Wellness Wednesday: Houseplants!

A couple of years ago while out and about with my friend Sha, we popped into Lowe’s in search of bamboo and next thing I knew I was walking out with 5 new potted plants.

Only 3 of those plants survived my care, but the ones that did are thriving! I’ve slowly been adding to my plant life here and there, but to be honest I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.

Luckily my friend Kady Bloom, fellow yogi and plant expert, does! And she spent last Saturday giving my apartment a plant makeover and…


Plants remove toxins and improve the quality of indoor air. Not to mention they give off oxygen which we need to breathe!

A huge thank you to the lovely Kady who spent all day with me, designed the plant layout for my apartment, went shopping with me, and taught me all about caring and maintaining all these new beauties!

Wellness Wednesday tip: you can start small and even start with something resilient, but try bringing some greenery into your living space if you haven’t already! So many benefits, it’s a feel good, breathe good form of self care.

Intention Tuesday: Desire More Than Ever

A couple of years ago when I was at a seeming impasse with my career, I set aside a long weekend and some early mornings to go through Danielle LaPorte’s best seller the Core Desire Map. Working my way through the exercises in the book really helped shift my focus from what I want to do, to how I want to feel.

Identifying my core desires and keeping them at the forefront of my decisions absolutely helped me make big moves to shift my career path to a role that I would very candidly describe as my dream job.

I wouldn’t say it’s been all rainbows and roses and the learning curve has been steep (I’m still learning). I work my ass off, but I do it joyously because it makes me feel the way I want to feel: empowered and influential.

And I’m currently dusting off this Desire mapping tool to shift my focus for relationships. I have the bestttttt girl friends, you should know. I am surrounded by the most amazing and inspiring girl gang. But I am ready to turn my attention to how I want to feel in a romantic relationship, CS Lewis refers to it in his book The Four Loves as Eros love.

And so I’m coming back to identifying and naming how I want to feel. It’s not about a checklist or a strategy or planning for the future. It’s just about: how do I want to feel in an eros relationship.

Want to do your own Desire Mapping? I think you should!

And if you want to do it with me I am working out the logistics for a Desire Map Yoga stay-treat in NYC over Labor Day weekend. It will be some yoga to get the creative juices flowing, paired with a guided experience for making more empowered choices!

As a Desire Map facilitator (it’s a thing!), I’ll guide you through a soul-heart-body experience that helps you feel good. Every day. Because knowing how you want to feel is one of the most important forms of clarity you can have.

You’re invited to join the mail list for more details.

Essential Monday: Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil is the perfect antidote to an early morning alarm clock. The scent alone is so energizing you can just unscrew the top and take a big long inhale and to get your day started. It’s also great diffused, and if you have a high quality grade that is ingestible it’s lovely in coffee or tea.

Aside from the energizing factor, it has also been reported to help alleviate headaches and nausea and it works well as a natural insect repellent.

As for mixing with other essential oils, the Young Living website suggests this:

Peppermint is in the same family as both Lavender and Rosemary. Diffuse the oils of these powerful botanicals together for a fresh aroma that uplifts the spirit.

I use both Young Living and Living Libations brand essential oils, in my experience they both offer high quality options, and I have peppermint in both! I can share a little more about why I like these brands in another post, but for now I just want to say they are both lovely.

If you have a bottle, try it on your bedside table this week for first thing and let me know how it goes!

Recommendation Thursday: Streaming Yoga

Happy International Yoga day, I have the perfect yoga gift for you!

A few years ago I set out to do 21 days of yoga. My rationale was that if it took 21 days to form a habit, and yoga was a habit I wanted to form, that I should do it every day for 21 days.

And the thing with committing to 21 days of ANYthing is that you have to plan ahead with some resources and options for sticking with it. At the time I was barely into yoga and my plan was simple: join a local yoga studio and find online yoga options that I could do at home on the days I couldn’t get to the studio.

