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Self Care Sunday

Oh Hey Self-Care! This Simple DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub Recipe Will Melt Away Your Woes

Self-care is a wonderful way to honor your body and tap into your reserves of inner calm.


A mindful time-out (such as the DIY lavender sugar scrub practice described below) nurtures your mind, body, and spirit, and offers a sense of renewal.

A homemade sugar scrub can transform your day by brightening your mood and relieving tension. This quick and easy-to-make DIY scrub is an excellent self-care practice to incorporate into your weekly routine.

Self-massage is a wonderful way to tune into your body and show yourself some love. And a homemade sugar scrub is perfect for just that.

This DIY lavender sugar scrub is a gentle exfoliator that can be used on your face and body. The calming scrub leaves your skin soft and smooth and the lavender scent will leave you feeling blissfully relaxed.

A simple practice like this proves that self-care does not need to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive.

Check out the recipe and the full article on YogiApproved


Use These 4 Restorative Yoga Poses for Immediate Stress Relief

When we are at ease in body and mind, we feel open, expansive, and grounded. We are able to show up for ourselves, others, and our work fully, and we are our best selves.

However, when we experience stress, we tend to feel scattered, uncomfortable, and unsettled. The physical manifestation of stress might express as inconsistent and short breaths, tightness in the body, and tension in the face.

Stress is a mindset that we adopt (either consciously or unconsciously) in response to a given situation. More often than not, stress is an unsupportive addition to our daily lives.

Restorative Yoga is an antidote to the harm caused by stress, offering an opportunity to step back and reset the mind and body. A restorative practice offers a reprieve from stress that allows us to reframe our approach toward external stressors.

It can feel counterintuitive to take a time-out from our day when we feel pressed for time or burdened by an approaching event or deadline. Perhaps the very reason we feel stressed is because we feel short on time.

However, there can be value in taking a few minutes to change the channel in our minds and slow the pace of our inner dialogue. By taking the time to reassess, we might recognize the stress we carry to be unnecessary, and we can address the role of stress as an obstacle to our end goals.

Use These 4 Restorative Yoga Poses as Your Go-To Yoga for Stress Relief:

The Restorative Yoga poses below offer a holistic approach to stress relief. Restorative Yoga can imbue our lives with a fresh perspective, introspection, and a broader understanding of our response – a stark contrast to the narrow-minded thought pattern imprinted by stress.

Taking a moment to pause and break the cycle of tension can do wonders for your day, offering ease in the body, mind, and breath. The next time you need to recenter, give one or all of the poses below a try.
Props You Will Need: 4 blocks, 2 blankets, 1 bolster, optional eye pillow.
If you do not have the yoga props listed, please feel free to supplement with items found around your home. Firm pillows and/or a couch cushion can be a great substitute for the yoga props used in the poses listed below.

1. Restorative Twist

This Restorative Twist is a wonderful way to quiet the mind and gather grounding energy. Support under your belly offers a soothing effect, which alleviates feelings of worry and strain.


Let’s try it:

  • Place two blocks on your mat, the first block on its lowest height and the second block on the second height

  • Lay your bolster over the two blocks so you create a slope with the bottom edge of the bolster touching the floor

  • Snuggle your right hip at the base of the bolster with your knees bent to the left and your hands framing your props

  • Keep your navel as close to center as possible and lie down so the front of your body is supported by the bolster

  • Tuck your arms underneath the bolster and between the blocks

  • Your head can turn toward or away from your knees. Choose whichever option feels best for you neck

  • Enjoy each side for up to five minutes

Check out the other poses and the full article on YogiApproved



Stop the Negative Self Talk! Thank Your Body With This Gratitude Meditation

full article published on YogiApproved

A body scan meditation mixed with a gratitude meditation is an excellent way to promote a harmonious mind-body connection. In this simple meditation, you have the unique opportunity to thank your body for all it does for you on a daily basis to radically improve your body image in a new way.

Your body is an incredible system, one which offers you the ability to live and enjoy your life. However, it can be all too easy to forget this and take your body for granted.


By switching up the dialogue and offering your body this gratitude meditation, a different perspective emerges. This newfound perspective focuses on the amazing capacity of the human body rather than on shape or size.

Here’s How to Practice Your Body Scan Meditation:

Find a quiet place. Either sit in a comfortable cross-legged posture or lie down on your back. Begin by taking a few deep breaths.

As you go through the body scan meditation, start at the top of your head and move down through your body. First, create awareness in the body part you are focusing on. Tune into how it feels and all sensations that arise there.

Then, offer it thanks as you bring in the gratitude meditation . . .
 Continue reading this article on YogiApproved


Yoga for a Strong Core

Yoga for a Strong Core

Happy Self Care Sunday, Yogis!

