Badass Women: Sam

Today, a post for Alive in the Fire's Badass Women series... I'd like to introduce you to Sam

She is a talented journalist living in New York City and working as the Senior Editor of I know Sam from journalism class during our Northwestern days and since then I've been following her incredible writing pursuits, admiring the hard work she's dedicated to build her successful career. I love Sam's wonderful sense of humor and the way she lives every moment to the fullest. 

'Life without the boring stuff,' as she describes it on her Instagram bio... that truly captures the way Sam shares her story, and her fearless and beautiful spirit.

Photos in this post courtesy of Sam.

What makes you a badass?

Oh man, to label myself as a badass is a bit scary—but diving right in! I think being true to myself makes me pretty badass. Cliché, maybe, but in my industry (media) and in life in general, carving your own path without being so influenced by what others are doing or how others might be presenting themselves is a necessity to being happy and positive and the best version of you. I used to worry about how others perceived me—I come off pretty young, I think, because of my attitude towards life and how I carry myself, and I thought that might be a detriment in my career. But anyone who knows me knows how driven and motivated I am—you don't have to be a miserable human who delights in others' failures in order to succeed and do well in your career!  

How did you get where you are today? 

I live in NYC—one of the best cities in the world, IMO—and I work at a pretty sweet gig (Senior Editor at day in and day out. Northwestern got me the skills and the connections for that job, but I think attitude goes a long way in terms of where I've gotten in life. I think many people who have worked with me know that they should never mistake my kindness and happiness for weakness. I know when to put my foot down or make my argument. But having the understanding that we're all humans working towards something that touches others in a cool way—and that we all want it to be the best—is half the battle. And the reason I'm doing what I do every day. 

What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate?

To rejuvenate, I love sitting by a beach. You know those people who can't sit still on vacations, who always have to be doing something? That's not me at all. I could sit on a chair, with a cool drink, for days. But if I'm not able to get away, just walking around the city—doing my own thing on no schedule for an entire day—that's like pushing the reset button. 

What advice do you have for others who are looking to find happiness and become fully empowered?

It's hard to take people seriously when they say "be yourself." But knowing that your self can change—and that that's okay—is a big part of being happy and in tune with who you are. You don't have to stay the same person you were a year, a month, or even 10 days ago. You're allowed (and encouraged!) to change and grow any day or every day. I also think a keen understanding of what makes you truly happy—not just the stuff you *want* to be the stuff that makes you happy, but those things that actually do—is a big part of growing up and realizing your worth and value. Not everyone's thing can be your thing and not everyone has to "get" you—but the good people in your life will and should support you. 

How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? 

Man, right now, I'm just seeing where life takes me! I feel like I've gotten really philosophical or happy hippy dippy in this thing, but it's actually just about enjoying life and having fun. That's what I try to do (with varying degrees of success) every single day. And I hope by writing and working on projects that reach others—that either inspire them or make them laugh or think or nod their head in agreement—that I continue to impact others' lives in at least some small way. 

Thank you, Sam, for being a part of the Badass Women series here on Alive in the Fire. Cheers!

The Badass Women series is inspired by women in my life who are courageously pursuing their dreams and doing what makes them most happy. Women who aren't afraid to take risks. Or maybe they are, but they do it anyway. Women who are teachers, mothers, writers, warriors, business owners, leaders, artists, yogini goddesses... beautiful women of all ages, shapes, backgrounds, who have experienced a diversity of successes and struggles in life. 

You can also check out my post in the series, and stay tuned for posts featuring other incredible women. Namaste.


Do you embrace your inner weirdness? :)

We all have quirks, eccentricities and odd qualities that define us. We all have strange habits. And each of us has interests and passions that excite us, but may seem weird to others.

As part of my fearless year, I'm embracing my inner weirdness, and I encourage you to do the same!

I, for example, love to hula hoop. I don't mind being the one adult at the kid's birthday party joining in on the fun and showing the kiddos what to do. 


