ONE DOWN DOG VOL. III: A COLLABORATIVE PLAYLIST EXPERIENCE

IT'S PLAY TIME! ADD YOUR VIBE TO THE MIX.

Oh baby we're back at it again! Many have reached out wanting to do or asking when the next one will be so I figure let's get that Summertime vibe going with some  crowd-sourced tunes!

Let's create that magic again, One Down Dog vol. III is ready for your submissions! This collaborative playlist, let's you add any song you would want to get your yoga flow on to. It works like this:

  1. Follow the playlist.
  2. Add your song choice.
  3. I'll arrange the tunes into a really good playlist for your flowing pleasure.
  4. Flow and enjoy!

It's that simple!

One Down Dog vol. III is currently live for the month of July or until we hit 45 minutes worth of music. If you are in the New York City area, I'll use this playlist in once of my August classes. If not, no big deal, you can use this playlist at anytime for your home yoga practice.

Feel free to check out some of the tunes offered up in One Down Dog vol.I and One Down Dog vol. II.

More details on that to come. Stay tuned, folks!

Budget-Friendly Real Foods: Sardines

Eat well WITHOUT spending a fortune

Sardines. Love them or hate them but there is no denying that they are actually quite healthy for you.Sardines are often called the healthiest fish and they are certainly one of the most budget friendly. Real food is often more expensive than processed foods, but sardines are a notable exception! Canned sardines are one of the few super-healthy, budget-friendly portable “fast foods” out there. They also don’t carry the same mercury risk as bigger fish do.

Sardines are one of the highest sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids on the planet, and they include many other important trace minerals and vitamins. Here’s an impressive look at the benefits:

  • boosting heart health
  • improving brain function
  • protecting against cancer
  • reducing inflammation
  • filling common nutrient deficiencies
  • prevent mood disorders including anxiety and depression
  • controls blood sugar levels
  • helps with feeling full & promotes weight loss
  • one of most sustainable and least contaminated sources of fish

Sardines of course can be eaten fresh and broiled, roasted, or grilled, but most often people buy canned sardines which are widely available in most grocery stores.It’s best to purchase canned sardines that have been packed in olive oil or water as opposed to soybean oil or other types of refined oils. 

You always want to purchase and eat wild fish and avoid farm raised fish whenever you can. Fish farms often produce fish using antibiotics and pesticides, plus they feed fish an unnatural diet of grains. This results in farm fish having lower nutrients than wild fish and more toxins too.

Were you surprised by all the sardines nutrition benefits? Have you tried sardines? Do you have a receipe to share?


Hi friends!

Welcome to my kitchen!

Sardine sandwiches are my lazy girl hack for something that is quick, delicious and nutritious. Perfect for lunch, post-workout meal, dinner, you name, you can't go wrong whipping up this bad boy.  

 Sardines & Veggie Pita Sandwhich

Sardine & Veggie Pita

TOTAL TIME: 15 MINS   |   SERVINGS: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 can Sardines in oil or water, drained
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • ¼ cup of chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped sweet peppers
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1 whole wheat pita bread
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Toast pita bread in a toaster or a toaster oven is fine.

  2. Spread the greek yogurt on the pita bread.

  3. Place the sardines on top of the greek yogurt.

  4. Next add the the tomato, onions, sweet peppers and spinach.

  5. Fold pita bread in half, using a knife to keep the contents from spilling out.

  6. Then cut in half.

  7. ENJOY!

Yoga Kitchen & Co.: Home Cooking - Headaches

When you feel a headache coming on, suddenly the only thing that matters is relieving that tension — and fast. Here are a few solutions found outside of a pill bottle. Consider breathing exercises, gentle yoga moves, essential oils, and food

Your body is in probably need of a major boost in hydration, magnesium, potassium, omega-3's & calcium. Eating foods rich in these things will help. I'm talking about spinach, flax seeds, salmon, yogurt, almonds, cucumbers, watermelon, bananas, brown rice, potatoes with the skin, sweet potatoes,

Inflammation is a culprit of those pesky headbangers, spicy foods helps to open airways, relaxing blood vessels. Inhaling peppermint oil helps too. Great for sinuses too!

Dropping tension in the body can alleviate the pressure building up in your head. Deep breathing, a few cat / cows and some seated twists, legs up the wall will get you right as rain.

Keep a food journal to keep track of any possible food triggers that may cause the headaches so yo can eliminate them from your diet.

Next we will discuss lower back pain. You got any aliments you are looking for natural remedies for? let me know!

11 BENEFITS OF LEMON WATER YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT

 
 

by Krissy Brady

 

I was first introduced to the concept of lemon water when I started doing yoga. An avid drinker (of water!), it was refreshing to learn a new spin on an old favorite. When I started having a glass of lemon water every morning, it was after learning only two of the benefits of lemon water. Little did I know just how many there are!

Why lemons?

Lemons are packed like a clown car with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. (Fun fact: they contain more potassium than apples or grapes!)

Because of how hard lemon juice can be on the enamel of your teeth, it’s important to dilute it with water of any temperature (though lukewarm is recommended). Drink it first thing in the morning, and wait 15 to 30 minutes to have breakfast. This will help you fully receive the benefits of lemon water, which are listed below.

11 Benefits of Lemon Water

1. Gives your immune system a boost.

Vitamin C is like our immune system’s jumper cables, and lemon juice is full of it. The level of vitamin C in your system is one of the first things to plummet when you’re stressed, which is why experts recommended popping extra vitamin C during especially stressful days.

2. Excellent source of potassium.

As already mentioned, lemons are high in potassium, which is good for heart health, as well as brain and nerve function.

3. Aids digestion.

Lemon juice not only encourages healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, it helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, burping, and bloating.

4. Cleanses your system.

It helps flush out the toxins in your body by enhancing enzyme function, stimulating your liver.

5. Freshens your breath.

It also helps relieve toothaches and gingivitis (say wha?). Because the citric acid can erode tooth enamel, either hold off on brushing your teeth after drinking lemon water or brush your teeth before drinking it.

6. Keeps your skin blemish-free.

The antioxidants in lemon juice help to not only decrease blemishes, but wrinkles too! It can also be applied to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance, and because it’s detoxifying your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.

7. Helps you lose weight.

Lemons contain pectin fiber, which assists in fighting hunger cravings.

8. Reduces inflammation.

If you drink lemon water on a regular basis, it will decrease the acidity in your body, which is where disease states occur. It removes uric acid in your joints, which is one of the main causes of inflammation.

9. Gives you an energy boost.

Lemon juice provides your body with energy when it enters your digestive tract, and it also helps reduce anxiety and depression. (Even the scent of lemons has a calming effect on your nervous system!)

10. Helps to cut out caffeine.

I didn’t believe this until I tried it, but replacing my morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water has really done wonders! I feel refreshed, and no longer have to deal with that pesky afternoon crash. Plus, my nerves are thankful.

