Maven Yoga~VLOG!

Welcome to the very first Maven Yoga Vlog!

As we enter the season of celebrating holidays it is important to remember why we celebrate them in the first place.

Many of us seem to forget where the roots of these celebrations come from, which is religion, spirituality and the acknowledgment of a higher source or power.

For my very first Maven Yoga Pose I chose Sirsasana a.k.a. headstand.

To most people this looks like a rather advanced pose but the truth is that yogis of all levels, even the most beginners, can practice headstand-prep and still reap all of the benefits.

Sirasana is a sure way to stimulate the 7th Chakra, Sahashrara or the Crown Chakra. It is through this chakra that you connect to the higher source and merge into oneness with the universal life force.

Did I lose you? Keep reading…

Headstand-prep is also a great way to invert our energy during this stagnant time of year and to look at life from a different perspective.

It may be scary at first, but once you allow yourself to literally turn life on its head you will notice the benefits in your daily life (for example: noticing that you are approaching those holiday stressors in a different, more positive way).

Before attempting this pose please warm up and stretch your hamstrings and shoulders.

Please do not attempt if you have hypertension, any neck/cervical pain or vertigo.

To Enter:

Bring the base of your palm to the middle of your eyebrows and lay your palm and fingers over your forehead, like you’re gripping a basketball.

Feel where the tip of your middle finger hits the crown of your head and push down a little to remember that spot. That is where the top of your head will be placed on the ground.

Kneeling, come onto your forearms and place your hands on opposite elbows. Keeping your elbows at that distance, bring your hands forward and clasp the fingers, leaving the hands cupped. (This should look like an even triangle with the points being each elbow and the hands)

Bring the back of the head into the cup of the hands and rest the crown (the place your middle finger touched) gently on the floor.

Engage the shoulder and back, pressing the forearms into the floor to reduce the pressure in the head.

Tuck the toes under, lift the hips and lengthen the legs.

Gently walk your feet toward the head, keeping the shoulders and upper back engaged and pressing the forearms into the mat to decrease the pressure in the head and the spine.

Give your body time to adjust to this inverted position. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose.

Do not go further than you feel comfortable.

If something does not feel right, come out of it slowly and sit back into child’s pose.

NEVER, EVER KICK INTO HEADSTAND. EVER.

Eventually when you build the shoulder and core strength your hips will come over your shoulders, with your back straight and core engaged so that there is no pressure on the neck or spine.

From there you can play with bringing one knee into the chest, back down and then the other.

To exit, slowly lower your knees and come into child’s pose with your arms along your sides. Rest here for 8 breaths.

I’d love some feedback on your experience with headstand prep.

Did you give it a try? Did something surprise you? Have questions?

Send me an e-mail or show me your pic on Instagram or Facebook!

Hashtag #MavenYoga!

With Crown Chakra Love,

Your Maven

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Making Space For Quiet Moments

Quiet Moments

{Photo: Pinterest}

When was the last time you allowed your mind to just stop thinking?

It’s probably been a while, right?

A lot of the time it can seem almost impossible to quiet down the constant chatter. Our never ending to-do lists and our anxious thoughts have us consumed with how busy we are.

Being incredibly busy has somehow become a good thing to the point where people brag about it.

Unfortunately, we live in a modern world that revolves around a go-go-go mentality. As technology has advanced it has also become hard to separate ourselves now that we’re constantly connected at our fingertips. The moments where we allow ourselves to completely disconnect are rare.

But these disconnected moments are vital for our health and well-being.

Far too often I see people who are stressed beyond belief. They live in a constant state of ‘Fight or Flight’–a state that causes much damage to our mental and physical health.

When we relying on this mechanism we eventually find ourselves on a path that leads to many of the chronic illnesses that plague our culture today like: heart disease, anxiety, obesity, gastrointestinal problems and headaches.

What many of us may not know is that by making subtle lifestyle changes, like taking a moment or two everyday to slow down, we can cure these chronic illnesses without the use of harmful medications. Creating new habits in the form of getting more sleep, rest and meditating can also allow you to function on a higher level. Allowing you to work more efficiently.

I know what you’re thinking; you can’t possibly find any time in your busy schedule to quiet down.

Well, I call your BS. Because following these suggestions, you can.

