Let’s Talk: Getting Back on Track

Why is it that setting good habits takes so damn long but losing them takes about a day and a half? The day and a half may be a slight exaggeration but staying on track with good health, choices and habits can be a challenge.

At the beginning of this year, my goal was to have a proper morning routine. I would wake up, get on my mat (even if it were just for 5 minutes), meditate, wash my face, drink lemon water and read before making breakfast. It was only after making breakfast that I would allow myself to check any screens. That meant no TV, phone, computer or tablet for at least an hour and a half after waking up. I had an awesome track record for this routine (and felt amazing) up until the summertime when I started my teacher training, then it all turned sour. You see, I am not naturally an early riser. I love sleep. Love it. No matter what time I go to bed, I find myself sleeping at least 10 hours if I don’t set an alarm. So when I had to be awake at 6.00am in order to have the time to fulfill my routine (even 6 was a time-crunch) and be at the studio by 7.30, I knew I was going to have some problems.

The first day went alright, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I barely slept from anticipation. The second day, I was already exhausted by the full days of training so the rest of the 200hrs I was lucky if I woke up with enough time to make tea and grab a muffin on my way out the door.

The rest of the summer was no better seeing as it was basically a long vacation at the cottage so when we closed up the cottage for the season and came home I felt that fall was when I would finally get back on track, only to find that habits are way harder to make than they are to break.

There’s a study that says it takes 21 days, or 3 weeks to make a habit. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. There is no way that it’s only 21 days to make an unbreakable habit form in your bones. Maybe a 6 months, maybe even a full year, but 21 days? I dispute!

Nothing would make me happier than to get back into my morning routine but every morning without fail, I somehow reach for my phone, check Instagram, tell myself I’ll meditate when I’m in yoga class, make breakfast and immediately plop myself in front of the TV (Gilmore Girls is calling!).

So here’s the challenge. Did you make yourself a resolution at the beginning of the year? Well it’s New Years isn’t the only time to make resolutions! In fact, we can make them any time we want. Isn’t that a revelation? Therefore, I invite you to revisit any habits you want to change, develop or break and resolve to work on them with me this month. We can do it together and we will definitely feel better once we get back on track. I’ll keep you updated and you can check in with me at any time if you need some support! I’ll be up at 8am, on my mat, meditating, ignoring my phone in no time. Remember, you can get back on track at any point of the day, just cause the morning wasn’t great, doesn’t mean that your afternoon or evening won’t be. Take it day by day! Good luck!

Namaste.

Advertisements

Daily Morning Routine

Something to know about me; I love reading (or watching, thanks YouTube!) about people’s routines. I have always been an avid magazine reader and would just devour the little blurbs about how people tackled their day to day, what products they used, what they ate… everything! When I was figure skating, I had a definite morning routine that began at 6am so I could be on the ice by 7 and at school by 8:45 (full disclosure, I was often late). But when I became injured and then high school and university happened, that healthy morning routine fell by the wayside.

Around late-July last year, I decided to start my days with a little yoga. I had been regularly practicing at home in the afternoons, but felt that my mornings needed something that didn’t involve immediately turning on something (whether that be the tv, my phone or the computer). With that small daily yoga change, began a full morning routine that makes me start my day on a positive, excited and happy note!

Since beginning this daily routine I have noticed many changes in my life. I strongly feel that starting the day with enough time to spend time in silence, be introspective and un-rushed changes the state-of-mind. I believe in routines, I think they are important to bookend your day with a sense of groundedness and stability. Don’t get me wrong, spontaneity is important too, but being able to really rely on certain aspects of the day makes everything a bit easier. I also think its so important to try and live without constantly focusing on screens! I know that’s a little unreasonable since we live in 2015 and we literally have them strapped to our wrists now, but I always try to turn my phone on silent and keep my iPad and tv off and away from me at least until I am making breakfast. So without further ado, here’s my daily morning routine!

