Five Yoga Experiences to try in San Diego

Hey Friends!

It’s been a while! Since my last post, I moved to San Diego and made it my home for a whole year. The transition into SD living has been such a blessing. In the past year, I’ve been able to get to know the yoga community here, meet amazing people, and grow as a yoga teacher and human being in ways that would not have happened if I stayed in Newport Beach.

In the year that I’ve spent in San Diego, I’ve been able to explore the yoga scene, check out studios, and find teachers I resonate with and have learned so much from.

So in this post, I’d like to share five of my favorite yoga experiences in San Diego, in the hopes that it would inspire you to try something new! And if you’re wondering how you can check out all these experiences, sign up for a ClassPass trial here!

1. Vinyasa Arts Level 3/4 Class with Jonathan Richard at Soul of Yoga?

When: Saturdays at 12PM

Where: Soul of Yoga, Encinitas

Why: Jonathan‘s class has become my all-time favorite in San Diego so far. I live just outside of Little Italy and I drive all the way up to Encinitas to take his class. Jonathan has such an openness about him and his classes are exploratory, unique, inspiring, and never the same each class. This is one of the only Level 3/4 classes I’ve found in San Diego, and I love how we explore deeper aspects of our anatomy, the asanas, and our internal beliefs on what our bodies are capable of. He teaches in such an effortless, light, and connected manner that the one hour and fifteenish class goes by so quickly. I love finding new transitions or ways to get into a pose, and the way Jonathan can string together the deeper asanas keeps me so inspired as a teacher. Not to mention he floats so effortlessly into and out of advanced poses. I love the feeling of “not being able to do something” in class because it gets me out of my head, into my body, and excited for the micro progressions each time I step onto my mat. One of my favorite classes of his was when we worked on backbends that explored so many different asanas and ended up peaking towards scorpion pose and scorpion handstand. Early in my yoga practice, I never thought I could even begin to explore how to get into a scorpion handstand, so it was great to have Jonathan there guiding us through. I’ve taken Jonathan’s Mixed Levels, and Level 2/3 classes and they are equally amazing. He leaves the complex transitions out for these classes but you still get so much out of it. The studio has no mirrors, has big windows that let natural light in, and is as simple as it can get, and I love it that way.

2. Reiki and Meditation with Kevin Rehberg at Sojourn Healing Collective

When: Mondays at 8:15PM

Where: Sojourn Healing Collective, Bankers Hill

Why: I got my very first one-on-one reiki session with Kevin after taking his meditation class at Sojourn. During this time, I was going through a lot emotionally and had a deep need for care and love. My mind couldn’t rest and I was feeling sad and down. I found his meditation and reiki class on ClassPass and signed up. I had never done reiki before but I knew I needed healing energy in my life. Walking into Sojourn just gives your body a sigh of relief. It always smells so calming in there and the lights were low in the studio and people were laying down with blankets, bolsters, and blocks. Kevin started leading the meditation and he had such a grounded energy about him. I started to feel at ease right away. His voice is so relaxing and nurturing. We continued on in the meditation and my heart hurt from being sad but I knew I was in the right place. Probably about halfway through the class, he laid hands my shoulders and I started to cry. We were there for a few minutes and then I just let out a deep sob. The energy he shared released so much grief in me- a feeling that seemed to originate from deep within my being. After the meditation class, I felt a sense of release and comfort. I booked a reiki session after that class and it was incredibly peaceful and left me feeling light as ever. I’ve taken Kevin’s meditation classes since, and while I haven’t had a big emotional experience like that again, it always feels healing and grounding.

3. Handstand Practice with Gerhard Gessner at Prana Yoga Center

When: Mondays at 1:30PM

Where: Prana Yoga Center, La Jolla

Why: I’ve been working on my handstands and when I saw that there was a class called Handstand Practice, I was intrigued. Handstands is not at all a requirement to be a yogi. I personally feel drawn to handstands because I seek a well rounded practice, one of strength and flexibility, grace and intensity. In my own life, I like to know that I’ve tried something and gave it my best. So one day, I decided to try out this class at the Prana Yoga Center. I walked in and the studio was light, spacious, and airy. I happened to be lucky enough to have been the only student in class that day, so I was pretty excited to have a one on one session with Gerhard himself and later found out he owned the studio. Pretty crazy! We worked on warming up the wrists and then continued on to do all the handstand drills that I could dream of doing in one hour. We did handstands facing the wall and held it for a minute at a time about six times throughout the class. We worked on different ways to get into the pose, from pike, press, straddle, and split leg, It felt incredibly special and valuable to get to work with Gerhard because he’s been teaching yoga for a long time and knows a lot. He assisted me through handstand pike and straddle presses and gave me so much confidence in my practice. I learned a lot about areas I needed to strengthen and what to work on going forward. I’ve been on rest the past month and haven’t been able to train, but I can’t wait to take this class again.

