Where I am now

kohtaoAnd I have no intention of ever leaving.

Koh Tao is one magical little place and I’m fairly certain I was born to one day live on an island.

The past few days have been incredibly happy, peaceful, fun, and important. I’ve met lovely new friends, practiced yoga on the beach and on bungalow balconies, and most of all, spent my sweet time in the water.

My practice these days

another IMG_5689

Last night, while driving to go film fire and smash old tvs, I was asked the question

–> “What are you most excited by in life these days?”

I immediately knew what it was.

–> Yoga and mediation.

That is what I am looking forward to and excited by in life right now. Cold fall and winter (*just cold weather in general) severely effects my personal practice. I have an impossible time keeping myself warm and moving in layers is frustrating to me. When it gets cold, I tend to make excuses. I find other distractions rather than make the time to do what I really want to do.

This past summer, I enjoyed the heat and practiced whenever and wherever I could. And I miss that.

My body craves it. It always does, but like all seasons in life, I am struggling to find what I want out of my practice. When I start to think like this, I realize I have a long way to go still. A practice isn’t about wanting, but rather, living.

And that is what I am committed to right now.

–> living it. breathing it. being it.

Abby’s recent quest for fitness is entirely honorable and I so look forward to doing yoga with the family in a few days! (*P.S. Abby, no one is terrible at yoga. It is impossible to be terrible at a practice that’s all about your own body and the way YOUR body works!)

“At various points in our lives, or on a quest, and for reasons that often remain obscure, we are driven to make decisions which prove with hindsight to be loaded with meaning.” – Swami Satchindanada

Most of all, these days, in the midst of trying to stay warm, school distractions (*exams are heavy upon us now), and concerns about my future, I’m working on meditation. Working on staying focused. And most of all, working on practicing appreciation.

So far, I’ve found joy in my practice these days and in doing the same, simple, yet powerful routine.

[*Note: I DO sometimes wear a bindi and DO practice yoga while in India and Nepal. And have been more than encouraged to do so while in both places by friends and family there. That said, I do not do either to attract attention while there. When I practice, I practice in quiet]

Kathmandu. First night back











The moment I saw the first glimpse of a snowy mountain from the airplane, I knew part of me was going back home. It was the third time I’d flown from Delhi to Kathmandu, and I’d forgotten how tremendous the landscape is here! Here in this entirely special, tiny, sacred country.

I landed and embraced the calmer, cleaner, cooler air. I couldn’t stop smiling and nothing could have disrupted my good mood (*not even the troubles I faced in getting my visa. I landed without the right amount of money in USD because there was no working ATM after security in Delhi and the ATM machine was broken in Tribhuvan airport when I arrived, so. . . I somehow managed to convince the kind money exchange worker to exchange my Indian rupees to USD *even though 1,000 and 500 rupee notes are illegal now in Nepal! He was so kind that he even offered to loan me USD in the hopes that I came back in a week and gave it back to him! Amazing offer and outstanding kindness, but. . . I opted for a 30-day visa *all that my money could get me and will have to go get an extension later this week).

That aside, I victoriously walked out of the airport and felt perfectly at home and comfortable driving back to the place I love and know so well. Few things have changed. There are a few newly painted walls, a recently burnt down building, and a bit more garbage, but other than that, it all feels familiar and right.

Hugs, a shower,  and then dinner at Niti and Sanjiv’s place followed. Beautiful view//whiskey//homemade buff momos//soup//good conversations//Nepali lessons.

I slept soundly and woke up early to do yoga on the roof. This roof.

Right now, it is all a sort of happiness and excitement that makes me feel that I could crack, and crack into a thousand small pieces.

I never want to leave this place, but unlike last time, I know that I have a lot to go back home to as well. There are many people to share life with here, but I am confident the same exists back home too. I have a lot to look forward to now and the future, here and there. People to love here. People to love back home.

[Photos: First night back in Kathmandu//Grace Farson]

the grace alphabet

abby posted the abby alphabet a while back and now it’s my turn to share:

early morning meditation in southern india

ambition: graduate college! travel in college. travel out of college. find a man who loves adventure just as much, if not more than i do. one day own a studio apartment in a big city & be an urban farmer. open up my house to people from around the world & couch surfers. go to massage school. use yoga and art as therapy. work as a photographer & filmmaker. work in galleries & museums. work as a yoga teacher. . . worship God well through the way i live my life. be happy, healthy, & content. always

bad habit: procrastination

bhaktapur just outside of kathmandu

city: current city – chapel hill, n.c. but . . . i left part of my heart in kathmandu, nepal

tea in darjeeling

drink: a steamy cup of  tea. j’adore fresh ginger, lemon, & honey tea

education: homeschooled all the way through high school, explored the world, & now working through a {proposed} degree in photojournalism and art history {?}

prosciutto con melon

food: melons. kale. quiche. cheesecake. in that order

guilty pleasure: ready for this? . . . okay. . . this is the first time i have ever admitted to  this, but. . . the vampire diaries. yes. my sister kelsey and i get together and watch this every week. pitiful? maybe. and no. i will never be a twilight fan. nope. never

hometown: davidson, n.c. {even though i technically grew up in charlotte, n.c.}

ice cream: this one is easy – pistachio

jonesing for: a reasonably priced yoga studio that i can walk or bike to.  brown leather boots. art supplies

kryptonite: thrift & second-hand shops

look-a-like: i tend to get brooke shields the most often. . . it’s only because of my wild eyebrows

grace and james in "rear window"

movies: rear window. darjeeling limited. amélie. everyone who knows me, knows i am wholly obsessed with old movies and especially with grace kelly, so this is no shocker here. plus, i think the world is a better place because of wes anderson. & who doesn’t LOVE audrey tautou’s character in “amélie”? seriously