I enjoy waking up with at least two hours before I have to go anywhere or do anything. I don’t have children so I know this is a bit easier for me to do interrupted, but those two plus hours really help me spend quality time with myself. First thing, I wake up and give my partner a kiss, throw on some leggings and a comfy shirt and drink some water. I sleep with a 500mL glass jar beside my bed and down it before my eyes have even rid themselves of sleep. Next, I cut a lemon, put on the kettle for some delicious and beneficial lemon water and while that is boiling I practice some yoga.

Relaxing Morning Child's Pose

Relaxing Morning Child’s Pose

 My morning yoga routine varies but tends to be under 15 mins and extremely relaxing with a focus on flexibility. I enjoy taking my time, breathing into tight spaces and letting my body slowly and patiently wake up. I’ll either create my own practice or follow a quick morning YouTube video if I don’t feel like thinking (hey, we all have those days!). Once I have finished practicing, I grab a couple pillows from my couch and create a little meditation seat. I open my Insight Timer App and sit quietly for 5 mins. I practice mindfulness meditation because it’s just what is suiting me at the moment, but I love constantly being reminded to come back to my breath. I’m hoping that I can slowly work up to 20 mins a morning of meditation but I’m not quiet there yet, but a little goes a long way!

Once I’ve finished on my mat and the kettle has boiled, I run into the bathroom and wash my face. This is another new (but important) daily habit! I finally began washing my face religiously in the summer of last year and it has done wonders for my skin! Especially after I move from chemical-laden products to more natural choices.

Morning Skincare Routine (Lush Eau Roma Water, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Rose Petal Witch Hazel, Sukin Moisturizer)

Morning Skincare Routine (Lush Eau Roma Water, Lush Fresh Farmacy, Rose Petal Witch Hazel, Sukin Moisturizer)

I have already posted a Natural Morning Skincare Routine and my routine now hasn’t differed much since then. I first wash my face with Lush’s Fresh Farmacy cleanser (It. Is. Incredible. Especially for extra-sensitive skin), then follow up with some sort of toner (99% of the time I use witch hazel but I ran out so have been going back to Lush’s Eau Roma Water which I also really love, it’s just not as inexpensive and does contain methylparaben which I don’t love) and finally use the best facial moisturizer from Sukin.

By the time I’ve done all this the boiling water from the kettle has cooled a bit, but I’ll still pop some ice cubes into my mug with lemon before pouring in the hot water. If you don’t already drink warm lemon water in the morning you are seriously missing out! It is so beneficial for your health, your skin and general well-being!

Lemon Water

Lemon Water

I like to enjoy my lemon water in one of two special places; out on the balcony (if it’s nice outside and I can sit in the shade) or in my favourite comfy chair that smells like my cottage. I will sip and savour my warm water while reading my morning meditation. I have talked about Journey to the Heart before (and likely will again) but I just enjoy following her daily thoughts and stories because they help me focus on the positive and change any negative thinking. My bookmark is just a cue card that I have listed my favourite meditations of hers that just resonate so completely with me so that I can go back to them as much as possible.

Journey to the Heart

Journey to the Heart

Once I’ve finished reading and contemplating my meditation, I’ll pick up another book or magazine and just sit and read for a while. I enjoy reading about nutrition or yoga in the mornings for inspiration, or if I’m feeling like something light, I’ll choose a magazine or the book I’m currently reading!

Some Favourite Yoga & Nutrition Books

Some Favourite Yoga & Nutrition Books

Now my lemon water is all gone and I’m likely starting to feel hungry so I’ll prepare a smoothie. I drink a smoothie every single morning! If I know that I have the time and want to eat a real breakfast I’ll make a really simple spinach and berry smoothie to drink beforehand, however, if I’m running late or just don’t feel like cooking, I’ll prepare a real smoothie with avocado, peanut butter and lots of fruits to keep me charged through the day. Usually I opt for the quick smoothie (like today)! It’s seriously super simple, throw some spinach and frozen berries into a blender, add water and go!

