Learning to Retox my life

September is yoga month! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have become a total yoga junkie.  It’s gone beyond just a daily practice. It’s a way of life.  My yoga life as evolved from being able to land some really cool arm balance ( the reason I started ) to learning patience, self control, gratitude and charity. My confidence has soared. My self acceptance, including body image, has changed for the better as well. I could go on and on posting pictures from my journey so far and call it a day. I have shared that stuff in the past and I don’t want you to get bored one paragraph in.

What I do want to share with you is a book that recently picked up on a trip to Barnes & Noble. It is called Retox: Yoga * Food * Attitude – Healthy Solutions For Real Life by Lauren Imparato.  Lauren is the founder of I.Am.You studios in NYC.

(The following review is my own thoughts based on parts of the book. I was not contacted by anyone involved with Retox or I.Am.You. to write this nor am I being compensated in any way. I’m just a girl on this lifestyle journey sharing what I love.) 

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I was on the fence about buying this book at first.  I was worried that it would be another diet book. Or worse, it would be 362 pages of sales pitches as to why you need to buy some on line course or product to see results.  (Yes you can buy the videos for the yoga portion on line but it’s not necessary.)

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That shit really drives me crazy!  I know you feel me too.

After reading about Lauren’s switch from wall street trader to yogi with nutritional science training, I knew I had made the right decision. She really dived deep into training to understand the body. Smart chick.

This actually is NOT a diet book at all. Retox is the opposite of detox. There is no elimination of whole food groups or crazy workout schedules to follow. This book focuses on balance between yoga, food and mindset. This is a plan for general living and how to keep it together on very given day. Lauren calls it LSP, or Life Stability Plan.

As a yoga instructor, Lauren takes you through twenty-one daily life issues and breaks it down into the three LSP’s:

  • Yoga – flows and asanas geared specifically to heal your ailment
  • Nourishment – Think of this as the “eat this not that” section.
  • Mindset – explains the how and whys of what you are feeling and how to bring balance to that through meditation

There is something in here for everyone:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Hangovers
  • Low energy
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Back pain

(Just to name a few)

You can run through the book section by section or skip around working on what your body needs most that day. For me, the first step was getting rid of the alien baby that is belly bloat.

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The yoga flow ( shown above ) is designed to focus on core movements and twists that activate your organs helping to release toxins. Each flow takes 20-30 minutes to complete.  There are also quick fixes and desk flows for when you are short on time. Perfect considering I always seem to be running late.

Nourishment tells me about foods that may be causing the bloating such as:

  • Soy (check!)
  • Eggplant / cucumber (check!)
  • Chia / nuts ((check!)(check!)
  • Raw foods  (mmmmm  some )
  • Spicy foods (check!)

You may have issues with all these foods or just a few.  If you notice certain things you eat are making you bloated, avoid them. If you can tolerate them in moderation, go for it. Just don’t over do it.

The retox instant debloaters include:

  • Warm water
  • Rice
  • Cooked foods
  • Some herbal teas like mint or chamomile

The reasons why each of these foods hurt or heal you is explained in the book as well.

Mindset: Your gut is sometimes referred to as your second brain. When faced with uncertainty, your guy can get all funky.  The stress can cause unbalance causing bloat. Sometimes you can’t just “let is go”.  you literally need to learn to trust your gut. The retox goal here is to train your mind to process the events and emotions around you. Write down what is stressing you. How does it make you feel? What are ways you can improve your situation? Then, sit tall, clear your mind and focus on your breath. Follow Lauren’s guided meditation then move on with your day.

After reading through each section in Retox, I had a few ah-ha moments.  Some things were obvious.  But Lauren brings science into her explanations so that it makes more sense. Don’t recoil by that statement.  She doesn’t get all nerdy on you. There is so much information packed into these pages that I find myself going back and reading sections again. I have learned so much about my diet alone that makes this book so worth the purchase. I catch myself asking, “Did I Retox today”?

If you are interested in Retox or I.Am.You studios, I interested links in the top of this post.

Have you read Reotx? If so, tell me your thoughts below. 

Do you have any of your own retox solutions that you incorporate into your day? 

 

 

Live in prAna style

logo-prana

sweat pink

As an ambassador for the Sweat Pink /Fit Approach community, I get to learn about companies that are pretty darn amazing.  As a self proclaimed yoga junkie, I get giddy when I see a collaboration between our SPA’s (Sweat Pink Ambassador) and paAna. This past week, we had a special “pose of the day” challenge to help kick off prAna’s new spring line. 

