Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Balance

As a yogi, my life focuses on balance. I am balancing in poses, balancing in life and balancing inner & outer choas.
I am the director/founder of a 501c3 yoga non-profit, work a full time job in educational technology, teach yoga once a week, am enrolled in my 500 hour teacher training, have OHMwork & work "homework", write blog posts, am in the midst of creating The Ahimsa Project and so much more professionally.
Personally I am a furry baby mom, a wife, a newbie chef, a green smoothie lover and have a brand new relatively large house to take care of everyday.
People often ask me how I do it. How I wake up everyday at 5:00am (or earlier) to meditate, do yoga, pick up the house, walk the dog, read, write, complete homework and still be home in time for movie night with my amazing husband.
The answer is simple: balance.
I have always lived a busy lifestyle. At one point in high school I was the secretary of the drama club, choir, youth group & community service group. I was the captain/creator of the color guard, editor-in-chief of the newspaper and did well in school.
I choose to be busy. And because I choose to be busy, I need to choose balance.

My dad always told us to look at life like a triangle of balance. Family, work & friends. My triangle has evolved into an octogan but I got what he was saying. In order for everything to work, each point of the triangle needs to be balanced.
I can only write a certain amount of posts per day or week. I write in the car (recording my own voice and then typing once I'm home), I write on lunch breaks at work and in the bathtub after dinner.
I need to set aside time for OHMwork & time for snuggling & walking apollo. Time for my hubby & I to just be at peace. Time for dinner and cooking a healthy meal.
One of the ways I accomplish this is through my google calendar. I used to have the most beautiful light lavendar filofax and evenutally for price reasons, went with a gorgeous Martha Stewart planner. All of this paper was everywhere. I always knew where I needed to be and what I needed to be doing, but I felt so cluttered. I wanted to be able to flip open my iPhone and know where I was supposed to be in the next hour.
It took me two full days, but I eventually transferred everything online. I am so grateful for it.
The other part of my balance is ME TIME. I will talk about this within The Ahimsa Project, but it is so important to encorporate self-love and alone time. I take bubble baths. I stop by the ocean to take pictures. I walk the beach with Apollo & just the sound of (my ever running mind and) the ocean. I write, which is the most freeing experience I know besides practicing yoga. I practice yoga! I take time to enjoy myself, to make green smoothies & indulge in ME.
 I do not think it is selfish, but rather essential to take care of yourself. If I am not taking care of myself and my health, how can I possibly take care of my loved ones and my non-profit?
I don't have super human powers. I sleep well, I take my vitamins, eat really well & practice yoga regularly both in the physical asana sense as well as meditation and lifestyle.
How do YOU keep balances everyday? Are you overwhelmed?
Remember: inner chaos creates outer choas. Take a deep breath & smile!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nama Say: Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is not a religion.
The past three weeks, I have been studying "The History of Yoga" in conjunction with my teacher training. It explains the ebb and flow of yoga and mentions that yoga, specifically in the West is not a religion. In some parts of the world it started as a spiritual practice but was never a religion.
As a Christian who attends church as regularly as I'm able, I would actually say that yoga enhances the beliefs I already have within my faith. I believe in goodness. I could delve much deeper into my religious and spiritual beliefs, but that would be a whole different post!
Often times, I will be sitting in church and hear something a yoga teacher or friend mentioned in class echoed within my minister's sermon. He speaks of being kind, laughing, helping others, building community & stories of the ancient past. He speaks of love, heart, harmony & goodness. The sermons I hear in church are ocassionally reflected in yoga and what I hear in yoga is almost always echoed in church: be kind, give with your heart & be open to love.
Meditation and prayer seem similar as well. We open our hearts to the Universe, or God or Ganesha or whomever we open to. We listen and wait. We run our lives telling ourselves that unanswered prayers are there for a reason, that life happens for a reason. Yogis believe in Isvara Pradihana: "The belief in Isvara (or God) and that s/he will carry us to where we need to be." Maybe not where we WANT to be, but where we need to be, just like unanswered prayers. But the major difference is that meditation is LISTENING while prayer is ASKING. When we meditate, we sit or kneel or stand and open our hearts to listen to the wisdom of the universe. When we pray, we ask and we have a conversation with whomever it is you believe in.
The fact remains that yoga is simply not a religion. It is not organized in that way. There may be many similarities but the differences are vast. Yoga is a free flow of movements that in certain classes will encorporate spirituality. Yoga can be a work out. Yoga is movement with breath. Yoga is not a specific weekly meeting. Yoga is not held in a church or with a pastor or minister or priest. Yoga does not transfer the teachers beliefs to your own. Yoga can be sweaty. Yoga is a suggestion of how to live your life. Yoga is a collective, but it is not a religion.
Spirituality can be a scary word for some. What exactly does it mean? Spirit originally translates in some texts as breath: it is an energy. For myself, spirit is often more than just my breath but for others, it's simply physical breath.
Inhale. Exhale. Hold. Release.
For me, yoga is a spiritual path that is attained through practicing asanas, meditating, being kind to strangers and loved ones, practicing the yamas & niyamas as well as breath work. It is a personal path that is not organized and can be interpreted in so many different ways. For me, it is an invigorating practice both internally & externally. Yoga as with religion means something different to everyone.
So what does yoga mean to you? Do you see religion reflected in the postures?
What do you believe?
Let's start a discussion! Let's eliminate the fear of those who may not know of understand.
Is yoga a religion?
Is it a spiritual practice?
Does that in a sense make it a religion?