11. Helps fight viral infections.

Warm lemon water is the most effective way to diminish viral infections and their subsequent sore throats. Plus, with the lemon juice also boosting your immune system, you’ll simultaneously fight off the infection completely.

How much?

For those who weigh less than 150 pounds, squeeze half a lemon’s worth of juice into a glass of water. If over 150 pounds, use an entire lemon’s juice. You can of course dilute the lemon juice more, depending on your personal taste.

Not only are the benefits of lemon water endless, it’s one of the most substantial yet simple changes you can make for your health.

Is lemon water part of your daily routine? Let us know in the comments!

 

This article originally appeared on www.lifehack.org.

WINTER '17 60 MINUTE YOGA PLAYLISTS

d~_~bUZZ Beats: Flow worthy tunes for your home yoga practice

Music evokes different emotions and can create an atmosphere based on the the song selections. Just like yoga poses, music is another resource to get out of your mind and into feeling your body. 

“Music seduces our heart to awaken, to feel more deeply, boldly, and colorfully the preciousness of being human.” ~ Sean Johnson, of the Wild Lotus Band

After I teach a yoga class, the number one thing that most of my students say is “I so needed that and I love your playlist!” For a music junkie, like myself, that is a major complement cause in addition to the yoga,  I'm able to provide you with another resource to drop the tension and switch on that Relaxation Response in your body.

Here are two playlists you can use during your home yoga practice to help you drop the stress and feel amazing as you flow.

ENERGIZE, WINTER '17 (INVIGORATING FLOW)

GENTLE, WINTER '17 (RESTORATIVE FLOW)

Let's talk! What music are you listening to lately? I'm always looking for new tunes or rediscovering some classics. Please share in the comments below.


If you are in the New York City area,

come flow with me or schedule a private yoga session!

Should we rethink “fake it ‘til you make it”?

 

 

 

by Ned Kelly Published on March 3, 2017

How many times have you faced the prospect of starting something new and unfamiliar, and suddenly freaked out, thinking you can’t manage it?

That feeling is called impostor syndrome. In fact, 70 percent of the global population feel like they’re intruders in their own lives, secretly living with a sense that we don’t deserve to be wherever we are, and that we’re about to be found out at any moment.

I’ve had that experience follow me around in just about everything I’ve ever done. If you ask me, I think I’m an idiot, incapable of meeting the expectations of my peers, ill-equipped to survive—let alone get the job done properly. This fear of being unveiled as the incompetent hack used to paralyze me until I heard that neat little phrase, “fake it ’til you make it”.

The notion is simple: act ‘as if’. That is, act like you know what the hell you’re doing and eventually you’ll gain sufficient confidence and experience to actually know what the hell you’re doing.

The more I’ve thought about making it’, the more it has me puzzled. Making what? What is the mysterious ‘it’ I’m supposed to be ‘making’?

I’m going to be facetious for a moment and pick apart some of its literal meanings: if you need something built from scratch, you have to ‘make it’. If you ‘make it’ home, it means you reached your destination. If you ‘make it’ past the finishing line, it means you succeeded, or maybe even triumphed. But of course, we all know that when we say ‘they made it’, what we really mean is, ‘they are thriving’. Doing well. Achieving.

Putting the phrase into context brought me to the realization that we have attached an abstract notion of success to our understanding of survival. Nowadays it seems it’s expected to arrive at a place where we’ve conquered every obstacle, and planted our flag firmly in the dirt of our chosen career path. It’s not enough to simply try as hard as we can, learn, develop, grow and get by. We need to ‘make it’.

“The idea of ‘making it’, or being perceived as a ‘success’ in the eyes of others, can become an unrealistic goal, always out of reach,” says psychotherapist Cathy Ingram. “This can give rise to a state of incongruence between where we are and where we think we should be.”

Psychologist Carl Rogers described this incongruence as the gap between your perceived self, how you view yourself and your ideal self, and how you would like to see yourself. (Easy for Carl to say—as one of the most important psychologists of the 20th century, he definitely ‘made it’.) But his skill was in illuminating the here and now, and the gaps between experiencing and desiring.

There’s often have a huge gulf between what we want, and where we’re at, and it can lead us to feel worthless and fake. The implication in “fake it til’ you make it” is that we’re incomplete until we’re validated by an external source—some ethereal tap on the shoulder that says, “hey, you’re alright!” When you pick it apart, living with this looming ideal seems like a bleak prospect.

“Our self-image is at odds with our lived experience,” Ingram says. “We often end up valuing our own worth from thorough external evaluation, against a specific set of criteria, dictated by family, culture or society. Our concepts of wealth, social prestige or success may have more to do with the views of others, rather than internal evaluation. But when our wants and desires are aligned with our own values, much more is possible.”

So when we wonder about whether or not we’re gonna ‘make it’, doing whatever we’ve chosen to do with our lives, what we’re really envisioning is ticking a bunch of boxes that would make everybody around us impressed, and indicate that we’ve ‘arrived’ at our destination. For some people that destination is a nice home, car, family, salary. For some, it’s artistic impact, creative freedom, and an exciting lifestyle funded by the thing you love doing. Maybe it’s a hit single, an Oscar nomination, 100,000 Instagram followers, or all of the above. Whatever your #lifegoals are, the frantic anticipation of achieving them is often likely to erode our self-esteem, and leave us in a state where we really do feel like impostors in our own lives—even if we’re lucky enough to achieve our goals.

Success is a relative term, and the idea of ‘making it’ in life is elusive to the point of being ridiculous. But the idea of ‘achieving’ is so prevalent in our culture that it can feel difficult to get away from. We need to get our values in line through developing authenticity. Acting ‘as if’ can kick start this. And mindfulness can help put our values into perspective by keeping us tuned into our present experience, rather than constantly running to catch up with an uncertain future determined by others’ expectations. It’s useful to remind ourselves that maybe we don’t really need to ‘fake it’ or ‘make it’—we just have to be.

This article originally appeared on www.headspace.com.

17 REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO START JOURNALING TODAY

 

By Eflake

I have been journaling from the moment I learned to form cohesive sentences. Over time, the content of these entries has evolved from the amateurish accounting of daily events to shameless self-involved teenage dramatics to strategic life mapping. I realize that verbalizing thoughts and ideas comes naturally for me as a writer, but journaling isn't just for wordsmiths. In fact, some of history's most notable people have kept journals as a way of sharpening their vision, recording their successes and improving mental clarity. Oprah Winfrey has long advocated the practice. She has even shared with her audiences excerpts from her personal diary entries over the years, providing documented evidence that the distinct vision for her successes existed on paper long before it was actualized. Photo: oprah.com 

Photo: oprah.com 

No matter how satisfied you might be with your life, if you aren't journaling, you're leaving tons of potential on the table. Here are 17 reasons why you need to start journaling TODAY:

1. Venting

Life presents tons of opportunities to get angry. If you confronted every offense, you'd spend your entire life popping off. So what do we do with all this pent-up tension? Write it down! Get it all out, leave it on the page. I promise when you're done, you'll feel like a new person. 

