Browsing Category

Health + Wellness

vulnerabilitty
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

The Heart of Vulnerability

Let’s face it, vulnerability is scary.

And it’s a natural human experience. It’s that lump in your throat. Sweaty palms and a racing heart. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. And life is full of these (often very pivotal) moments where we are met with a choice to be courageous in the face of fear. And when we make it out alive, it feels damn good. We feel proud of ourselves for saying what we needed to say, standing up for ourselves, or taking the leap. It’s clarity. It’s our truth. It’s real and raw. And it’s this beauty on the other side that makes vulnerability the ultimate path to true joy and growth in life.

Being vulnerable is scary because we we live in a culture of scarcity where most of us are wired to think we will never be good enough, perfect enough, thin enough, powerful enough, smart enough, and the list goes on. This “never enough” problem perpetuates us in a vicious cycle of shame, comparison, and disengagement when what we really crave is connection.

In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” She also debunks four myths about what vulnerability isn’t.

Myth #1: Vulnerability is Weakness

Some basic examples of vulnerability are: standing up for yourself, asking for help, saying no, starting your own business, getting fired, falling in love, trying something new, admitting you’re afraid, asking for forgiveness, and having faith. It is getting knocked down seven times and standing up eight. It is choosing to courageously stay open in the face of overwhelming uncertainty.

Do any of the above examples of vulnerability sound like weakness? NO!

Vulnerability means feeling. What is dangerous is when we start to associate feeling with weakness. It is never weak to feel and experience life. It may be extremely uncomfortable, but it is not weakness. Allowing ourselves to feel is one of our basic human needs. It goes right along with our need for belonging and safety. Willingness to show up and be courageous is never weakness.

vulnerability

Myth #2: “I Don’t Do Vulnerability”

Choosing to opt out of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure is just not realistic. Life is vulnerable. Just take a look back at that brief list of examples. If you find yourself operating from the belief that you “don’t do vulnerability,” Brown suggests asking yourself these three questions: 1) What do I do when I feel emotionally exposed? 2) How do I behave when I’m feeling very uncomfortable and uncertain? and 3) How willing am I to take emotional risks? If you truly don’t know the answers, ask someone you are close to.

This process helps because regardless of our willingness to “do vulnerability,” it does us. Attempting to avoid vulnerability causes us to engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be. May as well understand it, accept it, and embrace it.

vulnerability

Myth #3: Vulnerability is Letting it All Hang Out

“Vulnerability is based on mutuality and requires boundaries and trust. It’s not oversharing, it’s not purging, it’s not indiscriminate disclosure, and it’s not celebrity-style social media information dumps. Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.” -Brené Brown

Next time you’re about to share something with someone (or a lot of people), take a moment to check your motive. Who are you sharing this with? Have you processed the experience on your own already? Do you have a clear understanding of it? We don’t share our deepest struggle with someone the moment we meet them. Check your motive. Are you craving attention? Are you feeling bad about yourself? Allow yourself time to process your own experiences first. Next, share them with people you trust when you are ready. Then, after even more time has passed, it may be the right time to share them with the world.

vulnerability

Myth #4: We Can Go it Alone

Our culture places high value on individualism. If you’re like me, you tend to think you’re Superwoman and can solve everything by yourself. Reality is, that’s just not realistic. If we want to be vulnerable and experience a life of joy and connection, we have to accept support.

“We need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us. We need a hand to pull us up off the ground when we get kicked down in the arena (and if we live a courageous life, that will happen).” -Brené Brown

Most of us are great at giving help, but we also need to ask for help, too, and practice allowing ourselves to be supported. This all comes back our self-worth. When we know our worth, we take good care of ourselves. This often means asking for help and taking support when needed.

vulnerability

Bottom line: anytime we put ourselves out there, we risk being criticized or feeling hurt. This is the heart of vulnerability.

Back to the scarcity epidemic: it’s important to understand that the opposite of scarcity is not abundance. The answer isn’t to go from “never enough” to “more than enough.” We need to go from “never enough” to simply “enough,” a concept Brené Brown has coined Wholeheartedness, which “at its very core is vulnerability and worthiness: facing uncertainty, exposure, and emotional risks, and knowing that I am enough.”

When our self-worth is high, potential criticism and worries of feeling hurt have a lot less power over us. This is the direction we want to go. But, how?

Self care practices strengthen self-worth

The biggest thing we can do to embrace vulnerability is practice self-love. Notice how the scarcity mindset takes form in your own life. Work on your self-worth by taking care of yourself. You belong here. You have a purpose. You are enough. Just the way you are. Know that you were wired into this predicament and it’s going to take practice, patience, and lots of compassion with yourself to learn a new way of being. You are WORTH IT. Don’t give up.