4. Ashtanga Improv with Trevor Monk at CycleOm

When: Thursdays at 9AM

Where: CycleOM, Little Italy

Why:?I discovered CycleOM when I was looking for Ashtanga yoga close to Little Italy. This place is walkable from my house and it’s got a sweet location off of Kettner. I’m noticing a trend here. It looks like this list of five experiences all studios where there are no mirrors in the yoga space. I’ve always taught at places with mirrors and I think it actually helps for body awareness, but there must be something in me that loves not having that visual feedback in the yoga space. It helps me tune in to my body more rather than how I look in the poses. CycleOM has one yoga studio, and it’s got four walls, soft lighting, and always smells of an uplifting citrus scent. Trevor’s class is not for the faint of heart. But I love it. I’ve experienced breakthroughs in my practice more than any class and received the most unique assists, which sometimes I didn’t know was possible in my body. Trevor’s got the British humor going throughout class and definitely won’t let you give less than 100% to your practice. We typically start in Tadasana, or standing at the top of your mat. The first time I ever did this class, we did a transition of splits on the right leg, to middle splits, then splits on the left leg, and back to middle splits. It brought me back to my days in ballet. I’m still working on my middle splits. The one other unique thing about this place is the students that attend this class are incredibly consistent. It’s like a family and I see the same faces every time I go. Trevor’s class on Thursdays is one to check out if you feel like you’re plateauing in your yoga practice. He also teaches an Ashtanga primary series and an intro to Ashtanga class (which is half primary series) but my favorite is this improv class!

5. Vinyasa with Jonathan Old-Rowe at Trilogy Yoga Sanctuary

When: Thursdays at 6PM

Where: Trilogy Yoga Sanctuary, La Jolla

Why: Ever since I moved to San Diego, I’d always wanted to check out Trilogy because I’ve seen some cool photos on the good old IG. I happened to be in the area and saw a 75 minute class and was excited to try it. I love when classes are longer than an hour. You just get that extra time to warm up and cool down. I haven’t had the food at Trilogy yet but I love the yoga space. One of the studios has a big moon mural, and coupled with the ambient lighting, it really sets the mood. Whenever I try a new yoga class, I always keep an open mind about the class and the instructor. I really liked how Jonathan interacted with students before class. He seemed so at ease with the yoga teacher seat, something that I’ve observed comes with experience. We started class and man, Jonathan knows the body. His cues, sequencing, flows, and assists are so well thought out but without really trying. His music is fire. One time he played a Spanish song that I was in love with in high school called Siempre me Quedara by Bebe and I hadn’t heard the song in years. I was dancing internally. He gave me a few tips during class and started talking about the difference between ballet and yoga. In my head I was like wait, how does he know?! We worked a ton on core, which I need and love. Only after Jonathan’s classes do I feel soreness in my core the next day. He also gave me the most peculiar but felt-so-good savasana assist on my lower collarbone, upper shoulder, neck, which I could not replicate if I tried. I asked him about it after class and he said he’s been teaching yoga a long time. Ha. The sweet thing is Jonathan teaches at a lot of studios in San Diego, so I just looked them all up on ClassPass and followed him to two other studios in La Jolla/Pacific Beach. Next time I come back to his class, he’ll probably be like where have you been?! Can I just be a professional yoga class taker?

That wraps up my top five favorite yoga experiences so far! Thank you for reading! There are so many more classes, studios, and instructors not written about on this list, not to mention my own classes and students that I love. It’s so sweet to be able to receive from different teachers, learn new things, move my body, and be immersed in work that I truly love, have a passion for, and a giftedness in. Looking forward to continuing to discover the San Diego yoga community and hopefully connect with more of you!


This blog is brought to you by Mala Prayer. Mala Prayer is hosting their summer solstice sale this weekend only. Buy one item, get any item free + the first 100 customers will receive a gorgeous rose quartz stone bracelet.

I’m wearing the Wild Moon mala necklace and Wild Moon bracelet from the Moonstone collection and the Rosy Love Mala bracelet that they’re giving away.

Use code BIANCABONUS20 for 20% off at Mala Prayer.

??Bianca

2018 | Wholeness and Health from the Inside Out

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

??Bianca

 

 

Three Ways to Take your Yoga Practice off your Mat

Life has a way of getting us to slow down sometimes. Think back to the last time you got sick or experienced an injury. Were you going hard the days leading up to it? This happened to me this week and I’ve been in bed recovering for most of it. I haven’t been able to do anything physical in four days which feels like forever! But the great thing is this time has allowed me to explore the other aspects of yoga besides the physical or asana?practice. In this post, I’ll be sharing three ways to take your yoga practice off your mat.