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

The Ahimsa Project

It's here!
It's here!

It's here!
6 weeks
Yoga Videos
How to Meditate
Weekly Podcasts
OHMwork on self-love
A self-love project
Daily Affirmations
Private facebook page for support
$210 prior to May 1st (early bird special)
$270 prior to May 8th
We begin on the next new moon: May 9th!
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Magical Mondays: I went swimming!

Love Bread @ PB's in Eastham

I am often in complete awe of my life. I am so beyond blessed to live the life I have been given and am utterly grateful everyday!
This week was great and yet completely insane. It was full of travel, living out of a suitcase, new friends, wearing my bathing suit (!!) and completely exhausting in a very fun way!
Monday brought all of our sales reps into town (from all across the US) and we jumped straight into work. We worked our little behinds off, met the new reps and then had a delicious dinner at The Waterfront (yummy)!
Tuesday morning came early and we were off on a musical carpool adventure. It was so nice spending four hours in a car with Lauren & Nadia (whom I see everyday) and Ms. Jennifer, who was visiting from Texas! We had an ipod war, some lovely chit chat & watched beautiful Mountain scenery unfold around us as we approached Loon Mountain -- and Jennifer's first time to NH. As someone who has a summer home on Lake Wentworth, it's hard to believe one has never seen the beauty of NH, but our Texan was just smitten & loved the views. I was so excited to point out some of my favorite haunts along the way & introduce Ms. Jennifer into New Hampshire!
When we arrived at the Mountain, we proceeded to work late into the evening before signing off for some dinner & karaoke. It was such a fun evening. I was super excited that EVERYONE got up to sing at least one song (individually or in groups) and especially excited that all the new folks were not only joining in but also super excited and eager to sing! I love karaoke and am 100% positive it is the best way to build teamwork & learn something about everyone. What a great night!
The next day most folks went skiing while I took an aqua fitness class, sank into the spa, got a surprise last-minute massage & a barbie pink pedicure!
Another (philisophical) carpool home, two work days & jammin yoga - all lead to my staycation with hubby! We drove a half hour south, ate way too much food, swam for hours & relaxed in the hot tub. It was the perfect way to unwind! As I was (and am) a wee bit under the weather with the changing of the seasons, it was such a blessing to do NOTHING for a few hours and completely relax with my hubby!! I love him so so much!
The kicker to my already amazing week was the benefit class held yesterday for Journey to Hope. We raised almost $200 for our non profit organization & I will be skipping to the bank this afternoon. I am so grateful for each of you who come out & support us -- always! I greatly appreciate everything you all do in terms of sending love, energy & light as well as donating your funds, time & energy to us. It means SO much and helps us continue the work we do!
The Little Things
Raising money for Journey to Hope (not little - but MUCH appreciated), good news for the Journey to Hope future, watching 300 in bed with chocolate pie, catching the AMCs last night, barbie pink pedicures, a surprise massage, South African food, karaoke, meeting new team members and forming instant friendships, Ms. Knighton being in town (!!), eating way too much all week (and having a food plan for this week so as to get back on track), finding an octopus in the bathroom, The Ahimsa Project in final stages, my new website being approved & almost complete, good friends, chai lattes, snuggles & life in general!
The octopus I found in the bathroom!
How are you celebrating Monday? What are you grateful for this week?
Sending you love & light!
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, April 1, 2013

March Month End Review: Spring has Sprung!

What an amazing (and yet chilly) month we have had! This past weekend was the first time I actually felt spring beginning to creep back into my bones. I felt the chill begin to disappear and am once again hopeful for new life and new beginnings.

I love taking a look at the month behind me to re-count some of the amazing blessings & gifts I have been given in life. This month the theme was definitely entertainment! Hubby & I bounced all over the place celebrating life with some great friends and traveling far & wide to see the ones we love.


Not to sound like an old lady, but I don't go out quite as frequently as I used to. Something happens after you turn 25 and staying up all night drinking just doesn't sound like much fun anymore. This month, however I had the opportunity to stay up past my bedtime a few times and it was a nice treat as it's something I very rarely do!

