Practicing Ahimsa + Onzie Spring Collection

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Lunar New Year: Year of the Wooden Horse

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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!

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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

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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.

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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!

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Food to Raise Consciousness

Dain[photo courtesy of paul nine-o]

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Nikola Tesla

Before we talk about food and energy, let’s get to the bottom of energy itself. If we look at the sub-atomic level of anything we find pure energy. This energy vibrates creating a field around it. This field acts like a magnet pulling in and attaching to energy of the same frequency. The vibration becomes more & more intense as more energy gets compressed into the field. This can be said for all things from our kitchen table to our bananas, and the color purple to your body.

:: COLORS TO ACTIVATE ENERGY ::

Oil and food colouring - 1[photo courtesy of Leigh Feaviour]

In our bodies we have countless channels which prana/chi/energy flows. You may be familiar with the term for these channels as they relate to Chinese medicine; meridians. In traditional Indian medicine, these highways are referred to as nadis. Although we have an uncountable amount of nadis in our bodies, there are 3 main channels. Sushumna is the main nadi, running from the crown to the base of the spine. Ida & Pingala represent yin & yang or male & female energies. They wrap around Shshumna and intersect at each chakra center.

Chakra means wheel and each chakra acts as an energy center. There are 7 main chakras, plus smaller centers around the body including the feet & hands. Looking at a diagram of the chakras you will notice each center is shown using a color, a symbol, and a circle with petals. The number of petals & the color of the chakra represent the speed the circle/chakra spins. Darker colors & lower numbers of petals mean a slower spinning/lower vibrating chakra.

So how does this relate to our food? Well, we can tap into these centers by incorporating foods that matches the vibration of the chakra we’re working to open. Remember, these vibrations act as magnets and they become stronger as they attach to more of the same frequency. That means if you’re feeling fear try eating some beets to tap into your root chakra, Muladhara. Or if you’re having difficulty communicating, try eating some blueberries to connect to Vishuddha, your throat chakra.

THE MAIN CHAKRAS
[for more information on the chakra, click here]

1
MULADHARA
base of spine
physical vitality, security, and survival.
red

2
SWADHISTANA
low belly
desire, emotions, intimacy- center of sexual energy.
orange

3
MANIPURA
solar plexus
creation, perception and projection of Self- i.e. self worth, will, and confidence.
yellow

4
ANAHATA
heart
universal love, compassion, empathy.
green

5
VISSHUDHA
throat center
communication, & creative expression.
blue

6
AJNA
forehead [3rd Eye]
visualization, & intuition.
indigo

7
SAHASRARA
crown of head
spirituality, wisdom, & the highest self.
violet or white

Need some help finding balance in the chakras? Try my 7 Day Juice + Yoga Chakra Cleanse.

:: DETOXING ::

intestine[illustration courtesy of daren magee]

For many of us, included myself, we were raised on diets that were, well…empty. I was brought up on fast food & casseroles, boxed dinners & frozen, mushy vegetables. I didn’t even know what spinach truly looked like until I was in High School. And what’s left after all of those years of eating poorly? Junk!

Once I began moving into a place of awareness I began to shift my eating habits. I know as much as the next person just how difficult it is to change. My best advice is to start with a cleanse. Clear away the leftover junk & hit reset. Not only will the body feel cleaner, but you will also have an extra push to continue eating properly.

AID IN DETOXIFICATION

When working with a cleanse, it’s best to involve a naturopath or nutritionist to help with supplement support.

Here is a small list of foods that will activate the liver. The liver has many jobs ranging from processing nutrients from the small intestine, to producing bile which helps in digesting fat. But most importantly, the liver detoxifies harmful substances in the body, making it a great area to focus on stimulating during a cleanse.

LIVER ACTIVATING FOODS

Garlic
Avocados
Turmeric
Apples
Celery
Beets
Dark Leafy Greens
Walnuts
Green Vegetables
Burdock Root
Dandelion Root

I would also suggest eating more fermented foods including kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut. Fermented foods add beneficial bacteria to your digestive system, making food absorption easier.

