push themselves while in yoga class, but they refuse to listen to what their body (and mind) is telling them. Especially athletes who consider themselves to "fit" too ever be seen in a beginner's class. They may even end up injuring themselves, but will refuse to give up straining themselves and keep on trudging right through the pain. The average American is programmed to push, push, push. A sense of competition against oneself and others around is instilled into Amercican's minds. A lot of people are coming to yoga class for the sole purpose of looking like that contorted yogi model on the billboard.

And there are others who may not even know that yoga is actually meant to be done in a comfortable, meditative state. If your first yoga class were an intense Bikram class (hot yoga) or vigorous Ashtanga class (power yoga), then you'd probably never have been exposed to the true healing and rejuvenating practice of yoga in the first place. But healing and rejuventating is just what Hatha Yoga was/is originally intended for. Hatha means sun and moon and the balance between the two. The asanas (poses) done in original Hatha Yoga classes are designed to help balance the systems of the body. Hatha Yoga isn't designed to stress or push the body like cardio or muscular exercise does. Instead, the practice is meant to be comfortable, and in the process, rejuvenate the body rather than cause it to expel tons of energy. Yoga is meant to engage the mind, allowing it to tune into the physical body, as opposed to other forms of exercise which during work-outs try to tune out the physical and mental body. (Keep in mind, these other forms of exercise are still beneficial, but are not meant to be simultaneously incorporated into the restorative practice of yoga).

And unbeknowns to an even larger amount of people are all the other sides of yoga. Aside from the physical "sport" of yoga, there are numerous other components of which help to balance the most complicated part of the body, the mind. The yoga that most people think of today was actually one of the latter parts of yoga to originate. Hatha yoga was originally designed to help one prepare for meditation. Meditation is the backbone behind yoga, and one of the most important practices to help calm and settle the mind. Once the mind stops racing and the flow of thoughts begins to slow down, one can reconnect with their true inner peace. This is yoga's ultimate goal: for one to find the peace within themselves, of which they can eventually take out with them into every breathing moment of their life. Yoga isn't meant to stress or strain anything, because these actions will only disturb the mind. In order to become universally happy, the mind must be at peace. Yoga seeks to find this peace.

The word "yoga" means union with God. God, not necessarily in the sense of a religious figure, but in the sense of your true inner peace. Everyone has "God" (inner peace) within themselves. It is our thoughts that distort this peace, presenting obstacles of which prevent us from being able to fully immerse ourselves in this peace within us. The entire practice of yoga helps to eliminate thoughts in the mind, so that we can ultimately reach this inner peace. At first, there are practices used to eliminate negative thoughts (which in turn, help to make you much more optimistic), and then eventually meditation practices are used to eliminate even the pleasurable thoughts. Pleasurable thoughts often lead to attachment of things, and attachment will inevitabley cause the mind to suffer. So yoga progressively tries to eventually eliminate all thoughts so that the mind is at a state of complete peace. Eventually, one seeks to live their life in entire peace, so that nothing in the world, good or bad, is able to disturb this peace. These people live to serve others and serve the world, living selfessly and full of contentness.

I could write forever on more in depth topics about what I have learned over the past month, but for now, I hope to have conveyed a basic overview intended to remind people (or make them aware) that yoga isn't simply about the people in pretzel-like positions displayed in magazines. Yoga is about finding peace within yourself, so that you can bring to the world your best "self", free of disturbances and negativity.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (peace, peace, peace)