How To Feng Shui Your Space

Did you know that your environment, let alone your space influences your prosperity or stagnancy in life?

As a granddaughter of a Feng Shui Master, I grew up with the mindset of where your environment influences your life. Nurturing your environment is key and fundamental towards your well being. That being said, I wanted to share what I believe Feng Shui is and how to apply this ancient practice towards your own well being and prosperity in life.

Feng Shui is a Chinese and Eastern philosophical belief system that dictates certain design elements of a home or apartment. Which means that the home that you choose to live in and how you arrange the furniture in your home can increase the flow of “CHI” (universal life energy force). It’s intention is to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Though while I have adopted some of its most basic rules to design my own home, it actually requires years of study to fully understand the complexities behind Feng Shui.

But I Don’t Subscribe to Eastern Philosophies…

Though the principles of Feng Shui are largely influenced by certain eastern religious philosophies and the belief in chi, or life energy that works as a force in the universe. The principles of Feng Shui attempt to encourage the ebb and flow of positive energy. In secular terms, all this means is that the room will put you in a good mood and function efficiently.

If you don’t prescribe to the spiritual aspect of Feng Shui, then no problem! Ultimately, these principles are just basic guidelines to designing a home that will elevate your mood and make you feel at ease after a long day. In this busy day and age, these guidelines can be useful to anybody!

In feng shui, the goal is to create and maintain this natural energy balance of harmony in homes, offices, businesses, and other manmade venues.

Things to Consider During Your Home Search

All apartment buildings have positive and negative feng shui features. You can't change the apartment building or other structural features, but it is significantly easier to create a harmonious space if you begin considering certain design elements before you even select a home or apartment to rent. During your tours, be on the lookout for the following:

  • Location You want to find a building in a lovely location, preferably with beautiful garden views or a relaxing city skyline. To get a better view, opt for apartments on the higher floors. The worst views that create stagnant energy are obscured views and other buildings looming around you. If you’re within view of a prison, industrial area, or cemetery, consider looking elsewhere. After all, these areas aren’t exactly the nicest views in the world…or the most uplifting.

  • Main Entrance A well-lit main entrance will make you feel safe and secure in your home or apartment building. Even if you don’t give a damn about Feng Shui principles, keep this one in mind. It’s just common sense. Plus, in apartment buildings, extinguished lightbulbs left unchanged can warn you of a negligent landlord.

  • Floor Plan Feng Shui has a lot of complicated suggestions on how a floor plan should look, but most people don’t have the luxury of being too picky. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that your apartment’s floor plan seems to “flow” and make sense to you. Feng Shui discourages against oddly shaped homes that require you to arrange furniture in bizarre, tricky places. Remember, the point is to come home to a relaxing space! It’s also important that you have distinct rooms designated for particular purposes. Having a studio makes that particular Feng Shui rule more difficult to pull off, but setting up your furniture in an intuitive way can counteract the negative vibe that may come from living in such a confined space.

  • Lighting Windows are extremely important in Feng Shui because they provide a great deal of natural light, the abundance of which helps create an cheerful environment. Humans did life outside before we had houses, after all. We were meant to drink in the sunlight during the day! When you’re taking your tour, be on the lookout for large windows that let the sunlight pour into the room. If finding a place with big windows is too expensive, then find an apartment with great lighting!

  • Wall Color If you already know that painting your walls or having someone else paint for you just isn’t in your budget or the landlord is strict about changing the current look of the space, then take of note of the wall colors. A bright, pastel colored kitchen – the room that provides you health and energy – is recommended for its vibrancy and uplifting effects. The bedroom should be a more subdued color – like green and blue – to promote restfulness. Any color that reminds you of water is an excellent shade for the bathroom, which is the first place you visit when you wake up and the last place you visit before hitting the hay. If you can paint after moving in, even better! Don’t want to get too specific and just looking for a generalized “zen” atmosphere? The color white is always a great fallback.



    Location Is Paramount

Just as you would do when selecting a home, you want to first pay attention to what surrounds the apartment complex or home. This includes natural and man-made features.

Is the apartment beside or diagonally across from a hospital, funeral home or other activity that is associated with negative energy? If so, you may want to consider living elsewhere.

A water feature, such as a tiered fountain, meandering stream, or reflective pool with a fountain aerator, in the front of the apartment building or complex is most auspicious.

A mountain in front of the apartment is inauspicious while one behind the complex is auspicious.

Poison arrows, such as rooflines, taller buildings, utility poles and intersections are inauspicious by have feng shui remedies.

Avoid living in an apartment built into a hillside or along a ridgeline. These locations will result in harsh environmental obstacles and elements. In addition, this location cannot provide you with the support you need in general.

High Rise Apartment Buildings

There are several things to consider with a high rise apartment building whether you are already living in one or apartment hunting. These include:

  • An attractive and uncluttered entrance is a must for good feng shui.

  • An open and nicely appointed front entrance with a foyer. This will allow the chi energy to enter and pool in the foyer before spreading throughout the building.

  • Elevators should be in excellent working condition.

  • Fresh décor, paint, and furnishings are a must, along with healthy lobby/foyer plants.

  • Surrounding buildings are important. If your apartment complex is dwarfed by other buildings, you may need to use remedies in your apartment to counter the poison arrows these create.

  • Good lighting in entrance and hallways is a feng shui must.

Apartment Complex

Like a high rise, you want specific feng shui features at a larger, lower apartment complex to ensure you are taking advantage of auspicious chi energy. Some of these include:

A complex should have neat landscaping, clearly marked parking places, and a parking surface absent of potholes and cracks.

A curved road leading into the complex is more auspicious than a straight road.

