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Celebrate National Yoga Month

September is National Yoga month and there’s no better time to start, re-energize or deepen your yoga practice, especially as your summer trips wind down and we transition into the fall season. Here are some great tips that apply to all yoga practioners, no matter where you are in your yoga practice.

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1. Practice Daily—When we view the “practice of yoga” we typically think of the physical part of the practice, “the asana”. However, the asana practice is only one sliver of the yoga pizza pie. There’s so much more to explore. Use this month to incorporate other practices of yoga into your routine besides just asana.

Meditation and pranayama are powerful and often the overlooked aspects of yoga that require little to no physical effort but still give the same benefits of relaxation, focus, clarity and stress relief. Start small with 5 minutes of pranayama first and then 5 minutes of meditation and see by the end of the month if you can increase your meditation time to 20 minutes.

2. Get Out of Your Yoga Comfort Zone—We love finding comfort in our routine but sometimes comfort can get a little boring. Take this month to explore new classes, new studios or to develop your own home practice. Too scared to try something on your own? Bring a friend. My challenge this month to explore more restorative and yin yoga classes and teachers.

3. Give Back—As much as yoga is about finding connection within the individual, it’s about collectively coming together as one community. This month make your yoga practice not only about you, but think about how you can give back. Maybe it’s as simple as attending a yoga benefit for a non-profit organization or you can even go big with it by planning your own event.

4. Get Social—Yoga is a great way to make some friends. Next time you’re on your yoga mat, say hello to your neighbor. The chances are is that it’s not the first time you’ve seen him or her. As a yoga teacher, I find that the best classes I have taught or have taken is when the environment has this warm and welcoming energy.

5. Keep your hydration in check—Hydration is key, especially if you’re practicing in a space that’s on the hot side and you seem to end up like a big puddle by the end of class. How consistent you are with drinking and what you’re drinking is key.

Throughout my day, I drink 1.5 to 3 liters of Essentia Water. I keep a bottle of Essentia with me at all times to remind me to drink and to also make sure I’m not over drinking; just drinking when I’m thirsty. Essentia has electrolytes which makes a big difference in keeping me hydrated and keeping my energy up.

Monday Music Motivation! Class Playlists from week of July 7th

Happy Monday! Here are my playlists from my classes last week (week of July 7th) to bring some energy and pep to your Monday. Enjoy!

Vinyasa Top 3
1. Don’t Wait, Mapei
2. Alive, Empire of Sun
3. Money on My Mind, Sam Smith
Class Playlist> Jubel – Original Mix

Hip Hop Yoga- Madonna-a-thon Top 3
1. Vogue
2. Die Another Day
3. I’ll Remember
Class Playlist> Madonna HHY

Spin Top 3
1. Summertime Sadness, Lana De Rey
2. In My Mind Part 2, Flo Rida
3. Thinking About You, Calvin Harris
Class Playlist> Spin 7-7

 

Pedal for Parkinson’s: We Made A Difference

Sunday, June 22nd was truly an amazing day. More than 50 people came out to support Pedal for Parkinson’s, an event to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease. Jon and I were blown away by everyone’s support and desire to help and be part of the effort.

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Pedal for Parkinson’s Champions!

As some of you might know, Jon and I were inspired to join Team Fox (running the 2014 Chicago Marathon) and raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease when we found out someone close to us has the gene, LRRK2, that makes them at a high risk for Parkinson’s (more info here).

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From the moment that I began to promote the Pedal for Parkinson’s event, students and friends shared their stories of how this disease touched their life. Jon and I were overwhelmed by how something like Parkinson’s disease impacts so many. It just fueled our motivation to make this the best event ever.

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P
rizes given away as part of our raffle

And it was the best event ever. Sweat and Soul Yoga donated their space free of charge, and Kelly Nicolson, Kirsten Durocher, Jen Filiault and I all donated our time to teach some high energy classes! Companies like City Sports, Dunkin Donuts, Keurig, Lululemon, People’s United Bank, True Runner, Sports Club LA and Sweetgreen all donated items for the raffle and goodie bags. And each and every person that showed up to the event was energized and ready to rock! Cheering was a theme in each and every class. I’ve never seen so many people so happy to sweat it out together. It was so inspiring to see everyone who came out to support us and those who provided a donation that could not attendfamily, friends, students, team fox young professional group members to even a fellow Team Fox marathoner from Chicago! Jon and I are overcome with such gratitude!

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Our friend, Jimmy Choi, from Team Fox Chicago!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We couldn’t have done this event without your love and support! Because of you we raised more than $1,500! Absolutely amazing! NAMASTE!

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Pedal for Parkinson’s champions!

 

Friday Favorites: Class Playlists, Week of June 2nd

Here’s the latest and greatest from my class playlists this past week, including my 2Pac vs. Notorious Big Hip Hop Yoga playlist. Enjoy!

