I recently completed a full year of handstands. Yes, I did a handstand every single day in 2016 and documented it. Every single day. The world looks different now.
1) You will make incredible progress on your handstand journey!
My orginal handstand goal on Janurary 1st, 2016 was, "work up to a 10 second hold and leg variations."
I have gotten a lot stonger and a lot more consistent in my handstands. I have to tell you right away that I have not yet acheived my original goal. I am a lot closer. I can consistently hold a handstand now for 1-3 seconds. I can't yet really do any intentional leg variations.
I thought I would reach my goal, but I can assure you, I am in no way dissappointed in myself. I am actually very proud of myself for staying committed and for the progress I have made.
2) You will explore your city, and the world and yourself.
It was interesting how motivating the art of the challenge was for me. It enticed me to explore my city more than I normally would and take more trips. I also observed how it was fueling me as an artist.
Taking a picture every day for to share on social media was a unique motivator for a lot of reasons. Publically announcing my self-imposed challenge via social media kept me accountable and not only motivated to perservere, but also make my challenge as artistic as possible.
I am a fanatic about Instagrm and also the layout of my gallery. The idea of creating a grid that would flow together beautifully also played a role in mt journey. It drove me to seek out new places, different lighting, and explore different variations to keep my IG gallery beautiful. I don't think I would have stuck to the challenge if it hadn't been for my public comittment via social media, and I know it wouldn't have been so fun and motivating.
We were recently asked the question during our Yoga Camp Photo Journey Retreat to Madeline Island, “Could you please provide more direction on what clothing to bring, what will look best for photos?” We love this question, because dressing for yoga photos really is a bit of an art. What does go into choosing the perfect outfit? The answer, not so simple.
First off, it really comes down to awareness. Being aware of how you and your body will be situated in the photos yow plan to take. You need to ask yourself questions such as: Will I be upside-down in any of my photos? Will I be a silhouette? What is the weather like? What are the colors like outside? What is my lighting like? All of these factors can mater when choosing what to wear. While this is a topic that could have many subtopics, we are going to keep in simple for starters. Here are a few simple tips to choosing the perfect outfit for a yoga photo shoot.
1. Stand out – You want an outfit that will stand out amongst your background. Usually I would say, wear bright colors, but standing out could be wearing all black if you have a light background! Think about where your photo shoot will take place and make sure you will STAND OUT!
2. Wear clothing appropriate for the shoot – Think about what type of yoga you will be doing in this photo shoot. Do you need all out yoga clothes to get into some bendy poses, or are you casually posing and can be in more street clothing? If you are going to be inverting, make sure you are wearing tight fitting clothes so your shirt doesn’t end up over your head when you are upside-down.
3. Color Palate- Think about the season, the colors in your background, and how everything will look together! This coincides with #1 in the way you want to stand out, but you also want to look good in your background. You want the colors to go together. Each picture truly tells a story and you want it to be cohesive. I personally love bold colors, but it has to be the right bold color! Experiment for yourself and look through other people’s photos to see what you personally find visually appealing. Color is a very personal thing and it is a beautiful way to tell your story in photographs.
I hope these tips help you next time you are picking out an ourfit for some yoga photography fun! Make sure to like and share this post! Leave me comments below if you are interested in more details on this topic! Namaste my friends!
I’ve been a runner for over ten years now, and have completed three full marathons, one ultra-marathon, and countless half marathons. Nowadays don’t do so much racing, just short runs in my beautiful neighborhood, for the sake of running. It is a joy to be able to run! Before and after a run it is a must for me to have a yoga session, even if it’s only 5 minutes. So, let’s get down to business - Running and Yoga! You’ve seen articles, and suggested poses, but here’s a short list of 5 BIG ways yoga can REALLY help your run!
1. Develops Muscular Strength –
While yoga is not weightlifting, in the tradition sense, you are putting your body in many positions that need the support of your muscles, you essentially are lifting your own body weight during much of your practice. Because of this, yoga tones muscles all over the body, and it does so in a balance, harmonized way. In weight training, you often isolate one muscles or group at a time, and while yoga does this as well, most postures work a variety of muscles and groups. In many types of yoga you also hold poses for an extended period of time, this, in turn also helps with muscle endurance - an added plus!