On an energetic level, worthiness and self-love have to do with the root & sacral chakras. Learn ways to balance these chakras in my posts titled “Six Ways to Balance Your Root Chakra” and “All About the Sacral Chakra.” To learn more about the chakra system, check out my post titled “Getting to Know Your Chakras.”

Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers – The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, and Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and The Courage to Stand Alone. Brown’s TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

chakras
Chakras, Health + Wellness, My Favorite Things

Getting To Know Your Chakras

Chakras are energy centers in the body.

It’s important to consider our chakras, or energy system, as an integral part of our total picture of wellness. It’s a part that often gets overlooked in the western world with so much focus on physical and mental health.

The truth is, everything is energy. We are in an energetic exchange with everything, all day long: people, places, and food, for example. Our chakras are constantly receiving, assimilating, and transmitting life force energy so that we can make sense of the world around us.

You can think of chakras like portals connecting our inner and outer worlds.

chakrasThere are seven main chakras in the human body, from root (base of the spine) to crown (top of the head). Each chakra has a corresponding color, element, symbol, vibrational sound, and relates to a specific part of the body. For a more in depth explanation of what a chakra is and where the system came from, read my post titled “What is a chakra?

Here is a simple guide to your chakras.

Know that the system works as a whole, so we can break down each one to understand its qualities, but ultimately everything works together, like the parts of a car.

Root

chakrasChakra one is about our health, our survival, and our grounding. It is located at the base of the spine and its element is earth. It has to do with our basic needs – shelter, food, water. Think self care. Exercise. Eating habits. Allowing yourself to slow down and relax. Feeling at home in your body. Because it is the foundation of the entire chakra system, it represents stability, which is also reflected in our financial situation. Fear, anxiety, eating disorders, and financial problems are some examples of root chakra imbalance. For ideas on how to balance this chakra, read my post titled “Six Ways to Balance Your Root Chakra.”

Sacral

chakrasChakra two is about pleasure, sensuality and sexuality. Its element is water. Water moves and flows, just as a healthy second chakra allows us to move and flow with life… not resisting change, not being rigid. This chakra is all about our emotions. We have to let them move and flow. When considering the health of this chakra, look at your emotional stability, your attitude toward sex, toward self pleasure, and the health of your hips and sexual organs. Self love practices of any kind (taking a warm bubble bath, buying yourself flowers or treating yourself in some way – doesn’t have to be sexual pleasure) will bring balance to this chakra. It’s important for our health to allow ourselves to feel pleasure. We are sensual, sexual beings. The fact that we have skin proves that we were meant to feel, and when we deny ourselves this basic human need, we get closed off energetically to enjoying life in general. Sexual problems and pain in the hips and low back are common signs of sacral chakra imbalance. Read more about this chakra including ways to balance it in my post titled “All About the Sacral Chakra.”

Solar Plexus

chakrasHere lies your personal power. Your will, your fire, your energy. No surprise that it correlates to the sun, its element being fire. Imagine rubbing two sticks together to create a spark. The sticks represent the first chakra, the movement needed to create the spark represents the second chakra. The fire of chakra three is born. The first three chakras provide the basis for the entire chakra system above to flourish. With this fire and energy deep in our core, we now have the power to choose how we want to direct it. This shows up in our career choices, ways we are of service to others, and what we choose to do in our lives in general. It has everything to do with our self esteem and confidence. Chakra three governs our belly and digestive system, so any issues with these parts of the body can point to imbalance. Low energy, low self esteem, indecisiveness, and lack of motivation in life are all signs of imbalance. Running or cardio exercise, laughter, and setting healthy boundaries (learning to say “no”) are all ways to balance this chakra.

Heart

chakrasRepresenting the center of the chakra system is the fourth chakra, the heart. Its element is air and it deals with love, relationships, connection, compassion, balance, and forgiveness. With three chakras below and three above, the heart chakra represents balance in its purest form with the grounding energies of the first three chakras below and the ethereal qualities of the upper three chakras above. This chakra governs the heart, lungs and respiratory system, so any health issues with these body parts can point to imbalance. Depression lives here, as sadness is often a matter of the heart. Breathwork is a wonderful tool for balancing this chakra. Pay attention to the posture of your shoulders. Notice if you are often hunching over, protecting your heart. As the center of the system, it is paramount that we pay close attention to this chakra every day, and attempt to keep it healthy and open.