Photo: bcbrownbooks.com 

Photo: bcbrownbooks.com

2. Issue Mapping

There is a reason you have to show your work in math. Seeing the problem laid out before you helps you to recognize all the little pieces that add up to the bigger picture. Once you have a good scope of the situation, you can begin strategizing the solution.

3. Problem Solving 

Not everything is as black and white as mathematics. Sometimes the solution to an issue is more complex than x+y=z. The act of writing turns on the creative, intuitive side of the brain where the answers you're seeking are often found.

4. Self-examination

Taking the time to write things down provides an opportunity to intellectually process situations outside of your feelings and beyond your own perspective. If you're journaling from an authentic place, reading what you've written can be a helpful tool for self-confrontation to identify and eliminate your blind spots. 

 

Photo: imgur.com

5. Healing

Unless you're the one person in the world with no baggage, there are surely some underlying, perhaps dormant issues that consistently create the same stumbling blocks in your life. There is a reason we tend to repeat the same behaviors that produce the same undesirable results. Seeing your patterns and pathologies over time can help you get to the bottom of them and correct your course.

6. Goal Setting 

Having a goal in mind is one thing, but putting it on paper is an all-together different matter. Why do you think every successful business has a vision and mission statement? It's necessary to keep all parties aligned and on track toward a common goal. Apply this principal to your personal brand and see what happens.

7. Accountability

Writing your goals in a journal will keep you accountable and moving in the direction of your target. It's pretty tough to skirt responsibility for your life when you have hand-written, dated accountabilities.

8. Manifesting

Journaling is a huge part of my spiritual practice. I firmly believe that there is supernatural power in writing the vision. This concept has been tried and proven countless times. Long before becoming a renowned bestselling author, African-American science-fiction writer, Octavia E. Butler, wrote in her journal, "My novels will go onto the above lists whether publishers push them hard or not." And so it was. Photo: blavity.com 

Photo: Blavity

9. Documenting your wins

One of my most gratifying experiences to date was stumbling upon an old journal where I had written a list of 11 goals that I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 30. I had completely forgotten about the list but by the time I found it I had checked off every single item. I was 27.

10. Inspiration

The significance of that story is that given that when my 21-year-old self wrote the list, those goals were as far-fetched as riding a unicorn across a rainbow. That journal serves as a reminder to keep my personal bar high. It reminds me that no matter my current reality, if I can maintain the vision there is no such thing as an unattainable goal.

11. Affirmation

There is no safer place than the pages of your private notebook to flex your cocky fresh, affirm your dopeness and remind yourself how utterly amazing you truly are...because chances are, no one else really wants to hear it. Can someone please get a journal to Yeezy? 

 

Photo: Giphy

12. Humility

I can totally understand how arrogance happens. When you acquire a little experience, a bit of knowledge and a certain level of success, it's easy to forget how clueless you once were. Revisiting the mentality of my 22-year-old self keeps me humble and completely non-judgmental of others stumbling into adulthood. Journaling is a great way to keep your ego in check while tracking personal growth.

13. Legacy 

Think about the utter dopeness of having your own documented personal history in the context of the broader cultural history. The Bush/Gore election scandal, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and other events that shaped the perspective of an entire generation...they are all recorded, from my perspective, within the pages of my journals. My dad also keeps a journal. Imagine the legacy we'll have to pass down to future generations. 

Photo: aminoapps.com 

Photo: aminoapps.com

14. Intelligence

Most IQ tests skew heavily toward language as an indication of intelligence.Writing is an exploration of language, it sharpens vocabulary and increases the appetite for reading. Writing enhances your ability to think critically and articulate succinctly. Consistent journaling makes you smarter.

15. Self-awareness 

When a foul mood strikes (seemingly out of nowhere) and you find yourself becoming nasty or quick-tempered, it's never without reason. Journaling keeps you tuned in and in touch with yourself and helps you get to the core of why you do what you do at any given moment.

16. Confidence

Nothing breeds confidence like self-awareness, knowing exactly who you are, your flaws, your strengths and what you want out of life. 

confident excited mrw drama owned 

Photo: Giphy

17. Centering

Spending quiet time alone with your thoughts is a form of meditation. It allows room for creativity and inspiration for your plan to merge with the divine. These are just a few reasons to make journaling a part of your routine. Your entries don't have to be deep or profound. You can start by simply writing your thoughts as they pop into your head. No matter how ridiculous it might feel, you are guaranteed to emerge from a journaling session feeling lighter and more focused.


5 Ways To Rewire Your Brain For Meaningful Life Changes

 

by Dr. Hilary Stokes Published on November 26, 2013

 

Neuroscientists have discovered the strategy for rewiring the brain. Contrary to popular approaches, this strategy involves more than just positive thinking or working hard.

In fact, there are five pathways that must be activated in order to create new neural networks in the brain. Let’s explore a few principles from brain science in order to better understand how to successfully activate these pathways. #goal setting #intention #personal growth #power of positive thinking

First, the act of thinking sets into motion a chemical reaction in the brain that can be likened to plugging in a string of lights. As you think about something—be it positive or stressful—you turn on a string of lights related to that topic.

Second, the more you think, feel and act the same way, the faster the lights turn on and the brighter they glow. Thus, the string of lights related to driving a car at 45 years old is much brighter and faster than the string you had at 16 years old.

Finally, we have trillions of brain cells, resulting in thousands (if not millions) of strings of lights correlating with our habits in all areas of our life. Donald Hebb’s landmark discovery in 1949, “neurons that fire together wire together,” best explains the process of wiring and strengthening brain pathways. The key is to activate as many of these pathways as possible given they work synergistically. One pathway alone is not enough to successfully rewire your brain. However, when you repeatedly align your beliefs, feelings, vision, and actions you will experience lasting changes in your brain.

1. Identify the beliefs that support your intention.

Seeing is not required for believing. In fact, you have to first believe it is possible if you expect to truly see it manifest in your life.

Solution: Examine your current beliefs about a desired goal. Identify those beliefs that align with the possibility of achieving your intention.

2. Embrace your positive emotions.

Emotion is the fuel, the juice or the power behind accomplishing your intention. Without emotion a thought is neutral, it has no real power. In other words, it is not enough to repeat positive affirmations if you are not feeling anything.

Solution: What emotions align with accomplishing your goal? Why is your intention meaningful to you? Spend time feeling these feelings as you focus on your intention.

3. Visualize.

The brain can’t tell the difference between something real or imagined. When you mentally rehearse your new habits, you strengthen your ability to create them in your life.

Solution: Identify images that align with accomplishing your goal and spend time visualizing them daily.

