check out amanda’s new website WWW.AMANDAVRAMIREZ.COM. Here she’ll be posting updated class schedule, valuable physical therapy & anatomy information, and sharing quotes and themes from her yoga classes.
amanda’s yoga schedule updated april 2013
South Bay Spring Mind Body Wellness Cleanse
Hello Friends! Check out my latest endeavor Mind-Body Wellness Cleanse!
Location: 409 N Pacific Coast Hwy #205 Redondo Beach, CA (@ studio pulse)
Simple Salmon Cakes with brown rice breading: Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free
Kristen Taylor, salmon cakes, aioli, and allium flowers, September 12, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons License
Just made these super simple Breaded Salmon Cakes- a recipe I tweaked from Stepahnie Lecovin, MS, RD from nutritionhousecalls.com
These guys are dairy free, gluten free & to DIE for! BREADED salmon cakes that are gluten free you say? Yep, it’s true, you can use BROWN RICE “bread crumbs”, genius! Use Brown Rice bread crumbs the same way you’d use regular bread crumbs: breading for seafood, chicken, beef, or pork, use in casseroles, meatloaf or croquettes, or as stuffing mix. I, personally, used Hol Grain Brown Rice Bread crumbs. The ingredients? Straight up Medium Grain brown rice & that’s it.
- Made from 100% Brown Rice
- No Sodium
- No MSG
- No Sugar
- No Cholesterol
- Fat Free
Simple Diary-Free, Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes
- 1-2 lbs of salmon, skin & bones removed, cut into large chunks
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Brown Rice bread crumbs
- Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Place Salmon, Egg, Salt, Pepper, & Lemon Juice in food processor
- Process for about 10 seconds until thoroughly combined- CAREFUL: OVERMIXING= MUSHY SALMON.
- Form into patties
- Sprinkle both sides of patties with brown rice bread crumbs
- Put a bit of olive oil in saute pan & cook patties over medium heat until patties are browned and salmon is thoroughly cooked from within, about 2-3 min per side.
I did 1 lb of Salmon which yielded 6 patties, using 1 1/2 -2 lbs of salmon will yield approx. 10-12 patties. Make them even smaller, stick a toothpick in them & you will be appetizer maker extraordinaire!
ONION LOVERS: Heat ~1 Tbs of olive oil in saute pan. Add 1/2 red onion finely chopped (1/2 onion yields ~1 C chopped). Saute on low to med heat until onions are browned. Remove from heat & set aside in medium bowl. Begin following the steps listed above. After, mix all the ingredients in Step #1 in the food processor, add salmon mixture to bowl & fold in the onions until combined. Move onto Step #3.Cheers to Clean Eating! xoxo ar
Check out more ar-yoga healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free recipes here!
Happy New Year & Happy Birthday AR-Yoga: Healthy celebrations on a budget “how-to’s”
Hello, 2012! 2012 is definitely bringing in lots of change & excitement! Are you ready to take it to the next level? Now, more than ever, is THE time to be in the present moment. INHALE in new beginnings & EXHALE out old patterns that no longer serve you. Breathe in all this fresh, new energy & breathe out all that old, stagnant, stale energy. Be HERE, right NOW. The molecule of this moment is where life is happenin’. Get excited about change, get comfortable with the unknown, and step into the year as the BEST version of yourself! New year, new opportunities. READY, SET, SHINE ON!
Coming into the next cycle & phase is always a reminder to be grateful for where I’ve been and gets me super amped up keep things moving forward. Last year, on 1/1/11, I launched AR-Yoga.com. The times & seasons have come full circle & I am happy to say AR-Yoga has officially turned 1 year old :)
This past year I launched 60 pages worth of content, 53 blog posts & now am offering AR-Yoga services! To continue nourishing my positive and healthy lifestyle, I am happy to say this past year I stepped up my Reiki game, dabbled in shamanism, survived another year of physical therapy school, incorporated more intuitive work into my physical therapy practice, re-connected with Corepower Yoga & started teaching for them again, had major breakthroughs, formed and maintained healthy and positive relationships with myself and others, and accomplished so many more blissful things. So, 2012, BRING. IT. ON!
Within the past year creating this website/blog from the ground up has been equally amazing as it has been frustrating. I’m incredibly grateful to be surrounded by supportive family & friends who encourage me to pursue the things I’m passionate about. AR-yoga.com gives me an opportunity to unite & connect through all things that bring me joy. Last year I said, 2010 allowed me to heal & grow & 2011 was the year for me to continue expressing my Truth. In 2012, my theme is rise & shine. I intend to wake up early, appreciate the sunrises, be prepared to conquer & welcome BIG opportunities, expand my talents, and be ready rise to any occasion that comes my way. Overall, I am committing to put forth the absolute best version of myself in effort to grow, shine, & expand on all levels, minus in the waistline, of course :).
I rang in 2012 surrounded by good people & healthy food. Check out more of my healthy celebrations on a budget “how-to’s” below!
