I LOVE salads!!
If you follow me on the 'gram, I'm always posting my lunch time creations on my stories. And because I get really creative, I NEVER get tired of them. I've been eating one daily for the past 5 years! I always get told how yummy mine look, so I figured I'd share my "methodology" to making them satisfying and delicious enough to keep them a regular meal.
Typically when working with new clients, their connotations of salads are usually negative- fearful that it won't keep them full or appeal to their taste buds. I'm going to assume that's what most people think, too? So I'll quit my rambling and get into it- here's how to get started in creating the salad of your dreams! ;)
First things first, choose a leafy green that you like and aim for organic!
Nothing against iceberg lettuce, but let's choose something like a spring mix, arugula, bok choy, kale, pea shoots, any microgreen or sprouts mixture... The nutritional value that greens are packed with, like Vitamin A, D, K and Iron and Folate aren't going to be found in a sad pack of iceberg lettuce.
Next, pick 4 vegetables of different colors to give it some texture and variety! This is the KEY to why I don't get burnt out or dreadful of what's on my plate. This could be the addition of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, beets, carrots, zucchinis or other squash, maybe even berries...
Try to aim for a purple veggie to add if you want to make your dish EXTRA nourishing. Think eggplant, chopped grapes, or other richly hued veggies/fruits. The SAD (Standard American Diet) seriously lacks this type of fruit/veggie, with only 2% of the US benefitting from the polyphenols and antioxidants they contain! Research has shown that they are linked to combatting inflammation and preventing brain diseases, like Alzheimers and seizures!! If you're at all familiar with the chakra system, you'll know that the upper chakras are indigo and purple ...which is pretty interesting to see that overlap of science and spirituality!
Now, let's choose a source of protein...
You can keep it completely plant based with a grain like quinoa, legumes, or a quality mock meat. There is also the option to add fish or eggs, even chicken if meat is still in your diet. I would make the serving about a handful of whatever it is. This is where the term "plant-based" differs from vegan, being that your plate is mostly plants, featuring an animal protein, instead of making it the main attraction.
Let's not forget about carbs to keep us full and energized!
If you chose a starchy vegetable in step 2 or even a grain for your protein source, you might skip this step. I always like to double my topping as my carb so I'll find a super seedy cracker like Mary's Gone Crackers and crumble it on top to give my salad a crunch! You can really do this with any cracker you fancy. Ditch those processed croutons ;)
If you don't opt to add crackers atop of your salad, a small handful of crunchy chickpeas, 1-2 tbsp of nuts or seeds (especially pepitas for protein!) are great.
And lastly, let's add some flavor with dressing + seasonings!
I know that when I made a healthy lifestyle shift, a salad without ranch was a dreadful one haha. But my ranch dressing days are behind me; there are a variety of ways to "dress" your yummy concoction. I'll list some ways I love below:
- Annie's or Primal Foods vegan dressings
- Hummus (have you tried Majestic Garlic? it's the BEST in my opinion)
- Mashed avocado with a little lemon juice + seasonings
- EVOO + Apple Cider Vinegar
- Your favorite flavored Kraut (HelllOOo probiotics and zest!)
Be sure to add seasonings or herbs like salt, pepper, garlic, turmeric, basil, cilantro, chili powder, etc. Your dressing and seasonings are the way you create the flavor profile with your salad. So if you want an Indian or Mexican flavor for example, this is where you can get creative with your dish.
...and really, that's it! I know it seems like a lot, but most of the decision making and guess work comes during grocery shopping. Once you have all the veggies at home, it's really just assembling and prepping as you go or in advance. I prep mine as I go and it takes me 10 minutes max. Now you have the tools to veer from your sad salads to ones that you'll look forward to! Be sure to tag me in yours at @eclectic.wellness!
This amazing recipe is based off one I found long ago, and through the years created my own version of them! I can't even remember what the original recipe called for, come to think of it! Nonetheless, my version has proven to be quick, easy, and oh so delicious!
If you ever find me at an event in which I'm hosting/co-hosting, I make it my goal to always bring this treat. And I'm often asked, "Where did you buy these?!" They're that good! The best part is that they are also nutritious, plant-based, and allergy friendly. So no gluten, processed sugar, dairy, soy...and if you have a nut allergy, you can swap the almonds for peanuts (psst, peanuts aren't nuts, they're actually legumes!)
