Posts Tagged ‘Yoga and Wellness’

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!

2014-04-26 11.27.19

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

2014-04-26 11.38.01


2014-04-26 12.06.26

2014-04-26 12.06.32

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

2014-04-26 12.09.12

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

2014-04-26 12.12.01

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

2014-04-26 12.41.17

A few new eco beauty goodies

2014-04-26 13.07.33

The joy of finally getting a class with Vinnie Marino

2014-04-26 15.07.10

Vinnie, you silver fox you.

2014-04-26 17.34.22

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

2014-04-26 18.07.15

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

2014-04-27 11.55.10

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

2014-04-27 13.09.32

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

2014-04-27 13.54.37

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

2014-04-27 15.25.13


2014-04-27 17.49.48-2

{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.

A New Type of Patch: Natural Patches of Vermont

Natural Patches of Vermont.jpg

I had never heard of Natural Patches of Vermont. It took me traveling 1800 miles to find it. I normally travel with my coterie of essential oils – lavender, peppermint, and lemon. I’m always worrying about the bottles breaking and the bane of my existence TSA telling me “no essential oils for you.” Well, oh beauty, well. Thank God for the spa at L’Auberge del Mar. I discovered Natural Patches of Vermont. I am hooked. They have all type of essentials oils and I got a few of the lavender and Arnica. The arnica helps muscles relax and the lavender is for me to relax. I’m excited to try the Eucalyptus for my crazy allergies and the Bergamot for more stress reduction. I suggest buying the tins and then a set of refill. I’m in hippie heaven. My beauty carry-on has just been upgraded.

Wellness Wednesday: Aloha Dried Green Juice

Aloha Dried Green Juice

I’ve learned a few things about traveling. How to travel in a carry-on for 7+ days, what food works for me traveling (protein), and what I always need to get on a plane (anti-anxiety meds and lots of water). I was given a few packets of ALOHA The Daily Good Dried Green Juice packets to try on my travels. I had totally forgot about them and found them in a hidden pocket in my suitcase. It’s hard to find fresh juices on the road depending on where you are and the costs can be very high.

Aloha is dried green juice that can be used in water, juice, or smoothies. This is a game changer. At first I compared them to another dried green packet, but the Aloha reminds me of the fresh green juice I make at home. If you are gearing up for travel or just need to get your juice fix in an easy manner this is for you. Aloha is a wellness girl’s new BFF.

Oregon ScientificAroma Diffuser and Sound Therapy Clock

Oregon Scientific

I’ve always written how I’m not the best sleeper. It started in my late twenties, geared up and went nuts in my thirties, and miraculously with a lot of work on my part has gotten better. Why? I realize my triggers. I can’t be on the computer, iPad, iPhone, and any technology by a certain time. I have to act like a 5-year old and have a sleep routine. My husband knows this well and for Christmas he gave me this gym. It’s a sleep clock that you put aromatherapy oil in and it emits a vapor of the scent. Thank you Jesus for this device. Every night I turn it on with the beach sound (baby girl loves her some beach waves) and it has made a huge difference. I don’t leave it on all night because it has a timer and I use that to automatically shut it off after being on for 30 minutes. The timer has 3 settings and I realize by the time I make it to my bedroom to read I’m out after 30 minutes.


Wellness Wednesday: Onzie Yoga Apparel

Onzie Yoga Apparel

I am excited over all the fun new yoga clothing that is currently out now. Over the years I’ve worn lots of Lululemon, Athleta, and Lucy. They are great, but I wanted something a little more funky and hip. A little more California love (like the song) than basic neutrals. I give you Onzie. Onzie’s leggings are so fun and they make working out and getting your OM on just a little bit better. I believe that if your workout clothes look good, you actually look forward to going to workout. The “let’s look like a bum and workout” is not cute. I am the girl on the treadmill testing out lip glosses to run for my half-marathon in April and that will last long in a 1.5 hour yoga class.

Do you feel the same way? Do you like cute workout clothes?

{How fun are these?}

Onzie Cali Capri

{I plan to wear these at a yoga workshop this year}

Onzie Paisley Capri

1 2 3 4 7