I've got half of my head shaved, and a bunch of tattoos, both of which are great conversation starters. I'm a wine-drinking yogi, and sometimes I like to break the rules. (Shh, don't tell the yoga police! ;)


I also brew my own kombucha at home, which means I know all about caring for a scoby and I like drinking fermented tea, which some people find to be gross and very weird.

I sing in the car, often at the top of my lungs, and there have been various times when I pull up to a stoplight and the person in the car next to me laughs, noticing my silly antics and dance moves.

I sing Sanskrit mantras, too.

I've been known to do yoga in public places. :)

I'm a little OCD... I like to have my tabs arranged a certain way when I open my internet browser and I like the kitchen sink to be clean as much as possible.

I'm an empath, which means I'm very aware of the energy that surrounds me. I sometimes keep a crystal in my pocket, to ground me and to keep negativity away.

I notice the little things, like if something's been moved in a room, or when someone's body language doesn't match what they're saying.

When I laugh unexpectedly, it's a really loud, silly-sounding laugh (HA!).

I'm a big nerd when it comes to writing, grammar and spelling, and I could talk your ear off any day about yoga, blogging, or reiki healing.

I'm weird :)

And let's be honest, everyone's a little weird. So if you find yourself judging your own weirdness, or resisting it, take a breath. Have a laugh. Consider how your weirdness is what makes you so fun. 

Keep it weird, yogis!

Yoga for Weight Loss

Photos via Pinterestand A Cup of Jo.

Do you have a goal to lose weight this year?

I encourage you to include yoga in your wellness routine!

Here are some ideas for how to utilize yoga and healthy habits if you’re looking to shed a few pounds.

Practice three to five times a week, with the goal of taking classes at a studio at least three times per week. The other two classes can be using a DVD at home. I know personally I’m pushed to work harder when I’m surrounded by other yogis, and under the direction of an empowering teacher!  

Choose heated classes, and practice a vigorous style of yoga. I suggest trying vinyasa, Bikram, Ashtanga, or anything with ‘power’ or ‘power flow’ in the description. If you do go to hot classes, be sure to hydrate before and after class! Also try to incorporate at least one restorative (calming) practice like a yin class into your weekly routine, as a way to balance out the heat. Keep in mind that the harder classes will yield the most results in terms of burning calories in order to lose weight, and the restorative class will help you release toxins, calm your mind, and become aware of your body.

Photo via A Cup of Jo.

Improve your diet with a few simple, easy changes. I recommend these: Eat more greens. Drink water or tea in place of sugary drinks. Trade unhealthy snack foods for fresh fruit, nuts, or an avocado with salt and pepper sprinkled on top. (Note: here are more healthy snack ideas from Joanna at A Cup of Jo.) If changing your diet feels overwhelming, think in terms of what you can add that’s healthy, rather than what you have to eliminate. Start by adding a few glasses of water throughout the day, and more veggies at each meal. As you gain some momentum in making healthy choices, you’ll feel empowered and be able to tackle more challenging changes.
Start a 10-minute meditation habit. Mindfulness will help you notice what’s causing you stress, and discover how to release tension. For more information about the benefits of mindfulness, read hereIf sitting still sounds overwhelming or uncomfortable, start by doing legs up the wall pose for a few minutes, either when you first wake up or before bedtime. Let your whole body relax, and close your eyes. Notice your breath. There’s nothing you need to do or change, so if thoughts come up, simply acknowledge them and then let them go. Continue to place your attention on your breath. 

Sleep seven to eight hours a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try yoga nidra, a meditation for full-body relaxation.

Track your success, and focus on the positive! Try a mantra like, "Practice makes perfect." Thank yourself for being dedicated to your health.

What habits are you incorporating into your weight-loss plan? I’d love to hear!

PS As always, if you have any questions or would like support, please feel free to email me at aliveinthefire at gmail dot com. Namaste, lovely yogis! 

This post was inspired by an article on Yoga Journal about yoga for weight loss.

Eco-Friendly Yoga Wear

Photo via Balini Sportswear on Kickstarter.

