Monthly Archives: June 2013

AOL Live Audition

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“I have three favorite words: “Passion,” “Dreams, and “Serendipity.” I believe that if you’re passionate, then your dreams are reachable. And even when you think you are falling from the path—a serendipitous accidental blessing will be there to catch you. Moral? Believe in your passions and your dreams no matter how far fetched or crazy they may seem. Anything is possible. Life will surprise you. You will surprise you.”

I wrote this on a Manhattan bound L train from Bushwick this morning at 3:00am–a time when many people are leaving the city after a night out. Instead, I was heading into the city to pursue a lifelong dream: to be an on-camera talent.

When I was six, I told my mom that I wanted to be a play-by-play commentator for Major League Baseball. Subsequently, I went downstairs to the family computer opened up Coral Word (yep, old school), and typed out an entire nine-inning play-by-play commentary of an imaginary game. I gave each player the name of a friend of mine, and when I finished writing the commentary, I’d practice reading it out loud.

“Emily throws in the pitch. Julie takes a swing, and it’s a long fly ball to left field. It could be, it might be, it’s gone!”

And when I felt really good about how I was saying the commentary, I’d pull out a radio, throw in a blank tape, and hit record. Then I’d listen back and see how I could make it better. Yes, I swear, I was only 6! It was my favorite childhood hobby.

One day, I decided I wanted to write a basketball game out as well. When I finished writing the game, I was so excited that I accidentally saved the document over the nine-inning baseball game.

I was devastated. I wanted to have both commentaries to practice. I wanted to master the craft.

Over time, my dream changed from wanting to be a sports broadcaster to a weather girl and then eventually from wanting to be a weather girl to wanting to be a news anchor—and above all wanting to be a storyteller—a storyteller who informs, a storyteller who engages, and a storyteller who inspires.

However, very rarely is there a once-in-a-lifetime  opportunity to  just walk into a studio and possibly be offered the chance to stand in front of a teleprompter and audition for a room full of producers for an on-camera role. So when I learned yesterday afternoon that AOL was inviting all on-camera hopefuls into their studio to take a shot at being their next anchor at 5am this morning, I knew that I had to be there—I knew that I had to wake up early—and I knew that I wanted to be one of the first ones in line with my yellow sunglasses in tow and a big ole smile on my face. And so I made sure I was.

When I arrived at AOL’s office on Broadway and 9th Street around 3:45am, just one other person was there–a young friendly woman who had taken the train in from New Jersey. We chatted briefly and then others began to show up. I could feel the energy boiling among us as we described why we wanted to be the one of the first AOL Live anchors.

“What an amazing opportunity to take advantage of,” I thought to myself. “Everyone is so passionate. I love it!”

Soon enough we were guided up to the AOL offices where we checked in and then awaited information on what would happen next.

We were then told there would be two rounds, but that we were only guaranteed the first round:

The first round would be an interview round—where five people at a time would be escorted into a conference room to charm the judges with answers to whatever questions they asked.

The second round, if selected by the judges, would be the one where we’d have the chance to step in front of the camera and give our best newscast based on the teleprompter script.

Not before long, the first group of five (which I was in) was escorted into the room where three AOL judges were. I sat in the middle with a big giant smile on my face. I could feel my face glowing.

“Nice shades,” said one of the judges.

I blushed. “God, I love my glasses,” I thought to myself.

After the judges completed questioning the first two women, I stood up and introduced myself:

“Hi, I’m Libby Segal, but most people call me Libs.”

And then the judges threw me their first and only question:

“So Libby. Tell us. What do you like to do?”

I smiled. Tipped my yellow sunglasses a little bit forward on my head, and excitedly responded: “Everything,” before launching into an elevator pitch about the The Hobby Hoarder year and my quest to try one new thing every week. I could feel my face beaming as I spoke passionately about the year.

The judges smiled as I spoke and wrote down my answer.  They then thanked me for my answer and moved onto the final two in our group. Soon enough we were asked to leave the room while the judges could decide who would move onto the next round—the round that mattered most: The live camera round.

Nervously, I chatted with one of the other anchor hopefuls outside the door. The woman who escorted us into the room then walked out of the room and asked for three people to join her. I was one of them. I held my breath. She didn’t disclose to us if we were moving on to the next round. Her poker face was brilliant. And as we began to walk, I could feel my heart beating rapidly. She was taking us in the direction of the exit.