1. Acceptance

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Anytime we face a setback or experience discomfort or pain, the natural tendency is for us to want it to go away as quickly as possible so we can go back to living our lives. Lately, I’m learning that our experiences often want to teach us to sit, accept, and feel. So much of physical healing and emotional or mental wholeness comes from resting. It comes from knowing you are enough.

2. Breathing

One conscious breath – in and out – is a meditation. – Eckhart Tolle

No matter what happens around us, we always have our breath. When we are healing from an injury or recovering from being sick, we may not be able to exercise our bodies but we can still breathe (even if it’s a little difficult with all the congestion haha). Intentional breathing has been the biggest help when feelings of restlessness or frustration arise.

3. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. -?Mindful Magazine

Yoga is so transformative because it teaches us to be mindful, but we can be mindful without the physical practice of yoga. In any moment, we can tune in and choose to be present. This happens in the smallest of ways. It could be noticing the detail of your hands, observing the eye color of the person across from you, or asking yourself how you feel. Something amazing happens when we connect in this way, we realize we are alive and well.

??Bianca

Thank you so much for reading.?Let’s keep in touch!

 

5 Tips to Progressing in Your Yoga Practice

How long have you been practicing yoga? If you’ve been practicing for some time, I’m sure there have been times where you feel uninspired in your yoga practice, feel like you’ve hit a wall in your progress, or I hate to say it, just bored of yoga altogether.

My first yoga class was in 2012 and my yoga journey hasn’t been linear. There were times where I only made it to my mat once a week or less because of work and life. I remember a stretch where I was pretty bored of yoga and took time off and actually considered no longer teaching.

But I also have been really inspired and eager to learn and further my journey. I would say that is where I am today. In this post, I’ll share with you 5 tips to progressing in your yoga practice. Read on! They may bring back the love you felt when you first got into yoga!

1. Try out a new studio, instructor, or style of yoga

Think back to your first yoga class. Most likely, a friend brought you to his or her yoga studio. That’s how I got started! A friend brought me to try a free week and I got a membership right after. It’s great to find a home studio and a community to grow into. After a while though, when you’ve been going to the same instructors, classes, and studio, it can be a lot of the same thing. Same is good, but sometimes you need to infuse something new in your practice. Try out a new studio, instructor, or style of yoga.

Back in March, I tried?my first Ashtanga class?and I loved it. A little over two weeks ago, I started practicing Ashtanga regularly through Kino MacGregor’s online yoga platform, OmStars. Also earlier this year, I started practicing at other studio on a regular basis. I currently take classes at YogaWorks, CorePower Yoga, and Equinox?and there’s a lot of variety there.

Don’t be afraid to change things up! The best feeling is being a beginner at something and seeing your progress.

?2. Be consistent

Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity. -Bruce Lee

I’ve been seeing that the key to progress in anything is consistency. I’ve been noticing this in my new meditation practice (18 days in a row today!) and daily ashtanga practice as well. The great thing about yoga is it is relatively low impact, so you can get on your mat everyday and your body will feel good. Maybe doing yoga everyday seems like a stretch. What if you added one minute of stretching before you go to sleep or one minute right when you wake up? We spend countless of minutes just scrolling among other things, so I know we can carve out time for this.

A little on a consistent basis is better than doing a double one day a week.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been able to be consistent with it and my body feels so much more open and my hamstrings have become more flexible.

3.?Develop a home practice

I love taking instructor-led yoga classes. Going into that room without any distractions, listening to the instructor’s voice and tuning into my breath is my favorite thing. When I can, I try to take a class. But lately, most of my yoga has been out of the studio setting. I mostly practice at home or at the gym on my own. There’s a lot of yoga subscription services online and YouTube has great free content. As an instructor, I have a limited amount of time to take the class through integration to savasana, so we can only work on so much in those 60 minutes. But when you practice at home, you can stay and break down that pose for as long as you’d like. You can really customize what you want to work on and find all the videos and tutorials. You get to be a student of your body. Home practice also teaches you discipline and focus since you have to be more intentional about that time.

4. Challenge yourself

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote says it all. I think we don’t challenge ourselves enough at times. I know I don’t, that’s why I like taking certain instructor’s classes because they really push me past what I think I can do. We’re all at different levels in our yoga practice. But if we only stick with the poses that we’ve mastered and have locked in, our practice won’t grow. I think I have a mental block of falling from inversions so I’m still working on that with headstand and forearm stand. It’s been said that the poses you avoid are the ones you need the most.

Commit to moving beyond the poses you always go to, with safety and alignment in mind of course!

5. Have patience

Lastly and most importantly, have patience with yourself, your body, your journey. Progress takes time. Know and accept exactly where you are. Understand your strengths and areas of improvement. This will keep you from the comparison trap. When you know exactly who you are and the incredible value you have to offer, you will feel fearless, on and off your mat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope this was helpful! I’d love to hear any stories you may have of times you’ve felt uninspired or bored of yoga. What got you out of it? Leave me a note in the comments below.

