ommmm. at h-oooooommmmm-e.

ok, yeah I went there. today I’m talking home yoga practice, and how to make yourself a cozy yoga sanctuary in the comfort of your hOMe.

I, like most females, enjoy when things are aesthetically pleasing. so I believe everyone should create a yoga space or workout space that feels clean, fresh and inviting.

a home studio becomes perfect for those days when you need a ten minute flow of sun salutations, or a quiet meditation to ground you. if you’re clueless on the meditation thing, check out this post.

did you know when I’m sitting at my computer for a while I take a short break and down dog, peddle out, and maybe add in an inversion in to get the blood flowing. yes, I know I shouldn’t just go right into headstand but it’s like a shot of espresso.

I actually leave my yoga mat unrolled and ready at all times. leaves less room for excuses, and when i’m walking past it’s asking me to throw it a chaturanga.

so here’s a list of a few home studio essentials- and why they help you get into the yoga state of mind.


blankies and pillows.

home yoga studio kaleinit

 

my mama always says “blankies” and i’ll never outgrow it either. thanks, mom.

honestly sitting on a folded blanket or pillow just makes meditation way more comfortable. and more special. physically, ensuring your hips are higher is more gentle as well. it feels like you took the time to make your yoga spot a mini sanctuary.

also, folding up nice blankies and cute pillows on the floor makes your yoga room look legit.

 

appeal to the senses.

 

music is a must, but get the essential oil diffuser going too! my favorite is from Organic Aromas. it’s visually the most beautiful i’ve ever seen and is made with glass and wood rather than any plastics.

simply blend the essential oils with a carrier oil and ahhhhhh. for relaxation i love lavender. if i’m not feeling well, eucalyptus, and for a burst of energy during a mid afternoon practice, try orange or lemon. it’s refreshing and light.

home yoga studio kaleinit

 

prepare with props.

have what you need available. if you use blocks, have them close by. i personally love the infinity strap. best yoga strap I’ve ever tried. the design is genius.

I use it for stability in forearm stand and it comes in handy when I need a good stretch.

when you’re in a class and don’t have the proper “tools”, the teacher typically comes to your rescue with what you need. not at home! so have it all close by your mat so that you make the most of your home practice and don’t shy away from postures because of lack of prop.home yoga studio kaleinit

 

other miscellaneous meditation things…

home yoga studio kaleinit

 

yeah, because meditation “things” is the right word for mala beads,  extra candles, yoga mat cleaning spray, and crystals. add a book of meditations to read. honestly, sky is the limit, whatever helps you get your zen on!

it’s your home, it’s your shala! 

enjoy the tranquility of your home practice. did I miss a yoga studio essential? leave a comment below.

 

 

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5 tips to overcome medi (1)


5 quick tips.

 perhaps a bit ironic that i’m speeding through this topic seeing as the essence is slowing down

new to meditation? still think it’s too hippy-dippy for you? well, it’s not. in fact, before learning the benefits of meditation, I too was a non-believer. however, due to the amount of resources (guided youtube videos, apps such as headspace) and the growing popularity among celebrities and athletes, meditation is becoming more mainstream.

those monks were on to something…

but what if you are willing, ready and curious about meditation but can’t seem to figure out where to start? or you’re just beginning your meditation practice and feel you could use some hints to improve, here are mine.

it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by sitting still for an extended period of time and focusing on, well nothing.

but the amount of inner peace, increased productivity, and decrease of negative emotions will be well worth the initially awkward concept.

  1. pick a space. not just any space though, choose an area of the house that feels most peaceful to you. while it is true that you can meditate literally ANYWHERE. ask my therapist- she recently interrupted a man in the sauna at the gym- it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you need to clear your mind and come to your breath in public. as a beginner, you’re probably trying it in the comfort of your home. is meditating in a cluttered space going to work? nope. what about close to that desk piled with assignments and tasks? again, no. go where there is, energy, and is fairly tidy. you’ll feel more relaxed and will be able to meditate longer.

