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

Why We Should All Yoga: My Five Favorite Yoga Benefits

In this post, I want to share with you my five favorite yoga benefits. I hope to inspire you to unroll your mat and get breathing and moving today.

This week, I went to four yoga classes. I usually practice yoga in shorter sessions before or after my gym routine. But this week, I was able to take a C2 and two C3s at Corepower Yoga?and a vinyasa class at Equinox. Overall,?I feel my absolute best when I add yoga to my circuit training and cardio sessions.

Here’s why!

1. Stronger Core and?Stabilizer Muscles

Yoga trains your core and helps you strengthen your stabilizer muscles. When these two things are strengthened, you will notice improvements in your exercise form and range of motion. The three main groups of stabilizer muscles are the trunk, hip joint, and shoulder complex. These are key to supporting you through pretty much every workout, from running to weights!

2. Mental Clarity?

I love practicing yoga in a studio setting because I’m able to completely unplug for an hour. My favorite thing is storing my phone in the locker and not being around electronics for a while. I can walk in with my mind completely full and racing with a million things and once I settle into my mat, I notice my thoughts slow down when I start to breathe. Those first few breaths of class are so soothing. By the time savasana comes, much of the mental chatter has melted away and I leave class feeling conscious and relaxed.

3. Improved Circulation

My body seems to run better overall when I am able to practice consistently. Yoga improves circulation in the body’s major systems. A few important areas I’ve experienced the benefits of yoga would be the lymph, immune, and nervous systems. Yoga enables our blood to flow better, increases the oxygen content in our cells, and regulates digestion.

4. Inner and Outer Glow

That yoga glow. It’s a real thing. :)?Yoga and clean eating has cleared up my skin so much. But on a deeper level, I think the mind, body, and soul connection I experience from yoga connects me?to God and my true self.

5. Increased Flexibility

I’ve noticed that there are no shortcuts to flexibility. It takes time to stretch. I’m working on my middle splits right now and it’s progressing but pretty slowly. I always hear people say they don’t do yoga because they’re not flexible. But yoga is how you get flexible. 😉

Thank you for reading my five favorite yoga benefits.

What are some of yours?

See you on the mat!

??Bianca

Can We Do It All? Three Strategies to Help You Regain Momentum

Can we do it all? In this post, I’ll share why I took a blog break in January, how I balance my investment accounting career + yoga teaching + GirlGetOutside + fitness + friends, and?three strategies to help you regain momentum in all your pursuits.

I’m back! I missed you in January. I took a break from the blog the first month of 2017. January is the busiest month of the year for my team at work. Knowing this, I wanted to be fully present for my team. The first few weeks after 12/31, my team works a few holidays and weekends to meet our deadlines. (If you’re curious, the investment prices get locked in and that’s when my work begins.)

I spent some pretty long hours at work (thank God for my standing desk and Spotify premium). There were more than a few days where I skipped my morning workout because I had to get to the office early. The winter bod situation was getting pretty real. Haha! To add to that, there were days and weekends of rain, which made it difficult to create content outdoors. You can say I had moments of frustration.

I wanted to be working on my craft, creating, sweating at yoga and the gym, moving #GirlGetOutside forward, and so much more.?

In those moments, I learned a few things. When we experience feelings of frustration?or defeat, I discovered that mindset is everything. Your circumstances may stay the same but the way you frame your situation can make all the difference.

So here are three strategies that helped me get back to my flow and I hope you find these helpful too!

1. Zoom Out

To me, balance is achieved on a weekly, monthly, or even an annual basis. I had to tell myself-

Hey, when taken as a whole, you are still able to work on your passions and goals, it just won’t be for two hours a time. It may very well be 5 minutes a day.

I feel like it’s important to take a step back sometimes. Because when you’re in the weeds day in and day out, little setbacks and minor inconveniences seem so much bigger than they really are.

Think about your last three or six months, or the last year. Would you say you are experiencing?more and more balance, freedom, and fulfillment in your career, creative pursuits, and relationships? If you’re?on the path you want to be on and you’re taking the steps (even the smallest ones), that’s?what counts.

2. Think Abundance, Not Lack?

The earlier you learn that you should focus on what you have, and not obsess about what you don’t have, the happier you will be. – Amy Poehler

I 100% believe that living out of a place of provision is the key. It’s easy for me to access lack-driven thoughts. To be honest, those creep up regularly. My most predominant lack-driven thought is, I don’t have time. What would you say yours is?

