Monday, June 8, 2020

Yoga For Beginners - 5 Steps to Start an At-Home Practice

If you have ever wanted to begin a yoga practice, now may be the best time for you to get started. Amidst this Coronavirus Pandemic people are doing all different sorts of things and branching out to add new hobbies to their repertoire - so why not add yoga to yours? 

Yoga can be done with very little equipment, space, and experience and not only helps your body but can greatly impact your mentality as well. Yoga is one of those physical activities that genuinely change a person because it has a holistic effect on teaching and working with the body and mind. 

Yoga can be curated to do whatever you're looking for. Needing more flexibility? Yoga can help with that. Want to lose weight and tone the body? Yoga can help with that too. Want to deepen your spirituality and explore what may be out there outside of this physical realm? Yoga can get you there also. 

Whatever your goal is, there is a yoga practice that can get you there. Beginning a yoga practice can be a bit challenging as you may not know where to start. So, below I've laid out 5 Steps to get you started on your journey.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Essential Yoga Equipment

For anyone starting a yoga practice, it's important to have a clear understanding of what's actually needed!

Though you can go through a practice without any of the pieces we'll talk about here, I will say that having them handy makes for a much more pleasurable experience. Some of them, depending on what you get, can be quite pricy so if you don't have these now - don't worry! As I talk about each prop I'll also give you an idea of something you have at home now that you can use in place of it.

If you're a beginner-beginner, then Namaste and welcome! Yoga is truly a remarkable practice and I hope that it will open doors for you that you didn't even know existed. If you're feeling overwhelmed and not really sure where to start then I recommend taking a look at this post: Types Of Yoga And Which May Be Best For You. This will begin to introduce you to the different styles of yoga and guide you toward something beginner-friendly.

For those of you who already have a practice and are just looking to enhance it - then keep reading because these props will take your practice to the next level! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Top 4 Yoga Poses For Gemini

Welcome to the Gemini season! If any sign in the zodiac would look like a fancy, shiny, sweet-16 party - It'd be Gemini

Those born between the days of May 21st - June 21st fall into the sign of Gemini and are the 3rd sign of the zodiac cycle. Geminis - as well as Libra and Aquarius - are air signs so are generally associated with intellect and being very social.

Geminis are so unapologetically themselves. They are who they are, so just leave it at that. They are proud of who they are and are not at all afraid to show up and show off! Geminis love to have the spotlight and be the center of attention and, because of their fun, friendly, outgoing nature, they are generally the life of the party. These outspoken characters can strike up a conversation with anyone about anything and will be happy to sit there and talk for hours. 

Though they sound all fun and exciting - they are represented by Twins - and there are always two sides to them. They can be a bit two-faced. They'll be your BFF and totally into you at one moment and then suddenly not have your back the next. The "Good Twin" is the fun one looking to socialize and make friends, the "Bad Twin" is lingering around waiting to take advantage. 

Geminis are mutable signs which means they pretty much fill in the holes and refine final details. As opposed to Aquarius which is a fixed air sign and is usually set in place on their intellectual decisions, Geminis float more easily between ideas here and there. 

For the social butterfly of the Zodiac, here are my Top 4 Yoga Poses for you! 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Chakra Meaning - The Root Chakra

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Have you ever had a moment where you've felt stressed for maybe no reason at all? Your anxiety seemed to be through the roof and you couldn't seem to control it? You don't know what path you are on, or what you should be doing? Maybe you feel scared and insecure? Maybe you feel lost and unstable?

If this sounds like you - it could be that your root chakra may be out of balance.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Easy Dinner Ideas - Cooking Vegan

After weeks spent in Quarantine, I think I can speak for a majority of us when I say that we've all been scavenging for ideas of what to make for dinner with what we have in our kitchen. Am I right?

I certainly do not want to go to the grocery store any more than is absolutely necessary so trying to come up with new dinner ideas of what to eat can be a bit challenging to say the least.

Fortunately, we have this wonderful thing called the internet which has come in handy as I try to piece together new recipes with some of the ingredients I have at my house currently. My recent search: Can I make something tasty with butternut squash, flour, and other pantry staples? - I'm still working on that one.

To make things easier for you I've included 3 quick dinner ideas that I personally love that have been getting me through this time. These meal ideas use minimal ingredients, likely all stuff you already have in your kitchen, and take little work and taste amazing! Also, did I mention, they're vegan!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Kapalabhati Breathing

If there is one thing a yogi will ever tell you - it's to breathe! 

