• Self-Care for the Holidays | 10 Quick + Easy Ideas

    Weary Snowman via Community Playthings

    Has seasonal fatigue set in? Rekindle your joy with these great self-care tips from YogaVibes friend and Happiness Coach, Julie Santiago. Thanks, Julie!

    10 Quick & Easy Ways to Take Care of Yourself During the Holidays

    The holidays are such a hard time to prioritize ourselves and our wellness. December is usually filled with holiday parties, gift-shopping, organizing, planning, cookie baking, family gathering, etc. It's such a special time of year and you don't want to say "no" to anything. The more holiday merriment, the better - right?

    Often times this means we fall out of habit with the things we KNOW make us feel good. Getting in a workout, eating healthfully, taking time for ourselves can be really challenging when you're trying to juggle so many things at once. Our own self-care is usually the first thing to go and when we stop taking care of ourselves...

    We get cranky, snappy, impatient...

    We get tired, spacey, foggy headed, scatterbrained...

    We stop exercising which means we keep all the stress stored in our bodies and don't release through movement which usually means we release onto someone else... (Remember: Stored energy must eventually come out!)

    We make poor food choices so we feel even more depleted, less energized, and down on ourselves.

    But it doesn't have to be this way. Whether you have 1 minute, 5 minutes or 30 minutes, here are ways to refill your tank so you can FULLY enjoy the holidays without having to sacrifice anything.

    Got 1 minute?

    1) Take a quick break from whatever you're doing and step outside. Even in the cold, breathing in fresh air will immediately replenish your body, mind and soul. For extra credit, take your shoes off and allow your feet to touch the earth. Maybe even touch a tree to really get grounded and connected to nature.

    2) Turn on your favorite, cheesy song and dance like a crazy person just for one minute.

    3) Sit with your eyes closed. Inhale for 5 seconds. Hold for 5 seconds. Exhale for 5 seconds. Do this 4 times and you'll immediately feel calmer.

    4) Place one hand on your heart and take a deep breath in. Notice the beating of your heart. Imagine that through your hand, you're sending your heart love and gratitude for always taking such good care of you.

    Got 5 minutes?

    1) Make yourself a warm cup of peppermint tea. Drink it with no distractions staring out the window.

    2) Grab a pen and a journal and allow yourself to write everything you're grateful for in this moment.

    3) Google "Most Inspirational YouTube Videos" and pick one to watch.

    4) Stand up, fold forward and just let your head hang. As you breath into your lower back for a minute feel the tension releasing. Roll your spin all the way up and begin to circle your hips in one direction for one minute and then switch for another minute. Just allow your hips and your spine to move however they want. For the final minute, jump up and down shaking out of your fingers and hands releasing anything you've been holding onto. Imagine that it's all pouring out of your hands as you shake.

    Got 30 minutes?

    1) Do a 30 minute YogaVibes class. I have to admit…I'm one of those people who can talk myself out of yoga if I don't have 2 hours to dedicate to a class. But the awesome thing about doing yoga online is that you only need 30 minutes. It doesn't have to be this all or nothing experience. I recently did a 31 minute class by Rolf Gates called Wake Up Well and a 23 minute class called Core Hell taught by Annie Carpenter. Both days I was feeling frazzled and knew I wasn't going to have to actually go to a yoga class. So I found a quick and easy class and 30 minutes later my entire body and mind were reset.

    2) Give yourself an oil massage. Before you take a bath or shower, rub oil all of your body. Start from your feet and work your way, really massaging your muscles with love and care. Allow it to sink in for 10-15 minutes and then hop in the shower or bath. Your skin will feel amazing and your mind will be still.

    Happiness Coach Julie Santiago Happiness Coach Julie Santiago

    Julie Santiago is a former Wall Street trader turned Spiritual Mentor & Happiness Coach. Having spent most of her 20s living someone else’s version of her life, she found herself with money in the bank but a hole in her heart. Since escaping the golden handcuffs and diving into the unknown, Julie now helps other women get unstuck…in life, in business, and in love.

