i believe in...

 Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

I believe in challenging the status quo. I believe that we are meant to feel good all of the time. I believe our bodies are fucking magical and strong and made for so much more than just sitting at a desk. I believe inner strength should be developed just as much as outer strength. I believe a body that is nourished, taken care of, and balanced will heal itself. I believe in taking the time to imagine the life that you want to live and then doing the work to create it. I believe in people. And movement. And bliss. 

This is why I teach yoga. Because the things that I've received from this practice are too good not to share. Because I genuinely love people and I want to see them transform into the best versions of themselves. There is this spark in people. You can see it in their eyes when they're determined. You can see them light up from the inside. And yoga brings that out. You see it when people surprise themselves. When they do something for the first time or feel something for the first time. It's beautiful. 

Our world, this artificial environment that we've created, doesn't allow people to explore their bodies or their minds the way that we're meant to. We were made to move in every possible way. And yet so many people get stuck sitting for hours on end. We were made to imagine and dream and create. And yet so many people use their minds to think at work and then turn them off at night with the click of a remote. 

I believe that travel is necessary. This planet is too big and beautiful not to explore. Each time we experience a new culture, our worldview broadens just a bit more. We get to question what we've become used to. And that allows us to change. Travel gives us these moments of presence, and wonder, and bliss. It inspires us to live in the moment. To just be. 

I am so excited to be hosting a retreat this summer on the beautiful Greek island of Amorgos. The retreat is seven days of exploring both the outside world, and the world inside of our own hearts. I hope you'll join me on the island! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions! Click the link here to register for the retreat! Pay your deposit before April 1st and save $300 off!

 Amorgos Yoga Shala, Greece

Amorgos Yoga Shala, Greece

7 days of meditation - post challenge

Ten days ago I challenged myself to meditate twice a day for 7 days. I have not had a regular meditation practice in the past and I have always known that I needed one. I used to think I didn't have time or a good space to meditate - I had a lot of excuses. Those excuses seemed really valid at the time. I had this image of myself in my head with tons of free time and a beautiful meditation cushion in a spare room with crystals, a bronze statue of the Buddha, and palo santo burning. So not necessary. I meditate right next to my bed. Sitting on a yoga block, nothing fancy. When I have time, I meditate for 20+ minutes and when I don't, I meditate for ten. Simple. I do find that I am easily distracted so for me I need something to listen to or mala beads to keep me focused. I used guided meditations from the Mindbliss app and just put headphones in. 

I don't think I've changed much in the past week but there are a few little changes that I've noticed. When I wake up feeling hungry or sleepy, if I meditate right away that hunger and sleepiness subsides. I have been making myself a little ginger tea, apple cider vinegar concoction (it doesn't exactly taste good but it's healthy!), and while I wait for that to cool down (procrastinate drinking it?) I do my morning meditation. I don't know if meditation makes my hunger go away or if it's the anticipation of drinking vinegar, but somehow it works. (**Side note: I have been intermittent fasting so when I first wake up I don't eat right away and the hunger struggle is real**)

Another thing I've noticed is that my meditation practice is different every day. The first three days I felt myself totally blissing out quickly, but then other days I would fidget and check the time and overall struggle. I've seen this in my yoga practice but it never occurred to me that this was also true in meditation. I am slowly teaching myself to be more compassionate to myself on those fidgety days and I'm doing my best not to get attached to the blissed out days. Nothing is permanent. 

The last thing that I became more aware of has been my emotions. Lately I've been (mostly) seeing my emotions as they bubble up, rather than having a reaction and then noticing the emotion. I still react even when I can see that it's just an emotion/thought, but there is a little space now between the moment I see that emotion rise and the moment that I react to it. My work then is to make that space a little larger. My intention is to see thoughts and emotions as they arise and then mindfully choose how I will respond. I am actively practicing this when I drive. Driving in Florida can be exceptionally frustrating, and since I've lived here I've developed my own little strain of road rage. There's a whole lot of "really?!"s and "could you not?"s. But it isn't doing me any good, so I aim to change that. Because changing my perspective is a lot easier than explaining to everyone in my state how I would and would not like them to drive to suit my needs. 

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So to wrap it up, if you don't already have a meditation practice I highly recommend starting one! If you need somewhere to start check out the Mindbliss app! Let me know in the comments what type of meditation you like to practice, and if you don't meditate let me know why not! 

7 day meditation challenge.

So today is day two of my 7 day meditation challenge with myself! I have not been a good meditator in the past but I have always wanted to start a practice. Like anything, I am starting small. I just got the Mindbliss meditation app and my goal is to meditate twice a day. I am only halfway through day two so things are going well. I've been doing a chanting meditation in the morning or early afternoon, and a calming meditation before bed. These are short meditations, 20 minutes or less.

