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yoga blogs

14 October 2019

yoga blogs
  • Discovering the woman behind HollyActive
    14 October 2019

    Holly Davidson lives and breathes fitness. Having worked as a personal trainer for over ten years, Holly is passionate about passing on her knowledge to each person she trains. Author of two health and fitness books, Holly’s expertise lies in Yoga, HIIT Training, Strength and Conditioning, Suspension training (TRX), Kettlebells, Boxing, Weight loss and dietary management and Mobility. She is also sister to Sadie Frost, designer of the Frost London Yoga Wear range, Together, they’ve collaborated on a 20 minute daily fitness video. We interviewed Sadie in ‘In conversation with Sadie Frost about Frost London’ and now have also had the pleasure of interviewing Holly.

    How has your passion for fitness and nutrition led you to becoming a black belt kick boxer, yogi and vegetarian?

    I think I would say becoming a black belt, yogi and vegetarian led to my passion for fitness and nutrition. I’ve been vegetarian my whole life and from a young age, was passionate about food and eating a healthy well-balanced diet. I was 17 when I started kick boxing and yoga, so pretty young and that definitely inspired me and created a lifetime of passion for fitness.

    What is the link between fitness, nutrition, physical and mental health for you?

    If you are taking care of all of those things, making sure it’s balanced and nothing too extreme, you feel strong from the inside out. It keeps you calm, energised, happy, content. Day to day struggles are easier to cope with.

    How long have you been a vegetarian and what is your favourite meal?

    All my life. Oh wow, that’s hard. On a cold winters day, a steaming hot bean and vegetable stew with a warm loaf of sourdough fresh from the oven.

    Can you share with us some of the joys and challenges of being a personal trainer?

    It’s the most rewarding job, seeing what a positive impact exercise and good nutrition can have on a person: watching people become strong and confident, seeing how it changes so many aspects of their lives. I honestly can’t think of many challenges, maybe the only challenge is being self employed, so you don’t get paid for any time off or when you are sick (good job I’m never sick! I haven’t taken a day off for illness in 13 years). It means it’s hard to say no and take time off. It’s only in the last few years I’ve realised how important it is to take proper holidays. I took the whole of August off this year, heaven.

    How do you help people enjoy exercise more and fall in love with being active?

    I find out as much as I can about the person, what exercise they enjoyed at school or at college. Do they enjoy sports or doing things solo? I find out their fears and concerns. Then I make sure I keep the workouts varied. Learning new skills and always mixing things up. And then it’s all about encouragement and support and it’s amazing how people fall in love with exercise.

    From your personal experience and observations, how do the fast-paced lifestyle and pressures of modern society adversely affect health?

    We are all trying to do way too much. There is an overload of stress and stimulation from the moment we wake up. Especially living in a city. Stress can hit people in so many ways and is something that’s easily overlooked as we continue to just do more. That’s why I love getting out into the countryside and slowing everything right down.

    How did you come to create a 20 minute daily fitness video with your sister Sadie Frost and what do you both bring to the collaboration?

    We both brought our many years of experience: mine with working with hundreds of clients and knowing what the key elements are to having an achievable, fun and successful workout. Sadie has had lots of back problems (and so does a very high % of the population) so we knew the importance of incorporating back health into the workout. We wanted something that you can easily incorporate into your day that wasn’t intimidating but also got results.

    What would you say to anyone right now reading this and wishing they were fitter and more active?

    Stop waiting for the “perfect time” to start. it doesn’t exist.

    Instead focus on one thing you can do right now and build on that.

    It can be as simple as, 100 more steps than yesterday, starting the day with a 10 minute stretch or doing our 20 min workout.

    Don’t overthink it, don’t over complicate it.

    Just start.

    If you’d like to find out more about Holly and her work, visit

    The post Discovering the woman behind HollyActive appeared first on Yogamatters Blog.

  • Dining, Juicing, and Snacking In Greater Palm Springs: Don’t Miss These Spots
    14 October 2019

    There are two types of people in this world: Those who travel to eat, and those we just don’t understand. Whether your yoga practice or a sense of adventure brings you to Palm Springs, you’ve got to take advantage of these high vibe restaurants, cafés, and watering holes. Besides: You’re going to need to refuel after your workout. You might as well do it somewhere that’s both healthy and mouthwateringly good.