A few great ways to incorporate this treat could be as:
- Apart of your breakfast
- a Pre-workout treat
- an Afternoon pick-me-up
- an after dinner dessert
- your contribution to your next pot luck, family/friend gathering, or even holiday bake exchange ;)
- 1 cup cacao
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup almonds (or peanuts)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (you can always sub this for a different flavor or fruit of your choice, I've swapped with mint to make mine taste like Thin Mints!)
- 2 tsp water
Blend all together in food processor or high powered blender. Scoop out into desired size and roll into a ball. Refrigerate and enjoy!
It's been almost a year that I decided to eliminate my daily cup of joe. Believe it or not, my original intention in getting rid of coffee was to elevate my vibration. (Ya know, because coffee affects your energy/mood?) But before you judge me for how "crunchy" that sounds, keep reading because I'm sharing why YOU might want to, too AND I've got a coffee-less fall inspired latte that I guarantee you'll already have all the ingredients for! So I'm dropping knowledge on ya and saving you from spending $6 at Starbucks. You're so welcome! (haha jk...sorta)
DISCLAIMER: I want to preface this post with stating that I know other beverages (soda or energy drinks) also contain large amounts of caffeine. The reason I focus on coffee instead of tea (40 mg caffeine vs 105 mg/cup) is because teas are typically comprised of herbs, flowers, and plants so the way they are being utilized in our body is a little bit different. They have a plethora of benefits and a small supply of caffeine compared to espresso or a black cup of coffee. And as for energy drinks and soda, that's a whole other "evil," basically no one should be drinking them (in my opinion).
So it was about this time last year my husband set out for a 7 month deployment. I went on this quest to deepen my relationship to myself, as well as my spirituality and wellness practices. As unfortunate as it was to pause the newlywed stage, I wanted to take advantage of the last time I would be able to be unapologetically selfish. One day, I know I'll be slinging baby bottles and waking up every 2 hours, and I didn't want to look back and think "Damn! If only I had capitalized on that 7 months of solo time!" Now that the deployment is over, I'd like to think I was very successful in this endeavor. I also share a deeper gratitude for my man, but let's get back to my coffee dilemma and how I believe eliminating it elevated my wellness routine.
Firstly, did you know that your genetic makeup determines if caffeine is beneficial to you? I know we've all read or heard about the conflicting evidence of consuming coffee, daily- "Coffee prevents cancer!" "Your daily cup of joe could be putting you at risk for a heart attack!"
So, which is it? Well, both...
It all comes down to the gene, CYP1A2. The CYP1A2 controls the enzyme, also called CYP1A2, in our bodies. How YOU metabolize caffeine comes down to which variant of the CYP1A2 gene your body possesses. In simpler terms, there are two types- slow or fast.
Slow metabolizers metabolize coffee 4x slower than fast metabolizers. This means caffeine seems to linger in the bodies of slow metabolizers, increasing risks of heart attack, disturbed sleep cycles, an increase in an acidic environment (cancers thrive on this!), to even your bowels becoming dependent on your coffee drinking habits. To be considered a slow metabolizer, you have at least one "slow" variant, there being two, which are inherited from none other than your parents.
Whereas fast metabolizers are able to bypass the above mentioned negative side effects with more ease, due to the caffeine exiting their system a lot more quickly. Believe it or not, coffee also contains a polyphenols and antioxidants, but you are still able to experience these benefits in smaller dosages (aka reducing your daily intake). And even if you are a fast metabolizer, you can still experience coffee's negative effects.
So how do you know which one you are? You could totally get your genes tested through a variety of companies...but do your research. I, however, don't think that's 100% necessary if you are just mindful of the effects it might cause on you, personally. Notice how you sleep, your mood, your overall energy state throughout the day. Do you experience that energy slump at 2pm? Because believe it or not, when I gave up coffee, I started to wake up at 6:30 am ON MY OWN. My sleep normalized. I stopped feeling tired all the damn time. Honestly, I don't need "the energy" it provides, I feel energized most of the time! If/when I consume coffee, it's for the taste!
Oh, and one last bonus to giving up your caffeine habit; if you experience anxiety, even if it's just on a small level, consuming copious amounts of caffeine could be a contributing factor! For me, my anxiety levels were horrible in traffic. I would get to the point of white knuckle gripping my steering wheel, literally about to pull my hair out. Now, I still find it annoying but no where near how I was previously.
So, maybe give it a whirl..eliminate your daily coffee drinking habit! Because caffeine is considered a drug, you might experience headaches or other side effects like constipation, but just wait it out and even try out this coffee-less latte recipe. It does contain a small supply of caffeine so it's perfect for weaning you off, but you also reap the overpowering benefits from the tea!