“Breathe, Libs. Either way, you got out of bed and gave it your best shot.”

Before reaching the exit though, the woman took a right hand turn and led us down a dim hallway to a row of chairs.

I half expected the next words to come out of the woman’s mouth to be, “May the odds ever be in your favor.” (Hunger Games). And while these weren’t quite her words, the news to follow was definitely grand:

“Congratulations, you three have made it onto the next round!” Instantly, I could feel all the tension release from my body.

“Phew,” I thought. “Now it’s time to rock and roll.”

Ten minutes later, I was brought into the studio and given the chance to strut my stuff. I danced onto the screen from stage left and gave it my best shot as the script ran through the teleprompter. I could hear myself stumble over a word and then recover. Before I knew it, it was time to de-mic and give the next person their shot. As I exited the studio, I breathed a deep sigh of relief.

“How’d you do?” asked a new friend.

“Hard to tell, but I got to dance on camera—so I feel pretty good,” I laughed.

But the truth was, I felt great. I was proud of myself. I felt good not just because AOL had given me the chance, but because by getting out of my bed at 2:00am—I believed in myself and gave myself the chance–And the first step to pursuing  any passion and achieving any dream is believing in yourself. I knew very confidently that no matter the outcome, I had taken a giant step in the right direction.

You can catch up on the auditions that aired live here: AOL LIVE

And you can vote for your favorite on Twitter by tweeting @AOL 
#AOLLive #AOLAnchorQuest

And as always you can tweet me @LibbySegal #thehobbyhoarder

Motivational Soundtrack Part II

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After posting my motivational soundtrack yesterday, I decided to go to some of my hobby coaches and find out what songs motivate them. AND I took it one step further and asked each of them why they chose their songs. What you’ll read is sure to amaze you–and inspire you. Here are some of the answers I got:


Christopher Grady
(Guitar Lesson):
“I Turn My Camera On” – Spoon
“It’s nearly impossible to have that song come on and not move from a walk to a strut. It has all the swagger of Staying Alive but none of the cheesiness. Plus it makes every sidewalk feel like a catwalk.”

April Brucker (Ventriloquism):
1.” Causing a Commotion” – Madonna.
“This is because it reminds me the world is mine and the stars and sky is only the limit I make it.”

2. Glamorous Life-Fergie.
“It makes me know my dreams and the Hollywood life are within my reach.”

3. Stay-Madonna.
“It gets me going and it is a song I covered.”

4. Take Me Home-Lisa Lisa.
“Reminds me that I am worth only the best and to respect myself in business and in life.”

Jon Hanson (Downhill Mountain Biking):
“18 Candles” – The Sessions
“The song is from a mountain biking video called seasons with one of my favorite riders Matt Hunter. The video is like 5 years old, but any time I watch Matt’s part, I get stoked to ride.”

Nicholas D’Sent (Pilot LessoN):
1. “My Life” – Gwizz

2.  “I Believe I can Fly” – R. Kelly
“Because he said if I can see it then I can be it.”

Flynn Michael (Jedi Light Sabre Training & Stilt Walking):
“Heh, favorite inspirational song as a kid was High Hopes (Rubber Tree Plant) song, but as an adult, I’d say Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of.

Laura Fisher (Singing Lesson):
“Creator” – Santogold
This song has all of the wild, dark, inspiring energy I need to get me going any strange day I wake up and need some abstract coffee. The lyrics also give it that equally important layer of self-empowering wordwisdom that I need to toss me up on top of the world. a gleam of chorus:

“Me, I’m a Creator
Thrill is to make it up
The rules I break got me a place
Up on the radar
Me, I’m a Taker
Know what the stakes are
Can’t roll it back, it’s understood
Got to play our cards.”

Brandon Jacobs (Drumming Lesson):
“Rearview Mirror” – Assorted Animals
“I know that it is a little self indulgent to choose a song by my own band, but it is a song that does truly inspire me. Not only is it a testament to what I have accomplished with my band in New York City, being that it’s on our first self produced album recorded in NYC, the song itself has a great message.

“Isn’t funny how things always seem to seem/Oh the grass is much more green/as it disappears/through my rearview mirror.”

