Monthly Archives: May 2014

behind the scenes: Chris Clodfelter

in my professional opinion, there are few things in this world better than a badass man rocking some lululemon. But, maybe I’m biased. Either way, to celebrate the new @lululemonmen on twitter and instagram, we shot the incredible Chris Clodfelter, the owner of Eight Points Muay Thai,  for our latest Product Notification email! If you didn’t know about his impressive track record (one of the first Muay Thai fighters in North Carolina, trained in Thailand, two-time title belt holder… you know, super casual…), you would never even guess that he was such an intense fighter, because Chris is, first and foremost, one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of hanging out with. He’s unassuming, encouraging, friendly, and humble… but as soon as you step into his gym with the desire to work, he’ll put your balls to the wall. In the best possible way. I loved spending time with him, have loved loved getting to train with him, and loved loved loved getting to photograph him in his wonderful Winston Salem gym. So much #lululemonmenlove.

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the scoop on: overnight oats

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even with all of the research done surrounding the importance of big, full, nutrient-rich breakfasts and all of the findings that highlight this as the “most important meal of the day,” it is still too easy to altogether skip breakfast, or, at the very least, rush out the door with a Larabar in hand, and no immediate plans to eat anything more substantial. We’ve all been there, and when it’s the choice between a well-balanced breakfast and a shower, or, more importantly, an extra twenty minutes of sleep, it’s hard to vote for the breakfast. Here’s where the little miracle called overnight oats enters the scene. Oats are a ridiculously great way to start the day – alone, they are packed with a solid profile of micronutrients, are fiber-rich and filling without being overly calorie dense, and also taste really delicious (when prepared properly… forget that hotel breakfast oat-mush, or the cardboardy microwave oats…). They keep your heart healthy, stabilize your blood sugar, AND are naturally gluten-free (!!).  With the added benefit of chia seeds, coconut milk, and some frozen berries, this little mason jar contains a full serving of everything your body could ever think to want at the beginning of a day. And the best part? It all takes five minutes to prepare, THE NIGHT BEFORE. Boom. It’s the easiest thing ever in the world.

So how?

Take a small to medium sized mason jar, and fill it halfway with dry oats. Cover the dry oats in water, until about 3/4 of the jar is full. Add in a little pour of coconut or almond milk, and a spoonful of chia seeds. At this point, you can add in frozen berries, cinnamon, raisins, even honey… whatever you usually crave on your oatmeal. Once that’s done, throw the lid on and pop it in the fridge. By morning, the oats and chia seeds will have soaked into a filling and delicious breakfast. Voila! Literally, a  stress-free morning in a jar.

 

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faire un pique-nique

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One of my favorite quotes ever comes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s biography “The Last American Man,” in which she tells the life story of Eustace Conway. I could wax some serious poetic on this book, or this man, but instead I’ll give you a wonderful block quote and a heavy encouragement to go read the book.

 

“I live in nature where everything is connected, circular. The seasons are circular. The planet is circular, and so is the planet around the sun. The course of water over the earth is circular coming down from the sky and circulating through the world to spread life and then evaporating up again. I live in a circular teepee and build my fire in a circle. The life cycles of plants and animals are circular. I live outside where I can see this. The ancient people understood that our world is a circle, but we modern people have lost site of that. I don’t live inside buildings because buildings are dead places where nothing grows, where water doesn’t flow, and where life stops. I don’t want to live in a dead place. People say that I don’t live in a real world, but it’s modern Americans who live in a fake world, because they have stepped outside the natural circle of life. 

Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes. They wake up every morning in a box of their bedrooms because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up. They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box. Then they leave the box where they live and get into another box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken into little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them. When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to the house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothing in a box, they live their lives in a box. 

Break out of the box! This not the way humanity lived for thousands of years.”

 

Maybe don’t go move to a teepee, and yes, we do need some of our boxes… but now that the weather is warm and wonderful, think about some fun and creative ways to get out of your box! We love taking our sweat into the sunshine – hiking, biking, and running; taking our pilates and yoga mats to the grass – so what are some other ways you can take the rest of your life out of the boxes and into the great outdoors? Walk a trail with a friend instead of meeting for coffee. Drink your wine while planting a garden, instead of in your living room. Pack a basket and take a picnic, instead of going out for dinner. It may be slightly less convenient, or just a tiny bit less comfortable, but I promise, the little extra effort will always be worth it.

