Reconnect Retreat in Tulum, Mexico

Happy Monday babies! Last night I finally bought my flight to Mexico. I’m hosting a meditation and movement retreat in Tulum from Oct 19-24th.  I’m heading there a few days early and staying through Los Día de Muertos and initially, I had this hesitation about missing Halloween (my favorite holiday!), but how often will I get the chance to celebrate Dia de Muertos in Mexico, ya know? I made the right choice, right?

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After I bought the ticket, I had this insatiable urge to know everything there is to know about Tulum. I’m arriving three days early, but I’ll want to get a good headstart on all the eats, shopping, sipping, and such so I can give my guests great recommendations. As a seasoned traveler, I know this notion of knowing where to go ahead of time is ridiculous. There’s no possible way to know exactly where to go, what to eat, and what to do, but I gave it the old college try and so here I sit, three hours later at nearly 5 am still reading about Tulum. I’ve found what I always find when researching a destination, an endless hamster wheel of the same exact recommendations from bloggers. Either these places are the tops OR everyone reads the same blogs and constantly recycles recommendations, never straying from what was introduced to them on the internet. Ah, the traps of travel in the twenty-first century.

After seeing the same restaurant pop up on every list, I made a mental note to look into the back story after all my general Tulum researchin’ had commenced. Funny thing, the very next Pinterest image I clicked on was actually a Conde Nast photo story about the American couple who runs said restaurant. Maybe I’ll go, wait in the two-hour line and report back, but maybe I’ll opt for a nameless cart on the roadside that’s been around for decades before all the tourists (and NY expats) flocked to Tulum to open restaurants. Depends on how hangry I am, but I’ll report back on that.

Besides all the restaurant recs, I’ve read up on biking Tulum, visiting ruins and cenotes, and of course SHOPPING! For the past few hours, I’ve imagined wandering around Tulum town with my sweet little retreat guest as we fill our bags with colorful handmade goodies. I’ve pictured us waking up early to salute the sun before heading off to the ruins, followed by a dip in the sea and a barefoot wander down the jungle beach road. I see us all with hands full of tacos and smiles on our faces. Laying on the sand and in colorful hammocks and poolside with midday cocktails. I see the beauty and balance that comes when we decide to take a moment to care for ourselves like we’re the most important people on the planet if only for a few days. Then we can get back to the emails, texts, phone calls and favors, but for retreat week, we’ll have to slow down, forget the wifi password, and work on reconnecting with the ones sitting on the beach beside us.

Here’s a link to my Tulum, Mexico Pinterest board if you want to see all the tasty taco stands I want to try out during my trip & here’s a link to the Rest + Reconnect Retreat that I’ll be hosting. We have a couple spots left if you need an October getaway!

*Photos by my sweet & savvy travelin’ friend Erin.
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Rishikul Yogshala 200hr Yoga Teacher Training – Pokhara, Nepal FAQ

Hiya! WTF is this post about? Let me decode that title. Rishikul Yogshala is the school in India where I was formally trained as a yoga teacher. I’m an RYT or registered yoga teacher with a 200-hour certification. Although Rishikul’s founding school is in Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga, Rishikesh holds teacher trainings in many places. I completed my training in Pokhara, Nepal in 2015.
Since that time, I’ve written a post about my experience during the 200hr teacher training. I get dozens of emails each year from prospective students, all over the world, asking all kinds of things. I thought it’d be cool to outline them all here as a guide for future students and a reference for anyone thinking about participating in a yoga teacher training. The following are all questions I’ve received. If there’s something you’d like to know that you don’t see, just ask and I’ll add it to the list.
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Water Meditation

Interested in mindfulness and meditation? Check this out.

Sup pups? I wanted to kick off the week with a Monday morning meditation. A few weeks ago we focused on the trees and this week I’m thinking water.  Remember, our goal is simple mindfulness or awareness. We’re noticing the sensations in our mind, heart and body in the present moment. Watching without judgment. If you can watch yourself and your actions you can control them or at least begin to understand them more fully.

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Similar to the tree meditation, we simply want to notice water. Recognize the significance of water in your life. If you think you’re already there, try giving thanks or offering gratitude each time you receive the positive benefits of water. It’s practically impossible, yeah? It would consume your whole day. Afterall we are more water than blood.

