Happy New Year! We’re four days into 2018. How are you feeling about it?
I took the first four to root down and get focused. I’m sure you are now starting to get settled into the flow of things after the festivities of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This time of year, I feel like there’s pressure in the air to set a New Year’s resolution and run with it. I’ve taken a slightly different approach this year. I’ve been evaluating my current choices in terms of food, physical activity, and personal development and seeing whether it will be sustainable as a lifestyle. My focus lately has been on wholeness and health from the inside out.
In this post, I’ve teamed up with one of my favorites, Coola Suncare, to share with you my top wellness goal, how I stay focused, and a few tips for the new year!
What is your top wellness or personal development goal right now? Can I help you on your journey?
Photos by John Hohener of JOI YOGI
Hi Everyone! It’s been a while! I’ve been getting settled and finding my rhythm from jetlag after my ten day vacation in the United Kingdom. A friend of mine was going to London for work. She invited me along and I found an amazing deal on a flight so off I went. That was my first time in Europe! We stayed in the city for a week. During our last couple days in the U.K., we flew to Glasgow, drove a car through the beautiful roads of Scotland and made our way to Oban, a little town known for their whisky. ?This vacation was the perfect balance of fast-paced city life and relaxing times in nature.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure staying active is a big part of your life. You probably take your healthy habits with you on vacation. I totally do the same! I found my home away from home at a few of the places I’ll be sharing here. If you’re visiting London in the near future and love yoga, then this post is for you. In this post, I’ll share with you my guide to yoga in London?via a three-day yoga itinerary you can add on along with your sightseeing and other adventures. It’s like your own makeshift yoga retreat in the city!
Day 1- Yoga and Juice in Chelsea
After being on the 13 hour flight from LAX to Heathrow, my body was craving some movement. So, after a day of exploring London and seeing more of the touristy sights, I found?Tri Yoga UK?and decided to buy a five class package (highly recommend if you’ll be in the city for a week or longer). Tri Yoga has multiple studios in London and the first one I visited was their Chelsea?location pictured here.
The first class I tried at Tri Yoga was an Ashtanga led class with Chris Patmore. I had been wanting to try Ashtanga yoga for a while now. Chris led the class through half of the ashtanga primary series?(this link is a video of Kino MacGregor?leading the same class at Tri Yoga!).
I loved my experience at the studio. Everyone was really friendly. Tri Yoga has locker rooms with lockers, showers, and other amenities. They also provide yoga mats, which is so clutch because I didn’t bring mine and I’m sure people commuting on the underground don’t really want to bring their mats everywhere with them. Chris gave me a little background on Ashtanga before class. We went through part of the primary series and I loved it! From the class, I could tell how much deeper one’s yoga practice can get just by doing ashtanga daily because of all the chaturangas, floating forward/back, and deep stretching. I left class feeling so inspired and energized and definitely got the 13 hour flight out of my system.
Before class, I walked around the Chelsea neighborhood, taking my time and just enjoying that I didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Those moments are rare back home so it was amaazing. Just around the corner of Tri Yoga Chelsea, I found a cute juice bar called Juice Baby UK?just outside the studio. I ordered avocado toast and matcha tea and stayed a while with a book. So relaxing.
Day 2- Sunrise Yoga at the Sky Gardens
This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I had been following Hannah Rose Cluley on Instagram for a while and we would like/comment on each other’s photos and I knew she was from London. A couple weeks before I left, I reached out to Hannah to see if she wanted to meet up and explore or maybe even do some yoga together! She was so sweet and told me about sunrise yoga at the Sky Garden, one of the tallest buildings in the city. I was so excited because events like this are so fun and so we planned to meet there. This was the beautiful space.
It felt like a little oasis in the middle of the city. Hannah and I connected so well. It really amazed me how much we had in common in lifestyle and mindset even though we live miles apart. She even brought a yoga mat for me, which meant she commuted the whole day with two mats. Haha! That’s love.