How-To: Throw a Healthy Dinner Party for 15
Hosting a healthy dinner party doesn’t have to be stressful. I hosted a NYE dinner for 15 people at my place, but to keep it simple I asked guests to bring healthy items for a pot luck dinner. If you’re going pot luck style, simply set the stage by throwing out some healthy suggestions for your guests to bring, and as the host provide a super healthy main entree. From there you’ll have a good base and then lots healthy supporting actors. I decided a simply baked slab of salmon, quinoa with veggies mixed in or brown rice, some sort of green salad, and ground turkey lettuce wraps were going to be the bulk of the dinner, from there I delegated other items out & hoped for the best. We had a good turnout of delicious & nutritious dishes. Here’s a peek at some of the items that ened up on our final menu…
- Baked salmon
- Ground turkey lettuce wraps
- Quinoa with veggies mixed in
- Green Salad with pears, grapes, and cranberry vinaigrette dressing
- Tomato basil pasta salad
- fruit platter
- veggie platter
- Cheese spread with whole wheat crackers
- stuffed mushrooms
- chips & salsa
- Almond, cashew, cranberry trail mix
- pumpkin muffins
- 4 gourmet cupcakes for everyone to share
- 1 small red velvet cake
How-To: Decorate for a party on a $ 25 budget
Setting the ambiance for a party can add another element of fun! I decided I was pulling the room together for under $30. My thought processes on how I made that happen is outlined below…
Color: I decided the color scheme for the party was going to be pearl white & gold. Without a doubt, color will set the tone for a party, whether it’s a bright and bold summer soiree or a romantic upscale kinda night.
Do it yourself Hanging Pom-Poms: Made 4 of these for $7. Thank you martha stewart! Check out visual instructions here!
1. Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue. Make 1 1/2-inchwide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.
2. Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist. With scissors, trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes.
3. Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.
4. Tie a length of monofilament to floral wire for hanging.
Do it yourself Banners: I made “hello, twenty twelve”, “happy new year!”, & “cheers” banners using key items I already owned: stock paper, letter stencils, black marker, glue & gold glitter. Choose a few key sayings based on the party you’re throwing and then get to makin’! The reason I like banners is because you can spread them across the entire wall and that’s a lot of real estate that you now have decorated. I chose 2 banners to go over door frames & the the “cheers” banner to go over the drink area.
Lighting: I choose to do soft lighting. I used Christmas lights I already had to outline window frames. I lit a few non-scented candles and since a lot of people were coming over, for safety reasons, I used flameless candles. I headed over to the christmas clearance section at Target & CVS & scored 6 flameless candles for $8! I also happened to be at Goodwill dropping off old clothes and found 3 brand new flameless candles for $3 and 6 brand new floating candles for $2. Never underestimate all the goodies that can be scored on the cheap at second hand stores and thrift shops :) All my lighting cost $13
Table cloths & Napkins: Again made out like a bandit in the holiday clearance section at Target. I Bought 3 gold table cloths for $3. I used the table cloths to: cover the dinner table, drinks table, counter top (makes for easy clean up!), & even covered art I already had on the walls with the gold table cloth & attached my glittery “cheers” banner to it. And for $1 I got 24 gold and white stripped napkins, how fitting :)
Dinner-ware: The beauty of having white as a part of the color scheme was that I was effortlessly able to incorporate the all the plain white dinner plates I already had. I needed bowls to put salsa, trail mix, & fruit in, so I took what I had and simply covered it in aluminum foil. Whala! Now we’ve added silver to the gold and white mix, but the colors still blend together nicely.
Home made wine tags: I had plenty of wine bottles on tap and had several wine glasses that I collected over my many wine tasting adventures. Wine tags needed to come into play so that my guests could keep track of their wine glass throughout the evening. My homemade wine tags were one of my favorite things I made! I had a ton of big in your face decorations, these were the minor detail decoration that helps bring everything together. Other minor detail decorations included sprinkling glitter on the tablecloths and hanging Christmas tree tinsel from the lights and spreading it around the wine glasses & wine bottles
- I took a whole foods paper bag, placed it flat, and cut out 24 circles.
- Using tape, I attached a Christmas ornament hanging wire (which by the way, I got on clearance for 5o cents) to the back of each circle. If Christmas season is not around while you are reading this, paper clips will work just fine.
- I added an outline of gold glitter to the edges of all my circles.
- Finally, I choose positive words that would inspire my friends to start the new year on a good note. I found a font that gave off a vintage typewriter vibe and printed my words, cut them out, & glued them to the center of my circles. Words I choose:Breathe. Wonderful. Dope. Beautiful. Peace. Health. New. Hope. Love. Grateful. Begin. Alive. Fresh. Abundance. Inspire. Heal. Shine on. Happy. Brilliant. Bling. Hello. Prosperity. Truth. Keep it real. Leader. Magic. Surf. Flow. Do.
- I washed all my wine glasses & wrapped the wire around the stem & set them out as a very functional decoration. I had extras so I wrapped them around the neck of the wine bottles. Upon arrival, all the guests were encouraged to choose a wine glass that “spoke” to them or close their eyes and choose a random word that would be their theme for the year.
