Shades of Yoga Teacher Training Week 1

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I had no idea what to expect when I first arrived at Taksu Spa in Ubud for Shades of Yoga teacher training.  I knew our group would be smaller than normal (they usually have about 15 students) but I never expected such a intimate group of 5 people.  I feel so lucky!

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We arrived the first day anxious and excited for the 3 weeks ahead.  Our teacher, Unieng, a Balinese native, walked us through what our time here would be like.  As someone who likes a schedule, I was happy to know what my days would consist of.

7:20 am: Arrival
7:30-8 am: Meditation (we will get into this in a later post!)
8-8:30 am: Pranayama (breathing)
8:30-9:30 am: Asana
9:30-10:30am: Breakfast (I feel so spoiled by this! They serve everything )
10:30-12:30 pm: Theory
12:30-2:30 pm: Lunch Break
2:30-4 pm: Theory
4-5:30 pm: Asana

Lots of breaks sprinkled in there.  Also, there is always coffee, ginger tea (my fav!!) and water available for us.

I love the Asana “movement” part.  Unieng is helping us deconstruct our practices and rebuild them with proper form from the ground up.  It’s pretty insane what bad habits you pick up when teachers are not looking.

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Theory is quite interesting for me too.  I was always drawn to the asana part of Yoga and had now idea there were 8 Limbs of the practice.  Asana’s main purpose is actually to prepare the body for meditation.  We are also learning about anatomy, physiology, and history of yoga which will help us become a well-rounded yoga teacher.

As someone who has never been able to meditate this is the hardest part of the day for me.  I sit there and try to make my thoughts go away but end out making “to-do” lists, thinking about everything and anything.  We are also instructed to do something called “Noble Silence” every day too which is supposed to help our meditation practice— it’s no looking at cell phones/ computers or talking with anymore before out meditation practice.

I failed at it this week.  Every morning I had good intentions and then somehow started looking at my phone and answering texts or emails.

Next week I will try harder….

Why I chose to do my Yoga Teacher Training at Shades of Yoga in Bali

As many of you know, yoga changed my life.  Every since I went to my first class in 2008 I dreamed of doing a yoga teacher training.  Fast forward 9 years and always putting that dream on the back burner, I decided it was time to take the plunge.

I knew I wanted to do my teacher training abroad but I wasn’t sure where ( Costa Rica? Hawaii? Bali?) After doing TONS of research (I’m that crazy person that spends hours and weighing all the pros and cons, from location, to cost, instructors, timing, style etc., I questioned it all.)  Once I was set on Bali ( so many reasons– see below!)  Next I had to decide— should I go to Ubud, Bali, the hub of yoga, art and culture or somewhere else closer to the water?  Did I want to do it retreat style (all-inclusive) or be more independent?  I looked at all the options and was confident with the decision I made to head to Shades of Yoga in Ubud.


Here is why I chose Shades of Yoga in Bali over all the teacher trainings out there:

  1. The Length of the Course

This was a big deal for me.  I wanted to find the perfect course but I also needed it to fit my schedule.  I loved how they offered a 3 1/2 week course that also included an additional add on if we wanted ( extra weekend of SUP yoga! Or we could have chosen an Enneagram Session.) — the perfect length of time as I couldn’t leave work and my family too too long.

2.  Location. Location Location


I’ve been dreaming about going to Bali since I first saw beautiful photos of the culture and food on Instagram (yes this is where I spot my next travel destinations.)  Shades of Yoga is held at Taksu Spa which in located in central Ubud.  I loved that I could walk around town easily.

3. The Course


Not only did they cover asanas but also psychology, physiology, anatomy and even the history of yoga.  I think it’s so important for a yoga teacher to know the body well and believe in the holistic whole body approach to wellness.  Bring on the science!