4. Take actions that support your intention.

Your actions have to match what you say you want and vice versa. You can’t think and feel one way and act another. In other words, you won’t rewire your brain if you eat donuts while repeating affirmations of being healthy and fit. Similarly, you won’t rewire your brain if you go to the gym but complain about how much you can’t stand working out.

Solution: Identify the actions that align with your thoughts and emotions.

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Change requires practicing a new habit. It follows the principle, "use it or lose it."

Solution: Consciously practice thinking, feeling, visualizing and acting in alignment with your desired intention. When you do this you will stop the unconscious habit of recycling the past and activate your ability to rewire your brain in the present moment.

This article originally appeared on www.mindbodygreen.com

5 SELF-CARE STRATEGIES THAT AREN’T FUCKING MANI-PEDIS

 

 

by Kate McCombs Published on March 7, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been tired the last couple weeks. Like existentially tired. The current political climate is testing the limits of my emotional resources in ways that I haven’t quite experienced before. I find myself, more than ever, drawing on the practices that help me regroup and recharge so I can participate in life in the ways I want.

But self-care isn’t easy for many people. And the messages we get about it are often steeped in gender role essentialism and commercialistic intent. Since I talk a lot about self-care in my work teaching about empathy, many friends have come to me asking for advice on how to implement more of it in their lives.

People who are socialized as women can struggle with self-care because they have been taught their value is in caring for others, often to the detriment of their own wellbeing; they fight against the notion that self-care is at best indulgent and at worst deeply selfish. Those socialized as men are taught that self-care is weakness and shows they “can’t handle it.” But most of us realize, at least intellectually, that we must put on our own masks before helping others. Doing that is another matter.

I think it’s safe to say that all the people I know who have sustainable self-care systems in place have done a fair bit of work in deconstructing the gender role bullshit they’ve been assigned. When we create systems of self-care for ourselves, we are dismantling the facets of patriarchy that dictate that emotions are weak and tenderness is inferior.

But these systems aren’t built solely on the popular media’s portrayal of self-care: manicures, pedicures, and massage. In order to be sustainable, self-care systems need to be more than just a quick-release valve. They require scaffolding our lives so that when things get truly awful, we have the fortification to weather the shitstorm.

So how can we practice sustainable self-care? Here’s what I’ve learned that works for me.

1. I feel my feelings without judging them.

When I got better at giving myself space and permission to feel my feelings without judging them, everything in my life improved. This isn’t an exaggeration. I was expending so much energy judging myself for feeling the “wrong” thing or worrying about having the “wrong” reaction to something, that I’d end up getting emotionally stuck. It was exhausting and counterproductive.

When I got better at just feeling my emotions without the judgmental meta-feelings, I learned to move through my more challenging feelings much more efficientlyI also have a lot more joy now.

This kind of not-judging-your-feels thing is a kind of mindfulness practice. I’ve never found traditional meditation to be something I could really get into, but this practice works for me.

Several times a week, I lay down over a foam roller along my spine so I open my chest. Since I’m on the computer a lot, this chest-opening thing is great for relieving my tension (I think of it like self-care multi-tasking). Then I just think about what I’m feeling. If I notice judgment, I don’t judge that either – I just notice it and let it float past. It’s taken years of practice, but it’s become a mainstay of my overall wellness.

2. I have reflective self-care practices in addition to kind self-care practices.

Researcher, therapist, and all-around badass Meg-John Barker talks about the difference between “kind” self-care and “reflective” self-care in their work. Kind self-care practices are things like massages, hot baths, and sleeping in. Reflective self-care activities are things that allow you to reflect on your emotional landscape, like journaling or meditation.

One of my go-to reflective self-care practices is to use my Tea & Empathy feelings cards. I developed these cards for the empathy workshops I teach, and I also use them by myself to process my own feelings on a regular basis. I think about how I’m feeling about a particular issue in my life, and then I go through the cards and lay out each feeling that’s present for me. It’s been incredibly helpful for lightening my cognitive load and helping me better articulate the nuances of my feelings to my loved ones.

3. I make space for playfulness.

My housemate Ben has taught me a lot about the human need for play. He designs escape rooms, video games, and all sorts of other games for adults. We have great conversations over breakfast about how adults need to play.

Even though I think play is a need, play can be hard. In order to play, we often have to let go of a bit of dignity and embrace a certain amount of vulnerability. Those things aren’t easy for adults who expect themselves to have it all together all the time. But it’s necessary for our brains to engage with moments of silliness and imagination, especially in times like these where it can feel like everything is on fire.

Nurturing playfulness is still an area of growth for me. It does not come naturally. But I find moments of it, like singing in the shower to cheesy pop music or allowing myself to get lose-my-shit excited about a cute cat in the street. I try to remind myself that play is about pleasure. And as my friend Andrea continually reminds me, pleasure can be a radical political act.

4. I actively discourage unsolicited advice.

There’s an epidemic of fixing in many interpersonal relationships. When one person seeks support from another, often the first thing they’re offered is unsolicited advice about what strategy they should use in their career, how they should handle that asshole on the internet, or what they should be doing differently in their activism. It’s all about fixing rather than holding space.

There’s a lot of “should” in many people’s relationships. And it totally sucks the connection right out of them.

We’re taught that our value to others is in giving good advice – we’re not taught empathy. Advice can be valuable, but in my experience, what people most want from their interpersonal relationships is to be seen, to be heard, and to feel connected. Unsolicited advice does not accomplish any of those things and can work toward the contrary.

In my close relationships, we’ve gotten in the habit of asking the question, “Are you looking for empathy or advice?” This question is gold. It gives the person seeking support choice. It lets them feel power when they might otherwise feel disempowered by whatever shit situation is bringing up challenging feels for them.

I’d say about one out of every fifteen times this question is asked, someone wants advice. And it’s usually because they’ve already gotten all the empathy from another source.

5. I respect my time. I require others to do the same.

Self-care requires time. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so hard for many people to actually implement it. And finding personal time often requires saying “no” to people who ask us for favors, meetings, or tasks.

Saying “no” can be one of the best strategies in your self-care toolbox.

One of my favorite time-creating self-care tools is a bit outside the box. It’s Gmail’s “Canned Responses” feature. I get TONS of emails from people asking for hours of unpaid labor from me. Often, it’s people who’ve found me on the Internet and want me to answer their personal sex and relationship questions. It’s reasonable they want answers to these questions, but if I responded to all their requests, I would have no time to actually live my life.

So I have a Gmail Canned Response that says, no, I don’t answer individual questions via email, and directs them to San Francisco Sex Information and Scarleteen. Both of those are great nonprofits that have volunteers whose job it is to answer sex questions. I also encourage them to make a donation to those organizations if they have the means. It’s my way of saying “no, I can’t help you, but here’s where you can get the help you’re seeking.”

I get to say “no” and I still get to be helpful. It’s also OK to just say “no” without being helpful, but in this instance, it’s in alignment with my goals as an educator to help people get the information they need.