So that my friends, is how my happening new year came to be. Hopefully, I’ve gotten your gears grinding on how you can add a dash of health & lots of pizzaz into your future shin-digs. To everyone that has supported AR-Yoga in 2011, Thank YOU! Get excited because AR-Yoga has a lot more fun, fresh, exciting content in store for 2012 :)
Shine on party people,
Pack light, stay grounded during travel & safely lift luggage overhead
A principle in life to remember is to travel light. You are traveling all the time. Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light. – Yogi Bhajan
Hi friends! The holidays are in full effect & people traveling from here to there is at it’s peak. I, myself, just went from LAX to Chicago O’hare International Airport. That is 2 hubs of pure madness- happy people, frustrated people, slow people, rushed people- you name it, I saw it. Of course, the physical therapist in me was also assessing everybody’s body mechanics- Ouch! Merry Christmas guy, that’s a rotator cuff injury for you, OoOoo! Happy Hanukkah Lady, neck pain for you, Ahhh! Happy New Year, there goes your low back. Not good folks! According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 54,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, clinics and other medical settings for injuries related to luggage in 2009. Injuries to the shoulder, neck, and back, may be caused by struggling & rushing with heavy, over-packed luggage.
The yogi & physical therapist in me want you to keep calm & travel on- injury free! Below, I pass on traveling tips & inspiring travel quotes. Enjoy! xoxo ar
“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry
1) Keep it simple, keep it light: For starters, avoid buying luggage that is too heavy/bulky when empty. When arranging everything in it’s place, distribute the weight of your items into a couple bags instead of all in one large luggage piece. Lastly, pack lightly. I am the QUEEN of over-packing, but in my 3rd LAX to Chicago holiday traveling season, I may have finally got it down, yeahh! Shop online & have your gifts mailed to your final destination. For the first time, I didn’t check in! THAT SAVED ME as breezed through LAX with a sense of peace knowing I didn’t have to wait in the line to check bags in. The line, by the way, was OUT the door. I used a medium size duffel bag. Inside of it I placed a second small duffel bag, that way when I am on my leg back to Los Angeles, I’ll have a bag that I can check in containing any holiday presents I receive. When using a duffel or shoulder bag, if possible sling it across your chest & be sure to switch sides often. If you find yourself having to lean to one side in order to manage your shoulder bag, it is a sign that your bag is too heavy- either lighten your load or to decrease stress on your spine carry evenly weighted bags in both hands. My second carry on was a backpack. The AAOS has some good tips for backpack users: “When using a backpack, make sure it has two padded and adjustable shoulder straps to equally balance the weight. Choose a backpack with several compartments to secure various-sized items, packing the heavier things low and towards the center. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder does not allow weight to be distributed evenly. This can cause muscle strain.”
“To my mind, the greatest reward & luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
2) Stay grounded in the present moment: When traveling it’s easy for your mind to be in, you know, a tizz- A state of nervous excitement or confusion. We are all guilty of being so concerned about where we are going that we forget where we are. It is essential you stay grounded during travel. It can help you be a smooth operator and allow you to appreciate the small things. Being grounded is an issue that stems from the root (1st) chakra. Being grounded means you’re rooted in the “now” & thus your attention is focused on being in the present moment. When jumping from thought to thought, there’s a natural tendency to disconnect & go off into lala land. Being in monkey mind mode makes it hard to bring your attention to the outward world, remain in the “now”, & focus on the task at hand. So here insert traveling catastrophe- forgot my ID, forgot my money, forgot my camera, or Home Alone status I forgot my kid. On an energetic level, being grounded allows you to draw from the earth’s slower energy in order to be connected in that sense. Connecting to a source, like the earth, that exudes calming energy quiets the mind, grounds you, & brings you back into balance. All those people that are standing in long lines with a sense of peace on their face are the ones that are grounded. They value the mentality that to enjoy your journey you need to not take any given moment for granted & when any given moment arises that is not under your control- you roll with it. Learn more about grounding techniques & meditations on the Focus page under Grounding!
“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan
3) Be mindful & slow down: We’ve all been there- Everyone’s all lined up in the aisle, antsy and rushed to find their seat and get settled & here you are in a tiny 2 foot wide aisle with your 30lb carry-on & the pressure to lift that thing overhead with ease is ON. You’re going to encounter people that get annoyed easily everywhere you go, their problem, not yours…so pause, breathe, and lift slowly.When you assess the risk vs reward of lifting luggage overhead hastily, mindlessly, & carelessly, the risks are: neck, back, & shoulder injuries; the rewards are: getting into your seat maybe 20-30 seconds faster & not annoying some person that shouldn’t even be on the forefront of your concerns. You make the call, are you going to slow down now because it’s your choice or slow down later due to a muscle, ligament, joint sprain or strain?
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
3) Travel Injury-free by carrying & lifting with proper body mechanics: The weight limit for carry-on items is generally about 40 lbs. (18.2 kg.), but think twice before attempting to lift that amount of weight overhead. Now is not the time to be Hercules. If you aren’t accustomed to lifting heavy items, honor your limitations and capabilities & ask for help (ain’t no shame in your game if you do) or stow heavy items under the seat in front of you, not overhead. Even if your carry item is light, but is oddly shaped, keep the following in mind: Leo M. Rozmaryn assessed injuries that occurred from baggage falling from overhead compartments & boxes, picture frames, and other oddly shaped items were the most likely to produce injuries with about 82% of these occurrences producing a bruising or laceration injury. Your journey is just beginning, so ensure that when lifting overhead you start by utilizing proper lifting techniques…
- Get your body as close as possible to the object to be lifted
- Position your feet at least shoulder width apart for stability. A narrow stance sets you up for instability.