Simple Morning Smoothie

Simple Morning Smoothie

The reason for the super simple smoothie is to be able to start the day on a healthy note, to be able to have my fruits before eating solid food (proper food combining) and because it just stars me off on a healthy foot. I find myself making healthier choices throughout the day when the first one I make is a good one or if I do go out for dinner or have something special to eat, there is literally no guilt.

So while I’m drinking my smoothie, I’ll go back to my spot and keep reading! Once I finish my smoothie, I allow for half an hour before preparing more food (on days that I want to actually eat breakfast) so that the fruit can digest so that I’m not creating a problem for my digestion (if you would like to know more about food combining, leave a comment below, I’d love to talk about it!)

Light Morning Reading

Light Morning Reading

Now that my smoothie is done and my stomach is really wanting more food, I’ll make breakfast. Here’s also the time that I put on sunscreen if I know that I’ll be leaving the house shortly after breakfast (it takes about 30 minutes for sunscreen to do it’s job and begin protecting you!) Lately my favourite go-to breakfast has been mashed avocado, red pepper flakes and a fried egg on ezekiel toast but today we didn’t have eggs (sad) so I tried something new!

“French” Toast

Behold my delicious “French” Toast breakfast. This recipe is totally kudos to Tara Stiles and her book “Make Your Own Rules Diet”. It is 2 slices of ezekiel bread, 1 banana smashed with 1/2 unsweetened almond milk, “fried” in coconut oil with a little bit of cinnamon and maple syrup on top. This was incredible and tasted just like real French Toast!

I paired my breakfast with some yummy tea (as always) and today’s was just plain ol’ organic green tea!

Green Tea

Green Tea

 Now’s the time that I’ll probably turn something on to watch (I know you’re not supposed to watch tv while eating, but it’s my weakness!) I’ll usually choose YouTube videos or some trashy reality tv show (another weakness, but they make me happy!)

Lastly, after washing the dishes, I’ll put on some happy music and some makeup! I don’t wear a lot day-to-day but if I’m feeling a pick-me-up or have somewhere (other than the yoga studio) to go, I like makeup! I always wear a BB cream, concealer under my eyes, brow gel, mascara and a lip something and will add blush, bronzer, setting powder and eyeliner if I have somewhere special to be! I finish up with a spritz of Saje Namaste Aromatherapy mist as a setting spray and to give me a little aromatherapy jolt.

Now that I’m done eating, reading, yoga-ing and meditating, my morning routine is over and it’s time to start the day!

The View from My Reading Chair (featuring Princess Peach)

The View from My Reading Chair (featuring Princess Peach)

Now that you know my morning routine, I would absolutely love to hear about yours! Is there something that you swear by in the mornings? Also, if you have any recommendations of all natural makeup and sunscreen brands please let me know! Finally, if there is anything that I mentioned that you would like more information about (ie food combining, etc) please let me know! I would love to make a post for you!

Namaste.

(Note: Nothing in this post was sponsored or asked to be mentioned. All thoughts and opinions are my own! Enjoy!)

Quick Healthy Tip: Soak Your Food

For proper digestion (and easier blending) always remember to soak your nuts before consuming them. Nuts have a high number of enzyme inhibitors making them difficult to digest. Enzyme inhibitors are what allow nuts to remain in your cupboard for months without becoming spoiled, not exactly something you want in your digestive tract. When you soak nuts before eating them, the enzymes become neutralized making them much easier on digestion. Soaking your nuts (or seeds or grains) before eating them will also make their proteins readily available as well as important nutrients and vitamins.

Soaking nuts is extremely simple, you take purified or distilled water, pour it over the nuts (about 2:1 ratio water to nuts) and allow to soak for a few hours to overnight. Cover your class container with cheesecloth and keep at room temperature until you’re ready to use them. Obviously the harder or larger the nut, the longer it will take to soak. Small grains and seeds will take much less time. Once you’re ready to use the nuts, rinse them to assure they are clean and you’re ready to go! You can always buy a dehydrator (unless you have one already) if you want to eat the nuts nice and crispy, instead of blending them.