As a yoga blogger, I'm always grateful to connect with other yogis who share an entrepreneurial spirit, and a giving heart.

Ada from Balini Sports is one such yogini. When she emailed me about her yoga wear company, I was immediately impressed by her passion for yoga and her generosity in sending me some sports bras to try out. It's a gift to be able to connect with people like Ada, and that's why today I'd love for you to check out her Kickstarter video. She's raising money so that she can continue to grow her business and generate awareness around the importance of creating environmentally friendly yoga wear.

Photos via Balini Sportswear.

The Balini Sports collection of yoga wear is incredibly comfortable, functional, and stylish, and made by a team who truly care about what they're doing. Ada is truly a gem, and I couldn't be happier for her and the incredible impact she's making in the yoga wear community. I hope you'll support her Kickstarter and check out the awesome clothes, too! Thanks, Ada, for all you do. Namaste.

PS The video features some incredible underwater yoga photography... and if you're into hot yoga, these clothes are perfect for you!

Badass Yoga Gear from YMX

Photos by T. Libertiny.

Hi yogis :) Have you heard of YMX? It's one of my new favorite yoga and fitness apparel brands.

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.

May You Be Well: Wearing Sexy Underwear

Photos via A Cup of Jo.

At work, I dress comfortably: jeans, tank tops, tennis shoes, little to no makeup. If I’m having lunch with my boss or a client, I’ll put on a skirt and flats.

But most days I keep things simple, and this can lead to me feeling “blah” about my appearance (at least until the weekend).

So I’ve started a practice that keeps me feeling playful… wearing sexy underwear!

A little lace goes a long way…and can be a nice reminder that you have some fun evening plans (*wink wink*) or just a reminder to yourself that you are beautiful.

Next time you’re feeling ‘blah’ about your wardrobe and you need a little pick-me-up (that’s very affordable), try the lingerie section :)

PS How doing yoga helps you have better sex.

In my series May You Be Well on the blog, I’m exploring how to feel great – physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. And I’m finding it’s the little things that count, whether that’s getting more sleep or showing up on your yoga mat. What choices do you find make the biggest difference in your overall wellness?

Real Men Do Yoga: Vincent

Photos courtesy of Vincent.

Today I'm honored to share Vincent's yoga story as part of the Real Men Do Yoga series. Vincent is a yogi from Washington state who I connected with on Instagram.

He's a military man with a strong practice and a big heart, and I could tell right away that he's the real deal. Thank you, Vince, for sharing your inspiring yoga journey and awesome photos! May you continue to walk a peaceful path, shining your light and lighting up others around you.

How did you end up in yoga class?

To be honest, it took me a while to get into an actual yoga class. I had wanted to try yoga for a long time but never had enough courage to sign up and attend one. I didn’t know why I was so scared because the first glance I ever had into a yoga class (which was during a 2009 deployment in Afghanistan) there were several other men in it. 

I think it really came down to me not wanting to be embarrassed of my lack of coordination or something. 

So fast forward a few years to the beginning of 2013 and the yoga itch came back and I decided to scratch it this time. I didn’t automatically just dive into a class; I started with videos from YouTube and like most people these days Instagram helped fuel my growing obsession with my practice. Being self-taught can only take you but so far in your practices so after a point I decided that I was ready to get over my fear of being among other people practicing yoga in a public venue. I have never looked back since.

What style do you practice?
I mainly practice Vinyasa Yoga. The thing I like about this style of practice how it focuses on gaining a better discipline when getting into postures and maintaining strong breathing techniques. Breathing is something I have a hard time keeping calm when practicing but the more I give myself into the flow the easier it becomes.

How do you feel when you practice?
I feel free and challenged all at the same time. I used to not believe that yoga was a serious workout until I gave it a go myself. But I always prepare myself for a great challenge every time I step on my mat. 

You never know what progress you will achieve or what setbacks will come your way. That’s one of the thing I love about practicing yoga.

