Tag Archives: yoga

  1. The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    Our thoughts have the power to transform our reality.

    The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam – Respond to negative thoughts and patterns by thinking and doing the opposite.

    If you’ve followed Tasty Yummies for sometime, you are aware that my yoga practice has played a very integral role in my healing and my health, along with my journey toward self-love and self-confidence. I jokingly say that yoga is the gateway drug that came into my life, rocked me and changed me forever – the “drug” that got me on the path to healing. But in full honesty it truly was the stepping stone that brought me to a place where I could finally prioritize my health and from a totally non-ego centered approach, it allowed me to place ME and my happiness above all else. Yoga was the first introduction I had to learning to love and celebrate my body, to trusting myself and most importantly, to knowing that I was actually worthy of being happy, vibrant and well.

    It was sometime in 2006 that I first stepped onto my yoga mat, and while I didn’t know this at that time, it was that first unrolling of my mat that fully changed the trajectory of my life moving forward. It was the first time that I made a choice to prioritize my self-care above all else, to give myself permission to fully love myself and to trust that what lied ahead, while intensely challenging, would make for a better version of me.

    My yoga practice has evolved greatly over the years. From a daily, rigid, before dawn, self-led mysore practice, to group ashtanga practice, to sweaty vinyasa classes anywhere and everywhere I could take them in, from coast to coast. A few years ago my personal practice eventually reached a place that I was yearning for more and it was then that I received my 200-hour and then 500-hour certification to teach, which I used to host retreats and teach regular classes, publicly and privately. These days, my personal yoga practice is much more private and intimate, with a far less stringent, regimented approach.

    While I don’t have a scheduled 90 minute practice daily anymore, yoga still seeps into every single one of my days, even if just by way of the philosophies and methodologies inspiring my approach to daily living. Often it’s the practice of conscious breath work in a stressful moment, or quite literally physical stretches prior to or just after lifting heavy weights or having a rigorous workout of some kind. Some days I make my way to the beach to flow. Often I don’t. I find myself, most days, without consciousness, creating a symphony of breath and movement when I need it most or finding that beautiful balance between effort and steadiness in all aspects of my living. There may not be any greater constant in my life than the practices I have cultivated through yoga.

    Throughout my yoga teacher training in 2014, I had a great many lightbulb moments. Literally open mouth “Aha!” moments. Realizations not just in what my body and mind were capable of, but rather in recognizing the control that I had unknowingly harnessed through my practice over the years up to that point. The control of creating my own happiness on the mat and in my life. There were beautiful practices that I had cultivated, unconsciously, which greatly contributed to changing me and much of it finally had explanation with these teachings. I could finally put words and thoughts to them and almost tangibly hold them in my hands so that I could study, cultivate, practice and share them with others.

    Studying the yoga sutras and more specifically, Pratipaksha Bhavanam, were probably the most eye-opening aspects of my teacher training and to this day, despite my practice and my teaching career having changed drastically than what I ever could have imagined, they continue to provide daily practices and inspiration for a better life.

    The Healing Practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam

    Yoga at 8,839 feet?

    It was at the very top of Half Dome mountain on a trip to Yosemite last week, at the end of the most intense and rigorous hike (and experience) of my life, after facing my biggest fears and heading head on into place of great discomfort – that I had a great moment of true revelation! It was on top of that mountain, while sobbing in pure pride for what I had just accomplished, that I had the great realization that it was my yoga and the practice of Pratipaksha Bhavanam that got me through and to the top of that mountain that day! Both literally in the actual hike to the peak, but also the years of healing and transformation that led me to even being able to take that journey to be there, in the first place.

    In every moment of self-doubt on the journey that day, in every intense thought of great fear, in every question of “But, what if I fall?” I had the unconscious ability to tap into this important practice and change both the dialogue and the outcome. I wouldn’t allow it to continue, I honored it in the moment, I expressed gratitude for it’s teachings and it’s purpose, then I shut that shit down and then literally heard the words – “Oh, my darling, but what if you fly?” (Erin Hanson)

     
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  2. New Year Release Ritual

    New Year Release Ritual

    2016 will go down in the books as an intensely challenging and pivotal year for a great deal of us. If you too are counting down the days to starting over in 2017 with a vow to change and have a better year, let’s reflect on these resolutions and how to make them last. Mentally we need that idea of pressing a magic reset button in hope that we can leave our baggage behind in a four digit number and wash our hands of it.  By the end of the year it’s as if our candle has been burned at both ends and we grasp at the belief of starting over at the stroke of midnight.

    I have learned through my own ritual work with the moon and seasons that everything is on a cycle and having our own practice to mark the beginning and end of them can help you manifest things you want to attract and release that which no longer serves you. The moon expands, gets full and bright and then retracts until its dark only to start the cycle again. In the fall, the leaves die and fall off of the trees, everything retreats and goes within for Winter and emerges with new life and birth in Spring. We are not immune to these natural cycles. It’s why we focus so much on the New Year!  But before we can make room to bring new things into our lives, we must release the old and clear out the clutter. I am going to help you set this intention for release through a simple ritual I have experienced results with.

