Lessons in Trusting the Universe Pt. II

Last month I left New York on a journey to become a yoga teacher. I studied in a country I had never been to, with people I had never met, learning some more lessons and trusting the universe.

My long hiatus from blogging was spent soul searching for understanding, acceptance and balance. Something we can all always use a little teaspoon more of. Although I had signed up to become a yoga teacher in June 2015, by the time the class arrived, teaching was not my priority and that was fine. There were other things to figure out.

What I find to be amazing is that no matter how crazy your life can feel, the universe has a quick tendency to humble you and in doing so, reminding you that you’re here for a very specific yet mysterious reason.

This blog seems short considering I’ve been MIA for about two months but that’s life.

Wishing the best for all of you.

Talk soon.

x

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Elephant Pants

Pants for elephants? Well, yeah, kind of. They’re a real thing but they’re actually for you to buy in order to support the African Wildlife Foundation’s efforts to save elephants around the world. For every purchase (depending on the price of the purchase) they donate $1 or $4.

Their products are all covered in artistic designs which, naturally, are covered in elephants. So, if you’re an elephant lover like me, it’s a gold mine filled with harem pants, tapestries, shorts, rompers, jewelry and more!

The business was created with the help of Kickstarter in October of 2014 by two elephant phans, Nathan and James. Nathan Coleman was inspired by pants he had purchased in Chiang Mai, Thailand during a visit in September 2013. With compassion for the decreasing population of elephants, the two decided to partner with the AWF’s Say No Campaign with the goal to end poaching.

 


About my purchase:

I bought the “Hattie” pants. They have a high elastic waste, loose legs with pockets and elastic bottoms at the ankles similar to their other pant designs. Each pair has a story. Hattie was from New York City’s Central Park zoo. She was said to be, “the most intelligent of all elephants” so it only makes sense that her style warm and bright hues of orange, purple, teal, and tan. The design makes them comfortable and perfect for yoga. They won’t move around while you’re out adventuring or playing upside down.

The Hattie pants are $25 but I used a code from an ambassador to save 15% use the discount code: KristenL
Also, receive free shipping for purchases over $75!

That’s a good buy. 😉

MY ZuVi PANTS ARE HERE!

WOOH! Finally. My Sail Away pants arrived yesterday.

I viewed my tracking to see what had happened within the 16 days it took for this purchase to actually reach me. They were in “Pre-shipment” from August 7 – August 22. Once they were accepted at the USPS Origin Facility in Anaheim, California, the package only took 2 days to reach my doorstep in upstate New York. Needless to say, I’m disappointed with that 15 day period where my package just sat in Pre-shipment and my emails went unanswered.

Meanwhile, I emailed ZuVi twice and still have yet to hear back. So, ZuVi needs to work on their customer service. This was not a pleasant process.

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On the upside, I will say that I LOVE THESE PANTS. I was worried about their comfort due to the fact that they are made from plastic bottles, but WOW. These are some of the most comfortable clothes I have ever worn.

The clothing line takes yarn that was made from recycled plastic bottles and mixes it with spandex. The ratio is 16% spandex and 84% recycled PET.

I wore them to yoga this morning and they felt so weightless and so flexible that I barely remembered I was wearing anything at all. In addition, I received so many compliments already!

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There were also an free pare of Blue Crush Shorties which are sold in their store for $38 (same price as my Sail Away pants). I’m not sure if this was an addition due to the shipping problems or what, but, I’m not complaining.

All in all, I love my purchase because the pants are eco-friendly, comfortable and fashionable. They’re more expensive than I usually spend but definitely a great investment as I know I will wear them often.

Why Does my Yoga Practice Hurt?

I recently met someone who just began their yoga journey. The goal he set for himself was to cure his back pain, something that so many of us deal with on an all too often basis.

When I began a few years ago, I did so for the similar reasons. I suffered from stress related back pains that caused knots and sharp pains. Often, I could hunch my shoulders forward just an inch or two and my back would crack itself. It was embarrassing being a college student with the spine of a senior citizen. I also had anxiety issues and fitness goals I wanted to work on and so, started my yoga journey.

Long story short, this friend of mine watched a YouTube video and felt he strained his back even more.

But yoga can heal anything and anyone! WHAT HAPPENED?

YouTube is great, you can learn everything from tying your shoes to cooking dinner on there. But yoga, not always so great on there.

Why? You’re too distracted. You’re not connected with your body on a deep level because you’re too worried that the volume isn’t loud enough or that you’re not watching enough.

I saw him do a downward dog that tightened his neck because he was looking in every direction. Hips were off and so on and so forth. It’s not about perfection. Yoga is freedom and connection.

Yoga is based on meditation, flowing through a vinyasa flow without straining your body or mind. The goal is nirvana. I highly suggest attending a class for beginners. Your computer can teach you poses to take you there but, truthfully, only you can take yourself there. Relax. Breath. Flow.