  2. start small, but don’t get comfortable. speaking of time, it’s important to set realistic goals for meditation that are not rigid. maybe starting with 5 to 10 minutes, and building your way from there. i say don’t get comfortable because i found i got in a meditation rut. i knew i could meditate for a few minutes and didn’t try to push for longer, didn’t go out of my comfort zone. but when you’re comfortable go for it. imagine what a 30 to 40 minute meditation could do for you if only 5 is able to make you feel that good!  and don’t give me the “i have no time for a long meditation” excuse,

  3. appeal to the senses. remember your senses to make your meditation more enjoyable. a noise machine, soft music, a small item to hold such as mala beads (find the meaning of these beads here.) and a scented candle are great examples. some find it more comfortable to sit on a soft blanket or pillow. i’ve been in a yoga class that provided eye pillows for the final rest- which helped me from looking around the room or being distracted. i love using soothing lavender or peppermint essential oils to help with meditation.

  4. visualize the breath, or use a mantra. the emphasis is the breath in mindful meditation. a simple way to keep track of the in and out of each inhale and exhale is to count them. sometimes counting frustrated me, and I found that visualizing a calming color leaving me on the exhale worked well. if you’re focusing on a mantra, pick a word that resonates at that present time. don’t over think it, allow the word or phrase that is meant to become abundant come to you. you can also find common mantras and their meanings here.

  5. test your theories. literally try trial and error.  you may find you’re more mindful when you hold something, like a stone or mala beads. for a while i only meditated on my back- in savasana pose- or the yoga pose with legs up on the wall. it took some time until i could sit without becoming distracted. maybe you like music. maybe you like the lights dim, or the windows wide open and bright. you may enjoy meditating in the evening much more than the morning. the key is trying and discovering. if you practice yoga, you’ve probably learned the style of class you prefer. even if not a yogi, you know the way your body likes to move and feels best when exercising, same applies for when you’re still. treat meditation like any practice and evolve, allowing it to become more beneficial and more powerful with each mindful breath.

i hope you’re feeling less anxious about the idea of meditation. comment below with questions, suggestions, or how you’ve benefitted from mindfulness and meditation! a healthy clear mind allows space for a healthy abundant life!

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30 day social media detox kaleinit

we live in an information OVERLOAD. the ringing, the binging, the notifying, the swooping in and out of emails. it’s enough stimuli to make your head spin. on one hand it is absolutely incredible. the knowledge that is easily shared, the connections we can maintain despite distance, the convenience is unparalleled.

but how do you find a balance between healthy, mindful living and this fast paced social media phenomenon.

to be honest, i wasn’t.

this post is to share my reasons for taking 30 days off social media and (almost) blogging. it’s also to fill you in on what happened when I did, and to present a social media detox challenge for all of YOU. (if you dare..)

prior to starting Kalein It, I was fascinated with mindful living. I had just spent a total of 3 months in an intensive therapy program for woman dealing with mental illness/trauma. the therapy was based in DBT principles, or dialectical behavioral therapy, which has shown incredible success in treating complex mental health diagnoses such as PTSD and bipolar disorder. for more on DBT read here.

it was heavy. it was a little scary. but it worked to rewire the brain and develop new thought patterns that focused on mindfulness. it started as intimidating, then became really interesting, then it worked. that feeling was something i knew everyone deserved to feel, and then the idea of “kale in it” was born. it truly led me to look at meditation, yoga and a healthy diet in a new light.

it taught me that going through the motions doesn’t make you balanced. living them does.

then i wanted to share. i knew other people struggled with anxieties and fears, perhaps mental illness or a history of an eating disorder like i did. so i started my instagram and i found so much joy in the creativity it sparked. doing things you enjoy – in my case yoga, cooking, photography, and writing – helps you construct a life that feels whole. when you do activities you love with intention and enjoy the experience fully, that is being mindful.