This is where we practiced yoga.
Class was taught by Issy Scobie. I loved our flow that morning. It was focused on the breath and we moved at a slower pace, which is how I usually teach my classes. Her playlist was calming (love me some Alt-J and ambient tracks). I have to say, this was probably my second favorite?savasana moment of all time (the first would have to be in Aruba with Rachel Brathen). Laying on the mat underneath the greenhouse-looking ceiling with the natural light flowing in and knowing I was in London?was surreal. You have to go!
So after Sky Garden, I got breakfast with Hannah and we went our separate ways. And then, I tried to find some WiFi. Most cafes and restaurants will have the WiFi password posted somewhere, but if not, you can always ask and they will give you the code!
Day 2.5 – Borough Market
Then I walked over to Borough Market?to see what’s there and get a second breakfast/early lunch. It’s a market with food vendors, produce, local products, and a lot more. I must have circled around a couple times before I finally made a lunch choice because there were so many options!
I ended up getting a chicken pesto sandwich. So good. Then as I was walking, I stumbled upon a chocolate shop called Rabot 1745. If you don’t know yet, I’m obsessed with chocolate.?Decided on a hot chocolate with 100% chocolate content (and no sugar added). Loved it!
I also had to resist from buying all these!
Day 3- Yoga, Shop, and Dine at Oxford Street
If you’re into shopping, good food, and want to take a yoga class in between, Oxford Street is the place to go. I got off at the Oxford Circus station and walked to Kingly Court to find Tri Yoga Soho. This studio has to be one of my favorites I’ve ever been to.?It’s a little tricky to find Kingly Court but I recommend asking around. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you see Carnaby Street.
The Tri Yoga Soho studio is on the third floor of Kingly Court. It had a different feel from the Chelsea location so it was really cool to get to see both. I was able to take a yin class, ashtanga, and a vinyasa yoga class. All the instructors I had the chance to practice with?were incredibly experienced. You could just tell they had been teaching for years and knew so much about the body. I learned a lot from what I observed as a student and as a yoga instructor. Sometimes you have to step away from?the routine to gain a new sense of wonder and inspiration.
Thank you so much for reading! I will leave you with this quote.
By replacing fear of the unknown with curiosity, we open ourselves up to an infinite stream of possibility. – Anonymous
I think traveling and experiencing new places are the best ways to learn about yourself, life, and the world! Hope this inspires to you plan your next trip. What’s next on your list?
This post is dedicated to the people affected by the events at Westminster, London on March 22nd, 2017.
One of my favorite things is sitting down over a cup of coffee to hear people’s stories, wisdoms and dreams. Kelsey and I got to do that last week with yoga instructor, blogger, business owner and great conversationalist, Bianca Bonus. After we got settled and talked about how awkward the heights of our chairs were (short and angled funny), we clicked record and documented one of the best get-to-know-you conversations I’ve had. Here’s the play-by-play:
Tell me how you got into yoga in the first place.
Growing up I did ballet, and I loved it. I got really flexible through it and it involved a lot of discipline. Then I moved here from the Philippines in 2001, and when I moved I couldn’t find a ballet studio that I really liked, so it just kind of fell off. So for a while, from then through college, I didn’t do anything really active. I wasn’t into fitness at all.
My undergrad was in accounting, and when I graduated, I started working for a company with really long, stressful hours. One of my coworkers there invited me to my first yoga class. It was a heated yoga class with weights – they call it “sculpt.” I remember looking around and thinking people were insane?- they were amazing. I was on my mat sitting down, because I was going to pass out [LAUGHTER]?and I was just like…?These people are cool. I’m going to come back, because I want to be that strong one day.?I was really inspired by them, since I was so physically out of shape at the time.
So I used the “free week,” the rest of that week and then I signed up for membership.
After two years of practicing, I ended up leaving my first accounting job, and my “quitting present” to myself was to sign up for teacher training. So I did that and got certified at Core Power, and I’ve been teaching for more than two years now.
