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YouTube Yoga

Like many American 20-something-year-olds, I do not have a steady and adequate income for remaining healthy in today’s society. This means that a lot of the information that I use to exercise comes from the internet. And, for yoga, this just so happens to be from YouTube.

I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years now–but I have yet to take a formal class. They just haven’t been practically affordable to me and any extra money that I’ve had has been spent on other things. Such as becoming a certified Reiki practitioner in the first two levels of the Usui style. Or my current venture of becoming a certified holistic healer by the end of December. To me, these things are of equal value to the betterment of myself–and, as a bonus, they can also be applied to the people closest to me which nicely fits in with my desire to help and better people’s lives. So I believe in investing in your health and future and I do have the desire to one day attend yoga classes.

But, for now, this has to do.

I’ve watched many, many different videos on YouTube in regards to yoga. (Not including the hours also spent watching YouTubers–like Jenna Marbles, who is my absolute favorite; old TV shows; music videos; various cute animal videos; etc.) In the span of the last year and a half, I’ve really started to try incorporating yoga into my every day life. My boyfriend has even gotten on board and has his own yoga mat now. So we’ve found a few favorites among the many different channels. And, if you’re looking for some new ones, you’ve come to the right place.

The first channel we really started watching every day is Chaz Rough. His channel has some basic, intermediate, and advanced level videos with an emphasis on health and strengthening. There are videos for office workers, those with anxiety, yoga for flexibility, and even videos aimed at specific health ailments such as scoliosis and addiction. He doesn’t coddle the viewer as much as some YouTubers and invites you to work through those shaking muscles to help build a toned, leaner frame. He’s also one of the few male yoga instructors, which can be an appealing way to invite men into the practice. Yoga is for everyone, not just girls! So it’s nice to see someone so knowledgeable fill that gap. He also has some personal vlogs on his channel that gives a nice touch to it. Chaz also actively speaks throughout his videos which really gives the feeling of being in his studio with him while being in the comfort of your own home.

Now this second YouTuber is my personal favorite online yogi with the handle Yoga with Adrienne. She’s fun and quirky with a yoga video for everyone. She even has a video dedicated to easing cramps and PMS symptoms–which I will personally go on record as saying that it’s the only video that’s gotten me to do yoga during those really bad days during that time of the month. She does have a fair bit of humor and commentary throughout her videos, so if that isn’t you thing, you probably won’t enjoy her much. But I am also a talkative nerd so I really enjoy her commentary. Now that’s not to say that her videos aren’t tough because they will make you sweat. But I guarantee that you’ll enjoy every second that you’re on the mat with her and her perky personality is a welcome breath of fresh air in comparison with a lot of the impersonal, stiff voice overs that a lot of yogis give to their channels. Adrienne has a series of videos dedicated to getting you on the mat everyday for at least a few minutes. there are even playlists for specific length videos if you’re pressed for time. And there are quite a bit of instructional videos on specific poses.

PsycheTruth is a channel dedicated to wellness in general. It has videos for yoga, stretching for dancers and general flexibility, dance workout videos, detoxing, massage, and reflexology. There’s a little bit of something for everybody but the yoga videos that I’ve watched on this channel are more so geared towards beginners. However, it is a great as a source of information if you’re not quite sure where to begin. From what I can tell, their videos don’t include voice overs either.

The last channel I’ll mention is the newest one that I’ve started watching–and also the most intense. It’s composed of a couple under the handle Boho Beautiful. Even though some of these videos are marked as being for beginners, they are quite difficult if you aren’t naturally very flexible or strong. My favorite videos on the channel are for yin yoga. This type of yoga involves holding specific poses for two minutes at a time. There are regular flows in between these poses, though, so it’s not as slow as you might think. The fat burning videos are very intense and may not be for everybody–Adrienne and Chaz are better choices for those, in my opinion. Boho Beautiful also offers an inside look into the vegan lifestyle and has a few videos on meditation as well. However, the yoga videos I’ve watched include voice overs as most of them are done outside.