but social media is addicting. does anyone agree? there’s some kind of instant gratification from reaching X amount of likes. i know that the couple of months prior to going through my social media detox, sharing on social media was becoming a bit of a chore rather than an opportunity to genuinely share and connect with others.

in addition to hyper focusing on my news feed, i felt myself regressing to older patterns of behavior and thinking. i was no longer practicing what i had learned and what had propelled me to start a blog in the first place.

i felt pressure to bring great flawless food photos, to portray myself as a strict vegan, to put my best foot forward everyday. that’s not balance at all. that’s self critical and unnecessary pressure rather than behavior based in self love.

heres’s a glimpse of my reality….

somedays i just eat a bland dinner of pre-packaged tofu on some rice. sometimes my green smoothie turns out slightly brown from the  poor blueberry to spinach ratio. a lot of days, my yoga practice doesn’t benefit from taking flexi-bendy-perfect photos. sometimes i’m just sitting in child’s pose, which isn’t always the most impressive but can certainly be the most grounding.

i’m now going to say something that may piss some of you off….dun dun dun

i’ve decided to be label-less in my diet. don’t panic, plant based healthy food will still be a staple both here and on IG, but i want to be honest in saying i’m not perfect. i know in my heart that a highly restrictive diet filled with “good vs. bad” comparisons doesn’t nourish me.

am i running to eat bacon every morning. hell no, gross. but the focus here is health and balance as a lifestyle.

would you like to go meatless on Monday? good for you – come check out my recipes here. effort is effort, let’s be kind to each other rather than judgmental.  and if you have more pressing questions about my diet, feel free to comment and i’ll elaborate.

for those of you who are still with me after admitting i’m not the poster child for the vegan community… thanks for sticking around.

// here’s what happened when i took 30 days off social media // and what i believe will happen to YOU too.


i was present.

more present in conversations, at meals, even chilling out watching tv. i was doing one thing at a time instead of multiple. that is a huge part of being mindful, to focus your attention on one thing at a time and to do it with integrity and proper attention.

i read more.

books, articles on my phone, magazine, anything. i researched. i wanted to learn how to improve my blog, improve myself and become the healthiest and happiest version of me.

i slept more. 

yup, i did actually sleep more. i didn’t stay up for those extra 10 minutes (who am i kidding, sometimes 1 hour) of social media stalking. this brings us back to the theme of- you guessed it!- being mindful, it is easy to lose track of time when scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling….

plus sleep is critical in keeping our moods stable and our body working its’ best. it’s self care to catch zzzz’s.

i was more creative. 

i noticed i had more ideas for topics, recipes, and overall branding for this blog. i wrote them down. they don’t all need to be implemented today, they are brewing in brainstorm land. i also took photos just to take them, not to stress over editing, captioning or posting them. instead of looking at things as “will this be instagram worthy?” i just let my imagination do it’s thing…

i remembered why i started. 

one of the most important goals i had when detoxing from social media, was to remember why i started in the first place. to regain a more genuine attitude toward the social setting, and focus less on likes and comments, and more on community. not to say that i had some massive following, i’m aware it wasn’t huge, but the issue was the fascination with gaining more rather than appreciating what had already come.

i appreciated more. 

due to the increase in presence and mindfulness i felt more gratitude and appreciation for things. i love gratitude lists, make one instead of scanning everyone’s facebook drama!


ready to challenge yourself? but don’t want to go cold turkey on your instagram?  i put together a 30 day challenge with daily detox goals.

if you’re having trouble remember, it’s only 30 days… you got this!

maybe journal about the experience. take the 30 days with less distraction as a chance to reflect.

i’m curious how it goes! please please let me know of your experience and good luck!

social media detox challenge kaleinit

 

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5 ways yoga changed me kaleinit.com

i wish i could get everyone to try yoga. it’s becoming wildly more popular (woohoo!) + mindfulness is a hot topic as well. it’s amazing to see this shift as more people become accepting to try yoga.  i’m super excited (like,beyond excited) to be starting my yoga teacher training in 2016. i want to immerse myself even more in the practice + continue to bring the knowledge i gain into other areas of life. i really aspire to help others through teaching someday as well.