Set pot to the side for 2 minutes. This allows the ingredients to steep further.
Pour contents over tea strainer (you could also use a french press) into cup & ENJOY. This recipe tastes like fall in a cup and honestly you can do it with any of your favorite tea packets. Last week, I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Rooibos and it was just as great!
Despite it still being summer, my soup cravings are already kickin' in. Anyone else feel that way? So instead of ordering take-out pho (because I did that last week lol). Instead, I decided to place an order on Amazon Prime Now. Welcome to 2018! (If you haven't used this, you're seriously missing out. Groceries to your doorstep with NO delivery fee if you have a Prime account...game changer!) Anyhow, I decided to share the recipe on here because after posting a video of me transferring warm broth to my bowl of tofu and veggies, my DMs blew up!
Let me preface the recipe and instructions of this post by saying that I didn't look up any recipe until after I already made my own. The broth might need some tweaking on your part, because it was really just 30 minutes of me adding things in the pot til until the broth tasted decent haha. And secondly, I believe the best way to achieve the same yummy Pho taste comes down to your garnishes...so don't skimp on those!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- Broth (For a vegan recipe, I used chicken-less chicken broth. You can use vegetable, as well)
- Lo Mein Noodles (your choice, again)
- 1 pack of frozen (or raw) stir fry vegetables
- ANY other veggies of your choice (We love mushrooms in this house!)
- Low Sodium Soy sauce
- Chili Sauce or Powder
- Ginger (powder or fresh)
- Garlic (powder or fresh)
- *Star Anise (I did not use this because like I said, I winged it, but all recipes I found after did mention this as a key ingredient!)
- Tofu (or any other choice of protein)
- Basil, Lime, Cilantro (CUSTOMIZE!)
If you don't want soggy tofu (who does?!), be sure to prep it by wrapping the block with paper towels, setting it on a plate and placing a heavy item on top of it. I use my cookbooks that I never use :) Keep it there for about an hour, if you can.
After the allotted drying time has passed, begin to preheat your oven to 420 degrees. Cut tofu into cubes and place on a greased pan, baking for 20 minutes. While that cooks...
PREP YOUR NOODS (hehe)
Follow the instructions on the packet. For Lo Mein, put water into a pot and wait for it to come to a boil. Place noodles into the pot and cook for 3 minutes once the water has returned to a boil.
PREP YOUR VEGGIES
To make it easy, I used frozen stir fry vegetables. Saute them with a little salt (the broth is pretty sodium packed), pepper, cinnamon, ground ginger, garlic, and some spice if you'd like. It's really up to you.
This is the easiest part. I used one container of my broth, added about ~2 cups of water, a few sprigs of cilantro, ginger, a little cinnamon (it won't dissolve), chili sauce, a little soy sauce, a squeeze of half a lime, and if you get the star anise, this is where it's supposed to be added. Let it heat up.
...Your tofu should be done at this point. If you want it even crispier, toss it in a frying pan with some olive oil or spray.
TIME TO EAT
Load your bowl with the tofu, noodles, and vegetables. Top with broth and add your garnishes like basil, cilantro, lime juice, and some sriracha if you want some more spice!
...and that's really it! I made 8 oz of noodles and I had enough for leftovers the next day. If you end up getting inspired to make this on your own, be sure to tag me @eclectic.wellness on Instagram so I can admire your beautiful, yummy bowl of homemade Pho!
One month ago I set out on the trip of a lifetime. I went to (Ubud) Bali, Indonesia. My husband (sorta) surprised me with it until he ruined his own mistake a few months back, haha. Surprised or not, I was ecstatic either way. Bali has been on my bucket list for years and now I can't wait to go back. My husband and I, no kidding, started looking at houses to buy because we loved it there so much. The energy of this country literally cleansed and nourished my soul. (Basically, you will not be disappointed by Bali, it will fix all your problems lol jk.)
We visited Ubud (ooh-bood) and Canggu (Chon-Goo). I am sharing my faves of Ubud. I have to be honest, I was not a fan of Canggu. It was very...Americanized, but really felt like it was taken over by Australians. There's nothing wrong with that, but if I wanted to experience Australian culture, I would have visited there. ;) So without further adieu, here are my top to-do's!
1. HIRE A DRIVER
If you take one thing from this post, please let it be to arrange airport transportation (if your hotel doesn't offer it) I had a mutual friend highly recommend a driver she had previously used on her trip, but I thought I could get a better deal finagling at the airport. Even if that was true, that's definitely not what you're in the mood for after a 11 hour Red Eye flight.
