The Best Time for New Beginnings is Now

Sometimes, all you need is a fresh start. Here are our top 10 ways to embrace new beginnings!

Ways to Embrace New Beginnings

1. Try something new, even if it scares you.

2. Pick a fresh mantra + set a new intention (I am Love).

3. Start that creative project you’ve been thinking about (get out those paintbrushes).

4. Be willing and open.

5. Create a list of 10 things you are looking forward to.

6. Book a trip, or a daycation.

7. Journal, meditate with your mala, repeat.

8. Learn a lot about something that interests you.

9. Make an effort to meet new people (smile at strangers).

10. If all else fails, wander west.

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Photos by Bree + Makenzie of Two Little Birds Wander West. Two free spirited birdie bloggers from c a l i f o r n i a. They’re always seeking adventure while living a healthy + fashionable life style. Check out their blog here, or find them on Instagram here.

Strawberry Mango Smoothie

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Photo by: Amanda Goodfried

We’re approaching the weekend and we could all use a little extra pick me up. Sometimes it’s fun to substitute your green juice for a little sweetness. What’s your favorite fruit shake? Strawberry? Mango? Watermelon? Pineapple?

Let’s have some fun and mix it up! My favorite thing to do is experiment with different flavors and constantly reinventing new smoothies.

My favorite combination is mango and strawberry. It’s a unique blend of sweet flavors you’d definitely want to try!  The best thing about this recipe is that is requires few ingredients! It is also vegan and healthy! The things you’ll be needing to make this perfect fruit shake is: 1 mango, 3-5 strawberries (depending on the size of your sweet tooth), 1/8 cup of water ( to maintain the consistency of the shake).

Directions:
Cut mango into small pieces to make it easier to blend. Mangos are a little tricky to cut, check out some neat ways to do it on Pinterest. Clean + cut your strawberries up in half. When you’re done, combine the ingredients in a blender and add the water. Blend for 1 minute or until fruits are thoroughly blended.

Pour into a cute mason jar and enjoy! Stop and take some time to relax today with your smoothie.

Recipe by Lucia Escano. You can find Lucia on Instagram here

Open Your Third Eye With The Chin Twins

tiny-devotions-mala-beadsWelcome to our Wednesday Chakra Series featuring yogis Cristen Barker & Kimberly Hise! Check out their Instagram page here.

Third Eye Chakra:
The Third Eye Chakra is located in the forehead between and above the eyes. It is the center of our insight and intuition. When this Chakra is open, you have a deep sense of connection to your inner voice, and feel guided in your choices. The color indigo blue and the element of light is associated with the third eye. We can manifest our full potential when we can focus and still the mind to connect with our own inner voice.

Balance poses that enhance visualization and focus attention will help the third eye Chakra. Meditation is a great practice to quiet the mind and listen for your intuition to speak.

Yoga poses for the Third Eye:
Eagle Pose
Warrior Three
Downward facing dog
Peacock Pose
Childs pose

tiny-devotions-mala-beadsFoods for the Third Eye:
Omega 3 fatty acid, Chocolate, Blueberries, Red Grapes, Black Berries, Raspberries, Red Wines, Grape Juice

Activities for the Third Eye:
Meditate
Cleanse and Detox
Tai Chi
Visualization

Fashion:
Wear the Color Indigo or purple
Crystals
Bindis

Esential oils:
Lavender oil is incredibly calming and great for headaches; a common occurrence whenever your third eye is blocked. We can calm the active mind with lavender to reach a higher state of consciousness.

Herbs:
Gotu kola
Skullcap
Nettle
Ginger

Affirmation : “My mind is calm and open. I am at peace with whatever is happening in my life. I open to the wisdom within and from others. I listen to my intuition

Spring Cleaning for the Soul Yoga Sequence

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Revolved Chair Pose: Parivrtta Utkatasana
Stand in Tadasana with your feet together and your hands by your sides. As you begin to bend both knees, inhale your arms up, and lengthen out through your fingertips. On an exhalation, bring your hands into Anjali Mudra and twist to connect the right elbow to the left knee. With each inhalation create space and length in the spine. With each exhalation, go deeper into your twist. Hold for 5 breaths, and feel the sensation in your abdomen. To come out of the pose, release the twist and fold into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend). Rise up to Tadasana, and repeat on the opposite side.