- Engage your core for spinal stability & low back injury prevention. When the deep core muscles are activated, the superficial spinal muscles will be less engaged, preventing you from straining them.
- Your leg muscles are stronger than your back muscles. Bend your knees & hips while keeping your back straight as you lift the object.
- Breathe! Inhale to prepare, exhale during the exertion. You will have more power in your lift and avoid the Valsalva Maneuver. The Valsalva Maneuver occurs when you hold your breath during heavy lifting. When holding your breath, you will decrease the venous blood return back to your heart and alter your blood pressure.
- Airplane aisles are small, but try to avoid twisting and bending as much as possible. If you have to twist, stop, move your feet in small steps, and then continue with the lift.
- Break up your overhead lift into several steps. First lift luggage onto the top of the seat, place your hands on the left and right sides of the suitcase, bend your knees & engage your core and lift it into the overhead bin while avoiding arching your back.
- Never lift any object that causes pain!
- If asking for help or 2 people are working to get something up overhead, communicate with each other! Tell the other person when you are letting go or if you feel that you are losing your grip to avoid injuring fellow passengers or flight attendants lending you a hand.
In the following video, Manu Kalia, a Physical Therapist who integrates Exercise Science and Ayurveda, demonstrates proper body mechanics and posture for squatting and lifting with an emphasis is on low back injury prevention.
Holistic Cancer Care
Cancer is a difficult diagnosis to take on, but whether it’s you or a loved one , make sure to keep the faith because the human spirit is resilient and attitude is a small thing that can make a big difference. Here, learn more about integrative cancer care for the WHOLE person. AR-yoga intends to empower you with information and provide you with guidance and support! Stay positive!
If you have already been diagnosed with cancer or are an advocate for someone with cancer, quality care is probably on your radar. Quality care is going to entail working with health professionals & cancer care providers that acknowledge there are several components to your well-being & are willing to take the “big picture” into consideration.
Embodiworks states, “Attention to the whole person is returning to the practice of health care. We, as human beings, are dynamic living systems integrating many parts that create the whole of who we are. Care for people with cancer is optimally provided in an integrative cancer care model addressing the whole person.”
Some of my favorite resources that highlight holistic care for cancer patients below…
1) EmbodiWorks.org educates & empowers people affected with cancer. They offer integrative cancer care information based on healing within 5 domains: Mind, Body, Spirit, Social, & Environmental. If you are a cancer care provider and/or other health care professional, know that they also offer evidence-based information & innovative strategies to better support patients with cancer and improve components of health models. EmbodiWorks has MDs, PhDs, and other integrative professionals on their Integrative Cancer Care Advisory Board offering expert input.
2) WeSpark.org is based in Los Angeles, CA. If you’re in the area check out this special place dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for cancer patients, their families & friends. They provide you with the encouragement, support & information you seek to help heal your mind, body and spirit. FREE cancer support services that they offer to patients, their families, & friends include: Reiki, Yoga, Pilates, Meditation, Hypnotherapy, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Reflexology, support groups, & so many other unique services!
Below, explore what both of these sites have to offer, right here on ar-yoga.com!
A day of surprises, peace, & presence: pressed juicery, yoga sculpt, seed bistro, willow spa facial & enzyme bath
This past week I had a day well spent exploring the Westside of LA. I crafted this day with the intention of wanting to gift my main squeeze, Ciav, a day of peace. Ciav is a computer programmer with such high energy he could power a small village. Although I am always amazed by his ability to keep his mind dialed in & body in motion, it is a well known fact that no one can operate at such intensity all the time. Hence, I arranged for his holiday present to be a day of being mellow & completely unplugged from technology. Sit tight as I re-cap the agenda of one of the healthiest, awesomest, most organic, most relaxing Mondays I’ve had this year! In the words of Raw Chef Ani Phyo “I love living in LA. Blessed to have access to the best organic produce, nature, fashion, restaurants & food, green businesses, & great people.” Perhaps I’ll inspire YOU to explore all that LA has to offer.
8 am: Pick Up
Ciav arrives at my place & all he knows is that there is a day planned full of surprises. He received some clues the night before in instructions that stated: “Pick me up promptly at 8am & wear workout clothes. Bring yoga mat, towel, water, a casual outfit, & something to read for about an hour-technology is NOT allowed :)”
8:15 am: On our Way
It’s official ladies & gentlemen, Ciav’s out of the “bubble” aka his comfort zone. We are exiting Manhattan Beach & traveling north on the 405. The anticipation is killing him- Where are we going? What are we doing? What’s the surprise? Where’s the surprise? Can I know? Can you tell me? Now, I know Ciav doesn’t do well with surprises, but OoOooO-Weee, he has taken it to a whole new level this time. Of course the torture ensues, & I tell him to keep on driving. After heading north bound on the 405 for about 30 minutes we pull off at the Wilshire West Exit. I teach at the Corepower Yoga Wilshire location, so Ciav is convinced we are headed to the studio. C’mon now, would I be that obvious? No way. MmmHmm, that’s right mister, keep on driving, in fact turn Right at the street BEFORE you pass the studio ;)
9:15 am: Pressed Juicery @ 13050 San Vicente Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90049
We arrive at PRESSED JUICERY! FREE street parking, heck yeah! It’s a bit tricky to find because it’s not located on the storefront, it’s actually tucked away in the courtyard of the complex. Good energy in the courtyard- tables, plants, fountains, & outdoor space heaters! If you see a Starbucks you’re in the right building. Don’t be tempted to make a “quick” stop in Starbucks! Think outside the confines of your coffee cup & keep walking! Fresh Pressed Juice awaits you a few steps beyond the iconic coffee shop.