Wow, so did you start blogging right away or did that come later?
No I didn’t. It was a really organic process. I launched my blog this past October.
Oh that’s so recently!
Yeah it’s super new! The thing is, my fitness journey started with yoga, and then somewhere along the line I came across this fitness movement called BBG. So I started getting into that and I started doing weights too and more circuit training, intensity training… and that led to me hosting meet-ups in Orange County. I would post about the event on Instagram and then people would show up, and we would all do yoga and BBG together.
What gave you the idea to start doing meet ups?
I lived by the beach, so I would bring my weights, my yoga mat, my music… I would have this whole set up, and then I would just workout every day there. Sometimes some friends would drive in to join me just for the day, and I thought,?I bet other people would want to do this.
I think fifteen people came to the first one, and it was mostly my friends and my co-workers, and then our biggest one ended up being a hundred people, and we had corporate sponsors. So it was all through Instagram, and through doing those meet-ups I met some fitness bloggers. And then I think just being around what they’re doing made me so inspired: how they would collaborate with brands and use their blogs to inspire people to move .
I think I have a voice in terms of sharing my love for yoga, and not just that but also the spiritual side of yoga, and making people think and question things a little bit.
So do you post mostly about yoga or also about other healthy-lifestyle things?
Right now, I usually post on three things: yoga-related tutorials or how to’s, entrepreneurial/intentional living type things, and then I did one food related post.
Do you find a big connection between yoga and other healthy-lifestyle choices? Are there any specific things that you find impact you the most?
Yeah, totally. Exercise and food. All those years, I wasn’t doing anything physical at all, so I was very sluggish, I had no energy… I would eat so badly. Every junk food you could possibly find, that’s what I would eat for lunch and dinner. It was so bad! I wasn’t overweight, but I knew that internally I wasn’t in shape.
But when I started doing yoga, I think my body just wanted to eat better. I cut out dairy and fried food. It’s not perfect, but I told myself that’s what I was going to do. And then my skin cleared up, and I wouldn’t get sick as much.
Now I try to stay active 6 days a week, and I usually eat very clean. But today I had doughnuts because you can’t say no to Sidecar! I don’t really eat doughnuts but when they’re Sidecar….?! Today was a bad example [LAUGHTER AND AGREEMENT ABOUT SIDECAR ALL AROUND].
But that’s good, it seems like you’ve found a good balance of living healthily, but not becoming obsessed with every little thing.
Yeah, some of my friends count calories and track macros… That doesn’t work for me – I feel too restricted, I guess.
Do you have any workout tips for someone who can’t afford a gym or just wants to workout at home?
Bodyweight exercises. So burpees, jump lunges, jump squats, pushups… Even just those gets your heart rate going so fast and if you do them really fast, it burns a lot of fat.
Are there certain brands for food or clothes or equipment that you specifically recommend?
For shoes, I like Asics for cross training and running. I did a half marathon and I ran with Asics, and they were really supportive.
Your mom does yoga with you sometimes right??
Yeah, so one time there was a yoga retreat in Bali that I wanted to go to….So, actually let me back track… I was in my office, scrolling through Instagram and Yogagirl posted a picture for a reatreat in Aruba with all this beauuuutiful water, and I was like dude, I should just go! why not!?And then I went to Aruba, not even knowing where it was at first, and went to that retreat.
So then when I started talking about this other retreat in Bali, my mom wanted to come with me. So I said, “Okay, well you need to start doing yoga.” And for her birthday I bought her a plane ticket, and we went to Bali together on the yoga retreat. So she got into it because of that retreat. She’s in her 60s.
Do you do videos on your blog?
Yep! I haven’t decided if I want to do more instructional videos yet, where I am actually talking and teaching, but that’s something that could be in the works!
What is your vision for your yoga classes and for your blog?