Throat

chakrasWe now move into the upper chakras starting at the throat, which is all about communication, creativity, and self expression. How do you speak your truth? How do you create? We are all creative, some of us are just more tapped in than others. Notice your attitude toward creativity. Creative expression can come out in song, written word, or art. This is also about how comfortable we are speaking and listening. The element of this chakra is ether, or sound. Vibration. As we move upward through the chakras, they become less dense. The throat chakra deals with sound and vibration, so singing, chanting or repeating mantras is a great way to balance this chakra. Again, we have to look at all the parts as a whole. We have to be grounded (chakra one), emotionally stable (chakra two), confident (chakra three), and open-hearted (chakra four) in order to express our truth and creativity in a healthy way. If there are major imbalances happening in the lower four chakras, creative expression and communication may be challenging.

Third Eye

chakrasThe brow chakra is the seat of your intuition. “Trust your gut” is the perfect phrase to describe it. The sixth chakra’s element is light and it has to do with truly seeing the world around us. Think vision, visualizing life, not just seeing what’s in front of you but actually seeing with clarity and making connections about what you see in a greater sense… seeing the way all the parts work together as a whole. Those gut feelings you get… that you shouldn’t go to that party or you just know you need to see that person but you’re not sure why… that is your intuition. The world we live in is a disempowering society telling us how to live, how to eat, how to dress, how to be, and everything in between. We are at a constant struggle to listen to our own wisdom within, which resides in our bodies… our skin, our bones, our hearts, our bellies… this is our intuition. It is a voice we can hear if we listen close enough. In order to get more connected to your intuition, you need to connect to your body and breath. Yoga and meditation are wonderful tools. This chakra has to do with the eyes so vision problems correlate with it, as well as headaches. Lavender is a wonderful essential oil to help balance this chakra and invite in a sense of calm clarity.

Crown

chakrasFinally, we reach the crown at the top of the head, symbolized by a thousand petaled lotus. This chakra represents higher consciousness, connection with divine spirit, and with our higher self. The best “element” to describe it is thought. The crown chakra is primarily associated with the pituitary gland, and secondarily to the pineal and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work together to regulate the endocrine system. Because of its location, the crown chakra is closely associated with the brain and the whole nervous system. The crown chakra is associated with the transcendence of our limitations, whether personal or bound to space and time. The quality of awareness that comes with the crown chakra is universal, transcendent. Being immersed in the energy of the crown chakra feels like bliss… a state of union with all that is. Signs of imbalance include being disconnected from spirit, living in your head (disconnected from your body), and closed-mindedness. The best way to balance this chakra is to meditate. Check out my post titled “Meditation 101” and “Guided Meditation – 10 Minutes” to get started with meditation!

Eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies will help balance your chakras. Foods correspond to the chakras based on their color. Check out this Rainbow Buddha Bowl recipe for some serious chakra balancing deliciousness!

better sleep
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

5 Ways To Get Better Sleep Tonight

Better sleep is just around the corner with these five simple tricks.

We all want to sleep well, and our busy lifestyles these days can make that hard to achieve every night. Here are five simple things you can start doing now to get better sleep tonight from Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley.

1. Regularity is key

Put your best effort in to get eight hours of sleep every night. Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday no matter what day of the week it is. Even if you didn’t sleep good, still get up at the same time and allow your body to reset.

better sleep

2. Dim the lights and set the mood for better sleep

We are a dark-deprived society in this era, and we actually need darkness in the evening in order for our bodies to release melatonin, which helps the healthy timing of our sleep. One hour before bed, dim all the lights in your house and avoid bright computer or phone screens. These LED lights actually put the brakes on melatonin production and fool your brain into thinking it’s still daytime when it’s actually nighttime!

better sleep

3. Keep it cool

Many of us keep the room too warm. An optimal temperature is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Your brain and body actually need to drop their core temperature about 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit to get good sleep.

better sleep

4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime

Yep, sorry. Alcohol is so misunderstood. You may think it helps you sleep, but it actually does the opposite. Alcohol is in the class of drugs called the sedatives. This means that by drinking before bed, you are just knocking your brain out – you’re not putting it into good sleep mode. It is also known that alcohol fragments your sleep, causing you to wake up many times throughout the night. It’s also a very potent chemical for blocking your dream sleep, or rapid eye movement. Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant, an alerting chemical. Even if you can have a coffee after dinner and fall asleep fine, the depth of the deep sleep you have is not as deep as it would be if you didn’t have the coffee. You may likely wake up feeling groggy and reach for two or three cups of coffee the next morning, easily creating an addiction cycle.

better sleep

5. Don’t stay in bed awake

If you haven’t fallen asleep within 20 minutes or you wake up in the night and can’t fall back asleep, don’t stay in bed. Your brain quickly learns the association of your bed being a place of being awake vs. being asleep. Instead, get up and go to another room and read a book in dim light (no phones, no food). When you feel sleepy, go back to your bed. An alternative here would also be meditation. Meditation helps quiet the mind and body, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system – the part of you that says it’s ok to relax. If you’re new to meditation, check out my posts titled “Meditation 101” and “Guided Meditation – 10 Minutes.”