So what’s this place all about? Juicing? The concept of juicing at PRESSED lies in the mentality that “our bodies require vital nutrients to function at their optimal levels, and the quickest and most natural way to get them is through fresh juice.” They also have a unique method in which they extract their juices- the employee at the storefront informs us that the whole process takes about 7 hours. Read on….
“Our juices are produced on a hydraulic press which extracts the finest produce straight from the pulp, minimizing oxidation and releasing vitamins, minerals, and enzymes into each juice that are impossible to yield from a normal juicer. Our juice is 100% raw and unpasteurized, giving it a three-day shelf life. Your mind and your body will thank you for delivering pure, living nutrients straight to your bloodstream, energizing and alkalizing your system back into a balanced state.”
They have quite the selection of about 28 PRESSED juices, waters, & signature drinks to choose from- everything from greens to roots to detoxes to “milks.” I choose “Greens 3″ a delicious concoction of kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, & ginger! Ciav picks “Detox 2″ a simple blend of pineapple, green apple, & mint. We also get almond milk consisting of almonds, dates, vanilla bean, filtered water, & sea salt. Juices come in 16 oz bottles & are $6.50, 16 oz Signature drinks run for $8.
We notice that they have supplements too. We read, “Our natural boosts contain blends of Chinese, Aryuvedic, & other medicinal herbs & extracts designed to be take alone or added to any of our juices for additional health benefits.” OoO! Our interest is piqued! All weekend, leading up to this extravagant Monday, Ciav was plagued by the sniffles, so we think it’s appropriate to check out the “Cold & Flu Buster” which claims to be a maximum strength immunity boost, composed of elderberry, goldenseal, astragalus, & echinacea, among others. It is designed to ease symptoms of the common cold & influenza once they’ve started. For a little pick me up to begin our day we also get “Energy,” a blend of ginseng, gotu kola, rhodiola, riboflavin 5-phosphate & other nutrients to help your body adapt to stress, recover fatigue & rebuild stamina. Since I know the overall theme of the day is unwinding, “Relax” seems to be very fitting too. Chamomile, L-theanine, & passionflower are said to reduce stress, tension, & anxiety, promoting a sense of calm & well-being. Supplements come in 1 oz jars & are $10 a pop. We were told that you dispense one droplet underneath your tongue, ideally in the morning. Each container has about 30 droplets so they should last you about a month. According to the employee, there are no storing instructions to follow (their display of supplements is at room temp) & they don’t have expiration dates, but I am assuming you want to avoid extreme temps & the longer you store these concoctions, the more likely they are to dilute over time- that’s my take.
We take a seat in the courtyard, LET THE TASTE TESTING BEGIN! I love my “greens 3″ juice! Lets be real, “green” drinks are more of an acquired taste, but this tastes fresh & has a hint of sweetness, thank you apple! & a bit of zing compliments of the supporting role played by ginger. I’d highly recommend it! It took Ciav 2 sips to agree. Ciav’s “detox 2″ drink is a bit sweeter so it went down a little easier, but the mint is a clutch ingredients for this balanced blend. We like! We used the almond milk the next morning in our oatmeal…mmm AWESOME! It went down a little TOO smoothly :)
Now onto supplement testing! Ciav puts a droplet of “Cold & Flu Buster” under his toungue & oh man, that face doesn’t look like he’s diggin’ that so much…haha. He manages & reports it was tough at first, but now that it’s washed down he hardly notices what it tastes like. Onto “Energy.” Similar face elicited by “Energy.” My turn to taste. Interesting- harsh taste of herbs in YO FACE. Okay, it’s not that bad, just overwhelming at first. That was fun. Probably 15 minutes after the “Energy” hit, I am starting to feel a good zap of energy flow into my body & I am ready for the next event! I consult with how Ciav is feeling & he says he still feels about the same, which is probably a good thing because his high energy questioning about where we are headed is ALREADY gotten to next, next, neeext level.
Read more about PRESSED Juicery here- You can buy cleanses or juices in bulk, and check out their full menu and other locations throughout LA.
10:30 am:Core Power Yoga @ 11819 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90049
Okay, so I did say bring a yoga mat, towel, & water aaand we are in the vicinity of a CorePower Yoga, so yes, Yoga is on the agenda. The CorePower Yoga Wilshire location is only 2 miles away from PRESSED Juicery, a quick 5 minute drive- so it would actually be a shame if we didn’t squeeze in an hour long flow into our day! Plus, FREE Parking in the underground garage- zing! The plan was to start our day on a healthy note with nourishing juices, then keep the momentum going by incorporating an invigorating workout into our day. If you’re thinking “yoga” & “invigorating workout” shouldn’t be in the same sentence, think again! We attend the 10:30 am Yoga Sculpt class. Yoga Sculpt is a unique flow that incorporates weights to strengthen & lengthen, all while staying true to the philosophy behind yoga. If you’re intimidated, don’t be! A heated room (about 90 degrees) & music set the stage to get you moving & the invigorating flow challenges not only the strength of your physical body, but also the mind & spirit.