The Anywhere, Anytime Breathwork:

While driving in the car, turn down the radio. Begin to connect with your breath. Gradually deepen the breath, inhaling down your spine and upon exhaling bring your attention to the crown of your head. This will feel like your breath is running up and down your spine. Then bring in this simple mantra. On your inhales repeat the word ‘So’ and on your exhale repeat the word ‘Hum’ Do this for the duration of your ride and either repeat the mantra out loud or quietly in your mind. For obvious safety reasons, keep your eyes open. This is especially helpful during those frustrating moments of traffic. Alternatively this exercise can be done while walking, sitting at your desk or while commuting on the train.

Mindful Morning:

Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier than you would normally get up—before the rest of your family and kids. Do something for yourself in these ten minutes like an abhyanga massage with sesame or coconut oil; depending on the season. Make yourself a cup of tea or hot water with lemon and drink it while creating an intention for the day. (Note: an intention is not running through your to-do list it is setting the tone for the day, how you would like the day to go, how you would like to feel). Or sit and make a list of things you are grateful for in that moment. The best part about this one is that it is a 10 minute commitment that makes a big difference.

Disconnect to Re-connect:

Dedicate the night time to truly disconnecting with the technological world. If you and your honey or family tend to watch TV all night. Suggest that you watch your one absolute favorite show then switch to reading the rest of the evening or playing a board game together instead. When you disconnect with the technological world around you, you are able to re-connect with yourself and your loved ones.

With Love and Quiet Moments,

Your Maven

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Food For Thought

wicked

“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness”

-The Yoga Sutras By Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras are a reading requirement for my 200 hour certification and this one has been by far my favorite. Any moment that I feel anxiousness or irritability towards another human being this sutra comes to mind and bring me the tools I need to carry out the interaction.

Sometimes cultivating these emotions when our ego wants us to feel something else is hard. But in the long term shutting the ego down is what helps us live the life we want and deserve.

Be happy for those happy people instead of trying to bring them down.

Feel compassion for the unhappy and hope that they find happiness again.

Feel delight in the virtuous, they are a reflection of what you can achieve, they are the ones who give you the fire to achieve it.

And my personal favorite, disregard the wicked.

I invite you to write this down, keep it in your back pocket, and remember it when you encounter one of the four of these people.

And We’re Back! (+ a yummy recipe)

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Hello again!

It feels like it has been forever, when in reality it has only been a short couple of weeks. It’s amazing how much you can learn and accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Throughout this break I have graduated college (finally!), did my very first juice cleanse (1 full day, with visions of 3 for the future), and found the studio where I will complete my 200 hour yoga training in the fall. And these are just the bigger events that are standing out! I have also been trying new products, reading new books, listening to new lectures (and some old), trying new recipes, and new styles of yoga and meditation.

All the while, ideas for articles kept popping up in my head. But don’t you worry, I wrote them all down.

As you can tell I have a lot to share! But this time I am pacing myself.

From now on you will see one post per week and one recipe from me. Although I love the Daily Inspiration, it gets tough to give it my whole heart and soul on a daily basis. But I think the one post per week will be a great match! 

Each post will allow me to post some inspiration, share tips on how to live well, and give you a great recipe to try!

Not a bad deal right?

*If you still need a little wellness inspiration on a daily basis, check me out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram*

I hope you’re looking forward to this comeback as much as I am.

Now, as promised..The Recipe!

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Vanilla Chia Pudding

What you need:

-1 cup non-dairy milk (almond, hemp, cashew, coconut)

-2-3 Tablespoons chia seeds (you’ll get a sense for how much you need as it thickens)

-1 Teaspoon all natural maple syrup

-1/2 Teaspoon all natural vanilla extract

-Sprinkle of cinnamon

-Additional toppings (berries, bananas, walnuts, almond slivers, etc.)

What you do:

Pour the cup of non-dairy milk into a bowl. Mix in the chia seeds and additional ingredients. Stir until all is well incorporated in the milk. Place it in the fridge to thicken. What happens during this time is that the chia seeds absorb the liquid and start to turn into a gelatin consistency.  The longer it sits the more dense it will be. After about 15 minutes stir it again. Sometimes you can eat it at this point, but I would leave it for another 15-20. Keep stirring it at intervals though because sometimes the chia seeds get stuck at the bottom, and although that’s OK it’s not ideal.

Once it is at the thickness you like, top it with some blueberries, strawberries, or walnuts. Or you can eat it plain.

I usually make mine the night before so that it is super thick by the time I eat it for breakfast.