If you're not sure who to trust for transportation, follow @gundultrip on instagram and message him to set up your pick-up. (Pictured) I know how sketchy this sounds, but this is highly common in Bali! Plus our driver was such a sweet guy and I now am highly recommending him. FYI: Instagram is also a very popular medium in which Balinese business owners utilize; as all you need is wifi to access it! He also charges considerably less than what we paid at the airport (355k vs 455k rupiah)
2. UBUD CITY TOUR
Another friend we made on our trip, also on instagram @ubudvwtour or online: www.ubudvwtour.com, was our tour guide to experience all the major sites. I was hesitant on this because I wanted a true, Balinese experience but the owner of this tour company took us to some places off the beaten path including this AMAZING, secluded restaurant for lunch. It overlooked the rice fields and they served the most amazing banana juice I've ever had. Ubud VW Tour also offers the tour in a vintage VW convertible with the top off, as you ride the crazy roads of Ubud. We weren't aware of this option since we booked through his friend but I HIGHLY recommend him. We did a 6 hour tour and it was SO worth it.
MY FAVE FOOD SPOTS
4. Herb Library
Our hotel, Alaya Jemawan Resort, had a great restaurant which was very near the center of Ubud. It wasn't purely vegan/vegetarian but there were plenty of options for both herbivores and carnivores. My husband was obsessed with their Nasi Goreng (a popular Balinese rice dish picture) for breakfast...and dinner ;) I have to admit it was VERY tasty!
3. Sayuri Healing Foods
If you're into healthy eating or want to try some amazing vegan, raw food, you have to check out Sayuri Healing Foods. There was such a calm and restorative vibe in the restaurant. We sat on bean bags, while we indulged on wellness shots, buddha bowls and fresh green juice.
5. Bali Buda
I know, I know I spelled Buddha wrong but this is really the spelling of the restaurant. It's another great option for those wanting to eat fresh and healthy in the A.M! They had a smoothie bowl that was to die for, which they even made dairy-free on request! A cool feature of this restaurant was their "Earthing Trays," which are literally trays of grass you can place under your feet while you eat. I thought it was such a sweet touch, but I could see how you could think it was hippy...but c'mon it's Bali!!
6. Nia Ubud
Okay, maybe I'm a little biased because nothing EVER uses my name. But I will say if you want good pad thai, YOU HAVE TO VISIT THIS PLACE. I had to force myself from eating the large portion because it was so good. They also serve these cracker-chips thing as a free appetizer and I only wish I could find something similar here in the states.
Oh, before we exit the topic of good, wherever you go, try Bali Coffee. It gets a little concentrated at the end, but as a non-caffeine drinker, I broke this "rule" because it was heavenly.
WHAT TO DO
7. TREAT YO SELF TO A SPA DAY!! (or 5)
Because our dollar goes a lot further there, an hour long massage costs you under $10! My husband and I received several spa treatments during our 10 days there and now being back for a month, I really am missing the constant pampering. Karsa Spa is a very popular spa and also has a cafe which overlooks the beautiful jungle. We didn't get the time to make it there, but I would definitely check it out during your next trip (because your going to Bali, right?!)
8. Visit a temple
There are several throughout this very spiritual land. Our tour guide took us to the holy water temple, Tirta Empul. It was beautiful as we watched the me and women "sanitize" their energy with this holy water and then line up for the second "pool" to cleanse.
9. Gitgit Waterfall
There was a little bit of a walk to get to the actual waterfall but it was totally worth the picture. It actually wasn't crowded because our guide took us around 9:30am so I suggest getting there early as possible!
10. Bali Swing
There are numerous companies that have created these swings to swing high throughout the Balinese jungle. I was a little nervous for this one due to my fear of heights, but it was SO fun. We used the company literally called "Bali Swing" and paid $35 for a driver to pick us up and drop us off, unlimited access to the swings and picture set ups (they have a lot), lunch, and they advertised a pool...but I didn't see one haha. I think ours was a little overpriced but compared to the other areas I saw, it was definitely less crowded!
11. Pyramids of Chi (pictured at top)
I randomly found this amazing sound healing place from the instagram account, @thebalibible. We happened to go on a Thursday and participated in their sound healing-cacao ceremony. If you are new to sound healing experiences, I would start with their sessions at 11am or 3pm. The Cacao Ceremony was 3 hours long and definitely a little more on the far-out end of spirituality, so unless you're ready for it... don't say I didn't warn you ;)
12. Practice Yoga
I visited Radiantly Alive and took their acro yoga class, it was definitely challenging but also SUPER fun! Popular yoga studios that are on my to-do list when I return are the Yoga Barn, The Yoga Centre, and Ubud Yoga House.
