Category: Natural Living & Beauty

My first yoga class experience

10 Tips for first yoga classShockingly, even though I blog about crunchy topics like organic clothing and upcycling and I own approximately 1,278 pairs of yoga pants, I do not do yoga. Or at least I didn’t, until I got a month-long ClassPass membership that gave me access to different fitness classes around the city. I decided I should take the opportunity to try a yoga class, so with a borrowed yoga mat in tow, I showed up at Heat Yoga studio. The class I tried was actually a very calm, non-heated class. I wanted to start slow.

The poses were pretty easy and didn’t require intense stretching or crazy flexibility. Sometimes I got confused about when I was supposed to exhale and when I was supposed to inhale. Who knew breathing could take so much concentration? I left my first yoga class experience feeling relaxed, energized and ready to sign up for another class.

Here’s what I learned about what to know before your first yoga class experience.

Classpass

10 tips for your first yoga class experience

1. Bring water! It’s important to hydrate after any workout, including yoga. My glass water bottle goes with me basically everywhere, so that’s what I brought my 16 oz. of water in. Most studios will have places to fill your bottle up, too.

What you need to know before your first yoga class experience2. Introduce yourself to the instructor so he or she knows it’s your first class.

3. Don’t be afraid to join the front row. You’ll be able to see and hear better, and there’s no rule that newbies have to hang out at the back of the room!

4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is at a different place in their fitness journey. Focus on you! I guarantee that everyone in the class is there to snag an hour out of their busy schedule for themselves and is not there to judge anyone else.

5. Be prepared to learn a new language. Savasana and Prana were two words used a lot in the class I took. The instructor should explain new words, so don’t panic that you don’t speak yoga (or Sanskrit, more accurately).

6. What to wear? I wore cropped yoga pants and a racerback tank top.  Wear something that you won’t have to think or worry about, so you can concentrate on the poses. There’s no need to buy a cute new yoga outfit unless you really want to. The class I attended was all women of varying ages, the lights were dim, and absolutely no one cared what anyone else was wearing.

7. Other things to bring with you might include a yoga mat and a towel. Check with the studio to see what they provide and what you should bring with you to class.

8. Be prepared to leave your boots or shoes outside the classroom. Yoga is practiced barefoot.

9. Turn off your cell phone, or better yet leave it outside the room in a locker. Yoga is a quiet time for focus, concentration and quietude. It feels amazing to unplug from distractions for an hour. You won’t miss your phone, trust me.

10. No matter how you think it went, congratulate yourself for trying something new. It isn’t always easy to find the time and motivation to add something into your schedule. It’s an accomplishment!I know for a fact that many readers are way more experienced with yoga than I am, so what is your best advice for newbies?

Namaste!

Class pass

Ethical Living Challenge

Ethical Living Challenge“Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

-Anna Lappé

I had the opportunity this month to participate in the Ethical Living Challenge, a program created by Emma Crane, a 19-year-old student at the University of Melbourne. For 21 days, participants receive informative content and challenges on topics related to ethical living. A sampling of the topics: ethical travel, chocolate, shopping for ethically produced fashion and electronics. The project is an easy way to learn more about Fair Trade and ethically produced goods. What I liked most is how the program focused on what you can do to make a difference. After reading about the environmental and social impact of industries we support, it can make a shopper feel disheartened to say the least. So instead of feeling guilty about our consumption habits, why not change a thing or seven?

After reading the topics, I gathered a list of my top achievable ways to live and shop more ethically.

7 Ways to Live More Ethically

1. Chocolate. Buy and eat more Fair Trade chocolate! Fair Trade is a standard of ethical business transaction that ensures that everyone gets a fair wage and safe working conditions. I learned from the Ethical Living Challenge that over 100,000 child laborers work in unjust conditions in Cote d-Ivoire, where half the world’s cocoa is sourced. Some delicious brands of Fair Trade chocolate are Alter Eco, Divine and Green & Black.

2. Coffee and Tea. I love tea. But like chocolate, it’s often not sourced in ways that are good to the workers. Look for Fair Trade coffee and teas, or even teas grown in the U.S. like Harney and Sons’ peppermint tea. And shade grown coffee is better for the environment, so try to buy that when you can.

copper tea kettle

3. Cut back on sugar. You might already be watching your sugar intake for your health, but did you know that sugar is another industry that employs child labor? There isn’t much good news as far as worldwide sugar farming is concerned, so that’s just more incentive to try healthy treats instead.

4. Change your fashion choices. Producing textiles requires massive amounts of water, and cotton production uses $2 billion worth of pesticides annually. Choosing organic fibers, making clothing you have last, and upcycling are a few ways to reduce the impact.

Organic cotton

5. Shoes. Another dark side of the fashion industry is the child labor and chemicals used in shoe production. You’ve probably heard of TOMS shoes and their ethical enterprise work. Vegan shoes and shoes from recycled materials are also good choices.

Toms shoes

6. Travel ethically. The places we travel and what we do there can be another opportunity to live more ethically. Some questions posed by the Ethical Living Project to help make conscious tourism choices include: How is tourism there harming or helping the environment? Can you find ethical accommodation? Are there ethical tour companies you could use? Are there Fair Trade businesses you can support while you’re there? Researching these questions before you go will mean a more ethical travel experience.

world map

7. Switch beauty products. Animal testing, over-harvesting of plant ingredients, and the use of toxic chemicals are some of the compelling reasons to be very careful about what cosmetics and toiletries we purchase. Look for cruelty free, organic, or locally-made artisan products to incorporate into your beauty routine. I’ve written about brands I like including InstaNatural, Rejuvenique, and Pura d’Or. Two of my other go-to brands, Acure and Andalou Naturals, are shown below.