After you finish reading this post, be mindful of your interactions with water today. Think about how you’ve already made use of water. Did you brush your teeth? Make coffee? Wash your face? How will you use water during the next few hours? Maybe you’ll flush a toilet, wash your hands, or do a load of laundry. Beyond using water today, what are you wearing, eating and using that has already consumed water? It takes 1,800 gallons of water just to grow enough cotton for a pair of blue jeans and that doesn’t take into account the rest of the process. A single pound of meat takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce. Water is our lifeblood and yet we take it for granted.

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We tend to only pay attention to water if there’s a problem or scarcity. Water is seen as expendable and probably will be until shortages impact each of us directly. We water lawns, wash cars and maintain golf courses in the desert. We are running the earth dry and it’s starting to become apparent, just read about the disappearance of the Aral Sea pictured above.

Embrace the precious nature of water and treat it accordingly. Katie and I have a sister between us, Kristin, and her and her husband Ryan had a very touching elopement ceremony in which they incorporated a glass jar of water. A few of us were gathered in the snowy Pennsylvania woods one February while Kristin and Ryan held up the glass jug and explained the importance of water in their relationship. Water to them is symbolic of life. When they share their water with each other or their friends, they are quite literally offering them life. Kristin and Ryan never take their offering of water for granted and in turn are touched each time they share sips. Then they each took a sip of water before passing the jar around to each of us in attendance. After hearing Kris and Ryan explain it this way, I’ve never looked at water any differently. Each time someone offers me a sip of water, I find it to be a deeply meaningful gesture. An offering of life.

We all know that water is significant, but do we recognize it fully? Are we grateful? Do we do anything to ensure clean water for our future besides paying the water bill? Try your hardest today to begin to simply appreciate the role of water in your life. No matter the beverage, with each sip, stay present with how the water in it nourishes your body. When you wash your hands, really feel the water on your skin instead of rushing to dry it off. When you move throughout the world today notice the water around you whether it’s a miniscule amount in a plastic bottle or the coastline of the Pacific, but most of all notice that it’s there. Consider yourself lucky. Over 700 million people world-wide do not have access to clean water. Notice the abundance of water in your life and recognize that you are privileged.

 

Photos : 1+2 / 3

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Yoga Postures for Sleeping

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Good morning! Did you get a good sleep? I’m the best sleeper I know, always the last to drag myself out of bed. I think of sleep as a great luxury in life and I treat it as such, treasuring each moment. I love you sleep. There, I said it.

Moving on.  Often times when I lay down in bed at night, I assume a yoga position to fall asleep in. Nothing crazy like a headstand, more like the postures that are meant for rest, I bet you can think of a popular one… ding, ding, ding, shavanasa better known as corpse pose. Let’s start there:

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Tree Meditation

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Happy Mindful Monday 🙂 Any excuse to use alliteration? I’m there! I thought it would be cool to start things off on a positive note, something to bring awareness to your day and potentially the rest of the week. Mindfulness is simply awareness. I like to think of it as noticing the sensations in your mind, heart and body in the present moment. It’s basically watching without judgment. It’s tough. How well you watch yourself and your actions gives you control over them or at least a starting point in understanding them more fully.

Mindfulness can be practiced and honed in a many ways, but today I’ll share a single exercise for you to work with all week. Notice the trees. It sounds simple and it is, but how often do you do it? Do you have a favorite tree in your town? No?! Why not? I’m sure there is one that is more attractive to you than the rest, this week you should find it. I have favorite trees all over the place and I can’t tell you how many people have laughed at me when I pointed them out, but it’s true. Notice the trees and you’ll realize you too have favorites. If you live above the treeline or in an area without trees, you may notice any greenery: grasses, bushes, cacti, etc.

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DIY Yoga Mat Cleaner with Essential Oils

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Hey y’all! It’s been a minute since we shared a DIY, but clear off that kitchen counter because this one is easy and essential {har har}! A while back, Katie walked us through different uses for essential oils.  We’ve used them in sunscreen, body scrubs, cleaners and perfumes and today we’ll mix up a potion of DIY yoga mat cleaner that not only cleanses, but also offers the benefits of aromatherapy. I practice on my deck and this DIY yoga mat cleaner cuts through not only my sweat, but also the grime, dust and dirt that builds up on the underside of my mat.