In fact, many people will tell you this. Doctors say this during stress in a hospital, a friend may say this to you during emotional stress, physical trainers tell you this during a workout, so why is it really so important to focus on the breath?

Well, for starters, it is the very thing keeping you alive today. Without a constant inhale and exhale we would forever stop existing in this world. Thankfully, our bodies have been designed to make this an automatic response so we do not need to tell ourselves to inhale and exhale 24 hours a day.

So, if it's automatic, why do so many people tell us to focus on it?

When we focus on the breath, we are able to use it to our advantage. Sure it keeps us alive, but if we can choose to manipulate it for our benefit, we can do much more than just live.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Top 4 Yoga Poses for Taurus

What better way to wrap up the month of April, following Earth Day, than with the best yoga poses to help celebrate Taurus - one of the earth signs.

If you were born between the dates of April 21st - May 21st then you fall into the 2nd sign of the zodiac. After Aries (fire) blazed their way through to open up the zodiac cycle, Taurus comes after and replants the seeds to start new growth.

Similar to the other earth signs - Virgo and Capricorn - Taurinians are very grounded people. Like the bull that represents them, they are strong, focused, and often very stubborn!

If you can imagine trying to push a bull to get it moving or trying to tip it over you'll see how tough it can be to change a Taurus. They know who they are and they see no reason to make any kind of adjustments. If something is made up in their mind, don't even try to change it because a Taurus mind is set in place.

Though many will first think stubbornness when they think of a Taurus they also are very sensitive and loving people. They have very nice tastes and enjoy the "finer things" and will love to share these with those they are close with.

If you are looking for a foodie buddy then definitely seek out a Taurus, because they love to indulge and will know all the best restaurants and cafes to check out. They seek high quality in things and relationships and if they are not at all fulfilled by what's offered to them they are quick to decide when it's not worth their time.

For my earthy-friends out there, here are my Top 4 Yoga Poses for Taurus.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Earth Day Celebrations

Today is April 22, 2020 and marks the 50th anniversary of celebrating Earth Day!

As someone who is highly concerned with conservation and protecting the Earth's ecosystems and species, this day truly means a lot to me. It is a day that brings about awareness of the damages that the human race is causing and a time to recognize ways that we all can make a difference.

I hope that you find this post interesting as I go into some of the lesser-known facts about Earth Day and that it sparks an interest to get out there and do something special to help save the Earth!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Reduce Carbon Footprint

Earth day 2020 is two days from today. With that being said, it seems only fitting to write a post about waste management and creating a better Earth for the next generation! .. lol I know... 

There are hundreds - probably thousands - of posts out there about reducing our waste and recycling more so sometimes I truly wonder why people do not take these practices more seriously? I choose not to ponder this question for too long though because I know I'll never have that answer.

I know everyone leads their own life and can live however they choose to so I'm not here to dictate anything. If you find yourself reading this post, I have to believe it is because you truly wish to make a difference in your routine habits for the better.

If that is the case then I hope to get you started on the right foot! Perhaps you may have heard a term float around before but haven't quite understood what it means - the word is carbon footprint. What exactly is a carbon footprint, how is it measured, and why is it important?

Before we even discuss ways to reduce our waste, choose to recycle and change our habits, we have to first see how that impacts our carbon footprint. And to do that we need to know what a carbon footprint is.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

How To Fold A Fabric Mask For COVID-19

We are in unprecedented times right now and often I am not even sure what to believe on the internet anymore.

One person says one thing, another organization says another... who do we even believe and trust right now? Where's the guidance, where's the direction, where's the safety for us?

Living in Queens, NY has put me smack-dab in the middle of one of the world's largest hotspots for COVID-19. People I know are being directly impacted by this, and I genuinely feel terrified to leave my apartment.

Who would have thought I'd ever be - so scared - to go to the laundromat or the grocery store?

 I have put both of these things off as long as I possibly can. Wearing every article of clothing I own, even washing them and drying them in my shower, bulk buying groceries and having anything I can have delivered- delivered... All of this just so I don't have to leave my apartment and interact with people.

There, of course, are circumstances in which I need to leave my house. Food and groceries can only last so long, even with rationing efforts and minimalist style cooking, and clothes eventually need to be fully machine washed. I don't have any disposable masks, gloves, or hand sanitizer and it seems nearly impossible to even order these things online - so what is one to do? 

Monday, April 13, 2020

Green Chef Review

When I went vegan a couple years ago it was so hard to think of something new to eat each night. I was constantly thinking "How can I make something tasty and exciting while keeping it vegan?" To be honest, I didn't know much about cooking when I went vegan so I was stuck eating pretty much the same thing every night - rice and beans. 