In the beginning of this post, I talked about sharing how I balance work, teaching yoga, GirlGetOutside, fitness, and keeping up with family and friends. I think abundance is how. I feel like this season of my life is teaching me to trust in God and live in His provision. It’s really been an adventure so far and I’m truly grateful.

I also know that sometimes we can find ourselves in dark places where the last thing we want to do is think about abundance. I think our pain isn’t purposeless. Your resilient spirit won’t let you quit. Dig deep in those moments.

3. Create Silence

This week, a friend sent me a message from Reality SF about the practice of silence.

Silence humbles us to listen in a noisy world. -Reality SF

I find that it is so important to press pause. Because of my schedule, I find myself going most hours I’m awake and not around people. It takes conscious effort to stop and find inner stillness.

Silence helps us tune in. We meet ourselves where we are at that moment. Often times we’ll find some interesting thoughts or feelings bubble up to the surface when we’re quiet. Let’s try 2 minutes of silence before bed and see what happens.


So, can we do it all?

I would say yes.

Just not all in one day. 🙂

Thank you for reading! If you connected with anything I shared, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

??Bianca

A Green Smoothie Cleanse to Reset your Eating Habits

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.

Preparation

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.


recipe


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).

prep

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.

vp

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.


Smoothie Time

greens

The recipe recommends that you blend the greens with water first, before adding the other ingredients.

unblended

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.

vp-powder

For this smoothie, I used?Vital Proteins Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides.

vp-in-blender

Then I blended all the ingredients together and it came out like this.

pour

I recommend having to-go containers like these so you can bring these smoothies with you wherever you go.

three

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.

final


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.

bb

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!

??Bianca

How To Get Into Eight-Angle Pose

Eight-Angle Pose | Yoga with Bianca ?

When I first tried yoga, the instructor cued us through?chaturanga (tricep pushup) and I couldn’t hold my elbows next to my sides. I kinda laughed inside because my arms were so weak. I continued to show up on my mat and?I would take?chaturangas on my knees. After months of taking classes, my body finally understood how to do a chaturanga. ?Over time, I was able to improve my form in this foundational pose and this unlocked my access to most of the yoga arm balances, including eight-angle pose. In this post, I will show you how to get into eight-angle pose?in a safe and accessible way.

Just to preface this tutorial, everyone’s body structure is different. Our muscles, joints, and bones are built differently and any injuries will also change the dynamic. If you have hip, wrist?or shoulder injuries, I would avoid arm balances for now until your body is ready.

With any yoga pose you are attempting, you can use the following template to break down the pose:

Breaking Down Eight-Angle Pose – SOUL

S-?Strengthen

Core, arms, wrists

O-?Open

Inner thighs, outer hips

U-?Understand Muscle Action

Extension of hamstring muscles and core stabilization

L- Lengthen

Hamstrings

Build-up Poses

Yoga Sequence

To prepare for this pose, I recommend flowing through sun salutations, hip-opening poses and core strengthening poses. Once you have flowed through the recommended poses at the links here, your body will?be ready to try eight-angle pose.

Forward Fold Variation

img_2213

Eight-angle pose requires open hamstrings.?Check out my splits tutorial here for more hamstring stretches. I like this variation of forward fold because it also?stretches your IT band. In this variation, your ankles are crossed which mirrors how your ankles are positioned?in eight-angle pose. Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.

Firelog Pose

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Firelog pose is a deep hip opener. Place your ankle on top of the opposite knee and work your shin parallel. Flex your feet to protect your knee joints. Ground your sitting bones to the mat and balance your weight evenly on both hips. If you find that there’s a space between your top thigh and your bottom ankle, you can place a block underneath for more support. Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.

Cradle your Leg

img_2212

Next, take your top leg and cradle your shin with your arms. You can extend your other leg or keep it bent for now. Try getting your shin parallel to the floor. Place the sole of your foot on the inside of your elbow. Move side to side and take deep breaths as you do so.

Elephant Trunk Pose

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Elephant trunk pose is a fun arm balance that builds lower core and wrist strength. Take the leg that you cradled and place your leg above your shoulder. Getting your leg above your shoulder requires open inner thighs as well as outer hips. My favorite inner thigh stretches are horse pose, frog pose and prone frog pose.

Side story: one time I was teaching class and I cued through 4 poses in a row?and laughed out loud because I realized all 4 poses were named after animals!

