What I’ve Learned After 6 Months of Daily Yoga

This is NOT a sponsored post, I’m just sharing my personal experience.

I never talk about fitness and things like that because I’m not that kind of person. I’ve never been passionate about sports, actually, I’ve always hated them and I was horrible at them, but I managed to study classical dance for 12 years. I wasn’t a pro and I didn’t go to an actual ballet school, but still, I managed to learn a lot, it shaped myself both physically and mentally, teaching me discipline and perseverance, and it was the biggest passion of mine, the only thing I did after school.

Then, I had to quit for a couple of reasons I won’t share today and my health completely dropped. I’ve spent the last decade trying to find something easier to replace dancing, but living in the country is not your ideal setting if you want to go to the gym without wasting time (you have to take the car to do everything since we don’t have many services here).

I’ve never had any issue with food, never eaten unhealthy stuff, but I arrived at the end of the year feeling completely weak and my relationship with my body was taking a bad turn. I will never be able to get in shape like when I was a ballerina, but I couldn’t stand that feeling of perpetual tiredness anymore, not to mention how short my tendons have become during the years.

So, last year, I’ve tried a couple of videos (the shortest ones, like 5/10 minutes) on the Yoga With Adriene channel, even if I’ve never felt myself a Yoga person, and I loved them. She’s an amazing teacher and made me see Yoga in a completely different way, it’s not like what they share everywhere, all about spiritual stuff, burning incense, becoming vegan, and only drinking smoothies. It’s much much more, it’s self-love, first of all, it’s understanding how your body works, how do you feel, knowing your limits and seeing progress every day (without having to burn incense, becoming vegan and drinking smoothies, thankfully!). It’s not about the poses, it’s about the journey to get there. I have to admit that having a dance background helped since I was already used to go through a flow of poses with proper names.

As I said, I started with the shortest videos and with a schedule of 3 times per week because I didn’t want to burn myself out right away. Then, in January, Adriene released a new video every day for the whole month and so I started doing Yoga daily, even if the lessons were around 20-40 mins long (I’ve got interrupted by the flu a couple of times so I’ve basically ended it in February, but it’s okay). I love her 30-day Yoga journey series and I love her as a teacher, she’s not your typical Yogi-tuber who wears sexy clothes, looks ready for a photo shoot and does voice-overs of her super perfect videos. She has a microphone and talks to you while she does the exercises, constantly reassuring you and telling you’re amazing just for being there watching her video (I always feel super motivated by that!). It makes you feel loved, appreciated and relaxed. Every video starts and ends with a couple of minutes of meditation (basically just closing your eyes and listening to your breath) and I love that since I can still get the benefits of meditation but I don’t have to force myself doing it.

Currently, I’m doing her free videos that you can find on her YouTube channel (there are hundreds of them and you can get a new calendar with the monthly schedule if you subscribe to her newsletter), but I’d like to get her paid membership one day, which is like a Netflix for Yoga where you get the app and you can download videos to watch offline too. Every day at 6 PM, if possible, I just get on the mat and do my 20/40 minutes of Yoga. I always feel so good after that that I started looking forward to it. If my days are too busy, I would just do a couple of Sun Salutations on my own once I get home, even if it’s pretty late because it helps a lot for my back pain (being at your desk all day long is no joke!).

To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve actually lost weight during the last six months, I don’t think so, I’m still not thin as I’d like to, but I’m feeling incredibly better. I can easily touch the tip of my toes and go even further, I can do a plank pose for more than a couple of seconds without collapsing on the floor.

During the last six months, I’ve learned that my body is not a gross stupid thing only because I’m not in shape anymore, I have to treat it well because it’s the only one I own. I have to stop avoiding the mirror, I will no longer be the same person I was at 18 years old, it’s insane. I’ve also learned that I can still have toned muscles without being thin at the same time, it’s just who I am right now and it’s okay.

This whole Yoga journey, along with my different approach on social media, is probably the biggest thing I’m making it happen in 2018 and it’s very close to my word of the year, slow. Not to brag, but I’m proud of myself!

Just Have a Blog

One of my favourite bloggers, Tammy, shared the link to a nice podcast episode by Seth Godin yesterday, along with this wonderful quote (also from that episode):

I’m encouraging each one of you to have a blog. Not to have a blog to make money, because you probably won’t. Not to have a blog because you’ll have millions and millions of readers, because you probably won’t. But to have a blog because of the discipline it gives you, to know that you’re going to write something tomorrow. Something that might not be read by many people—it doesn’t matter—it will be read by you. If you can build that up, you will begin to think more clearly. You will make predictions. You will make assertions. You will make connections. And there they will be, in type, for you to look at a month or a year later. This practice of sharing your ideas with people who will then choose or not choose to share them helps us get out of our own head because it’s no longer the narrative inside. It’s the narrative outside, the narrative that you’ve typed up, that you’ve cared enough to share.

I find these words incredibly inspiring! Especially now that I’ve been wanting to start blogging more often again. Most of the times, I don’t publish anything because I’m too worried about writing a perfect 1k words article that will add value to the people who will read it.

Summer is here

But the best thing about having a personal blog is to share what’s on your mind, rather than what you think others would like to read, right?

Hope you’ll have a wonderful and inspiring weekend!

Alice xx

 

My Visit to the Harry Potter Exhibition!

I’m happy to report that I managed to see the international Harry Potter Exhibition in Milan yesterday! I went with my mom since Harry Potter is the only geeky passion we have in common and we also went to King’s Cross together a couple of years ago, so the Wizarding World is our thing.

