the journey of Yoga

yoga

 

This year, I’ve made a goal  to live a more holistic lifestyle. And to start off 2014 right, I’ve enrolled in an 8 week, 200-hour, yoga teachers certification program, at my yoga studio Beyond Hot Yoga. With classes 3 days a week (3 hours long) and logging an addiction 5 classes of yoga on top that, I’m ready for the journey ahead. A link to my course information can be found here (BeyondHotYoga) and I’ll be sharing updating here so you can follow my journey to becoming a yogini.

If you’ve been on this journey before, please feel free to share any tips or your own story here.

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Links to Love│New Year’s Resolutions

H A P P Y  M O N D A Y

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Monday is here again, and thankfully its followed by another holiday. In just a few days, millions of people will make their yearly commitments to a variety of goals, some about places they want to see, experiences they want to have, and of course, the king of New Year’s Resolutions, better health and fitness. So where do you begin? In this week’s Links to Love I’m searching out tips to making and keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.

BuzzFeed: 18 Resolutions to Help You Have a Better 2014

One of my favorite sites to lose a few hours on, BuzzFeed comprises some of the greatest memes floating around the web, and has compiled a list of hilarious examples on New Years resolutions.  (via BuzzFeed)

ZenHabits: 27 Tips to Organize Your Life

For the more serious approach to New Years resolutions, a lot of us add getting organized to the list. ZenHabits has put together a list of helpful tips from its readers. While other’s seem practical, “Do one thing at a time” other tips such as color coding calendars really helps to get organized quick. (via ZenHabits)

MindBodyGreen: 6 Simple Feng Shui Tips for a Fresh Start

New Years resolutions mostly revolve around something within, a personal change or goal, but starting the new year with a fresh environment will help promote some positive vibes on your new journey. Changing up some things in your daily routine keeps you on your toes. Updating your walls with new art, and even adding a new door handle can allow for positive energy to flow within your bungalow. (via MindBodyGreen)

WildMind: Rethinking our New Year’s Resolutions

‘It’s a new year, and a time when many of us think about fresh starts – like exercising more, meditating regularly, or getting organized. But as we know all too well, just wanting something doesn’t make it so..” Well it was tough to really beat that opening. I completely agree that wanting change will not be enough to change. Take control of your decision to change or resolution and do not lett any excuses get in the way is key to being successful. WildMind promotes the idea of putting forth positive energy and taking a step back and looking at the big picture of your resolution. Why do you want to be more fit? Is it to be able to run around with your kids? (via WildMind)

GaiamLife: 10 Tips to Help Keep Your New Year’s Resolution 

Gaiam Life’s 10 tips are the ones you’ve read every December online or in magazines. The tried and true tips such as being realistic or planning ahead. But these aren’t circulated around every year for nothing. These simple tips really do work. Talking about your goals with friends helps you be more accountable, and tracking your progress not only shows how far you have to go, but where you came from. A constant reminder of how well you’ve done. Take a quick refresher of the basics at GaiamLife. (via GaiamLife)

Good Luck with your resolutions, and see you next year!

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New to Yoga: Tips for a beginner from a beginner

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I’ve been practicing yoga for about a month now, hot yoga I should add, and now my body, mentally and physically, craves it. I’ve always been athletic and seem to fit the mold of a yogi, health conscious, earth friendly, and here I am… just now picking up this beautiful practice. So what is hot yoga?

“Hot yoga is a series of postures practiced in a warm and humid environment. Temperatures range from 75-105 °F (24-41 °C). The warmth allows you to :

  • stretch your muscles deeper than they would otherwise with less danger of injury
  • detoxifies and cleanse your body via sweat.” – Source

But before I could start to feel like a real yogi, I had  to learn a some tips to make it all fall into place. I wasn’t ready to understand Crow and Pigeon until I had the proper tools and understanding that allowed me to forget about everything else and focus on just yoga.

1. Breathe

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Its hot, and humid, you’re trying to catch your breath, while wiping the sweat out of your eyes, quickly before the teach tells you to, “raise your hips! downward dog” Boy, I’ve been here…forgetting my breathing and just trying to catch up. But what I’ve learned now is, keep the breath slow and steady and the movements will follow pace. The technique of Ujjayi breath, a slow ocean like breath, is quick to understand, but difficult to practice at first. But the difference it can make is huge! Just practicing it a few minutes a day at your desk will help when you step in the studio.