    She is a warrior for other women to fall madly in love with their lives as she guides them to break through their fears and experience happiness and freedom like they've never known. Learn more about Julie at www.juliesantiago.com


  • 5 Ways to Let Go

    releasing expectation

    If there’s one thing yoga has drilled into me time and time again it is this: Release expectation. People and situations will disappoint you. Some individuals will get off on seeing you wounded, flailing, or failing. These people will be strangers, mentors, and sometimes, they will even be those with whom you've deeply entrusted your friendship. It doesn’t matter. In the larger scheme of things, it’s not really about these people. Let them do as they will. Let them think what they wish. If you really know yourself, you have all the tools you need to take these punches and to freakin’ take them with grace. And after you take the heat, all you can do is let it go. Then, you put up a fight for the things in life that truly matter. You do you and you do it well. And you never, EVER let them see you sweat (off the mat, of course).

    Yes, this is easier said than done.

    Yes, this takes practice.

    Yes, this requires you choose to perceive this all as ultimately positive.

    How do you do that? What can you do to rebound from disappointment or pain? What can you do when people dish out these emotional punches or stings? How do you avoid letting your anger intervene? How do you confront the situation with grace? How do you let it go?

    1. Breathe. First and foremost, breathe. Practice pranayama. Breath of Fire is a powerful tool to expel overwhelming thoughts and any underlying anxieties you are feeling.
    2. Consider this a message. The universe, whether you realize it or not, is incredibly intelligent. If you have up to this point led with integrity and done your best to bring positive, clean energy into all of your experiences, the universe is most likely looking out for you here. Maybe this unfortunate event is simply a door closing to open a new one. Instead of mourning this loss, consider the new opportunities that are now awake. What will this situation open up for you?
    3. Control your reaction. This, at the end of the day, is the only thing you can count on: Your reaction in the face of a problem. Choose a reaction that you won’t look back on and regret. Choose the higher path. Choose rationality, calm, and discretion. Choose wisely in the emotions you reveal. Choose to view this “bad” situation as a "good" one in disguise. Choose to dwell in possibility, not negativity.
    4. Concentrate on your most important relationship: The one you have with yourself. This should be your priority. Observe how you are responding in the face of these punches. How are these stimuli influencing you? Watch yourself. Be an observer on your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. All of this will create space between you and whatever is going on. A good way to take this watchfulness approach is to meditate. Meditation reveals all of the garbage. Gradually, it allows you to empty out the mental trash and rid yourself of things that are an incredible waste of your energy and space.
    5. Forgive. Don’t give this person or situation any more power over you than they are worth. Forgiveness is powerful because it releases the toxic energy that you share with this person or situation. Holding onto anger and other feelings and emotions will just add flame to the fire. It gives this person or thing great power over you and your thoughts whether you recognize it or not. Forgive it to free it.

    Letting s**t go is tough, yet it is well within your power. You have the power to allow what will and will not get to you. You have the power to open new doors. You have the power to view bad situations as opportunities. Don’t let the bad and the ugly saturate your experience and detract from all of the good. Because the bad and the ugly happen for a reason. If you can stop obsessing over it and consider it all a blessing in disguise, you will be in a place of security and strength. You will come out on top and that much stronger.

    Let it go. Let it all go.


  • Beginner Vibe: New Year, New Beginnings

    As we begin another year, actually another decade, the all important question of resolutions has once again arisen. Now I know we are already almost half way through the month - my how time flies...but we are still at the beginning. For me I am starting a new journey, and I cannot be more excited, as I am on a personal path to self discovery. This means many things to me: eating better, taking care of my physical body, as well as my mental body, and most importantly - learning to accept and love myself and those around me, no matter what the circumstances. This is no easy feat for someone like me, who is a borderline neurotic, sometimes selfish, body-obsessed, nothing-is-good-enough type A personality. This is exactly why I need yoga in my life.