Building maintenance should be up-to-date, such as no peeling paint; make sure window and door locks work, there are no plumbing leaks or broken fixtures, and that all electrical outlets work.

Trash bins are neat and not allowed to overflow.

The Basics of Furniture Arrangement & Decor

The rules for furniture arrangement and decor are the most popular and commonly used aspects of the Feng Shui aesthetic philosophy in the West. Knowing where to arrange your furniture and what accessories go in what room can help you create the perfect atmosphere in a room and keep everything running smoothly as you navigate a space. Remember, it’s all about conjuring a positive association with each room.

General Rules 
Each room of the house is treated differently, but there are a few general rules you can follow:

  • Furniture size should be conducive to the space they occupy to avoid crowding

  • High traffic areas should be left open for ease of movement

  • The main piece of furniture in the room should be in the “command position,” a space that seems central to the room

  • The best accessory for any calming, zen-styled room is cleanliness

Living Room  
Feng Shui living rooms revolve around balance and warmth for a group of people. The following elements promote this feeling:

  • A tight circular shape is preferable for chairs and couches, so people can face one another while speaking (Note: You don’t always need to place the chairs in a literal circle if this isn’t efficient for the shape of the room. As long as the seating seems to promote a sense of community, then you’re good to go!)

  • A central element to gather around, such as a coffee table, ottoman, or fireplace

  • Empty fireplaces should be filled with attractive decor – like plants, paper screens, fan, or s decorative sculpture

  • Televisions should be hidden in entertainment centers, as they are not aesthetically pleasing and can suck the energy out of a room

  • Fresh green plants create a sense of, especially when paired with natural light

  • If you have high ceilings, place pleasing pieces of art at eye level to create a focal point and keep the energy from rising to the ceiling

Bedroom  
Bedrooms are intended to promote both relaxation and sensuality. It is one of the most important room that Feng Shui can be applied to, because it can really boost both your restfulness and love life:

  • The bed should be placed in the command position, but never on the same wall as the door because this brings a feeling of insecurity to those sleeping in the bed

  • Two bedside tables create balance and a welcoming feel to the room

  • Soft fabrics with a luxurious feel will help make your bedroom into an escape

  • Color palette should be soothing overall, but hints of red and pinks throughout the room will promote a romantic feel

  • Art on the walls should be calming and promote positivity

  • Having moody lighting with dimmers allows you to control the feel of the room

  • Avoid placing electronics in the room as these can quickly become the focus of your energies instead of the bed

  • A desk in the bedroom is a BIG no-no. No one wants to wake up, look at their desk, and immediately be reminded of their hectic lives.

Bathroom  
This room is commonly ignored by Feng Shui because it has inherently negative energy. However, more recent spins on the Feng Shui aesthetic have begun exploring the possibilities bathrooms offer:

  • Brighten up this room as much as possible

  • Candles add a fire element that contrasts the overwhelming water elements of the room

  • Plants also add a earth element to the room

  • Mirrors widen this typically small space and allows you to admire yourself

  • Cleanliness is incredibly important, since bathrooms are so often considered dirty places

  • Keep the drains plugged and the toilets closed to prevent energy from flowing out of the room

  • Get matching towels and washcloths that will help create a cohesive, balanced vibe

    1. Position your Bed Correctly. Try to position your bed so you can see out the door without twisting your head. It’s best to avoid sleeping with your feet facing directly out the door, which in Feng Shui is considered the most inauspicious position for getting a good night’s rest. If you can’t move your bed, place a piece of furniture, a screen, a shawl, or other soft fabric near the end of the bed for cushioning.

    2. Clear Clutter. In Feng Shui, clutter represents postponed decisions and the inability to move forward, so be careful where you pile and file things. Being surrounded by too much stuff prevents the flow of positive chi, or energy, around you and makes your room feel cold rather than welcoming. If you have the opportunity to add your own furniture, look for pieces that double as storage space, such as an ottoman that opens so you can store your linens. For dorms where eating, sleeping, and studying are all done in one room, use a screen to separate the areas whenever possible to help minimize distractions. For example, when you're studying you can position the screen so you can't see the TV, which could distract you from studying. Or, you could screen off the bed, since this could tempt you to take a nap instead of opening your books.

    3. Add Living Plants. Place a living plant within 3 feet of your computer to help balance any electromagnetic frequencies, or EMFs, that it generates. Choose plants with rounded leaves since they represent wealth, and avoid cactus and other spiky plants that repel energy and Bonsai and stunted plants that represented limited growth. If you can’t grow natural plants, silk is an acceptable alternative because it’s made from a natural fabric. Avoid displaying dried flowers around the room because in Feng Shui they represent dead energy. 

    4. Clean Your Windows. Windows are considered the “eyes” of a building, so when they are dirty your vision is clouded. It may sound radical, but clean the inside of your windows occasionally so your can clearly see your future. And be sure to open your windows frequently to let in positive chi.

    5. Decorate with the Five Elements. Use a balance of colors and shapes of the Feng Shui Five Elements to decorate your space. The Five Elements is the collective name used to describe the colors, shapes, and textures around you: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each Element is distinguished by a characteristic shape, colors, and set of attributes. When you include a mix of all of these Elements in your dorm or small apartment, your space feels more balanced and comfortable. For example, red is the Fire Element color that adds passion; yellow is an Earth Element color that helps ground you; white is a Metal Element color that gives you focus; blue is a Water Element color that will keep you relaxed; and green is the Wood Element color that helps your knowledge expand. Click here to read more about the Five Elements

Office/Work Space  
This room is your source of wealth and vitality, but it can also be a place associated with stress. It must always be kept separate from where you live, play, and rest. There are many design elements that can increase the productivity of your work space:

  • The desk should always be placed in the “commanding position”