While most studios will have cleansers for you to use after class, I prefer to clean my mat at home. After cleaning, I like to hang my mat on a rack or over a chair for at least twenty minutes so it can dry properly before rolling it up for storage. If I clean my mat in the studio, I never remember to roll it out at home to make sure it dries fully; that’s my brain on yoga drugs. Besides a nice proper cleansing, this DIY yoga mat cleaner is easily customizable. You get to create your own aroma and mood with each batch. Let me walk you through it :

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Yoga For The Eyes

 

Yoga for the eyes is a meditation made up of eight eye exercises. The routine is an easy one to memorize and practice any time, any place. I think of it as a mix between asana and meditation because the world easily falls away when you are focused on the slow controlled movements of arms and eyes paired with deep belly breathing.  This video is meant as a general guide, not a session in real time. Usually this practice takes me a half hour with a little stoppage time for dance breaks. Read on for step-by-step instructions.

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Quiet The Mind – Why You Should Meditate

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“Quiet the mind,” this is how I start most of my meditation practices. Take a moment to settle, to arrive, to quiet the mind. What does this mean? It’s such a tough task, for you and for your mediation teacher alike. It gets easier of course, but some days hurtle a thousand thoughts in your direction and you get caught up in trying to hold onto them, to dissect them, to attach to them, to figure out what exactly they mean.

The initial goal of meditation is to separate yourself from your thoughts. You are not your thoughts. Your brain is a muscle that is constantly flexing, it’s comfortable in a tornado of thoughts whether they’re useful or not, your goal as a meditation practitioner is to sit in a calm state with all these thoughts swirling around you. To stay centered while tiny tidbits and major revelations are trying to pull you off your seat. Eventually the thoughts will start to fall away. They’ll live in the periphery and you’ll sit comfortably knowing you can engage if you see the thought as valid or useful, but also knowing you can allow the madness to swirl around you while you relax. These are the benefits of a consistent mediation practice. Internal calm even when the world around you is going up in flames.

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Sarah’s Favorite Mindfulness Books

This post was first published in March 2016, but we’re back today with three new suggestions.

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Namaste 🙂 Want to practice being mindful? I have a little list of books to get you started, or further you on your way, if you’re already a meditatin’ fool. Each time I post something on instagram that is introspective, I feel like I’m preaching a little bit.  That makes me a little self conscious or unsure because I never know how you’ll react, but time and time again it’s been well received, therefore I can only assume you’d like to know more about being mindful since that’s where all these post stem from.

What does it mean to be mindful? To me, it means living life with intention and opening your awareness in the present moment without passing judgement.  It’s kind of like being a screen door on a breezy day. There’s a lot going on outside the house as well as inside, but you’re simply an observer of both. You’re enjoying the breeze, feeling the sunshine or raindrops, but you’re not reacting to either, just enjoying the flow of life.

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My 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Experience with Rishikul Yogshala in Pokhara, Nepal

I first published this post a year ago, but I woke up dreaming of Nepal this morning, so I wanted to share it again.
Want more yoga and exercise? Become a woods warrior, try this lower body workout, then end the day with bedtime stretches that relieve lower back pain. Check out my 200hour yoga teacher training experience and read about the school I attended here.

live seasoned yoga teacher training rishikul -1-2 PEOPLE! I’m officially a yoga teacher. What does that mean? Well, last night I registered and paid my dues with the Yoga Alliance.  The Yoga Alliance is the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga teaching community. Basically registering with the Yoga Alliance gives one credibility because they review the certificate of completion from your yoga teacher training course work and all that other good stuff.  It’s a seal of approval and something to make you sound super official when you prance into a studio looking for a job.  I haven’t started that part of the process yet, even though if you recall, one of my New Years resolutions was to teach a class by the end of January.  Lay off, I have one more week!     live seasoned yoga teacher training rishikul -2-3live seasoned yoga teacher training rishikul -12

Should I pursue a yoga teacher training?

With that mini hurdle (shelling out $105.00 for a figurative stamp of approval) out of the way, I’m feeling pretty official over here and I wanted to share my experience beginning to end with you just in case you’re contemplating a 200 hour course.  First you have to ask yourself all those hard questions like, “Am I willing to put my body through mild forms of torture for 28 days?” “Am I that into yoga?” “Do I plan on teaching?” “Do I value my self practice enough to pay upwards of $2,000-$4,000 to improve it?” All these extremely valid questions that honestly, I did not ask myself until after I put down the $200 deposit with my school. I just went for it and then my mind threw all these questions at me immediately after I confirmed my payment method. That’s how I handle life altering decisions, you too? Continue reading

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