#yesallwomen and My Story of Abuse

10150678_10202919450960845_3730224819573412791_n

This #yesallwomen hashtag on Twitter is blowing my mind. It is really amazing to see women joining together to openly discuss abuse, fear, anger, and pain. The thread of the woman’s womb is running deep now, stitching us all together. On this day, this day of the new moon in Gemini, this day of the passing of a fierce woman, Maya Angelou, this day of speaking up, I can see that thread so clearly. So today I am going to share with you a small piece of my story.

I was raped. Like many, many other women -too many women, my body was used with no regard for the soul within. I have been on this journey for a long, long time now and I have learned a lot along the way. I have been angry. I have been sad. I have been afraid. I have grown and learned boundaries and saw glimpses of forgiveness. And what I hope to offer to you today is the opportunity to understand my life as a woman a little deeper.

Before we continue I have one request.

Do not feel sorry for me. 

I don’t feel sorry for me, and I don’t want anybody else to feel sorry for me. This is a thing that happened to me. It is not ME. It does not define who I am, but it has shaped how I react, respond, and interact with everything around me.

If you want to feel something while reading this, feel empowered or feel enraged or feel proud to be a fucking woman. Don’t feel sorry.

image2

My journey into the depths of my abuse began shortly after puberty. At this point in my life I had already been in and out of counseling with very little success. By the time I hit puberty I began to remember intense details of my abuse which took me down a rabbit hole of darkness. In the following years I battled a drug addiction, multiple eating disorders, power struggles, and the feeling of utterly loosing my mind. I felt like my life was ripping at every seem and completely falling apart. While in the depths of this shadowy space I was completely alone. Truly. I had no community to connect with, I told nobody in my family, and I shutdown in therapy sessions.

Those years were really hard and I honestly don’t fully understand how I came to the other side on my own. I got myself clean while nobody around me even knew I had a drug addiction. I learned about real food so I didn’t hate myself with every bite. I began to stand up for myself and by the time I was graduating from high school my yoga practice had morphed from purely physical to deeply spiritual. It was that shift lunched me onto a path of true healing.

image

I now stand in a place with so much clarity and a deep understanding of the journey I’ve been on. I still have a long way to go, many fears to overcome and face, but I am here. I feel empowered on my path now because I have learned to release the pain and anger behind what happened. I do not need to carry that darkness. That darkness is for the people who have done us wrong. For those who think they are entitled to use our bodies. It is not for us to carry everyday. When we walk with those shadows, we allow them to remain in control.  The only way to take back your power is to move into light.

I am proud of my body, I am rooted in my power, and I am pissed off at the fact that I feel like I have to hide myself behind loose clothing and an angry expression because every time I walk down the street I am met with harassment. I am FUCKING ENRAGED that I feel like I have to hide MY LIGHT, my happiness, my joy because in our culture that is a sign of weakness. And on a street full of men, waiting to cat call, a smile is a sign that my body is offered to all.

Maya Angelou said ” There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Let the stories out, sisters. Let the light in. Let us join together and share our pain and fear and move to shift & reshape our cultural mishaps. Our culture is conservative and over sexualized. It is up to us to unlearn the lessons we have been taught about how to act. It is up to us to fight for a better world for our future women. Don’t doubt the power of your voice. Join the conversation now! #yesallwomen because we can!

dulyposted_committed-citizens_quote1-610x610

 

10 Minute GF Creamy Spinach + Bacon Pasta

IMG_3620

|| gluten free – soy free – nut free ||

 These days I’ve been a sucker for quick dinners. Between massage school and working full time, my nightly routine has shifted quite a bit. Basically if dinner takes more than 30 minutes to make, I’m out. Which has made this gem a recent favorite of mine.

IMG_3609

|| Creamy Spinach + Bacon Pasta ||

1 package gluten free pasta
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 c goat milk yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
2 TBSP goat cheese
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
8 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped
1 lb bacon
1 cup packed spinach

Fill a medium sized pot 3/4 way with water, cover, and bring to a boil.
In a large sauce pan cook bacon until crispy and set aside.
While bacon is cooking mix yogurt, milk, and cheese in a medium sized bowl.

Once the bacon has finished, sweat onions and garlic in the bacon grease until opaque.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Pour wet mixture onto sautéed onion + garlic and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Chop bacon and add, with spinach, to the sauce.
Once the bacon and spinach has been added, cut the heat and stir until spinach is wilted.

