Month: July 2019

Wellness Wednesday: Heart Over Head

Many of us were taught to value head over heart. We prioritize what our mind says and become conscious to what it says avoiding what the heart has to say. This habit can become ingrained like any other innate instinct we have.

However by shifting our awareness from our head to our heart we plunge into a wholesome place.

The anatomy of our bodies and psychology of our brains is something that is constantly being attempted to be understood. The brain itself is a miracle for the way it processes thoughts, emotions and the way it creates strategies and visuals. We can give great thanks to our body for the way it enables us to survive. Nevertheless we must never forget we can gain so much wisdom from our hearts. The mind and body interconnected allows us to reveal more about ourselves and others as a whole.

When we draw focus to our hearts, feeling is a concept we tend to avoid. We create barriers and walls as they are our first coping mechanisms we turn to during periods of distress. But the distress we are able to feel is varied by the joy we can feel as well. Together it adds depth and color to our lives despite seeing these emotions as positive or negative.

When we give ourselves permission to feel we begin to understand we are feeling at this time for a specific reason in this moment, time and space. In that we must trust the process as we are constantly progressing to evolve ourselves learning something new with every layer we peel back. Much can be revealed when we consciously observe heart over head.



Mindful Monday: Summer is Slipping Away

Good morning and happy Monday, dearest ones!

Summer is slip sliding away so quickly!

And isn’t time such a relative perspective?

For parents with young, loud, messy, high-energy, easily bored little ones, the advent of a new school year can’t come quickly enough!

For one of my dearest friends whose daughter is in her last two weeks of Beast basic training for the United States Military Academy aka West Point, time seems interminable.

For me? I’d love to slow down the clock because my son Julian leaves for Vanderbilt in less than three weeks! Not to mention summer is hands down (legs up) my absolute best time of year!

Thus is our human nature. Trying to cherry pick life’s moments and experiences. Attaching to and desiring what we perceive to be “good” and resisting and averting from what we deem as “bad.”

We can never achieve permanent, authentic happiness and inner peace if we are constantly defining the conditions for it.

I will be happy if he brings me flowers.

I can’t be happy if she keeps smacking her gum.

I will be happy once I can get my leg behind my head.

I can’t be happy unless I get married again.

I’ll be happy if my mother-in-law doesn’t criticize me.

Whether or not these (temporary) conditions come to pass, we can still choose happiness if we don’t expect or depend on them.

Think about why you take a vinyasa class at your favorite studio: it’s awesome specifically because you don’t know what the teacher had planned! You are a student: open, eager and ready for whatever unfolds on your mat! Especially when you first began practicing, right?

It was all shiny and new and challenging and intoxicating. You didn’t second guess the instructor or try to anticipate what was coming up next. You listened, tried, experienced it.

You learned how to try new things.

How to fall. And get back up with a giggle.

You learned how strong you are!

You learned where you had areas and potential for growth.

You learned to breathe

To listen to your heart.

To accept wherever you happen to be on your journey.

And the entire point of yoga is to transpose all of those lessons off of the mat into real life.

So, rather than trying to make time slow down or speed up, we breathe in fully and deeply each and every moment. We trust in the higher intelligence of LIFE. We surrender to being such a beautiful, integral part of the greater universe.

Of course, it ain’t easy! Lol. Where would the fun be in that?!

So even though my heart aches down to the deepest level of my soul, I choose to be happy even during my moments of deep sobbing and panic. To feel grateful that I am able to love on the deepest of levels. To be thrilled for this ridiculously bright and amazing future my son is embarking upon.

To know and trust that of course it is all necessary and amazing and beautiful. All of it. Especially those circumstances that break us down; crack us wide open; leave us feeling raw and vulnerable and tender.

For these are the opportunities for true growth. Here we learn compassion, patience, healing, acceptance, depth of love and letting go.

Each moment may seem to last forever, but they are so precious and fleeting.

And one day in retrospect, you’ll look back and those moments you tried to rush through are the ones that you deeply long for!

