Be The Person That Your Yoga Mat Thinks You Are

I just love that quote!!!  So true…when we are on our yoga mats we are thinking positive, healing, profound thoughts that we hope will follow us off the mat and into our everyday life.  Since starting my yoga journey, I have definitely benefitted from my practice.  I do feel calmer and more centered, but I also have had the summer off so I’m sure that is part of it too.  Here are some thoughts that I try to carry off the mat.

*ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE…YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP.
*JUST BECAUSE OTHERS ARE COMPLAINING OR SEEING EVERYTHING WITH A NEGATIVE MINDSET DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THEIR LEAN.  IF YOU ARE AT PEACE, GO WITH IT AND SEE JOY IN ALL SITUATIONS.

 

*I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS ONE ALL SUMMER.  WHENEVER I WOULD SEE SOMETHING THAT ANGERED ME OR BOTHERED ME, INSTEAD OF THINKING OR SAYING A JUDGMENTAL THOUGHT, I TRIED TO SEE THE GOOD IN THE SITUATION OR HAVE EMPATHY FOR THE PERSON OR PEOPLE.

 

*THIS HAS BEEN PHRASED IN DIFFERENT WAYS…ANOTHER QUOTE THAT IS SIMILAR TO THIS IS ENERGY FLOWS WHERE YOUR ATTENTION GOES.  IF YOU THINK POSITIVE, JOYFUL THOUGHTS… THAT IS WHAT YOU’LL MANIFEST.  IF YOU THINK NEGATIVE, JUDGMENTAL THOUGHTS, THAT IS WHAT YOU’LL MANIFEST.

 

When I’m at my yoga classes, this is the beautiful mat that I use.  I just got it and I LOVE It.  It is a Yohola cork mat.  Talk about no slipping!!!  I sweat a lot even though it’s not hot yoga and my hands DO NOT SLIP!!!  It is so great.  This company is in South Carolina and they have a green, sustainable business with great products.  This is the design that I got on my mat, but there are others to choose from.  There are also mats with no design and there are different thicknesses and types to choose from.  I got an Aura mat, but I emailed them because I wasn’t sure if it was the right one for me because my hands sweat so much.  They got back to me with a recommendation.  If these seem like the mats for you, click here (affiliate link) to explore the wonderful world of Yohola Yoga.  You receive a 10% discount with this link:)

If you order a mat, have a mat you love, practice on the grass…no matter how you yoga, I hope that you live your life off the mat with all the joy, calm, love and focus that you have on your mat.

Wanderlust 108 Boston for Yoga Lovers

I attended the Wanderlust 108 festival today in Boston and I can’t even express to you how awesome it was. It was supposed to rain all day and the bright sun came out giving a lovely glow all around the festival. The festival was held at the DCR Hatch Shell, which is where the Boston Pops perform on 4th of July. The setting could not have been more glorious and the energy was so positive and uplifting.

So let me go way back to before this festival came to town.  I was debating whether I was going to go.  I am a HUGE fan of Yoga with Adriene on Youtube and I follow her on Instagram and Facebook.  There was a post on her Instagram saying she was coming to Boston.  Wait!!!  What??!!  She’s coming HERE!!!  The post also said that if you emailed her “Find What Feels Good” peeps you would be put into consideration for a free ticket to the festival.  So after hyperventilating (not really), I sent off an email saying how much I loved Adriene and how she is the reason I got into yoga.

Well, I got an email back saying I was being offered a ticket.  Wow!!!  Not only was Adriene coming to Boston, but she gave me a ticket too.  So I headed down to Boston early this morning with me, myself and I.  I knew it was going to be a good day when I met some yogis in the parking garage and we all walked over to the festival together.  I checked in AND got a FRONT ROW SPOT for my mat.  Yesssssss!!!!

MINDFUL TRIATHLON

This was billed as a “Mindful Triathlon”, the first and only one ever.  The first leg of the triathlon was a 5k run/walk, which I couldn’t participate in because I have some hip issues.  If I did the 5k, I wouldn’t have been able to do yoga and yoga was my reason for being there.  While most people were 5k-ing, I visited the Kula market, which had lots of free samples, food, yoga inspired clothes & jewelry and the Adidas souvenir tent.  You didn’t even need to bring any food because there were so many free samples, including Late July and Yasso frozen yogurt.