It’s a message of always looking forward, and even if you look back and it might seem better, it doesn’t matter because we always have to move forward towards something better.

That and it’s a kick ass song that’s catchy as hell. That doesn’t hurt either.”



Jason Schneider
 (Welding):
“Nightcall” – Kavinsky (featuring Love Foxxx)

(Excerpt from an amazing email Jason sent me when I asked him to name his motivational song and why–make sure to check out the doc he’s working on and more at JsWorks.Org)

“I first heard this song while watching the movie “Drive” with Ryan Gosling. I had just started my documentary, and in the beginning, it was going to be much more of an uplifting film. I hadn’t even thought about tackling any heavy issues / conflicts within myself, and wanted to show mostly the uplifting or “overcoming” aspects of my story / disability.

It sounds corny, but something clicked inside me when I heard this song sitting in that movie theater. The idea of the lonely driver, who’s essentially a good man, but has some dark demons he’s trying to hide from / escape, really resonated with me – because that’s how I felt about myself for most of my life (post accident).

I’ve always had a passion for music, and really identified with / attached personal meaning to various songs over the years, but the dissonant tone of the beat, coupled with the lyrics, just stirred something up inside me. It made me realize in that instance that I had to go places I hadn’t wanted to ever go before… push myself to explore all the negative feelings / thoughts I’ve ever had about who / what I was – and my “disability”- on camera.

There are things I have accomplished in my life that I should be really proud of – and some could look at it as the whole “overcoming” thing – but at the same time, I constantly feel like I haven’t accomplished enough, or pushed myself hard enough. I feel like these internal demons (thoughts / feelings) really weigh me down. But I realize now that many of those feelings come from the very thing I’ve been running away from (or chose not to face / explore until now). I don’t know if my internal conflicts have helped to drive me (no pun intended) all these years, or if they’re standing in my way of something bigger.

Throughout the process of my film I’ve played the song over and over as a source of inspiration. Every time I listen to it, it still gives me the same feeling / motivation to dive deep into uncharted territory within myself.

Motivational Soundtrack

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“Reach for the stars.
First you have to have a vision.
Reach for the highest.
If you could see it, you could be it.”

-Major Lazer

A lot of people ask me, “What motivates you?”

Above all, people motivate me. But there’s also one other very significant thing that motivates me and that is music.

But not just any music–very specific music.

I’m talking about the music that make me believe I can move mountains with my bare hands; the music that inspires me to want to tackle a tiger with only my legs. I am talking about the music that makes me want to get out of bed and dance; the music that makes me want to skip down the street with my head held high; the music that makes me want to drop all my doubts and reach for the stars.

I’m talking about the music and songs that I post the lyrics to on Facebook–the jams that would have filled my AOL profile in the early 2000’s. I’m talking about the music and songs that I put on repeat for hours before I try something new–or before I attack something that terrifies me.

I’m talking about the tracks that make up my motivational soundtrack.

Below you’ll find the songs that motivate me each time I press play. Also, stay tuned tomorrow for what songs inspire some of the hobby coaches from this past year (Trust me: your iPod is going to be bumping after these two posts!) And if you have your own inspirational/motivational songs that you’d like to share or make known, make sure you leave a comment or tweet me @LibbySegal.

Cheers!

“Reach for the Stars” – Major Lazer

“The World’s Greatest” – R. Kelly

“Shooting Star” – Owl City

“Battle Born” and “Flesh and Bone” – The Killers

“Walking on Sunshine” – Katrina & The Waves

“Empire State of Mind (Part II)” – Alicia Keys

“We Can” – Jesse Ruben

“Lose Yourself” – Eminem

“And Run” – He is We

“Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor

“Tubthumping” – Chumbawamba

“Never Give Up” – Tiwony (feat. Konshens)

“Sometimes Dreams Come True” – Jessie J

Haiku Mania

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Credit: Sarah Steenland

After taking part in the Guerilla Haiku Movement, I put out a challenge to HH readers, Facebook friends, Twitter followers and the universe to write and share haiku! And while I mentioned I’d pick and post the top 5, it was just too hard. Check out all these awesome haiku I received! And if you feel inspired (and you will)– share your own!