There are many talented yogis on YouTube and these are just a few of my favorites that I’ve found along my journey. Maybe you’ll like them, too, or maybe you have some favorites of you own that you think I should check out. So, happy yoga-ing!

Logan (2017) Movie Review

Logan (2017)

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen

Director: James Mangold

Synopsis: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

Review:  

With Marvel’s recent move to begin eliminating all the X-Men/mutants one by one, it was only natural for Fox to follow in the same direction. Logan follows the story of “Old Man” Logan. Simply put, Logan is dying and his once faithful powers are failing him. The X-Men are dead. Charles Xavier, his father figure, is also dying and being cared for by Caliban. There are no more mutants being born anywhere. Logan now works as a car service driver in a service similar to Uber/Lyft. He’s just trying to scrape together enough cash to run away with Xavier and live on a boat in the middle of an ocean to die.

This plan seems to be going well until a woman named Gabriella tracks him down, trying to acquire his help on something that only he can help with. Naturally, Logan refuses because it isn’t part of his plan and he’s done living his life as Wolverine. He continues to resist helping this woman, until Gabriella ends up dead while trying to convince him that her daughter, Laura is a mutant and needs his help. Though he doesn’t believe her, the woman’s offer of $40,000 is enough of an incentive for Logan to agree to help. That was the rest of the money he needed to buy the boat for himself and Xavier to escape.

From there, the movie begins to move quickly. The decision to make this an r-rated film was a good move on Mangold’s part. The level of violence and profanity just casually thrown around the film was very fitting of Logan/Wolverine. This also allowed for Dafne Keen to have some excellent action scenes as well–which is very fitting of the character X-23.

This was one of the first films dealing with X-Men related material that I thought was any sort of proper tribute to the characters. Even the Transigen dossiers had some fun Easter eggs hidden in there for avid fans of the comics and there were some references to other events in the timeline. Though, admittedly, not as many as I would have liked. At one point, Logan is flipping through one of the X-Men comic books and comes across images of Rogue and seems to have no reaction to seeing her at all. In both the comics and movie universes, Rogue was very much like a daughter to him. It seems odd that he wouldn’t become a little torn up or angry over seeing her image portrayed in what he considered to be a collection of factual errors on their lives. There were also no references to Jean, even though she seems to always become a central figure in his life no matter what timeline it is. I was also slightly disappointed that more characters from the Weapon X program weren’t used in Transigen files. Raven Darkholme/Mystique and Victor Creed/Sabretooth being the most noticeably absent. For a film that was in many ways a farewell to the old cast of the X-Men, I felt that this fell a little short and would have liked to have seen some references to these characters.

Now, that’s not to say that this isn’t a brilliant movie. In fact, this movie puts Dafne Keen in the perfect spotlight to stand proudly alongside Millie Bobby Brown as an up-and-coming actress. She held her ground beautifully alongside Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart and had some truly heartbreaking moments onscreen as well as some very courageous ones. I’m excited to see what she does next–and if she continues to portray X-23, which would be true to her character.

This is a fairly long film. The run-time is about two hours and fifteen minutes and there is a notable absence of an after credits scene as they aired Deadpool’s new trailer before hand. But the absence of that scene was fitting given the movie’s very final content. And that final scene might make you sit through the credits at least partially anyway. It will truly pull at the heartstrings and makes tears spring to your eyes.

But don’t take my word for it, I truly recommend seeing this film. It’s one of the best films X-Men films I’ve seen in a long time and I believe that die hard fans and newbies alike will all enjoy it. The dialogue is witty and dark and the performances are all around excellent. So, if you have two-and-a-half hours to kill, go see this.

Blue Sepulchre

A poem inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

An empty sheet of paper

The first stroke seems like

Such a bittersweet waste.

But it can never be

Taken back once it’s fallen

Upon the gentle, sweet virgin snow.

With its crimson eyes set

Dead ahead on her gentle smile.

I still wonder if she ever

Saw it coming before her head

Slipped beneath the newly melted waters.