I teach Yoga Sculpt on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm at Wilshire which makes me even more motivated to get my booty into other instructors classes because it keeps things fresh. Sitting in the student seat & handing over the reins to another instructor is always a humbling experience. Perhaps other instructors can relate- it’s tough to not hyper-analyze- “Oh, I would do this.. or Ah, I am definitely going to do that in my next class…” Taking other instructor’s classes is a blessing & a curse, but that’s the only way you can keep your sequences fresh & find growth in your own practice. Here, the Ego is NOT your Amigo. So alas, I had energy, I brought the noise, & when I felt spent, I modified. Every second of sweat dripping off my bod was well worth the work. Feeling alive & awake in my own body- LOVE IT!
Prior to class starting, were sitting on our mats getting settled into the room & Ciav turns to me & asks, “what are we doing next.” I’d like to think I didn’t snap, but maybe I did? Who knows. I said something along the lines of, “Is it possible for you just to enjoy what we are doing right now and stop asking what we’re doing next? We get to one destination and you can barely show up to the occasion because you’re so caught up in what’s happening next. You’re at yoga and that’s what’s happening NOW, so don’t be concerned about anything else. I think today is going to be day for you learn the lesson of being “present” in your life, how’s that for a present?” Surprisingly, my tough love is well received as he nods in agreement & says, “You’re right, I am going to focus on being here.” At the end of our 60 minute sweat sesh he comes up to me and tells me that he set the intention to be present on his mat & that it really transformed his practice. Very Cool! If you’re interested in some transforming of your own, check out CorePower Yoga Wilshire, your first week is FREE. Just make sure to tell ‘em you were reading this awesome blog & Amanda R. sent you ;)
Now that we’ve put in WORK, we take our time as we shower up because CorePower has the BEST locker rooms out of any other yoga studio I’ve been to (I am not just saying that because I work there). They are well maintained & fully equipped with all the necessary amenities- from shampoo to blow dryers & everything else in between. After swapping sweaty clothes for casual get ups, we have definitely built up a well deserved appetite. At this point, I don’t think it will make or break any surprises if I reveal that lunch is scheduled into our day :)
12 pm: Seed Bistro @ 11917 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90025
Seed Bistro is literally right down the street from CorePower Yoga, like POINT one mile, 2 minute walk status. We walk over to Seed Bistro- which has kinda funky lunch & dinner hours- open 11:30 am – 2:00 pm Monday thru Friday • 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm Monday thru Saturday • Sunday closed. As we head over, my taste buds are dancing because I’ve previously experienced Seed’s culinary amazingness. I have only eaten at the Venice location (read my review here), so I am curious to see what this Bistro is all about. To sum it up, this is what they have to say about themselves….
“We believe that food is an essential source of our energy, health and happiness. In the same way that a seed provides the beginnings for a vibrant plant, the food we eat provides the beginnings for a vibrant life. At Seed Bistro we strive to share with you the fundamentals of our beliefs, experiences, and source of strength and happiness through the food we serve. The cuisine at Seed Bistro is organic, vegan, and macrobiotic, handcrafted and beautifully designed by Chef Eric Lechasseur and his wife, Sanae Suzuki, a macrobiotic counselor. At Seed Bistro the food is prepared fresh daily using macrobiotic principles to create a balanced meal., and we use locally grown organic produce whenever possible. Macrobiotic means “big life” and is a system of eating and a lifestyle approach that support and nourish your mind, body and spirit. Chef Eric prepares also gluten free dishes and his specialty desserts are all refined-sugar free, and some gluten free. The lunch menu is reminiscent of our sister location, Seed Kitchen in Venice, California which is Grab ‘n Go fare, but Seed Bistro steps it up to casual fine dining. The dinner menu is absolutely delicious healthy foods with beautiful presentation. Satisfying the eyes, the mind, and the body, you will look and feel great after eating Seed Bistro’s food. At Seed Bistro, we make our best efforts for offering a healthy plant-based menu that not only nourishes the mind, body, and spirit, but helps reduce our impact on the planet as well. As an eco-friendly restaurant, every detail goes into consideration for the health and well-being of our customers as well as our planet.”
I dig Macrobiotics because you embrace natural, seasonal, local, organic foods and balance your physical, mental, & spiritual states. Macrobiotics is DEEP- it goes beyond just diet recommendations, there’s actually a whole philosophy behind it. I enjoy that the philosophy entails using food & awareness to create a rich, fulfilling, exciting, & satisfying life for yourself. If you’re interested in reading more check it out my Macrobiotic explanation & insights here!