My friend Lauren turned 25 at the begininng of this month and hubby & I went out to celebrate with some friends. Two of my friends got married this month & I was able to DJ one of those weddings and attend a beautiful Indian wedding reception for the other.

Niraj & Anisha held a birthday party/wedding reception in their beautiful home, overlooking NYC. Everyone had the opportunity to wear traditional Indian clothing and I ate with my fingers (as per usual) while shocking some of the guests! It was such a blast to celebrate our friends new marriage and we are so happy for them: wishing them a lifetime of love & happiness!!

Hubby & I also went to a Murder Mystery Dinner as a fundraiser for the local community college & Cotuit Library!. He won best actor & we had a blast in our 1920's costumes. We have also been on a few fun dates: brunch, dinners, OZ The Great & Powerful as well as a huge personal accomplishment for my hubby over this month. Marrying my hubby was quite possibly the best thing I have ever done - I love him so much!

I also got an opportunity to see an old friend after almost 6 years whilst in Rhode Island a few weeks ago. I was there for my teacher training, and staying with my younger brother. On the way home from my weekend away, I got a chance to catch up with my friend Leisl over cupcakes & a fruit plate - yummy!!


Yoga is a constant theme in my life, but this month it was very prevelant. I finally feel in my groove with my practice, work and my free time. I meditate everyday (even when traveling), and try to be on my mat as often as I am able. Within my yoga teacher training, we are going to begin Yoga Sadhana which will help us to begin the practice of practicing everyday. I am so excited to begin that journey. I think about yoga every single day, and I try to live a yogic lifestyle - but will be excited to begin my daily practice with the help of my peers.

My 500 hour teacher training is off to a fantastic start! I am so blessed to be with a wonderful group of yogis on this path and know I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment. I feel blessed, reinvigorated in regards to Journey to Hope & ready to begin The Ahimsa Project.
I began to realize that this quote rings so true: "when the teacher is ready, the students will come." While I had and have an amazing group of students, I finally feel ready to spread the word of yoga & joy even further and know my students have begin to come. It is such a gift and a blessing I will never take advantage of - I am so grateful for each of you.


I am a nerd. I say this often and sometimes I am not always sure you believe me, but I am a HUGE NERD! I love reading & watching inspiring videos. I love foreign films with subtitles & attending fundraising events with people three times my age. I sign up for programs in buisness, yoga & teaching. I love learning!

This month, I was inspired by quite a few books: Heart of Yoga, Prakriti, Spirit Junkie & Crazy Sexy Kitchen (loving Kris Carr's philosophy)! For extra fun, I have begun listening to a Stephen King novel on audio. Hubby popped it in on our way to NYC & I am now realizing it's the best way to add in additional knowledge or entertainment while driving!

I was also inspired by a few videos. Specifically, I was inspired by Same Love -- Mackelmore. Many of my friends are hearing life altering decisions made by the supreme court and this song is an inspiration to not only me as an ally but also my friends & their families.

What I wrote

This month I began my new weekly series: Nama Say Wednesday, where I answer any questions yogis may have. I wrote about the Charka's in Part One & Part Two. As well as talking about what a Vinyasa really is!

I also took a look into my daily smoothie routine - as well as began to talk about my Leap of Faith Kits. Have you thought about buying one yet?? It's a great start to your yoga practice & meditation as well as the perfect accompaniment to The Ahimsa Project.


This past month was full of friends, love, entertainment, new inspirations and a lot of learning. I feel so blessed to be where I am in this moment and am ever grateful for my friends, family, co-workers & yogi peers.
I am sending you all major love & blessings.
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Magical Mondays: Spring has Sprung!

Good Morning Beautiful Yogis!!

I can finally feel the heat beginning to return to my bones....and although it is not quite yet "warm" or completely feeling like "spring" yet - I saw a few glimpses this weekend. I was able to run outside in only a light sweater to walk Apollo, my parents yard had crocus leave popping through & the sun was shining in church on Easter Sunday.

This past week was busy & quite entertaining. I went to an amazingly difficult Kundalini class on Tuesday, met with some amazing babes on Wednesday who are pushing Journey to Hope to be right where we need to be, went to a murder mystery dinner with friends & DJed a wedding!

Emily & I taught in Cambridge a few
years ago & I was grateful to DJ her wedding!
I haven't DJed a wedding in a little while, so it was SUPER fun to hop back into a job I love so dearly by DJing a friends wedding. Emily & I taught together in Cambridge and she was one of the only people I knew when I moved to Cape Cod a few years back. I was super happy to DJ her wedding & am wishing her a lifetime of happiness & love.

As I mentioned, this past week was ALL about entertainment...and my amazing hubby won BEST ACTOR this week at the murder mystery. Journey to Hope's secretary & my good friend, Jennie Wiley, put on a murder mystery dinner as a fundraiser for the shut in program at the library & the food pantry at Cape Cod Community College.