Add cooked pasta, salt, and pepper and stir until coated completely.
Top with fresh basil.

IMG_3607

Vegan Chocolate Ganache

IMG_2690

Anything chocolate is always my first choice when it comes to food. Yes, I said food not dessert. I would take chocolate over all other edibles 99% of the time, and chocolate ganache is on my list of favorite chocolate treats. Why? Because you can take any dessert, top with ganache, and suddenly have something magical.  Plus, this stuff is super versatile. Pour it for a drip, whip it for frosting, or roll it for truffles…you just can’t go wrong. And it only takes about 10 minutes to make. You see…kitchen magic.
:: VEGAN CHOCOLATE GANACHE ::
8 oz dark chocolate or enjoy life chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut fat*
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
*full fat canned coconut milk stored in the fridge over night, fat skimmed off the top
Measure chocolate chips into a glass bowl and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan bring coconut fat to a boil.
Once boiling, pour over chocolate chips and whisk until completely melted.
Stir in coconut oil until melted.
Add vanilla and salt.
Pour onto cake, tart, cupcakes, pie, ice cream – whatever – immediately, or place in the fridge to harden for truffles or frosting.

IMG_2987

4 Steps to Honor Your Intuitive Self

10007471_512626258849729_513789948924745083_n

 

Whether you call it your inner voice, intuition, or highest self, it’s all the same. That little tinge of knowing we carry through each decision truly has the capacity to lead us straight to our most vibrant lives. Today I’m going to share a [very abridged] story of how I came to find and trust my inner voice, where that guidance has lead me, and 4 easy tips to find your own intuitive self. 

 Moving to San Francisco in January brought a lot of fear and anxiety to me. I was worried, so worried about everything falling into place, but knew deep within it would all work out.

Point 1 for my inner voice came when I was out of work and full of anxiety. She kept telling me to work, but what I didn’t quite understand at first was that I needed to work on a project for myself. I needed to lay the foundation for something that I couldn’t have seen from where I was standing. She didn’t want me to work for money just yet. No, instead I started some anatomy classes and found the work I needed for myself.

Next she said, ‘stop worrying, a job will come from a friend.’ And later that day a friend presented me with a wild opportunity. Two points to intuition.

Point 3 for my inner voice came in as a shout. She said ‘YES! This job [as head of operations working only part time a small gluten free wholesale company] was it. Forget the money worries, that’ll work out. Just take it. You need it.” Now that last part, the ‘you need it’ part, I wouldn’t understand that for a while. So I said yes.

I also took a part time opportunity as an executive assistant at a coding school. That position came with a lot of guidance as well…but it’s quite a long story.

About a month into my new, seeming perfect schedule she came back to me. She told me to get clear on my goals. Get so clear on my goals that nothing could break my focus. My big lesson here was just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I need to.

What I realized was that what I wanted and what I was doing was quite different. Like the wheels on my car were pointing in different directions so I couldn’t actually move forward. As hard as it was to stand in my truth and make the breaks I needed to, I did it. Fives points to the intuitive self!

Now, I feel centered and grounded in the work I’m doing. I feel like I’m actually moving forward. I’m holding the vision of what I want in the future, but am firmly planted in the now.

image
  :: how to find your intuitive self ::

1. be still, listen, feel, and open up. 

Have a conversation with you inner self while you meditate. Ask for guidance and clearly say ‘I intend to listen to your wisdom. I trust your knowledge and fully expose my path to your guidance.’ One of my favorite daily affirmations that really helped in this transition is this:

“I intend to learn the lesson that is most important for my soul’s growth. I intend to thrive physically, financially, spiritually, and mentally in whatever I do. I intend to feel safe and supported. I trust the process of learning. I hold my hearts desires and passions close, and open to all possibilities.”

2. simplify what you want.

Allow your goals to be big enough to push you out of your comfort zone, but attainable. Simple goals will lead to manifestation and clear movement forward.

3. lay out steps to achieve your goals.

Once you simplify what it is you want, make a plan of action. Figure out exactly what you need to do to make it happen. Creating space to achieve smaller goals will make the larger goal feel possible. For example, my goal to go to massage school seemed almost impossible from where I was. Once I broke it down though, I made it happen IN ONE WEEK!