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  3. Simple Self Care

    Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    I am excited to bring you the first post in an ongoing series from Brook Albrigo, a Shamanic Reiki Master and very dear friend of mine. You have heard me speak previously about the very important roles that reiki and the subtle body have played in my healing journey, I have also shared very specific details of healing sessions with Brook. Brook will be joining us here monthly to share more about reiki and the strong influence in which energetics can play in healing, including simple tips to restore balance and promote vitality and wellness.

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    Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    When will the rollercoaster of emotions from the past few weeks stop?  The severe divisions, the resulting solidarity being shown in protests and by people vowing to stand up for one another, the complete shock of realizing how profoundly the beliefs of others can potentially affect us. If the current events have left you raw, breaking down crying at the grocery store, or fumbling for control of your anger or incredulousness perhaps what I have to share can help you get your bearings amidst absorbing other peoples’ emotions and amplifying this difficult time. The beauty of this is that we are all waking up to just how deeply connected we are to one another.

    In hindsight, as I was in Yosemite national park a week before election day, the powerful flow of the storm fed waterfalls and rivers were a premonition. I gathered strength from the waters, mountains and trees not knowing I was being prepared for the events that were to follow. As a shamanic healer I use a technique known as Nature divination- the practice of connecting to elements in nature to receive guidance. Messages come from particular nature spirits -like trees, plants, mountains or waterfalls.  We believe in shamanism that everything has a spirit living inside of it that we can communicate with if we learn how to listen. On my solo adventures on hiking trails, I gave attention to each rock, tree and animal; tuned to receive messages. Lucky for me, I was alone and spared the curiosity of fellow hikers wondering why I was talking to a tree!

    Simple Self Care

    I was intensely concerned with the violence and conflict at Standing Rock in North Dakota and while the guidance I sought was regarding that situation, I found it to be relevant to what we are experiencing today as a human collective and have felt comforted by receiving this knowledge. When we feel helpless, sometimes that is a sign that we need to re-center and remember that we are part of a higher calling, a bigger picture, and we should listen to our guides that are right in front of us everyday. This is how I was able to maintain the past week and be of assistance to others.
    I realized the tools and techniques needed to ground and care for ourselves may get lost in the daily shuffle of life but they are always there and I have created a simple list of self-care rituals to help us all through. We just need to decide our well being is worth making the time for and be willing to get a little bit out of our comfort zones.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    I am so excited to introduce you all to Brook Albrigo, a very dear friend of mine. You have heard me speak previously about the very important roles that reiki and the subtle body have played in my healing journey, I have also shared very specific details of healing sessions with Brook. I am very honored to announce that Brook will be joining us here monthly to share more about reiki and the strong influence in which energetics can play in healing, including simple tips to restore balance and promote vitality and wellness.

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    Meet Brook: Shamanic Reiki Master

    If someone had told me 6 years ago that I would become a Shamanic Reiki Master I would’ve laughed in their face and told them to get their head checked. Those words just didn’t exist in my vocabulary until the day, immobile and injured, I sought physical pain relief and found healing on an extraordinary level.
    The path that followed was one I never for one moment felt that I chose, but rather that it chose me. I had to surrender to it or be dragged kicking and screaming. Either way, THIS was happening!

    Before I discovered healing through energy work, I was completely comfortable in my routine of self destructive and toxic co-dependent ways. I was living in New York City, working in the beauty industry, sometimes working weeks without a day off. I was convinced all the sacrifice would pay off – it’s all part of the ‘city hustle’ and you can sleep when you’re dead, right?  The stress and disregard for self care was so out of control that I had developed insomnia, digestive issues, a constant eye twitch and I couldn’t calm my nerves enough to take the subway home without at least two drinks in my system.

    Looking back and knowing what I know now, this was all just a major distraction. A diversion I had unknowingly created to avoid the real issues underneath the surface.  I was more willing to sacrifice my health, happiness and overall well-being than face the hard truth – I simply did not love myself. Even worse, I hated myself. I had been on antidepressants for years trying to numb this feeling of never being enough or worthy. I was adept at smiling and pretending that I had it all together, but deep down was this great deal of self loathing and suffering. While initially antidepressants did help me get through a tough time, I had come to rely on them for too long and wanted to eventually come off, but did not think I was capable. All of these circumstances combined with my Saturn Return (an event that happens to all of us about every 28—30 years which brings about major change), the perfect storm was created.
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  5. Get a More Restful Night’s Sleep with Bedtime Yoga and a Boosted Sleepy Time Tea

    Get a More Restful Night's Sleep with Bedtime Yoga and a Boosted Sleepy Time Tea

    Get a More Restful Night’s Sleep with Bedtime Yoga and a Boosted Sleepy Time Tea

    My yoga practice, while ever evolving, has played a role in my health and healing for about 10 years now. The beauty of the practice, whether it’s a powerful 90 minute vinyasa flow or a 30 minute restorative session of just a few long-holding poses – yoga has the power to refresh, to heal and to replenish the body.

