4 Ways to Welcome Autumn’s Vata Energy

This past weekend marked the Autumn Equinox and the beginning of the Ayurvedic Vata season. Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, often correlates seasonal changes with physical and mental changes we may experience within our bodies and minds. Fall is associated with dryness, spontaneity, creativity, airiness, and anxiety.

Too much Vata and you may be left feeling unable to focus, nervous, or overwhelmed with excessive speech or thoughts. An overload of Vata in the body may be causing symptoms like lack of appetite, joint stiffness, and dry skin. In order to balance these characteristics we must pay close attention to how we nourish our bodies through diet, movement, and spiritual practices. Here are a few simple suggestions for some things you can do in each area to help welcome this exciting new season:

Movement: Get Grounded

Try to integrate more standing poses like Warrior 1 and 2, Side Angle Pose, and Triangle. Make sure when you are moving from one pose to the next you avoid any hops or quick transitions. Rather, to combat the frenzied Vata energy, you hold the poses for longer and slowly, deliberately transition from one to the next. During your practice, you can engage your Mula Bandha for more stability and focus on longer exhales to ground your mind.

Namaste Teacher Ashley West Roberts

Nutrition: Warm Up

As the weather cools, our need to heat up increases. Warm yourself from the inside out. Start with warm lemon water in the mornings and spicy herbal teas throughout the afternoon. For lunch and dinner, try cooked vegetables like asparagus, beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes with lots of ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. Avoid sweets, cold dishes or drinks, dry fruits (apples or pears), and dairy products.

Lemon Tea

Mindfulness: Create Structure

It is important to create a routine during the Vata intense season in order to help the mind stay focused, and the body stay regular. Make a point to engage in some daily rituals like morning dry brushing (great for detoxification), Abhyanga/oil massage, or a warming meditation accompanied by soothing music. Other suggestions would be to choose movement activities that are not too strenuous, but instead focus on flexibility and balance. Seek out Hatha or Yin classes over Vinyasa based yoga in order to keep yourself balanced.

Wellness Tools

Spirituality: Feel Connected

Fall is one of the best seasons to get outside and experience nature’s transformation for yourself. Find a local park or hiking trail where you can sit and notice the brisk autumn winds, dewy mornings, and crinkly colored leaves. Do your best throughout the week to remind yourself of this connection you have with nature. Maybe it means having a small token, such as a beautiful leaf or pinecone, that sits with you on your desk. Another idea would be to rise early; Ayurveda recommends 6 AM during the Autumn months so that you can get the most sunlight possible as our days begin to shorten.

Dog Fall Outdoors

10174922_10202666021745158_698447662340860057_nA San Diego native, Emily moved to the Bay Area four years ago to work with small businesses and non-profits and help them share their stories. Outside of work you can find her hiking the Oakland hills with her dogs, cooking up healthy eats, or volunteering with organizations like Bay Area Wilderness Training.

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Ayurvedic Cleansing 101

If the idea of a cleanse makes you cringe – keep reading.  Forget crazy diets or extreme measures and let yourself be cradled by the sweet embrace of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old ancient medicinal tradition from India, is a lifestyle. Ayurveda emphasizes re-establishing balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, and body cleansing, and on the health of the mind, body, and spirit. Participating in an Ayurvedic cleanse is not just about losing weight or resetting your digestion – it can be an opportunity for an entire lifestyle shift.

Timing is also important for cleanses. The dry and windy nature of fall is deeply taxing for the skin, joints, nerves and adrenals. Ayurveda is the perfect system to support your graceful transition from hot, full and dry summer into a more balanced fall. This is why Kameko Shibata is offering a 10-day Ayurvedically inspired cleanse that will leave your body, mind, and spirit nourished for the season ahead.

Still curious about if a cleanse is something you should commit to?

Here is a little Q & A to help calm the mind’s questions:

Will we be fasting?

Nope, its healthier to keep the digestive system working at a slower reduced rate than to suddenly shut it off altogether. There is an option to only take liquids (miso, broth, soups, juice) for one day , but I only recommend that to more kapha/pitta clients, or if you have the day off. No major work deadlines on juice!

What exactly is on the menu? 

