Posts Tagged ‘Yoga and Wellness’

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Download ~ Online Yoga Classes

Yoga Download

Many of you know I’m a yogi and yoga teacher. I am always trying to find new ways to enhance my practice and like to practice at different studios although I have my main studio in DC. Because the weather has been so crazy I decided to try yoga at home via my computer with Yoga Download. There are many online classes and I have decided to try one out every few months to see which one I like the most. First up, Yoga Download.

Yoga Download offers a variety of teachers and a variety of styles.  I will say I have enjoyed practicing with teachers such as Ana Forrest (super hard), Ashtanga, Baptiste, Vinyasa (the style I mainly practice), and more. Classes start at just $10 a month for streaming, but you can pay more if you want to download particular classes to keep forever and can be played without a Wi-Fi connection.

I will admit it felt weird looking at a screen to practice yoga, but after a few times trying the classes I was able to follow along without looking at times. I’m working on lots of strength training through yoga and contemplating getting rid of my gym membership now that the weather is about to get better. I really rather be outside working out.

As with any exercise programing please take it easy. I know we see these glorious mind-blowing yoga poses, but if you aren’t warmed up and listening to your body you can hurt yourself.

Om Pretty!

Wellness Wednesday: Jillian Michaels Body Revolution DVDs

Jillian Michaels

I don’t know about you but it’s been hard to go to the gym. It’s not about working out it’s about being in the building. We’ve had a relatively mild summer here and I loved being outdoors. I loved walking around in the heat. Yes, in the heat and not worrying about did I get to the gym. The outside was the gym. I’ve been thinking do I really want to keep my membership this fall. I used it a lot in the winter, but the timing of the classes that I want to take are only on the weekends. Part of me says yes, but the other side wants me to start using DVDs to see if I actually like working out at home.

I can work from home and be productive, but I’ve started and stopped DVDs for years. I remember this past winter trying to get motivated to leave my house when it was 10 degrees outside. I did it because I signed up for a spring race, but now I’m like whatever. That won’t be happening again.

Once I’m back from Hawaii I’m giving Jillian Michaels Body Revolution to the test. I’m a fan of Jillian. In her videos she doesn’t come off yelling. It is very different from her TV persona. She is very motivational and encouraging. I get the yelling and being tough works for some, but at home no one needs to be yelling at all.

Do you work out in a gym, home or outside? Which do you prefer?

GIVEAWAY: Manduka LiveOn Adult and Kids Yoga Mat


I don’t have children, but if I did you can bet they would be little yogis. Since I don’t I have partnered with the lovely people at Manduka to do a giveaway of their LiveON Yoga Mats. I have an adult and kids LiveON Yoga mat to give away to a random individual who wants to get their yoga on. Yep, two mats. The mats are 100% recycled material and have amazing grip. You don’t have worry that if you sweat a lot in class this will be a slip-n-side. It’s also a great way to get your kids involved in yoga.

The contest runs from today until next Wednesday. The giveaway runs for one week and you can enter as many times as you like.

Good luck and OM on!

[contesthopper contest=”4021″]

Reading Pretty: Sadie Nardini’s 21-Day Yoga Body

Sadie Nardini

I have been following Sadie Nardini since I first discovered yoga. She is an in your face, fun, and very different type of yoga teacher. And I love it. She’s different from what I thought a yoga teacher should be. Now, as a teacher myself I completely get her. She is unapologetically Sadie. I spent a Saturday evening plowing through her 21-Day Yoga Body book. While reading this book I felt I was sitting somewhere in Italy, having an amazing dinner, a glass of a Barolo or Sangiovese, and lots of laughter.

Sadie has this funny and lovable side from her videos that came out in the book. I don’t know any body books that recommend wine with your meals as part of your yoga. Her direction for yoga poses are equally as cute. I had no idea about a Stilet-toeasana, but now I do after reading the book – “pointed through the ball of the foot, with the toes pulled back as if you were wearing high heals.”