    I have shifted from the more powerful, long, morning vinyasa practices of my past to instead beginning my days with strength training sessions at the gym in the morning, with light yoga asana weaved throughout and these days I try to always finish my day with a little restorative yoga before bed. I have a new found appreciation for yoga’s power to ease me into a restful and quality sleep, through deep breathing and the physical release of tension.

    No matter what poses you include and no matter the reason you were brought to your mat in the first place, yoga always places an emphasis on the combination and synchronization of breath and movement. This combination activates your parasympathetic nervous system which helps to alleviate stress and calm the body, together these can make a regular bedtime yoga practice a very effective sleep remedy.

    Sleep is such an important and often neglected part of our lives, but this is when our body repairs on a cellular level, it digests and detoxifies, removing toxins, so it’s vital that we be getting 6-8 hours every single night. Maybe you can’t shut your brain off or maybe you toss and turn all night struggling to get comfortable. Whatever the reason, there are studies galore that prove the increased health risks associated with sleeplessness.

    Give yourself 10 minutes before bedtime to include this simple sequence of gentle poses paired with this boosted sleepy time tea featuring Vital Proteins‘ Collagen, to let go of your day and prepare for a lovely night’s rest. You can even get yourself set up right on the bed, so you can stretch it out and roll right under the covers for your savasana.

    Before your start your bedtime yoga ritual…

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  6. The Benefits of Travel

    The Islands of Loreto, Baja California Sur

    If you follow me on social media, you have probably noticed how much traveling I have been doing this year. Being on the road, exploring and discovering – this ignites my soul in a way that I can’t even express into simple words. Just this year alone, I have been on-the-go in bustling cities, I have ventured home to experience the comforts of family and my old stomping grounds, I have hosted and experienced retreats in the forest of Northern California, amongst the mighty sequoias and at an ashram in the desert and I visited a bison ranch run by an inspiring family, following traditional and sustainable practices. However, one of the most relaxing trips I have taken this year, was the luxury and rejuvenation I experienced in Loreto, Mexico, in the Baja California Sur. {You can read a bit about this incredible trip and the delicious food, here}

    The Islands of Loreto, Baja California Sur

    In the Indian culture there is a tradition of taking retreats to rejuvenate and revitalize the body, mind, and spirit. This is time away from work and responsibilities to focus on the self, to gather strength and wisdom so that we can return to society with new energy and enthusiasm. Yet here in the west we rarely allow ourselves such a luxury. We work too hard, too much, and don’t allow enough time in the day for contemplation, let alone an entire day to devote to our spiritual growth. And we feel it – maybe over time it happens so gradually that we get used to the sluggishness and struggle – but that’s not the way life is supposed to be.

    Taking vacations can improve health in several measurable ways. So let’s chat about the Benefits of Travel. Read the rest of this entry »

  7. GATHER // Women’s Empowerment Retreat // Southern California

    Gather Women's Retreat Southern California

    This Spring, Wild Spirit Retreats hosted RISE, our first women’s retreat of it’s kind. We were blessed with an incredible group of women who came together to cultivate a magical weekend of healing and deep connection. We moved together, we created, we feasted, we laughed those incredible heart-warming belly laughs that can fuel you for months and there were many tears shed as we dove deep into our souls, hand-in-hand with each other. I am honored to have been able to share my passions, to have nourished and shared space with those 23 beautiful souls. As a teacher, I found myself learning from my students, so much about myself and this journey we are all on together and I am still swelling with gratitude for the lifelong friendships that were formed during our gathering.

    I am so excited to announce our next Women’s Empowerment Retreat, GATHER, a sacred, women’s-only gathering in Southern California, October 2-5, 2015.

    Gather Women's Retreat Southern California

    G A T H E R is a harvest for the soul.
    A journey into the abundance of the Earth.

    A place to forage for light,
    to explore the field of the spirit,
    to discover the wonders around and within us.

    This is an exploration of your wild heart.
    An offering to your highest self.
    A place to find your tribe.

    This is a celebration of the Earth goddess within.

    Gather Women's Retreat Southern California

    What is GATHER?

    GATHER is a 4-day Women’s Empowerment Retreat combining yoga, meditation, ceremony, cooking and connection. GATHER will take place in Southern California, being held at the Akashas Vedanta Ashram in Ramona, CA, in San Diego County, October 2-5, 2015. The entire retreat is 100% gluten-free.