I am posting this to keep myself accountable. The Mindbliss app has meditation journeys, which are several meditation sessions that go together. I chose a 7 day journey, and I'm hoping that after the 7 days I will find another good journey to keep me meditating regularly. I tend to be constantly moving, striving, and doing. The only stillness I am really comfortable in is savasana and I honestly think that is because I worked for it in my practice. So my intention is to find comfort in stillness, and to learn acceptance. 

Today I woke up late so I didn't meditate first thing in the morning, I waited until I got home from teaching my first class. I am also experimenting with intermittent fasting (which I will post about once I've been doing it for a bit longer) so when I got home I was pretty ravenous and normally would have just eaten everything in the house. But instead I meditated. During my meditation I felt aware of the sensation of hunger but somehow detached from it. I was able to meditate with a clear, open mind. And then when I was finished I took my time preparing a meal rather than just devouring whatever was quickest. I'm not saying two whole days of meditation made that difference, but maybe it helped me to change my mindset. I'm definitely interested in seeing where the next seven days will take me. 

If you have a meditation practice or are interested in starting one tell me about it in the comments below! 

Namaste <3

awakening in amorgos: a yoga retreat in greece

 Morning yoga in Amorgos  

Morning yoga in Amorgos  

I am so beyond excited to announce that I will be hosting a yoga retreat on the beautiful Greek island Amorgos! The retreat is this August 19th-26th, 7 nights! Each day will begin with an energizing yoga practice and end with a blissfully relaxing yin practice. The rest of the time will be spent soaking up the sun on the beach, exploring the island and getting immersed in Greek culture, relaxing in the spa, or taking excursions like cave exploration or boat tours. I am truly so grateful for this opportunity to share this transformational trip with you!  

 Amorgos, Greece

Amorgos, Greece

Join me on this week long journey of discovery. Explore the beauty of Greece, while diving deep into the depths of yourself. Leave behind your commitments, your schedule, your to-do lists, and all of the busy-ness of your daily life. Embark on a journey into your soul through your yoga practice, meditation, and allowing yourself to simply be.

 Amorgos, Greece

Amorgos, Greece


This retreat will include daily yoga, meditation, plenty of sunshine, clear blue waters, renewal in the spa, and free time to explore the beauty and the culture of the Greek island of Amorgos. Give yourself the gift of rejuvenation, self discovery, and peace. Take these things with you off of the island and learn to hold this peace within you during the chaos of daily life. 

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I hope to see you on the island! Click this link to reserve your spot! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at yogawithadriana@gmail.com! 

 Amorgos, Greece

Amorgos, Greece

full moon vibin'.

Still feeling the energy from this past full moon in Leo and lunar eclipse. Things are happening, things are changing. Eclipses are like opening a gateway. They totally shift the flow of things until the next eclipse. Change is always for the better, even if it doesn't feel that way.

I was lucky to hold a Reiki circle on the night of the full moon eclipse with six women. There was definitely a divine feminine energy in the room. The Reiki felt so powerful I could literally feel it swirling through me so much so that my body swayed with it. It felt like a surge. My dreams ever since have been so strange, vivid, and have seemed so real. 

The next eclipse is in August, which is the same month as my retreat in Greece. I feel like for me this shift was into a make-it-happen lioness kind of energy, and the next one will be very much a harvest and enjoy the fruits of my labour kind of vibe. Leo deals with career and money. It is very much a high energy, get things done, and financial flow kind of sign. After Reiki, I usually like to vibe out and become one with the couch, take a bath, or just do something chill. But after this particular circle I got home and started journaling, writing, getting my act together. Totally not typical. This shift couldn't have come at a better time. Forever grateful for divine timing. 

If you've been feeling this moon share your story in the comments! And if you're interested in coming to Greece either leave me a comment, or email me at yogawithadriana@gmail.com! 

Wishing you all a transformative moon cycle! 🌙🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑🌒🌓🌔⭐️💫💛

 Ardha Chandra Chopasana

Ardha Chandra Chopasana

how yoga teacher training changed my life.

One summer I started a journey that would change my life completely. I was 24, freshly divorced, and I had no clue what I was doing. I planned to go away for three months. I grossly over packed.

This was my first solo trip overseas. In fact it was my first solo trip anywhere. I wouldn't be alone the entire trip though, my sister was meeting me halfway through the trip in London.

 La Rambla, Barcelona 2014

La Rambla, Barcelona 2014

The first three days I spent wandering Barcelona in search of my soul. Enjoying this new freedom I'd never felt before. I walked the familiar streets I'd visited before, and some new streets I'd missed in previous trips. Streets where my grandfather grew up, where my mother spent so much of her youth, where I would put my pieces back together and learn to feel whole in solitude. And just as I had started to get my bearings and feel at home again in Barcelona, I flew off to Sevilla.

It was very hot waiting outside at the airport in Sevilla. The heat was dry, just like my home in the desert. I was sitting on a bench waiting to be picked up, listening to pieces of conversations in Spanish. I saw a girl in yoga pants, with a yoga mat. She looked like a hippie and was clearly doing the training with me. We started talking and became fast friends. We'd later discover we were roommates and our nickname throughout training would become "the twins".