IMG_7083.2Seated Spinal Twist: Ardha Matsyendrasana, Variation
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee and squeeze the knee into the chest. Step the right foot over the left leg and press the foot down on the floor outside your left hip. The right knee will point directly up to the ceiling. Place your right fingertips down behind you for support. Inhale the left arm up and as you exhale twist to connect the left elbow to the right knee. Begin to turn the gaze over the right shoulder and back behind you. With each inhale create space and bring length to the spine. With each exhale twist deeper into your pose. Hold for 5 breaths. Release the twist, and straighten out both legs. Repeat on the opposite side.

IMG_7186Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose: Viparita Karani
Option: Place a bolster, a block, or a stack of folded blankets parallel to and about 4 inches away from a wall. Sit on the end of your support or directly on the floor with your left hip close to the wall. Using your hands to support you, lean back onto your forearms and bring one leg up and then the other. Keep your buttocks close to the wall. If they’ve moved away from it, bend your knees, press your feet into the wall, and inch closer. If you have tight hamstrings and a tight back, feel free to have your hips away from the wall on an angle. Lay with your fingers extending in opposite directions, or place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Close your eyes. Now completely let go and settle into your body. Feel the rise and fall of your breath. Stay in the pose for several minutes.

IMG_7187.2Supported Headstand: Sirsasana
If you’re new to this pose, sit facing a wall. Grab on to opposite elbow and lower your forearms to the ground. Keeping your elbows where they are, move your forearms and interlace your hands, creating the shape of a triangle on your mat. Lower the crown of the head in the middle of your triangle, and gently cup the back of your head with interlaced hands. Curl your toes under and press your hips up like in a downward dog. Walk your feet in as close to your face as you can. Lift your toes off the mat and tuck your knees into your chest. Press your forearms and crown of the head into the mat to lengthen and grow taller. Once you feel balanced, slowly begin to straighten both legs up towards the ceiling. Imagine you have a block in between your legs that you are squeezing into to activate all the muscles in your body. Hold for 10 deep breaths. Slowly bend the knees back into the chest, lower down to the mat with control, and rest in Child’s Pose.

UntitledLocust: Salabhasana
Lie on your belly with your arms by your sides, palms down, and chin on the floor. Inhale and lengthen from the top of your head all the way to the tips of your toes. As you exhale, engage your core and press down through your lower belly and pubic bone. On your next inhalation lift your legs, arms, and chin off the ground. Arms can be down by your sides or interlaced behind the back. Hold for 5 breaths. Breathe deep into your belly to massage the internal organs. As you inhale, lift a bit higher; as you exhale, relax into the pose and allow the sensations of the breath to bring you deeper into your experience.

IMG_7089.2Reclining Bound Angle Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana
Come up to a seated position. Place the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open outwards into Bound Angle Pose. Option: Lay down onto a bolster to support the length of your spine or lay directly on your mat. Close your eyes. Relax and stay here for several minutes.

UntitledReclining Bound Angle Pose: Supta Baddha Konasana
Come up to a seated position. Place the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to open outwards into Bound Angle Pose. Close your eyes. Relax and stay here for several minutes.

jjjWritten by Michelle Garcea. Michelle Garcea is an international yoga teacher, SUP Yoga lover and instructor, blogger and fashion designer. At twenty years of age, she is the youngest certified FitYoga and IslandSUP teacher in the word. Growing up, yoga was always a huge part of her life. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Michelle offers classes, workshops, and retreats through Free Spirit Yoga, the studio she owns and operates with her mother. She has travelled Europe and the USA teaching and training, and plans to continue travelling the world doing just that. Her vision is to empower individuals to discover their greatness and live healthier, happier, inspired lives!! Check out her website here and follow her on Instagram here.

Spring Cleaning for the Soul, Yoga Style

TD_150331_0625Imagine you are a flower. This might sound funny, but just go with it. So you’re this miniature, budding, flower that’s been hibernating all winter long, waiting for the sun to come out and the temperature to rise so you can blossom again. The weird thing is that when the sunshine and spring-like conditions begin to arrive, you’re not growing – not an inch. Instead, you’re drooping a bit and your head hangs low. It turns out that the groundwater you’ve been absorbing through you’re roots is loaded with toxins and now there’s a build up of some pretty bad stuff in your stems. Although your body has a self-cleansing process, it is overloaded and backed up right now. What you need is a detox – yoga style!!