2. Improves Flexibility –
A common phrase is, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.” And it’s sort of funny because this is EXACTLY why you should do yoga. Any amount of yoga can help your flexibility. Stretching your body is always beneficial, and with regular practice you will see results where you begin to improve your flexibility. By having more flexibility, you give your muscles and joints a greater range of motion. A supple, flexible body is less prone to injuries because it can better withstand physical stress.
3. Sharpens Mental Focus –
Yoga holds the power to transform our minds as much as it does our bodies and running, especially racing, is a VERY mental sport. The breathing and meditative exercises of yoga aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture, breath, and the task at hand. By learning to keep your mind pointing forward, in the direction you choose, you find the mental focus and control to truly run on your own terms.
4. Upgrades Balance -
In yoga you hold poses that help you become aware of the shifts in your focus and how those show up in your body. You learn true body and breath control keeping yourself steady in mind and body. This translates very well to running as the roads change and you are bound to make an unexpected stop, maneuver through a water station at a race, or run into some other issue that causes your focus to shift and your body control to be tested. By being more in tune with your body you are more likely to avoid injury. Improving your balance by holding standing postures in yoga also tremendously helps your ankle strength which is crucial to running.
5. Skyrockets Breathing Efficiency -
Yoga is all about breathing and obviously breathing is very important to running! In yoga there are many types of breathing exercises and techniques you can use, and a runner could benefit for any one of them! Learning to truly breathe deeply and mindfully is incredibly beneficial for a runner.
All of these benefits help reduce the chance of injury for runners, so I say WHY NOT?! Give it a try, mix a little yoga in with your running! If you are wondering, “How in the world do I start?” check out @yogacamp on Instagram for our upcoming #YogaCampGoesRunning challenge that just started November 10th!
Yoga Camp Travel and Media Specialist
Our latest Yoga Camp Instagram Yoga Challenge, play along -- it's for a good cause!
I recently led the Second Annual Yoga Camp Photo Journey Retreat. It was an exceptional experience. I love this facet of Yoga Camp because I love serving women and helping guide them in their healing in the context of a carefully curated retreat. Honestly the whole retreat was outstanding.
We had an amazing time! All the activities were great, and the weather was cooperating, which was an enormous blessing. Thank you God! I can tell you about all of retreat experiences more in detail in another blog post later, and you can check my social media channels for more info and photos, but I want to focus today on something that was completely unexpected.
I booked the dates of this year's retreat over the full moon which occurred on October 15th, so we planned a full moon fire ceremony. That was amazing too! It was even warm enough to create the ceremony outside. That is another experience I would love to share more in detail about at a later time.
After our ceremony and finalé celebration, we went to bed. I woke up the next morning to take Maxime, my giant dog, outside. For some reason I followed my intuition and let her out the back door. I usually take her out quickly through the front door in the morning, but something told me to go in a different direction. I thought the sky looked pretty, and so I followed the sky down closer to the banks of the lake and peaked through the trees, only to find something I never even knew existed. The full moon on the horizon.
I wanted to let the campers that were interested in on this blessing, so I ran inside and announced eloquently, "Full Moon! Outside! Still Up!" Then I ran back outside and down to the dock.
What I saw was, the full moon, still up from the night before and it was setting over the horizon mixed with the gentle colors of sunrise floating in from East. I didn't even know something like this was a thing.
I had nothing to compare it to, and I've never seen anything like it before. I've seen the moon high in the sky on occasion while the sun is up, but this was entirely different.
The mixture of the colors and the epic landscape was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.
I often observe that when I let go of expectations, or have no preconceived notions of what will be, I am the happiest. When I have expectations, I am usually disappointed.
The full moon in the morning surprised me, and filled me with joy! This full moon reminded me that life is full of gifts: some that I have not yet experienced, and some that I didn't even know were possible.
This beautiful moon reminded me to let go of my expectations, let myself be surprised, and to love and experience life fully.
When I walked back up to the cabin, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite quotes about balance.
"Some nights stay up till dawn, as the moon sometimes does for the sun. Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted out into light."
Now I have experienced this in a deeper sense than I even knew was possible.
In sharing my experience with you, I urge you to follow your intuition. I urge you to take a deep breath, think about something you have expectations about and then let some of them go. If you are able, let all of your expectations go. Namaste my friend.