Thank you Charlotte for these beautiful photos!

??Bianca

Let’s keep in touch!

 

How I Feel After Meditating 3 Minutes a Day for 10 Days

For a while now, I’ve heard and read about the benefits of meditation. I love to observe and learn from people doing amazing things- CEOs, athletes, artists, and other leaders in various spaces. One thing I noticed was that they maintained certain daily practices. The most common ones were: waking up early, doing physical exercise, and meditating. In my own personal journey, I also noticed the power of thoughts and how they have the ability to change our brain.

I believe our thoughts shape our reality.

Tony Robbins said,

Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.

As I started to train my thoughts, I realized that I had more power over them than I previously had. It was amazing to be able to take a step back, observe my thoughts, and filter them through the framework of truth that I live my life on.

Intentional living had become a lifestyle that complemented my yoga journey perfectly. The only thing is, I had a hard time sitting still.

It’s kinda funny because you would think yogis would be professionals at meditating but there’s more to it. When you practice yoga, it is a moving meditation. It’s the best. But it’s another thing to sit down and do nothing but breathe.

With everything going on in life, sometimes the only stillness we experience is when our head hits the pillow right before we fall asleep.

After my recent exciting career transition (more about that at a later blog post), I knew it was time to commit to a consistent meditation practice.

Making the Commitment

The strength of your commitment, lies in pre-deciding what you want.?

I set out to start off every morning with a seated meditation. On the first day, I told myself I would take 10 long deep breaths and that counted as meditation for me. Honestly, those 10 deep breaths felt really long! As I sat there breathing, I felt at more at ease and grounded.

 

 

The next day, I came back and added 10 more breaths to it. It was challenging to sit still so I would count each inhale to stay focused. That week, I added 10 breaths each day and got up to 40. I liked that I finally found a meditation routine but I felt like it was starting to be another thing to check off the list. Like okay, count my breaths, and then get on with my day.

Creating Headspace

Then someone inspiring told me about Headspace. I’ve heard of it before but haven’t used it! It’s a meditation and mindfulness app that has themed sessions designed for people with busy schedules.

I started with the Basics pack. It consisted of 10 meditations that were 3 minutes each.

I loved how simple the app was. The guided meditations are led by Andy Puddicombe’s?and his voice is so relaxing. The app takes you step-by-step and explains mindfulness techniques using the cutest animation videos.

Feeling Connected

What I noticed the most after two weeks of practicing meditation is how much more calm I have become. My energy is usually pretty grounded but this feels really good. I feel more connected with my emotions. I’ve also noticed I’m able to slow down more throughout the day. I’ve been an observer of my thoughts these days and letting them pass through with more acceptance.

I feel empowered too. If my day ever feels stressful or an issue comes up, I know I can always come back to my breath.

This is the beginning of my meditation journey but I see this becoming a lifelong practice. Today, I tried a ten minute one, and it didn’t feel long at all!

Tips for Meditation Success

Schedule it in your Daily Routine

Include it as part of your set routine, just like showering and brushing your teeth. I meditate right after getting ready in the morning and before leaving for the day. It usually helps to do it in the morning since fewer things tend to come up and you have more control over your time.

Find Your Ideal Place

Choose a quiet space and meet yourself there everyday at the same time. I meditate in my room on the floor. I get up early so the house is quiet and it’s still dark out.

Set the Mood

Find something comfortable to sit on. This helps so you won’t be fidgeting as much! I love my Tushies meditation pillow in Fearless. I bought this one when I embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship last month. It symbolized the intention I wanted for myself, which is to be fearless. I leave the lights off in my room and turn on my Himalayan sea salt lamp that my roommate got me for Christmas. I’m a fan of the scents lavender and tea tree so I have this aromatic oil from Tea Tree Hair Care, an?unscented coconut oil?which mixes well together, and a lavender lip balm both from Organic to Green. These help set the mood and you can even light candles or have an essential oil diffuser going!

 

Final Thoughts

I hope this post sparked your interest in meditation and intentional living. I couldn’t wait to share with you because of how I feel from just 3 minutes of meditation a day for 10 days. I’m looking forward to keeping it going! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you meditate?

??Bianca

Let’s keep in touch!

 

The Yoga Journey & Mind Body Awareness with Nicolette David

Hey there! I’ve been wanting to share people’s stories on the blog for sometime now.?Nicolette David was the first person that came to mind. Nicolette is a well-loved yoga instructor in Orange County, owner of HB Yoga Collective, Lululemon ambassador, and new mom!