Detoxification” means the removal of toxins from the body. Just like flowers, humans absorb toxins – preservatives, pesticides, stimulants, chemicals, and metals – through the foods we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Your own body also produces toxins, called metabolic waste products, as a natural result of bodily functions like digestion and respiration. Luckily, your digestive, endocrine, and circulatory systems come equipped with a complex set of mechanisms designed to eliminate these toxins through your mouth, eyes, skin, colon, urinary tract, and even through your breath. The trouble is that too much sugar, caffeine, processed foods, little to no exercise, and stress can slow the body’s natural detox function to a sluggish pace.

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The result is a buildup of toxins that can leave you fatigued, suffering from poor digestion, and could even lead to disease. We need to detoxify to get these things out of our system in order to feel better and healthier. Then, like a flower, you can blossom again. And did you know that you can help boost your internal detox functions by practicing cleansing yoga sequences?

The major detox elements in the body are the lymph, blood, liver, kidneys, colon, and parasympathetic nervous system. A yoga sequence can support the natural detoxification process by increasing circulation, compressing and twisting the internal organs, as well as encouraging relaxation. Whenever I’m feeling unclear, heavy and low, I turn to my yoga practice knowing that I feel better after…every single time!!

Inverted poses like Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall-Pose) use gravity to stimulate lymph and blood circulation. Inversions also send new blood to the liver and kidneys, giving them a rush of energy that helps get them detoxing. Twisting poses are also thought to increase blood circulation. Twists isolate and compress digestive organs to squeeze and soak them, ridding impurities from the tissues, and then delivering fresh blood and nutrients to the organs to be soaked up. Twists ultimately enhance organ health and digestion. Deep forward bends also promote good digestion by helping with elimination. Even though helping the digestion organs to eliminate toxins is very important so is stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which activates a relaxation response within our bodies. Restorative poses, such as Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), are designed to do just that. The parasympathetic nervous system provides deep relaxation and counteracts the release of stress hormones that can slow down the entire detox process.

Notice any changes in your mind and body during and after your yoga practice. Release and let go, so you can grow.

TINY-DEVOTIONS-MALA-BEADSWritten by Michelle Garcea. Michelle Garcea is an international yoga teacher, SUP Yoga lover and instructor, blogger and fashion designer. At twenty years of age, she is the youngest certified FitYoga and IslandSUP teacher in the word. Growing up, yoga was always a huge part of her life. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Michelle offers classes, workshops, and retreats through Free Spirit Yoga, the studio she owns and operates with her mother. She has travelled Europe and the USA teaching and training, and plans to continue travelling the world doing just that. Her vision is to empower individuals to discover their greatness and live healthier, happier, inspired lives!! Check out her website here and follow her on Instagram here.

Third Eye Sunnies

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Make Your Dreams a Reality

11116930_905680092828202_1034434306_nI’ve held 27 jobs. Thats 27 W9’s, 27 training periods, 27 managers, at least 27 dreams.

I’ve left them all.

After reflecting on this, I’ve realized it’s because when I am no longer growing, my soul checks out; my heart is on hold. I think it’s this way for all of us but not everyone acknowledges that gut feeling. Maybe it’s not knowing what to listen for, maybe it’s heard loud and clear but fear stands in the way, maybe worst of all…it’s pride and ego that keeps you holding onto a job that isn’t right for you.

Ignorance, flighty characteristics, genius, immature, logical – whatever you want to call it; I listened to my gut, 27 times. I knew in my heart the place I left no longer served me (and therefore did not serve my community, friends or family). Of course my parents questioned my actions for years. They assumed I would eventually come to my senses, “get a real job and stick with it”

How right they were! At 25 years of age, as I reached my six year mark as an Apple trainer, I felt a nagging at my heart, an emptiness in the work I poured my energy into. Very little about work brought me joy, all of the things that used to excite me were simply “purple cows” (google it, read it!). Five long months of feeling my way through darkness and one morning I woke up, a lightbulb went off. “Why hold onto this?” I asked myself. With an 8am shift scheduled, I called in around 7:45am and quit my job. Anxiety, tension, anger, resentment, fear, stagnation- washed away. Rash decision? Yes. And no. It depends on who’s timescale we are judging. The way I see it is, life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Right now is your only reality, why spend it feeling stuck? Steve Jobs said it best:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

