Get clean before the holiday feast

Heading home for the Holidays is always bittersweet. The thought of being back home and being able to see your loved ones brings a great deal of happiness. The thought of having a break from school for a couple of days brings nothing but smiles, but the thought of having to deal with relatives bombarding you with questions about your future and your figure is dreadful. So before we begin to overeat in an attempt to gain some time to think about the best possible way to answer post-graduation questions, let discuss how to properly take care of our bodies before the stuffing.

Yes, I am suggesting a cleanse before the holidays. Contrary to popular beliefs cleansing before the holiday feast is actually beneficial. It clears your body of the toxins that stimulate cravings, this is helpful in allowing yourself to enjoy, but not binge, certain foods. It also creates a healthy balance, allowing your body to recover from drinking or a nice slice of pie.

You can stick to the juice cleanse for a day or for three days. You can consume nothing but juice during your cleanse or you can use your juice as a substitute for a meal, it is completely up to you. I am a firm believer in doing what you feel is right for your body. No matter what you decide, you will be giving your body some sort of break from digestion which it will greatly appreciate especially before it consumes all that turkey.

Typical juice cleanses consist on consuming nothing but juices, six times a day. However, I understand that this time of year is usually hectic, so I would recommend consuming at least two green juices daily along with your other meals.

My recipe for my green juice goes as follows:

  • 8 oz. of kale
  • 8 oz. of spinach
  • 8 oz. of romaine
  • One cucumber
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • Juice of one fresh squeezed lemon
  • One inch of ginger
  • ½ an apple
  • Handful of wheatgrass
  • One tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Handful of parsley

Enjoy & happy holidays!

Many oms-nom-nom,

Linda

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Interior design student finds tranquility through yoga practice

Long nights, little sleep and high levels of stress are some of the ways that interior design student, Maria Jose Toro describes her major. How does Toro balance everything she faces in school? The answer is simple: yoga.

Toro first started yoga her freshman year of college, taking classes at the Southwest Recreation Center at the University of Florida. What she really connected with during her first class was the focus on self-awareness that is found in yoga.

She then started incorporating yoga into her life, especially whenever she was experiencing stress.

“I love yoga because it helps you focus in the moment,” Toro said. “When I get in that zone with yoga, I always feel better afterwards, I feel relieved and I feel that some of my stress has gone away.”

Whenever Toro finds herself in a situation where she can’t practice immediately, she focuses on her breath and reminds herself that everything will work itself out in the end as she’s learned to do so in yoga.

“I associate yoga and the practice with my stress reliever,” Toro said.

Toro continued her yoga practice while studying abroad in Germany. She has taken a series of photos practicing headstands, one of her favorite poses, while visiting important landmarks abroad. One of her personal favorites being the one she took in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Toro hopes to continue taking her practice across borders by taking courses in Aruba alongside her best friend with Rachel Brathen, a well-known yogi she looks up to. Toro states that both yoga and Brathen has brought her relationship with her best friend much closer.

“One of the most important things of yoga to me is that it’s your personal practice to be with yourself, to learn more about yourself and grow as a person,” Toro said. “Ultimately, it’s a very positive experience.”

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Toro shows us one of her favorite poses, upward dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. “What I like about upward dog is the motion of facing the sky, it gives a sense that you’re facing the world and opening your heart,” Toro said.

Yogis Heart provides inner peace through scholarship

As college students, we know there are scholarships for almost anything. As college students, we also know that we are dealt with added pressure from society as to what we intend to do with our lives, and how we plan to succeed with all of the competition there is for jobs. As stated in an earlier post, yoga provides the means to mental clarity and eases stress, which is crucial when dealing with pressure from everyone; however, annual yoga memberships can range anywhere from $800 – $1,200, so what’s a college student to do? There is one organization that combines the best of both worlds for young adults.

Yogis Heart is a volunteer organization that provides yearly-unlimited-yoga scholarships to young adults at the studio of their choice. Yogis Heart believes that a year of regular yoga practice opens the practitioners’ body, mind and spirit to alternative ways of facing the stresses of our everyday modern world. The scholarship is offered to young adults between the ages of 15-25 and if selected, it features a requirement of attending practice at least twice a week in order to maintain the scholarship, if one can even consider that a requirement.

I was awarded this amazing scholarship in February of 2014 and since then I have been able to practice as much as I want, especially during stressful moments. As I stated in an earlier post, this scholarship helped me encounter my first emotional breakthrough, it has helped me grow in both my practice and as a person. This scholarship was instrumental in my transition of moving away from home and starting at a new university. It allowed me to feel connected and at ease with myself and my surroundings, while still feeling at home in practice although home was over 300 miles away. The consistent yoga practice has allowed me to see the world from a different perspective and has offered me a much healthier way of dealing with stress.

I strongly encourage young adults who are seeking a consistent yoga practice, but are limited due to financial means to apply for this scholarship and see how yoga can alter their perspective in just a year. Read blogs entries from other Yogis Heart scholarship recipients here.

Namaste,

Linda

Juicing does your body good!

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Let’s talk juicing!

As someone who found a love for vegetables much later in life, I am a huge fan of juicing. Juicing allows you to consume all of your daily vegetables and fruits intake in an easy way! 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need can be found in raw juices.