So what is it exactly that I do for a living? This has been a question that I've been truly asking myself for the past couple of weeks. I have a variety of "tools" in my toolbox but trying to efficiently explain my work to others has been a challenge. I believe that that all of my skills serve meaning to my goal of creating Eclectic Wellness, which is to create true, life-changing transformation. So to understand my vision, I think it's best if I start from the beginning...
At a young age, I dealt with some pretty heavy sh*t. Most people don't know this about me but my biological mother gave me up at birth and I didn't know who she was until I was 20 years old (and it turns out she was a family friend I grew up around my entire life) Thankfully my dad's family took me in at birth so I was raised by my aunt (but I call her mom) and my grandparents. Unfortunately, my dad was young, got into some trouble, and landed himself in prison for a good portion of my childhood. While my family is/was EXTREMELY loving and supportive, I grew up around a lot of drama. Mental illness and addiction (alcohol + drug) runs heavily in my family so I was exposed to things I only hope my children never know. I believe in some way, psychologically, I used my weight to hide myself from it all, to make myself invisible. My family, like most American families, also lacked proper nutrition education so I ate whatever I wanted. I can specifically remember a time in 8th grade, looking at the scale reading 220 pounds and being proud I lost 5! I followed this by me looking at myself wishing I could erase 100 pounds off my body, remove my many freckles, and turn my green eyes to brown. I didn't want to be me. I didn't want to be different than my peers. Yet at such a young age, I KNEW (I could feel it in my bones) that everything that made me different (from my family situation to my appearance) would be my driver to success. I always dreamed of being famous and being interviewed about my story (STILL manifesting that haha).
For all of my life, I have always been the one others turn to, as if I had "the answers." I've only been on this planet for 26 years but I have been subjected to many situations/lessons that I fully believe support the work I'm most passionate about. I now realize my journey has given me the gift of TRUE empathy and non judgment. I KNOW what it feels like to be lost, dealt a bad hand, overweight and trapped. So essentially my life's work is to help others transform and overcome the same physical and mental tribulations as I have had to. So my sessions focus on the following:
I am (almost officially) a holistic nutritionist (1 class to go!) I believe that if we want change in any area of our life whether that be physically, energetically, or both, we must take a look at what we are eating as food is PURE energy! It can be our medicine OR the cause of disease. I DO NOT believe in diets. My approach in guiding clients is based on the concept of Intuitive (or mindful) Eating and is plant based. This does not mean I make clients convert to a vegan diet but rather all meals be based around plants (fruits, veggies, nuts, etc) before other food groups are added. I personally still eat fish (because the benefits to your gut and brain health are endless).
YOGA + REIKI
I teach yoga because I love it. It was my gateway to exploring my spirituality, energy work and taking care of my body beyond the physical aspect. The practice of yoga goes far beyond our work on the mat and that's what led me to me becoming a Reiki Master. Energy is created and released on the mat, often referred to as that "yoga high" we experience after a great class! I get to create that feeling for others by teaching this practice and also through reiki sessions. The way I describe it is that feeling when someone plays with your hair, but for your entire body + you clean the gunk attached to your energy field! WIN-WIN. If you've never tried it, I HIGHLY recommend booking a session! It can be done with little to no touch.
ENERGY+NUTRITION= ECLECTIC WELLNESS
TRUE transformation begins from within. About five years ago, I noticed that I still didn't feel good on the inside despite my drastic weight loss. I still carried the confidence level and low vibration that I had at 225 pounds. **This is still something I am healing. When I began to do the inner work through energy healing (angel readings, reiki and yoga), I noticed shifts both physically and mentally. It was almost like I was getting to know my soul for the first time! Still to this day, I keep learning more and more about my inner being. I don't think this work is ever truly finished, otherwise we'd all be enlightened beings. However, I do believe I am here to help facilitate others on their healing journey with the bits of knowledge I've picked up on the way.
So I hope that cleared things up as to what I offer! If you have any other questions about reiki or nutrition guidance, I am an email or text away and would LOVE to help you heal as I have!
