Happy Weekend!

This is one of my all time favorite travel quotes, because I feel like it sums up why I seek. For me, the ultimate goal is to continually have new eyes, to see the world in a new way, to gain new perspectives. Sometimes, travel is the experience that gives you those new eyes, but there are also so many stops along the path to discovery. Books, classes, a meaningful conversation, can all be experiences that crack us open to view the world in a new way. Sorry for the repeat of two quotes in one week, but this is a good one. We will be in full swing at the Wanderlust Yoga Festival by the time this post goes live and hope to return with new eyes! Love to you all. Happy Weekend!

5 Tips to Help You Through a Major Life Event

I just passed the licensing exam for my profession (LCSW), earlier today. It was pretty awful, I must admit, 4 hours, 170 questions, many of which you had to choose the best possible answer amongst multiple good ones. It's something I have been actively working towards for the past 6 years of my life, and a long-term goal of mine since I majored in psychology over 10 years ago. I'm not gonna lie, it was quite a stressful process, and there were many moments before and during the exam where I wasn't sure I would pass. I've had similar experiences in which I felt terrified, and needed to keep my cool, like the three years I competed in the National Yoga Asana Championship for California. The yoga competition is a 3 minute demonstration on stage, in front of a silent auditorium of people in which you demonstrate balance, strength, flexibility, and grace. It's terrifying, but also a wonderful experience. Below are my 5 biggest tips to help you through a major presentation, deadline, exam, wedding, job interview, fill in the blank:

  1. Deep breaths. When your heart is pounding, and you feel like you could pass out, take long slow deep breaths. Close your eyes even, take deep breaths and center yourself. I used this tip many times throughout my yoga competition and my exam, and the breath truly works. Deep breathing calms the nervous system down, lowers heart rate, lowers blood pressure. It works guys, and we know it works because it feels good and we can measure the positive physiological changes deep breathing has on the body.
  2. Put things into perspective. I like to picture myself on my deathbed and this usually helps me to put everything into perspective. At the end of my life, I don't think I'll look back and regret bombing a presentation, failing an exam on the first try, or fumbling a competition. What I would regret is the time I spent worrying about the event or beating myself up afterwards for not living up to my standards. Before our yoga competition, one of the judges/yoga gurus gave all the competitors a pep talk. She reminded us that we have been practicing yoga before the competition, we will practice yoga afterwards, and that the competition was simply 3 minutes to be in the present moment. It wasn't going to change our lives. We were going to continue practicing yoga regardless of the outcome. It made something that felt so big, feel a bit smaller. Putting things into perspective can really help calm the nerves.
  3. Be in the present moment. The last tip leads me into this one. Try to be in the present moment during your major event whether it be an exam, a presentation, a competition, etc. Tip #1 can help. Whenever I found my mind wandering out of the present moment, that's when I noticed my suffering increase, or my performance decrease. Try to be in the present moment. It will make everything go smoother. 
  4. Practice Gratitude. I noticed my nervousness, my stress, my anticipation, my mind calmed when I thought of the things in my life I felt grateful for. You can't actively feel grateful and scared at the same time. Gratitude fills your heart up, it calms the mind, it improves mood, it attracts more great things into your life. Try gratitude the next time you find yourself in fear or anxiety.
  5. Tolerate Discomfort. Part of me knew I would feel a sense of unease until the end of my competition or exam. Sometimes, what we fight we strengthen, so accepting a certain level of nerves can help to keep them from becoming even more intense. Fear and stress can be a good thing. My fear of failing the exam motivated me to study even more the days leading up to it, so embrace what you can of your fear and use it for good not evil ; )

Hope these tips were helpful, use them the next time you have a major life stressor coming up and leave a comment underneath of any tips you have that would apply here. 

Happy Weekend!

I love this quote. We all go through dark periods in life. We all have darkness within us, each one of us, no matter how much light we have too have at least a little dark. Even the earth experiences light everyday. A certain darkness is needed to see the stars. A certain darkness is needed for us to grow, to appreciate the light, and only specific beauty can be seen in darkness. Next time you are going through a dark period think of this quote. Happy Weekend ! 

