Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Smile through the Holidays (Inspiration from Yogi Surprise)

  
This month’s Yogi Surprise box is themed GRATITUDE. A perfect theme for this time of year!


As the holidays approach (Thanksgiving is next week – um, what?!), now is a great time to remind yourself to be grateful for the abundance in life, and to take gentle care of yourself.

Photo via Yogi Surprise.

I know in past years I've fallen into the whirlwind of the holidays, which can lead to thinking I should do as much as possible, spend more money, eat comfort food, and even sacrifice the practices that keep me grounded, like getting to my mat, and spending quiet time alone.

I’m grateful that the November Yogi Surprise box arrived just in time, full of all sorts of goodies to remind me to put my health and sanity first! And when things feel like they are spinning out of control, it always helps me to take a few moments and make a list of things I’m grateful for.

My two absolute favorite products from the box are these:

 
Hurraw lip balm in vata… it smells like cardamom and rose! And has the most luscious texture. Mmmm. I’m totally going to be buying more of these, maybe for stocking stuffers this year! What's awesome is that the brand carries other flavors for the other Ayurvedic doshas, too, in case you're pitta or kapha.

 
Coconut lavender flavored almonds. Genius flavor combo, and so delicious!

Of course, I was also ecstatic about the other products in the box, including a citrus-scented body mist (great for lifting your mood!), green tea mints, refreshing facial towlettes, chakra oil, natural deodorant (cedarwood and juniper is my new favorite underarm scent!), a cacao-flavored granola bar, and sea salts for the bath. I honestly felt like I was treating myself to a spa retreat day just opening the box!

Thank you, Yogi Surprise, for the wonderful brands you share… I can’t wait to pamper myself all month with this one!
 PS In case you missed it, here’s my review of the October Yogi Surprise box.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cultivating Gratitude

Photo by T. Libertiny featuring top from YMX by Yellowman.

Everything is given. Nothing is promised.

The practice of yoga helps me stay attuned to what I know is true.

I am truly blessed.

I am truly grateful.

And I can choose not to take this moment for granted.

Post inspired by a Judith Lasater quote found on Caren Baginski’s blog.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Align Yourself with Your Greatest Passions


I am lucky, to say the least.

With fall in full swing, and its cooler temperatures and shorter days, I've been enjoying any chance to be cozycurling up with a good book, sitting by a fireplace, rolling out my yoga mat for a hot vinyasa class, and of course, spending time writing.

Align yourself with your greatest passions, is what my inner wisdom has been telling me lately.

What would your life look like if you did that? If you made time for the things you absolutely love, without exception?


Of course, we all have responsibilities. We have unexpected suffering that shows up in our path. We get tired and frustrated and lazy.

I think it's worth the reminder, though, to say to myself: I deserve happiness. And I'm capable of living a happy and fulfilled life doing what I love, making time for me. I'm starting right now.

If you're wallowing in negativity, or feeling frustrated (like I was earlier this week), try stepping back for a moment. Before you act, ask yourself, Will this serve my highest joy?

A shift is possible. But this means you have to shed the excuses. Sometimes, you will have to say no. You have to make time for the things you really care about.

Tote bag by Redbubble.

If you're feeling stuck, try creating something new. Go make art. Give yourself the freedom to do something you don't normally do.

In my case, I'll pack up my laptop in this lovely bag that was gifted to me by Redbubble. (I love that the artistic design reminds me that expressing myself brings me peace.) I'll drive to my favorite local coffee shop and type for a few hours, or sometimes just doodle in my notebook, or people watch.

I'll say hello to people, and listen when they have a story to share.

Through my blogging, I'll often connect with yogis around the world: teachers, business owners, book writers, new students, people who are curious, creative, and inventive.

I'm lucky, to say the least, because these connections matter so much to me. I'm lucky to be a blogger who enjoys the expressive part of writing as much as the part where I am building community and support, and encouraging kindness in others.


I was reading the Red Bubble blog today and stumbled upon this Seth Godin quote. It speaks to the way that art really is a human endeavor: 

“You may know how to use fancy online graphic design tools, you may know how to play at a totally different level than people do online, but if there isn't that leap that leads to connection, it doesn't matter if you’re a car mechanic or a graphic designer, you’re not making art.

My invitation to you today is this: consider what's holding you back from living a life you truly love. Consider the fears that are keeping you from creating your art. You have something to contribute that the world really needs... and you're capable, strong, and creative.

You're lucky, too.

PS If you're a fan of supporting independent artists, I encourage you to check out Redbubble. They have created a beautiful online community of unique and edgy artwork that you can use to create gifts like t-shirts, iPhone cases, tote bags, posters, postcards, or stickers. Pretty awesome, and especially great for holiday gifts!

PPS A great article from Zen Habits if you need help learning how to say no.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Badass Yoga Gear from YMX

Photos by T. Libertiny.

Hi yogis :) Exciting news: I am a YMX ambassador!

I could not be more thrilled to partner with such a great brand. YMX makes high-performance workout gear that’s great for yoga, biking, running, and even skiing and snowboarding. I love that their style pairs perfectly with mine – functional, comfortable, sexy and a little badass!

I’m really stoked, too, that in being a part of their community, I’ll get to connect with other yogis who are passionate about being healthy and happy. Win-win!