To protect my husband and the thousands of men and women deployed, I can't say exactly how long it is until he returns but let's just say it's a few days after my birthday ;) ...and that's about a month away! I'm getting so excited to reunite with my truest soulmate. Prior to Kevin leaving, I think I struggled with my sense of independence. Thinking back to before we even began dating, I was the most independent person I knew. I depended on NO one, not even my family. And while our society glorifies the idea of an "independent woman," I definitely believe that there is a balance to achieve. So I set an intention for our time apart- to dig deep within and clean up some mental cobwebs :P I allowed things to surface and most importantly, I dealt with them. By no means would I say I addressed every "issue," because I AM human, but I do believe I have made progress. So here's what I've learned in almost 7 months' alone time...
IT'S OKAY TO RECEIVE
Specifically, the issue I believe I suffered with pre-deployment is that I felt it was "wrong" for me to spend so much time with Kevin. Don't get me wrong, I still was very much my own person, in and out of our relationship. However, even after 3 years of dating, I felt as if it was a bad thing for me to find so much joy from a relationship, for me to be able to receive so much from another person. (HINT: It's not) It brings me so much joy to give to others that I never realized how uncomfortable it was for me to do things that felt good for ME. Whether that be time, space, or a gift. I booked myself numerous healing sessions, took naps when I felt sluggish, paid to get my nails done, and even bought myself a much deserved Mac Book. hehe
REALITY IS A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
Another huge lesson is me understanding that the only person that has ever been in the way to my truest path, my destiny, my purest joy is... ME. And that truly, the sky is the limit. I can have ANYthing I want, but I must truly believe this. The same goes for you! You can repeat mantras and manifestations 'til you're blue in the face, but if you don't believe them, it's pointless! Take this for example, you're on the beach and you see a beautiful home with this million dollar ocean view. Are your thoughts more in line with, "I could never afford that!" or "One day..."? Because either one is true. Even me associating negativity toward receiving abundant love and joy from my marriage is a direct interference on joy and and abundance, themselves! Our thoughts are so powerful that we don't even realize how much we unnecessarily limit ourselves daily.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS, TRULY
I am not home without my husband. And while I used to believe that to be a "weakness," I now know it is not. It's in fact, the opposite. It's the largest blessing...to be able to have a partner in LIFE. Kevin is my best friend. In his absence, I was able to re-experience the emotions I felt before him. I've been able to re-immerse myself in feelings of loneliness. We tend to forget or glamorize those "dark" feelings once we find the light. But I like to think that I've been able to dance with both the dark and light. There is SO much power in both spectrums. Some of our most beautiful and life-changing experiences are a result of being in a dark place. For 23 years, I yearned for that feeling and the second I met him, I experienced a grounded feeling I had never known possible.
THERE IS BEAUTY IN THE NOW
I've tried to keep my mind focused on today, all 190 days of this journey. As much as I want to rejoice in our reunion, I've tried to keep in mind that one day I won't have this much freedom. One day I will be in the midst of slinging baby bottles, school drop offs, and last minute school projects that I'm sure I'll miss this alone time (haha). In all seriousness, I'm sure motherhood is lovely but for right now, being accountable for just myself (and sometimes Kevin ;)) is perfect. I have so much more to learn about myself, so much more to discover about the world that I'm okay with taking everything day by day. Being separated from my better half has taught me an unbelievable amount of patience...that sometimes it's the best thing to hit pause, before you can move forward.
I'm sure my husband can attest to this one, as well. When your thousands of miles away and one of you is in the middle of the ocean, and things don't quite go the way you hoped or expected, there is not a single that you can do. I can specifically remember an issue that arose about half way through. I set expectations on the situation and when they were not met, I was terribly upset at Kevin. A small portion was in his control and then it wasn't. It's rather hard to sustain an argument when you get 1-2 emails every 24 hours. I had two options: unnecessarily argue over a period of days through limited communication OR...let go. Having to separate your actions from your emotions is probably one of the hardest adult lessons I've endured. I'm a rather passionate and sometimes stubborn individual, but let me tell you, surrendering is SO much peaceful. Life is easier when you detach from all that does not serve you.
& last but definitely not least...