One more day of summer break with my son

One more afternoon answering endless questions

One more early Saturday morning of baseball/karate/track meet/practice driving/soccer

One more night filled with loud, silly, messy hungry boys sleeping over

One more weekday night after a long day of work to hear the words: “mommy, will you play with me”

Recognizing on the deepest level there’s no going back for do-overs, I know the next best thing is to stay mindfully aware and present for all of the moments of each day.

So take advantage of the gift of these last weeks of summer! What have you been planning to do? Get out there and make it happen! So when you do look back, it’s with a deep, joyful knowing that you appreciated and maximized each moment.

Have a great week, friends!

Wellness Wednesday: Surrounding Yourself With Those That Feel Like Light

“Stay close to people that feel like sunlight.”

One of my favorite quotes that I read somewhere (probably Pinterest, let’s be honest) at sometime I needed to hear it. As someone who is introverted, I always valued quality over quantity. As we are impelled to move forward at such a high speed in our schedules we realize our time becomes sacred and we cannot afford anything less than the feeling of sunshine. So while we begin to acknowledge who our sunshine people are, we also realize along the way we become a better form of ourselves as we seek for this.

We interact with a multitude of people each day. As we consciously acknowledge our exchanges with each person we learn it becomes easier to distinguish who it is we should spend more time around and those we should stray away from. But sometimes it feels as if we do not have much control over who we are around at all times. But our ability to cultivate space to toxicity in the room is within us already as we can detach to maintain our own peace.

When we cleanse ourselves from those that drain us we nurture ourselves with those that respectfully enrich our lives with a growing space that provides support, love and comprehension.



Mindful Monday: Hot Yoga in the High Heat of Summer? Yes, please!

Good morning and happy Monday, my beautiful, mindful ones!

There’s been tons of rain this summer, but summer is finally here!

Summer is hands down my absolutely favorite season! I love being outdoors. And summer in Chicago is literally the best place on the planet to live!

Summer concerts, Cubs games, street festivals, beach days, pool days, breakfast, lunch and dinner al fresco, long walks in nature, fireflies, funnel cakes, Fourth of July… the list is endless!

But when that heavy humidity is blanketing you, and sweat is dripping from virtually everywhere in your body … a hot yoga class may feel like the last place you’d ever want to be.

However, there are so many great reasons to continue your practice in spite of the summer heat!

1. Consistency and discipline.

The height and depth of your yoga practice (and virtually every other aspect of life) is directly related to how often you practice. That means being very consistent with your commitment to your mat. If you truly want to make Yoga an integral part of your life, it becomes habitual. Just like eating and sleeping. It’s a daily practice!

2. Detoxification.

Sweating aids in cleansing your organs, muscles and glands. Whether you’re feeling lethargic or overindulging during weekend barbecues, summer is a great time to detoxify your body! During the warmer summer months people tend to get sluggish. Doing hot yoga re-energizes you and helps you sweat out bad toxins. So go ahead and eat that Andy’s custard! Just work it off on your mat!

3. Training your cardiovascular system.

Your cardiovascular systems helps regulate and control body temperature. In our privileged society, we externally control our environmental temperatures with air-conditioning and heating. This ensures that we are comfortable throughout the changing seasons of the Midwest. However it does not allow us to train the vascular system to regulate body temperature internally.

When practicing yoga in a heated room, it provides a great opportunity for your cardiovascular system to also train and get a workout!

4. Strengthening your brain!

You’re either comfortable or you’re growing. It’s that simple. If you seek safety in life, relationships, career moves, you’ll never find true growth.

Learning to cope in high heat yoga classes teaches valuable coping skills off of your mat! You become much less reactive to external stimuli and become much stronger in mentally focusing and executing your life goals.

Whatever you “think” you are or do, is the absolute truth.

