Featured, Wellness

My Top 5 Favorite Yoga Classes on YouTube

June 21, 2017
My Top 5 Favorite Yoga Classes on YouTube

In honor of International Yoga Day today, I’m sharing my go-to YouTube classes!

I haven’t always been a yogi. In fact, I used to loath the idea of yoga. I thrived off of being a devoted gym-goer and swore by intense cardio and grueling strength training sessions. Then I stumbled upon hot yoga which completely changed my body and challenged my preconceived notions around this ancient practice.

I began to feel lighter. My shoulders were no longer tight and hunched towards my ears. My chest opened up improving my posture and making it easier to breathe. My lower back issues dissipated and were replaced with a sense of vitality and ease. I gained a tremendous amount of strength physically but also mentally. Life just seemed to run smoother.

As a beginner, the key is to find a studio where you can learn the fundamentals with the assistance of a certified teacher who can correct your postures and positioning.  I also think it’s important to find a instructor that you love. I instantly connected with an instructor named DJ at my first yoga studio years ago. She was always wearing cowboy boots and cutoffs when she came to the studio. Her “I-don’t-give-a-shit” vibe probably made yoga seem more relatable and less intimidating to me at the time.

How ever you come to your mat, whether it’s to gain strength or to improve your flexibility, give it time. Time to find the place where you feel most comfortable while practicing. Time to find the instructors with classes that keep you coming back for more. But most of all, find time for yourself to dive into the world of yoga to experience its boundless benefits for yourself.



Tara Stiles: Yoga Weight Loss and Balance Workout

Yoga With Adriene – Side Body Flow

Boho Beautiful – Morning Yoga Perfection

Kristin McGee – Yoga for Abs

Popsugar Fitness – Power Yoga For a Tight Core and Butt

 

 

 

 

 

Featured, My life, Uncategorized

Finding Perspective After A Difficult Year

June 20, 2017
Finding Perspective After A Difficult Year

This morning my journal prompt read, “What does vulnerability mean to you?” Thinking only for a moment, my answer came quickly, “Vulnerability is being willing to express the truth and share the core of who you are without inhibition.” Those words have stuck with me all day, infiltrating my every thought and inspiring me to write this post.

Vulnerability is such a powerful tool that we often don’t access because it’s uncomfortable. Feeling vulnerable calls us to peel back layers of pain, guilt and shame that expose the deepest parts of ourselves. Though a difficult place, it’s also a place where great transformation happens. Through sharing those painful experiences, we often form connections, find common ground and heal from simply feeling less alone.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here writing regularly. This past year I struggled with depression and anxiety. I’ve wrestled with sharing this with you, my blogging community, but as someone who strongly advocates for the destigmatization of mental illness, I felt compelled. My symptoms began to arise last spring when I was struggling with a difficult math course. No matter how hard I tried to grasp the concepts of the class, my frustration ultimately overtook my ability to focus and complete the course to the best of my ability.

I really questioned my self-worth. I’ve always been an excellent student but I just could not handle the pain of feeling like failure. My ego took a bruising and instead of working through this difficult life-lesson, I allowed it to destroy me. I began to close off to the world, feeling afraid to try new things or even participate in activities I knew I was good at. Social events I once enjoyed seemed impossible with that daunting cloud of anxiety hanging over my head. That feeling of being “stupid” and “unworthy” sat in my gut like a heavy brick deterring me from moving forward.

It was clear that I needed to take a step back and seek help before immersing myself into the demands of college again. So for the past year, that’s what I have been doing. I’m so grateful for the time I’ve had to reflect and grow. Aside from the necessary help from my medical team, I have put in a lot of work myself. But like any journey, I am still constantly working to achieve that balance we’re all trying find.

From all of this, I have learned invaluable lessons:

  1. Do not be afraid to ask for help. In fact, that might be the most difficult part of the entire process. Speak to your primary care physician, notify a loved one and reach out to a mental healthcare specialist. There is no shame in getting the help you need to live a healthy, happy and full life.
  2. Take the traumas and make them part of who you’ve come to be. Certainly we can release the painful memories, but we can also integrate the lessons they’ve taught us. For instance, suffering from a mental health condition has made me even more empathetic to those who are also suffering.
  3. Expect a journey not a quick solution. Healing takes time and that time will be different for everyone. Trust the process, trust the professionals guiding you and be gentle with yourself along the way. Expectations will only feed your frustration.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness, here are a list of resources you might find helpful.

Wishing each and every one of you abundant health and happiness,

Hannah

Featured, Uncategorized

PALM SPRINGS PHOTO JOURNAL + A FEW OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS

June 9, 2017
PALM SPRINGS PHOTO JOURNAL + A FEW OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS

Located in the Sonoran Desert, Palm Springs is best known for it’s Mid-Century Modern architecture, vintage shops and scorching climate. Hollywood A-listers have long flocked to this sizzling, glam-packed playground to escape the pressures of show business and bask in the desert sun. My hubby and I jetted down this past weekend to attend a gorgeous, laid-back wedding at the The Colt’s Lodge. In between nuptial festivities, we took some time to explore this historic and charming SoCal city.



Downtown Palm Springs:

Coachella Valley:

Favorite spots for healthy living in the desert:

Koffi:

1700 S Camino Real
Palm Springs, CA 92264

  • A large assortment of espresso beverages, smoothies and healthy food options with ample indoor and outdoor seating.
  • Milk alternatives (soy, coconut and almond) for those whom are diary free.
  • Plenty of gluten-free and vegan breakfast options including homemade energy bars and assorted oatmeal.

Nature’s Health Food & Cafe:

555 S Sunrise Way
Ste 301
Palm Springs, CA 92264

  • Small and charming, this health food market offers a large menu (including vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options) of delicious healthy bites and a small market section for all you wellness needs.
  • This is a great place to pick up a meal for your flight home – it’s 5 minutes from the airport!

Hotel California:

424 E Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92264

  • A small-scale resort offering cozy, quaint rooms. The property has a shared kitchen with all the spices, condiments and cooking materials you could possibly need for a quick breakfast or a full-blown poolside barbecue. The pool is surrounded by lush desert palms and flowers creating a shaded, tropical oasis.

Old Town La Quinta:

78100 Main Street
La Quinta, CA 92253

  • An assortment of shops and restaurants just 40 minutes from downtown Palm Springs. Definitely worth visiting simply for the Spanish Colonial architecture

 

Entree, Featured, Food

ZESTY ZUCCHINI AND MUSHROOM QUINOA

June 7, 2017
ZESTY MUSHROOM AND ZUCCHINI QUINOA

This is a simple and versatile recipe that can be served either hot or cold. I like to use the leftovers by tossing them into a salad or scooping them into a wrap for lunch.

Ingredients

For quinoa:

For quinoa dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest

For sautéed vegetables:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 10 large cremini mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove any dusty residue. Add rinsed quinoa, vegetable broth and 1/4 cup lemon juice to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 12-15 minutes).

While the quinoa is cooking, dice 1 medium shallot and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté in a generous amount of olive oil until golden brown. Next add thinly sliced zucchini and mushrooms to the pan and cook thoroughly with the shallots and garlic until soft (15 to 20 minutes). While cooking, add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the vegetables are finished and the quinoa is ready mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, basil, thyme, lemon zest salt and pepper using a whisk. Pour the mixture over cooked quinoa and stir on a low heat for 2-3 minutes. After the dressing has soaked into the quinoa, mix the quinoa into the sautéed vegetables and mix everything together.

Bon appetite!