As I quit my comfy job with great healthcare, steady hours and “great pay,” the question I got the most was “What are you going to do?” The only thing that sounded enticing was yoga. So I did yoga. I stepped up my practice from weekly to daily and ventually committed to a YTT program. I didn’t begin to teach right away, for me it was more about personal growth. After about three months of detoxing from technology I started to play with my camera again. I found myself shooting and editing random footage. So I began to put more energy into a production company I opened years ago. As more time passes I am learning to listen to my heart and the more I do it, the more happiness I find. The uncertainty that once frightened me to my core now makes my heart sing with freedom! Yes, sometimes my bank account may be a bit empty, but in those times I remind myself that a day filled with creative freedom and possibly the beach is worth more than a day spent at a desk with an abundance of money and no time to utilize it!

One year has passed since I quit my “real job” and started “working for myself.” The reward has been beyond words. I’m living a reality that allows my true self to shine and by doing so I am helping and inspiring others, giving my time to those who need it.

It’s never too late to make your dreams your reality. Take the leap. Have faith. Live with love, in love always.

Written  by Aubry Marie. Aubry is a yoga teacher and a lover of life. She is based out of San Diego, California. Check out Aubry’s Instagram here

4 Tips To Bring More Zen Into Your Crazy Day

tiny-devotions-mala-beadsAs a new mother, I am finding it difficult to maintain commitment to my spiritual rituals the way I did before my daughter was born. Morning meditations have been replaced by diaper changes, journaling replaced by constant feeds, and sometimes being present in each moment is overshadowed by my burning desire to take a nap. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I miss my practice a lot.

This got me thinking: how can busy stay-at-home moms, CEOs, students, travelers, boho Goddesses etc. integrate a meaningful spiritual practice in our hectic daily lives?

4 Tips To Bring More Zen Into Your Crazy Day:

  1. Keep Your Journal and Guides Handy
    While your favourite inspirational books and magazines may look lovely lined on the shelf, and your journal may be tucked away next to your bed, try keeping them accessible, making you far more likely to crack them open. I keep my favourite book next to my rocking chair so I can read it when feeding my daughter, and I have started keeping my journal in my living room, where I tend to spend most of my day. I still keep it squirreled away for privacy, but knowing it is within reach encourages me to journal when I have a free second.
  2. Meditation: Every Little Bit Counts!
    I used to have an all-or-nothing mentality when it came to meditation. If I didn’t have 20 minutes to do a guided meditation, then I “didn’t have time to meditate”. However mini-meditations throughout the day add up to an overall increased feeling of inner calm. Whenever you have a few minutes, sit your tush down and focus on taking long, deep breaths. Maybe repeat a mantra that works for you in that moment, such as “I am at peace”, or “my day is guided”. Focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to meditation, bringing little bursts of peace and calm into your busy routine.
  3. Think Outside the Meditation Pillow
    Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting on a pillow with incense burning. Try embracing active meditations: when you are cooking, exercising, cleaning, make these actions completely mindful. Focus on your senses; the smell of the grapefruit you are slicing, the feel of your feet hitting the pavement when you jog, the sound of birds chirping through the window when you do your spring cleaning. Be present, breathe deeply, and find the pleasure in what you may consider a dull daily task. Personally, I love practicing presence when I cook or bake: the colours, smells, tastes and even sounds are beautiful when you truly tune in.
  4. Put That Smart Phone to Good Use!
    You know that screen we stare at a gazillion times a day? Use it to help keep you centered. Try putting inspirational quotes as calendar alerts, so you have little pop-up reminders to focus on love and gratitude throughout your crazy day. Each morning I have an alert that says, “Breathe deeply. Express gratitude”. This simple reminder sets the perfect tone for my day. There are also tons of downloadable apps that can up your spiritual game including guided meditations, daily inspirational quotes, and even Angel Card readings. My personal favourite is the Spirit Junkie Alarm Clock App, which allows you to wake up each morning to a loving affirmation.

One of my favourite affirmations from the Spirit Junkie App states “when I put my spiritual practice first, I have time for everything else”. It can be tough to integrate presence into your hectic schedule, but the resulting calm, love and focus is totally worth it.