Forget any ideas about only eating lettuce and water. Instead, imagine a delicious plate of red lentils and rich cooked greens or an afternoon snack of fresh fruit. During this Ayurvedic inspired cleanse you will be eating whole foods packed with nutrients like miso soup and quinoa with medicinal pesto and fresh cilantro. The idea is not to starve your system, but rather refresh through a balanced diet that will give your digestive system a break and nourish you from the inside out.

lentils and cooked greens

What won’t I be having?

Think anything that is toxic to the body or mind. This includes alcohol, refined sugars, caffeine, meat, smoking, and excess social media. Although these things in small doses are acceptable on a day to day basis, this cleanse will give your body the opportunity to heal from any chronic use, allowing you to start your relationship with these items with a clean slate (if you even choose to return!).

Why cleanse in the fall?

The heat and celebration of summer leaves us very dry and depleted. Then fall, vata time of year, hits full force, super busy, dry, transitions everywhere! It’s essential to ground, hydrate and nourish our bodies so we can handle the fullness of transition with grace!

Is it all about food?

Nope! Food is part of it, but cleansing is an ancient Ayurvedic art, that includes the mental and emotions systems as well as the physical body. You will be asked to do a guided daily meditation and pranayama practice to sooth the nervous system. You will be asked to practice self care- oilinate your skin and use a neti pot. You will be asked to journal/reflect on your patterns and emotions related to food, stimulants and self-care. This cleanse is a holistic experience!

Neti Pot

Will I lose weight?

Depends on how different this diet is to your normal diet. The goal is not to lose weight, this is an opportunity to cleanse and relax the system not lose weight. if you struggle with weight what this cleanse offers is an opportunity to cut back on unhealthy habits to notice where you have patterns and attachments to food. Going forward you might not choose to use so many foods/substances that trigger you.

Will it be hard?

The first 3 days are usually the hardest especially if you are cutting out caffeine and sugar for the first time in awhile. Caffeine and sugar affect our endorphin levels and we feel bummed without them. After about 3 days your body normalizes and you no longer feel so strong cravings or a dependency on toxic substances. This is why its nice to do it with the support of a group. We can email each other words of support and advice for what is helping us each to stay focused.

What will I tell my friends? How do I deal with going out? 

Tell your friends and loved ones that you are taking a week to reset your digestive system, and balance your mental and emotional health. You can explain that as you come out of summer and into Fall you want to feel grounded and nourished. Ask them to join you. Tell them you are taking responsibility for your own health. If you end up going at it alone, know that this is not forever. It is one week that will set you up for months of healthier living.

KamekoProfileBWELLNESS TREATMENTS WITH KAMEKO: Kameko Shibata combines her passion for ayurvedic medicine, bodywork and yoga into a comprehensive healing modality that empowers people to heal themselves. She received her Ayurvedic Practioner certification from the Dhyana Center of Health Sciences, where she went on to complete over 1,000 hours in a 2-year internship under her teacher, DeAnna Batdorff.

Kameko’s healing hours:

  • Saturdays 10:15am – 2pm

Please check out : www.kamekoarts.com


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Mae's Magic Chia Seed Pudding

At Namaste, we love sharing our favorite recipes. There are few things that can beat a delicious, nourishing meal that is also super healthy and easy to make! Last week our studio director, Mae Boscana, brought in her homemade Magic Chia Seed Pudding for us to try… needless to say it was amazing. Why do we go so far as to call it magical? Well it is equal parts healthy and delicious!

Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious. They contain loads of anti-oxidants, protein, fiber, and a good amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids which are all great tools for helping lower blood pressure, increase weight loss, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease! The best part is topping this sweet treat off with vanilla and cinnamon helps to satisfy your sugar cravings, while cinnamon lowers your blood sugar, reduces inflammation, and fights bacterial infections. How awesome is that? Now eat up!

Chia SeedMae’s Magic Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

1/3 cup chia seeds (you can find these at any health food store or most grocery stores now!)
1 1/2 cups nut milk of choice (We prefer unsweetened coconut/almond blend)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp fresh ground ginger
1/2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
2 tsp maple syrup or agave


1.) Put all of the above items in a bowl or mason jar.

2.) Stir.

3.) Wait at least 2 hours or until chia seeds are not crunchy (30 min. may be just enough). Stir again if need be.

4.) Eat layered with fresh fruit. Our favorite is strawberries or blueberries!

Additional topping ideas include: Goji berries, Cocoa nibs, Bananas, Raspberries, Sliced Almonds, Walnuts, or Honey!