I sat down with Nicolette one Sunday afternoon after taking her class at YogaWorks Newport Beach. I met Nicolette back in February of 2015. At that time, I was looking to practice non-heated yoga. I also wanted to deepen my yoga practice. A good friend took her class and told me how much she learned from it. I was so excited?to find a new yoga studio and instructor! After taking Nicolette’s class, I got the sense that she had a deep understanding of?the body.

At the end of class, she announced she was leading a yoga retreat in May 2015 to Bali, Indonesia. I remember researching?yoga retreats and instructors a few weeks before that class. The stars aligned! I went to Bali?with Nicolette and a number of amazing women.?I also brought my mom to the retreat! She is a beginner at yoga and has gone through a couple surgeries over the years. I knew I could trust Nicolette to guide my mom safely through yoga twice a day.?It was such an adventure?and I’ll never forget it.

That’s a little background on how Nicolette and I connected. Now here’s a play-by-play of our conversation. I was?in post-savasana relaxation mode after her Level 2/3 Vinyasa Flow class. Nicolette and I sat on the floor on blocks. The sun was shining and a cool breeze flowed in through the studio from the open balcony.

We could start with your yoga journey.?I know it?s been a long one. Tell me how you got started with yoga, teaching, and where you are now.?

I got started with yoga right when I got back from the Peace Corps.?I had a pretty rough transition back to the United States.?Generally, language was different and our culture was different, and I?d been away for over two years.?I was pretty depressed when I got back, just because of the transition.

I was a high school teacher in the Peace Corps. When I got back, I didn?t know that I wanted to go through the whole credentialing process, or getting that recertified, or renewed.

So, I took a yoga class with a girlfriend. She was like, I think yoga would be good for you. I was like okay, whatever, sure I?ll go. We took a class and it was a hot yoga class.

I hated it so much.

Was it Bikram style or?something else?

It was yoga sculpt.?I was wearing more like sweatpants- comfy pants, not technical fabric.?I just remember being miserable and hating it so much.?It was so hard and so loud.?But, I do remember savasana was just a really great experience for me.?I just remember feeling lighter and not so depressed.?Then, I had a free week, so I went to another class.?It was way more mellow. The lady had a gong.

She?s like the only person at that studio that would bring a gong.?It was just a different tempo and a different energy.?I thought, wow, these are both yoga.?I had never really taken yoga before. If all these things are yoga, then this is what I want to teach, because I?m sure somewhere in the middle I?ll find what I love.

I loved the way that it made me feel.?It just was a little bit lighter.?It wasn?t like things were perfect, just a little bit lighter.?So, I signed up for teacher training.?I think I had only been going for a month maybe, not even.?Maybe, two months or something, and I signed up for teacher training immediately.

Was it at CorePower?

Yeah, in Huntington Beach.?I did my training there.?I had met a lot of really great people, two people that I?m still very, very good friends with today.?That was in 2010.

I did my first training there.?Then, I did all of the subsequent trainings that they offered.?I did the vinyasa one, hot power fusion, and sculpt.?I was fortunate that I got classes right away.

No one wanted to teach at 6:00 a.m., so I got all the 6:00 a.m. classes. I developed a bit of a following at that time.?I just taught a lot.?Everything progressed really fast for me too, because I?d always been a teacher, so that always made sense.

Yeah, that totally makes sense, now that I make the connection.?

Yeah.?But, I didn?t know anything about yoga.?I knew what it felt like to be in my body, as much as I knew how it felt to be completely out of it.?So, all of the anatomy, even though I didn?t have a lot of background in it, I still kind of understood it kinesthetically.

I was with CorePower for a while.?I started leading programs, assisting in teacher training, and then leading teacher training.?Then, I got asked if I was interested in management.?For me, I was like okay, this is the next thing.?I thought there was a ladder to climb.? Whereas, now I see that doesn?t exist.

I see.?

So, I did that.?I wasn?t super happy doing that, even though I felt like I did a good job, because I was going to do a good job.?It?s in my nature.?But the joy of teaching was really always the thing that I loved the most and connecting with people.

I think I managed for a year and a half.?In Sherman Oaks, I was assisting in training to manage up there.?Then, I opened the Costa Mesa studio?as a manager.?It was a lot of sales and I wasn?t familiar with sales.?That had never been my background, so a lot of things felt foreign, and forced, and challenging.

Not that challenge is a bad thing, but it was very stressful.?I couldn?t balance?having a life, and I didn?t have much going on at that point.?Then, my dad got sick, so it became even harder to manage just my own energy, and my own emotions.

I stopped managing and just started leading trainings and programs there.?Then, I started teaching at a bunch of other studios.?So, I kind of got out and saw that there were other ways to teach.

Is that when you did?yoga tune-up?