nicknames: pig 1. love. poodle-butt. petunia. chicken. gracie. sweet lips. grace face. . . & many, many more

obsessions: georgia o’keeffe. travel. dancey music. my family. brushing my teeth. patterns

perfume: i don’t really wear any, but when i do it is cool water by davidoff or moss by k.hall. . . cannot stand really floral scents. it must be clean and simple

quirk: licking the corner of my lips when i pause in a conversation

regrets: wishing that time would go by faster when i was a little kid. i just wanted to skip to being a “grown up” or a “big kid” {whatever that means!}

starbucks: refresh tazo tea


talent: finding beauty in the pretty & not so pretty in life. arranging flowers. playing dress up

university: the uni of the world & uni of north carolina at chapel hill

vacation: anywhere & everywhere there is a glimmer of sunlight & an opportunity for adventure

wine: even though i am still underage . . . sauvignon blanc or shiraz from the vineyard i worked at in blenheim, new zealand

x: x my desire to always be on the go. i’m working on staying put for four years

years: nineteen. nineteen big years

the edge of the himalayas at sunset

zen: outdoor time {preferably in the mountains}. long walks. yoga & meditation. cooking. long dinners. painting in big, well-lit rooms with bon iver, sigur ros, or the national playing in the background. dancing with friends

. . .

get to it! i want to see your alphabet now. . .

{all images by me, except the movie still}

yoga in kathmandu

“you cannot do yoga.  yoga is your natural state.  what you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” 

– sharon gannon

{i love crazy sharon gannon and her crazy spin on yoga in the states. i have only ever tried jivamukti twice, but i did love how thorough and thoughtful it was}

. . .

yoga in kathmandu was brilliant.

the rooftop pictured here was the place i practiced most frequently while abroad. almost every morning i would wake up, climb the stairs and practice for a while. after my yoga, i would read, and my friend ram would bring me a steaming glass mug of chai {nepali chai, of course}. i think that ending my 5 poses from my time abroad series with kathmandu is appropriate . . . all things considered.

the hotel red planet in wonderful, wild thamel, kathmandu was my home away from home for so long. not a day goes by where i don’t think about it and miss it.

. . .

1.) bakasana, crane pose {i will never forget the first time i saw this pose. i was convinced it was impossible. now it is a favorite of mine. best pose for a confidence boost. *shakti = the word for power in nepali. also my favorite nepali word}

2.) utkatasana, chair pose {my pose. during yoga training, all the teachers were assigned a pose for the entirety of our training. mine was utkatasana. it was a pose i had to do every day for 9 months. i still am learning, but i have come to love the way it makes my legs burn. great for toning up the thighs and butt as well as strengthening the core}

3.) salamba sarvangasana, shoulder stand {most yogi’s “desert island” pose. you know, the pose you’d bring with you if you only could bring one. . . for good reasons too. one of the greatest inversions of all time. if you cannot, or don’t feel comfortable in shoulder stand, at least practice legs up the wall regularly.}

4.) dhanurasana, bow pose {happy, bendy back here! your spine will thank you. start off trying to just grab one leg and then try both at the same time. if you cannot touch, try using a strap or even a tie}

5.) supta pandagustansana, a variation of big toe pose {a fabulous restorative posture! stretches out the hamstrings as well as hips. hold for several long breaths. be comfortable but active}

. . .

+ no. 1 thing people shouldn’t do on the subway: yoga {thx abby for sharing this. it made me laugh. i love where americans have taken yoga and this idea of yoga}

. . .

as i said, this is the last yoga post from my time abroad, but i will continue to post some about my practice in the future.

i am no expert, but i do know some things.

is there anything you would like to see my try and do? answer any questions? share any thoughts on specific topics?

i would love to know!

. . .

“yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.”

– sri krishna pattabhi jois

. . .

get out there and start practicing! {* currently sitting outside on my travel mat in the quad [the very same mat i was on in these photos!]}

. . . namaste friends have a beautiful day.

remember, you are unstoppable.

yoga in jaisalmer

mmm. . . yoga in jaisalmer.

while i was in jaisalmer, i stayed at this cool little place inside the fort. the guest house was connected to the ancient temple next door – check out the spires in the photo!

i remember feeling like i was suffocating in the heat this day, but, as always, it was well worth the effort. i miss yoga in india, i miss rajasthan, and i miss the colors, but i choose to be content. content with where i am right now and what all i am here to do.

. . .

samtosadanuttamah sukhalabhah

“the result of contentment is total happiness.”

the happiness we get from acquiring passions is only temporary. we need to find new ones and acquire them to sustain this sort of happiness. there is no end to it. but true contentment, leading to total happiness and bliss, is in a class by itself.

– the yoga sutras of patanjali, no. 2. 41 {translated by t.k.v desikachar}

. . .

“not that i am speaking of being in need, for i have learned in whatever situation i am to be content. i know how to be brought low, and i know how to abound. in any circumstance, i have learned the secret of facing plenty of hunger, abundance, and need. i can do all things through him who stregthens me.”

– philippians 4: 11- 13

. . .

1.) adho mukha svanasana, downward facing dog {the quintessential pose. good for everything, but particularly good for stretching out your legs and low back}

2.) counter balance/ stretch {core work and balance}

3.) prasarita padotadasana, straddle forward fold {happy flexy hips and a protected spine. toxin releaser/ reducer!}

4.) balasana, child’s pose {balasana and apanasa win for my two favorite poses in all of yoga. try it and love it!}

5.) setu bandha sarvagasana, bridge pose with leg lift {a baby inversion. so good for the blood flow and for balance. just remember to breathe and breathe deeply here and hold it. for a while and alternate lifted legs}