 

Look, now, there’s another lure

In the waters, one more love left

For the taking. Can’t even guard

Her future throne because it’s

On the shore by the sea

Next to another woman

Who once went by the name

Of Annabel Lee.

 

And I know that this one

Never felt his sting and she never

Put up a proper fight after he

Muzzled her bite. If she had

Stopped and given him a little foresight

She would have seen all the signs.

But I guess that’s just what love

Does when left to its own devices.

 

The next belle, she was different.

Never anything but callous and distant.

Seemed like she knew his name before

He even poured her a drink but

She preferred to drink from the kitchen sink.

Didn’t trust him to be alone

For more than a minute. Always pushing

And pulling until he wanted to just quit it.

It was then that he knew that

He couldn’t just live it.

She taught him that it didn’t

Always have to end with her head

Under the waters.

 

But while she left his life on the sand

With a bouquet of Amaranths in his hand,

He left hers with a wilted rose,

Fists full of their bloody finish,

And her knees covered in

The soil that she stole him to.

Tides

Creative Non-Fiction piece about taking a metaphorical leap in both life and love.

The wind whispered into my ears as I stood there, hands on the railing, staring down at the still waters below. Their surface was smooth, like a freshly cleaned glass window. You see, I was on a ship—a research vessel, more precisely. I was on my way to what would become my home for the next several months. Thinking back on this, I was unsure as to why exactly I had agreed to this. Perhaps the thrill of adventure? I had always admired archaeologists, tomb raiders, and the like. Such an exciting contrast to my paper-pushing habits. Or maybe it was the need to get away from my life back home—even if only for a few months. I have always wanted to pick up and move. Though fear has always withheld my departure from my life as I knew it. But I knew that it was something more than that. I was running to something, rather than from it.

More accurately: I was running to him. The man that sat just inside the window behind me, speaking and laughing with one of the other researchers. I glanced over my shoulder, gazing upon his well sculpted cheekbones, the way his smile revealed tight lines across his face, and the way that his warm brown eyes laughed as he told the punch-line. A small smile spread across my face before I looked out across the open waters again. I don’t believe that the glass would be able to withstand my intrusion. There was not much to support it. I had always had a little bit of a fear of them, you know—these open waters. There was nothing to hold on to if one were to fall in. Or if one was swept away by the currents. Not to mention the fact that the bottom was impossible to see—especially at this time of night when the waters are darker than the sky. Yes, I have always had a phobia, a fear, of being in the ocean. Even standing on the boat made me a little nervous, though infinitely less nervous than the thought of plunging headfirst over the railing.

My knuckles tightened into fists at the thought of it. “There you are,” a voice behind me spoke and caused me to jump. He laughed, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me closer to him. “Sorry, darling.” He kissed my cheek. “Why are you out here anyway? All the fun is inside.”

“I’m enjoying the warm weather before we’re stuck inside for three months,” I teased, the taste of a chuckle lingering on my tongue.

“It won’t be that bad. We’re going down in the summer time.” This time I laughed.

“Summer in Antarctica makes the snowstorms back home feel like sandstorms.”

“Yeah, but you get to work with me every single day.”

“Ugh, don’t remind me!”

“Hey now.” I smiled, kissing him lightly on the lips. “That’s much better.” We stood in silence for a few moments, watching the waters below. “It’s peaceful, isn’t it?”

“It is.”

“Wanna take a swim? Frank’s setting anchor for the night.” The thought of it made me shiver—though I fought to keep that fear down inside. He did not notice. Instead, he was waiting for an answer. I slowly nodded. He broke out in a grin, kissing my temple. Then he went to speak to Frank and convince him to drop the anchor here, where the water was still nice and warm. While he was gone, I stared out at the waters, trying to convince myself that there was nothing to fear about a little water and some salt. Rick would be with me—he would not let any harm come to me. But, still, that little voice in my head insisted that this was a foolish idea that would end up with one of us being hurt in some terrible, irreversible way. Surely the broken glass would create some sort of bloodshed. I silently prayed that it would not be my own.