YOGA AND MEDITATION

Adriene did a 75-minute yoga class, which was so awesome.  I love her style and have done many of her Youtube videos at home so it was the perfect flow for me.  She is very knowledgeable and also very funny so I appreciated her addition of little jokes here and there.  Adriene is compassionate and accepting and wants everyone to be comfortable in their practice no matter what level they are at.  After her class, there was a 25 minute meditation by Enrique Collazo.  It was a perfect ending to the practice with the breeze blowing off the Charles River.  Just perfect!!!

MEET AND GREET

After the meditation, Adriene made sure to take pictures and talk with all her fans.  She was humble, loving and just downright awesome.  So glad I got to interact with her.  If you haven’t experienced a Yoga with Adriene class, click here.  You will not be disappointed.

The Wanderlust 108 festival will be visiting Brooklyn and Washington, DC in September along with many worldwide locations.  If you love yoga, check it out.

Farmers Market: Yes Please!

I have been struggling a little with adding a nutrition post to my blog.  Then it hit me…Farmer’s Market!!  There is one near my Saturday morning workout class so I thought, perfect!  The weather is beautiful and I need some fresh produce.  Something to look forward to after a tough workout.

location

My local Farmer’s Market has a lovely location right on a lake.  There is a nice breeze and lots of trees so even if it’s a hot day, it is comfortable walk around the market.  This particular Farmer’s Market has fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, dog treats, fish, coffee, pasta, jellies as well as a few craft tables.  There was also live music.

goodies

When I go to a Farmer’s Market, it is usually to buy items that are healthiest for me.  However, there are so many yummy baked goods that it is hard to resist.  I bought some homemade bread, which I felt was the least unhealthy of all the baked goods that were offered.  If I was told that I could only have one type of food for the rest of my life, I would probably choose bread.  So delish!!!

fresh produce

I truly did stop at the fresh produce table first.  I just love all the bright colors and selection that is offered.  My son loves strawberries so I got him a pint of those.  I also got red lead lettuce and the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen.  I will be using those for zoodles later today.  This particular farm also offered beets, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, many types of squash, basil plants and some other greens.  They had samples of their raspberries and they were so good.

The prices at Farmer’s Markets aren’t always the cheapest, but they are reasonable for what you are getting.  There is no middle man when picking out your produce.  The produce is picked, put on a truck and then you buy it…pretty simple process.  I just love the colors and outdoor atmosphere of shopping at a Farmer’s Market.  It makes me want to bring a bottle of dressing and make a salad right there.

Local Harvest is a great tool to find the Farmer’s Market nearest you.  Just enter your location and it will tell you where and when you can visit your closest Farmer’s Market.  Give that a resource a try…you may be pleasantly surprised by how many markets you find in your area.  Happy, Healthy Shopping!!

Guest Post: My Yoga Journey – Who I Was and Where I Want to Be

Welcome to Lia Johnson-Baker from The Yogi Turtle.  She is doing a guest post on my blog.

introduction

Hi my inspiring people, my name is Lia and it’s honestly such an honor to write a guest piece for Kim. I’m excited to getting to know everyone and hopefully help the best way I can. I am an inspiring person and yogi with big, big dreams. I’ve been doing yoga for almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most life changing lifestyle I have ever done. Now I say one of, because I do a lot of things. Scuba dive, save sea turtles, play music. But yoga is one of the things that stick and balance out the other activities I do in my spare time. Yoga has made me more patient, open minded, more forgiving, and most of all inspiring person and yogi with big, big dreams.

I’ve been doing yoga for almost 2 years, and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the most life changing lifestyle I have ever done. Now I say one of because I do a lot of things. Scuba dive, save sea turtles, play music. But yoga is one of the things that stick and balance out the other activities I do in my spare time. Yoga has made me more patient, open minded, more forgiving, and most of all e who reads this, Where I was, and where I’m going.

first start

I first started getting into yoga around November 2015, It was a pretty cool studio called Apex. It was nerve racking at first, because of course, like everyone else that has tried yoga, or working out in general, you had to have muscles or be flexible before going in. Not the case at all, I could definitely feel the transition in energy when I came in those doors, tt was indescribable experience. Though the class was difficult for a beginner, it was one of the most memorable classes and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t tried take a class at least once.

My awesome yoga instructor Ceiara Cartony is truly amazing, she’s very kind and patient and she has had a complex journey that she shares that is truly relatable. After that first class, I wanted to learn more so I started to take private lessons from her. It was then after a year I because advanced in my poses and I decided after I learned crow pose, I wanted to start a blog.