Do you find yourself writing some of the same emails over and over? Consider creating some canned responses for yourself. It’s saved me so many hours so I can have nurturing chats with friends over tea, play with my feelings cards, or just sleep.

 -------

While I don’t actually think there’s anything at all wrong with getting a mani-pedi or a massage, sustainable self-care is about more than spa indulgences. Sustainable self-care is about setting boundaries on your time. It’s about nurturing healthy relationships. And it’s about holding the balance that we are both strong and fragile at the same time. We can be badass and make sure we’re fed, rested, and nurtured to function optimally. That’s how we scaffold a revolution.

This article originally appeared on www.continuumcollective.org.

Find more from Kate McCombs at KateMcCombs.com, on Twitter (@katecom), or on Instagram (@kateanswers).

How to Turn Your PMS Around

 

Simone Spilka and Ovary Published January 6, 2017

FOR ONE THING, DID YOU KNOW THAT FOOD IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO BALANCE YOUR HORMONE?

It was a typical Tuesday morning and my exhaustion was both overpowering and all-compassing. My temples throbbed and my lower back ached. I rested in half-sleep until I had no choice but surrender to my alarm clock and double over myself to get to the office.

Two days came and went and I still felt like this sick and mercurial version of myself. As I crawled under the covers early on Wednesday evening, I thought, surely, I have the flu. On Thursday, I woke up with my period. I had not had a cold or the 24-hour flu. Rather, my hormones had take over. I had an irate case of PMS. My cycle had duped me.

Many of my friends are able to recognize period-related symptoms as such, whether they have learned to identify them after years of behavioral patterns or by monitoring their menstrual cycle using a period-tracking app like Clue or Kindara. But I’m an anomaly. I spent ages 23 to 25 without a period and accompanying PMS. It was only recently, when I started eating meat after five years without it, that my period returned to me. I finally had an end to the health questions that neither my gynocologist nor my holistic nutritionist could definitively answer. But when my period came back, so too did the hormones, and they were wildly unrecognizable to me.

As it turns out, I’m not alone in my misunderstanding or misdiagnosis of PMS. That’s because we don’t even know what we’re looking for; there is little medical research done to define its signs and symptoms. According to an article by ResearchGate, 90% of women suffer from at least one symptom of premenstrual syndrome, but its root cause — and whether it is actually a medical condition — remain a mystery.

What the hell is PMS, actually?

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a hormonal imbalance during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, between ovulation and menstruation, ranging from a few days to a week before. The imbalance is a result of an increase in estrogen levels and a decrease in progesterone, causing changes to both the body and the brain. As a result, women might experience bloating, sugar cravings, breast tenderness, cramping, sleep disturbances, irritability and up to 150 more symptoms.

Suffering can be perpetuated and accentuated by lifestyle habits. Robin Berzin, M.D. and Founder/CEO of Parsley Health, says that dietary factors that stimulate and aggregate PMS include a high-sugar and refined carbohydrate diet as well as caffeine, dairy and environmental toxins like pesticides and pollutions. “Imbalances in the gut bacteria can worsen the situation because they lead to the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut,” Berzin says.

While popular culture has led us to believe that PMS is a natural part of being a woman, and we should simply endure our cravings, cramps and mood swings, researchproves that there are many natural treatments and modifications to relieve or reduce symptoms. Below, nine PMS best practices.

1. Assess Your PMS Beliefs

Many influences — from media to advertising — inform our perspectives of PMS. Where did you learn that PMS was inevitable, that it is a part of being a woman? Were your beliefs ingrained by family members, media, your doctor or your own experiences? Take note of these perspectives and what has shaped this understanding of menstruation and PMS. Then ask yourself: What do I find challenging? What do I want to make better? What do I want to improve? What does a positive practice of PMS look like to me?

2. Food Matters

Food is the most effective way to balance your hormones, one reason being that our body responds to food so quickly. In a cross-sectional study, researchers at UC Davis found an association between PMS symptoms and the presence of certain biomarkers for inflammation, as measured by a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. After testing 3,202 women from five ethnic groups, the study found that people with higher CRP were more likely to experience certain PMS symptoms including bloating, mood changes or cramps. According to Berzin, “the first step is cleaning up your diet to remove dairy, sugar, gluten and processed foods.” Eating an anti-inflammatory dietreduces the activity of aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen. (Increased levels of estrogen or what we call “estrogen dominance” cause symptoms of PMS.) Foods that are supportive to our bodies include cruciferous vegetables — which are high in indole-3 carbinol and support liver detoxification of estrogens — as well as flax seeds, white button mushrooms and goji berries, which aid in the metabolism of estrogen. Eating organic, plant-based phytonutrients and having protein, healthy fat and fiber with every meal will help to balance your blood sugar and hormones.

3. Combat Stress

The benefit of tracking your cycle, even if it is irregular, is that you can be more prepared for hormonal changes as they naturally occur throughout the month. “We expect our bodies and energy to be constant and the reality is it changes,” says Surtees. Adjust your schedule in the luteal phase of your cycle to make time for restful activities, such as breathing exercises, yoga, taking a bath or candle-lit shower. When you are chronically stressed, you produce cortisol, a hormone that’s supposed to be released only in times of short-term or acute stress. Being in a state of chronic stress affects the balance of hormones in your body and should not be underestimated.

4. Get A PMS Friend

Find a trusted friend who can read your emotional radar and let you know (gently) if you sound more emotional or sensitive than normal. This person (or people) can add perspective to how you’re reacting by reminding you that certain things might be aggregated by where you are in your cycle. The benefit of having a PMS friend or partner is two-fold: each person becomes more self-aware by being able to recognize patterns in the other.

5. Get Moving and Sleeping

Exercise helps to balance hormones and remove excess estrogen, and is an effective way to reduce PMS symptoms. Hyman recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four to five times a week. We tend to think that every form of exercise needs to be high-intensity to burn calories, but when our body is in a resting phase, this type of activity actually overstimulates cortisol release and destabilizes our hormones. Sleep is as important as movement. In addition to relaxation exercises, getting the recommended eight hours of restorative sleep per night during the luteal phase helps to balance your hormones. This part of your cycle is characterized by a decrease in energy as your body reabsorbs the corpus luteum.

6. Is This Normal?

Hormonal imbalances can sometimes signal underlying health issues — your body’s way of saying, “excuse me, please listen!” Since PMS symptoms share similarities with other hormonal imbalances, such as endometriosis or PCOS, as well as the flu or early stages of pregnancy, it’s important to pay attention to anything that doesn’t feel right or normal and share your questions with a doctor or OBGYN. You can ask for a complete hormone panel test (which includes estrogen, progesterone, folice-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones), a thyroid test, a blood sugar exam and a Vitamin D3 test. If your results come back in a normal range, yet you still have persistent symptoms, ask if there’s any indication that your numbers are trending to a hormonal imbalance. Hormonal contraception might compound your issues: A study of over one million people in Denmark found that women — particularly teenage women — who use the combined birth control pill, a mix of estrogen and progestin, were more likely to be prescribed anti-depressants or diagnosed with depression. The study is the first to show a link between depression and birth control, so if you are experiencing symptoms that characterize depression, discuss your medication with your doctor.