January 2013: Scene from my 21 days of yoga, getting in a home yoga fix

I made it all 21 days, I believe it was a huge kick start to my yoga journey, and I have a huge appreciation for yoga resources you can do from anywhere. Online options that you can stream from any space big enough for a yoga mat eliminate allllll the excuses: it’s never too early or too late and it doesn’t matter if you are in your apartment or a hotel.

I have a couple of free online yoga resources that I really like, but one of my new favorite discoveries is streaming yoga from lululemon.

You can stream it from the website or the app, Baron Bapiste has 3 class options on there (huge fan, his style of yoga was one of my first yoga loves!), and there are 20, 45 and 60 minute options.

Point of view from boat pose

Can’t get to a yoga studio on international yoga day? Roll out your yoga mat wherever there is space and stream a lululemon class to get your fix!

June 2018: way beyond my original 21 days! Fun fact: both then & now I am doing downward dog to a Baron Baptiste home flow (with the same floor mirror).

The light in me bows to the bright light in you, namaste.

Wellness Wednesday: H2O

Self care looks like different things on different days, but one of the very basic forms of self care that you can do every day is staying hydrated.

So basic.

Look good, feel good, do good: water is good for your skin, it flushes out toxins, it increases energy, it aids in digestion, it’s great for brain function (did you know the brain is over 70% water!), the benefits are plentiful!

I like to take mine with lemons first thing in the morning. And when I don’t have lemons on hand I just use lemon essential oil. This week I’ve been using both lemon and grapefruit EOs in mine, good morning to ME!

And if you want to get Ayurvedic with it, keep it lukewarm. That’s my preferred way of having it, but on the dog days of summer heat we’ve been having in New York this week give me ALL the ice cubes (and make them heart shaped).

How do you take your water? Ice cold? On the go? In a fun glass? I encourage you to do whatever it takes to stay hydrated today and every day!

Intention Tuesday: Showing Up

Saturday morning Yoga at the Manor is one of my favorite parts of the week. I live for it. I have a whole morning routine around getting ready for it, picking my essential oil for savasana, planning the starting pose and peak pose, setting up the yoga mats and getting myself grounded before anyone arrives.

And I always have a moment, right after setting up and right before anyone comes through the door where I wonder if anyone is going to show up.

Not necessarily a fear, or a panic, or a sadness, just like: i just laid out 8 yoga mats, I wonder if it will be just me. I never really know. At this point I have at least one person who has messaged me or coordinated: see you Saturday for yoga. But still, a lot can get in the way of actually showing up. Especially on a Saturday morning.

But once that first person shows up, it all begins. They always do show up. Usually a slightly different mix of people than the week before. I don’t think it’s ever the same. Sometimes rearranging mats to fit more, once giving up my mat at the front so everyone has one, sometimes with more mats for than people so I move around and practice/teach from several places. I loved a couple of weekends ago when somehow we ended in a circle all facing each other for our namaste and final breath together.

But it could only begin because we each showed up.

Once we start our breath work I like to tell the class they already did the hardest part, they showed up to the mat. By my estimation, the showing up is 90% of it. Doing the work is 9% of it. Staying is 1%.

Sometimes the only intention you need is to show up. To the yoga mat, to work, to your relationship, to that thing that you are trying to do with your life, to that thing that is so important to you. You don’t have to even figure out what you are going to do when you get there, just focus on showing up (physically, mentally, emotionally) and being present.

What are you showing up for today?

I showed up for a 5:30am Tonehouse workout with a bestie. And I’m need to SHOW UP (big time when it’s in all caps) for an 8am work meeting.

Journaling Suggestion:

1- what do you need to show up to?

2- what are three things that typically get in the way of showing up?

3- how can you counter or eliminate those things that get in the way?

Essential Monday: Eucalyptus

Mmmm, eucalyptus! Words that come to mind to describe the scent and its effects: cooling, refreshing and energizing. As a stimulant it is great first thing in the morning to get you going, both physically and mentally. As a disinfectant, I like to clean my yoga mat with it. And paired with Lavender it makes a killer travel set of essential oils: one to help you relax and sleep, the other to energize you and sanitize on the go.