Another great thing to soak are dates! Many healthy smoothies use dates as sweetener in delicious desserts. I enjoy blending dates with banana, 100% cocoa powder, peanut butter and soaked almonds with water for a delicious dessert smoothie. Without soaking the dates beforehand, they rarely blend unless you have a strong high-speed blender, leaving large date chunks behind.

Healing Crystals

I grew up always being interested by rocks and stones. I vividly remember swimming in the lake at my cottage, putting on goggles and looking for favourite stones. When I was much younger, a friend of mine showed me her “pretty rock” collection and I was immediately enamoured. I know now that they were crystals, but at the time I had no idea how she found such pretty stones at the bottom of the lake or on the side of the street! Once I found my passion for holistic living and yoga, it was only natural that my childhood love for “pretty rocks” would find me again. Earlier this year, a dear friend of mine gave me a beautiful purple-pink stone and so began my new hobby of finding and collecting meaningful crystals.

Crystals

Crystals

Crystals are used in conjunction or as an alternative to less traditional healing remedies. Crystals can be used for a myriad of different reasons and typically are used as some sort of protection or healing. Shamans, healers, even priests have been known to use crystals for their healing powers. Though there is no science behind crystal healing, those who use crystals believe in their benefits. With the huge uptake in natural and holistic living, many people look to crystals to help live their best life.

Though my collection is newly growing, I thought it may be interesting to share with you what I have in my collection. I believe in cleansing the crystals by smudging them with sage to insure that they are pure and fresh. I like to choose a crystal to take with me when I go about my day and need something extra to get me through. I know that there are people who hesitate to believe in the crystal’s healing properties but I feel more in-tune with myself, those around me and the earth when I’m carrying one.

Jasper (Polychrome), Jade & Calcite (Angel Wing) - Clockwise from top.

Jasper (Polychrome), Jade & Calcite (Angel Wing) – Clockwise from top.

There are many types of Jasper (just as there are many types of other crystals), but Polychrome is used to promote stability and a sense of grounding. Though Polychrome Jasper can ignite passion and vitality, it is also used to balance emotions.

Jade is famous for being a gemstone that brings love, attraction, prosperity and good fortune.

One of my favourites, Angel Wing Calcite is used to promote relaxation and is often used in meditation.

Quartz (Rose), Agate and Lepidolite. (Clockwise from top)

Quartz (Rose), Agate and Lepidolite. (Clockwise from top)

Next are the beautiful purple and pink gemstones.

Rose Quartz is very well known as it is a loving stone. Rose Quartz helps you open up your heart to give and receive love.

Agate is one of my absolute favourites, not only because it is beautiful but because it promotes self-confidence, strength, luck and can protect.

Lepidolite is the beautiful stone gifted to me by my beautiful friend. Lepidolite reduces stress and stabilizes mood swings, making it a great choice if you suffer from anxiety.

Jasper (Rainforest), Tourmaline (Black) and Citrine. (Clockwise from top)

Jasper (Rainforest), Tourmaline (Black) and Citrine. (Clockwise from top)

Rainforest Jasper also pairs well with meditation as it promotes change and progress.

Black Tourmaline is a protective gemstone and will stave off negativity and unhealthy external influences.

Finally, we have bright and sunny Citrine. Citrine brings prosperity, joy and abundance!

Box of Crystals

Box of Crystals

In choosing your crystals it’s best to go with your gut feeling. If you are drawn to a certain gemstone, then go for it! There is a reason it is calling to you! I like to keep mine safe in a small box where I can pick them out on my way out the door, or grab them for meditation; somewhere they feel special and secure. Though you may read that certain crystals do certain things, what is important is your belief in what they do for you, perhaps citrine protects you, that is fine! Enjoy them, they’re yours!

If you would love some more information about these beautiful stones, I have a Pinterest Page all about them!

Do you use crystals? Which gemstones are your favourite and when do you like to use them? Let me know in the comments below!

Namaste.