 Kayaking in Tajo del Aguila  

Kayaking in Tajo del Aguila  

Each morning was spent in silence. We were up before the sun and silently we would make our way to the yoga shala for morning meditation. Meditation was difficult for me. I hadn't yet developed a sitting practice. I learned to listen. I would listen to the animals outside, the chickens, the cats, the dogs, the peacocks, the horses. I heard them all. I could hear sounds in the kitchen and the occasional buzzing of bees. The silence was never truly silent.  After meditation we would take a short break  and then come back to the room for an energizing yoga practice. Sometimes practice was an hour and a half, sometimes longer. Each day I grew stronger. Each day I learned a new pose I had never before attempted. Each day I was surprised.

 Suryalila Retreat Centre, Villamartin, Spain  

Suryalila Retreat Centre, Villamartin, Spain  

Finally we broke the silence in our breakfast groups. At first these groups felt like just a fun way to get to know people. But as training went on I understood that truly these groups were a form of therapy. Within a week I was sharing pieces of my soul with complete strangers over tea each morning. It was with this group of new friends that repressed memories from my youth came back to me. I pieced together a part of my story that I didn't understand with people who I had only just met. I know it sounds cheesy, but I found myself again. It was such a relief to finally understand why I had so much pain in my heart, why I had acted out and rebelled so much as a teenager. It all made sense. I gained a renewed sense of purpose and I finally began my healing journey. A journey that I am still on.

 Ruins near Suryalila  

Ruins near Suryalila  

I remember walking through the hills, hiking to the tallest peaks, climbing through untouched ruins overgrown with tall grass and wildflowers without ever knowing what used to stand there. I remember roaming through endless fields of sunflowers, exploring the countryside, and making connections that I still hold close in my heart. I remember cool mornings walking barefoot across the property in the dark. I remember the sweat that dripped onto my mat, and the feeling of tears streaming up my face into my hair in wheel pose.

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This training didn't just teach me the names of poses in Sanskrit, or the history of yoga, or anatomy, or how to meditate. I learned the truth of who I am. Parts of myself that had been hidden finally came to the surface. I discovered my own path. I began a healing process that I didn't quite know I needed. This was my beginning. This was my rebirth.

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the journey towards a vegan diet.

I’m about to disappoint a few people. And to be honest I’m a bit disappointed myself. But if I intend to live my yoga practice - I have to be authentic and share the pieces of me that I’m still working on.

Seven months ago I decided to make a lifestyle change and go vegan. It didn’t go so well. I really tried for awhile, I did. At first I was cooking a lot and meal prepping and finding tons of great vegan recipes. But as time went on, the busy-ness of life got in the way. I felt so overwhelmingly guilty every time I ate something with cheese, or something that probably had eggs or dairy in it. I was really hard on myself. And finally I realized that all of that self judgement and guilt was worse for me than my diet.

I’ve been vegetarian for seven years now and that has been a breeze. At this point I don’t even think that meat would taste good, nor would I want it anywhere near my plate. To me, it’s a carcass. Decaying flesh. And for me, that is totally unappetizing and I literally can’t stomach it. Not everyone feels this way and I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, but it’s something that I feel very strongly about. My boyfriend and a good portion of my family are still omnivores and I love them regardless. It’s just something I can’t talk to them about. I’m so against eating meat, I don’t even like to bite my own tongue! ;)

When I decided to go vegan I was really hoping that with time, I would feel just as grossed out by cheese and eggs as I do by meat. That didn’t happen. I don’t think I gave it enough time. But to be honest, I didn’t have the time to meal prep. I didn’t have the time to check every label. I wasn’t willing to do the work. Someday I will be.

I feel that timing is everything. I tried to go vegetarian twice before it actually stuck. Technically three times if you count the time I declared to my mother at 12 years old that I was going vegetarian - she didn’t let me and I wasn’t equipped to grocery shop and cook for myself. My hope is that in the next year or two, I’ll create a schedule for myself that is less crazy but equally rewarding and that will be the right time.

At this point I still lean towards vegan. I still aspire to eat that way as much as possible.  When I get to choose the restaurant, it’s always a vegan restaurant. I love LA because practically everywhere has vegan options and there are so many good vegan spots. I think in the future it will be even easier everywhere else in the world. This is the direction we are moving towards. And I’m moving that way too - just not as quickly as I had hoped.

So there you have it. This is a big piece of my work. Someday I’d love to be vegan, gluten free, soy free, sugar free, and alcohol free. But this isn’t the moment for that. I’m pouring my heart and soul into different endeavors. And I love wine and cheese. I’m finding my balance and staying true to myself - without beating myself up. This is a journey, and not as easy of a journey as I thought it would be. But of course, nothing worthwhile is easy.