Getting better sleep means you have to become aware of what is causing the imbalance, so be curious and experiment on yourself by eliminating certain foods or habits before bed time, or putting some of these new habits in place.

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and look at all the parts as a whole. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day and eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Sleep time is recovery time, so better sleep means fueling your body well throughout the day so it can use those nutrients to recover over night.

Matthew Walker is a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley and the author of the book, “Why We Sleep.”

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Meditation

Meditation 101

Just like your yoga practice, everything in life is a practice.

IMG_1373Showing up, working hard, loving yourself, forgiveness, compassion, it’s all a practice, except there’s no big show. You’re not rehearsing for anything. The show is right now. Life is the show. We are rehearsing and performing all at once. Isn’t it wild?

Life is just like meditation.

We show up, we practice, but there’s no big event. We do it for the sake of it. Because as our brains re-wire with new awareness from our practices (yoga or whatever else we are doing to help ourselves), we have to let our brains re-program. Think of Tetris… the blocks come down from the sky (your new awareness & information coming in daily), you fit them right in, and then the bottom drops out.

Our brains need time to do this. We have to make time. Meditation is your brain tossing out old concepts that aren’t working for you anymore and activating new ideas to help you expand your consciousness. Give yourself a break and start meditating today. You will feel less confused and more in tune with yourself.

TRY IT!

    1. Set a timer for FIVE minutes, ten if you feel comfortable.
    2. Sit with a tall spine (I love my SAMAYA meditation cushion), close your eyes, and just focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
  1. Practice simply noticing anything that arises – thoughts or physical sensations – without getting attached. You are just compassionately observing without judgment.
  2. Journal for 5-10 minutes afterward.

You can meditate any time of day, but I suggest first thing in the morning before you do anything else. It’s a wonderful way to set the tone for your day before things get busy.

Meditation is simple, don’t over complicate it! There is no goal, you are just allowing your mind to reset. And hopefully grab a few moments of peace!

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, My Favorite Things, Yoga

Work It Out

Most of us are wired to think we aren’t good enough. It’s ok. What is not ok is sitting and whining about it.

The fact is… in the 20 minutes you just spent obsessing over your body YOU COULD HAVE ALREADY WORKED OUT by now! Get off your ass and MOVE! Get outside and run. Pick up some dumbbells. Use your own body weight. No more excuses! It doesn’t take long to blast those thoughts away once you get MOVING!

Lately, people have been asking me how I do it all…

Be a single mom, run three businesses and still have time to take care of myself. Here’s my secret: I put myself first. I schedule my life one week at a time (using my incredible Passion Planner) around my SELF CARE, YOGA & WORKOUTS. I put those things before everything, even my son, because I know that I have to in order for me to be the best mom and best person I can be.

Lately my weekly workout schedule has consisted of five yoga practices, three in-home workouts (done in my living room using a suspension trainer, 8lb dumbbells, and my own body weight – 30 minutes on average) and running twice/week outside for 20 minutes.

FREE YOGA, MEDITATION & WORKOUTS you can do at home:
Yoga Project Podcast Collection
BodyFit by Amy

All you need to do all of the above (click on images to purchase):

bellI admit, I do love to look a certain way. And I’m not ashamed of it. I love being lean, toned and strong. It feels damn sexy. But that’s a side effect of putting in the work. Work that reveals to me how much stronger I am than I realize… time and time again. It grounds me. It’s a daily commitment to my HIGHEST SELF. To raising my vibration. If you aren’t taking it to the next level you’re treading water, or even worse, going backwards. Don’t get me wrong, there are times to slow down and rest, but in order for your fire and passion for life to be ignited, you’ve got to move your body. You’ve got to awaken your energy.

We live in a world that disconnects us from our power by making us feel like we aren’t good enough. It’s time to take action and take your power back. No one else is going to do it for you. So, get up and MOVE! You are worth it.

Come practice with me! View my teaching schedule at Yoga Project Fort Worth.

View upcoming workshops and events here.

chakra
Chakras, Health + Wellness

What is a chakra?

A chakra is a spinning wheel, or vortex, of energy.

Chakras are centers in the body through which life force energy flows. Blocked energy can often lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.

chakra

Where did the chakra system come from?