THE SMALL THINGS MATTER MOST
One of my first observations during this deployment was that I missed Kevin the most during the mundane things like grocery shopping, cooking, ordering take out and having a lazy day in, or even waking up in the middle of the night knowing he was right by my side. Of course I miss doing date nights and having that permanent partner at social events but it's almost surreal that I actually get to do those "boring" things with him again; thinking about it just seems like a treat! I don't think I ever took these things for granted because he's been in the military our entire relationship but it's definitely made me realize how much of a privilege it is to share life with another individual in this way. So really, the small things really aren't that small at all, put together they create your entire life...and I can't wait to have that piece of my life back again. XO
This is a topic that I've wanted to post about for quite some time! In fact, if you've taken a class with me, I touch on this topic a lot. Any seasoned yogi will tell you that the "real" yoga happens off the mat and what they mean is that the "art" or "practice" of yoga has very little to do with attaining a Pinterest-worthy handstand. Before I even began my teacher training, I was 4 years deep into my practice and still thought that I needed to know EVERY pose, because how else would I teach? I also believed I wasn't allowed to eat meat. (I actually did give up meat, but because I wanted to) And last but not least, I believed that I wasn't allowed to go to the gym/do any other workout other than yoga to be a "real" yogi. I had to have to have this lean, chiseled body ALL from a result of my daily yoga practice (LOL) I write these things and I can't help but laugh at myself- they're all completely ridiculous! But silliness aside, I believe a lot of people who are new to yoga or have yet to try it will find themselves with these or other similar beliefs. So I'm here to crush these false notions and list a few things that I've learned in the past year as a yoga teacher.
BREATH or "PRANA"
If you've ever taken any yoga class, there is a lot of emphasis on your breath. In the beginning, I found this concept annoying and almost overwhelming as I tried to master the poses. I had it all backwards, though. Yes, getting into safe and effective poses are important but yoga is a connection to your body and breath, as it is the anchor to NOW. So essentially yoga is a practice of mindfulness, which our entire life benefits from. For more on mindfulness, read my first blog post HERE.
JUST FLOW / BE FLEXIBLE
So beyond the obvious physical flexibility you can gain from a yoga practice, this extends to your mind. I know this might come off as slightly cheesy but one of the greatest thing I've gained from my personal practice is that things are never perfect and that's actually fucking wonderful. Sometimes I plan to come and do the very minimum, but find myself leaving with more energy than I came in with. We can plan and plan all we'd like, but sometimes the universe presents us with other options. If we are rigid and force our bodies, thoughts, or plans to be a certain way, we stand to limit ourselves from some pretty amazing experiences.
There's nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself and working toward goals, but sometimes I think we forget to appreciate how far we have come. For example, in a vinyasa class, we go through a lot of chaturangas (high to low plank). This is a staple pose and it's not as easy as it looks. It requires a lot of upper body and core strength. To me, it's a major accomplishment to successfully land this! However, I see my students get frustrated in other poses, dimming their already existent progress! But truly, it's a privilege in itself to be on the mat; to be healthy enough to experience the transformation that comes with this physical practice. It doesn't matter what you look like, all that matter is that you show up and honor your SELF.
This one's big for me. You, in no way, have to be a certain religion or even praise Buddha to practice. The reality of it is that in your practice, you find centeredness. I've touched on it a few times but yoga is a union of mind, body, soul. The connection of all three creates a new level of consciousness, one where your intuition strengthens, and you are better able to connect to whatever or whoever it is that you believe in. This could be Buddha, but it could also be God, Jesus, even aliens (ha). In my experience, it's almost impossible to not feel this connection. And even if the "after life" or higher power concept is not your thing, guess what? THAT'S OK...but as I said, it's really hard to leave your mat without feeling SOMEthing.
I think that's the point of it, that yoga is to make you feel...the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad. It allows us to uncover our deepest layers, so that when we step off the mat into our lives, we are renewed and a little bit more whole. If you have any other questions about yoga or recommendations of classes or studios to try, feel free to email or comment below. I'm so happy to help!
Back in October, I received an Angel Reading with an amazing healer. From our session, she told me to start writing down all of my everyday miracles. At first I thought, oh sure, I'll write maybe 2 or 3 of these every month. However, I now look down at 3 pages of miracles from October to December! It was an amazing way to recognize, and most importantly TRUST how abundant I already am. Part of receiving abundance is knowing that you already are. So in simpler terms, you must recognize what you DO have, instead of focusing on what you don't. In many ways, this simple exercise helped me enormously. I firsthand see how God, my angels, the universe supports me. But also, how if there's something I want or yearn for in my life, all I have to do is ASK. I wish I could credit the person who said this but basically, not praying or speaking to your angels, is like sitting at a restaurant table and never placing your order. (woah.) I will definitely be keeping this habit up through the new year and wanted to share this with everyone, hoping it speaks to someone ;) After all, this is the year of the butterfly, we are meant to flourish!
Here are my miracles listed below:
-I drew a card to hire cleaning service and that the money to cover it will be provided. Soon after, a random check from Car Max of $500 came in the mail.
-Our Financial Adviser took extra $300 from our account and it left me with an extremely tight budget. Again, another $300 check was deposited in our account!