    These places all offer a variety of fresh, nutritious, and wholesome food options to fuel your vacay—and whatever it brings.

    Wildest Greens

    Vegan! Keto! Paleo! Praise be: This Palm Desert resto makes specialty diets the rule, not the exception. Those who have become accustomed to carrying their own snacks and scouring menus for something, anything they can eat will find a lot to love here. You can even partake if you’re cleansing or detoxing; Wildest Greens offers a variety of fresh, actually-delicious juices.

    Luscious Lorraine’s Organic Café

    One word: Breakfast. Three more: Served ‘til two. Luscious Lorraine’s, which practices “culinary coexistence” offers a variety of dietary options for the conscientious diner, including one of the best brekkies in Palm Desert. There are vegan and veg-friendly options, but meat eaters won’t feel left out. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of the words “sprouted,” “macro,” and “multigrain.” Just the way we like it.

    Raw Remedy

    Raw Remedy, in Downtown Palm Springs, aims to serve up good eats with a big side of social activism. They champion issues like healthier options in schools, and have big plans for global reach with their good vibes and juices, shots, smoothies, and light, healthy fare (you will not be surprised to learn that everything, from the tacos to the cheesecake, is raw). This is one of our favorite picks for a restaurant that fills us up without weighing us down.

    Old Town La Quinta, Palm Desert, & Palm Springs Farmers Markets

    Looking for fresh, local foods? Why not go right to the source: Palm Springs has some of the best farmers’ market in the country. Plan accordingly: The La Quinta market happens on Sundays, and the Palm Desert and Palm Springs markets take place every Saturday. In the summer, the markets move inside so you can browse blueberries without wilting in the desert heat. Even if you’re not looking for a kitchen full of produce, there are plenty of snackable to-go options.


    No B.S. juice. That’s not officially the motto of Fresh, but it should be. Their juices are fresh, clean, and totally devoid of anything unnecessary (looking at you, sugar-loaded smoothies). With locations in La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs, you’ll never be far from your favorite almond milk protein matcha. Location, location, location!

    Essense Restaurant

    Finally! A hotel restaurant that’s just as luxurious and classy as the resort. Essense, located in Two Bunch Palms, does farm-to-table without all of the irony that label has come to carry in the last decade. There are no gimmicks here: Essense simply sources the best, freshest, and most nutrient-packed produce in the area, and elevates it to next-level cuisine. The dining room’s stunning, which is important information for those looking for a chic date night spot.

    Juicy Juicy

    We love the small, family feel of Juicy Juicy, located in Bermuda Dunes. You won’t find slick marketing or fancy white marble at this joint—and that’s not the point. This is nothin’ but an honest and sweet business from a local family who took charge of their health, and wants to help the community improve their relationship to food, too. Go. It’s adorable.

    Heirloom Craft Kitchen

    Ahh… a large selection of vegan food that doesn’t all look like an uprooted garden topped with hemp seeds. Heirloom Craft Kitchen, in Indio, right near the La Quinta border, offers mouthwatering snacks, small bites, sandwiches, and satisfying salads. Everything is easily shareable, which makes this a great spot for dinner with friends or fellow yogis after class. The avo toast is not to be missed.

    Native Foods

    Palm Springs mainstay Native Foods has been doing fast casual healthy food way before it was “a thing.” They were founded in 1994, and have been doing fresh, wholesome eats right since then. What makes them a standout is their commitment to from-scratch cooking, including housemade versions of tempeh and seitan, as well as sauces and dressings. The crew at Native is dedicated to sustainability, from its packaging to its commitment to eco-friendly building choices.

    Chef Tanya’s Kitchen

    Fresh, vibrant, colorful, and just the right amount of cheeky—we’re pretty much in love with Palm Springs-based Chef Tanya’s Kitchen, whose motto is, “Eat Plants. Look Good In your Pants.” Chef Tanya is a real person (not to mention a social activist and tempeh-making pioneer) who’s passionate about making healthy food as fun as it is nutritious. The sandwiches are basically a requirement — do not pass up the Chupacabra Chicken, made with seitan and pickled jalapeños.