Wanderlust Yoga Festival Essentials (Updated)

We attended the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Squaw Valley last year and it exceeded our expectations! To say we loved it would be an understatement, but we definitely learned some lessons and will be bringing a few different items this year than last. You can check out our original post on Wanderlust essentials here . Below are our Wanderlust Yoga Fest essentials:

  1. Yoga Mat. This is kind of a no brainer, but you need a yoga mat at a yoga festival. Something we found was that it was quite windy in the Squaw Valley mountains, and those who had brought lightweight travel mats really had a hard time as their mats literally got blown around during practice. I know it's a pain to lug around a heavier yoga mat but bring your normal practice mat and you won't regret it. There are also sure to be plenty of yoga mats for sale at the festival, so if you don't have a decent mat, it may be fun to plan on picking one up at the event. My personal favorite yoga mat of all time is this mat. It has a lifetime guarantee and is quite substantial but not too heavy to carry around. This is also a great option and super affordable.
  2. Yoga Mat Carrier. I simply use this strap because Matt is in charge of the backpack for the both of us. Bonus: the mat strap doubles as a yoga strap in classes. A yoga backpack makes so much sense for this purpose as well and this backpack is my favorite. This is an affordable option. The nice thing about investing in a yoga backpack is you can use it for so many trips in the future. 
  3. Shoes. If you are planning on hiking, proper shoes are a must! We focused on yoga, workshops and meditation last year so I wore these flip flops around the entire time. They were perfect, low maintenance, and are super affordable. I'm also obsessing over these birkenstocks for my new yoga sandal. Because they are fully rubber, they can easily be washed off, taken to the pool or beach, and I've heard they're even more comfy than the originals.
  4.  Water Bottle. Hydration is so important for your body. It's sure to be hot, and there are sure to be plenty of sweaty yoga classes at the festival. Do mother earth a favor and ditch those plastic disposable bottles. With so many cute reusable water bottles, there's no excuse not to bring one. Also, no need to bring a massive bottle since Wanderlust has hydration stations set up for refills. I'm loving this water bottle, this one, and this bottle.
  5. Yoga Clothes. I love planning my fun yoga outfits for the festival. These are some of my favorites for printed leggings. I just purchased this particular pair and can't wait to try them out. I can vouch for the materials from both these options. They are super breathable, and dry ultra fast after a sweaty workout. Also, just wanted to mention these are my favorite leggings of all time. They have been the most flattering, most comfortable and the material is buttery soft amazingness. 
  6. Yoga Mat Cleaner. You will be throwing your yoga mat down in all sorts of places. Our mats were pretty dirty at the end of each festival day last year. I just make my own mat cleaner with essential oils and put it in a travel spray bottle. Check out my yoga mat cleaner recipe here
  7. Sunblock. This was on my list last year and it will be on my list forever. If the sun is out, you should be protecting your skin. The sun will be out. Bring sunblock. It's so hard to find a good all natural sunblock that's affordable. We have been using and loving this block from Juice Beauty (one of my favorite all natural skincare brands). Every product they make rates very clean on EWG and the Think Dirty app.
  8. Journal/Notebook. I'm always looking to learn, grow and evolve. Bringing a journal or notebook along ensures you can record all the new ideas you will be exposed to, and/or journal your own experience at the end of the day. These are so lovely and these too. 
  9. Sunglasses. As I said, the sun will be out. It's summertime. Big, fun sunglasses are a must. Le Spec is a new brand I've been loving because they are on the more affordable side. These are the sunnies pictured above and these are also cute. For affordable pair I'd choose these from Free People.
  10. Meditation Accessories. You are going to be feeling pretty zen at the end of each day. We like to start our mornings with a meditation, and any type of accessory to support my meditation practice is welcomed. We may bring a stick of palo santo just to set the mood for our meditation or to help us wind down at the end of each day. I will definitely be bringing my mala. This is my favorite place to find affordable high quality mala necklaces. 

