I Started Taking Yoga Every Day. How Did It Help Me?

featured image via : Popust Plus 

I Started Taking Yoga Every Day. How Did It Help Me?

For those of you familiar with Yoga, you may know there are many different types of Yoga you can take.  For those of you not familiar with these types of yoga, they include  but are  not limited to: Hatha ( a basic slower-moving yoga class), Vinyasa ( a dynamic practice linking breath and movement together ),  Bikram ( a heated yoga in which you typically practice the 26-pose Bikram sequence, definitely a more vigorous practice ), and Hot Yoga * my personal favorite* ( obviously a heated yoga practice which is similar to Bikram yet not restricted to the 26 Bikram sequence).

These practices are some of the most common or popularly practiced types of Yoga.  There are many more including, Kundalini, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga etc.  This being said they all focus on different aspects of finding peace and focusing on your breath and bettering of your body.

After researching, and learning the many positive effects yoga can have on your body, and mental health I decided it was time I finally take action, and take my first yoga class.  Luckily, I am a flexible person, with 9 years of background it martial arts training I definitely have become extremely flexible which came to my advantage in my opinion.

Here is how my first three days went.

 

Day 1 :

The first thing I noticed when I walked into that heated room with my mother was the complete silence in the room.  It was intimidating I won’t lie, individuals of all ages stretching, in child’s pose, handstands. The only things going through my mind were, I hope they don’t expect me to be able to do that.  and If it stays this hot the whole time I think I might pass out.  

After 10 minutes of stretching, the class had started and I was excited.  I was attending a hot yoga ” Flow ” class with an AMAZING instructor.  She started us off with a little meditation, then had us go through many poses including: ” Downward Facing Dog” or Adho Mukha Svanasana in Sanskrit, Chair Pose or Utkatasana, Child’s Pose or Balasana, and Crescent Moon Pose or Ashta Chandrasana to name a few.

We ended our night with some more meditation and spent around 5 minutes completely stretching or meditation on our own.  Whichever we felt we needed most.

If I was to summarize my first real yoga class, I’d say it was the best idea I’ve had to take it.  I found myself completely in the moment, at peace, and just relaxed altogether.  As hesitant as I was I am so glad that I took this class.

 

Day 2:

I went to sleep after my yoga class last night, and I felt so at peace.  I woke up feeling great and well rested, and I was looking forward to taking my second class tonight!  I think it’s appropriate I mention, my mom is a yoga fanatic.  She attends yoga class regularly and now I finally understood first hand how beneficial and calming yoga really was.  She always tells me I’m missing out, and it’s super fun and let me tell you she was 100% correct.  I can not explain how much the first class of yoga benefited me.

I took a different class today, Warrior Sculpt in a heated room again with another AMAZING instructor.  Let me be honest with you. This class kicked my butt.  Yoga itself is not a walk in the park, try doing it with weights in 100+ degree weather.  It’s like a soothing yet painful slow death.  All jokes aside, this class was definitely not easy at all but I loved it.  With different workouts and poses to work different parts of your  body, I walked out of that class sweaty, sore, but super happy.  Definitely a class I will return to.

The only thing going through my mind when I went to sleep that night was : I feel great now, I hope I can still walk tomorrow. Might I say, I am attending a 5:00 AM Yoga class tomorrow for my mom’s birthday. Wish us luck.

 

Day 3

It is currently 4:30 AM and I am half asleep filling up both my mom’s and my water bottle.  We are going to heated ” Flow ” yoga at 5:00 AM, and I am super excited and super sore!  Might I add, none of my hoping worked and I am so sore that I can’t even sit down but I don’t mind!

We arrived at the gym, and I was surprised to see class was full with over 25 people!  I never thought anyone would wake up that early on their weekend to attend a yoga class, until I attended my first class.

We started off our class with some meditation, and light music and to my surprise I had accidentally walked into a Flow core session yoga.  5 AM core workout. Not my best idea.  After my mom and I pushed through our core workout, we got into a more mellow/ cool down part of class in which we stretched, and practiced basic yoga poses.

I was extremely happy with this class.  Regardless of the fact I had no clue I was about to get a core workout at 5 AM, this class honestly was a great way to start my day.  I walked out of it refreshed, and ready to take on whatever the day had in store for me.  My mom and I had so much fun taking that class together, and I look forward to continuing yoga with her.