While I never went hungry and was fully satiated with food, you can imagine that my food got quite boring rather quickly - which for starting out vegans can lead to going back to old ways of eating! I definitely didn't want that but how was I supposed to think of something fresh to make all the time?

Sure, one option is to look up recipes online scouring the web for something that seems easy enough to do. But what about time constraints? No one wants to go home after working an 8+ hour day to then spend an hour or two in the kitchen. It seemed like all of the recipes I found online would take a long time to prepare and would require ingredients that I just didn't have readily stocked at home.

I decided to do a search online for something else instead - I wanted something that would send my meals to me with recipes and ingredients already picked out. And that is when I found GREEN CHEF.

Monday, April 6, 2020

The 8 Limbs of Yoga

What is your understanding of Yoga? I am sure that when I ask you this question, your mind brings up ideas of extreme flexibility, people doing handstands or putting themselves into uncomfortable-looking poses.

This idea that comes up in your head is called Asanas and though it is - a part - of yoga it is not everything there is to know about the practice.

There are 8 total limbs of yoga, all of which deserve some attention for development. The idea is that by developing all 8 limbs you are, in fact, coming into your actual sense of being - the true light in you. In fact, it's recommended to move through the limbs beginning with number one and working your way all the way up to number eight. Below I have laid out these 8 limbs to dive into the topic of what a Yoga practice is really all about.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Top 4 Yoga Poses For Aries

 Aries - the true one and only.

Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac cycle and with that comes great responsibility which they have no problem taking on. These people are real go-getters often jumping into situations without giving it much thought. They blaze right into any event - like the firey sign they are - headfirst with a ready-for-battle attitude.

They are courageous and confident and are natural-born leaders. Like the ram that resembles them, they have brute strength and can trample any and every obstacle that stands in their way. This can lead to them seeming cocky and uncaring but once a fire is started it can be hard to control. As is the case with most fire signs Aries can be impulsive and direct and often say exactly what they mean.  Do not let the burn of their words or actions come across you wrong, though, Arians are passionate and honest people who can tend to have a sensitive side.

Aries is the first of the three fire signs, which includes Leo and Saggitarius, and is encompassing of those who have birthdays falling between March 21st to April 19th. Here are my top 4 Yoga pose suggestions for our Fierce Zodiac leaders.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

3 Easy Vegan Meals

Going vegan is not an easy thing to do... at all... especially if you are coming off of a "standard-American-diet" which happens to be filled with meat and dairy products. Think about it, is there any traditional American meal that doesn't have some kind of animal by-product?

Breakfast is usually loaded with eggs, sausage and bacon, lunch is usually some deli sandwich filled with sliced meats and cheeses, and if you're lucky for dinner you might find a few morsels of vegetables on your plate next to your giant piece of meat.

We are told from a young age, we need to drink milk to get calcium for strong bones and we need to eat meat to get protein to grow up big and strong, so it just goes to show even considering veganism is difficult, therefore, I applaud you!

Going vegan does not have to happen overnight! In fact, it is more realistic to maybe pick one day or a few days of the week that you choose to make "vegan-days." By limiting your time, in the beginning, to just a day here and there you are able to begin establishing a routine and learning to identify what it is like to eat vegan.

To get you started, I share 3 meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that you can start preparing today! Pick one option from each category and you'll be prepared to eat vegan for a full day!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Top 4 Yoga Poses For Pisces

Welcome to Pisces season and get ready to open yourself up to some love and creativity! I get along with these beautiful souls so well because Pisces is a water sign just like Cancer (that's me!) and Scorpio. For anyone that has a birthday falling between February 19th - March 20th, I'm pleased to tell you that you are one special sign!

Wrapping up the Zodiac cycle you're someone who fully understands when we say we've saved the best for last. A Pisces is so loving and so caring and would go out of their way to help anyone. They are deeply rooted in their emotions so if they can stop someone from having any emotional drama, they will do whatever it takes. They make great listeners and being last in the zodiac gives them an appeal of being very wise - of having experience. 

These people experience both ends of the emotional spectrum immensely. They have low lows and very high highs. But, when they are on the positive swing of things their bubbly personality can draw anyone's attention. All they want is for everyone to be happy all the time. They are very sensitive to the emotions of those around them and are often deeply impacted by what another person may be feeling.