Do any of these inspire you? Just changing one thing can make a big impact.

Ethical Living Challenge

To get involved for next year or find out more about the Ethical Living Challege, head to www.ethicallivingchallenge.com. The link up is live here.

Probiotics for Women

PRO-Women supplement reviewProbiotics, Part II

This winter, I wrote about the benefits of probiotics. To recap why this dietary supplement is amazing:

Probiotics for women (and other probiotic formulas) help restore the balance of bacteria in the intestines after antibiotics. Healthy intestinal flora is a component of immune strength, digestive strength and overall wellness.

Probiotics for Women

probiotics for women
Hey Hyperbiotics, thanks for giving me a brand-appropriate supplement to review–the cranberry extract makes the tablets pink!

Hyperbiotics gave me the opportunity to try a new probiotic formula, this one especially for women. PRO-Women contains probiotic strains for digestive, immune, vaginal and urinary health. It also contains cranberry extract and 100% naturally occurring D-Mannose, both of which are way more effective at preventing bladder woes than the sugar-laden cranberry juice cocktail you might have tried to use in the past.

This product contains all the digestive and immune boosting goodness of the PRO-15 formula, but also specific ingredients for the needs of women. I continued to use this when I ran out of regular probiotics to prevent colds. I love having this on hand in the fridge as a resource if I happen to need it.

Disclaimer: Always consult a health professional before trying a new supplement or wellness product. This product review is in no way intended as medical advice. It is an honest review, sponsored by Brandbacker, of a product that my readers might enjoy learning about.

Thanks for reading and learning about probiotics for women!

 

Argan Oil Hair Treatment Tricks

Argan Oil Hair Treatment TricksArgan oil comes from Morocco and is the latest craze in the beauty industry–it’s in a bunch of high end haircare products and also available by itself. Here are my tips and tricks for adding argan oil hair treatment techniques into your beauty routine.

Argan Oil Hair Treatment Tricks

Here are a few ways to try incorporating argan oil into your haircare. The ones that work for you will depend on your hair type–feel free to experiment! You can always shampoo it out if it’s too heavy for your hair.

  • Put a few teaspoons of pure argan oil in your favorite conditioner for extra moisturizing effect (normal hair)
  • Use a tiny bit to tame frizz and flyaway hairs when needed (dry and/or coarse hair)
  • Distribute a palm full of the oil through the ends of your still-wet hair if you don’t use conditioner (all hair types)
  • Use as a pre-shampoo treatment. Massage a generous amount into scalp and hair, leave in for at least 20 minutes and then shampoo out (all hair types).

Argan Oil Hair Treatment Review: Pura d’or

Here’s what I liked about this argan oil compared to others I have tried. First, argan oil hair treatment regimens can get expensive, and I think this one is a good deal for your money. Much smaller bottles are sold for close to this price–around $25 or 4 ounces. The oil has a very mild smell. All argan oils should have a natural, oily fragrance because a lack of fragrance means it might be over processed. But this one doesn’t smell unpleasant in any way which I can’t say about all argan oils. Last but not least, it’s 100% pure, cold-pressed, organic oil which you can feel good about using.

Pura D’or gave me a sample of their pure and organic argan oil to review through Brandbacker, and as always the opinions in this post are 100% mine.

Other Argan Oil Uses

This Moroccan oil is not only good for hair, it can be used on skin and nails too the way you would use other beauty oils such emu and abyssinian oil. If you use oils in your beauty routine, leave your best tip below!

Photo courtesy of https://www.purador.com

Organic Dandelion Root Tea Time

Tea time

If you think dandelions are obnoxious weeds that grow in your yard, think again. They’re actually edible and incredibly nutritious. The leaves, although bitter, can be harvested and used as salad greens. The roots make a delicious tea, either roasted for a richer flavor or unroasted for a lighter herbal steep.

I love an excuse to use my elephant tea pot and my antique tea cup collection. The tea cups were gifts from people who knew me well (oh yeah, I have a Tea Time board on Pinterest). Can you believe the tea pot is only 12.99? You can also get the whole tea set in purple.

Organic Tea TimeOrganic Dandelion Root Tea Review

Kiss Me Organics sent me their organic dandelion root tea to review through Brandbacker. It has only three ingredients and no added natural flavors–just organic dandelion root tea with cinnamon and hibiscus.

This is not a roasted dandelion tea, so for those seeking a richer, deeper steep look for a roasted tea instead. This is perfect for those who love light herbal teas like chamomile. I found it to be sweet, light and delicious. I got second opinions of the tea when I served it to guests and everyone liked it. It’s not bitter at all and doesn’t taste anything like dandelions, so it’s pleasing to most palettes.

In addition to being organic, it is also non-GMO and vegan for those who have concerns about that.

Organic Dandelion Root Tea Time giveaway

Organic Dandelion Root Tea

I’m looking forward to reading your comments! What do you think of dandelion root tea? If you haven’t tried it yet, which other tea is your favorite?