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Yoga Quotes

10 Zen Quotes to Help Bring out Your Inner Yogi

Whenever I see people who have a calm and easy demeanor about them, I’m pretty jealous. I’m always laid-back, but my mind is guilty of some frazzled moments. Today is International Yoga Day and every time I meet a yogi I’m in awe. How are they so calm? How are they so relaxed? Are they well?! 


After taking a semester-long yoga class one year in college I realized why they are the way they are. Yoga is a beautiful practice that actually combines the body, mind, spirit and your emotions. To see yourself slowly improve and reach points you never thought you’d get to is so exhilarating. I was so green at the beginning of my course; by the end, I really did feel like a better version of myself. It got me through a rough patch and put everything into perspective. For all you yogis out there or those looking for a little serenity, here are ten quotes to reach your inner yogi.


1. “Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.”
― Patañjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali



2. “Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.”
― Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style



3. “When you catch yourself slipping into a pool of negativity, notice how it derives from nothing other than resistance to the current situation.”
― Donna Quesada, The Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers



4. “Exercises are like prose, whereas yoga is the poetry of movements.” ― Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style



5. “A healer’s power stems not from any special ability, but from maintaining the courage and awareness to embody and express the universal healing power that every human being naturally possesses.”
― Eric Micha’el Leventhal



6. “Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.”
― Anne D. LeClaire



7. “I had discovered something; there was a pleasure in becoming something new. You could will yourself into a fresh shape. Now all I had to do was figure out how to do it out there, in my life.”
― Claire Dederer, Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses



8. “That’s why it’s called a practice. We have to practice a practice if it is to be of value.”
― Allan Lokos, Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living


9. “To the yogi, all experience is seen as one, as a means to help him cultivate devotion. All experiences have equal meaning and value. (154)”
― Prem Prakash, The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion A Modern Translation of the Narada Bhakti Sutras



10. “A strong life force can be seen in physical vitality, courage, competent judgment, self-mastery, sexual vigor, and the realization of each person’s unique talents and purpose in life. To maintain a powerful life force, forget yourself, forget about living and dying, and bring your full attention into this moment.”
― H.E. Davey, Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation







Featured Image Via Organic Fit TV


New Book Promises It Can Teach Anybody How to Do a Split, Including You

Eiko is a yoga instructor at a place in Osaka, Japan, but that’s not all she’s doing these days! She recently published a new book entitled Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits in which she details a 4-week stretching regiment, by the end of which even you or I can accomplish our childhood dream of doing a full split!


Eiko has been a YouTube sensation where she uploads videos demonstrating yoga routines to the masses—views on her channel are recorded at having almost 7 million views! In fact, she is so popular in Osaka that children point at her on the streets, calling her “the Queen” because she is the Queen of the Splits. Eiko now hopes to motivate people around the world to become lithe and nimble regardless of their age. Her routines are simple and fun, and, as studies show, such exercises can help someone live their life to the fullest.



Image Via Amazon


The book, Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splitshas three components to it: The statistical evidence showcasing what a service this can be to your body and mind; Eiko’s own regimented routine for pursuing this lifestyle; and a short story.


The story tells of two employees who want to live better lives, but are incapable of doing so. When a new boss takes over their department, the two must show up to work at 7:30 AM from then on. When they show up to work the next morning, they find that the room they have been directed to is covered with blankets, and it is there that they are taught to stretch and bounce toward far happier lives.


Eiko says she chose these two characters who are dealing with shame in the workplace because they showcase the inferiority complexes many adults have in their lives. If adults can be taught to be flexible, it may trigger a childlike hope that they can accomplish anything.



Image Via NY Times


I myself am considering investing in the book because, at 27-years-old, I can totally relate to the desire to do a split and impress all of my friends. As a child, it always seemed like an unattainable goal, but perhaps with Eiko’s help even the most unattainable goal will result in success!




Feature Image Via NY Times

Marathon runner

Harry Potter Inspired This Marathon Runner to Cross the Finish Line

When Nicoletta Richardson secured a place in the 2017 TCS NYC marathon, the biggest runner’s marathon in the world, she knew she had to find something other than music to keep her eye on the prize during the course of the 26.2 mile run.


When she asked coworkers for recommendations, someone suggested downloading the Harry Potter audiobooks. Though Richardson had watched every Harry Potter film, she had never read the series before. Months later, however, it would be the series itself which she would credit with getting her across the finish line. 


In an article published by Womens Health Magazine, Richardson recounts her demanding first ever marathon and how the Harry Potter audiobooks helped her to overcome it.


The first day I listened to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone… Immediately, I thought, ‘This didn’t happen in the movie…’ And in just a few moments the unthinkable happened: I was hooked…The new characters and the plot twists I never knew existed kept me on my toes, quite literally.



Image Via Nicoletta Richardson/Women’s Health Mag


Richardson listened to the first three books in the series during her four months training in preparation for the marathon. By the time marathon was underway, Richardson’s first ever marathon, that is, she had listened up until the fourth book. The series, narrated by Jim Dale, proved to be a tremendous source of support for Richardson.