They have a sense of a world greater than their own and are often very spiritual people with heightened intuition. This aids them in being receptive and just simply knowing things. They are highly creative people and are generally very talented in the arts because with emotions as deep as a Pisces, of course, they'll need some kind of outlet for release.

So, for my Pisces friends I've selected 4 yoga poses just for you.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Unlocked Machu Picchu Retreat Review

How does one measure an experience? What are the variables we use, how do we collect our data and what do we compare with? Though some may have answers to these questions I feel as though these should be left open-ended. Each experience is so unique to each person and should not be measured or compared... instead, it should just be felt. 

In July of 2019 I went on a retreat that completely changed my life. Over the course of the 9 days that we were away, I felt changes in my emotional and spiritual sense of being. I grew as a person because I explored more than just the Earth around me but I was also given a place to explore myself as well.

The finding of this retreat was completely by chance - through the friend-of-a-friend acquaintance. As someone who both loves yoga and travel I had been on the lookout for something to combine two of my favorite things. A friend of mine told me she knew someone who was running this yoga retreat that went to Peru which included a hike up Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu was of course on the top of my bucket list, as I'm sure is the same for many others, so when I heard about this retreat that offered travel, yoga, and an opportunity to scratch something off my list I thought - okay I have to do this. As if that wasn't enough, I began looking at the dates - the trip was scheduled to begin on my 26th birthday - and that, my friends, sealed the deal.

This trip was one of the best memories I've been able to make so far because it changed me so much and left such a lasting impression. So, I am here to give you a full review of everything there is to know but I encourage you to pack your bags and experience it for yourself!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Valentine's Day Gifts - For Vegans

Valentine's day is just a couple days from now and maybe you're someone who plans far in advance and you are really just looking for some final tips, or maybe you've only just begun thinking about it! 

With how commercial this holiday has become there certainly always seems to be pressure to get it just right. This can be difficult whether you have been dating someone for only a couple weeks or if you have been dating for many, many years - after all, it is still Valentine's Day so there is bound to be some expectation.

To add an extra bit of spice, maybe the person you have to shop for is Vegan and you have no idea what to get them. This will mostly be guided towards those who are non-vegan who need ideas for their vegan date, but even if you are vegan planning for another vegan maybe there is something here to spark an out-of-the-ordinary idea for you as well.

Regardless, let's start out with what not to get a vegan for Valentine's Day: 

Monday, February 3, 2020

5 Tips to Go Vegan

I went vegan on my 25th birthday in July of 2018. Leading up to this point there were various times throughout my high school and college life where I had played around with the idea of being vegetarian. I always knew that I was not meant to be eating animals and felt very passionately about not wanting to eat something that was once alive.

As someone who loves animals, knowing that an animal had to be killed for my own consumption was not something that I felt okay with. Not only that, but I never knew how bad my body was feeling - until I realized what it felt like to have my body running well. These two reasons, coupled with my love for the Earth, ecosystems, and conservation led me to go fully vegan.

For a further in-depth look at these common reasons for going vegan, check out my prior post on my top three reasons to go vegan here:

Vegetarianism is cutting out meat products from your diet but going fully vegan means removing anything that is an animal by-product. That means no meat, no fish, no chicken, no eggs, no milk, no cheese and I won't even consume honey. To take it a step further, my cosmetics are vegan-friendly and I also use shampoos, products, and clothing that have not been tested on animals or made with animal products.

Veganism doesn't have the stigma it had back in the '70s and has become popular and mainstream. Here are the 5 steps that you can use to begin your transition to going vegan!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Instantly Reduce Stress And Anxiety

I am no stranger when it comes to feeling emotion, in fact, it's more often that I'm feeling an emotion so intensely that it actually takes a physical presence in my body. That knot-in-your-stomach feeling, a tightening of the chest and throat - it can be debilitating! 

It always seems to come at the worst times too, doesn't it? Right before doing some kind of major task, or while just sitting in your chair at work; it may even creep up on you while you are alone at home relaxing.

Before I got into yoga and meditation it always bothered me when people would tell me to "just breathe" when I began to feel overwhelmed with emotion - like didn't they think I knew that breathing was important? Even when I started regularly doing yoga and meditation it was mentioned enough times to know that the breath is supposed to stabilize you.

So, much to my frustration, when I was feeling overwhelmed and filled with anxiety I would take some slow, deep breaths but nothing happened. I was still riddled with worry and feeling anxious so I must have been doing something wrong, right? Now not only was I stressed, but I was getting stressed about being stressed.

There had to be something...