This snack is perfect for when you need to be satisfied and energized. Chia seeds are great for creating lasting energy as well as holding onto water (in a good way that keeps you hydrated. Chia seeds are also known for giving people leaner physiques. Did you know summer is right around the corner? This would be the perfect snack to sneak in the cooler during a beach or pool day. Cool, refreshing, and satisfying!

Logging Off…For Now

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As you may have noticed I haven’t posted a new recipe of the week and the velocity of my posts have been slowing (unless you follow me on Facebook and Instagram). This isn’t out of laziness or lack of inspiration, it is because of finals and term papers.

As many of you know, I am finishing college this year. This is something I have put off for quite some time now. This semester I am taking 20 credits and then one last and final 3 week course starting immediately after I walk in cap and gown.

During these finals weeks, I will be giving it my all and will be focusing on staying present and enjoying the remainder of my time at Purchase. This school is a place I have come to love very much. I can’t believe how much I am going to miss it.

Of course I will post whenever I can, but not until after this week.

Yup, this week I am treating myself to a full blown social media detox. No Instagram, no Facebook, no twitter, no Pinterest. Although I find so much inspiration through so many other people, their posts, and their lives. I also find myself wanting to live in their world, do what they’re doing, or comparing myself to them. None of these things are very healthy and I am sick of pressing the reload button.

This week will be the most present I have been in years and I am so excited for it. This week will give me the opportunity to live and focus on my life and my present. It also gives me time to discover what I have to offer as an individual, how I want to move forward with my life and this wellness business/inspiration and to strengthen my mindfulness muscles. How exciting does that sound? If its possible, I invite you all to join me in this detox.

Of course I will miss sharing the inspiration that inspires me each day with you, but I know by the time I get back I will have even more wonderful things to share (Ill be writing them all down 😉

Be Well
Be Happy
Be Present
And Love

Xo,
Kathleen
Your Maven

Daily Inspiration-Affirmations

Aim True Affirmation

What a powerful affirmation.

This one was made by my favorite yoga teacher, Kathryn Budig. She is the wonderful mind behind a Vinyasa flow called Aim True. Besides the amazing archery based sun salutations, the idea is that everyday you make an intention or affirmation to help you reach your goals. These intentions and affirmations help you keep your eye on the target and can help you stay true to what your heart and soul actually wants out of life.

I feel as though this affirmation can be used daily. To see things with loving eyes helps you to become less hurt when people cast judgment upon you or are rude to you. When you see things with loving eyes you are seeing the story behind the actions. This may be difficult at first but it is all a part of acting mindfully.

Acting to not react.

For example, when someone casts judgement upon you or says something purposely to hurt you. Simply remind yourself that this person is projecting onto you. It is them that feels this way about themselves. It is no secret that misery loves company. Don’t join them, don’t react. Somewhere in this persons life they are feeling a lack of love and usually that lack of love is coming from themselves.

Look inside,

breathe,

remind yourself why it isn’t true,

and send them the light and love that they are missing. 

Daily Inspiration

headstand

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” 
― Rumi

I really liked this quote today.

As a sensitive person I often fall victim to criticism or comparing myself to others. These past couple of months I have been able to get in touch with that on a deeper level and instead of being wounded or hurt by it, I learn from it and rise above it.

In every situation, especially the difficult ones, there is a lesson to be learned. Sometimes it can be really hard to see that lesson. That’s why I usually just straight up ask. I say “God, Universe, Spirit, What are you trying to tell me?” And usually the message comes out clearer. I know this sounds crazy, but I swear it really works.

This week those lessons have been coming out through my lectures at school. Tuesday I was feeling frazzled and stressed, while considering my mental health day Wednesday we discussed Existential Psychology in class and how important it is to have a balance between structure and freedom. My life with school and work revolves around structure, what my mind and soul needed was a little bit of freedom, so I took it.

Yesterday I was in an interesting mood AGAIN. And in my lecture, ran by the same amazing teacher, we discussed how neuroticism is manifested in our early developmental period. Usually I think to myself “Great, I am crazy” but he began to talk about the resilient people who come out of not so stellar situations. From just a few examples that he gave, I put myself in that category. It was a great reminder to appreciate myself, where I have come from, and to give myself some credit for all that I am doing. 

So although criticism and comparisons will come and go it’s important to remember that once they do come to look inside yourself and think about how you can grow from the experience. How can you handle this criticism better? But also better yet, how are you already great?