This is what my list looked like:

INTENTIONS
fund school fully, with ease
start classes ASAP
easily spread my energy between work, school, love, and play
have no conflict between Bali and class [more on this one later ;) ]

TO DO
start full time at the coding school/ leave the bakery
tour the school and sit in on a class
meet with admissions + apply
fill out FAFSA
start class!

Check, check, and check!

4. make a vision board

To me, this is super important. I can easily loose focus, so seeing what it is I want and what steps I need to make everyday really helps me make progress. I sept up my vision board above my alter. Each day I take a moment to sit in front of it and read everything. My board is full of quotes, affirmations, goals, and intentions. Reading that everyday has been such a powerful tool for progress.

I hope you all find that sweet, sweet intuition within. Blessings on your journey deep.

Practicing Ahimsa + Onzie Spring Collection

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 12.58.59 PM

Hello, my loves! It feels so good to finally be back. The past few months have been a wild journey for me deep into myself and into an amazing new life. More on that later though. Today I want to talk about Ahimsa.

The foundation of yoga were recorded in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in roughly 200AD. This sacred text provides an 8 step path toward controlling the mind and bridging the gap between the physical and energetic realms where we exist.

The 8 fold path consists of:
1. Yama – the value you hold for how you interact with your world.
2. Niyama – the values you hold for how you treat yourself.
3. Asana – the practice of postures [the piece of yoga we're most familiar with in the West.]
4. Pranayama – the managing and directing of your energy/life force, often through breath technique.
5. Pratyahara – the synchronization of your senses and thoughts.
6. Dharana – attaining one-pointed concentration.
7. Dhyana – deep meditation.
8. Samadhi – awakening to and absorption in Spirit.

Each section is further broken down into pieces. Within Yama we find the practice of Ahimsa – non violence. This practice can be interpreted in many way, but I like to pull it into my yoga practice through non violence to my body.

For me the practice of Ahimsa is extremely important in my asana practice. It’s easy to get caught up in the visual aspects of yoga. We see amazing yogis on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. and it’s hard not to compare ourselves to what we see. Yes, even teachers. My body has travelled a long way down a hard road of recovery, yet still I push myself beyond my limits.

IMG_3306IMG_0551

Many of you know that ten years ago I fractured my back. I didn’t listen to my body then, didn’t even know I could actually, and allowed scar tissue to build around the injury by continuing to dance competitively for 6 months. Because of the scar tissue, the fracture wasn’t able to heal properly and is still present in my body today. While rehabilitating I began compensating and set up some unfortunate alignment patterns.

Let’s jump ahead to this past December. I had been teaching 9 classes a week, demoing on a cold body [boooo!] and still unaware of these insane alignment issues I had been carrying for 10 years.  By the end of a month I was unable to walk without intense pain, let alone practice asana. Enter Ahimsa.

It was easy for me to tear myself apart when this happened. I felt horrible, and boy does the ego love that. I wanted to be back on my mat more than anything, moving the way I used to – doing arm balances and advanced postures – but I couldn’t and still can’t.

After months of beating myself up, seeing yogis on IG rocking incredible postures I had a little breakthrough. It’s OKAY if I don’t do those poses. It’s okay if I NEVER do those poses. It’s okay if all I can do is a modified sun salutation. IT’S OKAY.

With the practice of non-violence to the body we can create the space we need to allow our bodies to move and create in a way that is safe and supported.

IMG_0521

IMG_3341

So how does this practice apply to the Onzie spring collection? Well, it is the best example I have to show you all my journey.

When Onzie asked if I would write another piece on their line I was so excited. I LOVE their cloths. I was also a little worried. I thought, ‘damn, my practice looks like shit. How am I going to photograph their clothing – which is worn by incredible yogis who can do things I can only dream of –  and make them happy?’

That, of course, was my initial thought. A thought rooted in fear and ‘you’re not good enough.’ But then I thought, they asked ME. They want to work with ME. Not with an idea of what I should be, but with who I am. So I went out and did what I could, which was a lot of sitting, some backbends [which are surprising fantastic for my body unlike forward folds] and some falling.

I had FUN. I enjoyed the shoot and I’m really happy with the outcome.

IMG_0478

Now let’s talk Onzie

You guys know my love affair with this company. Everything they make, every piece of the process is done in Los Angeles, and you can wear everything in the water. Their spring line is even better than I expected. Awesome new patterns and my favorite piece they’ve ever put out: the sweetheart leotard.