Opening the Heart Chakra: Practicing Back Bends

Backbends; they may seem exclusive to contortionists, but not only can you practice them, you should be practicing them as they’re extremely beneficial! If you’ve read my Welcome page, then you may know I have back problems; six slipped discs to be exact! Because of this, backbends are definitely my weakness in yoga class but instead of avoiding them, I try to practice as much as possible because every backbend brings tons of benefits!

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose) – Om Shanti Life

There are three types of backbends; traction, contraction and leverage. Traction backbends are when you use gravity to pull you into the bend, your front body remaining active. Ustrasana (camel pose) and urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) are great examples of traction backbends. Contraction backbends are the opposite. Usually, contraction backbends occur while you are laying on your stomach, your back body activates pulling you off the ground. Salabhasana (locust pose) is a contraction backbends. Finally we have leverage backbends. Leverage backbends are named so because you use the strength from your limbs to help further pull you into the bend, such as danurasana (bow pose) and bhujangasana (cobra pose).

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Salabhasana (Locust Pose)  - Om Shanti Life

Salabhasana (Locust Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Now that you know about the different types of backbends, you’ll want to know why you should be practicing them! It’s a fact of life that we spend a lot of time hunching and turning inwards. We’re sitting at our desks looking at screens, craning our neck down to play iPhone games on our daily commutes, curling inwards to avoid the cold winter, most of the day is spent hunched forward! It may seem natural for the spine to move into forward bends, but a daily backbend reverses the effects of this hunching, opening us up and making us available to the world around us. All that hunching means that most of us are walking around with some sort of pain, regularly practicing backbends can alleviate that back pain by bringing a rush of new blood and flexibility to the affected areas. Backbends aren’t only beneficial physically but mentally as well. BKS Iyengar believed back-bending to be a remedy for depression and would recommend them not only as cure for sadness, but also would suggest them to open up the front body and heart. Stretching the heart (as we naturally do in a backbend) releases all kinds of tension and emotion and even releases a flood of natural painkillers into the bloodstream! Backbends not only help to improve posture and ease pain but they build lots of strength in the back body, stretch the hip flexors and chest, build flexibility in the spine, ease symptoms of insomnia to let you sleep and help with mood disorders such as anxiety and stress!

Ustrasana (Camel Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Ustrasana (Camel Pose) – Om Shanti Life

When we bend backwards, we naturally broaden across the chest and open up the heart chakra. The heart chakra (or anahata) is the fourth chakra, located in the middle of the chest. When the heart chakra is blocked you can feel shy, unworthy of love and alone; pretty unpleasant feelings! Opening up the heart chakra opens you up to the idea and possibility of love! Clearly backbends open us up to a flood of emotions. It is not uncommon to find a wild release of anger, frustration, sadness when working within a backbend practice. This is natural and you don’t want those feelings bottled up inside anyhow!

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose) - Om Shanti Life

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose) – Om Shanti Life

Backbends are great to practice because spinal health is such an important thing! Though backbends are an excellent and important addition to your practice, it is always important to work within a pain-free range (especially if you have back problems!) Pushing or pulling or forcing yourself into poses that you aren’t ready for is a recipe for disaster. Be safe! Make sure you are ready to backbend before jumping into them! And speaking from experience, make sure your mat is nice and sticky! (I attempted urdhva dhanurasana while breaking in my new Manduka Pro mat, it was too slippery and I fell on my head!) Always begin a back bending practice after your body is nice and warm! Practice some cat/cows, twists and gentle back bends before trying more advanced poses. Remember also to have fun!

Namaste.

(Note: If you are new to the practice or new to backbends, work with a yoga teacher and check with your doctor. Though I’m starting my teacher training in May [!!] I’m not a professional [yet]. Be safe! Listen to your body! Have fun!)

Living Tea: All About Kombucha

Let’s talk kombucha! Perhaps you’ve seen kombucha in the grocery store or have seen someone drinking it at a restaurant, maybe you have no idea what it is! Kombucha is one of my absolute favourite drinks in the entire world! This delicious fizzy beverage not only tastes great but is also chock full of incredible health benefits!