I am excited to announce that I have started a YouTube Channel, Urban Om Yoga! 

I started this yoga channel to offer some peace and calm in an easily accessible (and free!) platform. Through various practices we will sweat, rest, restore and meditate. There will be a wide range of practices on the channel so you can find a practice that works best for your specific needs each day. I am so excited to share this project with you. Subscribe to the channel here and check out the most recent video below. 

A strong core supports from the inside out, promoting good posture and a healthy back. 

My yoga practice has been influenced by my recent pilates training and I have found some incredibly helpful exercises to weave into my everyday yoga flow. Check out the video and subscribe to Urban Om Yoga to stay in the loop for future videos- More coming soon!!

Have a wonderful Sunday! 


City Calm in 3,2,1 with 2-1 Breathing

City Calm in 3,2,1 with 2-1 Breathing

My yogi toolkit is a collection of short practices I count on to bring balance and calm to my day. These practices are a great way to supplement a yoga practice when I have a few minutes to spare.

One simple practice I carry in my yogi toolkit is 2-1 breathing, or Rechaka Pranayama. This simple breathing exercise doubles the length of the exhale, bringing stress relief to body and mind. It is the perfect antidote for anxiety, insomnia and stress. Unlike other pranayama techniques, this practice can be done anytime, anywhere, without the supervision of an instructor.

Practice this yoga gem the next time you have a few minutes to spare and want to quiet the mind and regain focus. It is a great exercise to have in your back pocket and I highly recommend adding it to your yogi toolkit :)

The how to:

Begin by taking a tall seat, with the legs crossed. Ideally the hips are higher than the knees. Feel free to sit on a blanket or yoga block if this makes this alignment possible and/or feels better for your back. Close the eyes and begin to breathe evenly in and out through the nose.

Once you feel you have established a consistent rhythm, breathe in for the count of 2 and breathe out for the count of 4. Take a few rounds of this breath ratio. As you are ready, increase the breath ratio by inhaling for the count of 3 and exhale for the count of 6, then progressing to a ratio of 4 to 8, and so on. Take care not to push past your breath capacity. This exercise should feel calming and should not create strain.

Take this 2-1 breath for a few minutes, or until you feel the mind settle. Once you feel ready, take a few even breaths, bringing the breath back into a steady, equal rhythm. Open your eyes and continue your day, with a bit more calm and clarity. 

Just a few minutes of Rechaka Pranayama has the ability to quiet the mind. Try it out the next time you need to recenter, such as the next time your train is stalled! Give it a try for instant calm.

Just a few minutes of Rechaka Pranayama has the ability to quiet the mind. Try it out the next time you need to recenter, such as the next time your train is stalled! Give it a try for instant calm.

Self Care Sunday: Gratitude Practice

Self Care Sunday: Gratitude Practice

Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest ways to change your perspective for the better. Whether you are going through a difficult time or just want to brighten your mood, this practice has the ability to offer a more positive point of view. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, there is always something to be grateful for and if we can cultivate this mindset, we will be happier for it. 

Here are several ways to give this powerful practice a try. Use one or more of these techniques today and enjoy a positive mindset as part of your Self Care Sunday :)

Gratitude Meditation

Have a few minutes and want to improve your mood? Find a quiet place to sit or lie down with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and begin to think of something you are happy to have in your life. You can either choose to let all the people, things, and activities you are grateful for flow steadily through your mind or you can meditate on one thing for which you are grateful for the entirety of the meditation.

Create a Gratitude Journal

For the next 30 days write down at least 3 things you are grateful for every day. It can be helpful to create a ritual, practicing gratitude first thing in the morning or before you go to bed each evening. These points of gratitude can be big or small, from the first sips of your morning latte to those in your life who make your heart hum. Writing down these highlights every day strengthens your gratitude muscle and you will find looking on the bright side becomes more of a habit over the course of the month. 

Gratitude Walk

Take a walk and bring your attention to everything that brings you joy while you stroll. Turn your phone on silent or leave it at home so you can be truly present while you take your gratitude walk. You could notice the sunny day, the cute dog walking by, the beautiful flowers, whatever suits your fancy. Bringing attention to all of the beauty of life can brighten your mood and make more space for the wonders of life. 

Whichever technique works best for you, give gratitude practice a try for your Self Care Sunday. The benefits are so vast, it might be a practice you will want to turn to every day of the week.

Self Care Sunday: DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub

Self Care Sunday: DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub

Happy Mother's Day!

Whether you are looking for a last minute gift for Mom or a super quick and simple way to treat yourself on this Self Care Saturday, this DIY lavender sugar scrub is always a good idea.

All you need is sugar, coconut oil, lavender essential oil and, if you want to be fancy, some lavender petals.