Karthik & I donned our best 1920's outfits, read our parts, donated yummy soups for the pantry & nabbed a few friends to join us. We danced into the night, solved a murder (of which my husband was the victim), played poker & laughed until our sides hurt. It was such a blast to go out with another couple and dress up in fun costumes while meeting a few new strangers who quickly turned into friends for the evening. I am super blessed to have a husband who likes to play along as these kinds of events and was happy to help fundraise for these two great programs in the community!
Dancing the night away!

Nadia & I also unexpectedly had Good Friday off from work and as such I was able to sleep in after our night out (what a treat)! It was finally beginning to feel like Spring on Friday, so I decided to do some spring cleaning. Keeping with my theme of kindness and giving (okay fine - that's everyday - but I have felt especially giving this week!)....I compiled a hug bag of clothes to donate to the local shelter. Karthik will be creating his pile this week. It's a nice tradition we have as we change seasons and we typically donate clothes 2-3x per year.

Do YOU donate? Clothes? Money? Time?? I would love to know more about your volunteering. As I run a non-profit, I am always fascinated by what causes people donate to and why. I would love to know about YOUR favorite causes in the comments below!

The Little Things

Being re-inspired by some amazing ladies in regards to Journey to Hope, seeing The Ahimsa Project begin to come together, making the final edits and cuts in my video, sending my latest newsletter with my brand new logo, seeing my little cousin for a few minutes on Wednesday night, still being THRILLED when a man asks me if I (a woman) am the DJ for the evening(!!), dancing with my hubby, twirling in my flapper dress, introducing my new flow to the jammin' class, drinking wine & talking late into the night, spring cleaning, Easter service, dancing in church, walking the beach, my well behaved puppy being approved by my mom, not needing a jacket outside & seeing my family/best friends on Easter Sunday!

This coming week is full of a lot of work related trips, meetings and planning. I am looking forward to being a bit more grounded & bringing my meditation practice with me on the road.

I am wishing you many blessings & much love this week ahead.
Happy Monday!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nama Say Wednesday: Chakra's Part II

This is part two of the Nama Say Wednesday Chakra posts. I wanted to break them up into a more manageable read for you all and am excited to share the knowledge I currently have on our energy alignment (as well as to delve even deeper this year and continue to share).

As I mentioned in the last post, a chakra is an energy channel. We have seven chakras and in last weeks post I covered our root, sacral & solar plexus chakras. In this second post, I will be covering our heart, throat, third eye & crown charkas. Continuing up the alignment of the spine we come closer to our intuition & infinite wisdom within: we come close to Samadhi.

Samadhi is enlightenment or nirvana. Interestingly and contrary to popular belief, monks do not spend their entire lives in enlightened bliss. It is a glimpse into Samadhi that we receive and that is what we strive for – to feel the enlightenment and then once it is lost we continue our process again to achieve it once more.

The fourth chakra is the heart or Anahata. The heart chakra is green or pink in color and located at your hearts center. It represents all the things you would immediately believe the heart to represent: compassion, love, emotion & well being.

The heart charka is best opened through heart openers or back bends (bridge, wheel, dancers pose, cobra). When a teacher focuses on back bending, you may feel a lot of your emotions rise as well as your direct issues with love & trust begin to flare. This is a normal piece of the process to clear the energy on the way to your crown charka & Samadhi.

Vishuddha is the throat or the fifth charka. The throat charka is located in your throat and blue in color. It represents communication but not just the spoken word. It is written word, words we are unable to communicate (to those who have left the earth or perhaps out of societal or family context) and expression. Common poses to begin opening the throat chakra are fish pose & plow pose as well as the ancient art of chanting (more on chanting in a coming article).

The sixth chakra is known as the third eye, brow or Anja. It is violet in color and located directly in between your eyes on your brow – a place known to many as the third eye center. It represents intuition and the inner guide. Common poses for the opening of your third eye chakra are inversions and forward folds as well as chanting. There are many mudras (hand symbols) that connect to opening the third eye charka as well. Also, during guided meditations in savasana you are occasionally able to open your Anja.

The last and final of the seven chakras is the crown or Sahasrara. It is white in color and located at the top of the head or just above your crown, floating above you. It represents enlightenment, Samadhi, beingness, emotional action & the release of karma. The pose in which to open this chakra is savasana, often a yogis favorite pose.

The first time my dad tried yoga, I told him that savasana is like a yogi nap where we don’t sleep but rather rest and open our minds towards enlightenment. One lies on the earth or the floor and meditates after a physical yoga asana practice.

Combined with the first three chakras from last week, this concludes the introduction to chakras and their energy channels. As with all yoga, chakras are a practice. I am still learning all there is to know about chakras and there is an infinite amount of information. Please feel encouraged to add information or ask additional questions in regards to the chakras or anything with yoga. I would love to continue sharing my knowledge as often as I am able.
What do you think about the chakras?
Does your teacher mention them in class?
Would you take a chakra flow vinyassa class?

Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Smoothie 411

Have you been looking longingly at other people's smoothies?

Is Pinterest calling your name?
Are you bored with your coffee in the morning?
Are you looking for a new, healthy way to find energy in the morning?
Do you LOVE the color green?
Then THIS is the blog post for YOU!
Today I am going to deconstruct the elusive green smoothie for you and help you with some hints on what to stock your cabinets with, why we drink green smoothies & what tastes best (seriously).

A co-worker of mine recently asked me for some recipes and additional information on green smoothies. She mentioned that she is trying to be healthier and wants to know more. She tries her best (and looks amazing, especially for someone who gave birth this past year) but wants a few helpful hints. I thought I would help not only her but also all of you with deconstructing green smoothies.
First of all a green smoothie is an acquired taste. There are many ways to build up to this taste and many ingredients that are still not in my own repetoire but it's important to experiment and have fun, knowing that it will all come together eventually.

1) Greens (spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro etc)
Spinach is the first ingredient I would try as a part of a green smoothie. I LOVE KALE but as I mentioned there are certain ingredients (kale being one of them) that are an acquired taste and need some adjusting to. I would start with a typical strawberry and banana smoothie and add a hanful of spinach. It turns your smoothie green and adds a few additonal nutrients to your breakfast. Spinach is full of protein and iron and delicious nutrients.
I would add kale whenever you're ready! It really does amp up your nutrients and after a little adjusting it tastes delicious.
The other greens I have not yet experiemented with are a bit too much for me as of now. They include cilantro, parsley etc. I HAVE tried fresh mint and a DASH of peppermint extract which is minty and delicious! Go ahead and begin experimenting, it's the only way you'll learn what you love.
2) Powders
I use a number of powders in my smoothies. They all add a different set of nutrients, or energy and amp up my smoothie to not only be delicious but practical. My doctor loves that I drink them every morning and says that we should all "eat breakfast like a king." When I am running around and out of time in the morning, I pop in a few of my favorite ingredients to keep me going and make sure that even if it isn't large it is FULL of whatever I need for my day.
Spirulina is a vegetarian supplement that is 60% protein and contains B12. It is wonderful for those of us who are meat & dairy concious and would like or need a little protein boost in their diet. When I began using it a girlfriend of mine told me to use a pinch (no bigger than my thumbnail). I listened to her for a while and then began to use more - not a good idea. It definetly has a taste and I would recommend using a 1/2 tsp at most. You can add it to most any smoothie and it will absolutely add green & protein!
Amazing Grass Green Foods is not only delicious but also nutritious. I have been adding this particular supplement to my smoothies for a few years now. It was the first one I was brave enough to add and I love it! I use the chocolate grass as it is a nice flavor but have heard that the berry is also really good. It is a quick & easy way to add greens to your smoothie if you run out of them or if perhaps you just want more nutrients!
I typically use my green foods powder with raw cacoa which is really yummy! I do this if I want my smoothies to be chocolatey! Lately I have been using the dark chocolate which I picked up by accident. I have always used Hershey's Powder but there are many others to choose from if you hunt around! Give them all a try.
Maca Powder is a powder for energy. It is grown in the Andes in Peru and used for medicinal purposes, a vegetable and supposedly an aphrodisiac. Brought down to a powder it is now used as an energy boost. Many of my friends claim it is as good as coffee. I do not say this quite yet, I'm still thinking it is as strong as a caffinated tea, but it's a good start. I have just recently started using it so any suggestions below are welcome.
3) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are so yummy that they deserve their own category! And before you ask: chia seeds are the same seeds used to grow a chia pet and NO it will not make your insides look like the outside of a Chia pet!
It supports heart health, helps with omega 3 intake, is full of antioxidants & is rich in calcium as well!! This little article introduces a few of the "Why" questions around Chia seeds.
The best part of chia seeds? I don't just use them in smoothies. I use them in overnight oats, chia seed pudding & a handful of other recipes.
4) Fruits & Veggies
This category should be self-explanatory! You can add in whatever nutritious and delicious fruits and veggies you like. I keep some in my freezer for an added cold burst or if I run out of fresh. I also buy fresh fruits & veggies often for my smoothies.