Share about an experience you had on your mat that you’ll never forget.
Well there are so many experiences I could go on about (positive and negative) so to narrow it down will be rather hard. But this happened at home and at class. For a long time I was trying to get into wheel pose and could not understand what I was doing wrong. I was getting more and more frustrated with every attempt. So when I had enough I decided it would be the best idea to gain some proper instruction. 

My teacher Erin at Harmony Yoga in Spokane, WA gave me the confidence (with proper advice and a watchful eye) that was I was lacking in my posture. Out of nowhere I popped up into a proper aligned wheel. I have never been so happy on my mat before that time. I couldn’t stop smiling and Erin could see the shear excitement radiating from me. That is why that moment will stay with me.

 Are you ever aware of being one of few men in a yoga class? What are your thoughts on yoga for guys? What would you say to a guy who’s intimidated about taking a class?

I am typically one of two (if any) other guys in any of the classes I attend. I think that, like me, most guys do not see doing yoga as a “manly” activity to do while at the gym. 

One thing that I believe is a great benefit of doing yoga is that it adds another great tool in your toolbox of fitness. I know yoga has given me the ability to be calmer in times that it was needed. Giving me the chance to be more flexible and have greater control over muscle groups which can come in handy when lifting weights like most males will do in the gym. 

So I would say that more men need to give it a try and see what it is really about. There is no real reason to be intimidated by practicing yoga.

How do you see your yoga journey evolving in the next few years? Do you have any goals you’re working toward?

I would love to see my yoga journey evolve into something great over the next few years. What that actually means has yet to be revealed as of yet. I can only imagine how far practicing will take me. I have already met some wonderful yogis and made some lifelong connections all because of my practice so to ask for more seems crazy. I have some goals that I am working on within my practice but with my current job in the military and the demands that come with that I may not be able to dedicate the proper amount of time to landing a handstand that I can hold for more than one second. 

Other than that posture goal I just want to continue to be able to radiate positive vibes from within and have those vibes affect those around me in a positive manner.

Thanks again, Vincent! Readers, I hope you'll join me in following his journey in photos on Instagram.

Introducing Sponsored Yogi Sam (Plus a Review of Prana Vida Yoga Wear)

Photos via Sam.

Hey all... happy weekend :) Hope you are relaxing and enjoying time with those you love.

Today I'm excited to introduce you to Sam, one of my lovely sponsored yogis. Sam has been practicing yoga for over 8 years, in a variety of styles: Bikram, Kundalini, Dhyana, Hatha, Dahn, and Yin. She also enjoys Pilates, cooking, working out, dancing, traveling, writing, painting, photography, and learning new languages.

When I read Sam's application for Sponsored Yogis, her compassion really resonated. As she says:

What is unique about me is my love for people and the ability to connect with anyone I encounter. I am an open spirit and I am willing to lay it all on the table. This characteristic easily puts others at ease, often moving them to do the same. 

My ability to connect with people from all backgrounds in short periods of time is partially due to growing up as an Air Force brat and living everywhere from Tucson, AZ to Incirlik, Turkey. My friends, family and coworkers are throughout the world. 

My background is in international security, Middle East, religion and sociology. I currently work for a government contractor in a typical DC job, and do freelance translation and editing on the side. 

As part of the Sponsored Yogis program, Sam received some rockin' yoga wear from Prana Vida. Here are her thoughts on the gear...

I was so excited when I received my package from Prana Vida! Amelia sent a pair of flow capris in Evergreen and a headband, racerback tank, and leggings in Fireside. Everything was true to size, great quality, and the material was so soft and lightweight.

I’m usually hesitant about buying pants or shorts with a foldover waistband, but I was pleased with the flow capris in Evergreen. The foldover waistband stays put throughout my practice, and the slit on the side keeps me cool and comfortable.

Prana Vida sells such fun patterns! I found the patterns to be a nice change from my usual black tank and black yoga pants. If you see a pattern that you like on the site, don’t wait to order what you have your eye on because the pattern choices change frequently as new ones become available.