  • Symmetry helps add a sense of harmony and order to this room

  • Artwork should be inspiring and creative

  • Plants add a sense of vibrancy to room and purify the air your working in, allowing your mind to work better

  • Adding a small fountain will help add a calming element to this otherwise hectic room

  • Cleanliness is vital in this particular room for  helping you work more efficiently

Studio Apartments  
If you have a small studio apartment, applying the principles of Feng Shui can get tricky. Despite your lack of space, dividing your each area strategically is a must:

  • Utilize a decorative screen or curtain to create a distinct area between your bedroom and work area, specifically

  • Your bed always takes the “command position”

  • Make sure the entryway is completely open and distinct from the rest of the apartment

  • Every space possible should be used for storage to keep clutter to a minimum

  • Shy away from loud artwork that crowds the space aesthetically

  • Placing mirrors in the right places will help expand the room

  • Furnish the apartment so that there is a balanced amount of furniture on each side of the room

In feng shui, the goal is to replicate that sense of well-being and positive uplifting energy flow. This is achieved through the use of feng shui principals, such as:

  • Clutter free: Get rid of all forms of clutter inside and outside your home.

  • Compass directions: Use compass sectors to activate specific elements for each sector.

  • Reinforce auspicious chi: Select colors, furniture, art, accessories and other aesthetics to layer into the room design to reinforce auspicious feng shui energies.

  • Light: Play up natural light in rooms and add artificial lighting to attract sheng chi.


And now you know how to balance the Chi Energy in Your Home

The best way to achieve balanced chi energy in your home is to follow these basic feng shui principles. While chi is invisible, when you take advantage of auspicious chi through the use of feng shui, you'll soon see the visible effects. This powerful energy manifests through abundance, career advances, improved health, and accumulation of wealth and blessings for your family.

How to Manifest Anything You Desire

19008.jpg

Today, WE (I’m saying we as in myself along with my spirit guides) would like to focus your attention upon the topic of manifesting your desires. Of course each and every one of you have many desires in which you have set your sights upon, you have wished for them, so why haven’t they come true yet. This is what we would like to discuss in hopes of helping you become more clear about what is needed in order for your dreams to come true.

Each and every one of you have things that you once wanted and now have. You successfully manifested those desires into your life. Often times there are some areas in your life which you find to be much easier to manifest positive results than in other areas of your life. For some, a loving relationship has always been something they could easily create, or perfect health and well being, for others abundance is quite easy to manifest, each of you have areas that are working very well and other areas that could use a little refocusing.

So why is it that some desires manifest so easily, and some do not? Ahh, a wonderful question. Allow us to share our perspective. You see, when you view your reality in terms of energy, frequency and vibration rather than just in experiences and results you will have an easier time understanding how anything manifests. The universe is neutral, it does not have a filter. It does not give good things to good people and bad things to bad people, no more so than a mirror giving good reflections to the deserving and bad reflections to the less than deserving. The universe is continually responding to each and every thought, which is essentially the vibration that you emit throughout all of eternity with each new thought. The beautiful thing about your reality is that you always get to make a new choice, choose a new focus, choose a new vibration.

So why do some things manifest so quickly? In simple terms, the answer is because there wasn’t any resistance. Each and everything that you want or desire has a particular rate of vibration an exact frequency. You understand that if you want to watch channel 10 but you are tuned to channel 5, all the wishing and hoping in the world wont change the channel. You have to pick up the remote and actively change the channel. You do not doubt that channel 10 exists even though you are tuned into channel 5, you understand that it exists regardless of whether you are watching it or not. Yet so many of you doubt that your dreams and desires exist because you cannot see them in your physical reality. It is the very same concept. So all that is needed is for you to change the channel in which you are vibrating. When you change your vibration and consequently change your mood, you will surely dial into a completely different set of circumstances and experiences.

So many get sucked into the circumstances that are manifesting before you, but if they are not pleasing to you it does not do you any good to focus your attention upon them. What you focus on will always expand. When you deliberately choose to focus your attention upon things that are peace, enjoyable, pleasurable you change the rate in which you are vibrating. Anything and everything manifests, good or bad in your reality because you have matched the speed of that vibration and therefore it had to manifest. You essentially tuned into that channel. If you have desires that have not yet manifested all that is required is that you match the speed of that vibration. What does it feel like to have what you truly desire right now? What would that feel like? When you put yourself in that feeling you are matching the speed of that vibration. It has to flow into your reality, as does everything else that is of like resonance. This is why you see so many people’s lives get better and better or worse and worse. It’s the channel they are focused upon.

Now, it is important for you to know that you do not need to focus on your desire in order for it to manifest, you just need to be in the vibrational range of what you desire. So any good feeling, any good feeling thought will put you in that vicinity. The more you frequent those good feelings, those good vibes the more you practice that vibration and the more that has to manifest in your reality that matches it. It really is that simple!

We hope that you have found this message to be helpful in someway.

In love and light.

My non-negotiable health boundaries

non-negotiable boundaries.JPG

Many moons ago, I stopped fad dieting. 

I stopped counting calories and points, I stopped eating low-fat and I definitely stopped eating anything found in a box labelled “healthy”.  It took a long time to shift my thoughts and my approach to food, however now I focus on simply eating whole foods.  All of them.

Yes, I might currently be restricted in the type of whole foods that I can eat due to my autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s), but what I can eat are foods that make me feel good, and in turn do good for my body while it heals.  My future plan and hope is to one day re-introduce all those wonderful whole foods back into my life … one day.

Yes, my weight fluctuates almost daily due to the ups and downs of my thyroid (and I’m not talking about a bit of bloating here), but I’m slowly coming to accepted my body for what it is.  It’s doing an amazing job and I’m so grateful for it.  No it’s not the body you will see grace the covers of magazines, however it’s pretty bloody brilliant all the same.