For almost all of my long runs during training, Harry Potter and his friends helped me fly across the park and hit my mileage goal—just like catching up to the golden snitch and winning the Quidditch game. Moral of the story: It’s amazing what your body can do when you’re not over-thinking your every move.


What made the experience even more wonderful was the sort of community bonding it elicited. According to Richardson, when she told fellow runners that she would be listening to the Harry Potter series throughout the run, it brought back a sense of nostalgia for them. 


“Their faces lit up—tears swelling in some of their eyes—as they eagerly told me about their childhood memories with the beloved series. After that, I felt more confident than ever that I had chosen the right training tool,” she said.



Image Via Nicoletta Richardson/Women’s Health Mag


With the marathon officially underway Richardson found it a bit more difficult than she anticipated to follow along with the audiobooks given the “energetic spectators” cheering on along the entire route. She listened to the fourth Harry Potter book “off and on for the first fourteen miles” then, as her body was feeling the sting of the run, switched to some pump-up music until mile twenty. Though it appeared to help her carry on, she was steadily approaching “the wall”.


According to Richardson, “the wall” is the physical resistance you begin to feel after your body, worn down by the physical demands of such a marathon mixed with the lack of nutrients from food begins to shut down in order to preserve necessary nutrients. While it doesn’t always happen to every runner, it happened to Richardson. Her vision began to get blurry, her mind began to tell her body that she was tired, but she didn’t give in. 


I snapped back into focus. I refused to give in.And that’s when Harry Potter came to the rescue. I tuned into my audio book, zoned out my surroundings, and tried to focus on the voice of Jim Dale describing the campsites at the Quidditch World Cup. And just like in training, the audio book did the trick. Before I knew it, I was making my way to Central Park just miles away from the finish line. And for that, I will be forever grateful to my co-workers, Jim Dale, and—of course—J.K. Rowling.


pic 3

Image Via Nicoletta Richardson/Women’s Health Mag


As she finally crossed the finish line, Richardson could officially utter “mischief managed.” Harry Potter is awe-inspiring, and the multiple ways in which its inspiration can be seen are pretty incredible. 


You can read Richardson’s full amount here on Womens Health Magazine.


Featured Image Courtesy of Nicoletta Richardson/Amazon

Girl reading

5 Tips on How to Be a More Focused Reader

My least favorite but most frequent place to read is on my bed. It’s the quietest, most comfortable spot. I’d much rather read in the quiet car on the train going to or from work. All that ambient noise, the residential vistas flashing by. It’s relaxing. It helps me focus.


But my bed is too relaxing and too comfortable. I get anxious about the things I always get anxious about. I think about personal crap. I cannot at all focus on what I’m reading. A lot goes into how we focus on what we read. I thought it would be helpful to give you a few tips on how I stay focussed on my book.


1. Listen to some ambient or white noise.



Image Via ABC


When you think of the 100% ideal spot to read, it’s probably a library or at least library-esque. Maybe a quiet bookshop. Maybe a quiet beach. But it’s quiet.


Well, I’m here to tell you quiet is overrated. A little quiet is a good thing, but you can’t have too much of a good thing. If it’s too quiet when you sit down to read, the author’s words will quickly get drowned out by your own. You can’t really focus when it’s too quiet. People can’t stand to be in the quietest room in the world for more than thirty minutes, in fact. Too quiet!


So put some ambient or white noise on. Spotify has plenty. Just listen to the light pitter-patter of raindrops on fake windows or thunder brewing in imaginary clouds. It makes sinking into a fake world so much easier. Some people like listening to music, too. I don’t understand that.


2. Sit up straight!



Cool chair, bro. | Image Via Foter


Part of the bed problem, but lying down is extremely problematic. When I’m lying down, I cannot think of anything but falling asleep. As soon as my back touches a surface, my brain says, ‘Night.’

The best way to get around this is to find a seat or a chair or a stool. Some kind of piece of furniture that will allow you to sit up straight rather than lie down. By sitting straight up, you eliminate the desire to fall asleep. Thus disallowing thoughts of precious sleep, you allow thoughts of authors to enter your mind.


3. Eat before you read.



Second result for “delicious food” on Google image. | Image Via Medical News Today


This one explains itself, but allow me to talk about food.


We need food to survive. Always have, always will. When we go long enough without food, our stomach begins to make noise. Throughout the ages, these noises have been referred to as “grumbling” or “churning” or “sounding off.” It’s not only annoying when your stomach talks to you. It’s also aching. Because of this feeling, some people get angry as well as hungry. This phenomenon is known as hangry.


Nothing’s worse than reading a book hangry. Fill your face beforehand, kid.


4. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.



Image Via Lawrence Park Health and Wellness


When the bad thoughts come (they always come), be prepared to bat them off by any means necessary. Some people go for a run, some paint, some stare into the internet. These are all difficult to do when you’re trying to read.