Monday, January 20, 2020

Top 4 Yoga Poses For Aquarius

January always seems to have a sense of newness and beginning. Oddly enough, even though January is shared by Capricorn and Aquarius, neither actually starts the zodiac cycle. In fact, Aquarius isn't even the last one but the second to last. Aquarians, those who have birthdays falling between January 20th - February 18th, are commonly mistaken for being water signs due to AQUA being in the name and that they are also symbolized by the water bearer but they are actually an Air Sign!

Air signs - which also include Gemini and Libra - are known for their intellect and curiosity and this certainly rings true for Aquarians. They are highly intelligent and ultimately truth-seeking people. Though they may have strong views and opinions on matters that mean most to them they are gifted with the ability to approach any matter with an open mind. They are great at being able to see multiple perspectives and can sway their position, provided enough proof is given.

Their way of thinking is clear and logical and they put a lot of dedication and devotion into their work. The symbol of the water bearer represents bestowing water - life - to the land. It is this that makes Aquarians absolute humanitarians. They feel all deserve equality, understanding, and care and they have no problem taking the lead when it comes to fighting for a cause.

So, here are 4 yoga poses to keep your intellectual game going strong into the new year!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Top 3 Reasons To Go Vegan

I remember in college people always knew what a vegetarian was, but the term "vegan" wasn't really thrown around too much. In my high school and college years I had the idea that I wanted to be a vegetarian for sure as I couldn't stand the idea of eating animals. There was this really great health food store in my town that had an in-house, freshly prepared food section that I would always check out just for fun and so many times I saw things labeled as 'vegan.'

It was funny because the food seemed so alien-like to me. If it didn't have meat, eggs, cheese or any other animal product, then what could possibly be in it? If I'm being truthfully honest, none of the options looked even remotely appetizing. But I've never shied away from trying new things so I picked up a vegan Asian noodle dish and tried it.

Needless to say, I've never eaten another dish from that place again. Maybe it was because I ate it cold when it said it was supposed to be warmed up (okay that's my fault), or maybe it was because it was much more expensive than a non-vegan dish would have been and I was still left feeling hungry afterward. All in all, this experience just left me thinking "okay vegan food is weird and I think I'm perfectly okay with just being vegetarian."

This was nearly 10 years ago, though, and vegan food is not what it used to be!

Just before I turned 25 there was some sort of seismic shift within me and I suddenly felt drawn to the vegan culture. I started doing research and learning all I could about what it was like to be vegan and why people were choosing to live this way.

Suddenly I felt a deep connection with the people I was beginning to follow and what they were saying. So many of their reasons were reasons that I personally had and today I'm here to share with you what those are. These are my personal top three reasons for why I went vegan, but you'll also find that many vegans will tell you that these are on the top of their list as well.

** As you begin to read, please keep in mind these are just my own personal thoughts and opinions. Each person has their own right to think and express what they want and how they feel. If you find that, as you read, you begin to feel a bit of resistance or disagreement I ask that you carefully examine your reason for why you feel that way. This is not an attack on people who choose to consume animal products, again, they are just my reasons for choosing not to. 

Monday, January 6, 2020

Types Of Yoga, And Which May be Best For You

With the arrival of January, so too come many resolutions, and it would seem that in most cases people are either for or against them. We spend so much of our time trying to suppress our feelings, that if, for a moment you do feel something - a feeling that leads you towards doing something positive for yourself - then what is the harm?

It is hard to think of New Year's Resolutions without considering some popular themes - lose weight, reduce stress, be happier... Maybe you find yourself trying to work towards a combination of these and decide you are looking to add yoga to your new routine. That's Great!

Yoga can bring about many changes including those listed above, but also increase strength and flexibility in both body and mind. Loosely translated from Sanskrit, Yoga means to "join" or link between body, mind, and breath. Connecting one's own self with the "ultimate source."

The Asanas are what most people may think of when they imagine yoga which are the physical postures and poses. However, the Asanas are just one of the eight total limbs of yoga. When people say they want to practice yoga, what they usually mean is they want to do some class involving the asanas but yoga is a practice that reaches much further than just the physical body.

Though the asanas are only one of the eight limbs of yoga, they certainly come with a tremendous benefit when done daily. The asanas help us to explore our bodies, while connecting to our breath.

It is ever-present that there are people who love yoga, but how does one begin? With so many different classes out there it can be confusing where to start, and what they all mean.

As you begin diving into the world of yoga you will notice there are some common types offered and most classes and studios will usually have some variation of these types so understanding them will best help you to choose which class to begin with!