Monthly Archives: July 2014

yoga spotlight: dancer’s pose

or, as it’s more formally known, Lord of the Dance Pose. I mean, that just sounds graceful. Excuse me, while I slip causally into Lord of the Dance Pose. I feel much more balanced just typing that… but beyond sounding impressive, why is it that we love Dancer’s Pose so much? Part of the reason is that there is certainly an inherent grace built into the pose – you can’t just flop into Dancer, like you can with some yoga poses. The transition into Dancer is requires mindfulness and focus, and the nature of the pose demands a very precise level of balance. It is a physical form put to total balance – balance on the standing leg, but also balance between the two different outstretching sides of the body, balance in the core, and balance in the gaze, breath, and mind.

Physically, the pose offers some truly incredible benefits – it provides an intense stretch for the thighs, groin, and abdomen, as well as the shoulders, chest, and legs. It tones the thigh and calf muscles, while increases ankle strength and stretching your hip flexors. It is an incredible chest and lung opener, while also strengthening the back body. But most importantly, Dancer is a pose that calls upon a steady breath and steady balance. It is a pose that harmonizes every aspect of the body  and the mind.

A crucial element to maintaining Dancer’s Pose is to have strong and stretched hip adductors, the muscles in the inner groin and inner thighs. These are what help keep the pelvis steady and balanced in poses like this, and weak hip adductors can result in too much strain on the lower back. A great way to strengthen your hip adductors, and therefore get a more balanced and beautiful Dancer Pose is t0 fold regularly into Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle Pose.

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thanks to the lovely Suzie Blackman, the latest and greatest on the Winston-Salem yoga scene, for this beautiful Dancer’s Pose.

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7.15/link love

happy tuesday, beautiful friends! here are some of my favorite finds from the internet to bring some brightness and beauty to your morning.

this is a wonderful article, re-defining sustenance and what we look to as our life source. “In the end, the best sustenance doesn’t numb us, but rather equips us to move through difficult seasons with clear eyes.”

ten homemade beauty remedies… and yes, coconut oil is absolutely included!

toxin-free ways to get rid of all the pesky summer bugs!

must bake. must bake now.

– one of the most unique and delicious cocktail recipes I’ve seen.

adorable indoor herb planters.

interesting thoughts on what may be behind our business.

this video is incredible. absolutely incredible. let’s all be happier and more grateful.

– and finally, to tie in, how to impact and work with your subconscious.

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the scoop on: coconut oil

coconut

cute… but why? Is coconut oil really everything that everyone hypes it up to be?

Yes – and while the coconut oil I just put in my hair to repair it from a day at the beach sinks in, let me tell you exactly why and how coconut oil can be your new best friend:

1. it’s awesome for your skin! Coconut oil is one of the best skin moisturizers out there… and, what’s better: you know this one is all-natural, chemical free, etc etc. It has loads of antibacterial properties, and can even be used to treat acne (yes, oil to treat acne! Bizarre, but true.) Summer’s the best time to get on the coconut oil train, because in addition to making you smell like you just got off of a tropical island, the oil is also packed full of antioxidants that will help protect your skin from free radical damage caused by the sun! And to get the full range of skin benefits from this miracle oil, don’t just stick to using it alone as a moisturizer – mix it with olive oil for a facial wash, mix it with baking soda for a facial scrub, mix it with honey as a face mask, or scoop it into a little tin and use as a pre-scented lip balm!

2. it’s even better for your hair – and my super damaged beach hair can currently attest to that! It provides a great treatment for dry scalps, but is also incredibly moisturizing for hair, helping it retain its natural moisture and strengthening your strands. Let it soak into your roots and ends for a half hour, and then shampoo out. You can also use just a tiny bit of coconut oil after washing your hair, smoothing it over little flyaways to help fight the summer frizz.

3. Coconut oil is the ultimate DIY tool. Seriously. Not to get too hippie on you here, but in addition to using the stuff for conditioner and moisturizer, you can use it to make homemade deodorant, toothpaste, and even sunscreen. I kid you not. For the deodorant, you just need 3 tbsp of coconut oil, 4 tbsp of baking soda, 2 tbsp of shea butter, and a little bit of your favorite essential oil. Melt the shea butter and coconut oil, then add in the baking soda and oil and mix well. The recipes for toothpaste and sunscreen are just as simple – this oil is pretty much one stop shopping for self care.

4. Not just for beauty, coconut oil has a pretty important place around the house too – its a wonderful way to keep wooden spoons and cutting boards conditioned and treated, just apply generously and give it time to sink into the wood. It can be used to lubricate squeaky hinges, unstick stuck zippers, treat and clean leather, and season cast iron cookware.

5. And last, but certainly not least, coconut oil is incredible for you to eat. You can use it to flavor coffee or tea, dress salads, pop popcorn, cook in, or just add it to smoothies… or really anything. It’s been proven to help maintain a balanced body weight, keep your heart healthy, fight infections, boost digestion and metabolism, and it can significantly reduce your hunger, improve your blood cholesterol levels, and boost brain function. The fatty acids from coconut oil help the body absorb other nutrients too, so in addition to offering its own benefits, it’ll help you get more from everything else you eat! It’s no wonder that people in countries where lots of coconuts are eaten are some of the most healthy in the world… this stuff is an absolute miracle!

annnnnnd, finally, because there’s no way that this post could make you anything less than incredibly psyched on coconut oil, here’s an incredible coconut cookie recipe that will let you start reaping all of these wonderful benefits as soon as possible! Not much better than a cookie that’s actually healthy, right?