    Indian Wells Coffee

    Coffee for the java-obsessive. All of the pastries. Jaw-dropping latte art. Indian Wells has everything we look for in a coffee shop, including the fact that they brew the much-loved and often sought-after Joshua Tree Coffee. It’s a friendly, non-pretentious place to caffeinate or geek out over the crema on an espresso. In other words: Whoever you are, you are welcome here.


    The post Dining, Juicing, and Snacking In Greater Palm Springs: Don’t Miss These Spots appeared first on Wanderlust.

  • Focus and Drive: Tricks to Stay Focused and Achieve More
    14 October 2019

    The good intentions are there—sticking to fitness goals, killing it at work, being a great friend, cooking something new. But an off topic text, the black hole of social media, and three shows later, the day is over. Where does the time go? It’s no secret that distraction can be the end of productivity. Here are five tips to stay focused, whether your goals are physical or mental. Because, whatever your goals are, a little focus, goal setting and drive will get you there.

    Envision the Future

    Start by picturing the end; visualize your goals and be specific. Maybe you want to complete a half marathon, attend a yoga festival, get a promotion, have a tidier space or see friends more often. Maybe your vision of the future means meeting that deadline Friday, throwing a birthday party, or traveling internationally.

    Nebulous goals are ok too—being more productive, having calmer mornings, or being kinder. What does that look like to you? If you want to be a more relaxed, mindful person, picture exactly what that looks like. Imagine the fabric of your meditation pillow, the environment around you, the sensations within you when you meditate. Expand that thought—instead of scurrying around packing a lunch, you are having a calm morning because you packed your lunch and went to bed on time last night.

    Whatever your goals, hold it in your mind and think it through. With a clear mental picture of where you want to be, it’s easier to get up when that alarm goes off instead of hitting the snooze button again.

    Make A Plan

    With the vision in place, the challenge becomes mapping out a way to get there. Make a list of everything that needs to be done to achieve your goal, then break it into manageable tasks. Lots of tasks on your plate? Prioritize what needs to be done now, today, this week, this month, and “someday.”

    Let’s say your goal is to travel internationally for the first time. Break it down: research destinations today, a plan to set aside enough money, schedule an appointment to get a passport next week, and—bonus—start learning some phrases in another language.

    Use a planner or calendar if that helps, or download an app to help you track your progress. Estimate how long each task will take and schedule a block of time to complete it. An ideal way to arrange your time is to eliminate distractions, then work for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break. Then get back to work!

    Eliminate Distractions

    Your time and attention are just that: YOURS. You get to decide where you spend it and how. Let’s start with the obvious: our phones. To be present and productive, turn off instant notifications. Do that now. When it’s time to focus, turn your phone to silent and put it in a drawer, your bag, wherever is as far from you as possible. Trust that the world and its crises will handle themselves while you focus on your goals.

    Identify your top distractions, and be honest with yourself. Need to answer email on your phone, but easily distracted by Instagram? Consider—gasp!—deleting it off your phone for a while. Want to exercise but usually watch tv instead? Unplug the device to keep yourself from falling onto the couch and reaching for the remote. Keep your vision in mind and make it harder to give in to easy distractions. Set limits on social media use until tasks are completed, or limit yourself to catching up on your favorite platforms for a limited amount of time once a day.

    Maybe your distractions are people. Share your goals with them and try to enlist their support. If they’re unsupportive of your dreams in general, maybe it’s time to evaluate whether it’s a friendship you want to continue.

    And be realistic—if you’re the type of person who stress cleans (and aren’t we all?) build in time for that, too. Studies show repetitive movements (like wiping the countertop) decrease anxiety, and having a tidy space is calming. Plus the added boost of productivity can give you confidence you’re moving in the right direction.