Try to get your leg as high as you can on your shoulder. Support your calf with your hand. Then plant your hands down on the mat next to your hips. Extend your bottom leg out long. Make sure your fingers face forward and your wrists are in the same line. Press your top leg firmly into your arm while you press out from your hands. Engage your lower core?while you press through your hands.

Layer one, lift your seat off the mat but keep your front heel planted. At first you may need to sit back down after a few seconds. Try getting up three times and keep your breath steady. Layer two, after you lift your seat, lift your heel off the floor and point your toes. Try to hold this pose for 3 to 5 breaths.

The key to this pose is the leg pressure on your arm and really pulling your core up and in. From here, we build on elephant trunk pose.

?Eight-Angle Pose

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There are a few ways to get into eight-angle pose. This tutorial will show you how to get into eight-angle from elephant trunk pose. While you are in elephant trunk pose, lift the heel of your extended leg and hook your ankle on top of your other ankle. See this in action at the video below.

Once you hook your ankles, bend your elbows back like chaturanga and press both inner thighs firmly into your arm. Pin your elbows next to your ribs and extend your hamstrings out. While you bend your elbows back, you also lift your hips up. Try to keep your shoulders level. I’ve included photos that show you the front and side views of this pose.

The key here is to squeeze your inner thighs as much as you can. This will help you balance. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 breaths. For more advanced yogis, try transitioning from eight-angle pose to hurdler’s pose.

Bringing it all Together- Yoga Flow

Here’s a video that brings these poses together. Remember to breathe and have fun with it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please feel free to comment below with feedback, questions or requests.

??Bianca

Resistance Part II: Winning the Inner Creative Battle

In this post, I will share strategies to overcome resistance based on?The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. As promised, this post is the continuation of my first blog?where I talked about what triggers resistance in our lives. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you check it out here and then come back to this post.

The more you love your art/calling/enterprise, the more important its accomplishment is to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more resistance you will experience facing it.

Have you ever put something off for months??The War of Art?has been on my reading list forever and I finally finished it yesterday. I think I procrastinated so long because I was slightly nervous to find out what?Steven Pressfield?had?to say about overcoming resistance. It’s like the point of no return, right? When you find something out, you can’t unlearn it. Haha!

Well I finally overcame my own resistance to finishing the book and I’d love to share with you what I learned from it.

How do we win the inner creative battle? The strategies below are from?The War of Art?by?Steven Pressfield.

Win?the Battle by Turning Pro

Steven Pressfield says we will overcome resistance when we turn pro.

The professional plays for keeps… To the pro, it’s his vocation.

Whatever your craft is, I think this is the turning point in your journey where you decide you’re all in. So how I interpret this is not necessarily quitting your full-time job (although it might be for you). I see this more as a mindset shift. To me, this is a lifestyle.

To share with you all, my craft is the integration of where I am at this moment: finance professional, yoga instructor, fitness enthusiast, and blogger. What is your craft??If you are currently reflecting on what makes you passionate in life, check out my post on discovering work that you love?here.

Once you have found your craft, there’s a decision you have to make. That decision is, are you ready to go pro?

If you’re ready, Steven Pressfield talks about the principles a professional lives by. He says that these are principles we already practice at our “traditional” jobs. You and I will apply these in different ways but I think the ideas behind them are valuable. Here are a few:

1. Show Up Everyday

I think everyone has that innate sense that tells us we can’t miss work or show up too late. We don’t really give ourselves a choice.

2. Show Up No Matter What

This is similar to #1 but this hints at showing up even when we don’t feel like it. We have to listen to our body. But sometimes we have to take the split second to ask: do I genuinely not feel good and need to rest or am I facing resistance?

3. Commit for the Long Haul

Your journey, interests, and creative pursuits will change as the seasons pass.?I love that life is a journey of learning to love ourselves, love others, and live well. Once you go all in, it becomes a lifestyle.

4. We Accept Remuneration for our Labor

We are here not only to have fun and contribute our gifts but to earn a living.

5. Resist Overidentifying with our Work

We must build our identity in something much deeper than our circumstances, resume qualities, where we live, the things we are surrounded by, and the list goes on.?It is worth asking the question: What am I building my identity on and is it shifting sand?

6. Master the Technique of our Work

Practice, practice, practice. This is where time and discipline come in.?Nothing comes overnight and many times you will work and no one will see anything for a while. But you know you’re working on your craft. We have to start somewhere and doing little by little every day counts.