I did yoga tune-up training with Jill Miller, which totally changed the way that I saw everything.?Particularly, yoga, but just in general teaching.?She has a very unique way of helping you find who you are as a teacher.?Then, at the same time, I enrolled in the 500-hour program at YogaWorks.

At YogaWorks, I felt so much more creative and I could find more of my own voice.?I was teaching at other studios.?I was teaching at Equinox and some other local studios.?But while doing this, I was studying with Jill Miller doing her intensives. You know, there?s one for the shoulders, hips, and core.?But, YogaWorks also had more philosophy and the deeper teachings of yoga.?I hadn?t learned anything about pranayama [regulation of the breath through techniques and exercise].

I was going to ask, because I would say your style of teaching and classes are the deepest I’ve taken. Would you say that?s from all of the training you?ve done?? Is it an accumulation of all that?

Yeah.?I think I love the body and just how remarkable it is. Because I don?t practice as much asana [physical yoga poses]?much of my practice is the deeper stuff ? I love meditation and pranayama.

I love diving into philosophy. I feel like that is more of my study and the living of my yoga more than the poses.?So in the classes, I know what?s happening in the body, what I want to see in the body, and also the habits of the body.

So true.?

Everybody?s spine is going to want to do the same things pretty much.?We generally are stronger in one leg rotation or another. We all have our heads forward over our shoulder and have the same kind of tightness, ailments, or weaknesses.?I think that brings a certain sense of commonality.? So, I?m like what do we all need?? I need it too. So, I know how I?d like to see the body open up and how I want it to affect the students.

Right!

I think the deep part is ? I?m more of a greater depth than I was before.?I think early in my teaching I really wanted to impress and have everyone like me.?Now, I don?t so much care if people like me or not.?I really want to just connect to whatever?s bigger than me.?Then, just kind of open up and be like here you go, here?s my offering.

So, I?m not as afraid as a teacher as I was before.?I was afraid before of not being the most popular or needing to have really, really full classes.?So, that?s been a shift for me.

I?m sure you?ve become more vulnerable as you?ve grown as a teacher.

Yeah, for sure. ?My relationships with my students are deeper and I know about their lives.

I definitely have noticed that.

I can add humor very easily.?Whereas, before I would be like, oh, my God nobody laughed at my joke.?Now, I?m not waiting for that.?It seems like there?s more of a connection than anything else.

Whereas before, I felt like I was doing it but now I want the students to feel like they?re doing it.?That they?re getting the win, they?re opening themselves up, they?re the ones doing it.?I?m just there kind of facilitating.

In the seven years that you?ve been teaching, you?ve probably seen a lot of people come through. With yoga, I feel like people come to themselves.?Whereas, they?re probably unaware either on a physical sense, or spiritual, or mental sense.? Can you describe why that is and what happens when you start being more aware?

Yeah. Well, I think yoga is unique in that. I know some people look at yoga as just being very physical and it being very connected to fitness.?One aspect of yoga is the physical movements and the poses.?But, really it?s kind of how we?re doing or how we?re using that pose?that I think is much more exciting.? Really all of the little instructions that you?re given and the ways of being in the pose, they?re really just to kind of wake you up.

So, maybe you need to wake up your listening skills. Maybe, that?s it, or maybe you need to wake up a particular area of your body that?s really weak, or is not strong, or you don?t even know that you?re doing something in a particular way.

So, the poses increase your awareness. So, then you start noticing like oh, gosh I don?t really like to be around these people, or I?m really not very kind to my mom. You start to notice other things, because your field of noticing is increased.

That just comes from listening better and noticing that oh, this in my body. You just start to become more conscious.? Then, I think that?s where the mind body connection comes, is because you start to increase your awareness of things.? Then, it comes through the body, doing all these poses.? Maybe, all you could do before was point your feet forward. But, now you can point your feet forward and rotate your thighs in one direction. You know how to do that, because you?re so aware of your body. Whereas, before you were just like those are my feet, those are my legs.

Yes! That’s amazing!

I think that increase of awareness is really what the physical stuff is for.?It feels good and it moves the body.?It does all of those things and can create a release for us.?Especially, when there?s breath, really conscious breath included in it.?

You really have to be aware of the stressors in your life when you?re breathing. You take a breath in and you feel your?emotions or you tap into something that?s really old. Like, grief or whatever it may be. But, you wouldn?t be aware of that if you didn?t go through the physical process of moving the body.

It’s weird how the breath says so much.?I love that you always start your class with breath work. Because when you?re taking short and shallow breaths, there?s a reason for that.?It could be a million things.?But, you kind of come face to face with it when you?re breathing.?You have nowhere to go really.?

Well, yeah.?So much of our emotions are in our breath.?I?ll see people breathe these tiny, little breaths.?I?ll watch their body and it?s like a tiny shallow breath.?It?s almost like they don?t know that there is so much bigger and so much more for them.?Then, it?s scary to go into that so much more and that bigger sense of sensation, or feeling.