The chakra system originated in India at the same time as yoga. It’s first mention was in the Vedas, a series of hymns that are the oldest written tradition in India. The chakra system actually came from tantric tradition. Tantra is largely associated with sexual practices in the West, though the sexuality aspect is actually only a small portion of what it’s all about. It does involve sexual practices as it considers the body a sacred temple that houses the inner consciousness and spirit, viewing sexual energy as life force energy that propels us into the higher states of consciousness and growth that we desire as humans. But this is only a sliver of what it’s all about. Hatha and Kundalini yoga are big parts of tantric tradition as well as the worshiping of Hindu deities (especially Hindu goddesses), and the merging of universal forces within (chiefly the interplay of dualistic forces such as dark and light, Heaven and Earth, birth and death, etc).

chakra

There are seven main chakras in the human body. This “Rainbow Bridge” connects our outer and inner worlds – our bodies to our inner temple, the house of our consciousness.

The chakras are vortexes of energy existing in the subtle body that overlays our physical body. They are not actually in our body. You can think of them like gateways, or portals to our inner world, that receive, assimilate and transmit life force energy. We are constantly in energy exchange all day long with everything: food, people, our environment, and ourselves.

Yoga and the chakras go hand in hand, so understanding where the chakras come into play within each yoga pose is vital in bringing a new layer of depth and awareness to your yoga practice.

chakra

How to bring balance and opening to your first two chakras using yoga:

Root Chakra (survival and groundedness): The base of every pose. Grounding, stability, foundation. Feeling your feet in the ground. Rooted and connected to the Earth at all times. Feeling the strength of your legs that carry you confidently through life. Being courageous enough to slow down and be at home in your body.

Other ways to balance and open your root: Spending time outside in nature, walking barefoot in the grass, resting, eating slowly and mindfully, cooking and cleaning in the home.

Sacral Chakra (emotions, sexuality and creativity): Creative movement and playfulness within your practice. Pleasure and enjoyment of feeling your breath and body move and flow together. Practice embracing all feelings that arise on your mat. Dance with them. Let them flow through you. Hip openers.

Other ways to balance and open your sacral: Dancing, self pleasure, being in or near water (shower, bath, swimming, ocean), drinking plenty of water, practicing emotional release.

Remember, anything you do with INTENTION shifts the energy of your action. When you DIRECT your energy with INTENTION you invite things to MANIFEST in your life. Dance with the INTENTION to relax your hips and feel your emotions flow through you. Walk barefoot outside with the INTENTION to connect deeper to the Earth and bring more grounding into your life.

Read my post titled “Getting To Know Your Chakras” for an overview of the whole chakra system.

Clear Skin Routine
Health + Wellness, Recipes

Get Clear, Radiant Skin with this Homemade Face Toner

I’ve always had problematic skin… oily and prone to breakouts. It goes way back to high school. Breakouts and acne are one of the toughest things for me. When my face breaks out it affects my confidence level a lot. I just want to hide inside until it goes away!

When I was younger I tried everything to cure breakouts, from the lengthy chemical-filled Proactiv skin care line to doctor prescribed topical gels. None of it ever really worked.

What I have come to realize over the years is clear skin happens from the inside out.

Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It is responsible for eliminating many of the toxins we consume. It’s simple: what goes in, must come out. We either piss it out, shit it out, or sweat it out. Have you ever noticed different smells of your sweat? Pay attention. For example, after a night of wine drinking, my sweat has a very pungent odor (not as pleasant as that clean yummy sweat)! This is also true for eating certain foods. All you have to do is pay attention.

Sweat for Clear Skin

Nutrition

We’ve known for 14 years that a single meal of meat, dairy, and eggs triggers an inflammatory reaction inside the body within hours of consumption (NutritionFacts.org). Consuming animal products and dairy clogs up our intestines and is the hardest food for our bodies to digest and eliminate. If you want your skin to be full of life you need to reduce or eliminate lifeless foods (like dead animal products).

I am all for things in moderation, but if you have problem skin and consume dairy and meat frequently, this is the absolute first place to start. When I stopped eating dairy and meat a few years ago, replacing it with more fruits, veggies, and plant based protein sources (I still occasionally eat pizza and fish) my skin cleared up immediately. I noticed much less breakouts, especially during my cycle, and overall, a more radiant, clear complexion. I encourage you to experiment with eliminating dairy or meat products. It doesn’t have to be all at once, just try one thing at a time. Let it be a process and pay attention to how you feel.

Worried about getting enough protein? Here are 10 amazing plant based protein sources to add into your diet. Sorry people, but it’s a fact: a plant based diet contains much more water (since plants are mostly water) – and our skin needs water to be radiant and glowing! Clear skin is hydrated skin!