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Cali Dress in Azalea Guava

As a SPA, I was chosen to be one of the challenge leaders last week which was an opprtunity I was very grateful for. I was be given the list of daily poses in advance to post a picture of myself doing the pose on my Instagram with special hashtags such as: #poseoftheday #pranaspringstyle and #sweatpink. In return, I was given a list of options to chose one item from prAna’s website.  I picked this cute sundress and I can not wait to receive it! A blog post will follow next month. But until then, let me tell you a little about this fantastic company.

 prAna’s mission is to inspire healthy, active and free-spirited living. They create versatile, stylish AND sustainable clothing plus accessories that you can wear during every adventure your life gives you. Their designs are based on their own personal experiences in yoga, climbing and travels.  I don’t know about you but when I travel, I want clothing that I pull from my suitcase and throw on. I don’t have to worry about if I need to iron before heading out the door.  I don’t have time for that.

Having cute, fashionable AND functional pieces of clothing on hand is a must when we plan to hike then get a bite to eat.  Sometimes, a sports bra and tank just doesn’t cut it.

Their designs combine classic style with modern materials.  If you check out their website, you will see a long list of sustainable materials that make up their line: Organic cotton, recycled wool and hemp to name a few.  They are also certified Bluesign which is a manufacturing process that sets and controls standards for an environmentally friendly and safe production so that the final textile products meets very stringent consumer safety requirements worldwide.  It also provides confidence to the consumer that they are acquiring a sustainable product. prAna has been a proud partner with Bluesign Systems since 2012. Let’s not forget they also donate to Outdoor Outreach which is a non-profit organization transforming lives of underserved youth with the outdoors. As a huge nature lover myself, I love that I can chose from a select group of products that I know help get kids outside and connect with nature! Did I mention they also have a fair trade line as well?

Here are a few more samplings of their Bluesign line:

I am proud to be able to share with you this special promo code PSSS16FHOI to receive 15% off your purchase!

Have you tried prAna before?

What is one item from their site that you would love to own?

 

*this campaign does include compensation and a discount code.  All opinions are my own.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Traveling Yogi

I am had this post floating around in my mind since my road trip over Thanksgiving.  Staying in five hotels over six days made me realize that although yoga CAN be practiced anywhere, there are some things that could make the experience a little more pleasurable.

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My main issue was space.  Each hotel we stayed at were either standard rooms or suites.  Each were laid out different bringing on different obstacles each day such as how much space I had to move vs. where to prop up my phone for the best screen shots.  I did not pack my yoga mat because I was trying to pack light.  Instead, I packed a beach towel figuring it would be fine.  I just wanted something to use as a barrier because my and the skeevy carpets. The towel only worked for floor exercises because I forgot about slippage. It’s hard to hold a good downdog when your hands are slipping out in front of you!  Then my mind starting with several “I wish I had this or that” thoughts.  Thus, the idea for a holiday gift guide was born.  You all know how I like a good list.  So, let’s get started!

1 – A travel mat like this  I Glow Travel Yoga Mat by LOLE:  It has an eco-friendly adhesive surface to grip the floor.  It comes in this bright pink color  (my fav!) and it’s only $30.00.  I am thinking this is a must for my next beach trip for use on the tile floor or maybe some sandy beach yoga too!

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2 – If you want to pack even lighter, another item on my list is a set of Yoga Paws – the yoga mat you wear on your hands and feet.  These are GENIUS! I have seen these used by yogis all over Instagram and have been wanting a set of my own for a while now. It would make outside yoga so much better with foot and hand protection. Using a mat on uneven ground can be a challenge. They come in four colors and an “elite” set runs you $44.95.

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3 – One thing that I did bring with me was my Infinity Strap. There are two types – stretchy or not.  I have a stretchy one and I LOVE IT.  With being in the car for long periods of time, I knew I would be in need of many a good stretch. This strap helps with that.  It is a great tool for getting deeper into a pose or helps to gain flexibility in poses your are learning.  I never travel without it. They have several bundles to choose from but a single strap is $19.99.  I am thinking about getting on to keep in my desk drawer at work as well.

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4 – If your yogi does Instagram challenges like I do, then a tripod is a MUST!  Does your partner always ask you to take their pictures while they hold a pose? Then this little secret will be my best tip and you can thank me later.  I wish I had remembered to pack my tripod.  I had a hard time finding a flat surface that was not at an odd angle to prop up my phone. I take video of my practice then screen shot the poses that I upload to Instagram. I have a little “octopus” style one that I can shape the legs on to match any surface. It’s great! You can find many different varieties on Amazon like this little guy:

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Some other yoga inspired gift ideas just off the top of my head:  Mat cleaner, essential oils, a new mat, yoga wheel, yoga blocks, yoga tanks/leggings, soy candles, any piece of jewelry with lotus flower/infinity loop/ohm/hand of fatima symbols on them, (Actually, any item with those types of symbols), a new journal, lotions, lip blams….