The kind of yoga I want to do is very athletic, and I always picture it outdoors. Along with Girl Get Outside, which is a company I own with a friend, we want to do yoga retreats.
Wait, so you own a company?!
Yes! So it’s called “Girl Get Outside” and the whole thing is to inspire women to pursue the outdoors. For one, I think the outdoors holds something very special because I feel like that’s where God communicates with me. It’s powerful. You just realize how small you are when you’re out there.
How I got into it is kind of a long story…?but the girl that taught my Business of Yoga lecture at Core Power is the one who founded Girl Get Outside with a friend. They hosted these Instagram challenges where for one week, you have to do one specific thing each day and post a photo. So I did it, and I won one of the challenges. After I won the challenge, she asked me if I wanted to be an ambassador for Girl Get Outside, and I said “I’d love to.” Time went on and they both got married, etc. and decided they didn’t have time to do it anymore, so they asked me to manage the social media. So for a while I was the one curating their feed and posting photos which was really fun for me. Eventually we met up and she said, “I was thinking about what kind of company you should start, and it’s Girl Get Outside. Do you want to buy it from me?” and I was just like “WHAT? You’re selling me this?!” I was just floored. I couldn’t believe it at first, and she was selling it for a really good price. I sat on it for a while, but then the door opened up for a good friend to work with me on it, so we split it and now we tag team the work.
So what do you guys do through that?
It’s a blog. But we are currently working on getting a shop up. So we’ll be selling water bottles, stickers, tshirts and tanks, and eventually our main thing is going to be retreats and outdoor adventures.
Looking back, I never would have thought I would be teaching yoga or even blogging… it’s like nothing I ever thought I would do.
Were there any times that were really challenging for you physically or emotionally?
The biggest thing that propelled this path that I’m on was a really really difficult breakup. Two years ago, I was in my lowest point. I am a generally happy person, so when I was in such a low place, I didn’t know what to do. It was very foreign to me. I knew I needed something to get myself into a regular routine, so I found this book called the Slight Edge, and it talked about little disciplines every day that inspired me a lot. I think from just putting things into action and not staying stuck, all of these things started happening.
I went to Life Care Counseling too. I had to face a lot of things I didn’t want to and push through the pain. I look back today and realize I learned so much from all of that. I mean, I would never be here if it weren’t for that… I guess I’m better for it.
Do you have any tips for people who want to workout but can’t stay motivated? And also any tips for other entrepreneurs?
So the first one – tips for trying to stay motivated: I think one thing is just taking it one day at a time, because sometimes we just have these giant goals. We’re like I want to lose 25 pounds or I’m going to cut down to 18% body fat…?But I feel like it has to be little by little because it’s easy to get overwhelmed and then you feel like I don’t want to do it anymore. I’m going to quit.?So I think just being really kind to yourself, but also pushing yourself harder is important. And commitment too — showing up every day, even when you don’t want to. Because that’s the only way you can change habits.
And your second question for people who want to start something: I never once felt like I was ready. Even with teaching yoga… I didn’t like speaking in front of people before I taught yoga. When you’re up there it’s like oh my gosh these people are here, and they’re just sitting there looking at me. But teacher training got that fear out of me. And with those meet-ups when there were a hundred something people… I just don’t get nervous anymore. So I think it’s just,?starting.
With Girl Get Outside, I felt like I didn’t have time and I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I think if you put yourself out there, God sets you up for it basically…. I mean… it’s hard to talk about all of these things without putting my faith into it because I can’t really take credit.
Thank you so much Crea Mag for the space to share my story.
Have you ever finished an entire bag of popcorn and a container of chocolate covered pretzels in one sitting? Then, you discover the bag of sweet potato chips in your pantry and proceed switching off between salty and sweet snacks in between your actual meals? Haha. This is my struggle and maybe you can relate.