We both agree that a bath is the best thing for relaxation, but I don’t recommend reading this book in the tub. You want to enjoy this on a yoga mat, in the kitchen, or sipping a glass of wine. I can’t wait to take a class or workshop with this fun teacher.

Reading Pretty: Sacred Sound: Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra and Kirtan by Alanna Kaivalya

Sacred Sound

The word mantra means many things to many people. If you log on to Instagram you see tons of them every day. They are words used to motivate and inspire. In many yoga classes a particular mantra is OM. Most people don’t know what these words mean so they either embrace them or are uncomfortable with them.

Alanna Kaivalya’s new book Sacred Sound : Discovering the Myth & Meaning of Mantra & Kirtan is for you. Alanna goes deep with her explanation of the words, what they mean, and how to pronounce them. I’ve been on Alanna’s virtual library to enhance my mantra pronunciations. I feel like I’m back in school. Yoga school that is.

When I first started yoga there was no way I would recite any of the mantras. I just didn’t go there. The more I practiced yoga and the more comfortable I became with mantra and kirtan I made them part of my meditation and yoga practice. I have even found myself practicing at home, chanting, and singing.

I loved Alanna’s first book The Myth of the Asanas which explained the meaning of some of yoga’s most popular poses and I knew Sacred Sound would be another winner. Alanna says this about the myths of yoga. “Because every myth illustrates some kind of human truth, every myth calls out to what is enlivened inside our own psyche. Every myth helps us to realize and bring about our true potential. This is the power of mythology. We find some kernel or ultimate truth in every story — a lighthouse that guides us home. The myths that speak to us are the ones we should listen to and follow… no matter what version we know. If it calls to our soul, we should follow it.

Listen to Alanna explain Sacred Sound.


Om Pretty!

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Journal Live! Conference ~ New York

I was still recovering from my California jaunt when the invitation to attend the Yoga Journal Live! Conference in New York came into my inbox. I could not say no. I changed some plans, bought travel tickets, and decided that the best thing would be to stay with family in Queens. Yes, it would be a big commute every day back and forth, but it’s all good. I would be in a zen place after all that yoga. Zen, tired, and achy was more like it.

The conference did something for me I didn’t expect. It reignited my love of the practice. I’m now back to #yogaeverydamnday and my body thanks me. I really don’t think running is good for me anymore. I can see a few races a year, but the day to day running doesn’t work. I see more walking, yoga, and swimming.

I was excited to take classes with teachers I only see online like Seane Corn, Vinnie Marino, and Amy Ippoliti. I finally met Tracye Warfield. Our mutual friend Tressa has been trying to get us to meet up for a few years now and we finally did. She’s a gem and I’m blessed to call her a true friend.

As an African-American woman who practices yoga it was hard to see that in 2014 the conference lacked diversity. There were only a handful of people of color, men, and older yogis. When I first came to yoga I could care less about being the only Black girl in the class. I was depressed and needed something. At that time I didn’t realize it was yoga. Everyone isn’t me. It also doesn’t help that yoga is only portrayed in body contorting poses by thin individuals. If you walk into most yoga studios you see people of all races, sizes, genders, and ages. It’s sad that it is not represented in mainstream media. Will I continue to attend yoga conferences, retreats, and workshops? Absolutely.

I get why it seems intimidating. Most people think of yoga as only the poses (asanas) they see. It’s more than that. I may never be able to put my foot behind my head, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. It is really for every body. I want to age gracefully and yoga helps with flexibility and stress. I hope to see you one day on the mat. I will be there with you rocking the hot pink lipstick.

Thank you Yoga Journal for the opportunity. See you in Florida. Om Pretty!

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 Already calendared Florida and New York. Who’s With Me?

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Aerial yoga. I can’t wait to take a class next month.

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A cool device to make sure you can open those young coconuts without hurting yourself

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Yoga Instructor Elena Brower


Yoga Instructor Elena Brower working her assisting magic.


Yoga Instructor Sadie Nardini


Free Community Yoga Class


Photobooth fun rocking prayer pose and hot pink lipstick

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A few new eco beauty goodies

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The joy of finally getting a class with Vinnie Marino

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Vinnie, you silver fox you.