so, i wanted to share 5 ways yoga has changed me. all for the better. although i didn’t include the fact that i can stand on my head, or balance in asanas because of increased strength, those changes are pretty awesome too. here we go…

1. it helped my body dysmorphia. the most powerful gift of yoga was when i started to see my body through a pair of compassionate, loving lenses. throughout years of disordered eating + poor body image i had become jaded + distant from the reality of my inner + physical beauty as well as my body’s strength + shape. my daily level of anxiety determined the severity in which i criticized my body. with each practice i felt that criticism decease, + the weight on my chest become less heavy. 

love your body quote

2. i feel peace on my mat. i have dealt with anger, distrust, uncertainty + fear getting in the way of my positivity + progress. no more. that is the past. my anxiety has greatly reduced since becoming a yogi + i encourage anyone who has experienced a mental health struggle or mental illness to give yoga a chance.

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3. yoga changed the way i saw others. less judgement. no hierarchy or competition between you + your neighbor. we are all just living, breathing beings doing what we can to navigate this life. when i began to empty the space where judgement used to reside in my brain, it allowed for more beautiful, positive thoughts. guess what was next? more happiness. i started showing compassion for others. the shift also encouraged me to make a change to a plant based diet, so i am very thankful. i also noticed new opportunities + better experiences began to appear in my life. call it luck, call it karma, i choose to call it yoga. 

4. yoga changed the way i saw myself. having compassion for yourself is never selfish. through my experiences + time in treatment, i met others who struggled like myself in providing themselves self love. i’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but self love allows for remarkable things to happen. this blog wouldn’t even exist. it took time + confidence to take a step like this. to start putting myself in a vulnerable space (the damn internet). yoga is about acceptance, of where you are in a pose as well as life. it’s about what you learn rather than what you look like, + the mat is a place to feel safe, serene + confident in exactly who you are at the present moment. don’t we wish every situation was like loving?? yoga gave me the confidence to accept inner peace.

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5. yoga taught me to let go of the past. the past is scary, the future sometimes even more frightening. but rather than continue to replay the past + fill it with resentment or “what if’s”- i decided to go with the “oh, well i’m here now” approach instead. being present makes the past go away. it really can be that simple. through various mindfulness exercises + a regular yoga practice the mind can begin to rewire itself to that state of presence + therefore, a greater state of happiness.

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i hope i don’t sound preachy, i’m just passionate. give it a shot. i had no idea what it would do for me. i look forward go yoga teacher training. i look forward to everyday on my mat, even if only for a few minutes. the flexibility + strength cultivated in my body has also shaped my mind. that’s a pretty remarkable thing, if you ask me.

what has your experience with yoga been? what do you love about the practice? what have you learned + continue to learn from yoga? feel free to share below! i would love to hear from fellow yogis who kale’ it in the studio as well as out in the world because of what yoga has taught them.

namaste, everyone!

 

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meditation kaleinit


 

“recovery is not a destination where one day you will wake up and feel fixed but rather it’s a slow mending process that follows an imperfect line where progress is made over time. along the way your eating disorder will make it’s presence known as it fluctuates between being very quiet or very loud. use this as reassurance that you are healing by the mere fact that you are aware of the sounds it makes and in charge of the volume. “


 

finding this quote from Tina Klaus of Don’t Live Small was a sign from the universe, i swear. i have read it multiple times knowing how much i must remember that my eating disorder may flare+ fluctuate, but i remain in charge of the internal volume. i remain in recovery.

so i’m being a bit more candid in this post, less about tasty healthy treats + more about what i have experienced as well as continue to live with.

i’m curious who else had a difficult time with a “loud” eating disorder during this recent food-focused holiday? does anyone else find that their relationship with food + body image doesn’t feel stable? i know the stats- sadly i’m sure there are some nodding their heads at their screen.  View Post