7. Consider Your Entire Cycle

Rather than focus on the handful of days you experience PMS, think about your body during your entire cycle. This allows you to compare what’s happening emotionally and physically during your luteal phase versus the other phases throughout the month, knowledge that can prove invaluable. For instance, track your menstrual cycle and you’ll be better able to identify ideal times of the month for exercise, social activity or sex. Begin simply by tracking the dates you get your period each month, and then, over time, monitor further variables such as energy or mood shifts, or creativity and motivation. “Understanding how our body changes, when it changes and why it changes is helpful for our health and productivity,” Surtees explains.

8. Track Your Symptoms Each Month

Every single body works differently, so tracking your symptoms on a monthly basis is crucial. According to a study conducted by sampling 22 types of premenstrual complaints from 101 women, the cyclical pattern of symptoms is the defining characteristic of PMS. It is important to divide those symptoms into physical, emotional and mental, then record according to severity. Take note of  any medications that might be contributing to the cause. A study about the management of PMS and PMDD explains that the only way doctors diagnose PMS is through a patient’s self-tracking symptoms diary. A doctor will likely require a chart of two to three months worth of symptoms. “Tracking your cycle and symptoms is possibly one of the most valuable pieces of information you can have about your body, which will continue to get more actionable as we direct further research to female health,” Surtees explains. “This knowledge can be used throughout your life to prevent disease and improve wellbeing.”

9. Change the Conversation Around  PMS

Periods happen. PMS is real. Vocal and progressive brands like Thinx and Lola are speaking up to break the taboo around what it means to be a woman. Evolving our mindset is instrumental in evolving our personal abilities to react to it.

In the spirit of change and new beginnings, it’s time we all learn to take control of our hormones. So the next time my period comes a knocking, you can bet I’ll be ready. And if I’m not, you can bet my PMS friend will hear all about it.

Ovary is a research platform and female community dedicated to improving the conversation around women’s health, hormones, fertility and productivity. Visit www.ovary.co for more information or follow us on Instagram @ovary.co. Ovary events take place in NYC, LA, SF and London. 

This article originally appeared on manrepeller.com.

How to Come Up With a Kick-Ass Personal Mantra

 

 

BY Susie Moore Published March 8, 2016

It's time for mantras to lose their New Age-y stereotype. The word mantra originates in Sanskrit and has been translated in English in various ways: a hymn or song of praise, sacred message or text, charm, spell, counsel, or incantation. 

While mantras are frequently used in meditation sessions to silence mental chatter, anyone can benefit from one. Our minds are full of noise—largely repetitive, useless, and even harmless thoughts that are on replay much of the time. A mantra can slice through these thoughts in any moment, especially when you craft one that is meaningful just to you.

I recommend having two mantras for the two areas of your life where you need them most. If you're on the job hunt, for example, maybe you have one to reassure you before an interview. If you're dating, you have another to repeat on the way to a first date. (Struggling with body image? Try one of these 35 body-positive mantras to say in your mirror every morning.)

Here are five steps to come up with a kick-ass mantra you can use to help you feel strong, capable, and at peace when you need it the most. Think of it as your one-word pep talk, available at anytime or place.

We'll use the career success example here.

5 Steps to Manifest Your Mantra

1. Review your biggest achievements.  

Write down five to eight of your proudest career successes to date—anything from scoring a competitive job to presenting confidently to a group of people to getting some brilliant feedback from a client or manager. Don’t be bashful! No one will see this list but you.

2. Rate each item from one to 10.

One means it gives you no pleasure at all, and 10 means it puts a smile on your face and an immediate spring in your step when you think of it.

3. Select the one item that makes you feel the most confident, self-assured, and strong.  

It has to top the list. If two or more are tied, think about which experience was the most fun and rewarding to go through and which generates the most pride.

4. Condense it into one word.  

Yes, just one. For example, my client Tom always dreamed of living in New York City. He's from a small town in the Midwest, and his friends and family did not believe he could move to New York and have a successful career here. But after much hard work, persistence, and creativity—he did. His number one achievement: "I proved everyone wrong, and despite the odds, scored a great role in the city of my dreams."

His one-word mantra? Manhattan.

5. Use this one word daily.

Especially at times when you need to hear it. I say my personal mantra in the shower, on the subway, before I send an important email, and always before I do something bold. Your one word will remind you how far you've come, what great things you're capable of, and who you really are.  

Your one word will remind you how far you've come, what great things you're capable of, and who you really are.  

Say you want a mantra to use in a dating context. You can still take the same steps: Recall great relationship experiences, fun dates, and happy times you had with someone you cared about. These need to fuel positive emotions and capture a feeling that makes you feel good about yourself and excited about being in a relationship again. Maybe your mantra becomes "laughter," "be open," or simply "summertime." 

Your mantra is the ultimate positive statement that truly resonates with your heart and mind. No one else needs to know about it or understand it. Bring your mantra silently to mind when you need to be reminded of your ability and your capacity to create the life you want. Like an uplifting affirmation, your personal mantra will give you the immediate confidence injection you need. No Regrets Achieving Goals Mental Tricks Psychology and PersonalityLive

What will yours be? 

This article originally appeared on greatist.com.

 

Clever Ways To Work Wellness Into Your Workday

 

by Derek Kren  Published March 1, 2017

Do you suffer from acute or chronic back pain? Are you bothered by irritated or exhausted eyes? Do you catch yourself operating under a high level of stress and sometimes unable to pinpoint why you feel that way? Most of us have felt one or more of these things—as most of us work (or have worked) a desk job. And while not as exhausting and hard on your body as physical labor, sitting at a desk for eight-plus hours a day can do some real damage. Take a look at some of the following suggestions to incorporate healthy hacks into your workday. You might find these tips so fun, you'll have to share them with your coworkers!

1. Take advantage of your calendar reminders.

Surely whenever a calendar reminder pops up for a client meeting or scheduled webinar you hop right to it and get the job done. Why not leverage that same responsible attitude for your personal health as well? Try setting up some recurring calendar appointments that remind you to stand up, stretch, look away from your screen, get outside, check your posture, and take deep breaths. It's so easy to get lost in computer work that the hours just fly by without you giving any thought to what your body needs. And who cares if coworkers can see those little appointments on your calendar? It might motivate them to do the same!