I’d love to hear about your journey and your experience with trying a vegan or vegetarian diet! Leave something in the comments if you feel so inclined! Namaste <3

 

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staying zen through the season.

The holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you're traveling. Airports are packed, traffic is heavy, and literally every store looks like the apocalypse is coming. So in a sea of chaos, how do you keep your calm? Here's a few simple tips that help me out!

 

1. Go with the Flow

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Sure, you have plans. But get ready for them to all go out the window. Things get cancelled, people run late, and it's all fine. When plans change, you have the choice to stress over it or to go with it. "Be water, my friend" has been my mantra lately. It's a quote from Bruce Lee. When I feel myself getting stressed, I think about how water flows around obstacles rather than ramming into them. I highly recommend listening to the Bruce Lee podcast all about this exact quote and how to apply it, not only during the holidays but anytime you find yourself facing a conflict.

 

 

2. Give Yourself Time & Space

Try not to expect the world to run according to your plans.  Leave some space in your schedule for longer lines, heavier traffic, and delayed flights. Get to the airport two hours early. You know the lines will be five times longer, why not be ready for it? If you think you're taking a quick trip to the grocery store, think again. Plan for parking to take longer, expect longer lines, and don't be disappointed if your five minute trip takes 25 minutes.

 

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3. Use Aromatherapy

Carry some essential oils with you. You can buy roll on essential oils at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or through doTerra. Lavender is wonderful for soothing anxiety and also helps you sleep. I like sandalwood as well which is great for grounding. Peppermint is energizing and great for days when you need a little pick me up. Roll some onto your wrists and take a few deep breaths in.

 

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

Honor your daily yoga and meditation practice. If you have to shorten it, that's perfectly fine. But make sure that you take the time for yourself. My family can attest to the fact that I am not myself if I haven't practiced. Tame the beast. Practice yoga.

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5. And Practice Some More

This is also an incredible time to practice your off the mat yoga. Catch yourself when you're not in the moment. Practice ahimsa, compassion, towards everyone you interact with. And yes, that means the woman behind you in line complaining loudly about where she has to be. A Buddhist monk once told me a story about how he was in Target and the line was quite long and someone a few people behind him was complaining out loud to herself about the line, the employees, anything she could find to whine about. So he asked her if she would like to cut him in line. It probably made the difference of a few minutes. But after that she stopped complaining. Sometimes people don't know how they sound. They don't realize they're making things worse for everyone around them. And you have the opportunity to be compassionate and allow them to experience compassion. Do it with kindness. It's too easy to get sucked into that stressed out mindset. Notice when your thoughts and your body get pulled into unnecessary suffering and anchor yourself back into the moment. Be with your breath. Feel your feet in your shoes and the sensation of clothing on your skin. Get grounded and find stillness within yourself. This is your living yoga practice.

 

I hope you all have a super chill and magical holiday! I'd love to hear from you! Share how you keep your cool during the holiday season with me below in the comments!

natural deodorants that don't stink.

Let's face it, deodorant is pretty bad for your body for a multitude of reasons. It contains several different carcinogens, such as parabens and aluminum compounds which are both linked to breast cancer, as well as silica, talc, and triclosan. A lot of deodorants also include propylene glycol, which is a neurotoxin that can cause liver and kidney damage. So why the heck do we keep swiping it on every day? Because we want to smell pretty. And that is totally okay.

I sweat a lot. Like it’s basically my job to sweat. Not only do I teach yoga, but I also teach Pilates, Barre, RealRyder Indoor Cycling, POUND, and sometimes Bootcamp. I usually teach more than one class per day, sometimes three or four. I absolutely love what I do, but I honestly need deodorant. I would be super gross without it.

When I first switched to natural deodorant, I’m not gonna lie it was not so pretty. My sister is really honest with me and she told me to switch back immediately. I assumed that if one didn’t work, none of them would. And after two weeks of smelling pretty rank, I went back to my old deodorant.

About a year later I tried again but with a different brand, and same thing. It didn’t work. This happened a few more times, but finally after trying seven different kinds of natural deodorant I finally know what works for me. So I’m sharing my experiences with natural deodorant so you don’t have to smell yourself in downdog! Of course what works for me, may not work for you. But these are my honest reviews of everything I've tried! Hope it helps you find your happy pit place!

Jason Nourishing Apricot Deodorant Stick

This was the first brand I tried. I know because it’s still sitting mostly unused in my bathroom cabinet. I’m not saying this one won’t work for you, but it definitely didn’t work for me. The ingredients do also include silica, which is a carcinogen. I’d say this one stinks.

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Unscented Deodorant Stick

This was the second brand that I tried. It also didn’t work. Sometimes I even thought that it was making me smell worse than I would have without any deodorant. The first ingredient in this is propylene glycol, which is a neurotoxin that may cause liver and kidney damage. I’d have to say, this one also reeks.