That?s why ? I think people are moving their bodies, and then they start to become more aware of some more finite things in their bodies.? Then, they start to become more aware of their outer world.? Like, what?s happening in their hearts, as they?re driving their car, or at work.

So it ends up going off the yoga mat with them.?

Yeah there are plenty of people who don?t do any of the physical poses at all.?But, they do meditation and that?s their practice.?For them, it?s the same thing.?It?s like, first you just realize, oh you have a mind, and the mind talks.

Yes!

And, it has a narration constantly going.?Then, you start to realize okay, I can slow this down and I can move away from it.

Like, you?re kind of a separate entity than your thoughts, and your emotions, which is really hard to get to, I think.?

Yeah.?But, I mean for some people that is so far out there that they?re just like “I know, I know, I?m crazy.?I could never meditate.” It?s like, well, actually, if you wanted to get more space or more stretch in your hamstrings, you would have to do some things in order to do so.?If you want to get more space and more quiet in your mind, then you have to do some exercises.

I read up a lot on inner work. From what I’m learning, we all have certain coping mechanisms. Whether it?s food or other substances.?I think having mastery over those areas comes with your thoughts. To me, it?s all very connected.

Well that mastery has to also include the willingness or the courage to actually feel what?s going on. To really get to the source of it.

But, I think that in order to actually feel it all, the good, the bad, the middle? in order to do that it just takes a lot of courage.?It takes the “I?m not right, they?re not ?right”.?There is the “what is right for me right now”. Really, a sense of forgiveness.

That?s so good.?

Maybe we could shift gears and talk more about what you?re doing now with your yoga studio.?

So, we opened HB Yoga Collective at the end of November 2016.

To be honest, I don?t know that I really saw myself as a studio owner.?But, my partner, who I love dearly presented the idea to me, and I was like, okay.?Let?s do this.?Let?s see.?It is definitely a tight knit community studio.?It?s not hot yoga. There?s not a lot of fitness focus.?It?s a lot of softer notions.

We have an older demographic.? No one is really there to do tricky stuff.?We still have level 2 classes and that sort of thing.?But, we have a wider range of classes.?It’s more wellness than it is fitness.?In doing that, it?s hard in the industry- Orange County, especially, runs on fitness.

So, bringing things in like Tai Chi and restorative sound, a spine therapy class and plenty of options for gentle yoga and meditation.?Even the workshops we?ve chosen promote wellness instead of fitness.

So, there are three of us in the studio.?It?s myself, my partner, who?s also a yoga teacher.?She was my mentor for the YogaWorks 500-hour training.?Then, our friend who does graphics, she?s an Ayurvedic chef, so she brings a different kind of energy and a different base of knowledge into the studio.

But, everything that we?ve done has been very, very conscious.

Really cool.?

A lot of people bike to our studio. We offer philosophy once a month.?We do a downtown street cleanup once a month, so we have other things that are inherently built in the studio that are more than just doing yoga.

That’s great! It seems like you are cultivating a community.?

I think we just feel like there?s a need for people to have a place to go and to feel like they?re loved on.?I don?t know that everyone gets that.

That’s really special.?

Nicolette and I wrapped up our conversation talking about her partner Jason, her baby on the way (baby girl Billie was born May 12th), and future plans. She has a passion for working with yoga teachers and hopes to build a series of workshops from everything she’s learned. Nicolette mentioned hosting family friendly?retreats in the U.S, at places like Wyoming or Montana. She’s been looking towards the future and is trying to focus more on the things she really loves and excels at.

Nicolette was a long-time vegetarian but now eats a conscious diet including fish and meat. On her free time, she loves going to concerts. Her last concert was Common and shares that she appreciates well-written lyrics. I’ve heard her sing in savasana and I must say, she has a beautiful singing voice. Her next trip with Jason and Billie will be for a wedding in Marseille, France in July.

Thank you Nicolette for sharing your story. You inspire me so much.

And for you, reading this, thank you for being here.?I would love to hear from you in the comments below! Until next time.

??Bianca

Let’s keep in touch!

 

A Yoga Girl’s Guide to London

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.

??Bianca

Yoga and Entrepreneurship with Crea Mag

Written by Julie Tecson?for?The Crea Mag


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 yoga clothes, I know everyone uses Lululemon, but it’s just so reliable size-wise. I use their yoga mats too. I also really like Alo Yoga.

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.

??Bianca

Two Takeaways From Yoga Class This Week

In this post, I’ll share two takeaways I learned from yoga class this week. On Sundays, I usually like to take C3 at CorePower Yoga with one of my favorite instructors. He has a really strong ashtanga yoga practice that inspires me. The class is an hour and 15 minutes. The instructor leads the class at a slower pace which allows us to move through the poses more mindfully and helps us connect breath to movement.