7. Have a Sense of Humor about our Work

I think having a good time should be part of every moment. If anything, we should be professional fun-havers!

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How Do you Know You’ve Turned Pro?

Steven Pressfield says you know you’ve turned pro when the following qualities become a part of you (just sharing a few here but they are all so good):

Patient

We live in such an instant gratification world. It’s so easy to want everything yesterday. Once you turn pro, you almost always live in a state of delayed gratification. But you can’t let it frustrate you. Trust the process. I wrote more on the timing of life here.

Acts in the Face of Fear

I think pros just do it. From what I’ve observed, the more a thing scares them, the more they do it. It’s almost like a compass. We can prepare to our best abilities but then at some point we just have to do it, even as we’re shaking inside.

In the War of Art, Steven Pressfield shared a long list of fears we face daily. But you know what he said our biggest fear is?

Fear that we will succeed. That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.

I was mindblown when I read that. I’ve always felt that fear deep within?and it’s crazy seeing it articulated into words.

Asks for Help

Asking for help is something that comes from a place of humility. It’s letting go of pride and tapping into the wealth of knowledge and resources around you. It requires vulnerability.

Does not Take Failure or Success Personally

This one is so good. And really hard to do. It’s staying grounded and being one level detached from your work, so that if it is received well or poorly, your self-worth and identity won’t rise and fall with it.

Self Validating

This one is also one of my favorites. You have to cheer yourself on and I feel like you can’t live for the validation of other people. That’s our own job. It’s not about the number of followers, likes, or comments. It’s getting our validation from within and knowing your worth. This?goes hand in hand with our identity.

 


 

When I first read these concepts, I had to take a few days to simply absorb it. It’s a lot. That’s a high bar. But I’ll end this blog post with an excerpt from The War of Art that serves as an amazing call to action.

Thank you for reading. I hope this connected with you somehow. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Until next time!

??Bianca

When Lululemon Takes you on an Urban Adventure in LA

What happens when Lululemon brings Marcus Buckingham and 64 inspired souls together for a Snowball Party?in West Hollywood to celebrate the opening of their Melrose?location?

You’re about to find out!

What’s a Snowball Party?

I had the opportunity to?go on this adventure and I’m excited to bring you in on the fun. If you know me, you know I’m always up for new experiences and I love connecting with people so I thought this would be the perfect way to spend my Saturday night!

What’s a snowball party? Yeah, I was wondering the same thing too. Here’s how it works!

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So with the concept down, I was?ready to go. Lululemon emailed saying they would get in touch Saturday afternoon to tell me where we were supposed to meet?our fellow Snowballers. I love surprises!?Can you tell?

At 2:56pm I received this text.

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So fun! 🙂 I made my way to West Hollywood and got to enjoy golden hour on my drive. I arrived at the meeting spot and?quickly found the other two Snowballers. Yep, we actually did scratch our heads!

Our first mission was to go to a department store, dress up in Christmas outfits, and send the Snow Patroller our family photo.

We did just that! We sent our Snow Patroller a selfie of us wearing red and gold ponchos holding up Christmas garland and a sled. True story. Too funny.

Then our next clue came in and asked us to go to a sports bar where we had to say “snowball” to the bartender. The bartender led us to a booth with three other Snowballers. What once was three had become six.

We got to know our new friends over drinks, appetizers, and an icebreaker game that had us reveal a scandalous secret that no one would guess just by looking at us.?But we won’t talk about that here. 😉

When in LA…

Our adventure continued, which included but was not limited to: singing Christmas carols on the streets of LA with a red hat out (guys, I found my next side gig), giving genuine compliments and hugs to strangers as we walked by, competing in a relay race in a random parking lot (our team won of course), going to a climbing gym where hot whiskey cider was served, and enjoying the company of the other Snowballers as we multiplied in size.

I later found out that other groups were assigned different missions such as yoga at the park, decorating cupcakes, and other fun?stuff.

Our final destination was the Lululemon Melrose location.

We walked in and the first thing I saw was the incredible spread of small bites and juices (yeah, I kinda love to eat). It was pretty amazing. But once I zoomed out, I saw the design of the Melrose store. The store was sleek, modern, and elegant. Lululemon laid out a campfire-like scene. There was live music in the form of a passionate singer jamming out to cover songs. We mingled for a bit. It was great to see familiar faces and Instagram friends.