Read it or study it but don’t bring your laptop to your mat. In fact close your laptop, let your mind wander. Explore. Inhale. Exhale. Enjoy.

Namaste
xo

Yoga to Cure your Hangover

The yoga practice we’ve been waiting for!

It’s the weekend and here in the U.S. we’re celebrating Memorial Day and freedom. For a lot of us that means BBQing and drinking beers.

We’re all stuffed with toxins and probably feeling really sh!tty but, no worries. I’ve got some Relephant tips for you to detox and twist it all out like the towel you’re mopping the beer pong table with.

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There are a lot of different ways to help you’re body recover from a massive hangover. Certain yoga positions benefit this process in different ways, curing headaches, stomach aches and so on. You probably can’t rush through this even if you want to however, I suggest taking your time in the poses to receive the most from the practice. Follow this sequence on the couch or bed or where ever you are capable of dragging your hungover self to.

1. Corpse Pose
Savasana

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Yeah, you’ve been practicing this for a while, and maybe you’ve even slept a little. That’s what makes it such a great remedy, the body needs rest! Unfortunately, you might have to go to work or do something that involves moving so, let’s move on…

2. Extended Child’s Pose
Balasana

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Roll over into Child’s Pose and take some deep breaths through the nose into the back of the throat and release them out the same way. Rest your forehead on the floor to help massage that headache away.

3. Seated Half Spinal Twist Pose
Ardha Matsyendrasana

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Twists are the best way to wring out your toxins, frustrations and anxieties. This Seated Half Spinal Twist has been said to massage the abdominal organs, detoxify the liver and kidneys and stimulate the digestive system.

4. Knee to Chest Pose
Apanasana

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Hug your knees into your chest while not allowing the spine to round and this pose will squeeze out toxins. It assists with gas, indigestion, bloating, flatulence, acidity, and constipation while also helping you through anxieties and depression.

5. Reclining Spinal Twist
Supta Matsyendrasana

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While slowly dropping your knees to either side, you will feel a deep stretch throughout back muscles and glutes while also reestablishing your balance. The organs in your torso will be wrung out, detoxifying and stimulating them. If you only do one pose, do this one. It will revitalize you pretty well while not asking you to do much to practice it.

6. Upward Facing Dog
Urdvha Mukha Svanasana

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This is the beginning of your wake up call.
Upward Dog is good for those hangover symptoms like fatigue or depression. It can’t cure regret, but I never said I was a miracle worker.
You’ll also feel a stretch in your abdomen and back. Those muscles will strengthen and you’ll feel a little less weak to your stomach.

7. Standing Half Forward Bend
Ardha Uttanasana

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Honestly, sometimes I’m a little too hungover to do this standing up. If you had too many last night, just take a seat and fold forward towards your toes.
If you’re standing up, you’ll feel a rush of blood to your head and balance may be a challenge. The result: increased focus and balance throughout your day. If you’re seated, try to touch your head to your knees. Both variations can help with both headaches and nausea.

8. Sun Salutations
Surya Mandaskar

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Peace out hangover! Just take some sun salutations to get your heart rate going. You’ll feel yourself gain some benefits from your practice, the most important of which, feeling better than you did before you started.

Feel free to leave questions or comments below!

Seven Beginner Level Yoga Postures to Rid Anxiety

Whether it is anxiety, stress or depression, a mental ailment is a serious challenge for any individual. There are a lot of different ways to fight off those negative emotions. This yoga routine is a pair of boxing gloves and Nama-stay stress free if you know what I’m saying.

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The following is a beginner level vinyasa aiding in stress and anxiety relief for beginner yogis and those new to yoga.
For the sake of getting the most out of this routine please read the article before practicing! 🙂

Seven Beginner Level Yoga Postures to Rid Anxiety

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1. Bound Angle Pose
Baddha Konasana

Some of you may have trouble entering this pose if you’re tight. Sit on a pillow or blanket for some extra leverage.

Grab onto your big toes with your middle, pointer and thumb fingers. Now pull your heels together and in towards your body while also keeping your back straight to avoid lower back pain.

Relax in this pose for a few minutes. Read this article to learn more about Bound Angle Pose.

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2. Seated Staff Pose
Dandasana

Looks simple enough, right? Lengthen your legs and flex your feet while keeping your back straight. You can rock side to side to get the flattest seat. Focus on your breath here and relax for 3-5 minutes.

Now go on a reap all of these benefits !

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3. Fish Pose
Matsyasana

Place your hands underneath your hips, palms down. Open your chest and relax your neck, dropping your head back and slowly lowering down to the elbows before gently placing the crown of the head on the floor.

This will open the hip flexors and other muscles you never thought of stretching like the front of your neck! Get ready to strengthen the back, too. Also, this pose is excellent to fix poor posture.

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4. Camel Pose

To enter this pose, rise to your knees and place your hands on your hips. You don’t need to enter the pose fully if you don’t feel comfortable. Leave your hands on your hips and you open up your chest and drop the head backwards. Use the pressure of your hands on the back of your pelvis to enter this pose as far as possible.