I definitely recommend checking out Prana Vida Style! 

Sam has some awesome posts in the works about gratitude and life coaching -- stay tuned for those. Much love to all my sponsored yogis, and all of the amazing sponsors who donate to the program. Namaste.

Am I Pretty Enough?

I think the "Am I pretty enough?" question is one that a lot of yogis battle, women in particular. As we practice on the mat at home and in the studio, we find ourselves wondering: Am I beautiful? Is my body attractive (enough)? And can yoga transform me into someone sexier?

Putting on skin-tight yoga pants or some skimpy shorts for class leaves us over-thinking our body image or comparing ourselves to others around us. Some of us find our thoughts racing: can yoga help me lose weight? Do I need to lose weight? 

With the pressures of an appearance-driven society motivated by the superficial (and all the glamorous models and yoga teachers out there), we see may begin ourselves as less beautiful than we are.

We look in the mirror to find flaws, instead of the beauty that's there. Or we become hyper-conscious and/or hyper-critical of "problem" areas.

You know you've seen these kinds of people in yoga class -- the ones that can't stop staring at their asses in the mirror for a 90-minute Bikram class, or re-adjusting their clothes in the middle of the Ashtanga primary series, or staring at the cute teacher and winking as they stretch into upward dog with a suggestive exhale.

Instead of choosing to approach yoga in this way, we can offer the practice as sacred, loving devotion. In yoga, we honor our bodies, not judge them.

Or, on the other end of the spectrum, there are yogis who are too scared to leave the living room because ashamed or embarrassed about their bodies. They set up their mats at the back of the studio, hoping no one will notice muffin top, a flabby bum, or adult acne. They misconstrue their outer appearance as a measure of their own self-worth.

Believing in your beautiful body is important. So is understanding that we're not all made to be the same size or shape.

As someone who's always been on the curvier side, I've had periods in my life when I have felt unattractive, inadequate, or downright unlovable. I've been overweight, and wished like hell to lose it again so I can fit into my "skinnier" jeans. I've never been a size 4/6, and I never will be. 

But what I have come to learn is that I am in the body I'm meant to have, and that I'm beautiful the way I am. I also accept that my body will change over time, and that I can control some of those changes.

I've learned to make peace with who I am, inside and out. This isn't easy. It involves constantly re-accepting myself, being grateful for the capable body I have, and learning to cast off the messages around me about what it means to be "sexy."

In the interest of inspiring you guys to do the same, here are a few thoughts on how you can transform your thinking from, "Am I pretty enough?" to "How can I love myself better?"

Surround yourself with friends and family who support and love you. 

One of the best things you can do for your self-esteem is to put people in your life who will remind you that you are loved, just the way you are. They'll remind you that it's OK to eat brownies and potato chips now and then. They'll inspire you to go for a walk when you'd rather sit on the couch all day. 

Next, I highly recommend taking a long, hard look at your strengths. Instead of focusing on what you wish you could change, consciously choose to be grateful for what you love about yourself.

For every "flaw" you can find, there's something great about it. In my case, I couldn't do warrior-like yoga poses if not for my dancer's legs, which are curvy and muscular. My well-developed calves let me ride my bike like the wind. And because I've got hips, I look like a woman when I wear a dress, not a little girl.

When I take a close look at who I am, I know I'm beautiful. I'm real. I'm full of imperfections and blemishes which, when you look at the bigger picture, are no big deal.

Which brings me to another important point: I'm healthy in body, mind and spirit. 

I am continuously learning to manage my stress, to find balance. I ask for what I need instead of trying to handle challenges on my own without the support of those who love me. When I set my mind to something, I can achieve it. I am strong and capable, with the willpower I need.

I replenish my spirit with love. I pray, believe, and act out my faith in the everyday. I share my passion with family and friends, express who I am in my writing, and cherish my relationships with others around me. Largely in part through my yoga, I have come to acknowledge and accept where I am in the present, in order to move toward a happier and healthier future.