I wanted to get my story and journey out there because I feel like I can inspire people in where they want to go in life, or find out who they are as a person and how they can better themselves. It was difficult at first because I was still trying to figure out who I was (and still am) I’m more open to trying new things and experiment and be more open minded. The first leap of faith I did was starting my own blog. It may not be perfect but I feel like it’s me and my story and journey is out there.

the yogi turtle

After I created my blog, I wanted to find out more about other yogis, events, etc. That’s where Wanderlust came in. I took my first spontaneous trip to my neighbor state, GA and did my first 5k, tried vegan food and kombucha for the first time. This was something I never thought that I would be able to do 6 months ago and I would definitely do it again. I’d love to become a yoga instructor someday and help and give back to others the more I learn about myself.  

Getting into yoga and staying on that journey can be very difficult. Yoga is not just about the physical practice, that’s just the icing on the cake. There’s also being open and learning about the philosophy, finding your own path to where you want to go. I encourage to try at least once, and be open to it. It’s a wonderful experience and you definitely want to share it with others.   

Keep Calm and Yoga On with Restorative Yoga

I recently attended a restorative yoga workshop and it was the BEST THING EVER!!  This class is highly recommend for anyone who likes to be relaxed, uplifted and calm.  I wish one was held every Friday night instead of one Friday a month.  There were some yoga must-haves at this class that I want to share with you.  (This post contains affiliate links.)

therapy balls

Let me just say two things about this must-have:  ouch and ahhhhh.  Okay…those have complete opposite meanings, but it totally works here.  We used them between a yoga block and our neck while laying on a mat.  I moved my head in a yes gesture and a no gesture and it massaged the knots out of my neck.  There is the ouch.  At the conclusion of the mini-massage is when the there was the ahhhhh .

yoga bolster

yoga bolster is a large, cylindrical pillow used in different poses.  In one pose we did a shoulder back bend over the bolster.  We also hung our knees over it during a relaxation pose.  I will be use it when I do the neck massage with the therapy balls so that I can relax my legs.  I have hip dysplasia and sometimes it is painful to lay my left leg flat on the floor.  Being able to hang my legs over the bolster is a much more comfortable, relaxing pose for me.

lavender eye pillow

Need I say more about this wonderful relaxation necessity.  Put this over your eyes during any meditation, relaxation pose, or when you just want to feel calm and totally relaxed.  We used them for all the restorative poses when we were on our backs.  Sooooooooo good!!!

What are your yoga must-haves?  Please let me know in the comments.  As always, I have learned so much from my readers and always love to here about your successes and resources that you love.

Healing Crystals: A Beginner’s Guide

I just started researching the use of and properties of healing crystals. When I started my meditation journey, crystals seemed to be a perfect complement and their uses have always intrigued me.  I researched some many crystals online and bought several pendants. My belief was I would just put them on and…boom…they would work their magic.  What did I know??

So I found a local crystal shop and went in search of more crystals.  When I got there, I didn’t realize I’d get an education too.  What a great place!! As I walked up, I knew I was in the right place because I could smell the earthy aroma of patchouli.  When I walked inside, I was enveloped in such a positive energy.

The woman at the counter was telling another customer about using a pendulum so I listened in.  I was fascinated.  I then picked up some crystals and she explained how to use them.  Here are the steps that she imparted upon me as a routine for whenever I get a new crystal.

1 – Run it under water

to clear away any of the old energy that lingers.  She explained that so many different people touch the crystal from when it is dug up to when it is put out in their shop so you need to clear its energy for your use.

2 – Ask the universe

to remove all negativity while it runs under the water.

3 – Set the intention

of the crystal by saying a mantra, such as I set the intention for this stone to be used for the greatest good.  I dedicate this crystal for the use of (your intended use).  In this way, you will connect to the crystal.

4 – Use selenite 

because it is the cleanser of all crystals.  She showed me a larger disc of selenite, which you can put your crystals on overnight so that they are cleansed for each day.  You need to then cleanse the selenite weekly too.

5 – Clear all crystals

every few months to keep them in working order.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of crystal use, it is just information that I found useful and wanted to share with others who may have similar questions.  I bought a rose quartz pendant and have been wearing it for several weeks, but didn’t feel it was effective.  Now that I know that I needed to clear it, I am feeling excited about using it.

Here are some of the crystals that I chose to start me collection:

Selenite

This crystal brings white light vibrations to any situation.  It assists with insight and non-judgment and supports clarity of mind and thoughts.  Selenite aligns spin and promotes flexibility.  Also clears energy blocks and promotes healing on a cellular level.