Trader Joe’s Unscented Deodorant with Cotton

This one isn’t technically natural, but I bought it because it is paraben and aluminum free. It still contains propylene glycol, and steareth-20 which are both carcinogens. I honestly didn’t hate this. For normal everyday activity, it held up. But when it came to teaching a Bootcamp, hot yoga, or a spin class, I just couldn’t use this. Depending on what your average day looks like, this may not be a bad choice for you - however considering the ingredients, you may find one even better.

Coconut Oil

Yup. Just coconut oil. I met a woman at a yoga festival who said that was all she used. And she totally didn’t smell bad so I thought I’d give it a whirl. For an average, chill day this is totally fine as long as you reapply every five hours or so. But if I work out at all, or am out in the sun for too long, it won’t cut it. Maybe this is oversharing but I feel like it gives me a very weird smell, not like body odor, but just weird. And the oil gets on your clothes and is kind of messy. But overall if you’re going all natural and you don’t sweat much, why not try it? You probably already have coconut oil in your house anyway so it’s a great, cheap, and sustainable option.

Primal Pit Paste Lavender Scented Natural Deodorant

This was the first brand that I officially switched to. It really works. The ingredients are totally all natural, it has a nice light lavender scent, but of course, there’s a catch. It is made with an aluminum free sodium bicarbonate - baking soda. This may not affect you in any way, but my skin is sensitive to it and it gives me an itchy, red rash. I put coconut oil on first and that makes it less bad, but I still get a rash from it. If you know that your skin is sensitive, this may not be for you. It definitely works though, so it’s worth a shot!

PiperWai Natural Deodorant

I like to live on the edge. So I test drove this one for three days at Coachella with no back up plan. This could have ended really badly, but luckily it didn't. PiperWai did not let me down. Not only did I not smell, but I also didn’t really sweat. It uses activated charcoal to absorb moisture. And best of all for me was that it didn't irritate my skin!

Way of Will 02 Natural Deodorant Tea Tree + Pumpkin Seed

I love this stuff. It has coconut oil and shea butter which feels amazing on your skin. The tea tree and peppermint oil make it smell amazing, and the peppermint oil is also cooling so it literally feels refreshing to put on. My skin is sensitive, but this one doesn’t give me a rash or bother me at all. It actually feels good. And, most importantly, it works - even for my sweaty lifestyle!

make noise.

You know what's really healing? Music.

And also hitting things with drum sticks.  

I've always loved music. Can't say that I've met someone who doesn't. What you're listening to at each stage of your life is an indicator of what you're feeling. Who you perceive yourself to be. And who you'd like to believe you are. Sometimes music gets us through some heavy shit. Sometimes it says the words we can't. Sometimes music speaks to our souls in ways nothing else does. And rocking out just makes you feel better.  

I don't consider myself a musical person - like at all. But I definitely went through a stage where I idolized Meg White and wanted to become a drummer. And today that dream came true (kind of).  

I just became a certified POUND Pro. And if you don't know what that means, that's cool, three months ago neither did I. Pound is like tapping into all of your teenage rock star dreams and just setting them free. It's a work out that uses lightly weighted drum sticks. It has some elements of Pilates, strength training, and cardio. Honestly I did not for one second feel like I was working out. It was fun and flew by. But now I'm sore and actually sort of dreading how sore I'm going to be tomorrow (just kidding I love that feeling). 

Back to the music. Music does strange things to our brains. In a good way. Singing and speaking are not processed the same in the brain - which is why people who speak with an accent are able to sing without one.  "Numerous studies have proven the powerful brain boosting, stress-relieving effects of drumming. The rhythm of drumming permeates the entire brain to improve focus, increase higher-level thinking and decision-making skills, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, decrease chronic pain, anxiety, and fatigue." Drumming has also shown positive effects on people with Parkinson's and ADD. 

If you happen to see a POUND class near you I definitely encourage you to check it out! Unleash you inner rockstar! Get out there and make some noise!

feelin' so thankful

I am back home for Thanksgiving and I am feeling oh so thankful. I wrote down a gratitude list of a few things I'm grateful for right now. Gratitude practice is linked to feeling more grateful spontaneously - and the most grateful people are also the happiest. One of my teachers once said that gratitude is the fast track to happiness. It's true. When you pause and just think about all that you have to be grateful for, any heaviness that you may have been feeling just drifts away. I always feel so much lighter and better when I remember these things. I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal, or write a gratitude list, or even write a thank you letter that you may or may not send out. This is my gratitude list: 