I have begun to look in the mirror and smile instead of cringe at what I know is beautiful.

So, yes, I am pretty enough. And I know it doesn't always feel like it, but so are you.

For more inspiration on developing a healthy body image, see these posts from these bloggers:
Have you struggled to build a positive image of yourself? What have you learned? Please share your comments below, and thanks for reading!

Marika Athletic Wear for Yoga, Skydiving, and Rock Climbing

Illustration above via Pinterest. Other photos via Marika.

When it comes to yoga wear, I tend to look for a couple of key things:
  • Is it comfortable? (and hopefully flattering)
  • Is it functional? (meaning it won’t get in the way or slip down as I stretch)
  • Is the style unique? (good colors, fun design)
  • Can I wear this outside of yoga class? (bonus!)


Marika women’s active and yoga wear fits all of these categories. Their products are the kind of athletic wear that makes you feel like a million bucks, and that gets out of your way so you can focus on your practice.

I am so grateful I connected with their savvy, passionate team. They sent me an awesome new outfit to try:


…and the Balance line divine intervention flat waist capri.

Both fit wonderfully—the material is soft, stretchy, and snug without being bunchy. The capris are the perfect length for a hot yoga class, and I love the fun printed waistband. And I love that the print on the shirt looks like a heart, but every time I wear it someone comments that it looks like an owl! :)

And my favorite part about this new outfit?

Not only have the tank and capris been perfect for yoga class, but I’ve worn them skydiving and rock climbing, too! And I’m pretty sure I could pull off wearing the top under a hoodie at work, or out to dinner with friends (which makes for an easy transition if you’re in a hurry to get to the studio for class, by the way!).

If you’re looking to find high-quality yoga wear from a stellar company with great customer service, add Marika to your list. Highly recommended!

PS You can browse their new items here: Marika New Arrivals. And their tie dye tops are fantastic!

Free Shipping at Sweaty Betty 

Are you shopping for new yoga gear this weekend?

Maybe some winter apparel? I'm looking at you, all you yogis who ski, snowboard and snowshoe! :)


I highly recommend checking out Sweaty Betty. They're offering FREE shipping on everything until the 21st, and they've got so many cute options of warm, cozy outerwear that's functional and stylish!

Use this code at checkout: FREESHIP 

Happy shopping, lovelies!

Get Free Delivery with code FREESHIP at

What Is Beautiful

 Illustration via Pretty Plum Sugar.

As most women do, I think about beauty. I am glad yoga brings us a holistic look at what is truly beautiful.

At the end of class, we honor the other yogis in the room by saying namaste. The light, beauty and strength within me honors the light, beauty and strength within you.

Photo via FYeahYoga.

Being sexy in yoga class isn't about your Lululemon shorts, or how effortlessly you can put your foot behind your head

It's finding stillness in the posture. Letting go of misconceptions or expectations about yourself. Loving fully the beautiful being that you are.

Quiet the mind. Feel into your inner beauty. Hold onto that.

Sweaty Betty Mid-Season Sale

Photos via Sweaty Betty.

Starting tomorrow, Sweaty Betty is launching their mid-season sale. Some of their best sellers will be featured with savings up to 50% off.


Check out some of their featured sale products, which include sports bras, yoga tees, outerwear, dresses, yoga pants and more.


Their sales will be expiring on 3/25/13, so get shopping, yogis!


Wild Yoga Wear

We all get tired of plain, boring black yoga pants. Personally, I'm a fan of bright colors and fun patterns. I couldn't have been more excited to wear my wild print and tye-dye pants and tee from CoutureTeeDotCom to class recently.

I got several compliments on the fun dream catcher and lotus flower designs.

Best of all, these pants are comfortable and provide great coverage around the waist area (the band there is adjustable, so you can fold it down if you like). 

I love that the shirt is stylish enough to wear out for dinner with friends or a date, too!

I highly recommend you guys check out CoutureTeeDotCom for stylish designs and great holiday gift ideas.