Splish Splash Splush Whoosh Wash
Raining water this way comes
Drip Drop Pitter Pat
-Connor Tenant

Whenever I’m sad, 
I think of avocados. 
Joy comes back to me.
-Rachel Kerry

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-Nina Cowley

Rises over fields
Light washes my eyes and skin
Sun warms and welcomes
-Julia Ember Ricciardi

Mother of two girls
Early mornings, up at night
Smiles make it worthwhile
-Jessica Ruhle

Morning coffee mouth
sends the sun into orbit,
sugar-paints the moon.
-Laura Fisher

A cat a day keeps
hearts renewing themselves and
all hair ties missing.
-Laura Fisher

Muay Thai early morn
Punch and kick and sweat it out
Become sexy hot
-Julia Menn

Orwells prying eye-
(now) big brother left unchecked
little brother sees
-John Hayden Brady

I Swim bike and run
70 miles is my threesome
I race for boston!
-Grant Ryan

“Es o si que es”
It is what it is, mom says 
“Es o si que es”
-Kimberly Manley 

To travel is to
exchange Home for another
not of your making.
-R.G.M

I munch at the leaves
From the sweet boughs (the) gums provide
What is that below!

SarahSteenland.jpg-largeCHAINSAW?!
-Haiku and Photo Credit: Sarah Steenland

Everything is green–
even the rain in the trees.
It’s June, the best month
-Carolyn SegalGood is good to share
Spreading sunshine brings more sun
Let’s do it today
-Shannon Murray Martinforgot

Haiku rules
asked google for the answer
thank you internet
-Molly McGaughey

Smiling is more fun
than frowning about the mud
so play in the rain
-Molly McGaughey

I like this a lot
to write is to worry not
keyboards sing to me
-Molly McGaughey90 Days of Joy
Spreading happiness to all
Changing lives for good
-Rebecca Kopec

Fear, don’t hold me back
You are a weighted falsehood.
Look what I can do.
-Melissa Caminecci

Do I want too much?
Inside, dim fluorescent lights 
The sun’s warmth beckons
-Melissa Caminecci

Lying on the couch
Looking forward to summer
I drift off to sleep
-Alana

You are my hero
I’m jealous of your awesome
So glad I met you
Emelie Samuelson

Go to spin class now
You’ll be happy that you did
Ice cream for dinner
-Kimberley Cameron

Fear and doubt are myths
Cling fast to inspiration
Faith writes its own song
-Carrie-Rachel Dean

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Guerilla Haiku Movement

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Within days of moving to New York City, three years ago, I was approached on several occasions by clipboard holding agents. Each of them asked me to commit to something different. “Love children? Sponsor one in Africa! Don’t have time to chat about the child in Africa? You must be pretty selfish.” “Want a puppy for that apartment you barely fit in yourself? We’ve got bags of them!” “Do you love the environment? Prove it. Stop and talk to me. If you don’t I’ll make sure to note that you hate the environment. Your carbon footprint is the reason our children will never breathe clean air.”  It was in those first days that I made a vow to never hold a clipboard and approach people. Ever. Even if the rent to my apartment depended on it.

This past weekend I broke that vow. But I promise–it was for good reason.

A little over a year ago, I met Caley Vickerman. She is the founder of the Guerilla Haiku Movement, a movement that aims to inspire people to get out and create/make art; a movement that brings joy to people’s lives; and a movement that motivates people to explore and celebrate the temporary and the virtually permanent. How does the movement do this? It’s simple: Through chalk and Haiku.

(Quick reminder: A Haiku is a three line-syllable based poem. The first line must have 5 syllables. The second line must have 7. and the last line must have 5 again).

Throughout the world, Caley organizes events that ask people to take a moment out of their day to pick up a piece of chalk, find a free space of blacktop or sidewalk, and haiku away. Each haiku can be about anything a person wants his or her haiku to be about. Easy.

When I met Caley, I became enthralled by her movement. As someone who can often be caught on the subway counting syllables and noting haiku on her phone, I wanted desperately to be a part of Caley’s movement. Unfortunately, my schedule wasn’t matching up to haiku events, and I kept having to miss them. However, I felt so inspired by Caley’s chalking movement that in December of 2012, I set out on a quest to chalk the word happiness into each of the five boroughs.

IMG_4854_2(THAT’s A LOT OF HAPPPPPPPY RIGHT THERE!)