    Power Up

    Your best ally in the struggle against distractions is that excellent muscle in your skull. Fuel your brain for success with nutritious foods proven to enhance brain performance. Fortunately, what’s best for your noggin is good for your overall health, too. Start by drinking enough water—getting hydrated promotes mental clarity and helps you think faster and more creatively. We also love the FOCUSAID Energy Blend from LIFEAID as a great go-to source for clean energy and mental focus. Alternatively, blueberries and leafy greens are packed with antioxidants, while flax seeds, nuts, and fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines) are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids—crucial for mood stabilization and concentration. Dark chocolate (look for single-origin, high-cacao percentages for the highest quality beans and lowest amounts of sugar and fat) can enhance mental acuity and contain stress-relieving magnesium. Avocados are full of fiber and good fats. And while all coffee and tea lovers swear by caffeine (and they’re not wrong!) green tea in particular has l’theanine, which studies show increases alpha-wave activity and tranquility, and also helps avoid the post-caffeine crash by releasing it more slowly, so you feel calm and energized longer. 

    It’s hard to focus when your stomach is rumbling, or you’re entering the mid-afternoon slump. By planning ahead and having a nutrient-packed, brain-feeding snack before big tasks—bonus for adding green tea!—you can give yourself a boost of productivity when you need it the most.

    Get Going (and keep moving)!

    Got a list a mile long? Sometimes small tasks seem impossible when one particularly worrisome task looms large over everything else—so tackle the big one first. Or maybe it seems like you’ll never get to your main task with all the other million things you need to do—set a timer and challenge yourself to complete as many small tasks as possible within that time, then move on to the main task. One colossal task weighing you down? Go back to your plan and break your task down further into manageable chunks. Spread it out over multiple days if necessary and just do one piece of the job at a time.

    Remember, it takes time (usually several weeks) to make a habit stick, so be persistent and patient with reaching your goals. Accept gradual progress as success—jogging twice this week doesn’t mean you’re ready for that marathon, but you’re two jogs closer to that goal than you were last week.

    When life comes at you hot, it will be tempting to give in to the overwhelm and give up. Don’t! Keep your vision front and center and keep moving forward. You’ll get there.


    The post Focus and Drive: Tricks to Stay Focused and Achieve More appeared first on Wanderlust.

  • Grab Your Dog’s Food & Check For These 3 Things On The Label
    14 October 2019
    3 expert tips for understanding your dog’s pet food label
  • Motivation Monday: A Podcast on Being Yourself to Find Your Path with Analys Romao and a Few Fun Web Finds
    14 October 2019

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means YBC® will earn a small commission if you happen to make a purchase. Thanks for the support.

    Motivation Monday is a weekly series on YBC® where we'll unveil that week's podcast episode of Namaslay® with YogaByCandace®, a few inspirational uplifting or interesting bits from around the web, and new books, finds and other goodies our team is loving.

    Hello from Santorini! We are enjoying a beautiful week of yoga and exploring here on the gorgeous Greek island. It's been so quintessentially fall in Connecticut that this week in Greece feels extra special because it's like a final beautiful summer week. The ocean is warm from the hot summer days, and there are far fewer tourists this time of year as well. It's really magic. I'm so looking forward to coming back in April for our 200hr yoga teacher training! Be sure to stay tuned all this week by following along on @ybcevents!

    This week we've invited Analys Romao to the Namaslay® podcast! Analys truly embodies the success that comes from being yourself, working hard, and believing the best is yet to come. Listen in as we discuss her journey from Venezuela to the United States and how she is building an inspiring career as a personal trainer, helping women all over the world find holistic wellness. This podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and pretty much anywhere you listen to podcasts. Or, you can also listen here. And if you have a second, would you mind taking this survey? We just want to get some demographics about who's listening to the podcast. Thanks!

    Here’s what’s on my radar lately:

    What people on Twitter do to relieve stress without spending too much money

    This cool podcast features pop culture and news with a twist.

    If you need a laugh, this list will do the trick.

    Some honest tips for anyone considering a career change

    Some knife wielding skills to make you feel like a culinary wizard in the kitchen

    I’m loving these interview questions and am using some as journaling prompts for myself.

    Anyone want to make this shaved veggie salad and send me a plate?

    Here’s to a great week!