This scrub can be used on your face, body and feet. The coconut oil will leave your skin smooth and glowing while the calming scent of lavender will stay with you all day. What's best, this recipe only takes 5 minutes to whip up!


Lavender Sugar Scrub

1 cup Sugar (white or brown)
1/2 cup coconut oil
15-20 drops lavender essential oil
1 tsp lavender pedals (optional)

Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl. If the coconut oil is in solid form, heat it for a few minutes until it turns liquid. If you desire a less coarse scrub, add a few extra tablespoonfuls of coconut oil.

Transfer into a container and voila! You have the perfect gift for Mom. Save a bit for yourself and have a wonderful Sunday!

Self Care Sunday

Self Care Sunday

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, there is a good chance you have heard the yoga cue to “breathe into your heart.” The verbal assist is meant to energize the inner body of the chest, as well as open the physiological body by making more space in the sternum, widening the collar bones, creating a sense of lightness, promoting good posture, and a developing a feeling of freedom in the upper body. 

While this verbal cue might sound abstract, it is actually an anatomically sound instruction. When we breathe in, the diaphragm (the dome-shaped muscle primarily responsible for the act of respiration) contracts downward, creating more space for air entering the body. When we exhale, the diaphragm relaxes upwards, assisting our bodies in the release of air. This not only allows for our full, deep yoga breathing, but the pumping action of the diaphragm also massages the heart. Therefore, we can literally breathe into our hearts!

We could all use some self-care techniques in our back pocket. Practice this exercise anytime you need to connect with your breath and de-stress.

This pranayama can be practiced in any pose with a long spine and a free abdomen, such as an upright seated position, savasana, or supta baddha konasana. 

3-part breath (dirga swasam pranayama), The Step by Step:

Find your seated or supine pose and bring your attention to your breath. Allow the breath to be continuous as you initiate your inhale from the low belly, lift the breath into the rib cage/diaphragm, and then the chest. Once you reach the top of your inhale and your chest, take a long, continuous exhale, following the same path in reverse. If helpful, you can use your hands to guide your breath as you move up and down the torso, as shown in this video.

Inhale: one long breath into the low belly, rib cage, chest
Exhale: one long breath out through the chest, rib cage, low belly
Repeat 5-10 rounds. you may slowly start to lengthen the breath as you feel ready.


    •    teaches one to breath fully and deeply
    •    can calm and ground the mind
    •    can help to decrease stress and anxiety
    •    can help one to focus on the present moment

*Proceed with caution with this and all breathing exercises, especially if you have a respiratory condition. as with all pranayama, stop if you feel light headed.

Ocean Gazing Lessons: Dharana, the Art of Concentration


Last month at The Shala we took an in depth look at Pratyahara, or the withdrawal of the senses. The limbs of yoga are systematic, the limb preceding the next providing you with the tools you need to enable your best shot at tackling the limb to come. As we flip our calendars to September, and we shift our focus to the 6th limb, Dharana, or concentration, we are uniquely prepared to practice single pointed focus, having taken a big step back from external distractions.

So often as New Yorkers we pride ourselves on being able to focus in the form of working very hard but we often ride the stress train to meet our goals.

When we practice Dharana, the goal is to maintain the calm energy that we developed through Pratyahara while still directing our attention to one place. In yoga this focal point is the breath.

The other day I went to the beach and the tropical storm making its way up the east coast had brought these huge, beautiful waves. When I looked down the beach, 90% of the beach goers were sitting up, gazing out at the ocean. Everyone shared a collective, calm focus directed towards the water. We want to find a similar balance of serene focus in our practice.

There is sometimes a misconception of yoga and meditation that its practitioners are spaced out or ‘out to lunch’. In actuality the practices advocate just the opposite and encourage a tuning in rather than a checking out.

So the question is, how do we collect our attention in a concentrated yet peaceful fashion while maintaining a stress-free mind and demeanor?

Yoga is the union of opposites so the effort and action placed towards achieving this pure attention while maintaining a chill mind is the goal itself. Just like a muscle, the skill of concentration is strengthened the more you ask of it. This limb is attained by the continuous intention to return the mind back to its focal point while at the same time keeping an easy mind about it. Just like the buoyancy and consistency of the ocean waves, your mind can find steadiness through the practice of Dharana with calm, steady practice over time.

Practice Dharana with a Breath Based Meditation:

Sit up tall, close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath. No matter how many times the mind wanders from the breath, bring it back to your breathing in the most loving, kind, gentle way possible. No berating yourself, no guilt, just simply try again and again. The process is the goal and over time this task will become easier. Eventually you will find yourself with not only the ability to focus more acutely but with more energy as your mind is a little less scattered and a little more serene, setting you up nicely for the next limb meditation.