Now, the sweetheart leotard is a little tough for yoga because of the full open back. I like to pair mine with the elastic bra top for some added coverage when I’m doing any kind of movement, OR you can rock it as a swimsuit. Double win.

I also got a pair of their long leggings in the new skyline patter and have a hard time taking them off. I’m a shorty coming in at a whopping 4’11 and the pants are little long in a great way. They wrap around the ankle and rest just below the ball of my foot, which is my preferred way to rock leggings. The pants are light but strong, which is always a big deal for me. My leggings take a beating so I need something that holds up without weighting me down. After months of wearing my long leggings at least 3 times a week, and many washes, my leggings still look and feel great. They haven’t faded at all and the seams are still perfectly intact -even on the inner thigh. Plus the bottom of the legging that wraps over my heel hasn’t worn AT ALL. They get mega bonus points for that one.

And washing them is super easy. I wash mine on delicate in the washer and hang them to dry. Since their line is created to go into water, everything air dries super fast.

The Spring Collection is full of bright colors, AWESOME patterns and some new styles. Plus their ‘Be Your Own Superhero’ campaign is so on point with the work this spring is bringing. Find your self-worth, root into your personal power and let it shine in your movement. A clothing company that helped me find ahimsa… what more can you ask for in a connection like this? Thank you, Onzie!

l o v e  +  l i g h t

so glad to be back!

IMG_0574

IMG_0465

 

 

 

 

 

Lunar New Year: Year of the Wooden Horse

moon-phases

Happy Lunar New Year! If you took part in any celebrations last night, I hope you had an incredible time. Last night marks the official beginning of the shift from the year of the water snake to the year of the wooden horse. With this transition comes many, many changes.

This New Year we’re moving from 2 consecutive water years into a year of wood. What exactly does that mean? Well, the last 2 years have been a time of diving deep to our internal darkness. It’s been a time of extreme introspection and hard fucking work. As we shift into the energy of the wooden horse, we’re hit with a fast paced surge of extroverted movement. The Western School of Feng Shui says “there might not be a bigger shift of energies in the entire 60 year wheel of Chinese astrology than this one.”

This year is a year of growth, but not the deep painful growth we’ve been trudging through. This growth comes full of optimism, inspiration, and hope. This is the year of foundation building. The beginning of a new way of living. A year of tapping into our creativity & personal power, and living our purpose. After spending the past 2 years in the darkness, this growth comes like a plant sprouting out of the soil. As the year progresses we will reach closer & closer to living our lives in a passionate, loving way, just as a sprout reaches for the sun. And it’s going to happen fast!

TWN_20131202_MC72

We feel this growth from the element of wood but we also have another energy joining us this year and it comes from the Yang horse. This horse brings the element of fire. It’s passionate, powerful, and intuitive. The energy of the Yang horse is a constant reminder to follow your inner guidance, your higher voice, your gut…whatever the heck you call it, just listen to it!

Remember, this year is going to move fast. Dig out the craziest, most epic version of your life that you can, shoot far beyond what you ever imagined was possible in the past and hold on. If you listen to that inner voice you will have an incredible ride. A heart filling, mind blowing, creatively explosive ride.

If you feel like you’re getting off track or feeling overwhelmed, read this Eckhart Tolle quote:

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”

This quote is always the perfect reminder for me and I hope it does the same for you.

Major love to you all on your journey to passion.
A-ho!

Spicy Citrus and Parsnip Smoothie + Building Your Internal Fire

fire

Today I’m going to share some tips for building & stoking your internal fire. Not only is this a great way to balance out the yin energy of the winter, but it’s also a fantastic way to cultivate your confidence, self-worth, and will.

Our focus is on the third chakra, Manipura, located in the solar plexus just above the belly button. Manipura is your power center. It is the house of your internal fire and there are many ways to activate this energy center.

The best way to externally engage Manipura is with heat; weather it’s flowing through a vigorous workout or eating spicy food. Before we talk about how to tap into this space, let’s dive a little deeper into what our solar plexus chakra does.

yes

Head over to Tasty Yummies for the full post packed with yoga tips, this awesome spicy smoothie, and some affirmation work for Manipura. While you’re there, give Beth a little love while she wraps up her final week of yoga teacher training!

halasana