Onto the FOOD! We start with the soup of the day which is Celery Root Soup. Rich, creamy, delectable- this is vegan, right? Can’t tell the difference. Yum! Ciav has no idea what Macrobiotics is, but I love that he likes being exposed to new things. We want to try a bit of everything, so we choose to split a cold salad & a hot lunch entree. The salad we pick is kale, quinoa, avocado lemon,wasabi, nori, and dill for $12. The presentation of this bad boy is impeccable; Kale and quinoa have never looked so darn sexy stacked on my plate like that. We also choose to indulge in the sai sai donburi macro bowl for $12. It’s a steamy plate of kale, bean of the day, squash, shitake, bean sprouts, pickled vegetables, & a choice of brown rice or quinoa- we load up on more quinoa for an added protein boost. WHfoods.org provides tons of reasons why quinoa is a superfood- but most notably, “not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all 9 essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.”
Food is delicious. We both enjoy the Macro bowl more. I know I liked it more because I was craving some warmth since it was chilly outside. Look at me, finding the balance in life, hot food to even out the cold weather- how “macro” of me. But for real, it is cold outside, I know this is supposed to be LA & all, but sunny SoCal is 44 degrees, thus we opt to try some warm green tea & brown rice blend. Sounds interesting, why not? It was good enough that we order a second round.
As we take the time to indulge our senses & take in this whole experience, Ciav gives me my Christmas gift. He presents me with socks (I told ya, it’s cold outside!) & a KINDLE TOUCH! Ohh, the irony of planning a day of “unplugging” from technology. From this day we must subtract the moments I used my camera to capture all these beautiful moments aaand this moment right now in which we are going to take to play with my new Kindle!!! eeeek! so excited! Geek mode moment of thinking how much more interesting my research articles are going to be when I read them on the beach from my glare free screen. Okay, I know I was complaining that I was cold, so pardon my bratty I am gonna go read on the beach moment.
So somewhere in between macro bowl and plugging back into technology we decide were totally game for DESSERT! We are human, ya know. No questions asked, the $9 pumpkin pie it is. I DIE. It’s beyond amazing, more! more! MORE!! Delicious pumpkin pie, you certainly HEAL me. We ask the waiter where they source the crack they put in it & he tells us they are usually pretty open about telling you what’s in their dishes, but the desserts are a whole different ball game- TOP SECRET. He gives away the obvious ingredient- pumpkin. Thanks, guy. Who cares what’s in it though? I could go on for hours talking about this beautifully presented, sinful dessert, but I’ll spare you. All you need to know is try it. Check out more about Seed Bistro here!
2 pm: Willow Spa @ 3127 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90404
After being fully satisfied, we get up and bring movement back into our bodies by walking a mere 0.8 miles (15 minutes) to Willow Spa. Now this place is a real GEM. We have both been here before & received massages so Ciav doesn’t know where we’re walking to, but when he arrives, he will know exactly where he is. He’ll know he’s stepping into THE definition of an urban oasis.
“Willow Spa is a Tropical Asian influenced Wellness Spa, offering personalized, effective and unique treatments not found elsewhere in LA. The spa not only provides a unique, lush escape from the burdens of everyday life, but captures true holistic care, offering education and expert advice on health and well-being. You can be guided as much or little as you’d like along your path towards balance, relaxation, and rejuvenation.” Apparently Willow Spa was started by 3 women, 2 chiropractors & a massage therapist who decided to join forces to offer services that combined the traditional spa with the preventative discipline of a clinic. I LIKE…A LOT!
We change into the lounge wear & slippers provided by our greeter & then meet back outside. Thank God for blankets & space heaters! The scenery is gorgeous… complete with exotic, fragrant flowers, the sound of running waterfalls, streams, and lantern lit stone walkways leading to cabanas and day beds around a lush relaxing garden. I take this opportunity to revisit our supplements from PRESSED. We add a droplet of “Relax” under our tongue. Wow, this one actually tastes good! I feel okay, but literally 15 minutes after Ciav says, “I’m totally feeling this. Are you? I feel completely relaxed.” Interesting side note that I am more mellow and was more affected by “energy” & Ciav’s body- super high energy- was more influenced by “relax”. These supplements are onto something with the ability to balance your chemistry. Neat.
It is a Monday, so it’s not crowded whatsoever- we kinda get to sprawl out! I chose to go on a Monday because they run a promotion called Detox Mondays- When you book an Enzyme Bath with a facial, you get 50% off your facial. YES, Please!
While I get my hour long facial, I encourage Ciav to read the book he brought, but he ends up peacefully napping. That works too. I got the Eminence Organic Facial. The Eminence line is handmade, all-natural organic products from Hungary and are a delight for your senses. Using medicinal herbs and fruits to give lasting results, you’ll have a clear, balanced and revitalized complexion. Highlights include using paprika to open pores, natural fruit acids to remove dead skin cells, naseberry or stone crop to hydrate, lemon to clarify, and peach to provide vitamins to the skin. Just what I needed.
Ciav heads in next for his FIRST facial. He’s a dude’s dude, has no idea what to expect so I took all the guessing out & booked him The Gentlemen’s Organic Retreat. This is a real man’s facial using natural organic products especially selected for a man’s skin and individual needs. This treatment is excellent for all skin types including those suffering from over exposure to the sun. This facial is wonderfully relaxing and fantastic for keeping a man’s skin in optimal condition. Treatment features Eminence products. Meanwhile, I read some magazines & relax. He comes out & his skin is GLOWING, he looks great!