5. Deepen your asana practice.

After a long day sitting at your desk, you feel stiff basically like everywhere! With your body already warm from the outside temperatures, stepping into the heated studio gives your body an opportunity to become more limber and flexible. With the heat, you begin from a space of warmth and may find a depth to your poses not readily accessible in the colder, stiffer months.

I certainly see very clearly how students’ backbends are so much deeper this time of year. So much more space in the upper body when we’re not hunching over and bracing against the cold!

What are some other benefits that you are seeing through your consistent, year-round practice?!

Have a great week, hotties!!!

Wellness Wednesday: Gratitude in Stillness

Happy Wellness Wednesday, yogis!

This past weekend felt longer as I had less responsibilities and more wholesome days spent with friends. I had the opportunity to fill my leisure time spent with activities no where near related to my responsibilities in which left me feeling whole despite the pause of forward momentum this year has had.

The sudden decrease in activity we experience after achieving an event, goal or breakthrough can leave us with a period of stagnancy as we attempt to find what step it is we must tackle next. This period can leave us questioning our purpose and values while we may even experience frustration or even depression all at the same time. As humans we strive to be the next better and best. We tend to seek for validation through others, thinking that someone must view us a certain way to feel content. However if we seek what brings us ease and peace moments of stillness can teach us the importance of simply existing without plan and move at our own natural rhythm.

Periods of stagnancy can feel unproductive as we do not experience instant change. However intention can transform our perspective. Setting our intention to simply be can introduce personal growth in many configurations. This period be a time spent in reflection as we understand why things are the way they are or an adjustment where we begin to set new values based off past experiences. Although we are not in a constant momentum, we can appreciate the stagnant energy to recollect and be prepared for the next wave of life.



Mindful Monday: Just Breathe

Good morning, friends!

Just a friendly reminder for you to

Just Breathe ……..

……. If you are running a tad bit late

……. If summer construction traffic has you down to one lane of traffic

……. If the car next to you won’t let you merge

……. If your co-worker is telling you that same story again

……. If your teenager is giving you attitude

……. If the people at the table next to you are super loud

……. If you receive some bad news today

……. If you have a few moments to stand barefoot in the grass

…….. If you are enjoying the sunshine outdoors

……. If you are laying out at the pool

……. If you are sitting through an endless meeting

Just. Breathe.







……. And smile to yourself that you are ALIVE in this moment.

Make it a fantastic week, my lovelies! Enjoy our fleeting summer!

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Is For Everybody and Every Body

There is often the misconception that yoga is a women-only practice that requires flexibility and a green juice in hand. Although we see all the celebrities and Instagram influencers in their picture perfect down dog, we also see that yoga is being encouraged by top athletes, public schools, hospitals and even the U.S. military within the recent years as yoga is booming. The stigma that yoga holds is now breaking as we realize yoga isn’t for wussies. Together we are learning to love mindfulness and the benefits this ancient practice has to offer.

Yet, we are still intimidated to try it. The intimidation can come from many factors as it can be a challenge physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and energetically. We depreciate ourselves by making comments such as:

  • “I’m not flexible enough”
  • “I’m injuried”
  • “I’ll look stupid”
  • “Men don’t do yoga”
  • “I can’t sit still”
  • “Psh, I can’t touch my toes”

The list goes on…but this mentality can stray us away from the healing power yoga can offer to new students like Frank.

Meet Frank. As a full-time paramedic and passionate power lifter, he has learned one or two things about stress and the body.

“I started yoga to begin learning more about my body, to increase my flexibility, and to be more in touch with myself. While I like heated vinyasa, I enjoy coming to restorative. With my long hours of work as a paramedic and spending my off days powerlifting and beating up on my body, I get a lot out of holding deep stretches, and I enjoy how it gives me an opportunity to reflect on my past days of work and push through any difficulties that I may have had. The deep stretching in restorative gives me a moment to really feel my body, where I’m sore and where I can improve. I have already noticed a big difference in my connection I have with my body while in the gym. It just goes to show. Men do yoga, too.”