The joy I felt in purely taking the time to write the word happiness and visit each borough was amazing. It was then that I had caught the chalk bug–I knew that I absolutely would need to take part in Caley’s Guerilla Haiku Movement–as soon as I physically could.

It’s difficult to explain how honored I felt when Caley reached out to me just a few weeks ago about an upcoming event in New York City. She asked me if I could be a haiku agent.  Joyously, I went to type yes–but substituted yes, with an inquisitive: “What is a haiku agent?”

“You’ll stand with a clipboard, a map, a scavenger hunt, get people to join you, and keep track of the hailing/get social media photos, and more.

I hesitated for a moment, while Caley patiently awaited my answer. I sighed. A clipboard. Can I really do this, I thought? I made a vow NEVER to agree to hold a clipboard unless it was for a television or film project.  BUT this past year, I also made a vow to refuse the word “no.”
My friends, that is what we call a catch-22.

Alas, I decided that only the power of haiku could put a clipboard in my hand on the streets of New York City in order to approach people and ask them to do something–because I knew what kind of JOY it could possibly bring someone–even if it were just one person.

And honestly, I couldn’t be more happy that I broke my vow of going against the clipboard. Within minutes of chalking my first haiku of the day in Columbus Circle, I could feel the excitement bubbling. “Okay, this is awesome. Clipboard or not. I get to ask people to have fun doing this?! HECK YA.”

IMG_1951“Go find your passion
and believe in it–Be Brave
never stop reaching.”
-Libs Segal

After penning a few more of my own haiku poems, I met my co-team leader, James and the rest of our team. Their excitement was contagious, and as a team, we decided that infiltrating the park may be our best course of action. Our second best course of action was choosing a small bridge on the south side of the park–where within twenty minutes, tens of people were on their hands and knees haikuing away.

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This chalk traffic continued consistently for the next hour and a half. And through our chalk adventures…

We met people who wrote in Bengali….

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And people who wrote in Gaelic

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We met families!

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We met a father and a son who decided to take a break and haiku, because they thought it would make a great memory on Father’s Day.

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We saw a haiku written about zombies!

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And haiku that went deep–real deep:

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And haiku that made us laugh!

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 We saw people take a second to live in the moment. We saw people say yes to something they may otherwise not say yes to. We saw people leave their comfort zone–talk to a stranger–and slow it down.

And above all? We saw joy and we saw happiness.

What could have been a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

IMG_2015*Art strikes where it strikes*
*We happened upon this bridge*
*Art is where we are*

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If you are interested in taking part in a Guerilla Haiku Movement event (holding a clipboard or not), head over to www.ghm575.com and reach out to Miss Caley Vickerman–The Haiku Mistress.

AND I’m  inviting all to participate in the haiku joy. Submit your haiku below, message it, Facebook, or tweet it to me and  look for it to appear on the site later this week!!!

Cheers

Power Vinyasa Yoga

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Before I jump into my power vinyasa yoga experience, I’d like to share an anecdote with you about the first time I tried another type of yoga class–a hot yoga class–just over two months ago.

—————————————————————————–

It is very hot

I feel like I am dying.

I must be dying

**********
Five minutes later
**********
I feel like I am sweating out my organs

I look up. Sweat drips off my forehead.

I’m in the safety position which means I’m on my knees. Not one knee. Too worried I’ll tumble over. Two knees.

I don’t feel safe. I feel like I am dying.

The instructor motions for the class to transition to the next posture of 26.

I look at my hands to see how many fingers I have used to count postures. 

I’ve lost count.

I may vomit.

I’m still on my knees.

I try another posture.

Golden.

We’re asked to repeat. And I retreat to my knees. My water is out of reach. I don’t want to disrupt the peacefulness of the class. My internal dialogue is already disrupting my peace. I don’t want to ruin this moment for these practitioners. 

Somehow I manage to sit in the room for the duration of class. There is a pool of water below me. I wonder if it’s possible to drown in my own sweat.

Dizzy. I whisper to myself, “I should have hydrated more. 

I leave the class.

My instructor smiles at me–no wait, I mean, he grins. “Libby, you did great!” He exclaims jubilantly.

 Inside, I am screaming, “Don’t you lie to me–I was like a fish out of water desperately trying to breathe.”

Instead, I try and chirp a positive, “Thanks.”