  • This Tiramisu Trifle Is A Vegan Take On A Traditional Italian Dessert
    14 October 2019
    It looks luxurious and decadent, as most Italian desserts do.
  • Top Child Care Experts Explain Those First Messy Weeks of Development
    14 October 2019
    Crying, cranky, clinginess—it's a good thing!
  • Mindfulness Principles: Tips for Teaching Stillness
    14 October 2019

    When I first met nine-year-old Barton, he talked nonstop. He explained that he never cried because once when he cried at his last school, even his best friend laughed at him.

    I could feel the sorrow in him. And the rage. I promised him that I would never laugh at him if he cried and told him that lots of boys cry in my room. “I never make fun of them or laugh at them,” I said.

    “Oh, no, I’m not ever going to cry.” Even the thought of it stimulated his need to make a show of his masculinity, so he dropped to the floor right there in my classroom and started doing pushups—all the while continuing to talk through his heavy breathing. Pushups, he explained, sometimes kept him from crying.

    One day, Barton came in flying so high, he was frightened of himself. Dragging a cardboard box behind him, he said that his mom was trying some new medication on him and his heart was racing so fast that he was sure he was going to have a heart attack. We tried calling his mother, but she was unavailable.

    All the while, he kept getting into his cardboard box and rocking back and forth, then getting out and walking quickly around the room, talking a mile a minute.

    I asked him how his body felt. He walked around, moving one hand up and down like a fish, and said, “I’m like the waves of the ocean going up and down.” Then he made the waves bigger to demonstrate his feelings to me. He kept talking. I glanced at the clock and realized I had a group of students coming in fifteen minutes. I needed to find some way to help Barton before the students arrived. “Let’s try this, Barton,” I said. “Why don’t you get in the box and try some slow, deep breaths?”

    Turning off the lights and putting on some soothing music, I asked him to continue the slow deep breaths to calm his body and be as still as possible. I reassured him that I would stay in the room with him.

    From underneath the blanket, he continued to talk, but now he began to slow down. “You know, Mrs. Gillen, I think this is starting to work. That music you’re playing is good, you see, and I think it’s beginning to calm me down.”

    I talked to him in a soothing, deep voice, and within ten minutes, he had found a route into his own stillness, into his ability to self-soothe.

    Guiding Principles

    Historically, yoga mindfulness practices have encompassed both physical and mental techniques for calming the nervous system—exactly what today’s stress researchers recommend. And while these techniques are important, they were designed to serve even greater purposes in the individual and the community—those of personal discovery, wellness, and self-mastery. These overarching principles invite creativity and flexibility in responding to needs; empower individuals through self-study, exploration, and discernment; and guide without dictating. The cultivation of these attitudes is at the heart of yoga and mindfulness practices and a key determinant in their effectiveness, adaptability, and longevity.

    In Yoga Calm, our practice is guided by five key mindfulness principles – Stillness, Listening, Grounding, Strength, and Community – that we developed from more than four decades of educating children and equal time in various meditation and yoga practices. They’re the themes and goals that underlie and guide all Yoga Calm processes, and support our physical, mental and emotional health.

    This focus on principles lets Yoga Calm be readily adapted to many ages, abilities and environments. For example, in a classroom with students of diverse abilities, Stillness processes can be explored in a chair or while standing, Listening processes can be performed by all, and Community support can be displayed in many ways, such as simply giving attention, encouragement or respect.

    We Start with Stillness

    Our first principle, Stillness (symbolized by the icon on the right), is important in developing self-control and self-regulation in students. By learning to still themselves, especially in times of chaos and fear, students gain confidence and become more capable of handling conflict and disruption. They begin to create an inner peace that they can draw on at any time. This quality is developed in all the Yoga Calm physical poses and in the relaxation and mindfulness processes.

    Because children are often bouncy and talkative, adults often think that an active, energetic Yoga Calm class is what they need. But opportunities to practice Stillness are important for children, as well as for the adults in their lives.

    When children begin to understand that they can have some control over their own bodies and when they learn to self-soothe, they gain personal power. Sometimes a few minutes of Stillness can break their negative perception of themselves.

    Here, I think about the time a  young student who had been diagnosed with severe ADHD told me his mother was always saying that he was never in control. We played a game in which we strove to keep our bodies completely still for thirty seconds. After a few tries, he was able to do this.