I love this recipe from Yoga by Adrienne for a yoga mat spray. I just made a fresh bottle, it’s what I keep on hand to spray down our mats after weekend yoga!

  1. 6 ounces of witch hazel
  2. 10 drops of lavender
  3. 10 drops of eucalyptus

Add to spray bottle, shake to mix, spray away!

And I’m already planning playlists and sequencing for next weekend and am going to use Eucalyptus for the savasana cooling towels, get ready to feel refreshed!

Weekend Posing: Tree Pose

I have a lot of favorite poses, if you take my class you know which ones they are because they make repeat appearances throughout a sequence. Pyramid pose and supported warrior 3 come up a lot. But at the top of the list of favorites is tree pose, Vrksasana in Sanskrit. Because in the pose you are grounding down to rise up, I’ve always thought of it as the ultimate power pose.

You start by getting really intentional about grounding down through that supporting leg. Then you fire up your core. And finally you raise those arms up like life is yours for the taking! It sounds like the perfect recipe for life: get grounded, get a fire in your belly, and then GO FOR IT!

Here are my cues for tree pose, it’s one of those poses you can break out absolutely anywhere.

1. Ground down through the supporting leg. Press down through the ball and heel of the supporting foot. Lift the toes, lift the arch, lower the toes back down. Fire up that supporting leg, lift the knees, engage the quads. Take the time to set up in a very intentional way.

2. Fire up your core. Engaging your core is that tensing up of the stomach that happens at the beginning of a laugh. Or what you would do if automatically if you were about to get a punch to the belly, whichever analogy works best for you.

3. Transition to the Balance. Take the sole of the other foot that’s not grounded above or below the knee. For modifications: you can keep the toes on the ground and “kick-stand” the heel to the ankle of the grounded foot, or you can do this with your back against the wall as a support, or with a hand supported by a chair.

4. Make it a Power Pose. Starting with hands at heart center, come into your breath: long deep inhales like you are gathering the air from your heels and transferring it up through your body to the crown of your head, and then long slow exhales like you are releasing all that air out of the crown of your head. Find one place to fix your gaze and when you are ready, bring arms to overhead. Spread the fingers, bring to your mind your intention, and make it powerful!

Recommendation Thursday: Travel Yoga Mat

Whenever I get asked for my recommendation for a yoga mat, I bubble over with excitement thinking of all the possibilities! It’s hard to know where to start because I have so many yoga mat loves. I thought I’d start on here with the one I use the most, my traveling yoga mat!

My go-to for travel is the Manduka eko superlite travel mat (there are even more color options on Amazon).

Qualities of an ideal travel yoga mat:

1: packability: weight, size, ease of traveling with. This one fits the bill as it folds easily and fits in just about any bag without taking up too much room.

2: functionality: I like a mat that I’m not going to slip all over. I want to lightly “stick” to it, or at least not have my hands and feet slide around. This one has the perfect amount of grip for my liking.

3: longevity: a yoga mat doesn’t need to last forever, but it should be able to take some wear and tear. I have had this on balconies, docks, crammed in an over-packed suitcase, on hotel room carpets and on extended yoga retreats. It will take a licking.

It bears mentioning that I actually have two, this is also the preferred travel yoga mat of yogi puggles. Snoop is partial to the one I have in the color Arise and his favorite yoga poses on the mat are child’s pose and savasana.

The cons:

  • It is very thin, and if you aren’t used to that you might not like it. I’ve gotten used to it, and it is worth the trade-off for how portable and easy to travel with it is. But this is the main reason it is not my every-day home yoga mat.
  • Because it’s made of rubber there is an initial smell factor right when you get open it, but I assure you in goes away.

And if you use it for namaste & rosé (restorative with a glass of rosé at the top of the mat), you won’t even care about the cons.

Do you travel with a yoga mat? What exotic places and faraway lands has it been to?