If you feel comfortable, let your hands down to rest on the heels of the feet and push your hips forward. This will assist in anxiety and other ailments such as fatigue and mild back pains. Learn more here.

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5. Bow Pose
Dhanurasana

Beginners may be interested in using a yoga strap if they cannot grab their feet behind them. Don’t have a strap? Try a belt or a tie!

This pose is reflective of the power of counterbalance. We’re stretching the entire front of the body plus the ankles, thighs, chest, throat, and deep hip flexors while gaining strength in your back muscles.

Other benefits include relief for constipation, respiratory ailments, fatigue and mild back aches.

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6. Standing Forward Fold
Uttanasana

Woo! Stand up, reach up, show some gratitude for today and elongate your spine to relieve tension after all those back bend poses! Breath deep my friends. On the exhale, hinge at the hips, keeping the back straight as you fold forward.

You can bend your knees a bit here. Relax the neck by shaking your head “yes” and “no.” Enjoy the massage you can feel on your internal organs and that deep stretch as you straighten you legs. Say goodbye to stress, headaches, fatigue and insomnia with this pose!

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7. Tree Pose
Vriksasana

If you struggle with meditation this pose will be the most beneficial in taking your mind off of your stresses. Focus on a steady point in front of you and press the 4 corners of your right foot into the floor. The vitality of concentration will keep you too busy to think of anything else.

Bring hands to prayer. Begin lifting the left leg at a 90° angle, turn the knee out and open the hips. When ready, grab the left foot and place it in whichever variation is most comfortable. One option is as shown above, place the foot on the inside of the thigh, as high above the knee as possible. Another option is half lotus for an extra stretch.

Other benefits are posture, balance, increase in the hips’ range of motion, toning the muscles in the legs, back, and chest, and also strengthening the ankles.

Be sure to repeat on the other side.

Inhale. Stretch up towards the ceiling. Exhale down to heart’s center. Take time to be thankful for this day and all that you have gained in life on your way here.

Everything happens as and when it’s needed to so, we can’t always help what happens. We can, however, control how we react. It is not what happens to us that shapes us but how we handle it.

Enjoy your day and please feel free to leave a comment!

Four Eco-Friendly Fitness Clothing Companies

Did you know that in the U.S. 1,500 water bottles are used every second? Did you know that plastic is not biodegradable? It’s estimated that plastic thrown into the ocean could last hundreds and hundreds of years.
Did you know that conventional cotton is one of the most destructive crops? That it’s grown with pesticides that are extremely harmful to the agricultural world?

An active lifestyle often inspires awareness to social and environmental conflicts. The yogi who believes in the tree of life, the runner who is hoping the weather is just right, the man on the mountain, the hiker leaning on a newfound walking stick and the swimmer dipping into clean water all connect with the environment on a personal level. It’s only natural to care about nature!

Many companies are focusing on their responsibilities outside of simply selling and looking at how to reduce their carbon footprints allowing their athletes to make eco-friendly footprints instead.

Here are Five Eco-Friendly Fitness Clothing Lines:

1. Patagonia’s mission statement is, “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” They believe it is our responsibility to be as eco-conscious as possible. Read the incredible story of how in the spring of 1988, this company’s employees were effected by air pollution in their new facility. The problem inspired a movement towards organic clothing that would be safe for employees and the environment.

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2. Teeki is a company that creates athletic attire by collecting plastic containers from community recycling centers, cleaning, melting, extruding that to make into fiber, that fiber is then baled and created into fabric. The founder is passionate about our oceans and began with swimwear before expanding to other pieces of clothing.

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3. If you’ve heard of Teeki, you may also have heard of ZuVi, a very similar company created by a mother and daughter passionate about fashion, nature and yoga. They also use recycled plastic but practice a different technique to recycle it into cotton and create their clothing. They mix their yarn, which is made from recycled plastic bottles, with spandex, making them 84% recycled PET and 16% spandex. Hopefully, that clears up an skepticism against the fit and flexibility these clothes provide! ZuVi is worn by tons of incredible athletes causing them to be proven to work. Get yourself a pair of these colorful and creative yoga pants!

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4. Atayne founded by Jeremy Litchfield thanks to one red t-shirt. The dye stained his body, shoes and running shorts. What Jeremy felt in reaction was a sense of disappointment that while he was aspiring to exercise to become healthier, harmful chemicals were being absorbed into his body. The reason why was outdated technologies still in use to create performance wear when newer procedures with less harmful consequences and better performance quality were available. Litchfield is determined to inspire others to care for themselves and their environment. Atayne was created in 2007.

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Yes, this is exactly what Relephant Matters is talking about with the “Minds of Matter” section. Great minds that make moves toward changes that will benefit the world. What can we do when we find something we are passionate about changing? Well, change it of course!