Enjoy for breakfast or lunch – although we highly recommend making some and keeping it in the fridge to satisfy your late night sweet tooth.

Chia Seed



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Namaste Tribe: Meet Fiana

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting on of our incredible Namaste tribe members! With so many inspiring, passionate folks working at Namaste we felt it was a crime to keep their shining personalities from the rest of the world.

Meet Assistant Manager and Subs Coordinator: Fiana Anderson

Who are you?
My name is Fiana, and I am originally from Reno, Nevada.

How long have you been at Namaste?
I am going on 2 years at Namaste.

What do you do here?
I am an assistant manager, extraordinaire. I also am in charge of making sure each of our classes have an awesome teacher to teach them. If your favorite teacher is away, it is my duty to make sure someone equally awesome is there to lead your class!

What are your favorite self-care practices?
Being a blooming Ayurvedic practitioner, I can say that Dinacharya, or daily routine self-care practices are my favorites. They include such things as waking before the sun, meditation, pranayama, abhyanga (self oil massage), nasya (oiling the nose), drinking very warm water upon waking–there are many more but these are my some of my favorite jams. I also give myself the alone time I need to rejuvenate, with zero apologies.

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
You know I am having an absolute love affair with yoga. It has become a part of my every breath and such a part of my very being these days. My favorite thing about it is that first or second asana back after a break; the remembrance, appreciation and gratitude that accompanies that.

Any big dreams you are close to actualizing?
I will be finishing up my Ayurveda practitioner training pretty soon. I am excited to start treating people, making home remedies and teaching workshops.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
I adore living in the East Bay. It’s the first place I’ve ever lived that really feels like home to me. There is something hypnotic about the weather, it is perfection. I also feel a deep sense of permission to just be here and to express myself, whatever that may be, on any given day.

Fiana_AndersonFiana came to work for Namaste Yoga through sheer love and passion for the yoga community.  She moved to the East Bay last year to study classical, medical Ayurveda at Vedika Global. She spent two years studying in India and has over 1,500 hours of combined education and training in yoga, massage and Ayurveda.

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Namaste Tribe: Meet Jenn

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting on of our incredible Namaste tribe members! With so many inspiring, passionate folks working at Namaste we felt it was a crime to keep their shining personalities from the rest of the world.

Meet Front Desk Team Member & Membership Guru: Jenn Mason

Who are you?
My name is Jenn Mason and I am originally from Riverside, CA.

How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been with Namaste for 7 months!

What do you do here?
I am part of the Front Desk team and am responsible for of memberships. This means that I oversee all membership questions and requests and make sure all of our Namaste members continue to have the best membership that fits their needs.

What are your favorite self-care practices?
I enjoy Acupuncture, listening to guided meditations, taking hot showers, and moisturizing with sesame oil before bed. Sesame oil is a great oil to use if you are looking for something nourishing for your body and mind. It has been used as a healing oil for centuries and has awesome anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I am a full time student studying mind-body medicine. My passion is women’s health and a huge part of what I do and who I am is written in my blog. I am truly living and practicing what I am passionate about. When I am not studying or working, I am blogging or hosting women’s health dinner parties!

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
I love that yoga is for anyone and everyone. No matter your age, size, socioeconomic status, etc. If you can breathe, you can do yoga.


Jenn’s background is in non-profit management, health care and sociology. She is a birth doula and leads stress reduction and mindful living workshops. She holds a master’s in women’s health and is currently getting a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a certification in health and wellness coaching and hypnosis.

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Invoking Shakti Through A Creative Practice

By Judy Rukat

Women tell me all the time that they are not physically strong and therefore they struggle through an Ashtanga based Vinyasa practice.

When I hear this, I always ask them to question that belief and where it originated. I encourage my students to examine their relationships with others for insight. As women, we often have the misconception that if we repress our own needs for the sake of others that we are somehow “preserving” our relationships. Before long, the good intention of compromise turns into feelings of self-sacrifice. When women commit too much of themselves for the sake of others happiness, a sense of self or the divine feminine disappears. Our innate desire to nurture and care for others before our self often results in a lack of time dedicated to self–care and empowerment. A lack of time dedicated to syncing with our inner voice opens the door for feeling out of touch or even feeling weak.