Vinyasa Top 3 Songs:
1. How to Save a Life, Piano Guys
2. Hemiplegia, Haerts
3. Ships in the Night, Mat Kearney
Class Playlist> Mat Kearney – Sooner Or Later

Hip Hop Yoga, 2Pac vs. Biggie Top 3 Songs:
1. Dear Mama, 2 Pac
2. Notorious Thugs, Notorious BIG
3. One More Chance, Notorious BIG
Class Playlist> Tuppac vs. Biggie

Spin Top 3 Songs:
1. Dirrty, Christina Aguilera
2. Battle Scars, Lupe Fiasco
3. Alone Again, Alyssa Reid
Class Playlist> 6-4 spin 

 

Paleo Blueberry Muffins

I’m constantly in the search for homemade breakfast and snack goodies that I can take with me throughout the day that will keep me full, energized and guilt free. I decided to switch things up a bit from my granola bars and try making some muffins, blueberry paleo style.

I got this recipe from Bravo for Paleo. The muffins came out incredible. They’re filling, moist and have just enough sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups almond flour (I made the flour in my vitamix)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk (I used Thai coconut milk which is A LOT thicker, feel free to use less and add some water)
2 eggs
1 cup fresh blueberries (I went over the top on this one and used 1 whole container. No regrets)
2-3 Tablespoons cinnamon

Ingredients

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine almonds in vitamix to create almond flour. Otherwise by almond flour at store.
3. Combine all ingredients except for blueberries into mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly.
4. Fold blueberries into mixture.
5. Scoop mixture into 12 cup muffin pan.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

 

 

Friday Favorites! My Class Playlists

Here are my top songs from my playlists this week; including my Vinyasa Yoga, Spin and Hip Hop Yoga classes. Each playlist is listed below via Spotify. Enjoy!

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Vinyasa Yoga

  1. You & Me, Disclosure
  2. Porcelian, Moby
  3. In my Heart, Moby
  4. Red Hands, Walk of the Earth
  5. Somebody Loves You, Betty Who

Playlist > http://open.spotify.com/user/1237201033/playlist/0QIx2n9m3ncJ9OdMc7wkoB

Hip Hop Yoga Top 5–Bad A$# Babes of Hip Hop Theme This Week!

  1. Get Me Home, Foxy Brown
  2. Change Your Life, Iggy Azalea
  3. Not Gon’ Cry, Mary J. Blige
  4. Right Now, Rihanna
  5. Your Love, Nicki Minaj

Playlist > http://open.spotify.com/user/1237201033/playlist/6TJJIASrAeAvr34T4rwGg8

Spin Top 5

  1. Tambourine, Eve
  2. Climax, Usher
  3. Loose Control, Missy Elliot
  4. We Got the World, Icona Pop
  5. Here Comes the Weekend, Pink

Playlist > http://open.spotify.com/user/1237201033/playlist/3D9Ge8XbjFo7Tn2koOzsoI

 

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

This cold weather has made me want to do nothing more than to cuddle up in a blanket on the couch and eat a nice warm hearty dish. This mac & cheese dish does the trick without all the gilt and is a great meal to reheat and have for left overs throughout the week. Pictures and instructions are below. Enjoy!

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For the Mac and Cheese:

  • 1 bag of brown rice pasta or macaroni
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 3 cups), cubed
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon tamari (or regular soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the mushrooms:

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  • 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place sweet potato cubes onto lightly greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Place in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender, turning once halfway through.

2. In the meantime, boil your pasta according to packaging instructions.  Drain and place pasta back in the pot.

3. In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, dijon, garlic powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

4. In a small pan, sauté mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

5. Remove sweet potatoes from oven (don’t turn off the heat) and add sweet potatoes to the bowl with all your seasonings and almond milk.  Mash well, combining all ingredients….

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Friday Favorites: My Class Playlists

Here are my top songs from my playlists this week; including my Vinyasa Yoga, Spin and Hip Hop Yoga classes. Each playlist is listed below via Spotify. Enjoy!

What are your song favorites this week?

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Vinyasa Yoga Top 5

1. There’s Nowhere, BlackBird BlackBird
2. Never Let Me Go, Florence + The Machines
3. The Moon Song, song from “Her”
4. Ribs, Lorde
5. On the Nature of Daylight, Max Richter (always my song for savasana)

Vinyasa Playlist for this week>  http://open.spotify.com/user/1237201033/playlist/04iWdSKtKzlKsl7XDKuv5w

Hip Hop Yoga Top 5

1. Play Hard, David Guetta
2. Crooked Smile, J. Cole
3. Sweat, Snoop Dogg
4. My Dangerously Melodic Anthem, D.Veloped
5. Da Rockwilder, Method Man, Redman

Playlist for this week> http://open.spotify.com/user/1237201033/playlist/1Oe7ZCnTJgd9QrnlBc7VnG

Spin Top 5

1. Play Hard, David Guetta
2. Hands in the Air, Timbaland, Ne-Yo
3. Right Now, Rihanna, David Guetta
4. Clarity, Zedd, Tiesto Remix
5. Let’s Go, Calvin Harris, Ne-Yo (one of my sprinting favorites!)

Playlist for this week> http://open.spotify.com/user/1237201033/playlist/5JAYYHe9ZoqL9qvevc4U35