It was rainy this past Sunday. After church, I got to CorePower with 30 minutes to spare before the studio opened. While I was waiting, I did some breathing exercises in my car and practiced sitting in stillness. The rain drops collected on my windshield. I watched as different-sized water droplets filled the dry spaces on the glass. It was really peaceful.

I walked out of my car and couldn’t wait to lay on my mat.?The heated room felt amazing since it was cold outside. We started class and it felt really good to flow.

During transitions into chaturanga, I usually practice handstand. During this?particular class, I felt so close to holding handstand longer than a few seconds. Then that’s when the frustration started.

The thoughts that came up were,

What are you doing? Why can’t you get this?

As far as I can remember, that was the first time I experienced frustration on my mat. So then I think I got more frustrated because aren’t you “supposed” to be all zen while you’re doing yoga? Haha.

But the truth is yogis aren’t always namaste all day.

I took savasana earlier than the instructor told us to and just laid still.?When I left the studio, the sun was shining bright and the pavement was still wet from all the rain earlier.

Later that day, I was scrolling through old photos on my phone and stumbled upon a yoga photo I took two years ago and that’s when I realized two things:

Progress Takes Time

The photo that I found was the one below; my first few attempts at king dancer’s pose taken in April of 2015.

Once I saw it I quickly realized I should put it side-by-side with a photo I took just last week in San Diego. When I saw the?photos together it occurred to me how much progress had taken place in two years. You can see it mostly in my hip flexor, shoulder, and back flexibility.

Then I realized, wow, two years is actually a long time.

Progress takes time.

Left: May 2015, Right: February 2017

Are you working on anything in your yoga practice? Or maybe it could be something completely unrelated. It helps to remember that while you may not see your progress each day, the effort/time/energy that you put in adds up to big things over time.

Whatever it is you are facing today, keep the faith and keep going.

Internal Weighs more?than External

The next thing I realized?was that the simple act of sitting in my car and breathing was yoga and it didn’t involve moving through poses. Taking care of what’s within (our mind, heart, and spirit) is so key. We all invest in taking care of ourselves on the outside. Eating well, exercising, and other external self-care practices are priorities in my life. But lately, I’ve been trying to invest more on what’s within.

Inner self-care will look different for all of us. What helps you get grounded and centered? How are you taking care of your mental, emotional and spiritual health? I find that breathing exercises, journaling, praying, resting,?spending time in nature, and being with friends and family really helps me.

When we take care of what’s inside, the outside naturally follows.

Thank you for reading!

??Bianca

Bedtime Yoga: Five Poses to Help You Wind Down

Yoga in bed? I say why not!

In this post, I’ll show you five yoga poses you can do right before you go to sleep. These poses will help you wind down, slow down your thoughts, and prepare you for the best savasana, I mean sleep, ever. If you have a headboard, you can try these poses on your bed. For a deeper stretch, try them on the floor.

Sometimes you only have a few minutes to stretch out. Right before bed is the perfect time because you can put away electronics for the rest of the night and focus on relaxing. Hold each pose for ten to fifteen breaths, preferably with your eyes closed. Hold the silence or play some soothing ambient tunes.

Alright, here they are!

1.?Legs up the Wall

This pose is so soothing! It decompresses your back after a long day of sitting or standing. It drains the blood from your legs. Legs up the wall is great against a mirror, the wall, or your headboard like I tried here. This pose also stretches your hamstrings. I can hang out here all day.

2.?Reclined Straddle Stretch

Reclined wide-legged straddle stretch is such an intense pose but so good for your flexibility. I’m working on middle splits in my practice and I definitely need to do more of this pose. It stretches your inner thighs and groin area. You can keep your arms by your sides or take infinity pose by interlacing your forearms and switching your grip half way. Since this pose is quite uncomfortable, take deep breaths.

3.?Supine?Figure Four

Supine figure four gets into your outer hips. When you put your foot on a wall, it helps you keep your leg at a 90 degree angle and it feels so good! This pose is?gentle enough for those of you that have knee injuries.

4. Supine Twist

Supine twist stretches your outer hips and is also a gentle side body twist. Start with your right leg, hug your knee up to your side body first and then bring your knee over to the left then switch. Try to keep both shoulders rested and relaxed away from your ears.

5.?Wide Arm Shoulder Stretch?

This pose is such a good one to stretch out?your shoulders, especially your shoulder heads. Bring your arms out to a T and align your wrists with your shoulders as much as you can. Then shift your body over to one side. You will start to feel this right away. Remember to breathe. If you are more flexible, you can capture your ankle or interlace your hands behind you.

The final pose is savasana, of course. But in bed. And you can stay for six hours or longer. 😉

Try these tonight and let me know!

??Bianca