  • I have a family that I love, vibe with, and belong to. 
  • I have friends who are are so alike and so different in so many ways. They are loving, badass, interesting, funny, and they inspire me to be a better version of myself all of the time. 
  • Right now, I'm surrounded by mountains. Every where I look, there's just this incredible reminder of how great things take time. Beauty is all around us. This earth is awe inspiring and majestic and I am so lucky to get to be a part of it. The mountains also remind me of the fact that the view at the top is breath taking and it takes a climb to get there. We absolutely must do the work, because it is oh so worth our time - and, the work itself is beautiful and enjoyable as long as we stop and enjoy where we are every now and then. 
  • I am grateful for yoga. For too many reasons to count, but especially for inspiring me, for challenging me, and for keeping me grounded, centered, and happy. 
  • I have the right to choose what I do for a living. I have the honor and privilege of being born in a country with  running water, an abundance of food, and all of the creature comforts that I've grown so used to. If I get sick, there's a hospital nearby. If I want to go to school, there are great universities. I have access to the internet pretty much all the time (and I take advantage of it ALL the time). I have the ability to connect, share my thoughts, and research anything I'd like online without restriction. 
  • I have clean water to drink. Clean air to breathe. I can eat what I want - and I live in a place with organic food and so many vegan options, it's amazing. Not everyone has this so readily available.
  • I have a boyfriend who I love, and who loves me, He knows all of my shit. I know all of his. We have absolutely no boundaries with each other. I can say the hippiest shit ever, I can talk to him in all of the accents, and just be an overall giant weirdo. And he gets me. 
  • I am grateful for the sun. For warmth, for light, and for life. 
  • I have too many things to be grateful for to consolidate into one list. 

Tell me something you're grateful for in the comments! 

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play. every damn day.

 Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains

Do whatever it is that you are meant to do here. If you're a mover, move. If you're a shaker, shake. Whether you create masterpieces out of clay, paint, food, photos, words, or fabric - create. Wherever your path leads you, go there with all of your heart. If you're a builder, build something that you can be proud of. If you're a chef, cook something that you wish you could share with the entire world. If you're a dancer, move people with your movement. And if you don't know what your path is yet, think back to when you were young. What did you love to do for play? When is the last time you did that? When is the last time you built a sandcastle or made a snow angel? Or finger painted? And why not? Your path may have nothing to do with building snow men, but I'd be willing to bet if you let yourself get lost in play, you'd find yourself, find your path, and find your purpose.

Most animals in the wild have been observed playing. If you have an animal, you know they love to play. They've actually done studies on baby rats to study the affects of play deprivation, versus normal play on the brain and the results are pretty incredible. There have been a few different studies done. To sum it up, rats who experienced play deprivation did not possess the social skills necessary to be a functional adult rat, they were unable to differentiate appropriate from inappropriate aggression (appropriate as in normal rough and tumble play), and in another study they found that the play deprived rats had a more immature pattern of neuronal connections in the medial prefrontal cortex - which would basically mean that they would have had trouble socializing and integrating. Of course, we're not rats and our brains may not respond the exact same way, but there's definitely a correlation between play and overall mental health. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. 

From my own experience, I've also found that if I am at work trying to force a good idea or if I've been sitting and trying really hard to write for too long, nothing comes. I solve problems better, write better, and think more clearly when my mind is relaxed. Luckily for me, in my current job I go back and forth between teaching classes and doing actual "work" (teaching is my job, but it doesn't feel like it - it feels like play!), I get to go "play" for an hour and then sit back down and work on my projects. After I've "played", I'm more relaxed, which also equates to more focus. Play is inspiring. So when I sit back down to work, my mind isn't jumping all over the place. I nail down one thing at a time. There are of course days when I go in to work specifically to work on things I haven't had time for, and those days I am usually not teaching a class. I can honestly say that it takes me longer, I tend to jump from one project to the next without getting much done, and my mind feels like a bull stuck in a room with brick walls just ramming into one wall, backing up and ramming into another wall without making a dent in any of them. Once I notice that, it's time to get up and move. Take some deep breaths, take a little walk, stretch, do something. When I come back, I am almost always more focused and ready to get things done. 

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There is a really great book out there by Brigid Schulte called Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love & Play When No One Has the Time. And if you want to learn more about the importance of play and of balance I highly recommend reading it. It has totally changed my idea of how work should be done and I love it. I plan on rereading it if I ever start to feel overwhelmed again. Which, let's be honest, I probably will. I have almost always worked multiple jobs, and I definitely used to be a workaholic. Just working multiple jobs that were not satisfying or rewarding in any way. Things that I didn't really like but I was good at. I would put in long hours, I would always offer to stay late. I have worked 23 hours straight, slept 3 hours, and went back to work for another 16. Even now, I find myself wanting to say yes to every work opportunity that comes up and agreeing to take on more projects than I can logistically complete given the amount of hours I want to put in. So this is kind of a constant battle for me. Now it's almost harder because I love most of my jobs. I love being there and it's rewarding - but I find I have less time for my practice, less time to write, and less time to play. And at the end of a week, that's draining. 

Lose yourself in play for the sake of play. And if you're not sure where to start, take a painting class, go to an acro yoga class, or go for a hike. We all need a little play. And with busy work schedules, house work, and endless errands, we need it even more. Make the time, Schedule it. Consider it necessary for your own health and well-being. Because it is. And when you're feeling overwhelmed with the to do list,  don't ram your head into a wall - go play! The list can wait. 