Landscapes by Elizabeth Camp
Portrait by Marjorie Renn Solis
Life is hard, and you deserve a break! The key to happiness is in your own hands, take a chance now and book a Yoga Retreat. Set aside what is holding you back and find a way to make it happen. There are always a million reasons and excuses in our heads telling us not to do things, I say – Just do it! You will not regret it. Here are 10 reasons to back me up! ;)
1. Meet Like Minded Individuals –
There is something magical about being Immersed in a group of like-minded people. You feed off of each other’s energy and vibes. You learn things from each other simply by listening to each other. You get to talk about things for hours on end that you are passionate about, and likely you have someone listening who shares your passion or at least understands it. Being with people who share your passions helps allow you to open yourself and your mind and to truly embrace your authentic self.
2. Eat well without having to do any work –
Really… need I say more??!!
3. Relax and destress –
This is a pretty obvious benefit! What a retreat is all about. Simply time away to enjoy.
4. Take your yoga to the next level –
Whether you are a brand new yogi or an experienced yoga teacher you are bound to learn something new on a retreat. In addition to the physical practice of yoga a retreat is about living your yoga, though showing compassion for others, for nature, and for yourself. It is a chance to truly embrace yoga in every movement of your day, and boy does it feel great!
5. Get to travel to a place you may have not otherwise gone –
Going somewhere new is good for the body and soul! A retreat is often the chance to see somewhere beautiful! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to do some traveling?!
When I was approached to write an article about what yoga is to me, I immediately thought of a recent conversation I had with a friend regarding cultural appropriation, capitalism and fitness yoga. You see, it’s easy for me to distant myself from a topic by intellectualizing it. However, underneath the academic catchphrases and meta-theory, there was a deeper story of the meaning waiting to be told.
In my junior year of college I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression. I say ‘diagnose’, it’s a neatly packaged term, when I really mean to say my life was turned upside down, violently shaken and put on hold for the next three years.
Instagram and Yoga. Some people like it, some people hate it, some people are completely unaware of it. Nonetheless, it’s there, and it’s a huge community. I actually have Instagram to thank for the fact that I’m sitting here writing this blog, I met Elizabeth Camp, the founder of Yoga Camp, through an Instagram connection and now I am the Yoga Camp Travel and Media Specialist. Who knew?! Amazing!
You can probably guess that at Yoga Camp we are fans of mixing Instagram and yoga. While we could go on forever about this subject, we are choosing our top five reasons why you should think about joining the wonderful world of IG yoga!
1. It encourages you to practice daily or perhaps gets you outside daily, whatever way, it gets you movin'. – One of the most popular things in the Instagram Yoga world are the challenges. In these challenges, you take a photo or video of yourself practicing a pose or something assigned daily by the challenge hosts. This gets you to get up and do at least one pose a day (and hopefully some warm up). There is a challenge for everyone, from moves like arm balances, heart openers or twists, yoga with your child or dog, to yoga based on lyrics to your favorite song – There are PLENTY to choose from!
Hello! I’m writing today to answer the question, “Why Yoga Camp?
I ‘ve been directing this event since 2014, and it really has taken off since its infancy. It has also brought into light a lot of the strengths I knew had, but had not yet shared with the world. Thank you for allowing me to share my passion for community and my strengths for making that happen. I am continually grateful for our #commUNITY for being so receptive to Yoga Camp. I am looking forward to Saturday because I can’t wait for the magic.
So why Yoga Camp?
My short answer is that Yoga Camp is magical, and that’s why I do it. My long answer starts here:
There are so many benefits to practicing yoga in the outdoors, but overall it is truly a shift in perspective. The moment you engage yourself in yoga in the natural environment you will feel an energy that indoor facilities cannot seem to recreate. It is an overwhelming feeling when you connect with the greatest of living things, our planet.
Yoga outdoors does come with a certain unpredictability, but I encourage you to embrace the true practice of yoga, taking it off the mat and into real life. Embracing and being at peace with the bugs, noises, car alarms, wind, hot sun, rain, and uneven ground. When we welcome these elements we become stronger in all aspects of our practice and our life. Our minds quiet to the noisy world around us, and we learn to accept things as they are. This forces us to let go of our requirements about how life should be and just let go a little. This is living yoga, and it makes for a very well rounded practice.
I spent an entire summer too afraid to attend Yoga Camp. I remember seeing it on social media and thinking it sounded like so much fun, but feeling like I had no one to go with, (I am not one to attend things by myself!) I crossed it off my list. But the next year, when Elizabeth Camp, the director of Yoga Camp, invited me out of nowhere, I figured I had to go. It was meant to be! I still had no one to go with and had major anxiety about it, but I DID IT. And you know what? It was fabulous.