The list can go on and on!

Tell me what you think. Do you have a favorite travel tip to share? Or maybe there is a “can’t leave home without it” item in your travel kit? If does not have to be yoga related.  Please share! 

Disclaimer: I was not contacted by any of these companies nor was a I compensated for any reviews. All product selection and opinions are my own. 

Have you tried Periscope yet?

(Disclaimer: What you are about it read is strictly my own opinion.  I was not contacted by Twitter or Periscope to give a review or voice an opinion.)

Now that we have that out of the way…. Raise your hand if you are on Periscope? Great! Now… raise both hands if you can’t get enough of it?  Yeah, me too! If you are new to this app like I am, there are some things to learn to enhance the experience (it’s not hard to use).  Basically, Periscope app is a way to live stream a video you are filming from your iOS or Android and people following you can interact in real time.  I think that is so cool!  Once you end your video, it then stays on your account for 24 hours and can be viewed again and again. The app will keep stats for you too such as: number of likes ( give hearts by tapping the screen), number of live viewers and number of viewers in the 24hr time frame.

Now, when I first heard about this back in June, i thought, “Great. Another social media app.” But when one of the yoga instructors I follow on Instagram announced she was going live for the first time, I thought I would jump on and see how it goes.  It was a little strange at first but I really got into interacting with the host and other viewers on line.  I like this app because I can follow along with some of my favorite yoga instructors to get tips on different poses, ask questions or learn something totally new to me. TIP: If you are a trainer or instructor in any field, this is a great way to connect with your clients!

Here are a few screen shots I took this morning as I watched some of Kino MacGregor’s home practice:

lots of love going on at this moment

lots of love going on at this moment

number of live broadcasts at that moment in time worldwide for your to watch

number of live broadcasts at that moment in time worldwide for your to watch

my profile linked from my Twitter acct

my profile linked from my Twitter account- come follow me!

I have not made my own video yet but maybe I will play around with it when I am camping in Vermont this weekend. I am always hesitant of giving away my location on line. I watch too much Criminal Minds if you know what I mean. One thing that I just learned today is that when you turn on your location, it only gives a regional area.  It does not pinpoint your exact location.  Smart thinking Periscope peeps!

With a quick google search, I found a great list of five quick tips on Hubspot.com which is where I learned about the location tagging. Also, you can check out a cool video demo for the app here on Periscope TV. The only downside so far that I find annoying are the pervs making comments totally not related to what the video is about. Watching yoga apparently brings out the idiot in people. The host can block them while live but you can easily block them as well but tapping on their comment and selecting block. This is also how you can reply to someone’s comment too.

I have only been on here for about three weeks but I am loving it so far!  I am finding new people to follow every day.

Tell me what you think.  Do you think you will give this app a try?  If you use Periscope, have you posted videos? What are your pros/cons?

Fuel Your Ambition with Myprotein

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I am very excited to tell you about my new ambassadorship with Myprotein!  When I was first approached by Marcos at Myprotein about representing their brand on social media, I thought they must be mistaken.  The men and women on their Instagram are athletes and might I add, RIPPED!  Plus, it’s protein which equals whey protein and I am dairy free.  I expressed my dairy issue to Marcos and with his kind words persuaded me to take a closer look at their products.

First, I wanted to know more about them.  I have never seen such a detailed “About Us” page on a website! I felt that they truly want you know to know they are straight forward with their customers. From their website:

“At Myprotein, we know from first-hand experience that nutrition isn’t a case of one size fits all. Each of us is unique and just like personal training, our nutrition should be tailored to fit our very own personal circumstances. From innovative supplement flavoring to making massive savings when buying in bulk, we give you the best options so you never have to compromise on your nutrition.”

Since they buy in bulk and sell direct, their prices are lower then any other site I have been on.  The wide variety of products gives you options depending on your goal or dietary needs. They have shakes for weight loss, weight gain and meal replacement.  There are peanut butter jars and protein bars/cookies.  They even have vitamins and supplements.

After checking out all the items available, I decided to try the Instant Oats which is oat flour and Protein Chox bars in the Lemon Crunch flavor.