    We will be offering multiple daily yoga classes, guided meditation and ceremony sessions, various cooking workshops and demos, creative workshops and more. You can see the sample schedule here.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  8. How-to Pack for a Yoga Festival

    How-to Pack for a Yoga Festival

    I am hitting the road tomorrow, heading to Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley for the Wanderlust Festival. I have been counting down the days to this trip, for months. I am so excited for all the yoga, the meditation sessions, teacher-only workshops, hikes through the beautiful Squaw Valley, epic music and dancing, maybe some stand-up paddle boarding and of course, reuniting with friends I haven’t seen in forever and connecting with many new-to-me, beautiful souls.

    I thought it might help some of you heading off to a yoga festival this summer to share some of my go-to’s when packing for a yoga festival. No reason to get stressed before you head off to a weekend of peace and bliss. I’ve got you covered.

    How-to Pack for a Yoga Festival

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  9. Blueberry Lavender Chia Seed Pudding

    This is part of my ongoing restricted diet series with Free People.

    Blueberry Lavender Chia Seed Pudding

     

    Most mornings I wake before dawn, roll out of bed, give myself a few minutes of silence or meditation and then I head off to an early morning yoga class. As the sun rises and I head back towards home, I look forward to refueling with that first nourishing meal of the day, hot tea and the quiet of the early morning.

    Blueberry Lavender Chia Seed Pudding

    Even better, the mornings where breakfast awaits m. Not because I have a personal chef or an extra sweet husband, but rather I planned ahead and prepped it the night before. Chia seed puddings are probably my favorite overnight breakfast treat, perfect for refueling after my early morning yoga session. Not only are chia seed puddings a breeze to whip up, but they taste wonderful, they are also super satisfying and loaded with healthy and nourishing goodness.

    If chia seeds were once used by Aztec warriors to build energy and stamina on battlefield, they certainly can refuel me after a sweaty, flowy yoga class and power me through the start of a busy work day. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, cell-protecting antioxidants, minerals, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They are anti-inflammatory and a dense source of crucial minerals, with more calcium than milk, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than spinach.

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  10. Wanderlust 108 West Coast Giveaway

    Wanderlust 108 - West Coast Giveaway

    For many of my readers that are yogis, I am sure you have heard of the Wanderlust events. These incredible, full-on celebrations of all things mindful, combine yoga, meditation, hiking, music, incredible speakers, farm-to-table dinners and so much more – all in beautiful, inspiring locations.

    Wanderlust 108 - West Coast Giveaway

    But, have you heard of their one-day events, Wanderlust 108 “The world’s kindest triathlon”. These events are unlike the traditional triathlon’s you are likely familiar with, rather Wanderlust 108 is a day of running, yoga and meditation to bring out your best. This “mindful triathlon” combines a 5k run, an outdoor yoga experience, and a guided meditation in your local park.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  11. RISE // Women’s Empowerment Retreat

    I cannot believe we are under one month away from RISE, our upcoming Women’s Empowerment Retreat. This 4-day weekend getaway is full of multiple daily yoga classes, led meditation sessions, cooking workshops and demos, vision board and writing workshops and lots more. The real bonus is that all of the food served at RISE will be 100% gluten-free (we will also have options for our vegan and vegetarian guests) and much of the food is source from local organic farms.

    RISE // A Wild Spirit Women's Yoga and Cooking Retreat

    We have a wonderful group of amazing women already registered but seeing as we can accommodate up to 45 women at the beautiful Sequoia Retreat Center in Ben Lomond, CA, I wanted to take the time to let you all know that there is still room and there is still time to register. Registration closes on Monday, March 23, so please definitely don’t delay. Plus, as a final incentive for you last minute travelers that might be on the fence, if you book now you can save 30% on your registration using exclusive coupon code “TASTYYUMMIES” at checkout. ** This deal is only good until Friday, March 13th at 11:59pm PST!**

    Finally, we are so excited about the wonderful sponsors that we have lined up to support this retreat and it’s various e events, as well as those providing our lucky attendees with some super incredible swag to take home. Whole Foods has signed on as the official sponsor of all the cooking workshops and demos, KeVita will be supplying delicious sparkling probiotic drinks throughout the weekend, Field Notes is sponsoring our writing workshops and American Yoga School has so graciously donated yoga props for our attendees use throughout the retreat.

    Additionally, we will have amazing goody bags for each attendee with some generous goodness from those listed above plus Tom’s of Maine, Bob’s Red Mill, Navitas, Organic India, Aloha and many others.

    RISE // A Wild Spirit Retreat

    Take a weekend for yourself. Dive into the nourishment of self love with us, explore your spirit, interact with your fellow sisters and submerge yourself in the beauty of the sequoias at RISE, A Wild Spirit Retreat.

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    Yoga and Yummies

    For those local to the Los Angeles area, just a few weeks before the RISE retreat, I am hosting another one day Yoga and Yummies event here in Long Beach. Saturday March 21, I am hosting a donation-based, all-levels flow yoga class followed by a gluten-free potluck. You can read more about it and RSVP here.