Kombucha is a yummy probiotic tea beverage that contains amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants and polyphenols. Kombucha is made by fermenting tea with the help of our friendly SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). SCOBYs look like strange tan coloured, gelatinous frizbees that are a starter culture that turns plain tea and sugar into our carbonated kombucha beverage. SCOBYs are referred to as “the Mother” and after each new batch of kombucha, the SCOBY will regenerate and create a new “baby” SCOBY. Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, in fact kombucha tea’s origins are found in China in the 3rd century BC. A heck of a long time! Kombucha can be made from black, green or white tea (any tea from the camellia sinensis shrub), and is made by brewing tea with sugar, adding it to a large jar with a SCOBY and allowing the tea to ferment for a week or more.    IMG_0824

Kombucha is a probiotic drink, meaning it is full of beneficial bacteria that supports healthy digestion and a strong immune system! Kombucha is also full of glucuronic acid (GA) which binds to toxins in the body and transforms them into waste that can effectively be voided by the body; highly detoxifying! The antioxidant behaviour in kombucha tea is much higher than can be found in regular brewed tea! In fact, kombucha contains high levels of vitamins C and E, polyphenols and other carotenoids. Those high levels of vitamin C (over 100x the amount of vitamin C found in regular brewed tea) are extremely effective at strengthening your immunity! Those antioxidants fight against free-radical cell damage and inflammatory disease! That high vitamin and antioxidant content protects numerous tissues from toxicity such as the liver and kidneys and can prevent such ailments as kidney stones! Kombucha also contains a multitude of B vitamins, including folic acid, which helps prevent headaches, migraines and dizziness. Because kombucha is a tea it shouldn’t be a surprise that kombucha increases energy! Kombucha tea works to improve iron absorption in the body (low iron can make you groggy and is also the cause of anemia), boost the flow of oxygen to tissues and increase blood levels of hemoglobin (protein found in the blood that is in charge of carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs to body tissues and organs). Kombucha is also incredible for gut health! Kombucha protects both the lining of the gut and the mucin content of the stomach (a protein responsible for gel and lubricant-like functions in the body, for example; saliva), protecting the stomach from developing ulcers. Did you know that your gut is linked to your mental health? The kombucha probiotics helping our your stomach health will work their way to your head reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, lifting your mood! Kombucha has also been successful at lowering levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body, while systematically increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL)! Not only that but kombucha has been associated with lowered cancer rates! It’s incredible! Kombucha can slow or prevent tumor growth at early stages of development due to it’s antibiotic properties and high content of glucuronic, acetic and lactic acids! Finally, kombucha can ease asthma, relieve arthritis pain, decrease blood sugar levels, balance the metabolism and combat infection! Not bad for a delicious fermented tea!

IMG_2928

Kombucha’s growing popularity means it is easier to access these benefits than ever! You can find kombucha in a wide variety of flavours and brands; my favourite flavour is Rise Kombucha’s Mint & Chlorophyll, it is extremely refreshing! When you’re looking for your favourite brand, you do want to find a kombucha that is organic and raw to get the most benefits! I drink kombucha several times a week and find that it can heal in an instant! Unfortunately, kombucha can be expensive so if you do not want to make it at home (I’m excited to tell you I have a post coming about that soon!), it can be a fun drink to indulge in on occasion. The fizzy taste works well as a substitute for soda and kombucha is special enough to enjoy if you are abstaining from alcohol! Though I have no problem drinking kombucha several times a week, there have been instances of people becoming sick after drinking kombucha. Because kombucha so effectively releases toxins from the liver, the body can react by getting overwhelmed and sick. If you don’t normally drink kombucha, it is recommended to start drinking slowly (once or twice a week) to allow to liver to rid of those toxins without flooding the body. However, once your body is used to it enjoy all the myriad of health benefits you will start to see immediately! I find that enjoying kombucha lifts my mood, re-energizes me and gets the digestive juices flowing! I love to treat myself to a kombucha with my after-yoga snack to reward myself for a tough practice and for making the right choices for my body, mind and my soul!