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Yoga Instructors Kathryn Budig and TJ Hark demoing to Drunk in Love

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Amy Ippoliti breaking it down. My crow pose won’t be the same.

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I can’t wait to practice with Amy again. Making plans for 2015.

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Three brown girls in yoga poses. My new yogini crush Tracye

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My suggestion for a different type of Yoga Journal cover – 3 brown girls

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{Disclosure: My admission to the conference was complimentary. All opinions are my own.}

Reading Pretty: Thrive – The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

Thrive-by-Arianna-Huffington (1)

Webster defines thrive as: “to grow or develop successfully : to flourish or succeed.” It does not include anything about being rich, busy, sleep deprived, conniving, and mean. It seems in our society today the only way to thrive is to be the best no matter what the cost. Unhappy? Check. Mean? Check? Sleep Deprived? Check, check. There really is enough to go around for everyone. I am not against hard work. Hard work is what makes the dream work. But, hard work without rest, time for reflection, time for people you really care about – well, it makes you not a very pleasant person to be around. I’m sure you can name a few people who have this problem. 

The word busy has been thrown around loosely these days. I’m guilty of it and are so many people. It’s like we wear the word as a badge of honor. For the past few years I have been on a quest for the sanctity and quest for finding the pockets in my life for self-care. This doesn’t always mean a massage or a spa day, although that isn’t too shabby, but finding the time to just be, grow, workout, practice yoga, and sleep. I admit not being the best sleeper. It’s a work in progress for me. But I do know that I can’t function and be the best Julia without it. How much nicer would everyone be if they turned off the TV, computer, tablet, phone, gadget, gizmo, etc.

What would happen if you slept your way to the top? Pun intended. You have to read the book to understand this concept. Let’s all work on building a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

This post was inspired by Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington who encourages everyone to sleep their way to the top. Join From Left to Write on May 1 we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

{4.25.14} Le Weekend

{4.25.14} Le Weekend

By the time you read this I will be half way to New York for the Yoga Journal Conference. I was asked if I wanted to attend the conference and since I haven’t been to a Yoga Journal conference in years I couldn’t say no. Travel, beauty, New York, and yoga? It was a no brainer. After reworking my schedule I’m headed to practice with some of my “favorite BFF” yoga teachers that I only know through social media. In my head I am their friend. You know what I mean. It’s a full and packed day Friday – Monday, but I have my muscle rub (lots of yoga = sore muscles), essential oils, and few beauty goodies that I can’t leave home without. You can follow my adventures on Instagram here.

Happy Weekend. Bisous!

Yoga Journal Conference. I love practicing at my home studio Tranquil Space, but there are times I want to practice with the yoga people I see in magazines. These are my favorite celebrities. I’m excited to take classes with Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruikshank, Rodney and Colleen Yee, Vinnie Marino, Seane Corn and a few others. I know I will be sore so I have my trusty Tiger Balm in my bag. I learned my lesson from my first conference. Never leave home without Tiger Balm and Tylenol.

Iman Lipstick in Flirtatious. I’m a beauty girl after all and I have to have a lip product on during my yoga practice. I don’t care how many chaturungas I have to do Vinnie, I need me a lippie. This hot pink lipstick has staying power and it’s gorgeous on my skin. OMG – Om My God! This lipstick is perfection. I plan to rock it with my hot pink yoga tights and a smile. Don’t worry. I’m bringing a lip gloss as well in case I need to change up.

Shobha Freshening Rosewater Cloths. I have been going to Shobha for years when I had the chance in NYC. The minute they opened one in DC, I stopped going to my old threading lady and have been a Shobha addict ever since. One of my favorite products is their rosewater cloths for freshening up. They come in a pack, but I find the singles work best for me. I will be doing at least 3 yoga classes a day and these cloths will come in handy to wipe down before the next class. That is a must to maintaing some form of pretty when you look a sweaty mess.

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