I really enjoyed the exhibition, there were original props and costumes displayed in a magical way. I tried to take some photos, but it was a bit too much dark there in my opinion and I have zero energies to retouch every single photo with Photoshop, to be completely honest with you. (You can click the photos below to see them larger)

I’m glad I managed to visit the exhibition, but I think that you must be a hardcore fan of Harry Potter because it’s a bit pricey for the length of the visit (less than an hour and the ticket was 18,90€, audioguide excluded). Also, I’ve been a little disappointed by the shop at the end of the visitor path because there was all the merchandising you can find on Amazon, mostly T-shirts, scarves, keychains, pens, wands (only the most common ones), etc. And things were very expensive to me. The King’s Cross shop is much more equipped. I decided to buy the Official Exhibition Guide because it has nice photos and it’s the perfect sentimental item to treasure, while my mom gifted me a Hufflepuff crest keychain, which is gorgeous.

It’s been a nice break from work and I’m so happy it was only 2-hours (by train) away!

On Quitting Bookstagram (For Now)

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’d probably remember my attempts to switch to book blogging for some time and then coming back to lifestyle/personal posts because writing book reviews wasn’t actually my thing. However, I still dearly loved books and I wanted to share my passion with the world, so, last August, I opened a secondary Instagram account to dedicate solely to books.

For a while, I really enjoyed sharing my staged bookish photos, I’ve made some nice connections in the bookstagram community (that I’ve found more welcoming than the book blogging one), joined some nice challenges and had fun. But the more I explored the community, the more I realized that I wasn’t reading what everybody else was reading and I often felt the need to rush through the book I was on just to be able to share a picture of it with my comment or my feed would be empty for more than a week.

The truth is that I’m a very slow reader, mostly because I have too much to read for my thesis that I feel my head exploding by the end of the day. Also, due to lack of space and money, I’ve stopped buying physical books lately, except for some beautiful editions of my favourites. Not to mention that I love my Kindle and I will never get why so many people are against a piece of technology that allows unprivileged people to read as much as they want. I’m happy for you if you can afford to buy 20 hardcovers at a time and actually have some storage space for them in your home, I can’t and so I use my Kindle, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not a “real reader” because of that. I’m not accusing anyone in particular, I’m just thinking about all the discussions and blog posts I’ve seen online in the last few years.

That said, Bookstagram changed my reading habits. I’ve started trying to get and read what was cool and trendy rather than following my heart, literary tastes and my wallet like I used to do before. So I decided to quit.

I’m not going to say it’s a forever choice since I know myself too well and it’s possible I will change my mind again in the near future, but I’d like to keep my reading life more private for now. I will still probably share something bookish here on the blog or on my personal Instagram, but nothing crazy.

Finding My Own Voice and Snippets From A Week in the Life

I can’t believe June is almost here! It’s always weird the approaching of summertime now that I’m out of school and I don’t have classes anymore nor a traditional job, I almost never realize school is over and the Summer holidays have started until I notice that the streets are less busier. As cliche as it may sound, we don’t have four seasons anymore, so I just have to look at the calendar. Also, while in the US I noticed that Summer revolves around the 4th of July, here in Italy, everything is delayed of a month as we celebrate Ferragosto on August 15th, so that’s the week when every shop, restaurant, public place is closed and this is also when those who have a traditional office job go on vacation (and everything becomes more expensive).

I have the best Summer memories of my childhood since I’ve always lived in the countryside pretty much like a Hobbit with my own friends and village traditions. But now that I’m a grown-up Hobbit, things get a bit boring these months, all my friends moved and I’m the only one here. If you don’t have a garden nor a farm keeping you busy, living in the country can be pretty solitary and tedious…especially if you’re an introvert like me. Sometimes I have to literally force myself to pick the car and go somewhere else, just to not become a total hermit. Yeah, it isn’t a Southern Living mag kind of life, believe me.

A couple of weeks ago, I’ve participated in Ali Edwards’ Week in the Life, a memory keeping project to document your week with photos and then create scrapbooking layouts including some journaling. I’m happy to report that I didn’t give up on day 2 this time! I think that what actually helped me was keeping the photos private, not feeling the need to shared them allowed me to take more candid shots of my daily life. I haven’t done the scrapbooking part yet (and I don’t even know if I’ll do it), but documenting my life right now has been very important to realize that I have to be grateful for it. Here are some photos from the second week of May.

 

Sometimes it’s hard getting out of bed when you know your day would be exactly the same of the one before. I blame social media for that feeling though since I used to love routines, the fear of missing out (FOMO) is difficult to ignore most of the time and, even if my relationship with Instagram has improved lately (I spend way less time on that app), I still feel like it’s shaping my life. I find it harder and harder finding my own voice and that’s also why I haven’t blogged that much lately. I want a blog that reflects my own personality, my passions and my way of seeing the world, but it’s hard now that we are exposed to an information overload.

I started missing my teenage years lately when I used to buy those teen magazines and then chatted with my girlfriends about the look of the stars on the red carpet, the mini posters of our crushes… There always was a little bit of mystery around famous people and I loved daydreaming about their perfect Hollywood lives. Now, with social media, everything looks more real and faker at the same time. The famous people I loved to read about on magazines look like “normal” people on Instagram (shoutout to Evangeline Lilly and her relaxed and informal Instagram Live videos, it’s like chatting with a friend), while “normal” people do everything to look like red carpet stars. Crazy, right? Most of the time it’s the dopamine generated by likes and numbers that makes us feel so special, I guess. That’s why I decided to step back offline a little bit lately. I find it harder and harder discovering my own voice when I’m surrounded by so much information. I want to stop putting a label on my online presence and just be my own true self.