-Sitting in my guest room, I heard a dribble in the living room. Something told me to go to my living room and put out the fire (wtf). I walk into my living room and my candle was on fire with the wax dribbling to the ground.
-Decided to cancel my yoga studio membership to cut costs and then I was randomly given a free month of yoga for that studio.
-3 different people recommended the same Kundalini yoga studio to me. I put it off for a while because I didn't want to spend extra money. I showed up and it was a free community class.
-Had a dinner planned and felt a little strapped financially. Someone else paid for my dinner without me even realizing it/asking for it.
-I decided to leave my first yoga gig to pursue my own business. I was scared it was the wrong choice but the next day, I had someone book a month of sessions with me & received a new client!
-An extra $500 was taken from my husband's check unexpectedly and my computer crashed, costing $200 to fix it. Our friend moved into our spare room and paid us $700 to rent the room!
-I booked a session with a healer and ended up cancelling because it was an extra expense (guys, I've become REALLY selective with how I spend money lol) and then I was gifted the session for Christmas!
Something that I have a work in progress is I was told to manifest a number to be deposited in my account. It's an exercise to prove trust within our higher power ...which I clearly have lol, but I'm curious to see if it works. I manifested the number of $672, so I'm curious to see if/when it happens. I will definitely share if it does. I hope this post inspires you all to start writing down your little miracles, you'll begin to realize how much you already have! XO
This post is going to be a little bit more on the personal side, but I feel like I'm ready to start sharing my story with others. So for the past year I've been on this journey of healing long time emotional wounds. And apart of this journey, I began to seek out therapy. It started about last spring when I was in the midst of this really bad job... which I always mention on here because it was this HUGE red flag that I believe the universe "gifted" me...to force me to shift everything in my life. Because I suffered so much in this role, it started to surface a lot of repressed emotions that I thought I had already dealt with. A lot of you may not know this, but I was not raised by my biological mother and I didn't find out who this woman was until I was 20 years old. But she or that situation is not the purpose of this post, that can be shared another time lol. So I'm going to be really honest and say that I started to use alcohol as a crutch. By no means would I consider myself an alcoholic, but I definitely drank in excess to "blow off steam." I noticed that every time I drank my weekends away, I would wake up feeling regretful and sad, ultimately driving myself into a mild form of depression. That's when my husband suggested I start seeing a therapist.
From therapy, I definitely received much needed clarity and confidence that I actually was able to quit my job. I think that's when I started to begin to understand that this was far more than my job, it was my past creeping into my present trying to make me deal with it. I was on a pretty successful path and then I got married and really just tried to soak up the time with my husband before he deployed. For the record, I say that with no resentment, it's just the truth. However, as my husband is now deployed, I now have this 7-8 months to work on just ME. So I decided to go back to therapy and really just finish where I left off. As I was driving to this consultation appointment with a new therapist, I started to think back to when I first started therapy last year. I remember driving there and forcing myself to verbally explain my childhood and the dynamics of my family. I did this so that I was able to get all the tears out and I wouldn't have to cry uncontrollably in front of a stranger. That didn't work lol. I cried in the car AND I cried on her couch. So on my way to this last appointment, I tried to do the same thing. I actually didn't even cry and felt excited to share my story! When I walked in and sat down, she began to ask about my upbringing and I did tear up a little bit. To be honest, it felt great. I sat there thinking to myself, "Wow! I've grown so much! Why am I even here?" People tell me this all the time and I brush it off but for the first time in my life, I truly acknowledged my strength.
After our first appointment, I reflected on this past year, and I realized though my therapy visits halted, I've grown in larger ways. I've become more compassionate towards my SELF and in the process have deepened my spirituality. Through energy healing practices like yoga, meditation, reiki, changing my diet, crystals & connecting with other healers, I have developed a greater understanding of my divinity and the trials and tribulations that surround it. When it comes down to it, everything is energy: the sun that grows the food we eat, which affects the cells in our bodies, affecting our own energy levels and moods, trickling down to the way we perceive our self and others, energy is the root of everything. By no means do I dismiss my therapist and/or the practice of psychology, it is very much necessary. However, we can grow and heal from our past in many modalities, and for me, it's been through the very things I practice for a living (what a coincidence, #DUH) In the end, we all process and grow in various ways. No way is right or wrong. The very things I used to get me this far may not be things that resonate with you, and that's okay. However, if you're interested in any of the above mentioned, I am so happy to answer any of your questions! Just send me a message :)