Why yoga is great for travelers (and everybody else)

a1f1f1b2-74c5-498a-9b80-15391c7264b1

Yoga has been a part of my exercise regimen in one way or another since grade school. While I first started practicing to be a part of the “hype,” yoga has now become one of my favorite parts of the week, especially when I am traveling. I look forward to yoga class because it’s a time where I can truly let go and focus on my breath, body, and big, juicy stretches that almost make my body forget that it was crammed into a small airplane seat next to a armrest hog, and sitting in a conference room all day.

So, in celebration of International Yoga Day, I wanted to share a few reasons why yoga is fantastic for travelers (and everybody else)….

Learning to Set an Intention – It’s so easy in our world of endless to-do’s to just put your head down and grind through life checking boxes and moving from commitment to commitment on some sort of super human auto-pilot. While this is a fantastic way to get things done, it is also kind of scary. The realization that your life has been in pursuit of crossing things of of a list, rather than living with a deeper, more meaningful purpose would be terrifying (I would know, I’ve been there). Yoga instructors often encourage their students to set an intention for their practice. That intention could be an idea (peace, love, gratitude), for a particular person (your mom, your brother, that gorgeous yogi across the room…), or even just for yourself. Making it a practice to set an intention at the start of every moth, week, day, or even a simple task, is a great way to ensure you are focusing on the “big picture” rather than a to-do list. This more intentional lifestyle will direct your actions to be in line with your core values, ultimately making you a happier human.

Teaching Yourself to Let Go – So much of our mental energy can be spent on rehashing the past (Why did I say that in that meeting? How did I miss that typo on slide 5?), or worrying about the future (I hope my flight isn’t late, I am not trying to sit in the airport for 4 hours again…). Yoga teaches you to forget about the day-to-day drama, and focus on the present. As yoga provides its students with opportunities to explore new capabilities of our bodies and push our physical limits, all while breathing and balancing, there will inevitably be times when you stumble or fall. There may be poses that your body is not ready for yet, and you can’t understand how Bendy Becky over there has her ankles behind her head. By letting go, having a sense of humor, and realizing that it is just yoga, yoga students often begin to see their lives through a new lens. Hey, it’s not the end of the world if I had a typo on slide 5, and so what if my flight is late? I’ll have time to catch up on work (or have a glass of wine, who’s judging?)

Remembering to Breathe – Finally, yoga emphasizes the breath. The breath, the breath, the breath. When things get crazy at work, at home, or on the road, don’t forget to breathe. Everything will work itself out in due time, and while there is often not much you can control, you can control the way you handle unpredictability and change. Remembering that your breath is the one thing that will always be with you, through life’s ebbs and flows of people, places, jobs, and communities, is a powerful and humbling realization.

Okay, I’m done being a giant hippie now. Go forth and breath.

♥ Kathryn

{I took this photo at my favorite yoga studio in Milwaukee: Milwaukee Power Yoga}

Girls Guide To Nashville

Nashville has been on my bucket list for about a year now after hearing rave reviews from my imaginary Instagram friends (and real friends, of course). I wanted to experience the live music, gorgeous rolling hills, and emerging foodie scene for myself!

I was able to go for a long weekend with my best friend over Memorial Day, and we had a fantastic time eating and dancing our way through this fantastic southern city. Here are a few of my recommendations for a low-key, reasonably priced weekend in Nashville:

Eat

2016-06-05_19-46-13

The Loveless Cafe – Country charm and southern cooking are the main attractions of The Loveless Cafe. Personally, I just wanted to go because the sign is absolutely adorable and I have an affinity for biscuits. Expectations were certainly met from my perspective, as I was able to capture a great shot of the sign and devour 87% of my body weight worth of biscuits – however I must say the food didn’t absolutely BLOW MY MIND with deliciousness. If you love a good Insta and enjoy biscuits, then definitely take the 25 minute drive to Loveless. However, hardcore foodies may prefer to dine elsewhere. Check out more on The Loveless Cafe here.

