A Guide To Starting With Oils
As someone who's personally been using essential oils for nearly two years, I felt it was time to move from simply using oils, to sharing what they've done for me and my family.
Authenticity means everything to me, which is why it's taken so long for me to move into the space of sharing and selling oils. As I really, whole heartedly began to believe in them and fall in love with this non-toxic lifestyle we are leading with our homes, health and bodies, I began speaking more of them and sharing them with those around me and with my clients and readers.
Many have asked how they can get started, I have all that info on my oils page.
This post, however, serves to inform on how you can best utilize the oils that come in the Premium Starter Kit. It's how I got started, it contains some of my very favorite oils that are versatile for your everyday life and it is how many of my friends and clients are starting their oily journeys as well.
Below I've outlined what's included in the Premium Starter Kit, and how each oil is best used. If you have any questions, would like to try an oil or are interested in getting started, contact me. I'd be happy to chat!
While it's important to detox year round, the holiday season is a crucial time to take care to detox our bodies, mind and souls regularly. The change in weather, family and added financial stressors, additional caloric intake and cold and flu season all threaten our health on a daily basis. Below I share my detox routine that helps keeps me balanced overall.
I am not a doctor, as a nutritionist I am sharing what works best for me. While most of these methods are gentle and are able to be used by most, please always consult your doctor before trying any new detox methods.
Next On The Detox Plan:
Always looking for ways to aid my body in detoxing, I've asked Santa for a rebounder (translation: adult trampoline) which aids which also gets the lymph system moving.
The gym I joined has a dry sauna which is king in ways to detox. I plan to start slow and steady under the care of my doctor and increase my time in the sauna.
I also have more tests scheduled on my detox pathways. Always growing, learning, but most importantly praying for healing.
You may have noticed detox baths (usually a mix of warm water, Epsom salt and essential oils) are missing from my list. I found each time I did one I got sick. My doctor told me they are probably to intense for me right now (which is why everyone is different) and that a foot soak is probably a better way for me to go right now.
Anything missing that you swear by to detox this time of year? Or do you have a favorite from the list? Also, for those of you that have experience rebounding or hitting the sauna, what's been your experience?
a very special fitness friday.
We have a SUPER special #FitnessFriday for you today!!
Yoga, for me, has always been a way to brush off the morning sleepiness, prepare for my day, pray and stretch out tightness that has settled overnight. It’s also a retreat when I’ve had a long or stressful day, or my pelvic issues are acting up and I need to open my hips. I love being able to go into our little home gym and put in a good thirty to sixty minutes with my mat. Which is why I am SO excited about this week’s AMAZING giveaway that YOU GUYS get to be a part of.
Cat from The Rustic Willow allowed me to include my readers in her AMAZING Yoga Giveaway in celebration of her one-year Blogiversary. I'll let her explain the goodies.. take it away Cat!!
Hi all! My name is Cat and I'm the blogger over at The Rustic Willow. I've been blogging for one year now, and what a year it's been! I've learned an incredible amount in one year (more than I could ever explain in one blog post) and have made endless bloggy friends.
In celebration, the folks at Aurorae Yoga have agreed to give away a Yoga Kit, which includes one yoga mat in the color of your choice and one soy candle in the scent of your choice to one lucky winner! (U.S. Only) They're SO sweet to do this for me and I'm so stoked to be able to offer these wonderful prizes to you!
Aurorae prides itself on offering a wide variety of products that are both environmentally friendly and safe for both humans and animals. Their yoga mats are free of Phthalates, Latex and Silicone and all of their products are all SGS approved. Additionally, their candles are may from 100% natural soy wax.
Whether you're an expert in yoga or just starting out, the giveaway is a great addition to anyones fitness collection.
To enter just follow the link to the Rafflecopter by clicking here! Good luck!
stress reduction yoga
Through my position at Runway, I've had the privilege to work with the beautiful Holistic Health & Wellness Coach Rachel Zeskind. She is one of our fabulous writers and always has something to share regarding clean living, eating well, managing stress and an abundance of fitness tips.
From time to time we are going to be sharing one of her wonderful recipes, videos or articles to help inspire a healthy and fitness driven attitude for this summer.