Blessings come into your life disguised by pain, heartbreak and hardship. During these times of fear, disappointment, or simply feeling just plain broken we may hear a deeper calling towards healing. When we hear this calling, a feeling of being “putback together” arises within us and begins to bring us back to our divine feminism and inner strength. That innate force is SHAKTI. Sometimes recognized as Kundalini symbolized by a coiled up Snake that lies dormant at the base of the spine. Shakti meaning “Power” or “empowerment,” is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. We invoke our Shakti Power through natural sensual movements, creativity and our desires to transform stagnant energy into vibrant and radiant expression.


A great way to revive Shakti is to awake your inner snake by beginning with a vinyasa sequence that uncoils your serpent through unstructured asanas. Allow your asana practice to transform into a free form dancing flow that focuses on releasing tension from the spine and loosening the hips. Discovering just how Shakti manifests in each of us in her own unique and diverse way will allow for increased creativity and energy.

In my upcoming workshop, Invoking Shakti, we will come together through the support of the community to embrace the divine femininity that resides in us as individuals. My hope is that when we gather we will leave our mats and inhibitions behind. With our insecurities gone, we will embrace our inner feminism and divine power, showing up as more authentic, free, and truly ourselves. This authentic and free atmosphere is where mutually enhancing relationships become possible, and we may bond with our fellow women warriors. We all have the ability to leverage Shakti to our benefit and to invoke the powerful and creative forces within us. All we have to do is let go and believe in our own inner strength!


Judy Rukat-Bussell has been a personal trainer for over ten years. Judy embodies yoga as a lifestyle and practices integrating all aspects of the self through breath and movement. Judy’s style of teaching embraces humor and playfulness and an unending curiosity which allows her students to show up to their practice in an authentic way. Judy has a BA in Movement & Exercise Science and an MA in Psychological Studies from California Institute of Integral Studies. She has teaching certifications in both Ashtanga and Integral styles of yoga.

Upcoming Workshops with Judy:
Invoking Shakti
Saturday, August 9 | 1:30-3:30pm | Namaste Grand Lake | $30

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5 Questions for Creating A Home Altar

by Helene Cotton

An altar is a place for honoring what matters to you, and though it requires no spiritual or religious associations, I find it creates a bridge to sacred things in life. The altar in our home combines honoring our pasts with what inspires us to live a loving life in the present. Here are some questions I ask myself when creating as sacred space at home or re-arranging our alter, which we do fairly regularly.

photo 2

1. Will I try to meditate in front of my altar or do I plan to pass by it habitually?

We’ve designated the top of the piano for our altar – it is perfect because we pause by it on entering and leaving the house, and it occupies a space that doesn’t collect a lot of other belongings to clutter its significance.

2. Who or what do I want to honor for the current state of my life?

My husband and I choose to honor the people we’ve lost who have marked our pasts, by keeping photos on our altar. But we also honor each other, and the gratitude we feel for having each other, with origami lotuses that were on our wedding tables and the sage stick we used to ceremoniously mark our wedding spot.

3. What qualities do I need to cultivate in my life right now?

We keep a stone buddha on the altar to remind us to cultivate peace, balance, right thinking, right speaking, and right intentions, which seem perpetually necessary. Right now I am also feeling the need to cultivate acceptance of others and keep from holding on to too many weighty complaints, so I’ve put a feather from our hike over the weekend to brush all that away.photo 3-2

4. What objects symbolize or make you feel a greater connection, to others, to existence, or to the spiritual world?

I find it is important to get a little bigger than oneself, for perspective. For the altar, I gravitate toward objects from nature – dried flowers, feathers, natural minerals, stones, shells, heart shaped rocks. For me, these things symbolize the amazing beauty life produces and that I want to remember to be wondrous of and grateful for. Then I can carry that wonder and gratitude into other aspects of my life.

5. How will I use the altar to connect with it, and by extension, the divine?

I light candles, burn sage sticks, add vases of fresh-picked flowers, finger the mala of beads… You may choose to meditate in front of yours, or sing in front of it, or practice yoga in its view. However you use it, may it bring you healing and inspiration.

Send us pictures of your sacred spaces!