  12. Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats {gluten-free and vegan}

    Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats {gluten-free & vegan}

    This post is part of my restricted diet series on the Free People Blog BLDG 25

    Since my daily yoga practice is as important to me as the food I eat, I try to plan ahead with my meals, to make getting to the studio as easy as possible. Lately I have been enjoying daily 6am vinyasa flow classes, so that means getting to bed at a reasonable time and being up at 5am. I don’t eat before I practice yoga, but the minute I come home and walk through the front door I am starving – so I love easy, simple, quick, and healthy breakfast options.

    Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats {gluten-free & vegan}

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  13. Rise // A Wild Spirit Retreat // April 2015

    Rise // A Wild Spirit Retreat
    I am super excited to announce that coming this April in Northern California, myself and my girl Vyana are hosting our first-ever retreat as Wild Spirit Retreats.

    Rise // A Wild Spirit Retreat

    April 3-6, 2015 – The Sequoia Retreat Center – California

     

    Rise is an escape from the hustle

    a plunge into the nourishment of presence

    to walk into our shadows

    hand in hand

    supported by our sisters

    to explore the spirit through yoga, cooking, writing, vision boarding, hiking, bodywork and more

    a place to transform fear into confidence

    hatred to forgiveness

    jealousy to understanding

    to celebrate movement and nourishment

    a gathering to honor the power of being a woman

    // What is Rise //

    Read the rest of this entry »

  14. Peaches and Cream Smoothie (Vegan)

    Peaches and Cream Smoothie (gluten-free and vegan)

    Smoothies are seriously my favorite, easy weekday breakfast. I wake up, practice yoga and immediately head into the kitchen to throw together a delicious, nourishing smoothie made from whatever I have on hand and it always keeps me full till lunch!

    I almost always have a quart or two of my homemade almond milk on hand for just this reason and I let the fruit and veggies we get from our CSA box determine what the flavor of the day will be.

    We’ve been getting these beautiful, organic juicy, sweet peaches from Tony, our farmer, and they have been an absolute treat, while we are waiting for our own peach tree to do it’s thing.

    This Peaches and Cream Smoothie is creamy, rich and so easy to throw together. I add a small amount of raw honey when I make my almond milk and the peaches we have been getting are quite sweet, so I find no additional sweetener is needed, but you can use your own judgement.

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  15. American Yoga School Launches Yoga Teacher Training Online

    American Yoga School - Yoga Teacher Training

    Many of you know that in January of this year I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training certification here in the Los Angeles area, through American Yoga School.

    When the time came for me to start looking into my teacher training options, there were many factors that personally played into my selection of a school and a teacher. I was so fortunate that world renowned yoga teacher trainer, James Brown, was offering an upcoming training in Venice Beach/Santa Monica, which is quite close to my home in Long Beach. The training was/is built on the fundamentals that I was searching for and after one conversation with James about the training, I knew I had made the right decision.

    I was also very fortunate that I have the type of schedule that allowed me to take an entire month off from my life to make the long rush-hour drive to and from LA, every day. This allowed me to fully submerge myself in the learning, the content and readying myself for teaching. I realize that this isn’t exactly the case for everyone. For many people, with the decision to pursue furthering their yoga practice through teacher training, comes the concerns of how to make this fit into their existing life.

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  16. Photo Fun Day Friday

    Well, it’s been WAY too long since I have put together a Photo Fun Day Friday post. It’s been a busy couple of months. I  went right from the holidays into my yoga teacher training program, into a month of catching up on work. February has been busy, hectic, overwhelming but as always – fun and filled with happiness.

    Here’s some of my favorite moments for the last month and a half or so:

    Photo Fun Day Friday I found this ticket in an old jacket recently, when I was cleaning out some boxes. My husband Mark and I hadn’t yet met. I was at this show with a friend, and he was, as well. The story goes that he picked me out from the crowd, from across the room and pointed me out to his friend as the prettiest girl there. Flash forward a month later after meeting online, through some mutual friends. We are on our first (blind) date, we get to talking and he realizes he had actually seen me once before at a show, he thought. I didn’t believe him and he tells me exactly what I was wearing, right down to the jacket. 11 years later, I found that jacket in a box, the ticket from that show still in the pocket. We’ve since framed it, of course 🙂

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    Seri and Jpeg spooning.

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    My handsome hubby.

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    I checked in on my garden after a month away and it was going nuts!

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    I finally got to take one of Kathryn Budig’s classes at YogaGlo. She is so sweet and I found out she actually has a print of ours on her alter at home.

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    On the Matterhorn at Disney. Took a day off to spend it with m

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    Cuddling with my sweetie. Read the rest of this entry »

  17. Yoga Teacher Training – Week 4 Follow Up

    Yoga Teacher Training - Follow-up Week 4

    I did it, guys!!! I am officially a Registered Yoga Teacher!