4. Food

Food is very important to me.  Whenever I travel my trips are planned around food so why should my YTT be any different? haha

I loved that morning breakfasts were included.  Buffet style with pretty much any breakfast item you could think of — banana pancakes, muffins, local fruit, eggs, cereal, granola, crepes, vegetables, etc.  They had me at unlimited coffee.

Ubud is also filled with the most delicious healthy restaurants at ever corner– from raw, to vegan, to vegetarian everything.  (More to come with my favorites in later blog posts)

5. $7 Massages


This is a real thing in Ubud (you can even find them cheaper!) I wanted to do my YTT in Bali so I could also pamper my whole body while I was taking the course.  In New York, I rarely have the time to treat myself so I wanted these three weeks to really be about taking care of my mind and body.  Trust me— massages (and inferred saunas located at Taksu!) do the trick.

More Barilla Pasta please! 

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but after 2 weeks in Japan I’m sushied out.  I’ve been craving Italian food like crazy! My partnership with Barilla Pasta couldn’t have come at a better time.

I grew up eating their Whole Grain Pasta (thanks for always caring about my health mama!) And loved how it’s made with 100% Whole Wheat with 56g of whole grains in each serving.  It’s also a great source of fiber— and you know what that helps with ; )

Here’s my “go-to” simple at home recipe (that my whole family loves!).  Won’t take more than 20 minutes:

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 servings of Barilla whole-wheat dried pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
  • 2 zucchinis, cut into uniform long, thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic

Extras:

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then cook the pasta until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, steam the zucchini strips in a colander or steaming basket over the water until tender but still slightly crunchy.

2) In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over low heat until shimmering. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook briefly until the garlic is fragrant and soft but not browned, 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

3) Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta, then return the noodles to the pot. Add the garlic mixture, zucchini, Parmesan, and basil. Toss well to combine, adding pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with more grated Parmesan.

I also always like to add Veggies to half the plate so I get an accurate portion size.  Usually, this can vary on the shape, a portion of pasta is about 1/2 cup.   Tip: Add veggies into your pasta too to increase the portion size!

Want more pasta recipes? Check out their website and Pinterest board for tons of delicious ideas your whole family (or boyfriend/girlfriend!) will love.

And fun fact? Barilla Gluten Free Penne pasta was recognized as one of Parents magazine’s top 25 best allergy-friendly packaged foods.

Happy Eating!  xo

5 Must do’s at Aulani Disney Resort

Like a kid again, when I first saw the massive slide and stunning architectural designs of Aulani, a Disney Resort in Oahu Hawaii, I had the biggest goofy (pun intended ; ) ) smile on my face.




The resort is huge (in the best way!) and extremely child friendly.  As soon as you walk in you feel magically transformed into a Disney paradise movie. Everything you could ever need is right at your finger tips and the staff is incredibly friendly– that lovely Aloha spirit.  They even have a free day-care program and special activities for your child/teen to do throughout the day.  Plus, many luxurious (as you’ll read below) way for parents to have fun and relax too.

Here are 5 “Must Dos” and reasons to visit:

1) Their Guided Tour. The entire resort is filled with Hawaiian culture.  Everywhere you look– the artwork, moldings, plants, etc are all rooted deep in Hawaiian tradition. I had no idea about this when I initially walked into the resort but after the tour I spotted these details everywhere– in the lobby, by the pool, at the restaurants, the spa, etc.  It’s so wonderful to find a destination that cares about immersing local cultural into the resort experience. I loved this gorgeous colorful mural that was above the reception area which was made from photography by Hawaiian K-12th graders of “What signifies Hawaii to them.”

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2) Sunrise workout classes:  (check the schedule out here) The perfect way to start your days at Aulani. Hawaiian sunsets are not to be missed (lucky for my I was traveling from New York so I caught every single one!)  Aulani offers many different types of workouts from TRX body blast, yoga, barre, spinning and even out on the water– there is something for everyone!  I highly recommend waking up early to start you day with these activities.