This is due to the fact that when you drink juice, highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes enter your bloodstream rapidly thus absorbing all of the nutritional benefits of the fruits and vegetables while giving your digestive system a break. It is crucial to give your digestive system a chance to rest because of all of the energy your body uses to digest.

When giving your body a break from digestion, it allows your body to use that saved energy for other beneficial things such as to regenerate your liver, to flush toxic wastes from the body, maintain ideal weight, keeps blood from stagnating into dark under-eye circles and keeps your skin’s collagen smooth and your hair healthy.

There are two different ways to go about juicing; you can buy juices from a juicing company or you can make your own. For those interested in purchasing a juice cleanse, there are companies such as BluePrint and Pressed Juicery that offer a variety of different juice cleanses. I opt to make my own juices, seeing that it’s more affordable and I’m able to control what is being put in it.

One of my top favorite juices is one I like to call “Green Machine”. The Green Machine, pictured above, has the following ingredients: kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumbers, celery, lemon, ginger, apple, chia seeds and wheatgrass.

Each of these ingredients contributes a great nutritional benefit when consumed. I learned about these great, healthy fruits and veggies thanks to Kimberly Snyder, best-selling author and nutritionist.

“Kale contains 47 flavonoids antioxidants which fight off the formation of cancer. Parsley and cucumber are both wonderful natural diuretics. Romaine lettuce builds hemoglobin. Spinach is an anti-inflammatory and apples are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins. Wheatgrass is literally loaded with nutrients, and considered a wonderful anti-cancer food. Celery cleans the digestive system. Ginger boosts the metabolism. Lemons alkalize the body and are rich in Vitamin C and bioflavonoid which benefit the liver and may clear mucus.”

What are your thoughts on juicing? Will you give it a go?

Namaste,

Linda

‘Home is not where you live but where they understand you’

Every yogi experiences that one studio they make a connection with, that one studio which feels like a safe place, like home. I continue to search for that special place here in Gainesville, but back home in Miami it was 305 Yoga.

In early 2014 I was awarded a yoga scholarship by an amazing organization called Yogi Hearts, which I will explain more in my next post, and was granted a full year of yoga at the studio of my choice. I had recently moved far away from my old studio so I decided to redeem my scholarship at a new yoga studio that had opened up in my neighborhood, hoping that it would be a good fit.

Two feet into 305 Yoga and I instantly felt how the relationship wasn’t between instructor and student, but friend to friend. The instructor, Mo, was warm and welcoming as most yoga instructors tend to be. However, what really got to me was the sense of community that was in the air during practice. We would practice several poses using each other to balance as we immediately grasped that unity creates a strong foundation allowing everyone to move forward together without leaving someone behind.

During my first class at 305 Yoga I experienced my first emotional breakthrough while practicing hip-openers. Our hips, the deepest confines of our beings, are where we store our suppressed emotions. It is where we tuck away hurtful thoughts and painful experiences.

The class was in double pigeon, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, for various breaths. As I got deeper into the pose I truly felt all of those negative thoughts I had bottled up over the years escape me. As I surrendered to the pose I thanked each of the memories and thoughts from my past for their lessons and I broke into tears. Tears for the release; tears for finally realizing that in every mistake made, there is a lesson learned; tears for realizing that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. Once again, the sense of community and being understood was felt as other yogis had tears streaming down their face as well during practice.

I have always been intrigued about the soul and chakras, energy centers, but I had never experienced it firsthand as I did that day.

The mantra at 305 Yoga goes as follows:

“May we know the truth. May we see the truth. May we speak the truth. May we feel the truth.”

While saying the mantra our prayer hands move from our crown to our eyes, mouth and heart as we say it in hopes of the truth.

What are some breakthroughs you have experienced at your favorite place?

SAT NAM,

Linda

Yoga myth-busters

I have been an avid “yogi” for about four years. Through my journey as a yogi, a person who is proficient in yoga, I have posted several pictures and videos of my favorite poses on social media. The most common response seems to be, “I wish I could do yoga, but I’m not flexible and it looks hard.” This seems to be a common misconception of yoga, that one must be flexible in order to practice. I’ve decided to dedicate this post to clarify two big myths that are associated with yoga.

First, let’s tackle the flexibility myth mentioned above. Some think that the only people that can practice yoga are those who are flexible when in fact, yoga is used to increase flexibility. Flexibility is not the only component of yoga. There are other things that you can contribute to your practice such as strength, balance and concentration. A big component of yoga is being able to find your center and silence any invading thoughts that may take you away from being present in your practice. The more you practice, the more flexible you will become.

“Yoga is only for young women.”

This seems to be another misconception of yoga. Yoga does not discriminate against gender or age, it’s for everyone! During my first week in Gainesville, I practiced next to a 70-year-old man who had briefly mentioned to me that he started practicing yoga with his wife twenty years ago and never looked back. This man continued on to practice amazing headstands, something I have yet to master. Truth is, yoga has many benefits that would interest men. At the beginning of most yoga classes, a reminder to honor your body’s particular needs is said. This creates an awareness and habit to assess yourself which in the end prevents workout injuries. Yoga calms your mind through breathing exercises which leads to greater concentration at work. Yoga also sculpts muscles through the use of your own body weight to build mass and strength.

As always, remember to honor your body when you practice.

Many Oms,

Linda