One of the greatest things about booking a service with Willow Spa is that you get a complimentary foot massage. This is no “standard” foot bath. It’s 15 minutes of pure bliss for your feet. They are immersed in warm water, sprinkled with Epsom salt, rose petals, and grapefruit slices, all while someone delightfully massages out any foot aches. HEAVEN. We enjoy our foot soak and massage as we drink a woodsy enzyme tea and Akatsuki Enzyme Drink that soothes the body and stimulates enzyme activity within. All done right before we head into our ENZYME BATH.
ENZYME BATH? Explanation Please. You are in your bathing suit and are guided into your own private wooden tub and gently covered with a combination of finely cut wood shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. The natural activity of the enzymes breaks down the other ingredients to create a deep, penetrating, heat. While immersed in the Willow Enzyme Bath, your body’s muscles begin to relax, your circulation is increased and your skin is cleansed. This deep heating treatment was originally developed in Japan for the athletes in the Olympics. Max treatment time in bath is 20 minutes and every 5 minutes you are provided with a refreshing lavender compress for your face and water to drink. It’s hot in there! After your bath, your technician assists you out of the bath to another area where the wood shavings are brushed and rinsed from your body. Then you go into the relaxation area where they top it all of with a Thai massage for the lower body. The Benefits of an enzyme bath include…
- Instant relaxation from the soothing heat
- Boost circulation
- Detoxify the body
- Improve mobility
- Relieve joint and muscle pain
- Ease tension and fatigue
- Improve digestion
- Reduce injury
- Calm nerves
We both emerge from our Enzyme Bath Sessions totally zen-ed out. Perfect end to the day. A day full of indulgence indeed! Learn more about what Willow Spa has to offer here. If you go, tell them Amanda Ramirez referred you :)
In order to work this day of yummy-ness into my budget, I taught extra yoga classes the month of November and cut back on spending in other departments. Life is all about balance, work hard & reward yourself often, ideally before you burn out. You don’t need to do something extravagant every time you reward yourself, try finding joy in the act of going on a simple walk in the middle of the work day. This mentality is summed up in the following scene from one of my favorite books, Eat, Pray, Love….
Luca Spaghetti: Americans. You work too hard, you get burned out. You come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the T.V.
Liz: That’s not far off, actually.
Luca Spaghetti: But you don’t know pleasure. You have to be told you’ve earned it. You see a commercial that says: ‘It’s Miller Time!’ And you say, That’s right, now I’m going to buy a six pack. And then drink the whole thing and wake up the next morning and you feel terrible. But an Italian doesn’t need to be told. He walks by a sign that says: You deserve a break today. And he says, Yes, I know. That’s why I’m planning on taking a break at noon to go over to your house and sleep…with your wife!”
Giovanni: We call it “dolce far niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing.
After a day of of healing & relaxation, we walk back to the car while eating green apples & discussing how re-charged we are from the day.You can consider this our version of “dolce far niete.” This Christmas present certainly taught us both how to value surprises, peace, & presence.
This holiday season stay grounded & find new ways to ignite the spark that inspires you to live a more vibrant life! xoxo ar
23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?
The following lecture is super rad. A Doctor-Professor answers the old question “What is the single best thing we can do for our health” in a revolutionary way. In all my years of hovering over research, never have I been so engaged. For all those looking to incorporate A lifestyle change that will have a significant impact in your life, you must watch this..it is wonderfully presented! ONE lifestyle change you say? Yep, in fact it’s so simple, it’s mindblowing.What is it? What is it? I can’t give it away, but I will tell you, this video is worth watching & it makes me beyond happy that I stepped into the profession of Physical Therapy. So alas, Physical Therapists & Health/Wellness/Fitness Professionals rejoice because we have a dope video that supports our efforts. I will definitely be forwarding this to some of my patients & clients and filing this post under the fitness page! CHEERS to well-delivered, evidence-based advice to improve health and life in general. Enjoy folks & don’t forget preventative health is YOUR choice. xoxo ar
ar-yoga gets a new look and is now offering services!
The rumor is true! AR-Yoga got a facelift. Lots of exciting new ways to connect & tons of new things to explore on the site. Most notably, SERVICES! Yep, AR-Yoga, based out of Manhattan Beach, CA, is now offering services. As of this week, AR-yoga officially announces the launch of 10 one-of-a-kind services. Each service is uniquely crafted & structured to expand awareness, promote transformation, & inspire you to maintain an ongoing commitment to your health & wellness. Services were scheduled to launch in 2012, but lots of hard work went down behind the scenes & services are available NOW. So is it a coincidence that services went live 10 days before Christmas? Of course not, AR-yoga doesn’t believe in coincidences. All is divinely orchestrated to happen at the right moment, at the right time, and the right time for AR-Yoga Services to be experienced by all is NOW. Once you read all the details & choose the service you’d like to experience, use AR-Yoga’s easy booking tool to schedule today. Be sure to check out all the shiny, exciting new-ness that the site has to offer & while you’re at it, click the facebook like button below or on the homepage to show your love & support! With an immense amount of gratitude, xoxo ar