All posts tagged: featured

Training with Kino: Fearless Backbends

Backbends: that part of a yoga class that makes most yogis inwardly groan. Most of us are perfectly content to skip all and any camel like poses. And count us out entirely when it comes to Urdva Dhanurasana. There’s actually a scientific and emotional base for most people’s dislike of backbends. Yoga poses release a cascade of neurotransmitters (they cause those feel good emotions or the shock of adrenaline that gets your heart pumping like crazy) that usually leave us feeling euphoric after a yoga class. Backbends aren’t always so kind to us. The spine is massive network of neuroreceptors and neurotransmitters. Needless to say, getting the spine involved in a big way can release a tidal wave of emotions that can flood us with notsohappy emotions. We usually like to back away from these overwhelming experiences, so we avoid getting deep into our backbends. Kino actually explained that these emotional blues are unavoidable in yoga, and hitting that wall is usually when people quit yoga. Introspection and discomfort isn’t usually what we sign up for when we …

Fake It Till You Make It: Becoming a Morning Person

Full confession: I despise, hate and otherwise abhor waking up early. It’s not my thing, and I blame the fact that I’ve worked night shift for years as an ICU nurse and also my persistent childhood habit of refusing to go to bed due to my intense fear of missing out. I’m still convinced that the moment I go to bed, the world gets so much more interesting and everyone is having fun but me. No one can really disprove this belief, so it reigns on. In addition, the second my head hits the pillow, I suddenly become responsible and instantly remember about 50 tasks that I need to do. I’m sure you’ve heard some of the conventional “here’s how to wake up like a normal working adult” so I’m sharing a few of my personal tips that I like to call: “Wake Up & Get Yo’Self Outta Bed NOW!” 1. Get to bed early like your mom used to try to make you do: Seriously. No one wants to even broach the prospect of …

Yoga Detox Moves

Spring is that fabulous time of year when cherry blossoms paint DC in pink, and new life unfurls itself by way of buds and leaves and grass. Everything feels fresh and new, and we want to feel that way too. After all, why should Mother Earth be the only one to get a facial, right? “Spring cleaning” is a common phenomenon of the season, but I think it’s partly because the season powerfully awakens in us the desire to detox and start fresh. We want to plant new ideas and watch them grow. Being a little OCD and still traumatized by the show Hoarders, I live a pretty minimal life, but I do love a good scrub down. It occurred to me that while it’s important to clean out my home, it’s equally important to detox our bodies. What an awesome opportunity to re-calibrate and renew ourselves from the inside-out. And fortunately, few things benefit a good detox like yoga. While I firmly believe the best detox is from a healthy food source like clean, …

Review: Cody App & Kino MacGregor’s Handstand Series

Kino MacGregor is truly a yoga sensation; perhaps it’s more accurate to call her a yoga rock star, because she’s mastered the art of garnishing fame and marketing yoga. She uses this skill to spread the message of Ashtanga, and she has an incredible gift for explaining how to do yoga. Her teaching abilities parallel her own practice, because she herself is a committed yoga practitioner. In addition to being an insanely talented 4th Series Ashtangi, she’s also one of the few certified teachers sanctioned by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois himself. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to train with Kino extensively via several yoga intensives, and most recently a 100 hour Ashtanga course. In the words of Shakespeare, though she be but little, she is fierce. Seriously, training with Kino is a butt kicking experience, but it transforms your practice. There are endless ways to learn from her. And learn we certainly can, because she clearly breaks down not just how to master poses, but all the steps along the way. Kino has teamed up with Cody App to provide detailed, step …

Natural Beauty: Do Essential Oils Work?

If you’re anything like how I used to be, when you open up your bathroom cabinets, you probably have tons of supplies that you bought to enhance your face, hair, and skin. I used love trying new beauty products until I realized: they weren’t so beautiful after all. Instead of being beneficial to my body, I was basically slathering myself in a lab experiment that was neither healthy for me or the environment. For people who are dedicated to yoga, asanas (yoga poses) are just one part of our lifestyle. Seeking a simple, gentle, and natural living has a gravitational pull for us. We want not only to be strong and flexible, but to have healthy bodies, minds, and souls as well. Using natural beauty products not only is kinder to the environment, but it’s better and more effective for our bodies. I now have a simple but highly effective skin care regimen that uses zero chemical ingredients, and while I’m not one of those lucky people who has a naturally perfect complexion, I can honestly …

The Quest for the Perfect Mat

Some girls obsess over finding the perfect shoe. It’s been ingrained in women since the dawn of time…or the telling of Cinderella at very least! But for the average yoga practitioner, finding the perfect yoga mat is like a search for the Holy Grail. We research, discuss, evaluate, analyze and generally lust over any and all mats that seem like they can help our journey onward. And trust, when it comes to our mats, Goldilocks has nothing on how picky we are. It must be slip free, grip tight, cushy but not too comfy, and of course relatively easy to carry around. There’s good reason for our mat love. In yoga we believe all the energy from our sessions gets stored into our mats. Whether or not that’s true, any yoga practitioner will swear by our personal mats and our attachment issues we develop for them. Finding the right mat can truly help your practice, so I’m taking the guesswork out of finding the right fit for you by reviewing different yoga mats I’ve tried …

How to Do Vasisthasana |Side Plank

Vasisthasana is one of those fabulous asanas that’s a one stop shop arm balance. Not only will you get an intense ab workout that targets those often neglected obliques, but it tightens the entire core. It’s such a great pose, that it’s been borrowed by non-yoga workouts as a secret weapon for keeping abs tights and the waist small. It primarily strengthens entire core, but it also targets the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus in the hips, as well as the adductor muscles located in the inner thigh. But wait! There’s more! The secondary the side plank also works several other muscles that provide additional stability as you hold the position including the gluteus maximus, the quadriceps on the front of your thighs and the hamstrings on the back of your thighs. TIPS: Keep your shoulders, hips, knees and feet in one straight diagonal line, Important: make sure your neck and head continue the line of your spine. Keep obliques pulled up up up at all times to avoid hips collapsing. HOW TO: From downward facing down, come …

Gluten Free Banana Bread

When I was growing up, I had an obsession with banana bread that I’ve yet to live down with my family. I was a little more than mildly fanatical about it, and since it’s not exactly cake and it’s not really just bread, I would usually try (unsuccessfully) to convince my mother that it was in my best interest to let me eat say…the entire loaf. Kids have had worse aspirations, I guess…right? Regardless, I still just love a thick piece of banana bread with a cup of tea and a good book. That’s a scene from a little corner in my heaven, friends:) Being gluten free, sugar free, preservative free, etc etc etc often feels like it ends up being taste free. Texture is often unpleasant and the final result is a really bad knock off from whatever original recipe from which it was fashioned. I don’t think clean eating has to come at that high of a price, especially when it comes to my gd beloved banana bread, so I experimented with a …

One Pot Scrumptious Rice Noodle Soup

I am a soup fanatic. It’s basically an entire life source for me. I just love, love, love soups of all kinds, colors, and varieties. As winter settles in DC, the weather is turning more gray and dreary. It’s the perfect kind of weather for curling up on the sofa under a blanket while sipping on warm soup.

The challenge with vegan and vegetarian soups in finding a mix that’s hearty but soothing. I can only do so many bean variations, if you know what I mean! My mom makes a should-be-famous chicken noodle soup that unquestionably is good for the soul….