Simple veggies that are easy to digest and throw in your smoothie: zucchini, kale, spinach, celery, carrot & cucumber.
Fruits: berries, bananas (I freeze mine - peeled first and cut in half), apples, pears, pineapple and more.
Added yumminess: ginger root, lemon, mint leaves, extracts and more!
5) Liquid Base
If I want a milkier taste, I use half almond milk and half water (or all almond milk if I need it). When I run out of almond milk, I use my husbands skim! Occassionally I use coffee and almond milk for a coffee smoothie (recipe below) or juice. Typically the juices my hubby buys are a bit too sweet for my taste so I again use half water and half juice.
My favorite "juice" base at the moment is the 15 calorie lemonade from minute maid with half water! My favorite chocolatey smoothie at the moment is coffee, almond milk & water as a base.
6) Sweeteners
Now you have all of these powders, greens, fruits/veggies, liquid base & your chia seeds. But it just doesn't taste right. Maybe you need a sweetener or an extract?
Sweeteners I love: raw sugar, stevia, maple syrup, agave & ocassionally (in coffee) regular old sugar. I try not to use too much white sugar as it isn't good for my body, but sometimes I use it in the morning coffee for hubby & I so there it remains.
Extracts: I like to use only vanilla & peppermint extract at the moment. I have heard some amazing things about hazelnut and almond though! My biggest suggestion is that you use a capful or less. Especially with the peppermint which can become VERY strong.
7) Recipes
I have two recipes here for you all to try!
Chocolate Aztec Smoothie
Almond Milk
*1 capful of vanilla extract
Cocoa powder
*Amazing supergrass
Ice Cubes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
This simple and delicious smoothie is adapted from the recipe book Crazy Sexy Kitchen (go buy it now!) and if there is a * next to it, it is something I've added on my own :-) YUMMY!
Ginger Lemon Smoothie
Ginger Root
1 Squeezed Lemon
Maca Powder
1/4 Avocado
YUMMY! I made this one up because I love, love, love ginger and lemon.
Both of these two recipes may be too spicy for you - so hunt around the internet, play on pinterest and pull out your blender. I hope you enjoy!

Green Smoothie!! 
Please, please, please let me know YOUR smoothies, what you add, what I missed and what YOU love.
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Magical Monday: Blissful Vibes

As I am writing to you, I am in such a beautiful, calm & blissful state. I am sending you all a million positive, blissful vibes. The only thing I can imagine is the perfect wave of a rainbow in a bubble - THAT is how blissed out I am after my first 500 hour teacher training weekend.
Blissed Out @ Teacher Training
Needless to say this past week was amazing, it was and is everything I had hoped for in a training and I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment. I even sent my husband a text the first night of training that said: "I am vibrating with such an amazing energy. I love you!" And as always, he supports me in my whimsical and crazy hippie ways and told me he was sending me more blissful vibes and that he loves me as well (what a lucky gal I am!).
This past week was challenging at work, but as always it was wonderful. I am blessed to work with some great people and more than thrilled to come in everyday. It is also such a blessing to have people wanting to know more about yoga while I'm at work. I try to keep everyone calm & happy and it makes me giddy to be able to share all that positivity with the folks I work with every week! It's great to be able to share a blog post or a simple chair twist. I love helping others and to see some of the subtle changes in my co-workers is a great feeling.
Karthik also joined me this week in yoga! He came to Kundalini and it was a great experience to squeeze his hand right before savasana and make eye contact right before a kriya - I sure am a lucky lady to have such an amazing man.
One of the highlights of my weekend in teacher training was when Coral told us that our 50 elective hours need to concentrate on a specialty. She mentioned that some of us may know already what our specialty was while others would go on a journey to find theirs. I did not know it until Coral mentioned it, but the moment she said concentration I knew: charkas, energy, healing. THAT is where I'm supposed to be and I'm so excited to begin diving into this additional curriculum.
What a great week behind and weekend I have had. I seriously feel as though I'm riding on a bliss wave and so excited to share everything I have learned thus far with my students and all of you! The week ahead is a beautiful wedding I am excited to DJ, Easter weekend, Kundalini, a fun date and lots of OMwork!
The Little Things
Hanging out with Zack & his roommate Ben, making them dinner at 10pm on Friday night (and having them eat EVERYTHING), having a great little brother in general, seeing my cousin Sam Thursday night & then having a wonderful lunch on Friday afternoon, getting tests done for my wrist, meeting my friend Leisl after almost 7 years & eating yummy cupcakes with her(!!), healthy food, yogi talk, meeting new friends, being re-inspired for Journey to Hope with all the energy of the weekend, Dakota's 10th birthday (a bunny), cuddling, Karthik coming to Kundalini, discussions around labeling, new knowledge, being overwhlemed & excited at the same time, getting excited about Easter (and the supposed good weather for Sunday), team building events coming up at work and so much bliss and loving energy!!
Dakota's 10th bday @ teacher training
I am wishing you a week full of love, blessings & gratitue. If you had a tough week or weekend, Iam sending you all positive vibes!
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nama Say Wednesday: Chakra's Part 1

Chakras are something I often discuss in class. If we are in the middle of a deep twist I will ask my students to rinse out their anxiety and will power through their third chakra. Many of them likely have no idea what I’m talking about, but I try to describe in best detail as I’m able what a chakra is.