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what we’re loving: speed shorts

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with so many great colors of these little beauties in the showroom this spring, it seemed a great time to highlight exactly why we freaking love speed shorts so much!

The Speed Shorts are our favorite Swift material, which is crisp, lightweight, soft and smooth, and runs with you instead of sticking to your sweaty legs (because let’s be honest – if you don’t have those running around here in May, you’re probably walking. Indoors.) Tucked into all of this magical fabric are plenty of pockets, for all your running essentials… keys, gels, credit card and ID if, like me, you sometimes find yourself in situations where you’re running to a wine-serving destination… the zipper back pocket’s great for that one, but it’ll also fit an iPod/iPhone for those less inclined to booze after they break a sweat. Finally, a favorite recently-discovered feature on these puppies: they dry crazy quickly. Like, in the time it takes you to eat a bowl of chips and salsa. It’s partially due to the little pockets of ventilation all up the back side of the shorts, and also the awesome CoolMax liner which wicks moisture away to the outer fabric, working to make everything dry a little more quickly and evenly.

Love ’em so much. AND, in case you didn’t get our latest Product Notification Email, we just got a couple new colors of these little guys in the showroom. So come by and grab some, and tell us what makes you love Speed Shorts so much!

 

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loving the MOMent

let’s face it – moms are the greatest. Really and truly – your mom is your absolute best friend. She is the person who will understand you the mostly deeply, throughout your entire life. She is your comfort, your support, your inspiration, and your biggest cheerleader. She’s one of the six people in the auditorium at your middle school play. She’s holding the video camera as you leave the door on your first day of high school, no matter how much you roll your eyes. She’s clapping the hardest as you walk the stage at your college graduation. She’s crying her eyes out at your wedding. She’s the one who watches you run your first race, who takes you out for doughnuts after your first broken heart, and who moves your couch into your first apartment. She’s the one who always tends to know best… even though you never want to admit it. And she’s the one who probably STILL doesn’t quite understand the clothes you want to wear, or the tattoo you got in your twenties. Even when you’re a mom yourself, she’s the one you call to celebrate with, to  grieve with, or simply just to connect with. She is the one who, through everything, sees you, knows you, and loves you. Even if, for some reason, you mom isn’t all of these things, she is, at the very least, the strong and incredible human being who gave birth to you, and who loves you deeply and wholeheartedly. There is truly nothing like a mother… so, let’s all take this upcoming Sunday to deeply appreciate the MOMent. Pause your busy lives for a day, and take some time to really give thanks for the amazing woman who brought you into this world.

So, in an attempt to reminisce on years and years of handmade cards and gifts, here’s a slightly more practical, and possibly more aesthetically pleasing, Mother’s Day gift idea, to show your sweet mommy just how much you love her… but feel free to throw a giant Magic Marker piece of artwork in with it too!

 

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Calming Lavender Scrub

2 cups of plain Epsom Salt (Earth Fare has some great tiny cartons of it)

2 tbsp lavender essential oils

1/2 tsp coconut oil

2 tsp dried lavendar flowers (Deep Roots, bulk herbs section.)

Directions: Pour the epsom salt into a mason jar, and stir in the oil, flowers, and coconut oil, until everything is completely mixed. Tie on a sweet note with some twine, deliver with a flower, and appreciate the MOMent. 🙂

 

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And finally, check this video out, if you need any more inspiration for that major mom love! Happy Mother’s Day, all of you incredible women out there.

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adventures off the mat: yoga & stress

it’s too easy to contain yoga to a yoga studio – this is what I do on my mat. This is how I breath on my mat. This is who I am, how I am, what I believe, on my mat. But there’s so, so much more – the asanas and the studio time are only the very surface of a yoga practice, and in a lot of modern yoga culture, there is not nearly enough focus given to yoga off the mat. To using your breathing, that gentle, powerful ujjai breath in your daily life, to bringing that flow and awareness to everything that you do. Recently, in an incredibly stressful situation, I recognized that everything is yoga. Everything can be yoga. If we can just bring that mindfulness, that awareness, that breath and that power to our every day lives, we can truly live a yoga practice. I can think of nothing more powerful. So, here are a few ways that I found to breath yoga into my stress, and to truly bring my practice to life.

