Posts Tagged ‘Yoga and Wellness’

{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

Wellness Wednesday: Step Up Revolution Workout DVD

Step Up Revolution

I normally spend my weekend nights relaxing and catching up on silly movies if the husband is not around. As I was flipping through channels a few weekends back I came along another version of the Step Up dance movies. I totally forgot about how much I love them. They are cheesy, crazy, and fun to watch if you like dancing. These are the movies that gave us Channing Tatum. I won’t even start on how I watch Shall We Dance with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere.

It also reminded me of how much I miss dancing. In my late teens and early twenties I was always the first one on the dance floor. I went out to dance. I mean the kind of sweaty dancing where you have to come and take another shower because it was really a workout. As I’ve gotten older I realize I workout, but I really miss dancing. Thank goodness for Amazon and Step Up Revolution Workout DVDs. Now I can bust a move in my home, get a good workout, and don’t have to deal with the drama of going “up in da club.” Pass the leg warmers please.

Wellness Wednesday: Getting My Yoga on With Gaiam

Gaiam Yoga Tools

When the lovely folks at Gaiam asked to assist me in my 2014 health and wellness journey I was thrilled. As part of my yoga journey I am trying to do some form of yoga at home every day, even if I make it to class at the studio. A few mornings a week I head to the gym because I’m training for a half-marathon in April. I get up early enough to do at least 10-20 minutes of yoga before heading to the gym.

I’m happy to say that I am in love with this Gaiam Sol Dry Grip Yoga Mat. I have a thick mat at the studio where I normally practice yoga, but have been using a travel mat at home. This has changed my home practice. It’s super thick and is so cushioned that I don’t have to double fold my mat when I go into a deep crescent lunge. I’m using the blocks to not only extend my hands in poses, but to actually help me work on my core. Core? Yes. I’m working on this pose a few breaths in my practice. It is called a practice for a reason because this pose is no joke. How is your fitness journey for 2014 going?

Thank you Gaiam for making my home practice even more special.

This Yoga Body is a Wonderland!

{After completing my 200 hour level 2 yoga training at Tranquil Space}
{Notice I’m the ONLY Black girl and I’m okay}


I’m sure by now my lovely readers have read the story about a white yoga student being uncomfortable watching a “young, fairly heavy black woman” in her yoga class. Really? The interwebs went crazy. Twitter and Facebook were going bananas. Why is this story even on xoJane’s site. I discovered it late Tuesday evening and spent all day Wednesday going back and forth on social media about how I felt the story was offensive and racist. I stand by my responses. I wanted to write when I wasn’t angry and saddened that the piece was ever published. I needed to step back, assess it for myself again, and write from my heart.

Why? I didn’t come to yoga because I was trying to get a yoga butt, get fit or in shape. I came to yoga because I was DEPRESSED. Yes, depressed.

I spent days on the floor of my apartment crying, not showering or eating because I had just come back to DC from Houston because I had to bury my oldest brother. It wasn’t easy. To take a sibling off life support was one of the worst experiences in my life. I was alone in a city that I had only lived in for 10  months. To add insult to injury the job I moved for was in transition and the guy I was dating was unfaithful. This all happened in a matter of 4 weeks. You do the math. It didn’t take long for the cloud of sadness to stay like a veil I couldn’t get off. I went to church because as a young Black girl growing up I was taught that God would take care of it. Well, I prayed and I cried and cried and I prayed. I was still depressed. No amount of running and weights could get rid of it for me. I called my doctor and said I need an anti-depressant. After a deep moment of pause he said “Julia, can you do one thing for me first. Try yoga.” Say what? “Doctor, doctor I am a runner. I run marathons,” I pleaded. He said “do this for me and if it doesn’t work then I will give you the anti-depressant. Find a place that’s hip and fun. Yoga can be fun you know?”

I threw caution to the wind. This was going to be my lifeline I hope. I started googling “hip, tranquil, and yoga” to find what I needed in a yoga studio. I found something better. I found Kimberly Wilson’s podcast called Hip Tranquil Chick. Seriously? And it’s all pink? I spent two days listening to every single episode. I made plans to visit Tranquil Space and take a class. How bad could it be? She’s from Oklahoma and she like pink.

To say my first class was hard is an insult. It was bloody hell. My hamstrings screamed as they opened up. I couldn’t help confuse my right with my left. You want me to flow, what the hell is that? Chata-who? Oh that thing. I was out of my element, but I stuck with it. I never realized I spent 30+ years on this planet not really breathing. I proceeded to “inhale, let – exhale, go.” Tears flowed, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable. After 75 minutes I was spent. I lay in savasana (resting pose) in tears. Not because I was in pain, but because as my curvy, tight hip, and distended belly from three uterine surgeries moved through each pose their was a freedom I just couldn’t explain. For weeks I felt like a weight was constantly pressing on me and I couldn’t lift it on my own. I knew at the end of the class that yoga was going to be a part of my life. It has. After my first teacher training in 2007 and my second in 2012 I am always grateful for the practice.

The problem with the article is the problem with what yoga represents in this country. It seems that we only get images of the super flexible, super skinny, you aren’t a good yogi if you can’t put your foot behind your head, blond, and white. A lot of this is true, but a lot of it isn’t. I have met numerous yogis of all races, ages, and body types. I’m looking forward to my next yoga retreat (probably yoga and stand-up paddleboarding) and yoga conference. I have practiced and studied under many famous yoga teachers. Did I feel out of place. Not once. Do I notice that I’m normally the only Black girl in the room, yes. But, what I also notice are the nice yogis that chat with me and make me feel welcome because we are bonding over our love of yoga. I think back often how I felt after that first class. I was on a high. Why? I had a skilled and conscious instructor who helped me, I had yogis smile and tell me where to set up my mat, and after class there was tea, cookies, and conversation. Special. Yes, I felt special.

This is the very problem with the story. The teacher should have made sure she was okay, checked on her during her multiple child poses, gave her modifications, and her encouragement. The student, instead of gawking and feeling pity because the student wasn’t a “skinny white girl” should have chatted before class to the student, asked if she was new, told her to go at her own pace, and that to continue coming back because we all have to start somewhere. Instead of staring at her during downward facing dog because she was curvy and black, she should have practiced kindness and smiled at the student then returned to her breath and concentrated on her own inner peace. She should have told the student “practice and all is coming.”

That my beauties is the true meaning of yoga.

{Yoga can be awesome, fun, and just a little crazy!}


P.S. If you are curious about yoga, have questions, or want to drop me a private line – email me: Namaste y’all.

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