General Tips: Don't worry too much about food. There's plenty to purchase at the event and tons of vendors are giving it away for free (e.g. entire veggie burger patties, protein bars, sustainable jerky, kombucha, etc.). Also, balance out your schedule. Take a variety of classes so you don't burn out the second day and make sure to schedule in breaks where you can peruse the vendors, lounge in the sun, and enjoy the entire experience. We decided to sign up for easier classes the last day (think yin yoga, meditation, speakeasy) because last year our bodies were sore and spent from the two full days of yoga and walking around prior. Most importantly, relax, have fun, and try not to sweat the small stuff : )

Simple Pleasure of the Week : Going Barefoot

Barefoot equals carefree. Barefoot equals grounded, connected. Barefoot equals summertime, beach days, weekends, the earth beneath your feet. There's something relaxed about kicking off your shoes and walking around atop an earth warmed by the sun. Kids often run around barefoot, but as we get older it can be easy to forget this simple pleasure. With summertime in full swing, and the weekend right around the corner, there's no better time than now to enjoy this simple pleasure so kick off your shoes, walk around in freshly cut grass, riverbed, seashore, or simply your living room. Happy weekend!

10 ways to Reset your energy

We are human, and being human includes shifts in energy, changes in mood, and changes in thoughts (e.g positive to negative). First step is always awareness. Try to notice when the energy shifts inside you whether it comes in the form of a bad mood, negative thoughts, low energy or no motivation. Next step is you have to put energy towards shifting your energy. Even if you are in the deepest depths of depression and you have no energy to get out of bed, maybe you can practice deep breathing. Point is, find something, that involves energy, and feels doable, then do it. Some days, I come home from work exhausted and all I want to do is plop down in front of the television and not move for the next 5 years. What I've found, is if I don't do something to change my energy, I typically feel that way until I go to bed. If I can muster the motivation to practice an energy reset activity, at the very least, I have the opportunity to feel better. It may not happen, but majority of the time, when I put energy towards changing my energy, it works. Below are 10 energy shifting activities I've found to be helpful in reseting your energy. 

  1. Music - Music taps into our emotions like nothing else. Use it to your advantage. You can use music to help you emote your energy (e.g. putting a sad song to help you cry it out when you are feeling down), or to change your mood all together (e.g. putting on happy music to help get you out of a mood funk). You can also use music to enhance any of the below activities. 
  2. Breathwork - I truly believe in the power of your breath. The breath is the only control we have over our autonomic nervous system. Deep breathing lowers heart rate, lowers blood pressure and turns on our parasympathetic nervous system the part of our body responsible for calming us down. Check out my post on 4 breaching techniques to lower anxiety in under a minute here
  3. Get Silly - Making funny faces into the mirror, doing a silly dance, getting inverted by hanging over the side of the bed or doing a handstand against the wall are all ways to completely shift the situation. Never underestimate the power of play. 
  4. Meditation - Sometimes getting quiet is what you need. Light some incense (my personal fav is palo santo) get comfortable, close your eyes, relax your body, and either practice a self-guided meditation or put on one of the many free guided meditations available on calm.com, insight timer, or youtube. I have had complete shifts in mood from beginning of meditation to end. It really is a powerful tool. 
  5. Walk - Yes, walking is awesome for moving energy, and decreasing stress in the body. Next time you are stressed go for a walk, preferably somewhere nice, possibly with headphones in, or simply listening to the nature around you. 
  6. Nature - Nature does great things to the brain and spirit. Whenever I watch a sunset or sunrise, I instantly feel calmer, more connected, and at peace. The sound, sight and smell of the ocean also works to reset my energy, and the smell of pine trees on a warm day. Get out in nature next time you need an energy reset. 
  7. Gratitude - Sometimes remembering the things that are right in your life, help to put the things that are wrong into perspective. I fully believe gratitude is a necessity happiness. Read a past post about specific gratitude practices here and here.  
  8. Yoga - I believe I can honestly declare that I've never gone to a yoga class and not had my energy shift from it. Yoga never fails me. Even if my practice is simply sun salutations and breathing, yoga always works. Going to a studio is awesome, but even practicing some Youtube yoga in your living room is sure to help. 
  9. Talk about your feelings - I mean what kind of therapist would I be if I didn't include this one? 'Better out than in' I always say when it comes to negative emotions. Talking about your feelings with the right people definitely helps to decrease the power those negative feelings have on us and diffuses some of the negative energy holding in feelings has caused. Key tip is to talk about feelings with someone who you know can be supportive because not everyone is. 
  10. Dance - This involves music and moving your body. Getting your body moving to a song you are loving at the moment is an awesome way to shift energy. You can even do a silly dance to include strategy number #3 for added intensity. Again, the combo of great music and that body movement is what makes dance a great energy reset activity. 

