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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

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30 Minute Vinyasa Practice

Hi yogis!

Join me for this 30 minute Vinyasa Yoga Flow. This practice is catered towards yogis with a regular practice. However, those working on building strength can enjoy this video by taking breaks when needed. Enjoy and please reach out if you have any questions!

xoJenny

Have you Subscribed to the Urban Om Yoga YouTube channel yet? Stay up to date with free yoga and meditation videos when you subscribe. Check it out 

Photo: Kristin Wolford

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

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a restorative yoga sequence for some seriously sweet dreams

Who doesn't wish they could squeeze in a few more zzz's? Sleep is incredibly important for our wellbeing, proper immune function and lowering our stress levels. Although we might be aware of the health benefits of a good night’s sleep, sometimes it can be challenging to transition from the busyness of everyday life into a restful slumber. If you could use a bit of help winding down for bedtime, check out the restorative yoga sequence below. Taking 20 minutes before bed to slow down and unwind could be your ticket to snoozeville. 

For this practice you will need:

2 blocks or firm pillows, some wall space, a blanket (optional), and an eye pillow (also optional)

Short and sweet meditation

Begin in a crossed leg seated position, back facing the wall. You might want to sit on your block or blanket for additional support. You can also use the wall for back support if this is helpful. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. Before you change your breath in any way, notice the natural rhythm of your breath. Take note of where the breath wants to live in the body and the quality of the breath. Be aware, there is no right answer to these questions. This is not about judgement but rather building awareness. Take this time to check in how you are feeling at the beginning of your practice.

After a minute or two gradually begin to deepen your breathing and begin:

3-part breath (dirga swasam pranayama)

Divide the inhale into 3 equal parts, breathing into the belly, the ribs, and the chest. If it is helpful, you can use your hands to guide your inhale as you move the breath up the torso. 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, take a long, continuous exhale, following the same path in reverse. Repeat 5-10 rounds. You may slowly start to lengthen the breath as you feel ready.

*as with all pranayama (breathing exercises), stop if you become dizzy or lightheaded

 
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Legs up the Wall:

Snuggle one hip next to the wall, knees facing up toward the ceiling

Lay on your back as you simultaneously swing both legs up the wall. You can place your hands behind you to help this action.

Cover your eyes with an eye pillow. 

Take long deep breaths into the belly. Enjoy this pose for 5-10 minutes

*If the legs fall asleep, you can either come out of the pose or hug the knees into the chest for a few breaths and re-stretch the legs when you are ready.

*If the hamstrings are tight, the knees can stay a little bent in this pose. 

 
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Supine Twist

Bend the knees into the chest 

Rock the knees over to the left with your feet  gently pressing into the wall

Stretch your arms out on the floor, in line with your shoulders, chin turned towards your right shoulder

Optionally place your left hand on top of your right thigh to gently encourage the leg toward the floor, thus deepening your twist. 

Breath deeply, finding a smoothed out version of that same 3-part-breath with which we started practice. Hold 10 breaths, then switch sides

 

Supta Baddha Konasana

Lie on down on your back with an optional low folded blanket under your head. 

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Bring the soles of your feet to touch, open your knees to the sides, laying the thighs on either your blocks or firm pillows. 

Gently place an eye pillow over your eyes and a blanket over the belly. A blanket placed on the abdomen adds a sense of grounding, which is very helpful as you ease your way towards dreamland.

Enjoy this pose for 10 minutes. 

When you are ready to finish your practice, draw your knees together and rock side to side a few times. Roll to one side to press yourself up to sit.

Take a few breaths in a seated position, take note of how you feel. Then head to bed for some seriously sweet dreams!

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legs up the wall: the cure-all yoga pose

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legs up the wall: the cure-all yoga pose

Legs up the wall is sometimes know as the cure-all yoga pose. It boasts healing benefits for ailments ranging from anxiety to headaches to insomnia, making it a go-to yoga pose for just about anything.

I practice this pose almost every day as I find it to be a brilliant way to rest my legs after running around the city all day. It is also a wonderful way to find a bit of energy when you feel like you could use a boost.

Check out the video below for a rejuvenating, relaxing 5 minute restorative practice. This video includes a short and sweet meditation followed by legs up the wall with optional variations. You can practice this sequence any time of day, but it is especially helpful as an afternoon pick-me-up or an evening wind-down at the end of a busy day. I hope you enjoy this powerful healing pose as much as I do!

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Easy Maple Brussel Sprouts

Easy Maple Brussel Sprouts

your local farmers market is a great place to pick up locally grown brussels sprouts.

your local farmers market is a great place to pick up locally grown brussels sprouts.

Looking for a healthy dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner? This easy brussels sprouts recipe is a great way to incorporate some greens into your holiday menu. Nutrient rich brussels sprouts are rich in antioxidants as well as high in vitamin C and fiber. A natural sweetener, maple syrup will keep your blood sugar steady (no sugar crash!) Walnuts add some healthy fat and protein. This dish is a healthy addition to any meal :)

Head to your local farmers market this week to pick up these awesome veggies and some local maple syrup. Check out the recipe below!