I've personally had a very stressful week - and needed something to help me recenter, get focused and be calm while helping to relax my muscles. Aside from my prayer time in the mornings, I like to unwind with gentle stretching, breathing techniques and Rachel's stress-reduction yoga video. The video takes just over 90 seconds and is a great way to end the day or break up a busy day.
For more - visit www.RachelZeskind.com
When Energy Comes And Goes
I've learned that a lot of my fitness habits went to the wayside by my own excuses. When I was touring my workout regime was on point. I was dancing regularly, and even though I lived solo and didn't have a workout partner, I still hit the gym daily to do free weights, cardio, and abs. Lots and lots of abs.
And then I grew up, stopped touring, got a full time job in journalism that put me at a desk all day and my health took a turn that for some reason makes cardio leads to me getting sick sometimes.
But I've realized that I can excuse it away all day long, but when it comes down to it I've learned that I am good when it comes to eating healthy, I'm just not so good at working out on a regular basis.
And that's ok. The important thing is that I learn what I can work with. On days, like yesterday for example, when my energy is soaring (and I'll say I was on day 11 of the Whole 30 meal plan), that I get in a good workout. That I try to lift weights, do cardio or power yoga.
And then, on the days when I have no energy, when I'm not feeling well, when I'm experiencing my pelvic pain, or I've put in 10 hours of writing and leaving the house is the last thing I want to do, I will improvise and dedicate to doing something good for my body.
And that can be a number of things, for you as well. You all know your bodies better than anyone. The beauty about this journey is that I've learned to tune in to know when I'm just being lazy or when I know my body really does just need to rest or sleep.
I've put together a list of low-impact, easy exercises to do when your exhausted or just need to decompress or you need a good stretch session.
I'd love to know what you do when you're not feeling to hot or want to hide under the covers? Fitness first! :)
yoga & stretching for travel
I've spent my fair share of time on planes. From the age of 18, and for many years to follow, I toured the US, Caribbean and South America as a headlining singer.
I havn't toured in a few years now, but Mr. Charming and I adore Hawaii, and since you can't road trip your way to those beautiful islands, I still frequent the friendly skies.
The problem with long plane rides is the hours-long sitting sessions. It's not healthy and it can be painful and uncomfortable at times.
Below are some stretches and yoga moves you can do 35,000 miles above the earth.
Plant your butt firmly in your seat and your feet firmly on the ground so your legs make a 90 degree angle. Lift up your right foot and place your right foot, ankle or lower calf onto your left knee or thigh - where you find it to be comfortable. Place your left hand on your ankle to stabilize it and place your right hand or forearm on your right knee. Inhale, puff your chest up and lengthen your spine. Exhale, lean forward. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, release into the sensation. You will likely feel sensation in your right hip. Breath into it and feel. Take as long as you'd like in this pose. After the initial shock of sensation, it starts to feel very good. Once you're done come back up to seated and repeat on the opposite side.
If you don't have your travel pillow, this stretch will help relieve tension in your shoulders and neck. Wrap your right arm underneath your left so the left elbow rests in the right arm's elbow crease. Then work to touch your palms together. Your arms will be wrapped around one another. Inhale, lift your arms up and you'll feel sensation in your upper back and shoulders. Exhale, lower your arms down toward your stomach while still entwined and feel the sensation in the upper backbody. Hold where you feel the stretch and breath. When you're ready unwrap your arms and repeat on the other side.
Modified Seated-Triangle Twist
Place your left elbow on your left thigh and grab your right knee with your left hand. Inhale, and lengthen your spine and reach the crown of your head towards the front of the room. Exhale all your breath out as you sweep your right arm up towards the ceiling. Spiral your chest open to twist and gaze up towards your right hand. Take three deep breaths here. On your inhales lengthen and on your exhales allow the body to twist a little deeper. On the final breath exhale your right elbow to your right thigh and grab your left knee. Repeat on the other side. If the person in front of you has reclined their seat and you can't fit, do a seated twist without leaning forward.
It never hurts to strengthen our core, so let's do it while we're on the plane. With your body in an upright position, inhale, lengthen your spine and lift your arms up above your head. Draw your naval into your spine and breath. Release tension in your shoulder muscles as your reach up to the roof. Engage your legs and core. Feel your feet connected to the ground. Keep your chin slightly tucked in towards your chest. After a few deep breaths, exhale and release. Repeat a few times until you feel a healthy burn in your stomach muscles.