Before I could talk myself out of it completely, the boat had stopped, and Rick was back on the deck at my side. “Alright, we’re good to go,” he said cheerfully. He stripped down to his boxers before jumping right off the side of the ship down into the water. I held my breath. All that I could see with my mind’s eye was a spreading pool of crimson—and no Rick. I panicked, staring intently at the rippling waters until his head broke the surface once more. “Come on, honey, the water’s warm!”

Hesitantly, I pulled my shirt over my head and wiggled out of my jeans. My sandals slipped off silently. And, then, without so much as a second thought, I plunged into the water. It was warm, almost comforting. My face broke through the surface, lungs filling with air again. I had not died. The still black waters had withheld no information. They had not shattered and severed our flesh so severely that our hemoglobin coated her freshly cleaned surfaces until we had no excess blood to shed. Adrenaline hit my brain, causing an intoxicated smile to break across my face as I looked over at Rick, who was floating on his back beside me. He grinned back, lacing his fingers through mine.

It was then that the tides became my second home—second only to his heart.

Vanilla

January 2, 2012 daily theme writing prompt on Figment. A woman’s sneaking suspicions about a man’s true intentions about herself. (Note: Yes, the diary has been given the same name as the dead woman that he still clings to–and this name comes from a song by Dessa titled “Anabel.”)

Dearest Ana:

Today was a day for the books, I’ll tell you. One of those days that you just can’t wait to get home and record in your little notebook to review at a later time—just to live it once more. And you hope that it will bring a smile to your face—but I certainly know that today will bring a smile to mine for years to come.

What was so grand about today, you ask? Well, today I took a walk with him. In the park. In our park. I wore my best color: lavender. I wore his favorite scent: vanilla. I wore no make up: I didn’t need it. You told me that—but I already knew it. I didn’t need you to tell me so. But you told me so anyway. That’s beside the point, though.

Today was a day for the books. As we were walking through the park, shoulder to shoulder, at a gentle stroll among the winds that caused the brown, red, and yellow leaves to dance around us, you turned to me. Serious. You asked what I believed in terms of possibilities. At first, I had laughed. You always asked me such silly little questions such as this. And I always answered them with the utmost correctness, even if your answer was more probable than my own. With a smile, I had answered: “I believe in the possibility of possibilities.” I had answered in a manner philosophical enough—intelligent enough—to keep you satisfied. To give you a little something to mull over. Just enough to ruminate on before you swallow it and digest an answer of your own.

Then came your answer: “If you believe in the possibility of possibilities, how will you set forth into possibilities?” Now it was my turn to ruminate. Finally, I came up with an answer worthy of being spoken: “I believe in the possibility of possibilities, where the possible possibility has already been set forth into motion. There would be no need for me to waste my time to acquire this possibility if it already exists.” He turned his eyes to mine, curious at this glimpse of my mind, wondering if I had been speaking truthfully without saying the truths. Just as he had been. I had been as well. It is so much easier to admit what you do not truly admit when in the face of whom you would like to admit it to.

We walked in silence for moments, out of the park and down the quiet streets of the town, until he stopped in front of her old home. He always did that when we ventured down this street. Stopping to glance up at her windows, dust covered and black. It has been four years since her face appeared in that window—but he still looks for her anyway. Anabel—the woman he used to love. The woman I strived so much to be like. But I was better than her, anyway, I reminded myself silently. I could sing—she had sounded much like the cat the neighbor had run over last week. My fingers could charm almost any instrument they came into contact with—she had not even been capable of finding middle C. And I could recite the works of Shakespeare and E. E. Cummings in completion by their publication date—I don’t believe that she even knew who E. E. Cummings was. Perhaps what attracted him was the fact that her mind was so delicately buried in dreams of the surreal that proper ideals had never reached beyond her small ears. No mind of her own—but that could not be it. He seemed to enjoy learning about my mind.