    There are many of us who are always on the go. Whether it's work, play, working out, or traveling...the point is we do not take time for ourselves. There is always some excuse we make for ourselves: no time, no energy, nowhere to practice yoga, it's raining - you name it...there is an excuse for not taking care of ourselves. This is why I am so excited about YogaVibes.com. It really removes the excuses, at least for me. I am new to yoga, and sometimes going to a studio can be a bit intimidating, especially when I am surrounded by graceful, flexible bodies. Now, just for the record, I am not out of shape, but I am carrying a little extra weight around; one of my goals is to drop those 10 extra pounds. At any rate, graceful is not an adjective I would use to describe myself. Powerful, strong, energetic, sure...but graceful - NOPE!!

    To have a venue where I can stream a class, roll out my mat, and practice for an hour, on my time, and at my pace is integral to my success at keeping my resolutions. I also travel quite frequently, which puts a strain on maintaining my yoga practice, let alone improving it. I am hoping through this blog, and through YogaVibes.com, I will be one step closer to becoming more self-aware. I hope to grow through yoga, and through this community. It is a challenge to put my ego aside, and try something new - maybe fall on my face attempting crow pose - but how else will I learn? And what better time of year to start on this exciting journey, than at the beginning of a new decade?! I don't know how this will go, or if I even have anything to offer, but I am going to try. Oh, maybe I should introduce myself...my name is Laura K., and I invite all of you to embark on your own journey as well! Join me at the Beginner Vibe section of YogaVibes.com.

  • Meditative Yoga Practice Filmed with Carol Stall in Plano, TX

    YogaVibes.com (www.yogavibes.com) would like to thank Carol Stall, owner of Awaken with Yoga (www.awakenwithyoga.us) and her students in Plano, TX for filming with us on November 19th, 2009.  Carol's class, entitled "Breathing Your Spine Awake," is designed for intermediate level students who prefer traditional hatha yoga practice.  A discussion of yoga philosophy, significant pranayama work and a meditation practice are featured.  You will be able to practice with Carol and her students in this full-length, online yoga class at YogaVibes.com in the coming weeks.  This class will be a great addition to some of the more physical, vinyasa-based classes already available.

    Carol Stall is the founder of Awaken with Yoga in Garland (Dallas), Texas.  She has been practicing yoga since 1975 and teaching since 1980.  Carol teaches traditional hatha yoga, based on the teachings of Donna Farhi and Vanda Scaravelli.  Her style of teaching is designed to foster deep yoga practice, supportive of individual needs.  It is most suitable for students who are looking for a more internally referenced and meditative approach to yoga.  In Carol's online yoga class at YogaVibes.com, the practice of asanas and pranayamas will provide an opportunity to explore the qualities of movement and stillness, steadiness and ease, strength and flexibility, postural balance and inner silence.  Please join Carol on YogaVibes.com.

  • Kripalu-Affiliated Studio Films a Beginner-Friendly Class with YogaVibes.com

    YogaVibes.com (www.yogavibes.com) would like to thank Kristina Berano (www.shootingstaryoga.org) and Star Soleil (www.soleilhealingandarts.com) in Torrington, CT for filming with us on November 12th, 2009.  We are so grateful to have Star Soleil as our first Kripalu-affiliated studio.  Kristina's "Beginner's Moderate Kripalu Flow" will be available in the coming weeks on YogaVibes.com, and will be a great addition to our other online yoga classes.

    Kristina is the co-owner of Star Soleil, which is one of only 35 Kripalu-affiliated yoga studios worldwide.  Kristina's online yoga class is appropriate for all levels of students, including beginners.  The class includes holding of postures as well as moderate movement.  Additionally, you will experience basic Pranayama, basic meditation and a 10-15 minute Savasana.  Kristina's class and vignettes will be a great addition to our beginner Vibe section, which will be coming in early 2010 on YogaVibes.com.

    Additional thanks go out to Samuel Faraci (www.samfaraci.com) for allowing Kristina and YogaVibes.com to use some of his music for the class playlist.

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