Everybody and every body can benefit from yoga. Yoga is meant to meet yourself exactly where you are in the present moment. That is why there are multiple styles, modifications and variations so you do what suits you best in the moment reguardless of your gender, injury history or flexibility and strength. Our hesitation to avoid yoga because of its stillness gives us the opportunity to really sit with our thoughts and dive into the roots of ourselves. That is why it is called a practice. We are constantly learning each time we step in further to evolving ourselves.



Mindful Monday: Saluting the Sun

Good morning and Happy Monday, mindful ones!

Have you ever really stopped to contemplate Surya Namaskar? It’s such a common part of our practice, that it’s easy to be on autopilot as you flow through.

No worries! I have found myself doing this at times as well.

Yes, sun salutes are the perfect “warm-up” for the physical body. We lengthen and engage all major muscle groups and joints; cardiovascular system increases; lungs, blood circulation and digestive system all benefit. In fact if you don’t have time for a full hour of practice, do 10 to 12 sun salutes for a perfect physical workout!

But we know that Yoga transcends so much more than just the physical.

In our sun salutations, we are yoking mind and body together, creating a pathway to dhyana or meditation, a state of deep contemplation and reception.

In our fast-paced world, we are often ahead of the current moment. The mind has been trained to fast forward in anticipation. Our sun salutes offer the opportunity to pause, return to our center, rekindling our relationship to breath and pure awareness. With this new awareness of breath and movement, we connect to our deeper rhythm and experience a moving meditation. It’s not in fact the physical poses but the deeper awareness of our inner energetic flow that awakens the state of yoga.

The Sun is central to this devotion, as it is the giver of all life on this planet. Without the sun, life on earth would dwindle and slowly die. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth.

Miraculously, we are the perfect distance from the sun. Any closer, and we would be scorched. Any further away, and we would be in the Ice Ages.

The next time you flow through Surya Namaskar, focus on the miracle of your existence! Use your awareness to honor and notice where your body happens to be at this moment. Take each breath with gratitude.

Namaste, dearest mindful ones!

July 2019 Pose of the Month: Paripurna Navasana – Boat Pose

Happy July, hotties! Our pose of the month is …. Paripurna Navasana or Boat Pose. Because where else do you want to be in July? Obvi on a boat or next best thing … on your yoga mat. (Or no mat, but in a yoga pose 🤣)

Let’s go for it!

1 Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 

2 Lift your feet off the floor. Keep your knees bent at first. Bring your shins parallel to the floor. This is half boat pose. Ardha Navasana

3 Your torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine round. 

4 Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle if you can do so without losing the integrity of your upper body. You want to keep your torso as upright as possible so that it makes a V shape with the legs.

5 Roll your shoulders back and straighten your arms roughly parallel to the floor with your palms

boom shaka laka! You’re in (not on) a boat! now, if you could do this while you’re on a boat, you are definitely living your best life! 🤣❤️🙏🏾

Wellness Wednesday: Your Soul Purpose

There comes a point in our life when we must decide what our next step is. While for some of us this path may be smooth and clearly marked whereas some of us notice this path contains lots of rubble that leads us to the middle of an unknown area. Deciding which next step to take can give us a clear direction of which way we are headed but it may create a realization of what our view on life’s purpose is.

When we are in the moment of deciding our next step it is important we remind ourselves to stop where we are and reflect. We must move towards what satisfies our soul most. However, our inner dialogue may interfere with our decision making as we may fall into the expectations of life events to be completed at specific times. Our ability to detach from judgement and expectations frees us to become more content. Personal growth occurs when we allow ourselves out of borders we have placed ourselves in all our life.

It is when we release our fear and listen to ourselves that we discover what our next step is with ease. Beneath the fear of uncertainty and hesitation we experience the inner knowing that has been waiting to be acknowledged. But we must trust in ourselves to take the first step because soon we realize how empowering it can be. The momentum of continuing to step forward gives us the confidence we need to find alignment within this universe.