Alyson is a writer, communications professional, spiritual explorer and new momma. You can follow her journey here. Check our her Instagram here

Get Creative With The Chin Twins

IMG_6059Welcome to our Wednesday Chakra Series featuring yogis Cristen Barker & Kimberly Hise! Check out their Instagram page here.

Throat Chakra:
The Throat Chakra located in the throat is associated with the color blue and the element of space. This Chakra’s function is related to communication and creativity. We must be able to express our ideas clearly to the world. When this Chakra is open we can express our needs without anxiety over how people will react to our views.

Yoga poses that help open the throat and release tension in the neck and shoulders will help this Chakra. Stretches for the face, neck, and jaw or shoulder shrugs help to release tension. Singing out loud or writing in a journal are a great way to get ideas flowing to the outside world.

Yoga Poses for the Throat Chakra:
Shoulder Stand
Fish Pose
Plow Pose
Cobra
Standing Back Bend

Foods for the Throat Chakra:

Liquids in general: Water, Fruit Juices, Herbal Teas, Lemons, Limes

Grapefruit, Kiwi, Apples, Pears, Plums, Peaches, Apricots

Fashion:SONY DSC
Wearing the color Blue
Scarves
Small Necklaces
Lipstick

Activities:
Being silent and listening
Nedi pot
Public speaking
Chanting and singing

Essential oils:
Use eucalyptus to help clear sinuses and cure a sore throat or coughing, allowing this passageway to become free and clear for self-expression.

Herbs:
Peppermint
Wood Betony
Cinnamon Chips
Lobelia

Affirmation:
“I speak truth. I express my feelings with clar­ity, sensitivity, and confidence. I listen to my own voice. I allow my cre­ativity to flow. I effortlessly manifest my ideas. I acknowledge the power of words to create.”

 

Vegan Superfood Chocolate Oatmeal

Aaaah… warm, creamy, chocolatey breakfast bowls. This Vegan Superfood Chocolate Oatmeal felt like a big hug from the inside out on a cold morning. And it tasted like it would be the unhealthiest thing ever, when in reality it’s actually the healthiest chocolate oatmeal you’ll ever find yourself indulging in. Well, how does that work? You can pay special thanks to my secret chocolate bar ingredient.

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Like I said, this isn’t your average chocolate. Aside from having really cute sayings on the bars like ‘Bliss’ and ‘Love’, these special chocolate bars are nutritional powerhouses. My big secret is ALOHA‘s Superfood Chocolate. They really outdid themselves with this vegan, nothing artificial, and antioxidant-rich chocolate. It has double the antioxidants of Acai, and over 10x the antioxidants of Goji Berries. It’s made with Peruvian raw cacao beans, organic coconut sugar, and organic moringa to name a few superstar ingredients.

Move over Acai bowl lovers because this vegan chocolate oatmeal is stealing the spotlight!

This warm chocolatey delight is paired with strawberries and topped with coconut for the perfect balanced breakfast. The recipe is super easy and you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for the next few days, but beware. The chocolate oats won’t last longer than a day, especially if you’re as crazy for chocolate as I am. Please consume responsibly.

Vegan Superfood Chocolate Oatmeal

Cook Time: 3 mins
Serves: 1 serving

Ingredients:
½ cup Gluten-Free Oats
1 cup Water or Almond Milk
2 pieces ALOHA Superfood Chocolate
1 tbsp Honey or Agave
Sprinkle of Coconut Flakes
Strawberries to top

Instructions

In a small pot bring the water/almond milk, Superfood Chocolate, honey, and oats to a boil over medium-high heat, then allow to simmer for about 3 minutes.

Stir and taste. Remove from heat when ready, place in a bowl, and top with strawberries and coconut.

Written by Tara Milhem. Tara has a Bachelor’s Degree in Food and Nutrition and is a board certified holistic health coach, registered yoga instructor, and published author. Tara is the creator of The Whole Tara where she shares her talents as a recipe developer, food stylist, and food photographer. She pairs her nutrition knowledge and culinary techniques to develop whole recipes that are not only a beautiful addition to the kitchen table, but will also become lifelong household staples. Follow Tara on social @TheWholeTara and visit her website here for more.