2. Park in a shady spot.

How could parking in the shade possibly help your health? Well, parking in the shade means your car is temperate and covered—perfect for getting in a quick lunchtime nap. A simple 20- or 30-minute nap provides benefits to your energy level, mood, creativity, memory, and more. What's even better? These short bits of shut-eye won't mess with your nighttime sleep schedule. Hey, Reagan and Einstein did it—and we think you should too!

3. Snag a window seat.

This might be out of your control, but if at all possible, try to situate your desk or office near a window. This simple seating arrangement provides a ton of benefits. First, you get natural light. We've all read about how bad fluorescent lights are on your eyes, but natural light is just what the doctor ordered. Second, you might get a peek at nature. Humans and nature just go together. There are countless benefits to being in nature, but there are even some for being able to see nature, such as improved attention. Lastly, you may be able to take in some fresh air. Let's face it, your office probably doesn't have the purest air. From the sneezy coworker to the dusty AC vents, there are many impurities you can forget about when you breathe in fresh air. If there isn't a chance of you getting a window seat now, then you'll just have to work your way up in the company until that becomes an option.

4. Pack some citrus.

Yes, it could be fun to suck on a lemon slice and make funny, sour faces with your coworkers, but that's not what we're talking about here. Instead, slice up that lemon and toss a piece or two into your water. One benefit is that you get to feel a little bit fancy in the office, but another is that it tastes great! One of the popular bad habits among desk workers is not drinking enough water. Not only does citrus water help give you a little kick in your step, but it will likely entice you to hydrate more throughout the day.

5. Back away from the kitchen sponge.

The kitchen sponge is riddled with germs. Think about it, at home you use the kitchen sponge to mop up spills and scrape old food off of dishes. You probably wash it once a week, but it's still a breeding ground for bacteria. Now, think about that sponge sitting in the kitchen at your office. Think about how many different people are using it and how frequently it's being washed. We would recommend bringing in your own clean sponge or zapping the existing one in the microwave for 30 seconds (while wet) before use.

Whether you're avoiding communal kitchen supplies to limit your exposure to germs or setting appointments with yourself to check in with your body and stress levels, there are tons of small things you can do at work to help out your health. So try out the hacks above, or get creative with it and make up your own!

This article originally appeared on mindbodygreen.com.

Go Love Yourself Challenge

Yoga Kitchen & Co. Vol. IV

d~_~bUZZ Beats: Flow worthy tunes for your home yoga practice

The fourth installment of Yoga Kitchen & Co. was held Sunday, February 19, 2017 inside the beautiful Athleta Studio located in the Flatiron area of New York City. This gathering was the first of many collaborations to come. Partnering with Ovary, we discussed the female hormone cycle, had some happy hormone foods and went through a flow that's perfect for that time of the month. Check out this playlist guaranteed to get you going if you are feeling sluggish during your cycle. 

What are some of your favorite tunes that get you through these times filled with a wide spectrum of emotions?

Yoga Kitchen & Co. is a gathering to cultivate sisterhood; rooted in compassion and connection; nourishing the body on all levels, striving to build and create a resilient community promoting and encouraging self-care, self-empowerment for women who are committed to creating their ideal lives. Pure girl-power vibes here.

Yoga Kitchen & Co.: Yummy Yogurt Topping Combos

Yogurt may seem boring, yet it’s anything but basic. It’s a great go to for breakfast or a pick-me-up snack that is low-carb, high-protein requiring little effort packing major flavor. Yogurt is a source of calcium which can help to reduce PMS and relax your muscles. It also contains live cultures which promote healthy digestion.

There are tons of yogurt options out there and it’s pretty tempting to buy containers that have fruit and other things already in it. DON’T! That stuff is riddled with all the nasties - high-fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch and Red 40 - all of which should be avoided since they are unnecessary and can lead to weight gain. Bottom-line, If you can't find any flavored yogurts without these added ingredients, go for the plain version and make your own! Maybe try adding some nuts and seeds like pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds; and/or dried fruit like raisins, dates or cranberries. You’re cutting out all the processed stuff and you know exactly what's going into it.

A few things to consider:

  • Whatever the brand, whenever possible try to buy organic yogurt.

  • Eat seasonally whenever possible is a cost effective way to eat happy and healthy without breaking the bank.

Below are some delicious and nutritious recipes to get you going. Try some of these toppings with your yogurt of choice, be it Greek, Coconut, Soy, Almond, Unstrained, Goat Milk, Skyr (Icelandic) or Sheep Milk. So, grab a spoon and dig into this yummy goodness.


    CHIA YOGURT PUDDING

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 cup yogurt, your preference

    • 1½   tablespoon chia seeds

    • 1 teaspoon of raw honey or agave syrup (optional)

    • SUGGESTED TOPPINGS: mixed berries, cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, and/or toasted coconut.

    DIRECTIONS: Mix yogurt, chia seeds, and agave syrup in a bowl; cover and chill overnight. Serve, drizzled with more agave, if you like and topped with your preferred choice. 

    Health Benefit Notes:

    • Chia seeds are so beneficial is due to them being rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.

    • Great energy and metabolism boost.

    • Chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation free radical damage.

    • Because of honey’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is able to help reduce allergy symptoms as well as boost your immune system.

    BONUS: Sundaze Sundae: yogurt edition Sometimes I like to dress up my laziness by putting my morning yogurt in a wine glass. Sundays are my chill days but a girls got to eat. After I work in some gentle movements to wake my body and iron out the kinks, I fuel up with my, "Oh You Fancy, huh" Sundaze Sundae yogurt edition

    BONUS: Sundaze Sundae: yogurt edition

    Sometimes I like to dress up my laziness by putting my morning yogurt in a wine glass. Sundays are my chill days but a girls got to eat. After I work in some gentle movements to wake my body and iron out the kinks, I fuel up with my, "Oh You Fancy, huh" Sundaze Sundae yogurt edition

    CHOCOLATE, STRAWBERRY WITH GRANOLA

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 cup yogurt, your preference

    • 1 teaspoon dark chocolate or cacao nibs

    • 1 tablespoon of strawberries

    • 1 teaspoon of granola

    DIRECTIONS:  Sprinkle some granola, strawberries and chocolate in a glass then top with yogurt, repeat and enjoy!

    Health Benefit Notes:

    • Strawberries protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer.

    • Granola contains fiber which helps to regulate digestion and prevent constipation.

    • Cocoa boosts blood circulation to the fine capillaries in the top layer of skin, vessels that are better equipped to draw oxygen and nutrients that protect skin against dehydration and burns.


    LEMON, ALMOND and POPPY SEEDS

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 cup yogurt, your preference

    • 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds

    • 1 teaspoon sliced almonds

    • 1/4th fresh squeezed lemon juice

    • Almond extract

    DIRECTIONS: Stir lemon juice and a dash of almond extract into yogurt. Top with poppy seeds and sliced almonds.

    Health Benefit Notes:

    • 1 teaspoon provides measurable amounts of calcium, iron and zinc.