Post to Instagram and tag @ilovenamaste and the hashtag #MySacredSpace

unnamedFrom the clothing and products in our boutiques to the images and flyers that brand us, Helene leaves her mark on us. As our Graphics and Retail Goddess, she is continually shaping the visual look and feel of Namaste. She formally  joined the Namaste team in late 2012, but her tentacles reached here many years ago when she was hired to design and print a tee for the original Rockridge studio.  She absolutely loves interfacing with the amazing people here and is sure she has the best job on staff.  When not thinking about the faces of our beautiful yoga boutiques and studios, she enjoys nature, backpacking, drawing, printmaking, playing with her adorable mutt, and inversions.


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There is No App for Happiness

By Max Strom

“No poet is ever going to write about gazing into his lover’s emoticons.”

I bought a perfectly good flip phone three years ago, but lately people tease me about it as if I’m using something from the Victorian Era. Before that, I had a different flip phone, which followed an analog cell phone. Remember those? And before that, I had a telephone with a wire that stuck in a wall. You want to know which one had the best sound quality? The one that stuck in the wall. But I digress… What I want to talk about is what hasn’t been upgraded: the quality of human communication. The quality of our conversations with friends and loved ones hasn’t improved one bit. In fact, many people now send text messages instead of conversing at all. We have far greater access, but far less intimacy.

Information technology is expanding at such a rate that nearly every aspect of our world has been impacted, yet there has been no corresponding expansion of personal happiness. Instead, we find that we have become anxious, sleep-deprived, depressed, and over-medicated.

One in four women in the United States takes antidepressants and/or anti anxiety medication, with men not far behind. And for sleep? The Center for Disease Control has declared that insufficient sleep is an epidemic.

My premise is not that technology is supposed to increase our happiness but that our society now believes it does. We have become confused as to the difference between happiness and entertainment. The constant glancing into our smart phone to see if anyone has pinged us, while a friend is sitting across the table speaking to us, are indicators that we are addicted to something that is making us less considerate and more alienated.

Here is one of the most important statistics you may ever read that explains the clash of human happiness with text-based technology. According to research from 1981, approximately 90 percent of human communication is nonverbal. So although we are more connected than ever, when we communicate with text, it is only 10 percent of us that is connected. It is no wonder we feel more alienated. The overuse of social media, texting, and gaming is causing our society, especially young people, to develop symptoms that remind me of Asperger syndrome — verbal difficulties, avoiding eye contact, inability to understand social rules and read body language, and difficulty in forming true friendships.

Emotional intimacy requires personal knowledge of the deeper dimensions of another being and is developed through trust. Trust can begin, or end, with a first glance, because, like other animals, we inherently know a great deal about each other through body language and tone of voice. In fact, we often ascertain the trustworthiness of a person in mere seconds, without a word spoken. Based on nonverbal communication we regularly make life-altering decisions; whether or not to begin a business relationship, accept a date with someone, or allow someone to look after your child. We rely on nonverbal communication at the deepest level of our being.

Innovators are making great strides in programing humanoid-type robots that have faces and can produce human expressions. These robots are programmed to make eye contact and to read and respond to human emotional expressions, tone of voice, and body language.

The strange and perhaps history-bending irony is that we are teaching robots to make eye contact and watch for nonverbal cues, but meanwhile, we humans are now avoiding these things, opting instead to send texts and then adding smiley faces to crudely humanize the message. We are humanizing robots as we voluntarily dehumanize ourselves.

In my new book, There is No App for Happiness, (Skyhorse August 2013) I introduce readers to three imperatives that accelerate change from the inside out, humanizing change that I believe can make us happier. The one I will mention here is Life-Span Management. We have an incongruous schism between the concepts of our time and our life as if they were two completely separate things. In one hand we have a precious short life, and in the other hand we have time to kill. Time is not only money, it is much more than that; it is the minutes and seconds of our mortal life. Your time is the finite resource from which you experience this world — everyone, everything, and especially that which you are devoted to and live for. Because it is a finite resource, whether we are aware of it or not, we all purchase each time-event at the cost of another. When we come to this realization, a giant bell rings as we comprehend how much of our life-span we have been wasting on meaningless activities that serve no one and nothing. Happiness costs something. What are you willing to sacrifice to have more life/time? And what is stealing your time?

Remember Steve Job’s famous quote? “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

I am sharing this quote not because it is unique, because it isn’t. I share this particular quote because these words were spoken by the icon of tech success. Jobs achieved great wealth, power, and fame, only to discover that his favorite things in life were free — and not made from silicon.