I had not realized that I had begun to stare into the windows as well until I had felt his hand upon my arm. His eyes beckoned us to leave. I nodded, giving my consent. And, then, something happened that had never happened before. He had unlocked the gate—he still kept her keys? And he had set forth on the path up to the house alone. I stared, disbelief upon my face. He paused at the door, glancing over his shoulder at me. Numb from the cold, I commanded my feet to follow him into the silent house. Though it was cold, he took off his hat and his coat as if there was a fire roaring in the fireplace in the parlor. I kept my attire on, pockets full of fists.

He crept up the stairs, seeking out her room. I followed hesitantly. Should I have left? Should I have allowed him to venture into this corner of his mind alone? He seemed to want my company, though. And so I obliged him. My body followed his, working on auto-pilot alone, it seemed. Finding his treasure, his hand rested upon the doorknob. He stopped so suddenly that I nearly collided with him, standing much closer than I felt comfortable in our surroundings. But at least I smelled of vanilla.

“Vanilla?” he had asked, seeking my eyes in the scarce light. I did not answer. “That was what she wore.” He opened the door, leaving me to stare at the back of his head. Had she worn the shade of lavender, too? I already knew that she had not worn makeup, either. He had told her that she had not needed it either. Had she? I wanted to say yes, but then I wondered if he said things to make us feel better. No, I shook my golden curls firmly; I did not need such garish accessories. She should have worn them—but I do not need them. With a certain disregard for the sanctity of the room, I forced my way through the frame, following him to the window. We stood shoulder to shoulder for quite some time, watching the leaves dance outside. The streets looked so lonely tonight in the fading light.

Tentatively, his hand met my own. I turned to look at him, though he stared straight ahead. I returned the gesture, lacing my fingers with his. Then, slowly, he turned to face me. There was something in his eyes—a sadness but also a tranquility. His lips met my own, but his eyes never closed. And, then, a silly thought entered my mind. I could not seem to keep it out—or even quiet enough to put my mind to rest. He saw her in me. No, to him I may as well have been her. In fact, I believe that I was her—just a better version. It was her that he would now love only second best. I was the first—I would always be the first.

And then he spoke: “I could think of no one better to take her place than you.” And I had smiled softly, kissed him sweetly on the lips, and allowed him to lead me away from the house. He put on his hat, then his coat, and locked the door behind us. Then the gate, too. And he walked me home, as he always did but this time with a kiss goodnight.

Yes, today was a day for the books. It was the day when he chose me instead of you…right?

Mine

A short creative non-fiction piece about heartbreak. Written for and inspired by the February 20, 2012 Daily Theme prompt on Figment.com.

I was seated at the kitchen table when it happened. My hands had been folded together, one within the other, upon the cold slate of wood that sheltered my legs. The eyes within skull, however, had been drawn to the world beyond the small glass window above the table. Further, the eyes within my mind were looking beyond the leaves blowing across the soiled asphalt. Yet I never really truly did see the scene that was to unfold before me. Nor did I understand it until, today, I was seated once again at this table but this time with a pen in my grasp.

As each pen stroke lands upon the soft white paper, I am once again whisked away to that time that I was seated at the kitchen table. It was, perhaps, seven years ago? I am afraid that I cannot recall. My mind seems to have erased any sense of time pertaining to this particular incident. And it is only now that I am bothered enough to acknowledge this self-inflicted censorship of my own design. But that is another subject to dwell upon entirely—a subject better suited for another day. Another piece of paper. Another pen stroke. But, most importantly, another day. This day, this paper, and this pen stroke, are reserved for one moment in time.

And this moment in time is one that, as painful as it may be, must be brought to light. There is a pause as my eyes wander back out the window. The neighbors that had lived across the street have long since passed through. After what had happened, I do not believe that anyone could ever really blame them. No matter how many times the sidewalks and the streets were cleaned, I am certain that they could still see that dreadful stain of such a tender, bittersweet wine that soaked through the very essence of the familiar blacktop. Some days, such as now, I am almost certain myself that I can still see and smell that awful, flowing crimson and scarlet.

I had been the last one to exit the houses when these precious liquids had been spilled upon the ground. The rest of the neighbors had been gathered around and, though they varied in appearance, they all wore simultaneous expressions of horror and contempt. Some had fallen to their knees, water spiked with salt flowing freely from their eyes. But mine had been dry. And I had remained standing even when the bravest and tallest of men had fallen to their knees beside their wives, sisters, and daughters.