 

the best damn smoothie I've ever made.

Hey guys!  

It's almost Thanksgiving, which means the season of pumpkin everything is nearing the end! Some of you may be sick of pumpkin by now but I don't belong in that camp. I love pumpkin. Judge me or join me I don't care. I'd proclaim it from mountain tops if Florida wasn't so damn flat. Anyway the other day I made a super delicious and not vegan or healthy in any way layered pumpkin cheesecake and I had some leftover pumpkin purée. So I did what any self respecting human would do and I put it in my protein shake. Usually my protein shakes are just a blend of everything in my house. Sometimes they taste like vinegar, and sometimes they taste like kale, because they're mostly kale. But this time I actually paid attention to what went into it and it was pretty magical. So that's a really long intro for a smoothie recipe but I hope you enjoy it! 

• 2/3 cup pumpkin purée  

• 1 frozen banana (peel your almost overripe bananas and coat them in lemon, or any other citrus juice then put them in a ziploc bag or other container & freeze. This prevents them from going brown) 

• 1 generous handful of kale, spinach, or your preferred greens

• 1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk 

• 1 scoop protein powder (I used Naturade Vegan Smart Chai, I also love Vega) 

• 1 (or 2) dates, or sub 1 tablespoon of Grade B maple syrup  

• cinnamon (to taste, about 1/4 teaspoon) 

• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or sub pumpkin pie spice) 

• 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds (or hemp)

Blend everything until smooth, creamy, and delicious and enjoy! 

together as ONE.

Today we got some harrowing news. My first reaction was fear and sadness. I felt betrayed by my country. But this isn't about me. This is about all of us together. Those who voted for Trump voted out of fear. Many Trump supporters may be racist, or sexist, or xenophobic but I guarantee not all are. It's not okay to just group them all into one basket, we all have our reasons. Many of these people have experienced economic hardship and they don't know what to do. They look to him for change because they are afraid. I can't pretend to understand it fully and I certainly don't support it but I do see where it comes from. I'm afraid too. Afraid for what the future will look like. It's as though we took two steps (terms) forward, and now we're taking ten steps back. How many more steps backward will we blindly take before falling off the edge? 

We have to remain hopeful. We have to believe in love and keep our faith in humanity. It's hard to see the light, but we have to trust the process and trust that the universe has our back. Maybe it's time for a total revolution? Who knows? 

As a woman, a Latina, first generation immigrant, and a sexual assault survivor, I took this news pretty hard. My grandparents left Cuba as political refugees with my infant mother. They left the country before it turned to total communism. Many people supported Castro when he was first coming into power. They were led to believe that they would have democracy. He was very persuasive at first. I believe many people are swayed by Trump in the same way. Hitler captivated people who were afraid as well. These leaders spoke to their fears and their blind patriotism. I believe Trump is speaking to that same part of people. I'm not saying he's going to become a totalitarian leader or start another genocide, I'm only saying that he's used similar tactics. 

Trump is just a symptom of that fear. We have to treat the root cause. What are we collectively afraid of? And what is the remedy? The only cure I know for fear is love. Unconditional, boundless love. The political party system separates us. Countries separate us. Religion separates us. We need to come together as a global community. 

A few years ago  I  was in Barcelona in this park called Parc de la Ciutadella.  I was climbing around and playing on this cool art installation that I thought was probably meant to be climbed on since it was in a park. This homeless woman was nearby making these giant bubbles, like human sized ones using two sticks with a string tied between them. She came over and yelled, "See, now you're breaking the law!" She told me how ridiculous it was that I could be fined for climbing on this structure. I think she was also probably trying to warn me a bit assuming I didn't realize I could get fined. We started talking about everything from politics to religion to how countries divide us. My friend asked her what nationality she was, she sounded British but we weren't sure. She got very animated and exclaimed, "I'm Globish!"

I loved that answer. And honestly that's all we all are. What country we comes from means nothing in the end. This Universe is vast and ever expanding. We are one global community, whether we act like it or not. I believe we will come together and I believe that the future is brighter than it appears right now. 

Today I am imagining a better world. I'm imagining a world where we come together as one... "Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion too. Imagine all the people living life in peace."

 

 

 Christiania, the free town in Copenhagen.&nbsp;

Christiania, the free town in Copenhagen. 

stop building that wall.

What would it take for you to strip down your walls and just be you? Totally uninhibited. Authentic. You. 

At one point none of us had these boundaries and barriers around us. Children are born wild, carefree, and totally uninhibited. It's only as we grow older that we learn insecurities. How many years has it taken for you to build that fort around your heart? How may years did it take for you to install a filter between mind and mouth? Some forts and filters are good, no doubt. I'm talking about those filters that stop you from speaking the truth from your heart. The ones that make you stop chasing your dreams and settle for the logical choice. How many years will it take for you to knock them back down? 