Again, emphasis is placed on putting energy, in whatever way possible, towards shifting your energy when you are feeling in a funk emotionally, energy-wise, physically, spiritually, or mentally. The point is not picking the perfect activity, but rather finding what feels doable and trying it. Your mood is less likely to change, your energy is less likely to shift if you aren't putting energy towards that intention so give one of the above activities a try next time you want out of a funk. 

Happy Weekend!

What a lovely thought. There are no wrong turns in life because every turn is part of our path. Every turn, especially the unexpected ones, contribute to our soul's evolution, to our own personal growth, wisdom, and experience. It is easy to get caught up in trying to make the 'right' decision, sometimes so much so, that we become paralyzed to move forward. Remember this quote when you are feeling fear or despair. Every choice, every experience is there to contribute to our own evolution if we allow ourselves to learn from the experience. Happy Weekend! 

Yoga Flow Playlist 2017

Matt and I have recently begun our own home yoga practice. It's really nice for those weekends I work at the hospital and can't make it to an actual studio. If you want to know more about the sequences we've been putting together let me know and I can do a separate post on that, but for now I'm sharing the current soundtrack to our practice. Isn't everything better with music? These songs are great for yoga, meditation, or just chilling out. Hope you all discover at least one new song here that you love. Let me know in the comments below which song is your favorite : )

YOGA FLOW PLAYLIST 2017

Letting Go - Sol Rising

To Build A Home - The Cinematic Orchestra

Porcelain - Moby

Open - Rhye

Re: Stacks - Bon Iver

Magic - Coldplay

May I Have This Dance - Francis and the Lights

Sun Models (feat. Madelyn Grant) - ODESZA

The Sun HDCD - B-Tribe

Misty Morning - Sol Rising

Homeward Angel (Long) - Moby

Β 

Β 

Simple Pleasure of the Week: The Sun

I just wrote about the sun in yesterday's instagram post and it got me thinking "the sun deserves its own simple pleasure". Without the sun, most if not all life would perish on earth. We are completely reliant on that big ball of fire, and it is also wonderful (sunburns excluded). When the sun is out blazing, it brings everyone outside, into nature, grilling with friends, or down by the sea shore. Who doesn't love to lay in the sun, totally relaxed as you feel its warmth upon your skin, and don't forget about how beautiful it looks rising and setting. I love the sun. I love its light, dispersed through trees, dancing upon water, shining in through my windows in the early morning. With it being summer, there's plenty of that simple pleasure to go around, just make sure you use some good spf ; ) Happy weekend!

Tulum Trip Cenote visit

Matt was really proud of his video skills so I thought I'd share his masterpiece. He created a small video of our trip to El Gran Cenote in Tulum. My tip for Gran Cenote is to get there when it opens so you have the place to yourself. We arrived late due to Tulum travel learning curve issues and there were more visitors there than we would have liked. We loved Tulum and are still plotting to return. If you like this video and want us to begin making more in the future, please let me know. If you're interested in Tulum, check out our Tulum travel guide here, complete with pictures from our trip. Enjoy : ) !