I placed my order with Marcos via email so he can he send me some samples.  I was surprised when my box came and my coworker was struggling to carry the box to my desk exclaiming, “What on earth did you order?!”

oats

I was blown away! I was expecting sample sizes – 2 or 3 bars and a few scoops of the flour.  The 11 lbs of flour felt overwhelming at first but I am learning to use it wisely.  I am not a big shake drinker.  So I wanted to figure out foods I can make with it.  I am very big on breakfast so I went on to All Recipes and searched for oat flour recipes.

pancakes

I came up with one that I was easily able to alter based on what I had on hand at the time.  I made a batch with a super ripe banana and another with blueberries and honey. Both were incredible! I am a big fan of breakfast. I eat around 6:30AM every morning and try to put off my morning snack until at least 10:00AM. Two of these cakes did the trick.  They are heavy and dense but not lacking flavor. I will share the recipe at the end of this post. This 11lb. bag sells for only $14.99.

chox

So let’s talk about the Lemon Crunch Protein Chox bars.  I chose this even though it does have a little bit of dairy, it was the safest flavor for me to try with my other food restrictions like nuts.  I really like these bars and have been using them as a meal replacement when I need a fast bite.  They are ideal for after a run or when I am on a 4+ hour gardening marathon.  They are coated with a lemon white chocolate style icing. On the inside, it’s like a chewy fudge / nougat topped with what reminds me of a crumb crisp topping. The lemon flavor does not taste fake and it’s not super sweet either. You don’t feel like you are eating something healthy pretending to be a candy bar if you know what I mean. These retail for $24.99 ( on sale now for $19.99!) for a box of 12 bars.

Since these bars were so good, I think I will try their protein cookies next!  I can hear the chocolate chip ones calling me.

Okay – I hope you are still with me! On to the the recipes and then I promise I will stop talking LOL

You can find the original recipe for the blueberry oatmeal pancakes here but I modified this to how I made my batch. (makes 6 pancakes)

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon coconut oil, or as needed
DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. Whisk eggs, honey, almond milk, and vanilla extract together in a separate bowl. Stir oat mixture into egg mixture until batter is well mixed; fold in blueberries.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil on a griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

I just dumped it all into one bowl and mixed well.  For the banana pancakes, I mashed 1 medium banana but left some lumps. I did not have the honey on hand so I used a cup of almond/coconut milk. Then I topped it off with sunflower seed butter but it didn’t really need it.

One last thing to mention:  Their website is really a community with fabulous resources and advice from fellow Myprotein lovers.  I find new things each time I log on.

Do you use Myprotein products?  What is your favorite item? 

If not, did I convince you to give it a try? 

( There was no monetary compensation for this post.  I was given products for free to try with the intention of sharing a review with you fine people.  As always, my opinion and statements are my own. )

Infinity Straps Are Awesome

Oh Infinity Strap!  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

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Have you ever heard of Infinity Strap?  If you own one already, I am sure you will agree with my when I say, “Where have you been all my life?” But first, I want to point out that everything I say here is my own opinion.  I have not been contacted to review this product nor am I being compensated. I am just a woman with tight muscles who loves a good stretch.

I first learned about Infinity Strap on Instagram when I first started yoga.  I think they may have been a sponsor for a challenge I was doing.  Either that or someone was using one and I started to follow their page.  I don’t remember exactly.  But I do know that I was liking their posts but still on the fence about buying one.  See, I am not a “gear girl”.  I have a few things to make my workouts more comfortable but I tend to keep things simple. Did I really need this strap?  My nylon belt that was exactly what they sell as a yoga strap worked great!  After several months, I decided to dive in and buy one.  They come two ways: with elastic so that it stretches with you or without elastic for more stability. I opted for the elastic one and let me tell you, I wish I did not wait so long.

Here is a description from their website

The Infinity Strap (patent pending) is designed to solve the problems of the traditional Yoga strap by providing an elegant, simple, beautiful and safe alternative. The design of the Infinity Strap is a dual loop with a subtle twist at the center, forming a shape of an endless figure 8, which is illustrated by the timeless symbol of infinity. 

• Unique infinity shape keeps loops open for easy use

• No hardware to hurt your hands or feet

• No buckles to fuss with or constantly readjust!!

• Compact design means no extra strap in your way

• Deepen  poses and maintain proper alignment

• 3 sizes to fit all levels and types of practice

  • Small 13″
  • Medium 16″
  • Large 19″

I have not used my belt since.  Having the hoop already there to hook or grab on to makes for a better stretch session. It really does help to deepen the pose as well.  This morning I tried a standing bow pose first without the Infinity Strap and then with.