A chakra is an energy channel. We have seven chakras within our being and today I will discuss our first three: root, sacral & the solar plexus. I am starting from the root and going to the top in an attempt to discuss how important it is to stay grounded.
The first chakra is your root chakra also known as Muladhara. The root chakra is red in color and located at the bottom of our spine. It represents all things grounded. Money issues, shelter, work, stability and so much more can be found coming up through this chakra. It is where we store a lot of our deepest set fears in the world and often the toughest energy channel to break through.
The root chakra is best opened with grounded poses (warriors, triangle, mountain pose). Typically chakra flow classes begin from the ground up and as such we often begin by opening our root chakra first through grounding poses, as well as to build heat within our bodies to create a better flow.
Swadhisthana is the sacral chakra and is located within the sacrum. It is orange in color and represents sexuality, fertility, relationships, basic emotions and creativity. When I “open” this chakra through asanas (poses) I often jokingly tell my students I am not trying to get them pregnant but rather cultivate the fertility of new ideas. This is a very sensitive chakra but in my experience can be very easy to open through a yoga class.
The sacral chakra is best opened with hip openers (lunges, pigeon, frog). Hip openers tend to open a lot of energy channels and emotion (especially for women) and it is often where we store old pains and fears. This is one of the reasons we are so tight in our hips (among others: driving, sitting in offices etc) and why occasionally we feel like cursing the teacher or crying in pigeon. It's normal to open and release this energy while we're in our hip opening poses.
Manipura is the solar plexus or belly chakra. It is yellow in color and represents will power, anxiety & digestion. The poses most associated with the manipura are often twists to release some of the anxiety we build. We need to hold onto our will power, however so we must not twist too deeply. And as we do, we must rememeber to hold our will power within while letting go of what no longer serves us.

I LOVE asking my class to get into deep twists and begin rinsing away all of the worries that no longer serve them. Next time you're feeling anxious, try sitting cross legged on the floor and doing a nice spinal twist across your body. It may release a bit of your manipura energy and open your third chakra to let go of all your worries!
Chakra flow classes can be extremely eye opening. You  are often opening energy channels you did not know existed. You begin to use the physical to connect to the spiritual and the energy within you. I mention “opening the channels” as we literally open the channels of this stuck energy through asanas, physical yoga classes and spiritual journeys.
A yoga instructor can and often does take the seven charkas to create a yoga flow to help open your energy. It’s one of the reasons you sometimes leave class on a yoga high!
The quiz below is a lot of fun and represents where you are in terms of energy. If you answer the questions honestly you will understand where you are blocked and need to be reopened! Please do not hesitate to ask me additional questions and I will try my best to answer them.
Next week I will be discussing the final four chakras and creating an at home yoga practice to begin opening all your chakras!!
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Magical Mondays

Yesterday my hubby was finishing dinner after our amazing weekend and leaned over to me and said "I'm so sad it's over we had so much fun!" I looked back at him and said, "Yes, but aren't you so glad it happened?" :-)
That's how I feel almost every Monday. Not necessarily sad the weekend is over but excited that it happened and equally as excited to count my blessing each Magical Monday. (Having great co-workers doesn't hurt to ease the Monday "pain" either!)
This past week was crazy wonderful. We had some weird work schedules, I saw a lot of my in-laws and ate delicious food. Hubby & I received loads of good news and we finally got my wrist looked at. I had x-rays and this week I am being electrocuted (over exaggerating, but I'm getting a nerve test done) to see what's going on. I'm not healed, but at least they are now looking into additional possibilities!
This weekend was full of meeting new friends, celebrating our newlywed friends marriage and dressing up in traditional Indian clothing!! What a whirlwind of a weekend!
With our favorite newlyweds!!

Anisha & I went to the salon ALL DAY on Saturday. We had brunch with our husbands and then skipped down the street in the light flurries to our hair and nail appointments where we proceeded to spend the next 3 hours sitting in comfy chairs and getting pampered! (Ohhhh la la). I got a new haircut and the nice young man who did my nails INDIVIDUALLY PLACED GLITTER on my toes and fingernails. I was in heaven. So much glitter and it all matched my sari perfectly.
My best friend. :) Love him so much!
We then got ready & ordered yummy Indian food before the guests arrived. We ate delicious food (I usually eat with my fingers as per the tradition and was totally called out for it - apparently people aren't used to seeing a little white girl eat biryani with her hands!). We danced the night away, ate cake and celebrated Niraj & Anisha's wedding in only the way young couples can. We ALL wore traditional Indian clothing and laughed late into the evening.
The next day we awoke to a delicious brunch next door and with the effort of 6 people, a clean apartment for our friends before we left for home. We picked up our boy, ate more food & snuggled all night long.
Toasting the beautiful bride, Anisha!
I am so grateful for all our friends & family, and so happy to know Niraj's new bride (and love her tons and tons!!) The week was also full of beautiful little blessings, as always! Keep your eyes open for them as they are always there for you.
My favorite picture! New friends: Susie & Mike!
The Little Things
My teacher training weekend (this coming weekend!!), Heart of Yoga, salon day, crazy friday work schedule, musical sing-a-longs, revisiting Wicked & all it's glory, showing hubby "my skills" while singing said Broadway musicals for 5 hours, traditional Indian clothes, eating with my fingers, selling the first 5 Leap of Faith Kits, getting the first video preview for The Ahimsa Project, Kris Carr, Marie Forleo & Gabby Bernstein (as constant inspiration), amazing horoscopes, great co-workers, finally feeling amazing in my "style", my new WHITE leather jacket, long necklaces, planning fabulous trips to Paris, individualized glittery mani/pedis, beach walks, collecting sand dollars, Apollo spending tons of time with his grandparents, Digger cuddle time, laughing until it hurts & being grateful, always.
I hope you are counting your blessings. Know YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE LOVE.
Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nama Say Wednesday