Clear Skin Food

Lessening the Toxic Load

Start bringing more awareness to what you ingest and also use topically. This includes medications, supplements, beauty products, shampoo and other hair products. Most mainstream products are loaded with chemicals that actually dry out our skin in the long run (no wonder we keep going back for more). Educate yourself on all the ingredients in what you use and then decide if you want to continue use. For shampoo and conditioner, I switched to Shikai – super mild and very gentle! And here is the one and only delicious hair product I use (coconut and beach smelling, of course) by Herbivore Botanicals (amazing vegan and cruelty free products):

Sea Salt Hair Mist by Herbivore Clear Skin Products

Simple Skin Care Routine

Do not pick! I know you’ve heard it a million times, but it really does make breakouts worse as it spreads bacteria around your face even more. Revamp your skin care regime with a simple routine. Stick to natural, organic and vegan products with the least amount of ingredients possible.

My current routine is this:

  1. Light rinse with Dr. Bronner’s soap (lavender and almond are my faves, but they are all divine)
  2. Homemade ACV face toner (recipe below) applied with cotton ball all over face
  3. Weleda Sensitive Skin Facial Lotion (incredible line of products, all vegan and cruelty free)

Clear Skin Routine for Sensitive Skin

Homemade ACV Face Toner for Clear Skin

Three Simple Ingredients

3 tablespoons Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (a natural astringent that reduces appearance of pimples, age spots, acne scars)

10-12 drops Organic Lavender & Tea Tree Essential Oil (lavender and tea tree oil are known for their powerful disinfecting and anti-inflammatory properties)

3/4 cup WaterMix it all together. I keep mine in a glass on my bathroom counter. Swirl it around before dipping your cotton ball in.

Clear Skin Face Toner

I use the toner in the morning and sometimes in the evening when cleansing my skin.

I swear by this routine! I’ve been doing it for the past three months and my skin is healthier than ever.

All in all, this is really just a practice of awareness and trial and error. Start paying closer attention to your own habits, what you’re putting into your body and on your body. And start drinking more water!

Not only will having clear skin boost your confidence, but you’ll be feeling like a million bucks because you’re taking better care of your inner temple, and that is the most important thing of all.

Would love to hear from you! Drop a comment and make sure to subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t yet. I’ve got three upcoming workshops I can’t wait to share with you!

 

Much Love,

Loren

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom Life

Seven Self Love Rituals for Busy Moms

We all want our kids to have the absolute best lives possible.

So much so that we often put their needs before our own. I feel you mama, trust me. I get it. And it’s okay. I repeat, it’s okay.

Here’s what happens when we get into a groove of putting others first: when we do have a little time to ourselves, we still end up doing things for others! You feel me? It’s like we don’t know what to do with the alone time, so we end up cleaning, doing laundry, organizing the kids’ rooms, cooking, etc. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need to use time to ourselves to get these things done, but let me ask you… Did you already take care of you today?

I’ve got a seven day challenge for you. Here are seven simple self love rituals… one for each day of the week. The coolest thing? They only require ten minutes.

I realize how busy your days are, going here and there, doing this and that… it never ends. I literally feel like I’m cleaning up messes all. day. long. What I want you to realize is that you are what is making this entire operation GO! You have got to start putting yourself first, everyday. You will be a better mama because of it, you will love yourself more and, most importantly, you will expand your capacity to give more love to everyone in your life, including your kids (if that’s even possible!)

Seven Self Love Rituals for Busy Moms (in no particular order):

    1. Intention Journaling.

      This would be ideal in the morning, as it can set the tone for your day ahead. Grab a journal and a pen and write down your intention for the day. Beforehand, take a few deep breaths and feel into your heart space. What do you want out of this day? Strength? Compassion? Forgiveness? It could also be a person or relationship that needs some attention. Sometimes it’s just the very basic things that we need, like food and sleep – in this case your intention may be “Keep It Simple.” It could be one word with some doodles around it, or a paragraph of writing, whatever feels authentic to you. Journaling is one of the most powerful ways to manifest what we truly want.

      Self Love Rituals For Moms

    2. Music Meditation

      Choose a song around ten minutes long, sit down and close your eyes. Just breathe and watch your thoughts roll by. The idea is with meditation is not to stop your thinking, but become more aware of the thoughts and become unattached to them. A few of the many benefits of meditation include a self-confidence boost, increased seratonin levels (yes, please!), increased creativity, and improved relationships. Here is a playlist I created on Spotify that is awesome for meditating or yoga practice:

    3. Pillow Screaming.

      Go in your room, get on your bed, and scream into the pillow like there’s no tomorrow. Put on some rager music to really set things off. Anger releasing is a super important ritual. It connects us to our primal instinct, helping release fear and trapped negative emotion in the body. Scream from the pit of your belly – that is where the core of your emotions live. When you’re done with this one, give yourself a couple minutes to just sit with your eyes closed and let it settle. I always get a euphoric rush after doing this and it helps me not lose my shit on my son.