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so i totally dropped the ball on self(love) saturday- seeing as it’s wednesday. but, that’s partially because i was having such a wonderful saturday morning, which i’m about to share with you. it’s also partially (ok, largely) because of good old procrastination.

i could beat myself up about my procrastination, but that wouldn’t be self love at all + you all probably didn’t notice, so all good!

the last two weeks i have discussed actions (aka self-care) + thoughts (rewiring negative thoughts to positive ones through affirmations). today i’m going to discuss surroundings. whether people, places, things, what we choose to surround ourselves with is a direct reflection of our love for ourselves + what we believe to be our self worth. View Post

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inversion forearm stand

my relationship with inversions is tumultuous, to say the least.

occasionally, inversions and i are on a high. literally.  my toes reach high in the direction we as humans are not accustomed + it’s empowering as hell. i smile to myself. i feel joy. the spine aligns just right, the crown of my head driving into the ground + the extraordinary occurs.

other days we reach a low. inversions frustrate me more than any other category of asana. yes, i might lack superwoman strength still + could always improve alignment- but overall what stops me most from flying high – is fear.

+ that is something i want to face. 

i am by no means an inversion master. not the girl on instagram transitioning freely through handstand variations. i use the wall a lot. i get terrified in the presence of other yogis while practicing in class. cartwheeling was an obstacle before even beginning a handstand practice. i get stubborn sometimes. i have looked yoga teachers in the eye while they encourage me to lift up into tripod headstand + simply said “no way- not today”.

but why do i keep going back to them? why despite the ungraceful falls, do i want to keep trying?

i’ve decided this is why.headstand inversion kaleinit


5 quick and clear reasons that yogis continue on the inversion crazy train:

  1. they are powerful: you feel amazing when you reach a new milestone in any inversion practice. when you reach your personal edge, go beyond + create a new one. that’s the sweet stuff. when fear doesn’t stop you.
  2. they are humbling: much like the edge you reach, sometimes it turns out to be a cliff that you tumble down. we all need to be humbled. we must remember that we are powerless over the events of our lives + actions of others. yoga prepares us for cliffs.
  3. they teach us compassion: i discuss compassion a lot. i have learned self compassion, and try to practice compassion for all beings through vegan eating. compassion can be applied in so many ways. having compassion for our flaws, for our progress + for the present moment, rather than “should-ing” or wishing for an alternative, is what a challenging yoga practice teaches us. many of these asanas don’t come within a few days. they are earned. providing yourself compassion through the progress is key.
  4. they are playful: some inner child stuff goes down. a prideful, “hey! everyone look at me! i’m standing on my head!” -thing happens. you almost can’t help it. i mean come on, it looks cool.
  5. they give you a new perspective: ok, this cliche opportunity here was obvious, yet remarkably true. things aren’t cut + dry. not everyday will be the same. humans by nature don’t stand on their hands, yet it’s possible. i believe because, at one point or another an individual’s world WILL be turned upside down + for that reason inversions prepare yogis for the chaos. they create the balance, the breath, the stillness required when that hectic cyclone of events comes our way in another area of life.

but like the ebb + flow of all things vulnerable or beautiful, there is progress, change, growth + a constant urge to reach higher.

inversions. a true example of a lesson on the mat that holds as much significance when leaving the yoga studio.

may your handstand victories be sweet + your landings soft, yogis!

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my yoga mat is where i feel the most mindful & present
.

it is the place i finally slow down. slowing down is something i struggled with for years. however, yoga reverses that.

i can not believe the benefits of this moving meditation + how it has changed my outlook on myself, my body, + my spirituality. i may not be able to do the crazy advanced moves, but i have a deeper appreciation of my capabilities + strengths because of my yoga practice.


who do i have to thank?

courtneykaleinit.com

meet Courtney, who i must introduce you all to! i met courtney many years ago + she encouraged me to explore the yoga practice.

courtney3

action shot. philly practice. laughter.

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