What is your favourite type of kombucha? Do you have a favourite brand or flavour? Do you make your own at home? Are you looking forward to my upcoming post about brewing your own kombucha? I can’t wait to hear from you!

Namaste.

(Note: I was not asked my Rise Kombucha or GTS Kombucha to make this post. I am not being compensated for this post and all yummy bottles of kombucha were purchased with my own money!)

Quick Healthy Tip: What are you Grateful for Today?

One of the favourite changes I have made in my life this past year is ending my day by listing what I was grateful for that day and I would definitely coax you to do the same! Grab a journal and end your day by writing down and taking into account anything and everything that made you feel grateful, happy or warm and fuzzy inside that day! These Gratefulness Journals are great if you do not have a daily diary because instead of writing paragraphs about your day, you just jot ideas! I personally like to write grateful “lists”. Your list may have more on it one day than on another and that is okay! One day may be filled with big moments (I ran a 5k! I conquered an advanced yoga pose! I baked a pie all by myself!) or filled with small moments (I had a nice cup of tea! I talked to my Mom! I read my book!) and all of these moments are valid and important.

Gratefulness Journal - www.omshantilife.wordpress.com

Gratefulness Journal – http://www.omshantilife.wordpress.com

I use a pink “Princess” journal because I associate happy memories with it (my Grandpa called Princess when I was a young girl) so I encourage you to choose a journal that makes you feel happy and excited to open! Maybe decorate your journal with favourite pictures from a magazine or pictures from your life that you enjoy and inspire you to open your journal and think about the little things that make you happy every single day!

Since ending my day in this positive way, I have seen numerous changes to my life and general outlook. I have found that even on the seemingly “worst” days there is always something that I can feel grateful for, sometimes there are even several things! I have learned to appreciate the little things, to savour each moment and understand that even if there are storm clouds eventually the sun will come out (even if it’s just for a moment!)

Do you keep a Gratefulness Journal? Have I inspired you to end your day on a positive note? Let me know in the comments below! I’m grateful for this blog and all of you lovely readers!

Namaste.

Quick Healthy Tip: Morning Yoga

Today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite Quick Healthy Tips; Morning Yoga.

We spend much of our lives hunched over screens, whether at work or at play, we can become reliant on constant distraction and can easily become stagnant. One of the best ways to combat this is to start a morning routine that doesn’t involve immediately turning on the tv, scrolling through Instagram or checking email. My favourite way to do this is with a quick morning yoga routine.

IMG_1103

Starting your day with a little light yoga can really benefit you in ways you will not realize. Starting off with stretching, using your muscles and focusing on your breath can shift your focus and mindset into something positive. There is no such thing as the “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” if you wake up and take the time to yourself. Morning yoga isn’t the time to work on your hardest arm balances or deepest stretches, it is the time to move with your breath and be mindful.

When practicing morning yoga, you can choose to create your own routines or you can search “Morning Yoga” on YouTube and sift through the videos until you find a favourite. The videos range from 5 minutes to over an hour, meaning that you can find something no matter how much time you have! I love using Yoga with Adriene‘s channel to find morning videos and especially love her Travel Morning Routine for an under 10 minute routine to start my day!

IMG_1046

Do you have a regular morning yoga practice? How does it help you start your day? Start today and let me know how it goes!

Namaste.

TeaTime Treat: Classic India Spice

In the winter there is nothing better than sipping a hot mug of tea. Today’s TeaTime Treat Yogi’s Classic India Spice is the perfect warming herbal tea for those cool winter days.

IMG_3524

Yogi’s Classic India Spice is a delicious herbal tea blend inspired by traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a 5000 year old system of natural healing with origins in the Vedic culture in India. Ayurvedic medicine believes that optimal health is when all parts of the body, mind and spirit are balanced. Classic India Spice is a combination of warming spices; ginger, cloves, cinnamon, carob, chicory root, black pepper and more that works to rid the body of toxins while supporting the nervous system.