1. First of all, recognize that, just like in your yoga practice, everything that is present in your world right now is a result of choice. Just like you have the choice, always, to skip a vinyasa, or to step out of a challenging pose, you also have the choice to remove yourself from whatever is causing you stress. No matter how persistently you would argue that, no, in this case, there really is no choice, yes – there is always choice. If work is what’s stressing you out, remember that YOU are choosing to make that deadline, or even to show up at all. Yes, that choice is resulting in the status of your employment… but recognize that staying employed is also your choice. It truly is all up to you – and how freeing is that? Just as you could arrive on your mat and simply spend the entire practice in savasana, so you can also chose to step away or be absent from any elements of your life. So, step one is to recognize each element as a choice, and take a moment to decide if it is truly a choice you want to be making. Remember that, like poses, some choices are hard, or even uncomfortable. But you make them, because you love yourself, you love your body, and you love the world. So, once you’ve decided to grow to fullness within those choices you make, you can move on to another element of yoga:

2. Your breathing. Maintaining that calm, steady, deep, and full breath is just as important in your daily life as it is in your yoga practice, and even more important in moments of high stress. So much anxiety and worry could be easily avoided if we just took an extra moment to focus on our breathing, to really balance that deep, full in-breath, and completely clear ourselves with an even, measured out-breath. It’s amazing, what space will open up in your life with no effort except to simply center yourself in your breathing. And just as you try to send breath to the areas of your body that are tense or hurting in a pose, send your breath to your stress. Breath in peace, balance, stillness, and certainty that you are enough. Breath out doubt, worry, uncertainty, exhaling them completely and resting in what remains – you.

3. Once your breathing is centered, turn your attention to your balance. This is a huge element of yoga, both on and off the mat, and while a large part of maintaining balance is breath, there is also so much strength and presence required in a balancing pose, and in a balanced life. Just as you can’t stay in a challenging balance if your mind is anywhere external to your practice, and you really can’t maintain that posture with integrity if you don’t have a fixed, strong focus, so it is with a balanced life. I find that, a lot of the times that I’m the most stressed, it’s simply because I’m actually very absent from what’s going on. I’m not grounded, not rooted, I’m simply letting my body and mind react negatively to vague, undefined stressors, instead of taking that moment to truly get rooted within myself, identify the exact nature of the situation, and focus my gaze with stillness and strength on fixing it. Get present, get focused, get balanced. It’s amazing how quickly and effectively you’ll be able to work towards a solution for your stress once you’re truly balanced.

4. Recognizing the flow is another crucial element to yoga, both in the asanas and in your life. It’s all flowing, fluidly and constantly. The Warrior series you’re in the middle of now, it won’t be here forever. Soon, you’ll be back bending or forward folding, maybe even arm balancing. You don’t know, and you can’t know… all that you can know is that it won’t last forever. No matter how long you’ve been holding chair, you know that it won’t be all that there is. Something came before this, and there is something following this. It is not permanent. So it is with whatever is going on in your life right now, be it good or bad. It’s not forever. And that’s incredible. If the Right Now is not your ideal, that’s okay – it’s all a part of a flow. Not everything will be Child’s Pose. But not everything will be handstand either.It’s a constant balance between the rest and the work, and it is in that flux that we find the true and deep beauty of life.

5. And finally, a crucial element of both yoga and life, please remember to take Savasana. Do as much as you can, give as much as you can, shine and be truly amazing. But rest. Recover. Come back to your breath, to your body, to the now. Remember that you don’t always have to find the solution this second. Give yourself some grace, and make space for yourself to rest. Just as there is a very definite space carved out at the end of a yoga practice for rest and breath, so there should be in your life. Make space for you, especially when you’re so stressed out that you can’t see straight. Doing more isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, your heart is crying out for a Savasana. Don’t be afraid to take it.

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