The Pancake Pantry – Worth. The. Wait. I could rave about The Pancake Pantry for days. With 23 varieties of pancakes, from their Sweet Potato to Chocolate Sin Pancakes, there is something for everyone at this Nashville gem. My friend and I Ubered here after a long night-turns-into-morning kind of Saturday, and were seeking caffeine, recovery, and carbs, and we were not disappointed. I would suggest ordering the Sausage & Eggs, which comes with 3 Buttermilk Pancakes. The 3 Buttermilk Pancakes can be substituted for any of the other pancakes, adjusting for the price of the replacement (e.g. 1 Sante Fe Pancake instead of 3 Buttermilk). The Sante Fe Pancake was an experience – cornmeal + bacon + jalapeno + cheese = salivation station. Check out more on the Pancake Pantry here.

Tavern – A great spot to grab some dinner and drinks in Midtown between live music sessions. My friend and I heard some rave reviews and planned to get dinner there on Sunday. We put our name on the list around 8:30 and were told we had an hour wait, which was no problem at all, there are a bunch of fun bars with live music venues just a short walk away (which I will get to in the Do section). We were absolutely STARVING by the time we were notified our table was ready, and everything on the menu looked fantastic. We ultimately decided to split 3 things: the “Bazooka” Guacamole, Tuscan Kale & Parmesan Salad, and The Tavern Burger. While we did have to wait almost an hour for our food, it was all delicious! Check out more on Tavern here.

•••

Do

2016-06-09_18-13-41

The Bluebird Cafe – I straight up sobbed like a baby at the end of the “In The Round” session, #yolo. If you’re not familiar with the Bluebird, here’s the deal: It’s a listening room where the songwriters behind the greatest hits sit in the middle of the cafe, sing their songs, and tell the story behind the lyrics. This small 90-person venue is incredibly intimate, and seats are a hot commodity. I would strongly suggest being wiser than me and ordering tickets (available a week before the show) online. However, if you do not order tickets ahead of time you can always wait outside for a seat at the bar, pews, or a canceled reservation, like we did. We got in line at 4:00, an hour and a half before the doors opened. We thought that this would be playing it safe, boy were we wrong…we BARELY made it in, we were one of the last 4 to be seated! To be on the safe side, try to get in line at least 2 hours before the doors open. There is a Whole Foods, California Pizza Kitchen, and Zoe’s Kitchen within walking distance of the cafe, so you can always create a picnic while waiting in line. Check out more on The Bluebird Cafe here.

Broadway – Where Nashvegas got its name, and reputation. Packed with Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, Broadway is lined with bar after bar of live music venue, each with its own unique vibe and experience. My personal favorites include: Acme Feed & Seed and Tin Roof

2016-06-07_13-10-06

Centennial Park – After a long day (and night) of Nashville-ing, you may need a little R&R at a beautiful park, at least I did. Centennial Park boasts a replica of the Parthenon, a beautiful walking trail, and wideee open spacessss (Dixie Chicks, anyone? I guess you can take the girl out of Nashville but you can’t take the Nashville out of the girl 😉 ….)

Soulshine Sunday Night Blues & Groove Jam – Starting Sunday nights at 6pm, Soulshine Pizza in Midtown hosts live blues music on their second floor patio. Unofficially called “Church 2”, people of all ages come together to listen to incredible music, dance their hearts out, and get ready for the week ahead. Funny story about Soulshine…while my friend and I were listening along to a fantastic blues band, she kept saying that the pianist looked familiar but she couldn’t put her finger on it. After a few songs she gasps, “That’s Adam Wakefield from The Voice!! My mom is going to FREAK OUT.” *Her mom did freak out, btw* Leave it to Nashville to casually have the backup singer of a band be a national rising star…

•••

If you’re ever in Nashville, I hope you’ll have the chance to check out some of these places, as well as discover a few new favorites of your own.

Please share if you have any other recommendations, stories, or Nashville secrets. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

♥ Kathryn