“You should do it again tomorrow–and the next day…” He responds.

I smile again. “Okay.”

Inside my head, “No thanks.”

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If I had written about my hot yoga experience in anymore words than that, it may have looked a lot like this guy’s post that circled on MindBodyGreen several years ago. Like him, I bought a pass to attend multiple hot yoga classes after my first. That would be great–if I hadn’t spent the money before even stepping into the heat infused room. That was my first mistake. But my bigger mistake was jumping into hot yoga before I had taken much more than a flexibility and stretch yoga class in Ohio during the road trip.

This wasn’t the first time I actually stepped foot into a hot yoga classroom. Last year, I took the time to video my good friend Rena as she completed her 100th Bikram class in under 100 days. But videoing and actually doing the yoga are two totally different beasts. I was unprepared for the struggle I was about to put my body through. I hadn’t drank enough water. I hadn’t attended any basic flow classes that involved difficult postures. Essentially, I had attempted to jump from being young Simba to the Mufasa of yoga far too quickly. I can tell you that, now after taking a hot yoga class, my respect for those who attend this practice on a regular basis has only exponentially grown. Hot yoga s not easy. Not at all.

But despite my disappointing first attempt at a yoga beyond the most basic kind, I promised myself that I wouldn’t let the experience deter me from giving other types of yoga–like vinyasa–a shot. So in order to keep my promise to myself, I headed to my first power vinyasa yoga class at Yoga to the People at St. Marks Place last week–and I couldn’t be more glad that I did:

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It’s not even five minutes into class and I can feel little sweat droplets moving down my back.

But this time something is different. Something is much different.

I can breathe.

I’m not struggling to find air to in a 100 something degree sweat box.

I find my breath.

My muscles loosen.

I’m transitioning from downward dog to salutations.

I’m bending backwards and stretching forward

And while my body feels the stress of the movements, I find myself enter a rhythm.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Inhale.

Exhale.

I’m still sweating. 

It’s okay.

I’m flowing.

I try not to loose focus.

These men and women at my sides are much more flexible than I am. 

That’s okay.

This is about me. This is about my body. This is about my breathing.

I take a moment to retreat to my safety position.

“You got this Libs,” I whisper. “Keep breathing.” “Stop thinking.”

Inhale. Exhale. Downward dog.

I find shift my way to my left arm and hand and reach my right hand way up toward the ceiling, opening my entire body.

I can feel my body underneath me–all of it–working together. I feel strong.

I return to downward dog.

I flow.

“Now let yourself relax on your back,” I hear the instructor say.

Class is coming to an end. 

I’m not dizzy.

I inhale. I exhale. I can still breathe.

I feel alive.

I’m ready for my day.

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LibsYoga

10 Activities for Thrill Seekers

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A year ago, this week, I went on what I considered to be my first “thrilling” adventure of the initial hobby year: Ziplining. As someone who was slightly scared of heights for a while as a child, it was amazing how that fear didn’t reappear or escalate as I slid on my harness and stared down a 3,200 foot cable that hung 650 feet above the ground. In fact, rather than fear overwhelming me, my excitement grew. I wanted to be zipping across the trees. This adventure inspired my future sky diving and hang gliding adventures–thrills I will never forget. After these adventures, my mom started to call me an “adrenaline junkie,” though as I’ve learned from my research–I’ve got a ways to go before I become a true adrenaline junkie.

How about you? Are you an adrenaline junkie? Perhaps, a daredevil? Or are you just looking for a thrill? Here are 10 activities to help you get your fix:

1. Highlining

My friend Lauren, sent me this trailer for a documentary months ago. I am in awe of what these people do:

2. Zorbing or Sphering

 Okay–even this one is new to me. But I am 100 percent on board. I want to do this–IMMEDIATELY.

3. Base Jumping
Even this 102 year old was looking for a thrill:

4. Bungee Jumping

5. Sky Diving

6. Squirrel Suiting

You may have seen Will Smith’s son do this in the new movie After Earth, but people have been getting their thrill fix off this daredevil activity for years:

7. Stunt Jumping

8. Racing Cars

9. Bouldering

10. Ziplining

Not ready to jump off a cliff with a squirrel suit on? Or dangle above the ground as you try to scale a mountain? Want to feel secure, but still have a thrill? This is the hobby for you:

ziplining

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