Think back. Way back. Back to the very first time someone you loved hurt you. That day that you experienced your very first heart break was the day you laid down your first brick. And each time you experienced suffering, you laid down another. Each time you felt rejected, you laid down another. And each time you avoided pain by not speaking your mind or following your heart, you laid down another brick. Some of us are expert builders and we hide behind cold stone forts. We forget that inside that fort lives in our inner sunshine children, our innocence. 

When did we stop being wild? Trade your security for the rush of spontaneity. Just once. Do something for you - something absolutely ridiculous. Something that lights you up inside. Go explore. Travel. Go skydiving. Make art with every once of your soul. Take a trust fall. And know that the Universe will catch you. 

just a thought.

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Thought:

On the news I heard a woman say that holiday spending was forecasted to go up this year to an average of over $600 per person. She talked about it as if this is a good thing. A sign of the economy's health.

All I heard was hearts crying out for love, and hands reaching for plastic.

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autumn.

I am more than excited for autumn... and it's not just because of pumpkin everything. Although, yes.

 Green Park, London

Green Park, London

Autumn is the season of letting go. As the air gets cooler, the leaves will change and eventually fall. Each tree lets go of a piece of themselves. Unafraid of change. Unafraid of having to reinvent themselves, or of feeling naked and vulnerable in the process of that change.  This is the perfect time for you to truly dig deep and ask yourself, what am I holding on to? What part of me can I let go of to create space for ________? Fill in the blank.

If you want new love, make space for that person in your life. If you want a new job, clear out time in your day for phone calls and interviews. Manifest it. But give it room to grow. 

 Medicine Wheel in Sedona,AZ

Medicine Wheel in Sedona,AZ

In Native American cultures, many ceremonies begin with the ritual of Calling in the Directions. The West, the North, the East, and the South. Each of these directions has a corresponding element, animal, energy, and season. Autumn belongs to the West. The setting sun. Each and every day we let go of the sun. Knowing it will come back to us in the East. Fall corresponds with water. We use water not only to nourish us, but to wash ourselves clean. Washing away our old habits, all of which no longer serves us. The animal of the West is the snake. Snake sheds her skin continually. Leaving behind the cells that she outgrows. Snake leaves the past behind without looking back, lamenting, or questioning. Snake medicine is powerful. The snake is the symbol of medicine in many different cultures, including Western medicine. Our skin cells are constantly multiplying and shedding all at once, without us noticing. When it comes to parting ways with remnants of our past however, like old clothes or old photos, we often cling to things as if when we let them go, the memories we associate with them will fade away too. But Snake shows us not to force it. She glides right through the now hollow cast of herself. Teaching us not to be afraid of parting ways with the past. Slither on towards the setting sun. Aho.

Below is a simple cleansing meditation to help you get ready for fall. Give yourself plenty of time, but at least twenty minutes will do. Find a nice quiet space. Maybe some of your favorite ambient music. You can do this alone, or with a loved one or two. For this meditation you will need some water, and if you have some sage, or palo santo I highly recommend burning it throughout your meditation for cleansing. If not, lighting a candle or incense would be nice, but it's not necessary. (Unless it's a pumpkin spice scented candle and then yes, it's necessary.)

Begin by creating a space for you to meditate. Burn sage or palo santo if you have some. Maybe set out your favorite crystals. Get comfortable. Begin by setting a clear intention. Write down one thing that you must let go of. Whether it's your perfectionism, your fear, something from your past, you decide. Write it down on a small piece of paper. Crumple up that piece of paper and set it aside. Now write down three things that you are creating space for. It can be as simple as love, friendship, or just more space. Or it could be as specific as a new place to live or new job. Set this paper aside.

Now comes the water part of the meditation. If you are doing this meditation alone you can make your water ritual a bath or shower. Wash away whatever it is that you are releasing this fall.  If you are doing this meditation with others, a bowl of water is fine. Add some flower petals in the water to make it feel more ritualistic. Each of you will dip your hands in the water and symbolically cleanse away that which no longer serves you. Either in your bath or shower, or with your hands in the bowl of water, face West and repeat the mantra, "I release." Repeat the mantra 5-10 times, or for the duration of your bath or shower. Take the crumpled piece of paper on which you wrote down the thing you are releasing and soak it with water, either in your bath, shower, or in the bowl of water.

After you've finished the water portion, sit down to meditate, preferably facing West. Repeat the mantra "I release" as you exhale. And as you inhale, repeat the mantra "I receive." Keep in mind what you are releasing and what you are receiving (the three things you wrote down). Meditate for as long as you'd like 5-20 minutes is fine. 

Finally, take your soaked crumpled piece of paper and try to read what you wrote down. The words will likely be illegible. Washed away from the paper. And symbolically, washed away from you.  Keep the piece of paper where you wrote down 3 things that you are creating space for in your wallet until the winter solstice.