2. Yoga Mat

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Like any other sport, there are so many brands and styles of yoga mats, its an overwhelming task to decide which is best for you. Here’s my suggestion, which I mistakenly did myself, but worked to my benefit.

I bought my first yoga mat my first day of class (rushing to class actually..) It was a steal at $8, and was my favorite color, perfect. First class, I realize hot yoga makes you sweat like your walking through a rain forest with a trash bag on. And with all that sweat, I realized I need a towel over top or a better mat. Next class I opted for a towel over that mat. Still working ok… Second class, happy baby makes my back want to cry and cat/cow is killing my knees. No towel is helping for this one. This cheap mat was just that, cheap. But a good learning tool. By buying the cheaper mat first I could figure out what I really needed to help my practice.

Now that I’ve decided I was serious about yoga, I have some key features I know I want in a mat. It must be made for some serious sweat and allow me to grip on without too much difficultly. It has to be at least 4 mm thick, so I can let my joints take a break. And lastly it must be made for some serious wear and tear. After searching for those criteria I’ve found Manduka Pro Lite. It makes all the difference in the world when you aren’t worrying about knees hurting going into a move or slowing sliding back in warrior.

Quick Tip * to clean your yoga mat, mix 2 parts water 1 part witch hazel and 3 drops your favorite essential oil. Spray and wipe down weekly.

3. Towel(s)

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So you’ve figured out the mat you want, and although you’ve purchased one to not slide around, there is one more way to make it even better. Yogitoes Skidless Towels come in all sorts of different colors and designs, but I swear by this towel for helping me quickly become addicted to yoga. Regular bath towels only worked for me for about a week, and I got frustrated in class when i would lose focus on a hold because my towel was sliding back. My first day with this towel and I was raving to my roommate, so much I bought her one for her birthday. Trust me, anything to help you focus more on what your doing and less worry and if you’re going to fall, I’m in!

And always bring a regular towel to wipe the sweat out of your eyes. You forget it one time, and I promise you’ll never do it again.

4. Water // Spray Bottle

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The weirdest thing I witnessed my first day was people getting their mats or towels wet, I mean weren’t we about to sweat like crazy, is that necessary? YES. As I mentioned before regarding type of mat and the crucial towel to not slip, getting these things damp before the class begins helps you grip onto them better. Sure in a few minutes you’ll be dripping sweat, but those first few minutes are key to getting your body warm and ready, last thing  you want it to slip and slide until your sweaty and sticky.

Water should go without saying, but its the timing you drink the water. Sure bringing a bottle to class is perfect for a thirst quencher, but you need to be hydrating a couple hours before you begin. This will ensure you keep hydrated throughout the practice, and will avoid you to feel light headed. Although its normal to feel a bit light headed your first few classes.

5. Get There Early

Make it a point to get to the studio at least 10 minutes early. Take the time to set up your mat and towel, and stretch around, and start to quiet your mind. This is your time to be selfish and not care about anyone or anything, so take all the time you need. I find just laying down the last 5 minutes before you being helps me focus on why I’ve made it to class and prepare myself mentally for the hour challenge ahead. Besides, you rush around all day from one thing to another, but this one, give it some time…

and ALWAYS thank yourself for  making it to your mat.

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Monday │ Links to Love

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Happy Monday! This week I’ll be starting a new weekly post, called Links to Love. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite information on travel, food, health and tech found on the web. Each week will have a new theme, and introduce stories, videos, podcasts and more!

This week I’m looking at ways to stay healthy through the holidays, both physically and mentally:

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1. Mind Body Green: How to Bring Positive Energy into Your Home:

Things like wrapping paper, pine needles and last minute gifts scattered through a busy apartment can leave it looking like Santa’s workshop. With a house full of holiday festivities, it can leave no room for positive energy to flow.  The holidays season tends to not only bring joy, but also quite a bit of chaos both physically and mentally. Check out Mind Body Green’s tips for bringing positive energy into your space, such as introducing things like pink candles and dried sage. (via Mind Body Green)

2. Greatist: 15 Strategies to Stay Fit

Holiday travel, gift buying and family gatherings make staying active difficult during this time of year. Tips like grabbing a work out buddy, finding promotion deals signing up for local 5Ks make it easy to stay active and have fun. Greatist suggests Including family and friends into physical activities to create new holiday traditions. (via Greatist)

