Greatest Compliment I Ever Received

No, it wasn’t about my superbly charming, intelligent, and romantic personality. I get that all the time.

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Last night I received the greatest compliment ever. I am still so humbled that my heart wants to silently burst. At the dinner table, my mom randomly told me, “Ever since you started practicing yoga and meditation, you’ve become a lot calmer.” A little caught off guard, I replied, “Wait are you asking or telling me?” “I’m telling you. You’ve become a lot less reactive and easily upset.” I just about died.

You see, my very favorite part of a yoga practice is when we set our intention at the beginning of class. Why did we come today to our mat? Is it to relieve stress and anger? Is it to get a nice stretch? There is no right or wrong; it’s whatever you want to get out of the next hour. Mine has always been the same. Simply put, I step onto my mat to find patience. Having patience helps me become mindful, thereby allowing me to easily seek compassion and gratitude in all areas of life.

Patience has always been a problem for me. I’m easily irritable and fussy (#VirgoProblems) and it’s hard to get me out of that funk. Sometimes I react harshly, or perhaps passive aggressively, and every single time I regret my actions afterwards. I solely acted on my irritation, not based off logic. I let my emotions control me, when really I should be the one in control of my emotions.

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I will continually be annoyed by things people say and do. Just as I will say or do things that annoy others. It’s a fact of life. But as soon as I’m mindful about my irritated feeling, I immediately breathe. No, really. Like intentionally take a deep inhale then a deep exhale. So deep that the breath is audible. I then ask myself, “How can I respond in a logical, respectful manner so I can better understand where they are coming from? I know they didn’t mean to intentionally irritate me so what made them say or do that?” This results in a cordial  interaction based off reasoning and wisdom, not off temporary fiery emotions.

It’s amazing how much weight can be lifted off your mind and heart when you possess patience. Now you have more room for love, compassion, kindness, gratitude. Yoga taught me that.

Be Still. Be Mindful. Be Easy. Woosah.

love, julie

Other yoga related posts I wrote last year but remain valid today 🙂 –

  1. Why I Yoga
  2. 30 Days of Yoga: What I’ve Learned
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What I Eat in a Day | Healthy Weekday Meal Ideas

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I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoy seeing what you had for lunch. It’s just interesting to see people’s daily diet and also gives me meal ideas. I filmed and edited a short video about what I typically eat here! After I was done editing it, I realized my weekday and weekend meals are totally different ha! I definitely don’t always eat this clean.. at all. That’s why I like to be good M-T and save my calories for the weekend 🙂

If you haven’t already,  make sure you check my video 🙂

xo,
julie

How To: Delicious Turmeric Milk/Golden Milk | Benefits of Turmeric!

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Golden Milk is wonderful to have on a chilly day when you need to warm up or right before bed time to help wind down. Turmeric is widely known to reduce joint pain, improve digestive health, boost the immune system and a million other things. Even my face wash has turmeric in it to help with acne and evening out my complexion! And every time I feel extra bloated from a meal, taking a capsule or two of turmeric always helps with my digestion.

I made a video on how to make it here! It’s a quick 2 minute tutorial 😀

Ingredients:
1 cup of milk
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of coconut oil
1/2 tsp of honey
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of grounded ginger

Important to note – it’s popular to add a pinch of black pepper to this recipe to help with the absorption of turmeric while adding a nice chai-like taste. Play around with the ingredients/measurements and find what you like best!

Have any of you tried it? How do you like it?

Top 3 Pilates Moves for Toned Abs

Ah, Pilates, my first fitness addiction. I began practicing almost 5 years ago and teaching just over 4 months now. Today I’m sharing 3 classical Pilates moves that never fail to work. It takes 5 minutes to do this routine, so find a small spot on the floor and enjoy! single leg stretch.jpgimg_9840img_9841

  1. Start by lying on your back. Knees pulled into your chest.
  2. Lift head and shoulders off the mat
  3. Grab right shin with both hands stacked one on top of the other
  4. Extend left leg to a high diagonal
  5. Inhale as you switch legs
  6. Exhale as you pull left knee in towards chest
  7. Continue to switch. Do 10 on each leg.

Modification: head and shoulders rest on the mat. Continue to switch your legs.