:: MINDFULLY PRODUCED FOOD ::

Psychedelic Deer[photo courtsey of TEVR]

Another way to lift your vibration is to eat foods that have been mindfully produced. As we know, all matter holds a vibration and each emotion carries a vibration as well. Animals are no different. They feel fear and sadness, happiness and security and although it may be a stretch to imagine, their emotions can effect yours.

Have you ever held factory farm meat next to locally raised meat? Everything looks different, from color to texture and size. That is no coincidence. The difference is health, an overall wellbeing of the animal before it died.

Eating mindfully produced food doesn’t just include animals. It extends into everything form vegetables to honey, milk, eggs, and everything else. On a more basic note, it’s much easier for the body to digest clean food. Food is a way to heal, nourish, and fuel the body. It can bring us to our optimal health, releasing aliments and creating space to focus on deeper [spiritual] progress.

:: HEIGHTEN THE VIBRATION ::

geo[illustration courtesy of daren magee]

When we eat it’s very common to scarf down the meal without much thought. Perhaps you’re in a rush, tired, or simply just lost in thought. It’s possible though to make a huge impact on the food we’re eating, and subsequently our emotions, by taking small steps to find awareness.

EASY WAYS TO LIFT THE VIBRATION OF FOOD

POSITIVE THOUGHTS Whenever you’re handling food, think positive thoughts. That goes for shopping, cooking, and eating.

SLOW DOWN take at least 30 minutes to eat your meal. Chew slowly, taste your food, and be present. Focus your mind on the food you’re eating.

GRATITUDE Once you begin to focus on the food you’re eating, allow gratitude to flow. Give thanks and appreciation for what you have.

BLESSINGS Take a moment to send love to your food. If you’re eating meat, send a blessing to the animal’s soul. If you’re eating vegetables, send a blessing to the farmer & the soil. Infuse your food with love & gratitude and those emotions will infuse right back into you.

The more we choose mindful behavior & awareness, the higher our vibration becomes. Raising your frequency will bring you into a new realm of consciousness, bringing peace, compassion, and happiness to your life.

10 Tips for an Eco Friendly Road Trip

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Daren & I just finished our road trip from Port Townsend to Oakland and I’m excited to share our trip with all of you. As the week goes on I’ll be talking about some of the paleo snacks we munched on, places we stopped, and puppy friendly accommodations along the way. Today I’m outlining my essentials for an eco friendly road trip.

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TIPS TO AN ECO-FRIENDLY ROAD TRIP

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1. BALL JARS

Keep 1 pint size wide mouth ball jar available for each person on your trip. I also like to carry 1 quart size wide mouth jar incase any mixing needs to happen. Jars are great as cups, bowls, storage, etc. They’re cheap so if they break or get left behind, it’s not a big loss. I use jars so much while we’re on the road. Sometimes I like to keep the larger jar full of water for cleaning hands or wiping spills.

2. SILVERWARE

If you participated in the WR Six Month Mindful Living Challenge you should already have a set of travel silverware. If you didn’t invest in a set. They’re great to always have on you, especially on the road. The set Daren & I have are aluminum with holes at the end that connect to a carabiner. I like to wrap mine in a cloth napkin to keep from getting dirty in my purse which also doubles as a towel when I’m eating. If you don’t want to invest in a set, bring some silverware from home or buy some from the thrift store and keep them in the car.

3. METAL or GLASS WATER BOTTLES

Keep 1 XL water bottle in the car and a bottle for each person on the trip. Daren and I have a 64 oz Klean Kanteen that we keep full of water in the car. That’s our water reserve on the road. We each keep a smaller bottle to drink from and fill from the large bottle when we run out. Staying hydrated on the road is the hardest part of road trips.

4. COFFEE MUGS

Keep a travel mug in the car. There’s no need to waste paper cups each time you stop for some java. I’m a big fan of the JOCO glass travel mug.

5. CLEANER

Before you leave fill a bottle with 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil. This solution works great for cleaning off dishes, silverware, plates, and cups without the need for water. It disinfects and smells great. It also works for any spills that happen inside of the car.