3. Huffington Post: 7 Ways to Experience the Often-Elusive Joy of Christmas

A lot of us typically hold ourselves to a high standard, and the holidays can kick that feeling into overdrive, causing us to build up stress and worry. Huffington Post is sharing some great tips to focus back on the reason for Christmas and ways to manifest the real holiday spirit. Helping us let go of things we cannot control, like that one family member who didn’t make it, and focus on the positives, and celebrate who did. They’re also helping us understand that worry typically means a positive emotion is trying to promote itself, and simple things like bringing back past family traditions. (via HuffingtonPost)

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Top 5 Travel Apps & Websites

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I’m a planner. I can’t help but want to research as much as possible before I even take my first step in a new city.

I’m also fortunate to be growing up in an generation where technology moves faster than any of can keep up with. I couldn’t tell you which cell phone I had before the iPhone arrived, and all my news is read online. All that being said, with an endless supply of Apps and Websites, it can be overwhelming to gather information for an upcoming trip.

So my method of madness usually begins with an idea of a new place to check out, and then I grab my laptop, a notebook and usually a good cup of coffee. Here’s my top picks of travel websites and apps.

5. Pinterest

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Why I love Pinterest so much is that visually it helps me decide where and what I want to explore in a new place. Simply type in the name of the city you’re headed and scroll through 100′s of photos of your destination, whatever catches your eye (and hopefully has the location) take notes. This is how I begin my planning of sights to see. I’ve found alleys in Seattle, waterfalls along the California coast and discovered hikes in Hawaii from this method.

Website: Pinterest 

4. Local Food Blogs

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A quick Google search of food blogs in your destination will usually produce a few pages of hits. Clicking through other people’s suggestions on places to check out and food to taste never fails in discovering something completely unheard of or that great cup of coffee to start your day. Other blogs or foodie website can produce reviews on the new and noteworthy places to swing by or fit into your schedule. I heavily rely on Bon Appetite if I’m headed to a larger city.

Websites: Bon-Appetite  // Serious Eats

3. Kayak

kayak

A trusty site, Kayak has been around for a while now, offering deals across the board for booking travel. I use Kayak for all my hotel travel booking. Easy to use, especially in the Map feature, Kayak has numerous filters to narrow down your search, from price, stars given, to ambiance. Of course some of the smarter features are price alerts, when I know I’m certain of a trip and want to wait till the price drops, getting price alerts sent to me by email saves time and money.

Website: Kayak

2. Trip It App

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       Source

After booking everything for a trip: flights, hotel, rental cars, reservation, ect, I usually end of up with a lot emails holding confirmation numbers and other important information. Trip It helps me organize an entire trip in one App. So incredibly simple, every email confirmation I receive I simply forward the email to my trip it account. Trip It will pull all my valuable information (confirmation #, times, addresses) into one clean itinerary. Its easy to access, even while running through an airport, and filter through anything from flight check in reminders, point tracking to much more, Trip It allows me to keep all my trip details for upcoming trips in one location. Gosh I just love technology.

Website: TripIt

1. Hipmunk

hipmunk

All trips begins with the flight, unless you’ve planned a road trip. But travelling often can become expensive fast, so I rely on Hipmunk for every flight I take. Flights are sorted by price, distance of trip and my favorite agony (how long are you stick in the middle of no where, waiting for your connection?). I frankly I couldn’t travel without fare alerts, similar to Kayak, a simple click and receive emails every time the price changes on your exact flight, and easy to purchase when it hits the lowest, or so you hope the lowest.

Website: Hipmunk

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Happy Friday

Happy Friday

Potluck Friday at the office for Thanksgiving!

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November 22, 2013 · 8:07 am

Daily Bites │ Honeydew Boba Tea

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     Boba Tea, a Tawianses tea-based drink with tapicoa pearls, first stole my heart while I lived in Hong Kong. There’s an overwhelming amount of tea spots in the city, and just like the rest of Hong Kong being quick and convenient is a must.  But now its been a couple years since moving back to the states, and I still long for that delicious milky tea. And good boba tea can be hard to discover. Thankfully I’ve stumbled upon a place serving up some authentic boba teas.