    Friday was my final day in the 200-hour teacher training program at American Yoga School. I passed, got my diploma and I am officially a yoga teacher!! The 4th and final week is a bit of a blur to me, not only did we wrap up any remaining content that we needed to cover, but we also taught two public classes and reviewed a majority of content in preparation for the exams (philosophy and anatomy – both of which I aced, in case you were wondering. YAY!). There was lots of studying for the tests and prepping to teach our classes. We also worked together on creating a custom sequence, really breaking down the component parts of our peak pose and truly understanding what is needed to create a well-rounded class to physically prepare our students for whatever we are working them towards and to give them the best possible well-rounded experience. On top of these things, we also went over our personal Plan of Action, discussing at length what our next steps are as yoga teachers, towards our long term goals. It was a crazy but amazing final week!

    Yoga Teacher Training - Follow-up Week 4

    Teaching Real Classes

    Teaching two public classes in our final week at Naam Yoga Studio in Santa Monica, was an absolute dream come true for me and it truly made the entire experience feel that much more real. No words, no books and no lectures could ever prepare you for that feeling that you will get as a teacher, the first time you get in front of real students to teach! It is priceless! Though the classes were on the small side, I felt like it was an incredible gift to be able to stand in front of students that weren’t my fellow teacher trainees. This was one of the main things I was looking forward to experiencing in this program and was surprised to hear isn’t part of most yoga teacher training programs. On top of already feeling so fortunate to have the unique experience of teaching real students, I was so blessed to have two of my wonderful friends, Debbie and Nicola there for the first class, supporting me and my first time teaching publicly. What a gift to see familiar faces smiling back at me in support, during such an important day in my life! Debbie even made it out again, to the second class. What a friend!

    With each class my nervousness lessened, I felt increasingly more at ease and I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I love those moments of clarity in life, where everything falls into place in a way that makes you know you have chosen the correct path for yourself. For the first class we taught, I was so honored and excited to teach the final segment of the hour long sequence, which meant I led the students through the peak pose of the sequence toward calming counterposes and into savasana. For my first time teaching, it was an incredibly moving, meaningful and powerful experience. One that moved me to tears while I the words “namaste” passed through my lips as I bowed towards my students. It was a moment in my life I will never forget!

    Since the training has ended, I am currently doing a ton of work on my own, prepping towards teaching at a studio or publicly any way I can, as soon as I can. I am eager to get back in front of students, whether it be one, two or twenty –  to once again be able to teach this amazing practice.

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  18. Yoga Teacher Training – Week 3 Follow Up

    Yoga Teacher Training Follow Up - Week 3

    This past week can be summed up as an emotional roller coaster, of sorts. We started out week 3 by teaching our first-ever yoga sequence. A 20-minute section as part of an hour-long class, that we each taught to our fellow class-mates. I spent a good amount of time over the weekend prior, prepping, reading, fake teaching it to myself out loud. I felt nervous, but pretty well prepared. Then, I got in front of the room and I quickly realized that what makes sense in your head and to you as someone that has practicing yoga for over 7 years, may not always necessarily make sense when it comes out of your mouth! When you can look at a student and see that your instructions maybe aren’t as clear as what they could be and that they may not know exactly what you mean, it is certainly an eye-opening moment. One that I was glad to have in the safety of my fellow students and not in front of strangers. I was quickly forced to realize that order of instructions – stuff James always talks about, really IS important, and prioritizing the stability and pre-alignment BEFORE movement, etc. etc. – those tools are there for us as teachers, for a reason. All that stuff we had been learning, it all clicked, in that moment, while I was actually teaching for the first time. On one hand, as soon as I was done teaching, I felt really good and confident that it wasn’t too bad, that I learned from my mistakes and I didn’t mess up too badly. On the other, I felt beat up, humbled, overwhelmed, under-prepared, insecure and scared to have to watch it later and talk about it. It was a very interesting and eye-opening challenge for me.

    The afternoon of our first time teaching, just when we were getting ready to watch the videos of ourselves, James gave us some really great advice about not picking ourselves apart, not stressing over the little things, our clothes, our body, our voice, our nervousness – but to really take this as an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, to look at ourselves objectively as teachers, and to take from it the things that we CAN change and need to change to be great teachers. Such powerful advice that I needed to hear and was so very happy I did, before he hit play. I took notes on what I needed to work on, where I still needed help in understanding the poses and the transitions and I told myself the next time would be even better.