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sweet tooth adventures: fourth of july pie-lets

happy (almost) fourth of July, lovely friends! In honor of our nation’s day of independence, here is a so-healthy-you-could-eat-ten (oops, I did) recipe for some red, white, and blue mini-pies… probably one of the most simple things I’ve ever made, and with a very low ingredient count! Perfect for your picnic/barbecue/miscellaneous patriotic celebration tomorrow evening.

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ingredients:

2 cups of walnuts

10 pitted dates

2 tbps coconut oil

plain So Delicious coconut yogurt

fresh strawberries & blueberries

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directions: 

put the walnuts, coconut oil, and dates into a food processor, and let process until smooth(ish). Meanwhile, toss one large container of coconut yogurt into your ice cream maker (it works just as well as regular yogurt instead of frozen yogurt, but I never really want to pass up a chance to make healthy fro-yo, soooo…), and let it churn until it’s a thicky, creamy consistency. Mine took about 20 minutes. While it’s churning, take the crust mix out of the food processor and mold it into tiny pie crust shapes, and stick in the freezer. After an hour of freezing, pull the crust out and pop your pie-lets out of the muffin tin, and once you have them on the serving platter, scoop your fro-co-yo into the crust and decorate with some fresh and patriotic berries. Have an absolutely fantastic fourth!

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* orignal recipe is from the incredible Green Kitchen Stories, aka one of the best food blogs ever *

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wanderlust stratton, 2014

You guys… Holli went to Wanderlust – only the most incredible experience imaginable, times ten!!! Unbelievably wonderful… and luckily, we all get to experience a little bit of this beautiful bliss through her writing and pictures:

Have you guys seen the movie ‘Wanderlust’? You know, Paul Rudd & Jennifer Aniston make their way from life in the big city…imagine daily Starbucks addiction, a cell phone that just won’t stop & that feeling that things are moving way too fast all of the time…to a bucolic, bohemian-paradise commune where music filled nights make way for morning yoga. Even if you haven’t seen the movie (you should…it’s laugh out loud hilarious) let’s pause on the last part of that sentence and let it set the scene for real-life Wanderlust, the Wanderlust festival held on Stratton Mountain, Vermont.

Last week, I had the pleasure of packing my bags full of luon and taking a four day bliss break in the form of Wanderlust Stratton. Imagine four days, on a mountain, under a bright electric blue sky, yoga by day (incredible, life-changing yoga classes to be exact) and music filled nights, delicious, healthy food and conversation that lifts the soul, all in a setting where every last detail has been thought of and accounted for and everyone around you is functioning on that beautiful post-yoga high. Yep, that just about sums it up.

Below is a photo recap of my Wanderlust adventure, one of hundreds of other stories (think choose your own adventure, yogi-style) beautifully curated under the clear blue sky of Stratton Mountain, Vermont:

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1. All packed & ready to go! Luon…check. Birks…check. Mala beads…check & journal…check!

wanderlust22. First stop upon arrival, the d’om, home away from home, lululemon’s tent where we are graciously greeted with natural beauty, smiling faces & luxe floor pillows to lounge on!

wanderlust33. Next up, let’s get this party started with a class led by Eoin Finn w/ music by NahkoThis may have been my favorite class of the entire weekend. I left completely blissed out & incredibly happy to be exactly where I was.

wanderlust44, My (oh so cute) partners in crime, on the left, Elliott, who is one of our ambassadors and an instructor at Wanderlust & Coby, a fellow lemon who I fell head over heels in love with from day one. Here, we’re chillin’ at the lululemon welcome BBQ. It was quite the night & I was living in-the-moment so no more photos, sorry!

wanderlust55. & 6. Up bright and early for the Daybreaker, think 6am dance party and yes, those are jelly fish in the background. What a way to start the day!

wanderlust66. See #5

wanderlust77. Off to class with Sean Corne-that’s one the most amazing things about Wanderlust, the ability to practice with some of the most amazing teachers, all in one space…community at it’s best.

wanderlust88. Back at the d’om, with costumed & painted dancers flanking the entrance…only at Wanderlust.

wanderlust99. That’s me cheesing in between MC Yogi and Amanda Giacomini, after class with the two of them & DJ Drez. I went to two classes with this crew & they were some of the most fun hours of the weekend…A yoga class to the tunes of Beastie Boys, yep, that happened & it was as fun as it sounds!

wanderlust1010. Some of the many friends we made throughout the weekend, pictured here with more than a yoga-buzz going on at ‘Winederlust’, one of the many non-yoga activities you could find as options for nighttime fun!

wanderlust1111. Yes, it looked like this the entire time. Breathe-taking.

wanderlust1212. I had my first Kundalini yoga experience compliments of Gabrielle Bernstein & Elena Brower. Helloooooo second chakra!

wanderlust1313. I finished the weekend by coming back ‘home’, and heading to one of Elliott’s classes. Seeing one of our local instructors, not to mention a dear friend who I love, shine so brightly doing what he loves on a really, freakin’ incredible stage with lots of major players was amazingly gratifying. If you’re ever in the Triad, you must head to one if his classes at Paz Studios.
 

My photos & my adventure are only a small glimpse into what is possible at Wanderlust. Do yourself a favor and pack your luon, grab your mat & let yourself wander a little. It does the mind & soul a whole lot of good!

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