Pink Mangano Calcite

Heart Crystal…This crystal connects to angels and is the stone of forgiveness.  It releases fear and grief that keeps your heart in the past.  Aids in self-worth and helps relieve stress, tension and anxiety.

Apatite

Stone of manifestation…It helps one develop their spiritual gifts and deepens meditation.  Supports communication and self-expression on all levels.  Increases motivation and eases feelings of apathy, sorrow and anger.  Soothes emotional exhaustion.  Opens the throat chakra and helps heal the heart.

I’m hoping this introduction to crystals is as helpful to you as it is to me. I can’t wait to use these crystals and add more to my collection.  It is a fascinating, joyous, exciting part of my self-care journey and I can’t wait to continue this adventure.

 

Guest Post: Body Positivity 101

This is a guest post from Kara of Chin Up, Sweetie.

Body positivity is such a huge combination of different ingredients – sugar, spice and everything nice ! –  ( a powerpuff girls reference for You right there ) . But in all seriousness , body positivity means different things for different people – and that is the exciting part !

For me it’s simply loving Your body and accepting Your flaws . It’s a lifestyle . It’s knowing and acknowledging that Your body doesn’t need to fit any standards set by others . You set Your own standards ! Everybody is a different type of beautiful  .

Body positivity is beautiful .

And beautiful is healthy . Not necessarily healthy as in weighing below a certain number or eating super healthy meals . Healthy as in – as long as You feel good in Your own body .

Body positivity is not promoting obesity . It’s not promoting losing weight either . It’s promoting to be Yourself . Promoting to love Yourself for being able to be Yourself and feel good about it . It’s not just a ” thing ” for ” curvy ” people .

If You haven’t noticed yet – body positivity is also available in the men edition! Women may be more vocal about it , but it doesn’t mean that guys don’t struggle with this issue .

It is not just about the human appearance . It’s a mind set .  A mind set that I believe could change the world to be a better place . If we just accepted each other for who we are … if we could avoid the hate , the nasty comments , the ” go lose some weight ” ,  the ” go eat a burger ” , the abuse … I would love to experience a world free of body shamers .  But while some people are too busy  spreading the negativity – let’s spend our time more wisely and spread the word of body positivity instead 🙂 !

Do what You want with Your body !

Nobody should judge the things You decide to do with it . Getting a tattoo , a piercing , even plastic surgery – if that is what it takes to make You feel great – go ahead ! People are free to have their own opinions , everybody feels different about what is considered beautiful and what is not . Do not let that discourage You ! It is always going to be about preferences , and if that is what You prefer – do not let anybody hold You back .

I could talk about this topic for days , but these were the few things that I feel strongly about regarding the body positivity topic . There is just one thing I would like to say – be happy 🙂 ! And Love Your body in every state 🙂 !

21-Day Soul Cleanse: Yes Please!

I am a huge fan of Rebekah Borucki of Bexlife.  Currently, I am doing her 21-Day Soul Cleanse and it is perfect timing.   I have added this to my meditation and self-care journey and I’m so thrilled about it.

The 21-Day Soul Cleanse covers many different self-care activities and each day the activity is short and easy to accomplish.  I love that the daily activities are varied and include meditations, tasks and journaling.  Since I am reading Bex’ book, listened to a podcast interview and have done many of her Youtube meditations, many of the activities were familiar to me. Even if you have not had any experience with Bexlife, the cleanse is so easy to follow.  She gives step-by-step instructions and includes links to all resources needed for the tasks and meditations.

Another part of the 21-Day Soul Cleanse is a 7-Day Soul Cleanse diet.  I personally don’t like to call an eating plan a diet because diets are temporary while changing eating habits is a permanent, lifelong way of living.  I’m not as dedicated to the eating plan as the Soul Cleanse, but there are definitely great recipes and healthy habits that you can adapt and adopt from it.

Rebekah is such an awesome practitioner and she is offering a special discount to my readers.  The full cost of the program is a great buy at $29 and she is offering it to you for $19.  You cannot beat that price for a great self-care resource.  I am not receiving any compensation for this post…I just really love and believe in this program and wanted to share it with others.

Guest Post: Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

I have a guest poster this week:  Sheli from Nutritionista Abroad.  Sheli is a wife, a dog mom, a dietitian, a cook, an occasional baker, a health and fitness enthusiast, a wannabe yogi, and a new expat. She blogs about nutrition travel and is passionate about helping everyone discover how amazing it feels to nourish our bodies.

Why choose a plant-based diet?

