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Thursday, February 3, 2011


One of my greatest challenges as a yoga instructor is my personal practice. Sounds silly, I teach 5 yoga classes a week, a personal practice should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. oh so very wrong. It seems as if the hardier my teaching schedule is the less "time" I have for my own personal practice. Teaching yoga is
not a personal practice. It is a gift you give to another person, but it is not a gift you give to yourself.

Generally, I am not one for making New Year's resolutions but as we moved through January this was at the forefront of my mind. My practice, and yogic education (which should be never ending) seemed stagnant. So, I consciously made the choice to dive head first back into my practice. Taking 4 classes a week, on top of teaching 5 classes a week, seems like a lot, but it feels amazing. It's my own little way of immersing myself back into the one thing (besides my fiance) that I am in love with.

In many ways I struggle as a heath coach, mostly over my lack of perfection. It's the virgo in me to want to fit in to the perfect healthy mold. I want my belly to be flat, my arms and legs long and lean and I want not to reach for the salty and sweet snacks when emotions run high. Unfortunately, I am not always perfect. Even though my clients are successful and love me as their health coach, inside, sometimes I felt like a failure. Which was not easy for the virgo in me to accept. Virgos are perfectionists.

The perfectionist in me also struggles on the mat. In each yoga class I teach, I remind my students "this is your time on your mat. Let go of judgement. Dive into yourself and love your practice." When you teach and neglect your personal practice, it's extremely hard to practice what you preach...or teach.

Coming back into my personal practice is helping me let go of my imperfections. On Tuesday, I took a yoga class with Wendy, one of my beloved teachers. While working on
eka pada koundiyanasana variations and pincha mayurasana consciously tried to let go of any "imperfections." I kept my focus inside and on my mat. I let go of judgement, I didn't look around to see the other people in the yoga room and I came closer to my perfect than I ever have. It felt amazing....and a lightbulb went off.

I have short humeri. My upper arms are just short. My elbow doesn't even reach my floating rib. How could I have never noticed this before in my life?

This lightbulb was more like a flood light. It allowed my heart to soften for myself. My palms have never reached the mat in staff pose. I always attributed it to extra padding around my waist and hips. On Tuesday I realized that is not the case. I could be a string bean, with 10% body fat and my palms would still not reach the mat in staff pose. My palms will never reach the mat in staff pose. I have short humerus(es).

I find it almost ridiculous that it took me over 10 years of practice to come to this conclusion. But we're all works in progress right? Each one of us is IMperfect. And that is ok.

Have you ever had a lightbulb moment over your IMperfect..ions?

Keep it Fresh!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Decadent Organic & Fair Trade Chocolates

Chocolate...how we love thee! Unfortunately, conventional chocolate production isn't good for the earth, fueling wars in Africa, engulfing rain forests, spreading toxic pesticides and paying out meager wages (especially to child workers). But luckily for chocoholics there is a sweet story as well, with organic and fair trade chocolate becoming much more widely available.

When choosing chocolate, opt for the dark varieties that contain 65 percent or more cocoa solids. These chocolate varieties possess a richer flavor with more complex notes without the cloying sweetness of milk added to it. Plus, you will get all the health benefits of the cocoa bean because dark chocolate has had little of the nutrient-robbing mass production manufacturing process applied to it.

Expecting or shopping for chocolate for Valentine's Day? Here are a few of the best organic and fair trade chocolates out there that you can find at any health food store, Whole Foods or even your local supermarket!

Endangered Species Chocolate

Endangered Species Chocolate donates 10% of its net profits to help support at-risk species, habitat and humanity. These delicious chocolates are made with ethically traded, shade-grown cacao and are certified organic. Indulge your sweet tooth and know that your money is going toward the greater good. Plus, there are cute animals on the package. ;) The one with the toucan is my favorite one!

Dagoba Organic Chocolate
If variety is the spice of life, the Dagoba Organic Chocolate Sampler is a must. This selection is deliciously Twilight-themed, with "Eclipse" and "New Moon" bars. The fine organic chocolate bars also come in flavors like lavender and roseberry, and each bar is wrapped in 100% recycled paper, with biodegradable labels.

Green & Black's Organic Chocolate
A bar of organic chocolate and champagne for two. Sounds pretty romantic to us! Green & Black's controls every step of the chocolate-making process from "the bean to the bar," paying Belize cocoa farmers fair trade prices and supporting their cooperative. And earlier this year, they announced their commitment to move their entire line to Fair Trade Certified in the U.S.
Their dark chocolate ginger bar is straight from the heavens...it's my favorite!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

10 Reasons to Eat Your Greens

Did you know that greens are the most missing food group in the modern American diet? It's true! Eating greens will help to build your internal rain forest and protect your body from viruses. Here are 10 more reasons to eat greens on a consistent basis:

1. Greens help to purify the blood.

2. Greens help prevent cancers.

3. Greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.

4. They are packed full of micronutrients and phytochemicals.

5. Greens contain vitamins A, C, E and K.

6. They help to strengthen the immune system.

7. Eating plenty of greens will help improve circulation in the body.

8. Greens contain fiber that the body needs to function optimally.

9. They also contain folic acid and chlorophyll.

10. Eating green vegetables helps life the spirit and eliminates depression.

What Are Greens?

There are many types of green vegetables to choose from. Find some that you enjoy eating and eat them often!

Dark leafy greens include broccoli, kale, bok choy, napa cabbage, collards, mustard greens, watercress, broccoli rabe, dandelion, arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard & beet greens.

How to Cook Greens

1. Wash greens well to remove any dirt or sand.

2. Remove the stems if they're thick. Don't toss them; chop them into bite-sized pieces. You can cook them later or eat them with the greens. (They'll take a little longer to cook, so start them first.)

3. Boil the greens for 3 to 5 minutes in salted water, or until just tender. (Add the stems a few minutes before the leaves.)

4. Steam the greens for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Braise greens by heating a little olive oil over medium heat. Add some minced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the greens, along with the water that clings to their leaves from washing. Sauté the greens until they're slightly wilted, then cover and braise until tender (just a few minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

6. Pair greens with beans such as chick peas (garbanzo beans) or white beans. The beans make for a hearty dish and mellow out the taste of the greens.

7. Spruce up greens with diced tomato and a dash of lemon juice or hot pepper sauce.


Keep it fresh!
- Lauren