A week ago, I got into one of these snacking cycles that lasted three days. My roommate made an assortment of sweets to bring to her work as Christmas presents. I tried them all but then I kept going. I wanted to cut myself off, but almost felt powerless over the snacking monster living inside of me!
I realized I needed to take a break- a break from sugar and other snacks that I started to become seriously dependent on.
A while back a friend introduced me to the 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by JJ Smith. Many months ago, I completed two days of the cleanse after another one of these eating binges. I knew it was time to try it again. In this post, I will share with you my observations after doing the green smoothie cleanse for three days.
I just wanted to?note that nutritional preferences and needs vary by individual. Personally, I chose to do the cleanse for only three out of the ten days due to my level of activity and other fitness goals. You can customize the cleanse to your specific needs and I hope this post will provide some helpful insights.
The?10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse?splits up the ten days between the first and last five days. The book gives you a shopping list for the first five days and that’s what I purchased from the store.
The book gives you a green smoothie recipe?for each day. Here is an example of Day 4.
I portioned out the first five days of smoothies into plastic bags to make the process more efficient. You can make the smoothies in the morning the day of, or the night before and then freeze the smoothies overnight. I preferred making the smoothies the night before since I?workout in the morning before work. One bag of ingredients makes enough smoothies for a whole day (one for breakfast, lunch and dinner).
In the recipe, protein powder is optional. However, I try to make sure?I meet my recommended protein intake. I customized the recipe by?adding Vital Proteins?in my smoothies.
Prior to this cleanse, I used Vital Proteins for a few weeks in my matcha green teas and green tea lattes. I loved how convenient it was to get more protein in my diet without necessarily having to sit down and have a full meal. Collagen has many benefits that you can read more about here.
The recipe recommends that you blend the greens with water first, before adding the other ingredients.
I liked freezing all my ingredients beforehand so the smoothie comes out extra thick. The only thing I didn’t freeze were the apples because those get pretty hard in the freezer, which makes it harder to blend.
Then I blended all the ingredients together and it came out like this.
I recommend having to-go containers like these so you can bring these smoothies with you wherever you go.
You can cover them and freeze them the night before and let them defrost in the fridge throughout the day. I usually had the breakfast ones with a spoon, almost like an acai bowl.
During and After the Three Day Cleanse
I started the cleanse on a Saturday and ended on a Monday. My biggest takeaway was that I became an observer of the food choices I would make. Because I could only have the smoothies and some approved snacks from the book, I had to say no to everything else. This gave me the freedom to see what I usually consume in the span of one day.
I realized I snacked a lot because I was bored and that I would snack during specific times in my workday (3pm for example). Do you do the same?
Another observation was that anytime unhealthy food was around in my line of sight, it became harder to resist, especially in the office.
Awareness is definitely the first step to changing any habits.
I also learned that I gained some sort of emotional comfort from “feeling full”. Almost like the state of hunger was something I could never let myself sit in. It’s really interesting. The cleanse made me more present with my thoughts. Food can definitely serve as a distraction sometimes.
Once I got off the cleanse, the snacking cycles slowed down and I wasn’t as ravenous as before for sweets and other junk food.?The cravings weren’t as intense and I was able to exercise more moderation.
New Year, New Habits
Have you observed any patterns in your eating that you would like to improve? Consider if you need to restart your system with a cleanse or making more mindful food choices each day. Like I mentioned before, diet and nutrition are highly specific to each individual.
With the new year approaching, it’s a perfect time to assess our eating habits as we work towards a healthy balance in life.
Do you have any food struggles? What’s your favorite snack? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Someone once said, ?the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.? You and I have taken thousands of steps in our lives. Each step has shaped us into the people we are today. Today is where your story and mine intersect.?So cheers to us and to the birthday of my blog! In this post, I will be sharing my story and the intention of this blog.
I danced ballet for six?years growing up. Ballet was my first passion. I remember looking forward to each practice at Academy One Music and Dance Center in Manila. Through ballet, my body?became flexible and strong.?As a little girl, I learned discipline, control, and grace.?