There are many different reasons people chose to adopt a plant based lifestyle but whatever the reason, the health benefits of making this change are undeniable.  One reason many yogis choose this lifestyle is because they honor the Ahimsa Principle, one of the eight limbs of yoga. This principle is the practice of nonviolence and encourages you to do no harm. This applies to all beings of the earth, including animals.

Middle Eastern Bean Salad

There are many great documentaries available that dive into each of the reasons why someone might chose to live a plant-based lifestyle – health, environmental, and ethical. I’ll stick strictly to the health benefits. But first, I’d like to address one big issue many people cite as a reason not to follow a plant-based diet, and that is protein.

Where do you get your protein?

Many people believe that you must eat meat and animal products to meet your protein needs. This is a complete myth. In fact, an excess of protein in your diet can lead to healthy problems, such as kidney disease. Digesting meat is also very difficult on your gastrointestinal system. There are many high protein vegetarian, and even vegan foods. Many vegetarians choose to include yogurt, eggs, milk, and cheese in their diets, all of which are also good sources of protein.

Vegans have lots of great options too. Lentils, all types of beans, quinoa, rice, oatmeal, chia seeds, hemp or soy milk, edamame, spinach, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, and seitan are all excellent sources.

To calculate your protein needs, simply multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8. For example, a 60 kg person would need 48 grams of protein per day. This requirement can easily be exceeded by including:

  • 1 cup oatmeal + 2 Tbsp peanut butter = 14 grams
  • 1 cup lentils = 18 grams
  • 1 cup quinoa + ½ cup black beans = 28 grams
    • Total protein intake = 60 grams

There are many food combinations that will allow you to reach your protein needs, the above is just one example. There are also an endless number of ways to flavor lentils and quinoa. Pinterest is a great resource for recipes but a simple Google search will provide many options as well.

Weight Loss and Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that people who adopt a plant-based diet can lose more weight than those who eat a diet including meat. One study showed that weight loss occurred with the adoption of the plant-based diet alone. This means that the participants made no changes to their exercise routine and they did not count any calories or have any diet restrictions other than animal products.  A plant-based diet can also decrease your risk of developing diabetes and even reverse the disease. Plant based diets are very high in fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar. Fiber helps to keep you full, which means the more fiber you eat, the less calories you will consume. This lower calorie diet will lead to weight loss, which will also decrease your risk of developing diabetes, and help your body regulate blood sugar.

Heart Health and Lower Blood Pressure

Cholesterol is made in the liver, therefore only foods from an animal have cholesterol. We do not need any dietary cholesterol – our own bodies can easily make all that we need. Vegetarian diets are very low in cholesterol and vegan diets are free of cholesterol. Plant-based diets are also very low in saturated fat and salt. Studies have shown that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol, even if the amount and type of fat ingested is the same. Studies have also shown that by eliminating meat from the diet alone participants could lower their blood pressure. When meat was reintroduced to their diet, blood pressure quickly rose back to pre-study levels. By increasing the amount of fresh vegetables and fruit in the diet, this generally leads to a reduction of processed foods. This lowers the daily sodium intake, which also has a positive effect on blood pressure.

Lower Cancer Risk

Plant-based diets are full of antioxidants from the recommended amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Colon cancer is also linked to high dietary intake of meat. Breast and prostate cancers also occur less often in those who follow a plant based diet. Research is ongoing to examine further effects of adhering to a plant-based diet on other types of cancer.

Where to Begin

If you’re not sure where to start, it can be helpful to begin by adopting a ‘flexitarian’ diet initially and work your way up to excluding more animal products as you feel comfortable. This will help prevent any feelings of being deprived of foods and help you make this a long-term lifestyle change.

You could begin by choosing a meal each day that will not contain any meat. Perhaps for the first week you’ll choose a plant-based breakfast each day. The next week, you can build on that and make both breakfast and lunch plant-based meals, and continue until you have eliminated the desired level of meat and animal products that you wish to reach.

Changing your diet can seem like a daunting task, especially in social situations. But, in most cases, it’s much easier than you might think. Most menus have vegetarian options. If you don’t see any on the menu, just ask your server. The number of vegetarians is rising rapidly so chances are you won’t be the only one wanting more plant-based options.

There’s no better time to start than now. Choose something you can start with today and build on that. You’ll begin experiencing all the benefits of a plant-based diet and you’ll never go back!

Here are some recipes from Sheli’s website…give them a look…they sound so delicious!!!

High Protein Pumpkin Granola

Lemon Almond Bread