    “See?” I told him. “You’ve already proven that you can have control for thirty seconds. Tomorrow, let’s see if you can do it for a whole minute.” His green eyes shot me a look of surprise mixed with suspicion.

    Two years later, he sits still and can listen to a novel being read aloud. Sometimes he begs me to continue, even after thirty minutes. By practicing just thirty seconds of Stillness that one day, he gained a new perception of himself.

    Principles in Action

    When working with children with attention weaknesses, we first must believe that they can be still. We have to check our own perceptions about them and open our minds to their potential. For when a whole community has decided that a child is bad or incapable, the child believes and acts accordingly.

    But as with the student described above, you can start to teach Stillness with simple practices like these:

    Hoberman Sphere Breathing

    We developed the use of the Hoberman Sphere for teaching kids how to regulate their nervous systems 20 years ago and had no idea how popular it would become.  We see mindfulness and yoga programs around the world now using this powerful tool.

    To teach the principle of Stillness with breathing, have children notice or extend the pauses at the top of the inhale or bottom of the exhale. Learning how to “pause” in life – whether its not reacting to a trigger, to provide a moment for perspective, or to refresh and rejuvenate – is a lifelong wellness skill.

    In this video from our online Youth Instructor Certification Bundle, I use the Hoberman breathing process to teach the principle of Stillness:

    One-Minute Exploration/Vacation

    Children need a break from their busy school/life schedules to refresh the brain’s attention centers, to integrate learning and to process emotions. Even guided mindfulness processes can be “one more thing” they have to do.

    Our One-Minute Exploration/Vacation gives students unstructured time to just be. Here’s how we lead it: Turn down/off the lights and turn on quiet, soothing music. Invite the students to rest their heads on their desks or lie on the floor/yoga mat and take themselves, in their mind, on vacation anywhere they want for one minute. Initially, you can help spark their imagination by offering several ideas about where they might go, what they could do, and so on. Or you can use our Mindful Moment Cards for simple mindfulness journeys. As the children get better at this Stillness process, you can increase the time, having them go on explorations in their minds for several minutes.

    Pulse Count

    Have students count their pulse quietly for fifteen seconds with their eyes closed and then gradually increase the amount of time. The pulse is not only a great meditation “anchor” but it provides feedback on the state of our nervous system and can be a great tool for teaching nervous system regulation. (Download Activity)

    Grizzly Bear or Star Wars Stormtroopers

    Our younger students love to play these Stillness games. For 30 seconds, have them practice being totally still as you act like a grizzly bear, lumbering through the room, growling and looking to eat someone! Or you can be Empire Stormtroopers looking for rebels who have crashed on a planet.  If a student moves at all (except for breathing, of course), they’re caught.

    After students get the hang of how to be still, you can gradually increase the time. Before long, students are able to come to Stillness easily. A new world opens up to them.

    Teen Mindfulness Practices

    For older students and teens, our Tree Challenge 1 game is a big hit. Have one student stand in Tree Pose while another tries to “throw them off” by waving hands, clapping, and so on – just no touching. Then ask the students that were in tree pose “what helped you to stay focused? Did you use any words or self-talk to help yourself?  What strategies did you use?” Then write their strategies up on the board. This is a powerful experiential learning that no lecture on staying calm and focused while challenged can match!

    These simple Stillness activities are designed to help teachers, counselors, therapists, and parents guide youth toward greater self-control and sensitivity – but they’re also helpful in reducing your own stress and staying connected to what’s important. Additional mindfulness practices can be built upon these simple Stillness practices, helping them develop attention skills, greater self-awareness, and compassion.

    For us and our youth, practicing our Stillness principle both formally in class and at various times throughout our day develops an inner peace that can help through difficult times, as well as the ability to focus and prepare to learn.

    Our online Youth Instructor Certification Course Bundle will help you learn how to teach these activities, step-by-step.


    Adapted from Yoga Calm for Children

    The post Mindfulness Principles: Tips for Teaching Stillness appeared first on Yoga Calm.

  • How To Make Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Yes, It's A Thing)
    14 October 2019
    Because paleo people deserve cookie dough, too.
  • This Is The Best Week To Hygge Your Home, According To Astrology
    14 October 2019
    Lean into those autumnal vibes.