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April 29, 2013

PART I: Self-Love

The way that you practice yoga is like the way you live your life, is something that a yoga teacher said in a class I took this morning. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. How do I practice yoga? With determination, with intense focus, with forgiveness to my “mistakes”, some days with impeccable balance and other wobbly as can be, with lots of flexibility and no fear of the seemingly impossible, but sometimes without the ability to open up, shaking in the face of vulnerability and a lot of impatience. The way that I practice yoga is a lot like how I live my life. The point of this statement was to let our yoga practice be a way to see how we can change ourselves in our daily life and for the first time I began to fully understand why I’ve been so drawn to a regular yoga practice for six years now (!). As an incredibly physical person, I’ve always been drawn to the physical expression of my feelings, this is why I was a gymnast, a dancer, and a thrower of things in fights (not my favorite thing about myself). I have a hot temper, cough it up to my Italian heritage, or maybe my indulgent childhood (or so my mother would claim, and probably will comment on, that I don’t hugely remember), but it takes a lot of work to calm me down. Yoga and running have been a way for me to channel my negative energy and physical aggression into something positive. Growing up doing gymnastics 24 hours a week trained my body to have a physical outlet, and ever since then I’ve needed to maintain this for piece of mind.

We have so many relationships throughout our lives but one that often gets pushed aside is our relationship with ourselves. This is something I’m working really hard on right now. I highly value alone time, but have a tendency to neglect my need for it if social obligations present themselves. This past week I took a Friday off from work (!) and took an absolute personal day. I drove an hour west on the 101 and went to Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas. If you live in the LA area and haven’t been here put in a request off and go. For $12 you can park and walk around the most peaceful, gorgeous park surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains. Off to side trails are rock pools, a lake, and the site where they filmed M*A*S*H (never made it that far, as I can’t get past the water). Maybe LA has gotten to me, but I see now that I’m a true Cancer…I need to be by myself, by the water to be truly happy.

I strapped a backpack to my back, took my shirt off, doused myself in SPF 30 and embarked on a bikini-clad trail run to the water. When I got to the rock pool it was empty. EMPTY. Surrounded by massive slabs of rock and a lagoon I jumped across the water, careful not to slip on the mossy rocks, rolled out my beach towel on the “island” in the middle and pulled out my book. A few rock climbers passed by, clinging to the walls, and eventually the place was overrun with teenagers thrill seeking, jumping from fifteen feet into the water, contemplating their YouTube captured deaths to the friends below. I finished a crossword puzzle and jumped in the water. On the freeway, in 4:30 pm Friday traffic driving home, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Maybe it was the fresh, icy water plunge (I’m a sucker for the ocean, but nothing beats a mossy mountain lake), maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the Murakami novel, maybe it was the teenagers, maybe it was the quiet, or maybe it was all of it, but sometimes, I just need to run away and jump in.


PART II: Sunshine

Anyone who’s ever lived in NYC can tell you that the city wakes up when the weather warms up. It is like the entire city has been cocooned and all of a sudden the boroughs are full of butterflies running around in cutoff shorts, sundresses and hoping nothing more than to rub wings with other butterflies. The parks are packed, Whole Foods sells out of artisan lemonade, and everyone is drunk by six pm and all your sheets are covered in grass stains. This is the number ONE thing I miss about living in New York. The city comes together as one and it’s as if EVERYONE is in Central Park/Prospect Park. I could cry just thinking about it. BUT. YES THERE’S A BUT. Now entering my third summer in Los Angeles, there’s something special here, too. There are pool parties and barbeques, and trips to Vegas. There’s food trucks and did I say POOL PARTIES? People have POOLS, and they invite you to PARTIES at THEM. And it never rains, so it doesn’t matter if you plan a pool party SIX WEEKS AHEAD OF TIME. As I write this I wonder why I’m not doing pilates instead of writing this in preparation. Last summer I had the best weekend of possibly my entire life when my three girlfriends came out to visit and we went to a cinco de mayo party on the BEACH in Malibu, then left and went to a backyard bbq, and then went to an artisan pizza party where we had a dance party and then slept three hours before we drove to VEGAS and went to a pool party. The moral of the story here is…summertime is here and you need a soundtrack. Here are my current two favorite summer mood songs:

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