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Marcus Buckingham & The Love and Work Movement

Then we took our seats and got ready to hear?Marcus Buckingham speak. Here’s a quote taken from his website that provides a quick glimpse into his perspective:

?My hope and dream is that you find a life in which you get to express the unique spirit that is You, in the most intelligent, most contributive, most meaningful way possible.?

This perspective is so meaningful to me because lately I’ve been in a season of intentionally stepping into?the gifts and abilities I’ve been blessed with. Mr. Buckingham’s words resonated with me because of the journey I’m currently walking.?The timing of life can be pretty spot on sometimes!

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I sat there in stillness listening intently to Mr. Buckingham share his heart. Here were some of the things that stood out to me:

We all are unique

Marcus Buckingham shared that each person is unique. He said our uniqueness is the key to our contribution to the world. He talked about the moment he?realized how different he was from his brother and sister even though they were all raised in the same home. I was drawn in when he talked about his sister who danced for a prestigious ballet company, which was one of my?dreams when I was little.

Then I started to think about my own siblings and just how different we are too. My older sister?is softspoken, caring, and such a good mom. My older brother is artistic. He loves to draw and once pursued a career in animation. He also plays guitar and sings. My younger brother?seems to do it all. He is an entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, and aspiring recording artist/music producer.

Take a few moments to reflect on your uniqueness. What moves you?

Weave your life and work using the Red Threads of Love

Let’s turn love into contribution – then we all win.

I believe that once you discover your unique talents and gifts, you have to find ways to share it. Moving beyond ourselves is the key to living a life of purpose. So when Marcus Buckingham started to talk about the Red Threads of Love, I was all ears.

He had us picture someone who was living their best life- someone who’s life was vibrant. In his words, what these people?had in common was that they took all the red threads of the stuff they love and decided to weave all of those things together until their whole life “blanket” was made up of red threads.

It was so cool to hear Marcus Buckingham describe these red threads?because it’s what I’ve been reflecting on and working towards these past two years.

You may not know but I have a career in investment accounting. I love how intellectually stimulating it has been to learn about the investment industry these past five years. But halfway through, I found yoga and realized that connecting with people was my gift. So since then, I’ve been on this intentional living journey where I use what I’ve been given and the place I’ve been planted to hopefully inspire those around me to live out their best life.

Take what you love and turn it into something useful.

I’m?learning every day and hearing Marcus Buckingham share his insights on this was confirmation that I’m on the right track.

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How Do you Find your Red Threads?

Have you ever been in love?

Marcus Buckingham asked us that. He said that people who are in love experience these feelings: time flies when you’re with that person, you think about them when you’re apart, and you can hardly wait to see them again.

Marcus Buckingham shared that we experience those same?feelings with the red threads of our work and creative activities.

He gave us a call to action. He said to do this for a week: every time you’re doing something and you experience those feelings of love, write it down. These may very well be your red threads.

It doesn’t mean every task or job we do will be life changing.

I think the hope is that over time, we can weave more and more love into our lives, and extend the love to those around us.

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Thank you for reading! I hope this post sparked something in you today. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to Keb Doak of Lululemon LA for these photos.

Resistance: What Happens When you Pursue your Dreams

There’s something that happens when you start moving?in the direction of your dreams. You will experience resistance. It’s not one specific thing you can see or name, it’s mostly a feeling. In The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, resistance is:

an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

In this post, I’ll talk about what triggers resistance and how I’ve experienced it in my own life. My hope is that you’ll start to see it in yours too.

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I felt resistance a lot more than usual this past week. With every yoga class I teach, each Instagram post I share, and each project I work on, there’s a little voice in me that wants to shrink back, not share, not open up, not be vulnerable, and not put myself out there. It wants me to stay safe and not create.

Have you felt this too?

What triggers these thoughts and feelings?

The War of Art?outlines 11 activities that trigger resistance (in no specific order):

  1. -The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
  2. -The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
  3. -Any diet or health regimen.
  4. -Any program of spiritual advancement.
  5. -Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.
  6. -Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
  7. -Education of every kind.
  8. -Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
  9. -The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
  10. -Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
  11. -The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.

In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.

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When I first read this list six months ago, I was floored. It became so clear to me why some days felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill or swimming upstream in a river. If you’re reading this, I know for sure you are engaging in three, four, or even five of these activities on a daily basis.

Once we are aware of the negative forcefield that prevents us from creating, we can look it in the eye and push through.

What ways do you experience resistance?

Resistance can be overcome. Stay tuned for a future blog post?on ways we can break through. Thank you for reading!

??Bianca