 

Final Thoughts

I am so so happy with my decision to attend yoga classes every day.  This week, I noticed so many different positive changes in my lifestyle and mood.  I felt completely relaxed and at peace with myself and my surroundings.  The many different classes that I took really worked my body, but in such a great way.  No matter how sore I felt, I found myself waking up eager to attend class, and eager to take on the day.

Despite being hesitant to try yoga, and be surrounded by experienced yogi’s after my first class I really understood what everyone meant when they told me yoga is solely for myself.  I did not have to compete with anyone, or try any of the things anyone around me was doing.  I did everything I wanted, and everything I wanted to do.  Just like starting any sport, it takes time to grow and advance.

In this one week, I noticed my levels of anxiety significantly decreasing.  I learned to focus on my breathing and to live in the moment rather than stressing about what is to come.  Aside from this I also noticed I began to become less and less stressed about the little things that always seem to get me tense and stressed out.  Taking 1-2 hours of yoga a day significantly improved my days and feelings this week.

In conclusion, I can honestly  say I will continue to take 1-2 yoga classes every day with my mom, and strongly advise you guys to take yoga at least once or twice a week.  The effects it has on you overall are so rewarding, and you will be so content with the results.

Until next time,

Namaste.

Al Gore’s New Film Brings “Truth to Power”

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

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Al Gore at Sundance Film Festival. (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

A decade after Al Gore’s empowering and eye-opening film and book, An Inconvenient Truth, Former Vice President Gore has brought a new inspiring movie that reminds us of our responsibility to the climate movement. The sequel reviews the changes in both policy and climate, that have shaped the world.

The film exposes the rapid changes that are occurring in the Arctic with a spotlight on the glacial melt in Greenland. Footage shows Gore exploring the quickly melting glacial ice and the colossal chunks of glacier crashing into the ocean. He suggests that due to unusually high temperatures in Greenland, the glaciers are responding. Following the drastic chain of effects that follow sea level rise, the film focuses on flooding events that have ruined cities. After giving the viewer a background on the effects of climate change, Gore calls for the response that is essential to stopping this crisis.

Highlighting Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training, the film calls for more activism and involvement to drive the climate movement. In the Leadership Corps program, Al Gore personally trains the potential leaders to encourage change in local community and  to bring the “Truth to Power”. With the program, people can apply to become apart of the Leadership Corps and commit to overcoming the climate crisis.

The coined term “Truth to Power” is now a forceful push in action that stands for change and revolution. Gore proves that through defiance, persistence and charged persuasion, the goals needed to make a difference are achievable. Though faced by many challenges, the climate movement has fought against every opposition and stood strong after every downfall. He brings hope and is determined that we can continue to lead our efforts into the future; despite Trump’s radical agenda. Gore connects the Climate Movement to the many influential movements that have shaped our world such as the Civil Rights Movement, Gay Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, and Anti-Apartheid Movement. Each of these oppressed movements were confronted by many threats but continued to develop and achieve ambitious progress.

After a long and burdensome road to ratifying the Paris Agreement, President Trump announced on June 1, 2017 that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. A huge setback to the goals ratified, the withdrawal would ruin the dynamic formed in the agreement and would override the changes endured in other countries. While addressing this announcement, Gore remains hopeful that the strength of the movement is more powerful than the actions of the President.

Closing with the motivating message, “Fight like your world depends on it”, the film leaves viewers with an intense desire to make the changes laid out in the film. Overall the sequel was a perfect combination of recalling the growth of our past while reminding viewers of the obstacles that still lay ahead. The film should be used as proof of the glorious outcomes of unity, determination, and grit.

To join the Climate Reality Project proceed to the project website to bring “Truth to Power”.

Watch the trailer to this inspiring sequel here.

 

The Hate U Give Book Review

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Damn. My first thought as I delved into the book I got whilst shopping with friends.

The Hate U Give

T     H      U  G     Thug.

This book, written by Angie Thomas, was the best book I’ve read-maybe in my entire life. Besides the fact that this book was incredibly written, has great wording and descriptions, plus makes real connections with the emotions that the main character feels, this book will make you feel things, I can promise you that. This book should make you want to get up and scream for justice!

THUG follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she struggles to keep her two lives separate. Her life in Garden Heights, her ‘black’ neighbourhood, and her life at Williamson, the, mainly white, private school she goes to. She finds herself at a party with her friend, who she hasn’t spoken to in months, Khalil Harris. When cops try to break up the party, Khalil says he’ll drive her out of there, and they never quite make it home.