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The Tea Station is one of many spots in Irvine serving up boba milk tea. They offer up some tasty authentic Taiwanese grub as well. Their menu can be overwhelming at first glance, with over a 100 different types of tea and combinations of fruit jellys and boba. │Check out their menu here │ What makes this place great is their boba, little black spheres of chewy goodness, are perfectly cooked (yes cooked) to just the right softness and full of flavor, I usually find this to be the downfall at other tea spots. I continuously ordered the Honeydew Milk tea, with it’s hint of tea and the right amount of sweetness, and always made to order..not from a powder drink.

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Acai Bowls │ Breakfast

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Acai Bowls

Ahh Monday.. we meet again. And so soon?! I must admit, Monday mornings have that feeling of a fresh start! The weekend has come to a close.. laundry is done, the fridge is stocked, weekend dreams have faded away and I’m looking forward to what the new week brings.

But new breakfast ideas can be tough to come up with and not to mention it can quickly become expensive when you grab something on your way into the office. So lately I’ve been looking for something to match that refreshing feeling of a new week, and I found it in a berry from Brazil.

I knew the moment I tasted that oh so refreshing smoothie acai bowl that I’d found the quintessential energizing breakfast for the start of the week. Acai bowls are a mix of cold acai, fresh fruits, crunchy granola and naturally sweetened with agave nectar. Thankfully, Orange County is now teeming with smoothie shops and hipster cafes offering up these breakfast bowls, but buying one everyday would waste time and money. So I searched some recipes and found it relatively easy to recreate once I gathered the ingredients. The acai smoothie packs, made by Samzabon, can be found at most health food stores, I was lucky to find mine at Costco, and with 10 in a box for $10.00.

Acai berries make their way from Cental and South American and are usually touted as having weight loss, anti aging and super food benefits, heck I’m sold.!  Acai Bowls are made by blending acai berries, almond milk, banana and topped with hemp seed, fruits and my favorite addition ..agave nectar. I like to think of it as having acai ice cream for breakfast.

R E C I P E 

Bowl:

  • 2 Sambazon smoothie packs
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup frozen mango

Topping:

  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup berries
  • 1 tbl. Agave nectar
  • ½ cup hemp granola
  1. Blend all the bowl ingredients together.
  2. Cut up berries and banana for topping
  3. Pour acai mix into a bowl or large cup, top with agave nectar, berries, banana and granola.

Recipe Adapted From : Samzabon Acai Bowls

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Micheladas │ Mexican Beer Cocktail

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     Cold nights somehow make me craving a michelada, that fantastic concoction of beer, tomato juice and spices. There’s an infinite number of recipes to make one of Mexico’s most popular drink, but often I find its done incorrectly or with a lack of passion. It breaks my heart when a michelada is made with bloody mary mix and a salted rim, oy. So when I’m craving one at home on a cool fall night, I figure I have a better shot of making one myself than trying to find one local…

Web searching and rounding up the ingredients I did had, maybe making here and there substitutions and adding a splash more of this and that, I threw all the players in a mug and presto! A michelada I could be proud of! Perfect amount of all the right things that make micheladas that beer with a bite;  I undoubtedly could have used less chili powder on the rim, but what the hell, I said it was a cold night.

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I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 1 can of Mexican beer. I happened to have Modelo
  • Equal parts to beer of Clamato juice // get the spicy kind if you can find
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco // if you just have regular Clamato
  • 1 1/2 tb. of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. pico de gallo seasoning
  • Chili powder
  • lime
  1. In a large cup, add a handful of ice. Add lemon juice, clamato juice, (in goes the Tabasco if needed) and beer and shake or stir around.
  2. Then add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and pico de gallo seasoning, give a good stir.
  3. Next rim the mug or a highball glass. On two two small plates, add some lemon juice on one and the other a mix of the pico del gallo and chili powder. Go from lemon juice to the powder, pour in the michelada cocktail and add fresh lime.

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Daily Bites │Morning Coffee

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It may be my favorite moment of travel, ah, that first cup of coffee in a new city, there’s nothing quite like it. Whether I’m be stepping off a plane after a long  red eye, enjoying an early morning in the hotel or wandering into a local coffee shop, I always seem to remember these brief moments of stillness. The calm before the storm, if you will. I’m usually waiting for my coffee to cool, as I get to gather my thoughts, plan out the day, and observe the morning hustle. More importantly its the only way I can start a new adventure.

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