Once a year, we would have a recital at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. One specific year, the recital theme was Little Mermaid. They cast one of my favorite ?majors? as Ariel. Majors were the ballerinas on pointe. I was one year away from graduating to pointe and I was incredibly inspired. I wanted the opportunity to dance on pointe and audition for a leading role in our annual recital. I still remember the day my mom and I purchased my pointe shoes. I used my pointe shoes for a few months until I got news that my family was moving to the United States.
I moved to California in August of 2001. This move was a major life change and it took me some time to adjust to my new home. The great thing was that English was my primary language growing up.?I didn?t pursue ballet in California. I don’t know what happened. Maybe it?was because I got?so close to fulfilling one of my dreams and then I felt?like I had to start over at?square one.
I was physically inactive my first few years here. I started 7th grade in 2002. In 7th grade, I got the first and last C?I would ever receive on a report card. I received a C in P.E. We were required to run a mile on the track every week and I remember being one of the last people to finish each time. I think my P.E. teacher gave me a C because he thought I wasn’t trying. I looked thin and reasonably fit from the outside. I wasn’t though. My cardiovascular endurance was slim to none.
I moved through high school and college remaining thin but being physically weak. I remember taking naps a lot during college because I?d be really tired all the time. I would also catch a cold practically each time I would stay up late. This continued on for some time even after I graduated college.
At 23, I found myself at a great firm working diligently to advance my career. One of my coworkers at this firm was really athletic. She did it all! She invited me to check out a Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga, which is a heated vinyasa yoga class with weights. I had no clue what I was getting into but I was so excited. I?m not going to lie. I spent most of the class on my mat watching these superstars in class. One, because I felt like I was literally going to black out at any moment, and two, because I was so incredibly inspired at the strength and balance everyone showed in class. I did a free week at the studio in 2012 and was hooked.
Since 2012, my fitness journey has been an sweet adventure. My passion is yoga. When I first started,?I practiced yoga three to four times per week. I took things at my own pace and began to challenge myself over time with more advanced classes and poses. Yoga cultivated my physical strength but the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of yoga kept me coming back to my mat. Late in 2013, a yoga instructor approached me about teacher training. After some contemplation, I embarked on my teaching journey summer of 2014.
Through teaching yoga, I experienced growth in my physical yoga practice but most importantly, I found my voice. I overcame my fear of public speaking or being in front of people through teaching yoga.
Yoga was the key to unlocking my fitness lifestyle. During the fall of 2013, I completed my first half marathon in San Francisco. This would have made my middle school P.E. teacher proud!
In addition to yoga and running, I took barre classes at various studios in Orange County. In early 2015, I discovered Bikini Body Guide (BBG) by Kayla Itsines and ran with it; so much so that #bbgmeetupOC was born. As of today, I do something active and sweaty six days a week. Fitness is a nonnegotiable part of my day- a meeting I schedule with myself. I?ve discovered my best body and mind through everything you?ve read so far. This brings me to this blog and my desire to share with you what I?m learning.
Inspire | Share | Connect
I live my life in an intentional way. In line with that,?I am setting an intention for this blog. The three words that stood out to me right away were: Inspire, Share, and Connect.
One day, I woke up and?realized life wasn’t meant to be lived on the sidelines. Your life is a story. You play a major role in it. You have the unique opportunity to live out your story every day. (More on that here). When I realized that I had a choice in every single moment, my mentality shifted. I didn’t want to be defined by my past, negative thought patterns, or the?opinion of others. I grounded myself in my faith and I’m currently on an imperfect but beautiful journey?to live a life?aligned with my values.
I want this blog to be a resource for you in all things yoga, fitness, and life!
I hope to make this a space where we can be real. I value relationships and connecting with people.?
Thank you for being here. I am so excited to see where this journey will take us. Drop a line and say hi below. You can stay connected on new blog posts by subscribing to the right.