To be clear, I am not anti-technology. Quite the contrary, I am even an advocate of self-driving cars. But I think that we have to select our technology wisely. If we bring technology into our life, it should simplify our life and give us more free time, not take it away. If it doesn’t make your current life run more seamlessly, get rid of it. Everything new is not better.

Maybe it’s time we start applying Silicon Valley style innovation to ourselves so that we find a path to a more meaningful experience of living, and a more sane world.

MaxStromThis article first appeared in the HuffingtonPost titled “There is No App for Happiness”.
Max will be leading a workshop at Namaste on July 20, learn more.

Max Strom is a global teacher, speaker, author, and trainer, and is known for profoundly inspiring and impacting the lives of his students for nearly two decades. Many of you know him from his inspiring book, A Life Worth Breathing, which is now published in six languages, and his recent book, There is No APP for Happiness. In 2006, the increasing demand for his work caused him to take his method beyond his center in Los Angeles, and he now takes his message around the world to people of many faiths and nationalities every year. As a result, Max Strom has become a new voice of personal transformation. Max’s method, Inner Axis, is a system of field-tested skills and techniques that get immediate results. It includes a philosophy for real world living, breath-work, yoga movement, and meditation.


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The Opposite of Unrest: Restorative Yoga and You

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20 Hour Restorative Yoga Immersion with Vickie Russell Bell 

Vickie Russell Bell speaks about her upcoming Restorative Yoga Immersion and the importance of balancing unrest with rest.

Restorative Yoga for many of us seems like a luxury or maybe an after-thought to our regular Vinyasa practice. Learn from Restorative Yoga expert Vickie Russell Bell on about how critical it  is for us to integrate Restorative Yoga into our daily lives and the importance of balance:


See Vickie’s Schedule


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3 Simple Ways to Gain A Mind Body Connection


By Jenn Mason

I am guilty of going about my day without thinking about how my actions impact my body and mind. There are days that go by without any self-care practices. When I finally take the time to just sit and breathe, practice yoga or get an acupuncture session I notice the difference instantly. My body is more at ease, my mind and spirit are calm, the back pain I experience is gone and my headaches subside. What is most surprising is what difference it makes in my interactions with my husband, co-workers and strangers I encounter on the road.

Though I have been practicing yoga for years now, I did not make the mind body connection until I practiced self-care for one week straight. As part of a movement awareness class I practiced qi gong, yoga and soft-belly breathing for seven consecutive days. I went online and found a couple of free 20 minute videos and began my practice. Within the day I noticed a significant change not only in my body, but my mind was clear, my mood was lighter and my spirit felt at peace because I wasnt so worried or caught up in the daily grind.

I am a “worry-wart” by nature and I tend to rush because if I am not running late I have a long to-do list. I am also a control freak and want to make the most of my day by cramming in as much as I can. Which, come to think about it is a little counter-intuitive for someone wanting to live with less stress.

Needless to say that despite my controlling characteristics I am learning to live more in the “calm and at ease” space that I discovered during my week of self-care.

Instead of living in the constant “fight or flight” state and doing damage to our adrenal glands why not take three long breaths?

Our bodies are capable of creating and living in a state of relaxation, why not take advantage of these free tools?

Below are some easy steps you can take on a daily basis to kick start your journey to less stress.

1. Before opening an email take three deep breaths from your belly (you should feel your belly expand with every inhale).

2. During your lunch break go outside (weather permitting), sit comfortably with your back against a wall or bench and your feet on the ground. Let your arms relax and close your eyes gently. Begin to breathe, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Take 5 minutes and increase as needed.

3. Go for a walk! Walking meditations are easy and free. Instead of bringing your phone and checking it as you walk, plug in some of your favorite music OR go without media and bring your awareness to the sights, smells, what you hear. Feel the wind against your hair and the sun on your skin. How does this feel? Bring your awareness to your surroundings while walking in silence

If you need a guided soft belly meditation I would recommend Dr. James Gordon’s soft belly meditation.


This article originally appeared on Jenn’s personal blog, Heart Filled Life. For more inspirational posts follow her blog for regular tips on staying happy and healthy.

Jenn’s background is in non-profit management, health care and sociology. She is a birth doula and leads stress reduction and mindful living workshops. She holds a master’s in women’s health and is currently getting a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine with a certification in health and wellness coaching and hypnosis.


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