There had been no one at my side. No arms to wrap around my waist so that soothing words might fall upon my ears. No, there was none of that to be spared for myself. At least, not in that moment. Perhaps if the mess had been differently conceived there would have been. That is not quite right. Not at all. There would have been arms to wrap around my waist, arms to meet mine, and sweet words to waste away within the fragile caverns of my mind. But not in that moment. Nor in this day.

Only in times before and further nevermore.

I knelt beside the dual crumpled flesh-ridden heaps, careful to keep my knees and my hands clean. A young couple, it seemed, had perished in some sort of accident. I had wondered about them then, in that moment. Who were they? Had they been happy together? Or had their last words exchanged been bitter resentments of false hopes, broken promises, and forgotten love? My emerald eyes softened at the sight of them. They were nearly tattered and torn beyond all recognition. But the woman’s face was rather undamaged. And though her hair was in her face, I could tell that she was quite pretty. She had taken very good care of her appearance.  Hesitantly, I reached out to touch one of the carefully careless curls that stole away her beauty. There were no shouts of terror to stop me. My pale fingers graced the soft ringlets gingerly. Her hair was soft. Gently, I moved the curtain away from her face, tucking it away behind her ear and fastening it firmly into place. The stage before me was captivating. Such a beautiful shade of emerald shone from the painstakingly engineered lights that it nearly left me breathless.

So captivated by her eyes was I that I failed to notice a presence behind me. I turned, quite surprised, when a large hand landed upon my own, cupping my palm around her face. A shiver went up my spine at the sight. It was my next-door-neighbor. His eyes were full of despair. Tearful. And a sad smile was on his face. He stroked her cheek, moving my hand along with his. A gentle rain began to fall. First upon my arm. Then my hand. And finally her face.

As our hands lingered there, I wondered where the culprit responsible for this massacre was. Had it been a hit and run? Premeditated? Or, worse yet, random? The limited criminal justice knowledge at my disposal generated and acquired no solid answers. The old man’s hand squeezed tightly around her cheek, giving little regard to my own hand in between the two solid objects. My eyes wandered to the man that lay beside her. He was completely destroyed beyond any sense of discovery. I longed to see his face. A curiosity in me wished to hold it between my hands, as I am certain that she once did. I wanted to know and to feel everything that she had known and felt. A sharp pang of jealousy settled in my stomach. No one seemed to notice this sickening thought as it washed over my face. The rain, however, began to flow more freely—and from more than just the location above me. It was on every side, now. But never from within.

Now, reflecting upon this moment, is when I understand what I had been too naïve to understand then. Well, perhaps that is quite untrue. I think I had known at the time what had happened. What was left to happen. And what would never happen. I was just far too headstrong to ever admit it. That has always been a dreadful trait of my mind. And it proved to be the unwitting end to the life of that girl. The life that paralleled, intersected, and overran my own. I am almost out of ink, it seems, so I will conclude this as quickly as possible.

The old man’s hand was gently removed, taking mine with it. He took the girl’s hand within his own, gently placing my hand within hers. (I had never met anyone until then that had also possessed such small hands as myself. But this girl’s hands were identical to mine in almost every way imaginable.) Her hands had been stained with the wine that she and her love had both spilled upon the asphalt in front of my kitchen window. The hands that I had fought so hard to keep clean were now stained in every way that hers had been. A sharp ache panged within my chest. I heard sirens in the distance. But I knew that they were too late. I think the old man knew it, too, because he took his hands away from ours. His soft eyes lingered upon her face. Was it a look of love? Of pity? Or of remorse in a much larger sense than just the girl before him? He cleared his throat and my mind before I had a chance to properly work through all of the logical scenarios.

Then, slowly, he closed her eyes. The curtain was unfastened so that it was free to fall to its close. And now it hits me. The girl whose hands I clasped so dearly that day, had been mi—