6. STOCK UP

If you have a restricted diet or eat mindfully stock up on your favorite snacks before you start your trip. I love Steve’s Paleo Goods [look out for a feature on them this week!] for easy meals on the road. Homemade granola bars and rice cakes with nut butter are great options for easy breakfast & snacks. We stocked up on granola & jerky from Steve’s Paleo Goods before we left. The jerky is the best! Perfect for a quick lunch.

7. REUSABLE GARBAGE BAG

Invest in a reusable car garbage bag. It’s extremely useful during road trips and normal life. We have one from Etsy and it works great. There’s a loop that ties around the gear stick in the center console so the bag is always in easy reach. We lined our bag with a compostable plastic garbage bag that we emptied & reused throughout the entire trip.

8. TOWELS

Keep a few sized of towels handy in the car. Smaller sizes are perfect for napkins, and hand washing, while the larger towels sop up spills and wipe down dirty dishes. Designate a reusable shopping bag as a dirty towel bag.

9. PLATES

There are a few options for plates on the road that you won’t have to worry about breaking. I like to keep plates handy incase we stop at a food truck. Personally I think aluminum plates are the best option because they’re not disposable, but bamboo plates and these Preserve plastic plates made from recycled number five plastic offer a cheaper alternative.

10. PLAN

 Avoid rest stops on the road by planning ahead. We all know everything they serve is overly processed and full of junk. Instead plan out your route and find little restaurants along the way. Look for the small local joints that are unique to the area you’re traveling. Food trucks are also an awesome option for road food. It may add a little time to your trip, but your body will thank you in the end.

Seven Day Chakra Cleanse: Sahasrara

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Congratulations!! You’ve made it to day 7! We’re one week into the new year now and hopefully this cleanse has helped you find some balance. Today we’re bringing our attention to the crown chakra, Sahasrara. Sahasrara is our connection to the divine. It brings us wisdom, inspiration and connection to spirituality. For a deeper look at the crown, check out the Sahasrara meditation from the Six Month Mindful Living Challenge.

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Good morning, it’s Zoe again from One Beet. Today I’m sharing my Tropical Winter Smoothie. This winter white smoothie tastes like summer in a glass! It is reminiscent of piña colada flavors, without any added sugars or artificial flavors. Pineapple is loaded with anti-inflammatory bromelain, which has been shown to improve digestion, combat cancer, and support immunity. In addition to adding sweetness, the coconut milk is high in antioxidants, vitamins B, C, and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron. So, you can definitely feel good about sipping on this sweet treat.

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Tropical Winter Smoothie

1 cup frozen pineapple

¾ cup coconut milk

½ lime (peeled)

1 banana

Combine all ingredients and puree to a creamy consistency.

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TODAY’S CARDS
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x8

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TODAY’S YOGA

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To stimulate Sahasrara in yoga we work with inversions. Kathryn Budig’s Yoga Journal video breaks down each inversion with helpful prop use & starting points. If this is too advanced for your practice, return to day 3 of the challenge and work with whichever video you didn’t do. There were 2 videos that day, one focusing on core, the other on building heat. Enjoy the fresh perspective of being upside down! Jaya.

 

Seven Day Chakra Cleanse: Ajna

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Today we’re bringing our attention up to Ajna. Located in the third eye, Ajna connects us to our intuition. It’s the house of our highest self & our inner guidance. To take a deeper look at Ajna, head over to the Ajna meditation from the Six Month Mindful Living Challenge.

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Hey everybody I’m Sherrie from With Food + Love and today I’m sharing with you my recipe for Purple Power Juice. Juicing purple cabbage is like liquid power for your cells. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetables, chock full of anti-cancer properties. Purple cabbage is also an excellent blood builder. It’s also known to help improve brain function and promote a healthy heart! Now your body can’t ask for much more than that can it?

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Purple Power Juice
{makes 20 ounces}
Ingredients:
1/4 head purple cabbage
1 cucumber {peeled if desired}
5 red kale leaves, ribs and all!
1/2 lemon
One by one, run the ingredients through your juice. Drink immediately or store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

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Sherrie Scaglione Castellano, Certified Health Coach (CHC)
With Food and Love, www.withfoodandlove.com
Connect with me: FacebookTwitterInstagram

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TODAY’S CARDS

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x6

x5

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TODAY’S YOGA

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