Forward Bend with Calf Stretch
From a regular seated position, inhale lengthen your spine then exhale fold out over your thighs. Feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and feel your hips release. Move your weight out of your toes and into the heels of your feet. Grab the toes of your feet or shoe and guide them towards your knees for a gentle stretch in your calf muscles. Enjoy a few rounds of deep inhales and exhales.
Seated Cat and Cow
Usually this is done on your hands and knees, breathing in as you let your belly sway low while you gaze up (cow) then exhaling as you lift your bellybutton upward while looking between your legs (cat). However, this can be modified to a seated position, using the same abdominal motion.
These are good for increasing the circulation in your legs, as well as burning up the core. Grab or push down on the side of your seat for stability and simply lift your thighs up while pressing your navel back into the seat. This can be done one leg at a time for a lighter workout or warm-up, or use both to feel the burn. Holding it for a few breaths also ups the ante.
Ankle Rolls and Flexes
Start with rolls, moving in a circular motion a few times clockwise then a few counter-clockwise. Afterwards, use that gained flexibility to push your ankles even further, pointing the toes out as far you can then pulling them back in towards the shins for a few breaths. I also like to do a variation of this with my hands and wrists.
Seated Spinal Twists
Move to the edge of the seat, cross your right leg over the left, and use the left hand (on your right knee) to help you twist. Breathe in and lengthen your torso, then spin your right shoulder back and the left forward. Hold it a breath or two and repeat on the other side.
One elbow rests in the inside of the other while the higher forearm wraps around the other until the palms are touching. It looks (perhaps reads) super complex but is actually simple and effective.
Of course, one of the best things to do when traveling long distances is to sleep, hoping the time ticks away. The problem, however, is when you wake up and feel what has happened to your neck during that slumber. Neck rolls are great for both stretching the neck muscles, as well as relaxing. Remember to rotate slowly, inhale moving back and exhale when coming forward. Doing it consciously definitely enhances the effect.
things i learn in yoga
So today was quite a day. I spent 12 hours today blissfully writing, not taking the time to break away for a walk or yoga like I should have. My poor neck, shoulder and psoas muscles gradually became more and more irritated with my focus today.
Mr. Charming has started a new job, and we are so blessed for that, but it's definitely a challenge for him. He works in the medical field doing all kinds of important, smarty stuff so when he had to put in 13 hours today I didn't expect us to do much more than lay around when he got home.
The other day, as I've been having some stress related issues lately, he did yoga with me. It was so nice to have a yoga buddy! Tonight he asked if we could could do a session together again and I was beyond elated. Bonding time with my husband and yoga for my sore little muscles? I was a happy woman. And I wanted to share with you all what I learned in yoga tonight.
Things I learned in yoga tonight:
intro to bikram yoga
Guest Post by Kaity
This month I would like to introduce you to Bikram Yoga.
Bikram yoga is a series of 26 asanas (postures) precisely strung together so that each asana prepares the body for the next, and systematically works every inch of the body from the inside out, from the top of the head to the tips of the toes.
It is, in my opinion, THE BEST exercise you can give yourself.
So what is so amazing about Bikram? The list is endless…
Promotes true healing through postures that activate the body’s natural healing abilities and detoxification system
Promotes mental clarity by reducing stress & anxiety levels and building concentration levels
Promotes healthy metabolism
Expands lung capacity and strengthens the heart
Improves the spine’s flexibility and health
Lubricates the joints
Strengthens bones, and stretches and tones the muscles
Supplies oxygen and nutrients to parts of the body that have been blocked or stagnant
Builds energy and stamina
And much, much more!Yoga is traditionally considered a discipline, used to focus the mind through physical movements that quiet the body and nervous system. Bikram takes discipline to a whole new level. First of all, you’re basically in a sauna; 105 degrees, 40 percent humidity. Bikram himself refers to his studio as the ‘torture chamber’; I think you can understand why. But there is a method to the madness- the heat warms your muscles, making them more malleable, allowing for greater ease of stretching. It does the ‘warm-up’ part for you and allows for more focus on the postures. Along with the humidity, the heat also promotes the body to sweat (profusely; I mean you will be drenched by the end of class), aiding in the detoxification process.