The reason to all this mumbling, is that I’ve discovered I have a few non-negotiable boundaries when it comes to my health and my view of my body, and I thought I’d share.

My non-negotiables

 

Don’t Diet | As a former lover of being on any and every diet, when I stopped, I felt this immense freedom, especially from counting calories.  I never say never, but in this instance, I will never go back to that way of living!  Constantly thinking about food as either a number or as being good or bad was exhausting, and to be completely honest, a huge waste of time.  In the end, it never produced the results I wanted.  Now, I keep it simple and eat whole foods.  As clean and as natural as possible.  My body loved me for this change (and so did my sanity).

 

Nutrient Density | One of the biggest tips I learnt from doing both the I Quit Sugar program and the Autoimmune Protocol, is to focus on nutrient dense foods at each meal.  Meaning, filling up on the foods with the biggest nutrient bang for your buck.  For example, there are so many more nutrients in zucchini noodles, than in a grain based noodle.  They do the same thing, but my automatic impulse these days is to reach for the zucchini.   Not only do these foods fill me up and keep me sustained between meals, they make me feel bloody good.

 

Cook Once, Eat Twice (or more) | To keep things super simple, I cook at least one extra portion at dinner time (or whenever I cook) so I have lunch ready and waiting for me the following day, or an extra meal to pop straight into the freezer for another day when I’m tight for time or not in the mood to cook.  It’s a great money and time saver and is so much quicker than ordering take-away!

 

Be Consistent, Not Perfect | I’m human and there are days when the last thing I want to do is cook, and that’s ok.  I do try and have extra meals ready in the freezer for these moments, and 9 times out of 10 I reach for those, however sometimes all I want is a big bag of Sweet Potato Chips for dinner.  Nothing more, nothing less, and that’s more than ok.

Now over to you.  What are you non-negotiables for healthy yet sustainable living?


#CERTIFIED: A QUICK GUIDE TO CONSCIOUS LABELS

labels.jpg

How do you even begin to know if something was made ethically, under circumstances that are good for you, good for the Earth, and good for the people who made that product? It’s difficult to research every company and every product you buy, and what if the information you’re looking for isn’t even available, or it’s incomplete? Well, a good place to start is just by looking for different labels that signify transparency and ensure that at least in one way, the product was made ethically. There are quite a few of them and it can get confusing, so I want to give you the basics for the most common ethical labels. But first, two disclaimers:

First, remember that just because a business doesn’t carry one of these labels doesn’t mean they are not adhering to strict ethical standards. In fact, there are many small businesses that are even more strict in their production than what these certifications require, but choose to not get certified for one reason or another. (For example, many small businesses may not be able to afford the steep fees involved in the certification process.) So you should never automatically neglect a product or brand if they aren’t displaying a label; it just may require an extra step of research on your part.

Likewise, just because a product qualifies for one of these certifications doesn’t mean it’s perfect or that the company doesn’t have room to grow. For example, just because a product meets environmental sustainability standards doesn’t mean everyone involved in the supply chain is being treated fairly. As consumers, we have the power to continue to ask questions and challenge companies to keep making progress until each step of the supply chain is carried out in the right way. That being said, don’t get perfect get in the way of good. It’s unrealistic for brands and consumers to do things perfectly, so feel empowered to choose the best option!

 

FAIRTRADE INTERNATIONAL

There are several different Fair Trade certifications and networks. Each organization has somewhat different standards, may serve different regions of the world, or have different auditing processes. However, they all have a similar common goal: to create a world in which workers are treated with integrity, paid fairly, and work safely. Fairtrade International and their US representative Fairtrade America defines Fair Trade as: “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized farmers and workers – especially in developing countries.”

Fairtrade International focuses on organized small farmers for most products like coffee and cocoa with a small percentage of certified plantations in products like fresh produce, tea and flowers (this is the biggest difference between Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA). FLOCERT is the independent auditor for Fairtrade International products and the auditors are usually located in the country where they are certifying. Both producers and traders must meet standards based on their specific industry. Examples of these standards include minimum prices and premiums for community development, safe working conditions, fair wages, the right to join a union, and transparency in the supply chain.

 

FAIR TRADE USA

Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA used to belong under the same umbrella organization, adhere to the same standards, and work with the same auditors. However, in 2011, Fair Trade USA split from Fairtrade International and their certification system, deciding instead to form their own set of standards. Their decision was a controversial one, with the biggest disagreement being whether or not large farms can be certified. Fair Trade USA chose to expand from small farms and cooperatives to include larger farms and plantations as Fair Trade eligible in the hopes of making Fair Trade products more widespread and available. Unfortunately, the initiatives taken during this time have proven to be somewhat unsuccessful.

Certified Fair Trade USA products are subject to independent audits and assessments and have to adhere to strict standards. These standards include transparency in the supply chain and decision making, fair wages and stable business partnerships, safety in the workplace and absolutely no child labor, as well as environmental sustainability and prohibition of GMOs and toxic chemicals.

 

 

WORLD FAIR TRADE ORGANIZATION

The World Fair Trade Organization started out as just a network of Fair Trade businesses. However, in 2011, WFTO implemented a Guarantee System, which works in a way similar to a certification. It is a way of verifying that Fair Trade practices are being carried out in an organization’s supply chain and practices. There are five major components to the WFTO’s system that a business must adhere to in order to display the label: new membership admission procedure, Self Assessment Report, Monitoring Audit, Peer Visit, and the Fair Trade Accountability Watch.