      Self Love Rituals For Moms

    4. Take A Walk

      Being outside is one of the most healing things we can do. Some of the obvious benefits include Vitamin D, eye health, improved sleep, grounding, and exercise. Leave your phone at home and immerse all your senses in nature. See, smell, hear everything around you. Can you taste the clean air? At the end of your walk, kick off your shoes and be barefoot in the grass for a few moments. Hippies have been doing it right all along…

      Self Love Rituals For Moms

    5. Read A Book

      If you don’t like reading actual books, check out audible.com for an incredible selection of audio books. I can’t stress the importance of always learning. Reading is a wonderful way to stimulate our brains to think outside of the box. It also reduces stress, improves vocabulary and increases knowledge, among many other benefits. Get out of your head and into a good book!

      Self Love Rituals For Moms

    6. Self Pleasure

      This one is arguably the most important! When we are connected to our sensuality, we invite more creativity and passion into our lives, which expands our capacity for love, power and freedom. For some ideas on ways to self pleasure head over to my post about how to fall in love with yourself.

    7. Do Absolutely Nothing!

      This one is definitely one of my faves. Pretty self explanatory… seriously, do nothing. Sit on the couch. Stare at the wall. Relax. Notice if this is really hard for you… it means you need to do it more! Giving ourselves adequate rest, especially as busy moms, is of the utmost importance… even if it’s just ten minutes of sitting with no agenda.

Obviously these things are simple to do. The point is making the time.

This means when you have some time to yourself (even if it’s only ten minutes), set the chores aside. Notice your urge to continue doing things for others. It starts with the noticing. Make a conscious decision to change this habit. And then do one of the things listed above.

Make sure to be flexible with the time of day you do the ritual. And on those days you do not have any time for yourself (trust me, I feel you)… shut yourself in your room, lock the door, and do the pillow screaming ritual. Trust me! It works! Even just for five minutes, scream your damn lungs out into that pillow. Pound it with your fists, curse being a mom (we’ve all done it!), whatever you need to do. Release that shit!

Drop a comment below and let me know how your seven day challenge is going! I’d love to hear what practices resonate best with you.

You’re doing an amazing job, mama! You deserve some mala beads, check out what’s new in The MALA Shop here.

 

xo,

Loren

 

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Health + Wellness, Lifestyle

The Perfect Body

“True beauty comes from within.” We’ve all heard that shit a million times.

Let’s be honest, we all want to look good in a bikini! But at what cost?

Looking back on my 20s, I was a complete shitshow. I did some awesome things, but the way I felt inside… I absolutely never want to go back.

I used to be so hard on myself. I would spend so much time obsessing over the perfect set of abs that it quite frankly consumed most of my thinking, actions, and daily choices. Gym, what I was eating, what I wasn’t eating… I absolutely hated seeing any fat on my belly. It’s always been the most critical part of my body. When I’d look in the mirror and judge myself, I’d look immediately to my belly as the indicator of success. What a terrible existence and waste of time…

Current statistics show that approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape.

Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media… which is 5’10” and 120 pounds. The National Center for Health Statistics reports the average American woman as 5’4” and 169 pounds. (DoSomething.org)

Simply put, we are being setup for low self esteem, eating disorders, and overall unhappiness as women in this society.

I am 5′ 10″ and about 150 pounds. I realize I have been blessed with genes that gave me a long, lean figure but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had a messed up body image most of my life. I used to be obsessed with weighing around 125 and was bulimic for about two years in my 20s.

All I can say is, God I love 30. It’s the feeling. Maybe it’s just the years that have passed and the experience gained. Maybe it’s having carried a child and seeing my belly stretch huger than I ever imagined it could. Maybe it’s my rebellion against society and all the sick bullshit that’s projected to us on a daily basis. Maybe I’m just tired of women being portrayed as not good enough.

Whatever it is, I love it. Since grounding back home after my Peru trip, I’ve gained some belly fat and whole lot more confidence at the same time… Interesting, right? In my 20s I would have been purging my food at the sight of this perceived disaster.

The truth is, no matter your age, a rock hard set of abs does not equal happiness.

It may be a byproduct of what makes your soul happy (exercise), but getting your body to match an insane ideal of beauty as projected by society is never going to make you happy.

True happiness is within your soul. It’s a feeling. A feeling of balance… of softness… that comes with relaxing into life, letting go of what society tells you you should be doing, looking, saying, acting, and LIVING.