Challenge: lower that extended leg closer towards the mat and/or lift another inch off your shoulder blades
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  1. Start by lying on your back. Knees pulled into your chest
  2. Lift head and shoulders off the mat
  3. Inhale as you extend arms and legs go to a high diagonal
  4. Exhale as you circle arms around grabbing your shins while hugging knees into chest
  5. Do 8-10 reps

Modification: arms and legs are at a 90º angle instead of a 45º angle

Challenge: Lower your extended legs closer towards the mat while keeping that lower back on the mat

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  1. Start by lying on your back. Knees pulled into your chest
  2. Lift head and shoulders off the mat.
  3. Hands go behind your neck and extend legs straight to the ceiling at 90º
  4. Bring your feet into Pilates stance – heels together, toes apart
  5. Inhale as you lower legs to a place where your lower back remains on the mat
  6. Exhale as you lift your legs back to 90
  7. Do 8 reps

Modification: Create a triangle with your hands (index fingers and thumbs connect) and place it under tailbone to support your lower back

Challenge: Lower your legs closer towards the mat while keeping your lower back pressed on the mat to prevent injury.

Do this routine every day for a week and you’ll definitely feel your abs tightening.

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Let me know if you want to see any other Pilates-related posts! Would love to share.

30 Days of Yoga: What I’ve Learned

During the month of January, the yoga studio I belong to presented us with a 30 day challenge. We were allowed to take any classes offered at the studio including yoga, Pilates, or barre – as long as we moving everyday during the month of January! The majority of the classes I took were yoga followed by barre once or twice a week and Pilates about every other week.
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Going into this, I knew sacrifices had to be made: no happy hour on Fridays, no eating dinner until after class at 9pm, and no burritos for lunch because that wouldn’t be fun during backbends. It took commitment to set an hour or two everyday to step onto my mat. But once I did, I never ever regretted it and learned some pretty awesome things along the way:

Kindness – I’d like to consider myself a kind person, but at times I can be anything but. At my lowest moments I have screamed disrespectful and hurtful comments to some of the people I loved most. If my mom had me repeat something 3 or 4 times, I would get so irritated and respond harshly. Or if she said something that was hurtful to me, I would immediately try and retaliate by saying something hurtful back.

But I’ve realized that of course she didn’t want me to repeat myself for the hell of it – she just genuinely couldn’t hear me. And of course she didn’t want to intentionally hurt my feelings – she’s looking out for me by being honest (although we’ve both agreed she can say things nicer without mincing her words, but we’re working on that).

As I flow in yoga, I’m reminded to move with my breath. It is not meant to be fast, just like we are not meant to react in haste. Next time you’re about to lose your sh*t, take a couple of deep inhales and exhales, and remember no one’s trying to intentionally irritate or hurt you. It will save you from acting erratically which leads to embarrassment and shame. And if there are people who intentionally try to hurt you, acknowledge it and move on without stooping to their level. Those people are clearly hurting in the inside. Say a prayer for them that they see the good in the world and become inspired by it.

Self-love – I had envisioned this amazingly toned body by the 30th day. I thought, “Finally! I can look like those yoga models on Instagram!” You know, those girls with the perfectly lean, sculpted bodies that can be contorted into any shape? Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen. Although I still basically look the same as when I began, I have found a deeper appreciation for my body and all  of its flaws. My inner thigh fat and the fluff covering my abs don’t phase me as much anymore. They represent all of the laughter, happiness, and good conversation I had with family and friends when we shared a delicious meal.

Treat your body well by giving it a little stretch and sweat every once in a while. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Do your best to nourish it, including having a piece of cake here and there. As long as you feel good, regardless of what the scale says, then that’s all the affirmation you need. Plus, nobody notices our “flaws” as much as we do (or at all)- stop stressing about it! Let it be.

Patience – Nothing tests my patience more than holding eagle pose for what seems like eternity. The ONLY thing that keeps me going is my breath. All I can do is breathe. And I take that skill with me off the mat as well. Whenever I’m in an undesired situation that causes me to be uncomfortable, I can either b*tch or breathe. Breathing may not be satisfying at the moment, but I know I won’t regret saying anything rude or disrespectful (which circles back to my kindness lesson above). As I learned from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you can stand anything for 10 seconds. Just keep on breathing in 10 second increments. If it still annoys you after 10 seconds, keep on breathing for another 10.. until that irritating feeling leaves you. You’ll feel less heaviness in your mind and heart 🙂

Courage –  At the end of every class, I surrender myself to the universe in savasana. Corpse pose gives me the courage to invite in all challenges and opportunities that the universe has deemed appropriate for my life. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it. By taking a moment to reset and recharge, I am ready to tackle anything head on.

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For any dabblers or regular practitioners, what has been your most valuable lesson learned?