    Another wonderful bit of advice that James has given us at multiple times in this training, that has really stuck with me in these first days of teaching and obviously will continue to as I carry on the road, is to look at each pose and the entire sequence, as a story. So, with each pose I am teaching, I now prepare by really breaking it down, asking myself what is the point of that story, what am I telling, what is it leading to? Knowing what is ahead in the sequence means that I can really focus on the fundamentals of that particular posture and what it has to do with the story, as a whole. That has made the clear understanding of the poses much more important, but in turn made it far easier for me to teach them. In the second round of teaching, after learning from my mistakes, I wasn’t hung up on memorizing the right words, instead I was able to find whatever words necessary to communicate the important fundamentals and pre-alignment of the current posture I was teaching, in a clear and concise way, to let the students know what they needed to know. It may sound more complicated than memorizing a script, but to me and my brain, far easier to relax and just give into the knowledge that is there already, just letting it come out in whatever words necessary – as long as the important parts are there and it is said in a correct order for the students to get into the pose, properly and safely.

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  19. Yoga Teacher Training – FREE Beginner’s Yoga Class in Santa Monica 1/27 & 1/29

    American Yoga School
    Hello there my Los Angeles-area friends, as many of you know I am in the middle of a yoga teacher training program this month, to finally become a registered yoga teacher. This coming week is our final week in our 200-hour training and this upcoming Friday – we graduate! As part of the curriculum, this upcoming Monday 1/27 and Wednesday 1/29 mornings – myself and my fellow classmates that are in the program with American Yoga School, will be teaching a FREE yoga class at a Naam Yoga LA in Santa Monica.

    We are looking for beginner students that would like to come to either or both of our hour-long classes next week, designed for students with little-to-no prior yoga experience, where we, as soon-to-be yoga teachers, will be working on honing our skills. There are limited spots, so it is pre-registration only. Your attendance as a student will play a HUGE role in our learning process and our growth as teachers, so it would mean the world to us to have you attend our class.

    If you are in the LA area and can attend either the Monday, January 27th: 9am – 10am class or the Wednesday, January 29th: 9am – 10am class, please email me at tastyyummies{at}me.com to reserve a spot. Reservations are required so that we can make sure we have enough room and plenty of props. Again, this class is free/donation optional and is meant for beginners or those with a newer yoga practice.

    Naam Yoga Studio is at 1231 4th street Santa Monica, CA

    Whether or not you are able to attend, if know someone who might enjoy this, please feel free to share! Thank you!

    *Above image courtesy of James Brown

  20. Yoga Teacher Training – Week 2 Follow Up

    Yoga Teacher Training Week 1

    Hey friends!! I cannot believe I am already into week 2 of yoga teacher training. (Here is the follow-up of Week 1, in case you missed it.) These past two weeks have just flown by. I am officially at the halfway point! I cannot even believe it! On one hand, I totally don’t want this training to end, I am learning so much and I cannot wait to learn even more. I could honestly stay in this state forever, learning as much as I can about something I hold so dear to me. Of course, on the other hand, I cannot wait to for it to be over so I can get out into the world and start sharing all of this wonderful yoga knowledge with whoever wants to learn it.

    This week, we had more lectures on anatomy, last week we talked in depth about muscles and connective tissue, we learned all about anatomical language, and we talked at great length about the spine and the core. This week we discussed the pelvis, the shoulders, wrists and hands, elbows, knees, feet and the other systems of the body – the nervous system, respiratory, circulatory and lymphatic.

    Having had a mostly regular yoga practice for the last 7 years, really and truly understanding precisely how our bodies move in and benefit from asana – has been fascinating for me. Besides the movement and the obvious physical benefits, learning about the many ways the other systems of our bodies can also benefit from a regular yoga practice, it is both captivating and exciting for me, as I have truly made yoga part of my daily life and I want to be a very vocal advocate in sharing this with the rest of the world.

    I have to say, I am honestly surprised just how much I am enjoying the anatomy part of the program. I was a bit afraid, as someone who never really excelled at science when I was in school, that I would have a very hard time learning and retaining this very linear, factual and information-based content. I think being able to learn it in the context of a yoga practice has truly made it so much easier for me to grasp. I am really proud of that.

    Outside of the anatomy lessons and our daily morning practice, the philosophy and teaching methodology lectures and lessons have really been both educational and eye-opening, as well. As someone that admittedly used to doze off in many leacture-based classes in college – looking at the slowly ticking clock the whole time, I don’t even notice the minutes and hours melt away while I listen to someone I truly respect, teach me as much as he can about the entire experience of being a yoga teacher.

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  21. Looking to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Life? Tips and Inspiration from Some of My Favorite Teachers.

    collage

    In this month-long total immersion in my yoga practice, as I get my certification to teach yoga – there really isn’t much else on my brain besides just that. Yoga!  I find whenever I mention yoga, either here or on my Facebook page, I tend to get a lot of the same questions from people about yoga, the practice, where to start and all that comes along with it. I know this is a nice long post, likely intimidating as a reader – but, I can promise you if you have been wanting to incorporate a regular yoga practice into your life and you just don’t know where to start, maybe you are a tad nervous to just jump right in, there are some amazing thoughts and tips here for you. If you have lost touch with your practice and you need some lovely inspiring reminders of what your yoga practice can do for you, read this. If you just want to know what some people see in it or why so many people are drawn to yoga, take this all in. Regardless of why you read this post, I can assure you, it will inspire you to get onto your mat, whether for the first time or after some time away.