Hello ladies & gents!

I have decided to create a weekly blog feature post called “Nama Say” in which I describe to you some piece of yoga that you may have a question about. Yoga is comprised of an entirely new language to most western yogis: Sanskrit. 

Sanskrit is an ancient Indian language used for many of the poses. It is not only used within the physical world of yoga but also in breath (pranayama), meditation & scripture: the original yoga sutras and the bahgavad gita. 

This weekly feature "Nama Say" will cover not only words, but also poses, breath, meditation, moral ideals and symbols that you may be curious about. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below or on my facebook page. I would be more than happy to answer as many questions as I'm able!

We have been brought some beautiful translations into the west but there is so much room for interpretation, as well as so many who are unaware of many of the phrases we hear in our day to day classes. I thought I would shed some light unto you all and begin with two words you hear all the time in yoga classes: Vinyasa & Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskara).


How many times have you heard a teacher say “flow through your vinyassa to your downward facing dog” in a class? 

If you’ve ever taken a vinyassa yoga class, you’ve heard it often. But what IS a vinyassa? Is it moving from a standing forward fold, to a high plank, to low plank, back up to upward facing dog and then pushing back to downward facing dog? Is it all of those moves in that particular order? No. That series is a sun salutation.

Vinyasa simply means flow. It is the fluid connection between breath & movement.

If you are in a particular position and move consciously with breath to another position without stopping to readjust, you are likely experiencing a vinyasa movement.

If you have only taken vinyasa classes and not yet had the pleasure and opportunity to discover other styles, you may have assumed a vinyasa is a sun salutation. A sun salutation (or surya namaskara) is a vinyasa but a vinyasa is not necessarily always a sun salutation. Vinyasa is the action of fluid movement with breath. It is found in many styles of yoga; vinyasa, ashtanga, Forrest and occasionally found in gentle or yoga flow classes.

Hatha yoga is a familiar style to many yogis and although is is a nice practice, traditionally hatha yoga and vinyasa are NOT the same. They are very similar within particular asanas (poses) but hatha yoga does not have the fluidity of a vinyasa class. In a vinyasa class you are often going to be flowing through your poses and more often than not, moving at a much faster rate throughout the entire class time.

Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation)

A sun salutation is a series of asanas. You begin by placing both feet on the floor hips width distance apart. You fingers are spread wide with your arms by your side and your gaze looking forward. Reach your arms towards the sky on the inhale and as you exhale you begin to slowly fold forward into your standing forward fold (utanasana).

As you inhale place both hands on your shins and look forward. BEND YOUR KNEES A LOT and step back (or jump if you're a more "seasoned" yogi) in your high plank.

High Plank
In your high plank, you want your gaze looking slightly forward, but down. Your shoulders are directly over your wrists. You pushing the weight through our heels and thinking about tightening your core for a strong posture.


As you lower down, only lower down half way into your chataranga (or low push up) position. You are still holding your belly and core in tight and bringing the weight from your head to your heels in a straight line.

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

As you begin to "sweep through" to your upward facing dog, think about ROLLING your shoulders behind you to open your heart even further. (Or as I very kindly say when I have all women in class.... stick out your boobs!)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Begin to tighten your core as much as you are able and think about rolling over your toes as you left you hips up towards the sky. This will bring you into an inverted V position - Adho Mukha Svanasana, or commonly, downward facing dog. In this position, try to relax your head in between your shoulders and think about eventually reaching your heels to the earth.

And there you have it! Often times, teachers refer to a sun salutation as a vinyasa and it is! But a vinyasa is not only and always a sun salutation.

I hope this first Nama Say Wednesday was helpful. Please let me know if you have any additonal questions in the comment section below or on facebook!!

Get out there - do yoga & make life sparkle!


P.s. Thank you to Candice Harper who helped come up with the name of my new feature. Check out her comic strip!