Imagine how much you could do with the energy you use obsessing over your body! Just take a moment and really let that sink in.

Eat foods that nourish your body and soul. Sit down to eat. TASTE your food. Eat slowly, let it be a sensual, pleasure filled experience. And remember that true happiness comes from listening to the calling of your spirit. Go within. Love yourself exactly how you are. You are beautiful and perfect. I see you. And your belly is SEXY!

 

xo,

Loren

 

 

Manduka yoga mat home practice
Health + Wellness, Lifestyle, My Favorite Things, Yoga

The best yoga gear & how to start a home practice

Why would you practice at home when you can go to a studio? What are the benefits of practicing at home? Where do we start?

Practicing in a heated studio is always great… there’s nothing like being led through a sequence, feeling the group energy, and getting a total body workout. But what if you could reap these same benefits at home? What about the days you just don’t have two hours to do the whole process of going to a studio to practice? What if you could create a special space in your own home where you could gain these same benefits in just 20 minutes? Well, guess what? You can.

I’ve been practicing vinyasa yoga since 2009 and teaching since 2010. Here is what I’ve learned about home practice: it takes commitment and discipline, but the benefits are huge. Follow these simple steps to set yourself up for success and carve a path to creating a mini yoga sanctuary in the comfort of your own home.

IMG_6890

The Benefits

  1. It can be short and sweet. Or it can be long and strong. For so long, I used to avoid home practice because in my mind I thought I “had” to do a full hour or 75 minutes. I’ve learned to let go of that. Sometimes my home practice is a simple 15 or 20 minutes. It might be a relaxed, yin style practice with no music, or it may be a jam packed 20 minute session of powerful sun salutations, arm balances and inversions with some kickass beats blasting. Regardless of what you do, the point is that you carve out the time and do it. Try to let go of expectations or judgments around what you do on your mat. Not only will you feel good physically, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually too.
  2. New creativity arises. Without the guidance of an instructor, your practice becomes a work of art as you connect with stillness and hold space for yourself. I promise you will be surprised and delighted at the movement your body makes all on its own. Just let your breath be the guide.
  3. Mindfulness practice. You may choose to just sit and breathe and do a few simple postures. Or you may kill it with a strong sequence. The cool thing is you get to check in with what your body needs that day. The idea is to simply set aside some time for yourself, to be with yourself, meet yourself right where you are, enjoy your breath and body, and get centered. Yoga is a moving meditation practice!
  4. Gain confidence and connect with your intuition. When you take the time on your own to sit and listen to your inner voice, a whole world of possibility opens up as you allow this voice to guide you.

Loren Boyd Home Yoga Practice

What to do:

  1. Create a sacred practice space. It can be inside or outside, depending on the season. I love practicing outside in the summertime. On a hot day it can feel exactly like being in a heated studio. Wherever it is, make this place somewhere you want to go. Place things nearby on a mini altar like candles, mala beads, incense, oils, crystals, a vision board, photographs… whatever inspires you. Get a space heater to recreate the hot studio atmosphere and work up a good sweat!
  2. Get a good yoga mat and blocks and a strap. Manduka products are my favorite:
  3. Set a realistic goal for yourself. I like to do a combination of studio practice and home practice. I shoot for five practices/week. Usually two or three of them are at home and anywhere from 15-45 minutes long.
  4. Roll out your mat, put on some music (or not), and go! Give yourself the first couple minutes in a simple seated posture, child’s pose, or down dog to just practice breath awareness. Simply place attention on your breath and allow yourself to shift from the mindstuff to the simple experience of feeling your breath and body on your mat. This is what brings you to the present moment. The movement will come naturally and your body will do what it needs to do once you connect with breath and body sensation. If you don’t know what to do, throw on a YouTube video! There are also some great subscriptions you can get through Gaia and also oneOeight with tons of awesome teachers, different styles of yoga and free trials. Also check out the free podcast collection from The Yoga Project where I teach!

The more you practice, no matter what length of time you spend on your mat, the more connected you will be to your inner voice… the easier it will be to hear it on a regular basis. Yoga is simply a mindfulness practice. When you get into what you are doing – and take it back to the basics – concrete breath and body sensation – you allow yourself to slow down and awaken to your inner knowing. Then you really start to dance with life.

The more you do it, the easier it gets.

You will discover a new rhythm on your mat practicing at home vs. practicing in a studio. Keep at it long enough to really allow yourself to feel the benefits.

Please comment below with any questions, I am here to help you!

Make sure to subscribe to my blog for more inbox inspiration, workshop offerings and tips on how to live a healthy, vibrant life!

-Loren

Save

Save