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You can see in the left picture my arms are lower, I am leaning more towards the window and so is my raised leg.  My alignment is better on the right along with my chest being more open increasing the bend in my upper back. My leg is higher giving a deeper stretch to the hip flexors as well.  I try not to think about what progress I have missed out earlier in my practice because I did not have one.

If you are thinking, “I don’t do yoga so this does not apply to me”, I must disagree with you.  If you do any type of sport where agility, flexibility and strength are a factor, you can benefit from using this product. The inventor, Amir Zaki, is not just a yogi but an avid surfer and tennis player as well. Here, let me show you other ways I use my strap…

Having trouble touching your toes?

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How about a little shoulder resistance workout:

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Do this 3×15-20 and you will feel it! There are so many ways you can incorporate this into your yoga or stretching routine.

I am considering buying a second one to keep at my desk for when I take my afternoon break.  I take 15-20 minutes to get up from my desk and stretch my hips and shoulders.  It really helps me get through that afternoon slump.

I highly suggest following their Instagram to get inspired.  While you are at it, come over and follow me too!

Do you have use an Infinity Strap? If so, do you love it as much as I love mine?  Are you considering purchasing one for yourself?

Lately… Running, Yoga and Listening To Your Body

Happy April!  I hope everyone had a Happy Easter / Passover.  I know I enjoyed my time with my both sides of my family.  The weather the past few days have been so nice which is also a pleasant surprise.

I was really proud of myself on Friday.  Now that I have been getting up every morning and getting 20 minutes of yoga in, I made the decision to try running first thing in the morning too. This is the only way I see fitting running back in to my schedule. It was unseasonably warm out so I figured it was the best day as any to get moving.  I borrowed a friend’s head lamp, donned a red flashing light on my back and headed out in to the pre-dawn darkness.  I did 2 miles round trip and LOVED IT! This was my first time running since fall. My times were not bad at all staying around 11:37 per mile.  That’s normal for me anyway.  So, now I need to get to LL Bean and buy myself a light just like the one I borrowed so I can do this more regularly.

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I was really surprised at how comfortable this light was!  It didn’t bounce, dig into my forehead or give me a headache (major bonus!). My calves were killing me for 2 days making walking difficult but it was a welcome soreness.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that a new round of challenges have begun. This month I joined 4 yoga challenges and 2 specifically for abs.  I was all ready to push myself in hopes that the ab challenges will help jump start a new cardio routine in the morning. I had a great first week!  Then on Saturday, it started… that annoying twinge along my lower back / hip area. I knew if I moved the wrong way, the muscle would completely spaz out and I would be down for the count. I did what I know to do: walk, certain yoga poses, just take it easy.  It went away!  Then on Sunday during what was a great first 15 minutes of yoga, WHAM! It cramped up. Holy Mother, blinding white light, loss of breath pain.

Right there - back of left hip

Right there – back of left hip

For some reason this happens every year around this time.  It also happens when I stand for to long which is weird too.  Being a naturally competitive person, I have learned over the past year to put my ego aside and not push through the pain. This would mean not participating fully in the ab challenge and posting modified yoga poses when the pose of the day is not accessible. The key here is to get on my mat every day and listen to my body.  Each day the pain gets less.  I can raise my left leg but I can not balance on it like I can the right side. I can elongate the muscle but not compress it even the slightest.  No jumping which also means no running ( sadly ). It’s a punch to the gut knowing it’s a set back but I can’t be stupid about it.   I am hoping to be back to normal by this weekend. Up until last year, I would have sidelined for 1-3 months!

In other news, I am working with getting started with a protein company as an ambassador. I am excited about that!  More on that story in the upcoming month or two.

I joined Fabletics and loved my first experience with them. Their sports bras are so soft!! the shorts are a tad short for my taste but I justify as it will be dark out, no one will see me anyway!

I have vacation in 3.5 more weeks!  I am looking forward to just being off. We have no real plans right now.  We will mainly be getting some projects done around the house. Maybe we will paint like we planned to do last year but never got to.  That is also my big gardening week.  I have a TON of clean up to do thanks to me procrastinating back in the fall.  It will look nice then it’s done though.

So tell me…. Do you have any big spring plans?

What is your favorite kind of outdoor workout?

I am linking up today with my friend Miriam @ Farmgirlmiriam.ca and a bunch of other fabulous women.  Come over and see what’s going on!

Let's grow together link-up 780