During my trip to Park City last weekend, I was able to do some yoga and get a few photos while wearing my awesome YMX tank top. I love that the design reminds me of a lot of floral tattoos I’ve been seeing lately.

Do you usually like to wear yoga gear that’s bold and colorful like this?

Please stay tuned for more YMX updates and awesome chances to try their gear. Namaste!


PS You can connect with YMX on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Interview with Leo Babauta of Zen Habits

Photo via Zen Habits.

As many of you know, Zen Habits is one of my favorite blogs.

I love hearing Leo's insights on life... he has amazing perspective on how to simplify, de-stress, change habits, and life a happy, fulfilling life.


As he says here, "Focus on one tiny change, and take one step." It's amazing how doing just that can change your life!


Recently, I had the pleasure of connecting with Leo about his upcoming book, Mastering the Art of Change. I'm so excited to share this interview with him, and can't wait to read the book!

Photo by Karen Walrond.

What are you most excited about with the release of Mastering the Art of Change?

Leo: I didn't invent the ideas in this book, but they've changed my life completely. Not only have I changed a couple dozen habits, but I've learned to simplify, find mindfulness, be more content and at peace. I’m most excited about sharing these ideas with people, because I really think they’ll change other people’s lives as well. That’s an amazing opportunity for me.

How has mindfulness inspired your life?


Leo: I started Zen Habits as a way to explore the intersection of mindfulness and change, and it’s really revolutionized everything about me. I wouldn't have been able to make all of the changes I've made without mindfulness. And it’s caused me to be less goal-oriented, and more process-oriented, more focused on the present moment, more content with where I am. I’m no longer striving as much as I used to, and that’s allowed me to slow down and enjoy life a lot more.



Who should read this book?

Leo: Anyone looking to make changes, or who wants help dealing with life changes. Anyone who struggles with frustration, fears, anger, relationship problems, money problems. Anyone willing to do a little work, one small step at a time, to make gradual but lasting and meaningful changes to their lives. So everyone, really, except the most enlightened Buddhists, perhaps!

What’s your advice for someone who is new to mindfulness, or overwhelmed by the things he or she would like to change?


Leo: I was there once too, and the problem is that the feeling of being overwhelmed can stop you from even starting. What worked for me was just taking one step, and seeing how that worked out. Then another. Then another. Each step was ultimately doable, not difficult or scary. And the gradual change that came from one step at a time, focusing on one little change at a time, has been powerful. Focus on one tiny change, and take one step.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?


Leo: For anyone who feels stuck, or hopeless, or full of doubt, know that you’re not alone. We all feel that way. We’re all struggling in our own way. In that way, we’re all united, linked in the commonality of trying to find our way in the world.

Don’t give up. Find someone else, like me, who is going through what you’re going through, and share your struggles. Help each other. Get outside your head and focus on someone else’s problems. Learn to mindfully appreciate each moment, each step, and see that there are miracles all around you. Smile, and breathe, and take one step.


For more info about Leo and his book and blog, check out these links:


Leo’s bio and pics: http://leobabauta.com/bio
Book website: http://zenhabitsbook.com/

Support the book on Kickstarter here: http://zenhabits.net/zenhabits-book/
Book title: Zen Habits: Mastering the Art of Change
Zen Habits: http://zenhabits.net/

Friday, November 7, 2014

Writing Retreat

Photos via Pinterest. 

This weekend I’m going on a writing retreat in Park City, Utah. I’m so excited!

It will be wonderful to catch up with my co-author and dive into working on our second novel.

I’m also just looking forward to detaching from my phone, sitting by the fire, and enjoying good conversation. I may try to find a yoga class at a local studio, too :)


What are you up to this weekend?


XO

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fresh Juices and Smoothies


We become vibrant from the inside out.

When I feed my body fresh fruits and vegetables, I notice a big difference in my energy levels. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to make a fresh juice or smoothie in the morning, so I’ll often juice before bed and seal my juice in a mason jar. Then in the morning, I just grab and go!

Do you ever make fresh juices or smoothies? What recipes are your favorite?

Recently I was inspired by the Williams-Sonoma Smoothie Week, and I made this refreshing combo... I call it the Sweetheart Smoothie. I love that the citrus feels very bright and energizing, and at the same time the root vegetables (beet and carrot) give it this amazing grounding quality.

I suggest making the juice the night before, and then blending everything right before you want to drink it. If you need ideas for where to get a great blender, Williams-Sonoma has quite a few. Enjoy!

Sweetheart Smoothie
Juice:
1 beet
2-3 apples
3-4 carrots
1” chunk of ginger
1 lime, peeled

Blend with:
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/3 cup frozen pineapple
1/3 cup frozen mango


Also, if you’re looking for a green juice recipe, here’s my absolute go-to:

Green Juice
2 chutes spinach (probably equal to about 3 cups when I use my Breville)
1 cucumber
2-3 sticks celery
2 apples (green or red, whatever you like)
1-2 oranges, peeled
1/2 chunk of ginger (or a little more if you like ginger)
1 lemon or lime, peeled

I also read a recipe for a very simple alkalizing green juice: cucumber, celery, kale, lemon. Definitely going to try that one!


I’d love to hear your smoothie and juice ideas! Namaste, yogis.


PS Here are some other recipes from the blog: a creamy greensmoothie featuring rice milk and almond butter and a green smoothie featuring moringa and chia.

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