    I asked seven of my favorite yoga teachers, some from my past, some from my present, the following two questions:

    – What advice can you give someone looking to start a regular yoga practice?

    – How has a regular yoga practice changed your life?

     

    Yoga Teachers

    James Brown – American Yoga School, Venice Beach, CA

    What advice can you give someone looking to start a regular yoga practice?

    First, I would say, “Congratulations!”

    Start with a beginner class. You might stay at that level for two weeks or ten months or a few years or forever. But you will know, if you start there, if, when and why to move on. I’d also recommend that you look for a class that does not bill itself as “flow” for your first few classes. Start with classes that teach you the basics before flowing. Flow classes tend to be light on instruction.

    Try different teachers and classes until you find one that works for you. If you don’t feel good about yourself at the end of the class, move on to another teacher or class. Know that there are many formats and styles of physical practice, and within any style, every teacher will be a bit different from every other one. No matter your physical ability, the teacher should be able to instruct you in a way that you feel that you are already successful. While fancy poses may take a long time to master, a good teacher makes it clear from the start that the level of the pose has nothing to do with the quality of the practice. I have met many beginners who were more advanced, because of their attitudes, than more seasoned practitioners who could do more impressive things with their bodies. Find a teacher who teaches the poses without making the poses themselves the focus.

    Set achievable goals. You don’t have to start by going every day. I started with a once-a-week course and that was easy to manage, so I stuck to it and 20 years later I am still at it.  And if you fall off the wagon, just get back on. The yoga will always wait for you. Give yourself plenty of time for it to really stick and to become part of your life.

    How has a regular yoga practice changed your life?

    I can’t really think of any ways that it has not improved my life. The most profound difference is that I am happy. I feel more connected to others and I am content with the imperfections in my life.

    Less profoundly, I am aging differently from the generation that I watched age before me. I am almost 50 and my body is still getting more functional each year than it was the year before. I know that things have to turn around at some point, but the age when that happens still seems to be quite distant.
    An interesting affect of yoga practice is that it gets me to make better decisions in the rest of my life, particularly with issues of health and diet. The physical practice I do has made it more clear to me how those things affect my body, so I make better choices.

     

    Yoga Teachers

    Ramona Tamulinas – Yoga World Studio, Long Beach, CA

    What advice can you give someone looking to start a regular yoga practice?

    Beginning a yoga practice is a unique, personal experience. Some people decide to practice because of health reasons, physical reasons, emotional reasons, wanting to look like a hot yoga girl, it’s a good way to meet girls (yes, I have been told more than once that is why someone started), improving flexibility, your boyfriend/girlfriend says it’s a must if you want to keep dating… the list goes on and on.

    I would recommmend exploring the studios in your area and try different teachers until a place and a teacher resonates with what you are seeking. Once you find that teacher, study with them in a class setting and if your bank account allows – book some private sessions. Private sessions allow you to feel secure and comfortable and they help your teacher know you better. It is most important that you found a place, a teacher who allows you to feel comfortable and at ease. I believe deeply in a practice that builds from the foundation of comfort and ease. Yoga, if you jive with it – leads you down a magnificent path of self transformation. Loving where you begin is therefore vital.

    How has having a regular yoga practice changed your life?

    To me yoga is more than asana. It is service and compassion to my community. Therefore my yoga practice has taught me to embrace my strengths which are being of service and compassionate.

    Before yoga, and sometimes even since finding it, I felt I didn’t have a place. I felt out of place in so many social settings, in so many realms of popular culture I searced for a place to belong and I couldn’t find it. I have always been an introverted person and one who lead internally with my heart. In this crazy world that encourages the worldly and external – I often felt lost. When I found yoga, I was full of self-doubt and wanted to be anyone else but me. I remember telling my friend who took me, “I am already flexible and calm. I need to become tough and strong.” Well yoga did that. I can say practicing has allowed me to stay sweet, calm, and flexible but allowed me to embrace the strength and toughness inside me. In a way, yoga helped me find my inner rebel.

    At times I stray from practice and I notice myself questioning this inner strength, but my inner strength would realize how important this wild practice supports me and encourage me back to wards it path, back to my mat, back to teaching, back to learning. It is vital toward my life as anything inside my physical being.

    It is as important as my heart, my brain, my blood, everything within me is supported by yoga. For me yoga lead me to the path of embracing my true self, my connection with the universe and my purpose. When I was a young girl the father of my church told me, “I want you to remember five words. I am beautiful, thank God.” He said “every time I see you I am going to wave with five finger to remind you”. He is gone now, but yoga has reminded me of that lesson everyday.

     

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