    • Almond extract is full of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Almonds contain good fats and a lot of fiber, and are low in carbohydrates.

    • Lemons contain more potassium than apples or grapes. Potassium is beneficial to the heart.

    • The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.

    TURMERIC, CINNAMON, ALMOND, GINGER

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 cup yogurt, your preference

    • 1 teaspoon sliced almonds

    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

    • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

    • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder

    DIRECTIONS: mix turmeric, cinnamon and ginger into yogurt and top with almonds.

    Health Benefit Notes:

    • Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

    • Turmeric  has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

    • Research shows that just smelling cinnamon enhances cognitive processing, but consuming it significantly ups brain function.

    • ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating discomfort and pain in the stomach.

    Women Wednesday: Shirley Chisholm

    YOGA KITCHEN & CO. VOL. III

    d~_~bUZZ Beats: Flow worthy tunes for your home yoga practice

    The third installment of Yoga Kitchen & Co. was held Sunday, January 29, 2017 in DUMBO, a beautiful in Brooklyn, New York. Yoga Kitchen & Co. is a gathering to cultivate sisterhood; rooted in compassion and connection; nourishing the body on all levels, striving to build and create a resilient community promoting and encouraging self-care, self-empowerment for women who are committed to creating their ideal lives. Pure girl-power vibes here.

    The next Yoga Kitchen & Co. will be Sunday, February, 19 29, 2017! If you are in the New York City area please come build with us. What tunes do you want to get your flow on to?

    YOGA KITCHEN & CO.: Potato, Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

    MOVEMENT & FOOD, THE GREAT UNITER.

    Yoga Kitchen & Co. wrapped it's third installment on Sunday, January 29, 2017. We gathered in a beautiful space in DUMBO (Brooklyn, New York) to move the body, plant seeds to grow our dreams, goals for 2017 with a vision board party and to nourish our body with something that's healthy, tasty and inexpensive. For less than 20 bucks, this easy to whip up soup can feed four in just a hour. Plus it's rich in vitamins, minerals, a good source of potassium, dietary fiber and so much more. It's a great winter dish that could easily be enjoyed all year-round.


    Ingredients

    • 5 cups chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
    • 5 cups chopped cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
    • 4 cups vegetable broth
    • 4 cups water, or more as needed to cover
    • 3 cups diced potatoes
    • 10 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 3 shallots, diced (or any other onion type)
    • 1 tablespoon salt or to taste
    • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper or to taste
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or to taste
    • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil

    Optional toppings: olive oil and/or fresh scallions or fresh parsley

    Directions

    1. Lightly saute the garlic and shallots in the sesame oil
    2. Stir broccoli and cauliflower, vegetable broth, water, and potatoes together in a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in salt, white pepper, and thyme. Cover pot and simmer until potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower are soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes.
    3. Mash potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower mixture using an immersion blender or potato masher until pureed.
    4. Bring pureed soup to a simmer for about 30 minutes. This is the step where the flavors mingle and the consistency improves. Adjust salt, pepper, and thyme to taste. Top with your preference of a light drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh scallions or fresh parsley.
    5. Enjoy!

    Social Change, Where Does Yoga Fit In?

    Recharge Then Resist

    The third installment of Yoga Kitchen & Co. happened Sunday, January 29, 2017 and I met the morning feeling ineffectual given the current political climate the United States is in. The borders to the “land of the free and home of the brave” were closed via executive order by the current President to seven Muslim countries and here I am making a yoga playlist. WHAT?!? Why am I not protesting like I did on January 21st at the Women's March here in New York City instead just guiding yoga? I should be doing more. How can I give my practice meaning?

    I had to remind myself that yoga is a tool for change rooted in compassion, connection and so much more. Yoga Kitchen & Co. is about cultivating sisterhood through collective wellness and communal self-care. The goal has always been to create a resilient female focused community that gathers in beautiful, open and inviting spaces to nourish the body on all levels.

    Journalist and political activist, Gloria Steinem recently said, "The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving." The body is a reflection of our environment. This isn’t about political parties; this is about the long road ahead of us to keep up the good fight to protect human rights, making sure there is justice and equality for all. To do so, we have to take moments to heal ourselves. It's going to get harder before it gets easier but it's crucial we keep moving forward united and healthy.

    You all are magical AF! Don't be afraid to take up space and serve the world in all your badassery. Yoga Kitchen & Co. is here to support YOU: helping you to step your self-care game up; cultivating style, grace and ease; connecting, deepening, owning your strength; and encouraging you to take positive action on the regular. Thank you for your joy, your humor, your openness and willingness to take a timeout from the outside world to turn your attention inward for a few moments. Thank you for sharing those moments with me.

     

    +in this together+ Ladies doing it for themselves, keeping it weird along the way. * Body nourished. Intentions set. Vision boards made. Minds clear. Vibrations on high. 2017, we are ready to cause a positive ruckus. * "What we speak becomes the house we live in." ~Hafiz These yogis gave me life today! I am floating away feeling hopeful, recharged and optimistic for the road ahead. So grateful for the opportunity to grow/share community, love, and support with these wonderful warrior women. You showed up in body, breath, laughter, smiles and heart. THIS is self-care. It doesn't have to be a singular thing; self-care can be communal. A special thank you to those that were unable to join us but donated anyway. A portion of the proceeds will benefit @exhale2inhale, an organization that brings the healing power of yoga to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in shelters and community centers as well as to the staff the serve them. Shoutout to our friends at @kindsnacks for making this a fabulous event. * Yoga Kitchen & Co. is a gathering to cultivate sisterhood; rooted in compassion and connection; nourishing the body on all levels, striving to build and create a resilient community. Lots more coming your way! The next Yoga Kitchen & Co. will be Sunday, February 19th with special guest @AlexiSurtees, founder of @Ovary.co. This one is not to be missed! Bring a friend, this sisterhood is rising. Stay Tuned! #strongertogether #nyc #Brooklyn #StralaYoga #selfcare #community #sisterhood #fwsNYC

    One Down Dog vol. II: A COLLABORATIVE PLAYLIST EXPERIENCE

    IT'S PLAY TIME! ADD YOUR VIBE TO THE MIX.

    Back at it again with the crowd-sourced tunes! One Down Dog vol. II is ready for your submissions! This was so much fun the first time around,  let's create that magic again. I used in in one of my ENERGIZE classes back in Decemeber and my Strala Yoga Sister from across the pond used it in one of her classes. Pretty cool, huh? Feel free to check out some of the tunes offered up in One Down Dog vol.I

    This collaborative playlist, let's you add any song you would want to get your yoga flow on to. Once you follow the playlist, you can add your song choice and then I'll arrange these tunes into a really good playlist for your flowing pleasure. It's that simple.

    One Down Dog vol. II is currently live for the month of January or until we hit 55 minutes worth of music. This playlist will be used in a class in February.

    More details on that to come. Stay tuned, folks!