Khalil gets fatally shot by a white police officer while he was unarmed and simply cooperating, and Starr’s two worlds collide forever. People at Williamson constantly talk about him, unaware of the companionship he and Starr had in her early childhood. The people of the neighbourhood wouldn’t even talk to Starr about him, yet riots would break out on the streets. A movement.

The Hate U Give is a phenomenal punch to the gut of those who fight against Black Lives Matter. It really exemplifies what it’s like to be one of the only people of colour in a primarily white school with such raw emotion and in depth detail. “I’m cool by default because I’m one of the only black kids here.” or another great quote which I personally relate to on a whole new level, “Funny how it works with white kids though. It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.” 

This book screams for social justice and equality for all, with an echo of the pride Starr has at the end of the book for her race. This book is all about teaching people that everyone deserves to live, that there is another side of the story that the media won’t tell, that no matter what there will always be that one person to drag you down but it doesn’t matter because you will have at least one more person to bring you all the way up to the clouds to get you away from the one person who’ll drag you down. It talks about how you will always be seen as a certain thing, like Star was seen as ‘the witness’ ‘the black kid’ ‘Big Mav’s daughter’ and many other things, until at the end she sees herself as a powerful young woman, with a hopeful future in activism, she is seen as Starr.

This novel is a must read for any teenager, young adult, adult, elder, absolutely anyone, no matter your race, sexuality, gender, or age, get your hands on this book as soon as you can!

Khalil, while talking about what Tupac has said and his current relevance, said, “Listen! The Hate U-the letter U-Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody, T-H-U-G  L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out.” And if what we give kids in their youth affects how they act when they’re older and how they impact the world, then we should give them this book as soon as we can, or at least teach them even a sliver of what this book can teach others.

I’ve always said that us minorities can scream until our throats are bleeding and we can’t scream anymore, but those with the privilege can whisper and be heard better than us, and this book proves that in an insanely amazing way. This book will truly inspire you to take action, and you’ll be forever glad that you read it.

 

The 5 Best Songs Off Of Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

On June 2nd, 2017, alt-pop singer Ashely Nicollette Frangipane (better known as Halsey) released her highly anticipated sophomore album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. HFK is a concept album based on the story of Romeo and Juliet. Sound-wise, HFK differentiates from Halsey’s previous album Badlands in the sense that it sounds much more R&B influenced than rock, though Halsey still considers herself an alternative artist. Without further ado, here are my top five favorite songs from Halsey’s sophomore record Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.

5. Sorry

Serving as one of few ballads on the album, “Sorry” is about unrequited love, except in this scenario Halsey is the one who doesn’t feel the same about someone who seemingly loves her.“Someone will love you, but someone isn’t me.” she sings vulnerable over a piano in the post-chorus. “Sorry” is definitely a tear-jerker, and really showcases Halsey’s vocal skills.

4. Walls Could Talk

Upon first listen, this is the song that immediately stuck out to me. Sound-wise, “Walls Could Talk” is very reminiscent of Maroon 5’s early days. “And I’m thinking, “Damn, if these walls could talk” Well, they’d be like “Shit is crazy, right? That ain’t your baby no more”” she sings in the chorus. My only complaint about this song is that I wish it was longer, as it clocks in at only one minute and forty-two seconds.

3. Bad At Love

On this track, Halsey goes through the history of her previous relationships and details what went wrong with each of them. She ultimately comes to the conclusion that she is bad at love and relationships in general. “I’m bad at love but you can’t blame me for tryin’, you know I’d be lyin’ sayin’ you were the one that could finally fix me. Lookin’ at my history I’m bad at love.” she belts in the chorus. This track is definitely one of the more upbeat R&B-esque moments on the record.

2. 100 Letters

“100 Letters” is a pop ballad in which Halsey sings of a previous relationship where she tried to make things work with her partner and ultimately failed. The lyrics are inspired heavily by Romeo and Juliet in the sense she felt like she was living it. “I’m going through this relationship where I feel like a version of myself and a version of himself are dying for the sake of wanting to make our love work,” she said of the song. “100 Letters” has a painstakingly relatable chorus in which Halsey sings “And now I can’t stop thinking that I can’t stop thinking that I almost gave you everything. And now the whole thing’s finished and I can’t stop wishing that I never gave you anything.”, something that everyone who’s ever gone through a breakup can relate to.