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3) The Laniwai Spa.  I could live there.  They cater to your every need with everything from massages, facials, makeup application, hair, manicures/pedicures– anything your heart desires.  Even a special room for your teenager.   My favorite was the sleep massage– one of the best night sleeps of my life! And another amazing thing? You get to spend as much time as you’d like in their Kula Wai filled with vitality baths and six unique rainfall showers.

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4) Brunch (or breakfast room service!):  I dined at ‘AMA‘AMA for brunch and it was pretty incredible.  This vanilla bean butter was the most delicious thing I ever tasted!  I needed another serving ; )

5) KA WA‘A – A Lūau: I’m so impressed with hula dancing!  The way these women and men move this hips is pretty incredible. It was also a lot of fun to learn more about Hawaiian history and story telling– all while eating traditional Hawaiian food *(yes, I tried everything!) You can also get Hawaiian tribal tattoos and make leis.

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I was very impressed with the entire experience and can’t wait to bring my future littles ones back in 5 years ; )

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Euphebe 28 day “Cut the Crap” ReBoot

Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.  I’ve always had a sweet tooth.  I’m the chick that picks chocolate cake over pretty much anything. I blame my Grandma who eats dessert first ; )

I was excited when Euphebe reached out about their E28 ReBoot “Cut the Crap” program.  They deliver fresh frozen organic meals to you weekly for 4 weeks (they also have a mini-boot program that’s only 14 days).  I was a little skeptical at first as many of these meal program the food doesn’t taste so good but while unfreezing every dish I was pleasantly surprised (and note– I don’t own a microwave so everything was heated on my stove.)

I think there was only 1 out of 40 meals I didn’t like (and I’m quite picky!) My favorite was their Mushroom soup and Black Bean Quesadilla (see above).  I also love their portion size as it made me realize I often eat too much food. They also have a coach on hand at all times for guidance and to answer any questions which I found very helpful.

At each meal they recommend also making a side salad– I often put the meal right on top of the salad.

 Although I didn’t lose any much weight or inches as many of the other participants did ( I’m in pretty good shape if I might add) I have to admit I felt wonderful!  And best of all? I didn’t have or even want to stuff myself at Thanksgiving.  I knew the right portion size and enjoyed all the food that fit in that.

Want to try yourself? TODAY ONLY — enter “Eternal Youth” at checkout for 10% off a ReBoot program

And feel free to ask me any questions below!

Easy Holiday Baking w/ Immaculate Baking

As many of you know, I’m not a big chef or baker (I “assemble” things– smoothie? Salads? I’m your girl).  So when Whole Foods and Immaculate Baking ask to partner with me on a recipe using their products I knew I wanted to do something that looked fancy but was easy to make.

Impress your guests with a simple easy recipe!

Luckily, I was browsing through their recipes and found Ashley from @FitMittenKitchen 2 Ingredient Chocolate Braided Bread — my kinda recipe!  Looks fancy and only has a few ingredients 🙂

First stop: Whole Foods!  I count my blessings every single day as I live next door to a Whole Foods (about 50 steps away here in NYC).

And they are on SALE! Right now if you spend $10 you can save $3

4 Ingredients ( I decided to be an over-achiever):

Step 1: Open Immaculate Baking Package and spread out into a Rectangle

Step 2: Using a spatula, cover rectangle with hazelnut spread (you might need to slightly melt it) leaving about a 1″ perimeter of dough with no chocolate–if you spread all the way to the edges,the chocolate will escape out go all of your dough. (which I did below– oops)

Step 3: Roll it up and cover with parchment paper or mat onto baking sheet and place in freezer for 5-10 minutes. During the time start with the second dough.

Step 4: Leaving an inch on the top fully slice it in half

Step 5: Take both sides and braid them

Step 6: Put the 2 Doughs together and bake on 350 for approx 20 minutes (or until sides are brown)

Option: Lightly sprinkle with sugar

You guests will be impressed and think you spent all day in the kitchen!** I have been compensated by Immaculate Baking for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.