One way to rid yourself of the bad thoughts is to inhale deep, deep, deep through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. I’m not sure why this works or if it has a basis in science, but it feels like drinking some really strong herbal tea. Since you’re already breathing when you read, this one shouldn’t be tough to pull off.


5. Turn your phone off!


Off phone

Image Via Wired


Remember that comment you made on Instagram? Of course you do. Don’t you want to know if anybody’s responded? You know you want to. Come on, book reader. Pick me up. This is your phone talking. Look into my screen. Soak up my light. Let me enter your brain.


Turn your phone off! Even if you have it next to you, you’ll still be anticipating a notification from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, Gmail, AOL Instant Messenger, whatever it is. It has a psychic connection to you. Put that stress to bed when you’ve got a book.




What this all comes down to is reducing any kind of physical or mental distraction. Put as little space between you and the book as possible. Try to let real world go. Only once you’ve let go, book lover, will you be free to read.


Feature Photo by Jacalyn Beales Via Unsplash

Sylvia Plath and bees

Nabokov Collected Butterfly Genitalia and 5 Other Strange Hobbies of Classic Writers

When we think of writers like Vladimir Nabokov or Agatha Christie, we probably imagine them sitting at a desk with a pen, possibly a quill if they’re fancy. Maybe they have a single candle lit next to them. Maybe a cup of tea. You can almost imagine them, geniuses on a cold winter’s night, drafting their next great work.


But writing is a job at the end of the day. There’s still downtime, even for the greats. Nobody can write 100% of the time, except for maybe Stephen King. So the question of how classic writers spent their time arises. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Here are the strange and wonderful hobbies of several classic writers.


1. Vladimir Nabokov was a lepidopterist



Nabokov in his lepidopterist robes. | Image Via the New York Times


Not only was he interested in lepidoptery (the study of butterflies), Nabokov was a pretty legitimate taxonomer. Nabokov loved lepidoptery so much that he became the curator of lepidoptery at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.


He was a bit of a conservative for his time, though, ignoring genetics as a way to differentiate species. He preferred the old-fashioned method of differentiation: studying butterfly genitalia. In fact, the Harvard Museum of Natural History still houses Nabokov’s “genitalia cabinet.” Can you guess what’s inside Nabokov’s genitalia cabinet? The answer is blue butterfly genitalia.


2. Sylvia Plath was a beekeeper



Image Via Harris County Beekeepers


Plath took up beekeeping with her husband Ted Hughes, which isn’t super surprising considering Plath’s father, Otto, was also a bee expert. In an exuberant letter to her mother, Plath wrote:


Today, guess what, we became beekeepers! We went to the local meeting last week…We all wore masks and it was thrilling…Mr. Pollard let us have an old hive for nothing which we painted white and green, and today he brought over the swarm of docile Italian hybrid bees we ordered and installed them…I feel very ignorant, but shall try to read up and learn all I can.


3. Agatha Christie was a fairly accomplished archaeologist


Agatha Christie

Max Mallowan and Agatha Christie | Image Via Wikipedia


Having married famed archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930, Christie spent twenty years in the Middle East embroiled in the world of archaeology. A woman of action, she didn’t stay at her writing desk the whole time.


In fact, some of the best preserved ivory artifacts in the world likely remain in such good condition thanks to Christie’s archaeological work. Specifically, she used face cream to preserve the ivory. John Curtis of the British Museum commended Christie’s efforts, saying, “Face cream in fact is quite a good thing to clean (artifacts) with.”


4. Ayn Rand collected stamps


Ayn Rand

Image Via Blank on Blank


She didn’t only collect them. She used them for their little-known restorative abilities. Having written behemoth books like Atlas Shrugged, Rand needed a little help unwinding. She found solace, as so many do, in postage stamps.


In a 1971 article she wrote for the Minkus Stamp Journal, Rand stated, “If I feel tired after a whole day of writing, I spend an hour with my stamp albums and it makes me able to resume writing for the rest of the evening. A stamp album is a miraculous brain-restorer.”


Add stamps to your list of home remedies.


5. Jack Kerouac was really into fantasy sports


Kerouac playing football

Jack Kerouac playing some football. | Image Via Pinterest


Kerouac’s fantasy sports were literal fantasies. Beginning as a teenager and continuing until adulthood, Kerouac tracked the careers of imaginary athletes. Their names were spectacular, as a New York Times article notes: Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody, and Zagg Parker.


Kerouac was also a solid athlete in his own right, having played football during his time at Columbia University.


6. Emily Dickinson loved baking


Emily Dickinson

Image Via Academy of American Poets


Not only was Dickinson an avid baker, she was a beloved baker. She was awarded second prize in the Amherst Cattle Show of 1856 for her round loaf of Indian and Rye. Let it be noted that her sister was one of the judges. But still.


Additionally, many of her poetry manuscripts were scrawled on kitchen papers. The folks at the Emily Dickinson Museum seem to believe the kitchen was one of the rooms Dickinson felt most at home, and probably most creative. Not exactly what you’d expect of her.


Feature Images Via Poetry Foundation and Slate