 

FAIR TRADE FEDERATION

The Fair Trade Federation is another organization that is not a true certification, but a network. Its members are, however, subject to strict Fairtrade requirements and code of conduct. Members of the FTF are not audited; their membership is based on self report. The FTF focuses on North American businesses and is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization.

 

FAIR FOR LIFE

Fair for Life is another third party label that certifies companies based on three areas of impact:

  • Respect of human rights and fair working conditions

  • Respect of the ecosystem and promotion of biodiversity, sustainable agriculture practices

  • Respect and betterment of local impact

Fair for life seeks to open up the fair trade certification to certain types of companies and materials (such as raw materials) that may be otherwise excluded from certification with some of the other labels.

 

CERTIFIED ORGANIC

Most people probably know what the Organic label means. But to give you a quick refresher: products that are Certified Organic by the United States Government adhere to standards that protect natural resources, conserve biodiversity, and only contain approved substances which are not harmful to the earth or consumers. Organic farmers rely on natural products as opposed to synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or other additives. Meat that is certified organic must have come from animals who lived in their natural environment (ie, in a pasture, eating grass), and must not be fed hormones or steroids. When shopping organic, make sure you pay attention to phrases like “made with organic ingredients,” which doesn’t necessarily mean the entire product is organic. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a controversial label because some research has shown that many times, organic produce has just as much pesticides as non-organic.

 

B CORP

B Corp is sort of like Fairtrade for business. Instead of certifying that a product is doing good, B Corp certifies that a business as a whole is doing good. A certified B Corp company is a for-profit organization that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. These companies meet “rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.” Certified B Corp companies are given all kinds of resources that help them assess and measure their impact and improvements, and are regularly subject to audits.

 

LEAPING BUNNY

Leaping Bunny is a certification that ensures that cosmetics and household goods are not tested on animals. In order to qualify for the Leaping Bunny Standard, brands are also prohibited from using any ingredients that have been tested on animals in their products as well. This means if you see the Leaping Bunny logo, that product is 100% free from testing on animals. Be advised: although Leaping Bunny certified products may qualify as vegan, the label does not mean the products does not use any animal product at all.

 

CRUELTY FREE

The Cruelty Free bunny logo is the official symbol of PETA, and is mostly found on products in the USA. This logo means that companies have committed to not testing any of their ingredients or finished products on animals. The label is dependent on the word and integrity of the company and there is no third party auditing involved.

 

RAINFOREST ALLIANCE

Products that bear the Rainforest Alliance seal adhere to strict environmental sustainability standards and the Rainforest Alliance puts transparency, integrity, and measurability at its highest priority. The goal of the Rainforest Alliance is to transform the way products are made and consumers shop in order to preserve our natural resources. The Alliance is focused on curbing climate change, keeping forests standing, protecting biodiversity, alleviating poverty, and transforming business practices.

 

GREEN AMERICA

A Green America certified business means the company is “actively using their business as a tool for positive social change.” A Green America certified company is committed to operating on principles of social justice and environmental sustainability throughout the way they source, manufacture, and market their products. It is also committed to transparency and is accountable for tracking and continually improving every area of the business. There are two levels of the Green America certification: basic Certified and Gold Certified, which is for businesses that go above and beyond the basic standards. This certification is also based on the company’s integrity, as opposed to outside auditors.

 

GOODWELL

GoodWell is a newer certification that certifies fair, ethical, and humane employers. The first of its kind, I think this label is going to become just as important as the ones above. With movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, consumers are demanding fairness and equality from all businesses like never before.

GoodWell uses real data to certify companies based on 11 difference metrics, which include things like racial and gender pay equality, CEO to employee pay ratios, employee satisfaction, child labor, worker safety, and more.

What other labels do you trust while you shop?

How to Get Back on Track After Vacation

working.jpg

Does this ever happen to you: You go away on vacation, have a wonderful time, and feel rested and relaxed, but then when you return home, it’s a challenge to be able to jump back into real life without succumbing to the stress of it all again?

After a week away in the east coast for an incredible wedding plus seeing my boyfriend’s family, we are now back home in San Francisco! I don’t know about you but whenever I would come home from a trip, I STRUGGLE with the whole re-entry process. I would complain about needing a vacation from my vacation. 😅 😓 HOWEVER, it is going to be different this time around because the first thing that I have considered is managing the mind. Be conscious about how you’re thinking about your return. Are you thinking about it in a negative way? Or are you thinking of it with gratitude that you have a job to return to? It’s not the circumstance that creates the emotion. It’s how we think about the circumstances. Instead of dreading having to go back to work, we can choose to focus on the experiences we had on vacation and carry that positivity with us in our daily life.

Remember to ease the re-entry process with these tips below:

 

1. Drink a TON of Water

Chances are, when you come back from vacation you're a bit dehydrated. There are a few reasons for that: flying, have less access to fresh water, drink more alcohol, sitting in the sunshine. And that's why it's super important that when you get back you drink LOTS of water.

My usual rule of thumb is at least half my body weight in ounces of water per day. When I get back from a trip, I double that. I know I'm fully hydrated when I'm peeing every hour. Yes it's a lot, yes it's hard, but it's going to help you feel amazing and will help get your digestion back on track AND flush out toxins.

2. Load up on Greens

I already eat a lot of greens normally, but post-vacation, I take it to another level. We're talking leafy greens at every single meal for at least 2 – 3 days. The reason? There are tons, but here are some of my personal faves:

  • Flooding my body with nutrients
  • Alkalizing to my system
  • Fiber-rich to support my digestion
  • Packed with chlorophyll and other detoxifying minerals
  • High in plant-based protein

3. Add Algae to my Supplement Routine

I don't typically take algae every single day, but when I get back from vacation I definitely do. My two favorites are chlorella and spirulina and I find they're actually super easy to incorporate into my routine. I either take them in pill form with my other supplements, or I'll just throw them into my smoothie (or both).