Alone

“Alone” was instantly my favorite the first time I listened, and has remained my #1 ever since. “Alone” is about someone’s desire to meet you, but insisting that once they do they’ll regret it. “I know you’re dying to meet me, but I can just tell you this. Baby, as soon as you meet me, you’ll wish that you never did.” she croons in the chorus. What makes “Alone” so special to me is the upbeat, infectious, sound the song carries. It is definitely one of the most danceable tracks on the record and is definitely sure to uplift your mood, just by the way it sounds.

Overall, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a stellar album. Halsey’s vision for the record really shines through, and even though it is a concept album it isn’t gimmicky. Each song has it’s own flair but still ties into one another very nicely and cohesively. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you check out Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.

‘Harry Styles’ A Track-By-Track Review

On May 12th, 2017, former One Direction member Harry Styles released his highly anticipated debut album. His self-titled debut consists of a mix of ambient rock songs, mellow acoustic numbers, and somber love songs. If you would like to know my thoughts on Harry Styles, keep reading.

1.  Meet Me In The Hallway

Honestly, this song isn’t what I expected solo Harry to sound like. Serving as the album’s opener, “Meet Me In The Hallway” is a gloomy, mysterious, acoustic song about begging for someone’s return despite the pain they put you through. When listening, the song itself tends to put me in a trance. Overall, I’d say I really enjoy this song.

1. Sign Of The Times

By now, I’m sure you’ve this number, but if not, here’s some background. “Sign Of The Times” was released as Harry’s first solo song and the album’s lead single, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Upon first listen, I immediately heard classic rock influences, I was specifically reminded of David Bowie and The Beatles. It clocks in at almost six minutes long, but trust me, it’s well worth every second.

3. Carolina

The moment I first heard this song I instantaneously knew it would become one of my favorites. “Carolina” is a song that just makes you want to let loose and dance. Stylistically, it reminds me of Lady Gaga’s 2016 release Joanne in the sense that it’s a bit country/rock. Another song with obvious classic rock influences, which by now you can tell sets the tone for the whole album.

4. Two Ghosts

You may have already heard of this song due to the buzz it’s created around it’s alleged Taylor Swift-inspired lyrics, but to be honest it’s so much more than that. “Two Ghosts” is a beautifully crafted song about leaving a relationship two completely different people than when you first began dating. The sound is peaceful, mellow, and relaxing whereas the lyrics are a bit pensive.

5. Sweet Creature

When I first heard this song, I didn’t really like it. Although after a few listens it really grew on me. I feel like many of his songs put me in a mood where I want to reminisce about things of the past, but especially this one. His vocals in the chorus are mesmerizing, and the lyrics are heartfelt.

6. Only Angel

The beginning of this record is very ethereal-sounding, almost angelic. Then it takes a complete 180 and flips into an exuberant rock song. “Only Angel” is definitely a song you would want to listen to when you’re in need of an upbeat song to get hyped to. After Carolina, this song is probably my second favorite off the album.

7. Kiwi

Similar to “Carolina” and “Only Angel”, “Kiwi” is a bold, bellowing, pure rock song. I really enjoy the direction Harry is taking with these type of songs as it’s different than anything that’s currently on mainstream pop radio. I feel like this whole record will open doors for more rock music to enter the doors of mainstream radio, which is awesome.

8. Ever Since New York

“Every Since New York” is a folk-style ballad in which Harry sings of hurting, and still wanting more of someone who hurt you. Honestly, it’s not one of my favorite songs but it meshes well with the album.

9. Woman

This is another song I knew I’d like from the moment I heard it. It has a funky and groovy type of feel, yet still very rock influence. The lyrics are about the feeling of jealousy that comes with seeing the person you are interested in be with someone else. I feel like it describes a feeling we can all relate to in one way or another.

10. From The Dining Table

When you really listen to this song, the lyrics are very sorrowful. “Even my phone misses your call, by the way” Harry sings in the first verse. Musically, the sound is very soft, soothing, almost relaxing but at the same time emotional.

Overall, I’d say I really do love this album. It’s very cohesive and different from the One Direction Harry you may be used to listening to, in the best way. Now, I am even more excited to see what direction Harry takes in the future.