My favorite fall recipe- nutritious & delicious!

My favorite fall recipe- nutritious & delicious!

 

Easy Maple Brussels Sprouts
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 cups brussels spouts, halved
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbs Maple syrup (the real stuff, if possible!)

Step One:
Sauté olive oil, salt and brussel sprouts in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until tender (about 10 minutes)


Step Two:
Add walnuts and maple syrup. Sauté for one more minute. Remove from heat and serve warm. 

Bon Appetite!

Rest & Restore with Legs-up-the-Wall

Rest & Restore with Legs-up-the-Wall

Only have 5 minutes to squeeze in a yoga practice? No problem! Let me introduce you to one of my all time favorite yoga poses, Legs-up-the-Wall (Viparita Karani). This restorative gem can help restore energy, boost circulation, reduce stress as well as help with jet lag and insomnia. This pose is a restorative inversion, making it the perfect pose for tired, swollen legs and feet, at the end of a long day. All you need is a spare wall and a few minutes to transform your day.


The step by step:

Sit beside a wall, with your hip touching the wall and your knees bent up towards the ceiling. Gently lie down on your back and slowly swing your legs up the wall. 

A couple of sweet additions to this pose include a low folded blanket under your head, a blanket under your hips and/or an eye pillow over the eyes. Feel free to add one or more of these calming options to your practice.

Stay for 5-10 minutes. If your legs fall asleep, bend your knees in and then re-stretch them as you are ready. 

To exit the pose, roll to one side, pause here for a few breaths and then make your way up to sit.

Enjoy the rest of your day or evening, feeling rested and restored.  


*Consult your doctor before trying this pose if you have any concerns about practicing inverted poses

Golden Milk Latte Bliss

Golden Milk Latte Bliss

Looking for a new addition to your nightly chill-out routine? Winding down with a golden milk latte at the end of the day is a great way to de-stress and promote a good night's sleep. 

Golden milk, made with the magical herb, turmeric is quickly becoming popular for its ani-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties. The secret behind turmeric's superpowers is the compound, curcumin. Among its many claims to fame, curcumin is said to alleviate joint and muscle pain, boost the immune system, aid digestion and promote glowing, healthy skin. If you are spring cleaning your diet, this healthy treat is a great alternative to alcohol, should you be looking for ways to cut down on your vino intake.

See below for the recipe for this healthy concoction. Black pepper and the fat in coconut oil enable the body to absorb all of these magical benefits so make sure not to skimp out on these 2 important ingredients. Cheers!


Golden Milk Latte

1 Cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. Ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp honey
Dash cinnamon
Dash black pepper
1 tsp coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally for 3-5 minutes.

Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

Can't sleep? Sore muscles? Battling a cold? Golden Milk Latte is here to the rescue!

Can't sleep? Sore muscles? Battling a cold? Golden Milk Latte is here to the rescue!

You can do everything you want to do... just not all at the same time

You can do everything you want to do... just not all at the same time

A few years ago, at a time when I felt overwhelmed with the task of finding balance between my workload and all that I wanted to accomplish and experience, a friend offered me some poignant advice. She said, "You can do everything you want to do, just not all at the same time." Especially because I live in a city that never sleeps, where everyone seems to be working both constantly as well as on multiple projects or jobs at one time, this came as very welcomed and comforting advice that I have returned to again and again. 

It is all too easy to feel scattered and begin one project only to desert it when remembering another. This might be a big culprit for why many of us don't get to all the the things on our list. If we focus our efforts on one subject at a time, we have much more of a chance to complete not just the one goal but all of our goals rather than if we scatter our efforts among multiple jobs, only to complete them half way. 

There is the ancient wisdom, "When you are walking, walk. When you are sitting, sit". Perhaps this same wisdom can encourage us to truly commit to what we have decided to do. Doubt can be such a distraction as can the feeling of needing to be one hundred places at the same time. True focus has the ability to cut through doubt and distraction in a way that enables us to efficiently tackle our to do list and goals.

Yoga practice teaches us to gather our attention. We learn to strengthen our ability to focus by drawing the mind to the breath and the body. Once we tether the mind to the breath, distractions have less of an ability to take hold of us. The chatter in the mind begins to dissipate and we are able to concentrate.

So, if you start to feel overwhelmed about how to complete multiple tasks or which project to focus on and when, here are a few things that can help : 

1. Practice yoga and/or meditation- even a few minutes per day can make a big difference in strengthening your ability to focus.

2. Focus on one task at a time. Pick one project or task and complete it before moving onto the next. If it's helpful, break down each task into bite size, manageable pieces and take it piece by piece.

3. Set a time limit for each task. Designating 15 minutes to purely focus on one goal can yield more productivity than you might think, and over time it is an effective way to chip away at your bigger goals, especially those tasks that seem daunting or out of reach. Set a timer on your phone to keep you honest and so you don't need to keep checking the clock.

4. Know that you can do everything you want to do.. just not all at the same time.