Blue-green algae is one of the most potent superfoods on the planet due to its incredibly high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein. It can be used as a detoxifier but is also amazing for reducing inflammation, promoting new cell growth and increasing energy.

4. Skip the Alcohol + Sweets

This kind of goes without saying, but after a vacation where I've consumed a bit more alcohol than I normally would, it's time to take a little break to help my body recalibrate. I don't typically drink during the week anyway, but I usually like to give myself at least a 10 day – 2-week window post-vacation where I don't consume alcohol.

Sugar is similar for me. Since I probably drank a few sugary drinks while I was away, I try and take about 5 – 7 days off from sweet treats. I'm still eating fruit, but I'll skip my nightly chocolate routine and try not to bake up any cookies or other tempting treats.

Is this necessary? Maybe not, but I personally find that limiting these two things in my diet really helps me feel the benefits of the other things I'm doing, like the hydration and flood of nutrients from all the good food I'm eating. So go with whatever works best for you, but this timeframe seems to do really well for my body.

5. Sweat it out

Last but not least, I try and get a good sweat on every single day post-vacation (for a week-long period that is). I'll do at home workouts, I'll go to hot yoga, I'll take a Soul Cycle class, or I'll even just head to the gym and go into the steam room/sauna. Sweating is such an important part of detoxing and it really will help you get back on track.

Don't think of going to the gym as punishment for what you ate while you were away. Think of it as a tool to help you feel good and get back to “normal” as quickly as possible. I promise, 5 days of a good sweat will do wonders for your digestion, your skin, your brain and pretty much every other part of your body (despite some soreness of course!).

NOW, what do I do about easing back into WORK?

  1. Don’t schedule any meetings or appointments for your first day back. Block that time out on your calendar so people won’t schedule things for you. Leave your out-of-office email responder and voicemail message up for a day or two after you return.
  2. Consider getting to work a bit earlier on the first day than usual, so you can deal with some of the backlog before co-workers start coming by and asking you about your vacation. While it's still quiet, survey the situation, decide what needs to get done, do a brain dump — write down everything you know needs to get done in the first few days, and then prioritize it. Have a plan in place to deal with that barrage of people asking for things and the pile of work waiting for you–get out in front of the potential overwhelm.
  3. Remember to do something fun (that something you planned before you left, right?).
  4. Be sure to also protect your rest. One of the great things about vacations is the chance to sleep in and catch up on our rest. Protect the rest you got on vacation so you don’t use it all up your first few days home.
  5. Bring the vacation benefits into your day-to-day life by doing things such as taking better breaks (or actually taking a break at all) and get outside for a walk, if you can. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

How do you make the adjustment of returning to your regular day-to-day life after a vacation? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below

Pranayama with me

Pranayama.JPG

Remember to breathe. Deeply. Like really deeply.
Inhale the good and exhale what’s no longer serving you.

Breathing does wonders, my friend.

Sometimes my morning mindfulness practice is just Pranayama. Pranayama is a "breathwork" practice, otherwise known as an "asana"; which proves to be a powerful way to reconnect and center your mind. See this as another form of yoga, another way to exercise the mind. In some cases, all people do is breathwork. Asana is just one way to reach higher states of consciousness and awareness. Meditation is a path as well. Yoga isn't meant to be one way or another, it is laid out so that we can choose the things that work best for our bodies and minds. So if doing the splits doesn't feel good, don't do them! If you do breath of fire and your blood pressure goes up, find another way. I've learned that Yoga is a path to find the sweetness in your life. Tap in and Do the best sweet things for yourself. 

Here's How

How many times have you caught yourself holding onto your breathe when doing something stressful or breathing rapidly to get things done? Perhaps you're stressed out, worn out, emotionally off, or making your way through a challenging yoga class, pranayama breathing can renew and sustain you. Learn the basics of breath control with this pranayama primer.

Ocean Breath: Ujjayi Pranayama

Literally meaning "victorious," Ujjayi Pranayama (ooh-JAH-yee prah-nah-YAH-mah) is also commonly known as Ocean Breath. During Ujjayi, the practitioner completely fills the lungs while slightly contracting the throat and breathing through the nose. This breath technique is used throughout an Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga class to help practitioners stay warm, calm, and present.

Ujjai breath also calms the mind and is said to be highly beneficial to those suffering from insomnia and mental tension.

  1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position such as what I have pictured up there which is called Easy Pose (Sukhasana). Hero Pose (Virasana), or Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) also works too.
  2. Inhale deeply through your mouth. Feel the air of your inhalations passing down through your windpipe.
  3. Now slightly contract the back of the throat, as you do when you whisper and exhale. Imagine your breath is fogging up a window.
  4. Keep this contraction of the throat as you inhale and exhale, then gently close your mouth and continue breathing through your nose.
  5. Concentrate on the sound of the breath, which will soothe your mind. It should be audible to you, but not so loud that someone standing several feet away can hear it.
  6. Let your inhalations fill your belly, ribs, and chest; completely release the air on your exhalations.
  7. Begin to synchronize your breath with your movements, inhaling with upward moves and exhaling with downward moves.

Alternate Nostril Breathing: Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (NAH-dee shoh-DAH-nuh prah-nah-YAH-mah— literally "channel clearing" — is a purifying pranayama that alternates the blockage of each nostril to channel air in a concentrated flow. It balances and channels of energy in the body, activating and harmonizing the left and right hemispheres of the brain to ease stress and anxiety.