Second, Bikram tests your willpower. Standard Bikram dialogue tells students to push themselves: go farther, stretch harder, focus deeper. Each Bikram posture forces you to focus 110% on your body; lock the knee, suck the stomach in, stretch and stretch and STRETCH! Oh, and don’t forget to breathe!
Bikram purposely designed his series to challenge the student; it is all about pushing past the limits your mind has made up, and building your confidence and inner strength. Every posture is a fight against yourself because the ego cannot stand the thought of accepting defeat. Like the little train chugging up the hill- I think I can, I think I can- you must break the boundaries fabricated between your mind and body and persevere. Regular practice builds one’s focus by quieting the mind and channeling the attention into the moment, into each breath and movement. It is not about just going through the motions, but putting intention into each movement in order to gain the greatest benefit from each posture. This is true discipline.
I fell in love with Bikram yoga my first class in September of 2011. I LOVE the challenge; I practically feed off of it. You’re basically working against yourself; I get extreme satisfaction from pushing past my boundaries and testing myself. I often smile in class because that is when I break past boundaries and take a posture to a whole new level. It makes me feel like a child- “Look what I can do!” The personal gratification Bikram practice brings helps to build your confidence and ground your energy, or make you more connected with your inner self. I have learned more about myself through practicing Bikram than I ever have through a therapy session; it makes me feel like a better person. Other things I have noticed change throughout my practice are my eating habits, my energy level, and my anxiety level. My eating habits become cleaner; my cravings for junk food subside considerably and I naturally crave healthier, more fulfilling foods. I am more able to sustain my energy throughout the day, as well. Exercise in general is a great stress buster, but Bikram really does the trick for me. I am less anxious and more able to deal with stressors and let things go. My practice also provides incredible emotional maintenance. Each posture works not only on a physical level but on an emotional level, too, releasing built up energy. If you are holding onto things (emotionally) be sure they will come up during practice. Don’t be wary though, it is just as important to cleanse the physical self as it is the mental self. Physically, I feel and look healthier and more vibrant. My skin becomes clearer, my posture is normal, and I am more able to enjoy other physical activities, such as hiking. I believe in Bikram so deeply because I have experienced the healing powers it can provide and know others that have experienced it too. It is a truly amazing practice!
Bikram clears the mind, renews the spirit, and rejuvenates the body. A complete package! There is a type of yoga that suits each individual, but I strongly encourage you to try Bikram. I promise it will be worth it!
You can find out more about Bikram yoga, the postures, and find a studio near you at this website: http://www.bikramyoga.com/
Check back next month for my article about Traditional Chinese Medicine!
desk job: stretches
Stretching. Is. Totally. Important. I was told this as a dancer. Throughout yoga. While I was touring. Through my pelvic problems and more so now probably than ever before working at the massage studio. And although my stretches have changed from time to time I know the value of good stretching in keeping my body young, limber and healthy.
As many professionals work daily sitting at a desk as I do. (six hours at work, followed by another four to six hours writing, blogging and working on music) so I know the aches and pains of my shoulders, wrists, hips, neck, back, pelvis, etc. when I don't regularly get my stretches in. So below are some to get you started. Generally I'll do neck & arm stretches at my desk, but some of these you can save for home or get up, walk around, and do them at work.
Kick-Back, Log-on Pose: While sitting at your desk, interlace your fingers behind your head. Relax your elbows and shoulders. Breathe and stretch your elbows back.
Keyboard Calisthenics: Place hands in prayer position, move fingers in all directions and stretch. Squeeze fists tight. Then, stretch your fingers wide. Interlace your fingers and rotate hands.
Neck Rolls: Drop your head to one side. Roll it around in a wide circle, and then switch directions.
Chair Stretches: While sitting, interlace your fingers below your knee. Bend your leg up, and then stretch your forehead to your knee. Switch legs. Another stretch for your chair: Cross your left leg over your right. Place your right hand or elbow on the crossed knee. Gently turn your body to the left and look behind you. Switch legs, and twist the other way.
Lower Back Bend: Grab the edge of your desk or counter, and step back a couple of feet. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Let your upper body stretch down, relaxing your head and neck.