IMG_3525

There are numerous benefits to drinking Classic India Spice tea due to all the different spices used. Ginger is widely known to decrease feelings of nausea, including discomfort after eating, travel sickness, stomach cramps, bloating and gas. Ginger also boosts circulation, warming you up from the inside! Chicory root has recently become popular as a caffeine-free antioxidant substitute for coffee. It also purifies blood and the liver (supporting good liver health) as well as increases the liver’s production of bile, supporting optimal digestion. Carob also improves digestion, while also lowering cholesterol and fighting osteoporosis (due to high levels of calcium and potassium). Our friend cinnamon works to fight bloat, raise mental awareness, control blood sugar and fight off foreign bacteria! Cinnamon has also been known to improve blood levels of glucose in persons with type 2 diabetes (though it should me mentioned that too much cinnamon could be a bad thing). Like many of the other spices in this tea, clove improves digestion and reduces inflammation. Clove is often used in Ayurvedic medicine as it is antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic. Clove bud is not just used in pies and black pepper isn’t just used to spice your dinner! Black pepper is high in dietary fiber again aiding with digestion. Black pepper is also an Ayurveda star is it is often used to treat cough and colds. Because there are so many spice superstars in Yogi’s Classic India Spice tea, it shouldn’t be shocking that the tea has antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, antioxidant and analgesic properties.

Although Classic India Spice has all these great health benefits, my favourite thing about drinking the tea is how delicious it is! I love winding down after dinner, reading a book and wrapping my hands around a warm delicious mug of tea. The tea smells incredible because of all the lovely spices and I love that it helps my digestion after dinner without riling me up with caffeine!

Have you ever tried Classic India Spice tea? Do you have another favourite you would like to recommend for my next TeaTime Treat? Would you like to read more about Ayurveda? Let me know below and enjoy a cuppa yourself!

Namaste.

(Note: I am not sponsored by Yogi Tea. I was not asked or being compensated to make this post. I purchased the tea with my own money. It is just super yummy!)

Yoga@Home: Yoga by Candace

Do you ever have those busy (or let’s be honest… lazy) days where you just can’t make it to your yoga studio for your regular class? I’ve had a hard time this week scheduling in my classes so I started doing something that I used to do all the time; yoga flow YouTube videos at home. Full disclosure: before I started a regular studio practice, I practiced at home with the help of these videos several times a week, they are incredible! I have had multiple friends ask me which online teachers I liked because I moved from never having done yoga, to beginner, to intermediate and then playing with advanced poses all through YouTube videos! Because of this, I thought it may be fun to begin a new series called “Yoga@Home” where I could introduce you to all my favourite online yogis!

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 8.19.45 PM

Yoga by Candace – Screen-grabbed from: 50 Minute Power Yoga Class for Upper Body and Arm Balances (http://youtu.be/ad6NwWNjLGg)

Today’s channel is the amazing Yoga by Candace. The Yoga by Candace YouTube Channel is full of incredible and fun routines! Candace is one of my favourites lately because her routines tend to be fast paced and challenging! Her YouTube playlists are extremely well set up as she separates her routines not only by length (depending how much time you have), but also by body part, time of day or type of yoga you are interested in practicing. Because of this it’s extremely easy to find something no matter what you are looking for! Candace is a great teacher because she thoroughly explains poses so that you don’t feel confused or risk the chance of injuring yourself. Candace reminds you to “move within a pain free range” and always encourages you to remember that every day is different, to find your healthy edge and not get discouraged if you find yourself struggling one day more than another! Her flow sequences are super creative and different, meaning you don’t feel like you are going through the motions of the same class over and over. Candace provides thoughtful and interesting routines that will revitalize your home practice regardless of your yoga “level”.

Do you practice yoga at home? Are you looking forward to the Yoga@Home series? Let me know how you enjoy Yoga by Candace!

Namaste.