  1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position such as Easy Pose (Sukhasana).
  2. Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
  3. Inhale deeply through the left nostril.
  4. Close the left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand as you release the right nostril.
  5. Exhale slowly through your right nostril.
  6. Keeping the left nostril closed, inhale deeply through your right nostril.
  7. Seal the right nostril again with your thumb, then release the left nostril.
  8. Exhale out of the left nostril. You should now be in the original position, with the thumb sealing the right nostril.
  9. Repeat the process ten times, gradually increasing the number of repetitions.
  10. Once you gain full breath control during Nadi Shodhana, begin to hold your breath for a moment at the top and bottom of each inhale/exhale cycle. Never strain; let this next stage develop gradually.

Three-Part Breath: Dirga Pranayama

Known commonly as Three-Part Breath, Dirga Pranayama (DEER-gah prah-nah-YAH-mah) is usually the first breathing technique taught to new practitioners. It brings awareness to the present moment and calms the mind, and is often used at the very beginning of a yoga practice to settle in and prepare oneself for practice and meditation.

This technique is particularly beneficial in everyday life, because it requires no special sound or position to achieve a grounded and relaxed state of awareness.

  1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position like Easy Pose (Sukhasana), or lie on your back in Corpse Pose (Savasana).
  2. Rest one hand on your belly and one hand on your rib cage.
  3. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply but naturally.
  4. Begin to focus your awareness on the breath as it moves in and out of your body.
  5. Feel the lift of your belly and the expansion of your ribs on your inhalations; and the slight compression of your ribs and drop of your belly as you exhale.
  6. Next, bring your bottom hand to your chest, just below your collarbone. Breathe all the way into this area and allow your chest to rise slightly; then exhale and let it go.
  7. Feel your belly lift, ribs expand, and chest lift as you inhale; on your exhalations, notice how your chest drops, ribs contract, and belly lowers.
  8. Release your arms and focus your mind on your breath, inhaling and exhaling fully.

Let It Out

Pranayama exercises can benefit the mind and body in many ways and on many levels, whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. Remember to take it slowly and to build on your experience to further develop your breath control.

Always consult a teacher on the proper technique of a particular breathing exercise before attempting it, and stop if you’re feeling faint or dizzy. With practice, you’ll learn toguide your breath — so your breath can guide your practice.

Change with the Blood Moon

bloodmoon.jpg

There is something beautiful happening around us, with us, inside of us: permission to get uncomfortable and vulnerable by moving directly towards the things that scare us. That thing we've been putting off or denying because of fear of failure, those old beliefs that keep us stuck or scared, those lingering emotions that are ready to be loved and released so you can align with and welcome what comes next... 

This longest lunar eclipse of the century happening on Friday, 7/27 - Saturday, 7/28 and it's asking to go where we don't normally go and see what is on the other side of our comfort zone. 

It's a time in which we reflect with what needs to change and challenges us to be courageous in making the decisions that are right for us, even if it makes us and other people uncomfortable. 

Perhaps you've been feeling lots of "masculine" energies as I have and the astrological/spiritual explanation is that the masculine planets are in retrograde. Meaning there is a lot of masculine energy swirling around such as assertiveness, confidence, competitiveness may show up for you, and they can be used as tools to go after what you want. With all of this at play, it's especially important right now to take good care of yourself.

Be gentle, yet show up. Create sacred moments in your day to do your rituals, the ones that keep you in check. Breathe deeply into feelings that arise so that you can pivot old reactions into a healthier response. Slow your inner pace down so that you can let more of life's lessons in.

Have you been holding back a piece of you? Not going for what you truly want? Slowing down your growth while gripping to what was? You've got the sky behind you, now is the time to go after it. 

Why couldn't you start now?  
 

 

ONE WAY THAT I ADAPT TO THIS FULL BLOOD MOON IS THROUGH THIS
WALKING MEDITATION:
 

Try this Walking Meditation to calm your nervous system, clear your mind, and prepare you for the next phase of your life. 

WALKING MEDITATION:
Practice this walking meditation ritual outside under the light of this full moon. Give yourself enough time to sink in and take a break from the onslaught of thoughts and emotions that may arise from even thinking about the uncomfortable and brave steps you are going to take. 

  • Begin by walking at an easeful, natural pace. Let the breath be full and deep
     
  • Take a few moments to feel your body as it walks: feet hitting the ground, head tall, legs moving, the temperature on the skin. Notice any sensation or emotions present and simply breathe with these observations
     
  • Keeping the connection to your inner world, notice the environment around you. Take note of the colors, textures, shapes, smells, and air. Saturate yourself in the visceral experience of the inner and outer world in order to anchor yourself in the present moment
     
  • If you get lost in thought, use either your breath, sensations in the body, or the colors of the world around you to anchor back into the present moment
     
  • When your walking meditation is done (we recommend at least 20 minutes) take a few minutes to journal about your experience. Following that, take a few moments to reflect on the question,  "What do I really want?" Take as much time as you need to write honestly about whatever is revealed to you


Namaste lovely beings and happy changes with this new blood moon! 

How to Meditate

IMG_3064.jpg

With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people like us feel stressed and over-worked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. We are often so busy we feel like there is no time to stop. It can even affect our health as it affected mine: I was severely anxious, confused, I got sick all the time, and my adrenals were shot. I needed a remedy. What I surprising learned that meditation can actually give you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. 

Meditation has helped me understand my own mind. Before I started meditating, I never thought about what was going on inside my head — it would just happen, and I would follow its commands like an automaton. These days, all of that still happens, but more and more, I am aware of what’s going on. I can make a choice about whether to follow the commands. I understand myself better (not completely, but better), and that has given me increased flexibility and freedom.

Meditation can transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming our well being and probably one of the reasons why you are here. I see meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. Meditation can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance to calm yet manage the modern day complexities of life. 

So … I highly recommend this habit. And while I’m not saying it’s easy, you can start small and get better and better as you practice. Don’t expect to be good at first — that’s why it’s called “practice”!

So, I'm sure you're curious already...


How do you learn how to meditate?
 

Well, I found it extremely difficult as a beginner to sit and think of nothing or have an “empty mind. When you are starting out, I found that the easiest way to begin meditating is by practicing thi

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation cushion.
  2. Close your eyes. I recommend using one of our Restorative Eye Pillows if lying down. 
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
  5. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe.
  6. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly.
  7. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity.
  8. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.

Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods. Start with just two minutes a day for a week. If that goes well, increase by another two minutes and do that for a week. If all goes well, by increasing just a little at a time, you’ll be meditating for 10 minutes a day in the 2nd month, which is amazing! But start small first...

 

Then, implement one or two more of these tips. Don't try them all at once — try a few, come back to this, try one or two more:

  1. Do it first thing each morning. It’s easy to say, “I’ll meditate every day,” but then forget to do it. Instead, set a reminder for every morning when you get up, and put a note that says “meditate” somewhere where you’ll see it.
  2. Don’t get caught up in the how — just do. Most people worry about where to sit, how to sit, what cushion to use … this is all nice, but it’s not that important to get started. Start just by sitting on a chair, or on your couch. Or on your bed. If you’re comfortable on the ground, sit cross-legged. It’s just for two minutes at first anyway, so just sit. Later you can worry about optimizing it so you’ll be comfortable for longer, but in the beginning, it doesn’t matter much, just sit somewhere quiet and comfortable.
  3. Check in with how you’re feeling. As you first settle into your meditation session, simply check to see how you’re feeling. How does your body feel? What is the quality of your mind? Busy? Tired? Anxious? See whatever you’re bringing to this meditation session as completely OK.
  4. Count your breaths. Now that you’re settled in, turn your attention to your breath. Just place the attention on your breath as it comes in, and follow it through your nose all the way down to your lungs. Try counting “one” as you take in the first breath, then “two” as you breathe out. Repeat this to the count of 10, then start again at one.
  5. Come back when you wonder. Your mind will wander. This is an almost absolute certainty. There’s no problem with that. When you notice your mind wandering, smile, and simply gently return to your breath. Count “one” again, and start over. You might feel a little frustration, but it’s perfectly OK to not stay focused, we all do it. This is the practice, and you won’t be good at it for a little while.
  6. Develop a loving attitude. When you notice thoughts and feelings arising during meditation, as they will, look at them with a friendly attitude. See them as friends, not intruders or enemies. They are a part of you, though not all of you. Be friendly and not harsh.
  7. Don’t worry too much that you’re doing it wrong. You will worry you’re doing it wrong. That’s OK, we all do. You’re not doing it wrong. There’s no perfect way to do it, just be happy you’re doing it.
  8. Don’t worry about clearing the mind. Lots of people think meditation is about clearing your mind or stopping all thoughts. It’s not. This can sometimes happen, but it’s not the “goal” of meditation. If you have thoughts, that’s normal. We all do. Our brains are thought factories, and we can’t just shut them down. Instead, just try to practice focusing your attention, and practice some more when your mind wanders.
  9. Stay with whatever arises. When thoughts or feelings arise, and they will, you might try staying with them awhile. Yes, I know I said to return to the breath, but after you practice that for a week, you might also try staying with a thought or feeling that arises. We tend to want to avoid feelings like frustration, anger, anxiety … but an amazingly useful meditation practice is to stay with the feeling for a while. Just stay, and be curious.
  10. Get to know yourself. This practice isn’t just about focusing your attention, it’s about learning how your mind works. What’s going on inside there? It’s murky, but by watching your mind wander, get frustrated, avoid difficult feelings … you can start to understand yourself.
  11. Become friends with yourself. As you get to know yourself, do it with a friendly attitude instead of one of criticism. You’re getting to know a friend. Smile and give yourself love.
  12. Do a body scan. Another thing you can do, once you become a little better at following your breath, focuses your attention on one body part at a time. Start at the soles of your feet — how do those feel? Slowly move to your toes, the tops of your feet, your ankles, all the way to the top of your head.
  13. Notice the light, sounds, energy. Another place to put your attention, again, after you’ve practiced with your breath for at least a week, is the light all around you. Just keep your eyes on one spot, and notice the light in the room you’re in. Another day, just focus on noticing sounds. Another day, try to notice the energy in the room all around you (including light and sounds).
  14. Really commit yourself. Don’t just say, “Sure, I’ll try this for a couple days.” Really commit yourself to this. In your mind, be locked in, for at least a month.
  15. You can do it anywhere. If you’re traveling or something comes up in the morning, you can do meditation in your office. In the park. During your commute. As you walk somewhere. Sitting meditation is the best place to start, but in truth, you’re practicing for this kind of mindfulness in your entire life.
  16. Follow guided meditation. If it helps, you can try following guided meditations to start with. Download some on your smartphone, I've used Calm and Headspace. 
  17. Check in with friends. While I like meditating alone, you can do it with your spouse or child or a friend. Or just make a commitment with a friend to check in every morning after meditation. It might help you stick with it for longer.
  18. Find a community. Even better, find a community of people who are meditating and join them. Check in with them and ask questions, get support, encourage others. My Anchor Meditation as a community like that in San Francisco, California.
  19. Smile when you’re done. When you’re finished with your two minutes, smile. Be grateful that you had this time to yourself, that you stuck with your commitment, that you showed yourself that you’re trustworthy, where you took the time to get to know yourself and make friends with yourself. That’s an amazing two minutes of your life.

Meditation isn’t always easy or even peaceful. But it has truly amazing benefits, and you can start today, and continue for the rest of your life.