Surfing is my yoga, Surfing is my meditation

As you’re sitting there, chillin’, breathin’, reading this post, I thought I’d take a moment to say thanks for supporting AR-yoga! The word “yoga” is commonly associated with physical postures (asanas), but in Sanskrit, yoga simply means “to yoke, unite.” Thus, “yoga” can take on many different forms. AR-yoga was created based on my intention to unite & connect through ALL things that bring me joy. That goes beyond the physical practice of yoga postures (asanas), rather, this sacred space I’ve created under the domain name is a platform for me to express & share the things that I have explored & become passionate about- food, fitness, meditation, physical therapy, yoga, adapting yoga for disabilities, energy healing, photography, music, philosophy, & many more blissful things :)

Over the past year I’ve been immersed into surf culture. Which, of course, is pretty rad. Living in sunny SoCal, I don’t think I would let myself live it down if I didn’t take the opportunity to learn how to surf and find inner bliss on a board. Now everything from surf reports of glassy conditions to getting barreled and rodeo flipping my way off a wave have been on my radar. Although a newbie to the sport, I embrace everything surfing has to offer & can often see the parallels it has to my physical & mental yoga practice- patience, core strength, balance, awareness of breath (mmm, yeah…hello washing machine), self-study, & surrender. When someone says that they consider surfing their yoga or meditation, I totally get it. Learning to surf has given me an opportunity to explore the art of connecting with myself while simultaneously being a part of something so super mega bold and big, it’s beyond me. Join me, as I take you on a journey of finding spirituality in surfing.

The book, Spirituality: Living With Connectedness, describes aspects of spirituality in a dope way. It states, “Spiritual practices (including meditation, prayer and contemplation) are intended to develop an individual’s inner life; spiritual experience includes that of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self that interacts with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the divine realm.” Let’s explore meditation as a part of a spiritual practice…Meditation involves quieting the mind in order to redirect your attention into the present. Disengaging prior to focusing sounds like the ultimate paradox. Which may be why “reaching a meditative state” can be such an elusive concept. The focus page allows me to share ways in which meditation has become more accessible to me. On the focus page, I share the idea that it’s possible to quiet the mind while engaging in movement- known as moving meditation. It can be experienced during activities like swimming, running, hiking, painting, surfing, doing yoga or tai chi. When the body is moving & the mind is in sync with that & fully present, a meditative state may be easier for some to achieve. It has been described as feeling like you don’t even have to try, as if you’re connected to something much bigger than yourself.

For some, surfing goes beyond a lifestyle, rather, its a spiritual journey of sorts because riding waves is where they find their peace. I want to highlight how meditation can come to people in many forms- in this case, specifically, surfing. Kelly Slater has a strong yoga practice and acknowledges that there’s an interplay between the time his mind spends on the yoga mat & the show his physical and spiritual bodies’ put on in the water. After a day of pulling a few Kelly Slater tricks of my own while surfing 26th st in Manhattan, it occurred to me to me that I should ask some of the avid surfers that surround me for their perspective, opinion, insights, and thoughts on why surfing calms, relaxes, and resets them. Below, you’ll find quotes from people describing moments that capture this idea of “Surfing is my Yoga, Surfing is my Meditation.”

  • Surfing…is just that, its surfing. Its a part of me & I actually believe I need it more than I need sleep. I have been asked many a time from family and friends, “Why do you love surfing so much and what would you do with out it?” My answer usually starts with a smile. I am smiling because I am thinking about surfing and the joy it brings me- from the big days when I just get worked by mother nature to the small days when there are barley any waves at all. Once my mind and body are in the ocean everything goes away and all I think about is surfing, the water, and how breathtaking it all is. No matter what is happening in my day, in my week, and even in my life, all that really matters is that ONE moment in time when I’m surfing. In the past I’ve said, “surfing is my meditation”, but until I was asked to write this, I never really placed too much thought on what that actually means. All I know is that when I try to meditate, relax, breathe, and only think about my breath, I can never really get my mind still and/or silent enough to actually clear my head and “meditate.” But when it comes to surfing, it is all about clearing my mind. The calmness of the ocean, the feeling of mother nature picking me up and giving me a ride, or mother nature slapping me with water and telling me its all ok, just relax and feel the energy of the board underneath me- that’s when I feel in the moment & one with mother nature. All I can say is that I can’t really explain what surfing means to me without smiling and dreaming of surfing and how truly and honestly happy it makes me. Being a high energy guy, surfing is the one thing that balances me out, & really makes me the person and being I am today. -Ciav (Ciav moved from Chicago to California with every intention of learning how to surf. In fact, years prior to making the move, in moments of extreme clarity, his intuition always guided him back to this idea that he was born to surf. Now, happily immersed in the Hermosa Beach scene-he’s out in the water more days than not, sometimes even up to twice a day. He practices yoga, kills it in beach volleyball, and enjoys his full time gig as computer programmer. You can keep up with him at And P.S He really is always smiling.)
  • “Surfing is the only time I am truly at peace. The daily grind of the work commute, managing bosses and employees expectations, financial concerns, etc just disappears when I’m in the water. Even on a small day I can sit and watch the dolphins play in the water, the seagulls divebomb, the occasional seal poke his head up…where else can you be this close to nature in its purest form? And then on bigger days, when you catch that perfect right, you and the wave are in perfect harmony, & you’re jamming down it like it was what you were born to do- there is no other place I would rather be. To me, that’s pure joy. So needless to say, whether its a great surf day or bad surf day, it doesn’t matter, when I am in the water it’s always a great day.” -JPac (JPac was born & raised shreddin’ waves on the west coast. He actually didn’t pick up his first board until high school. In college, he had a 4 year stint on the east coast, but knew that California was where he needed to be. He moved back to Cali, taught himself how to surf in his late 20′s, calls HB home, & catches waves on the reg. He does his thing as an operations manager for a pharmaceutical company, is happily married to his super rad wifey, and is expecting twins in the spring of 2012.)
  • “Air’s natural tendency is to move from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. We call this movement wind. When wind flickers across the ocean’s surface, it produces small ripples which provide a greater surface area that can then catch more of that blowing wind. Eventually these ripples become larger and larger until they cohere into wavelets and eventually waves, attaining their greatest size when they come closest to matching the wind’s speed. What makes this whole chain of events slightly stranger is that it is not the water itself traveling across the ocean as a wave, but merely the memory of the original wind’s energy being constantly transferred as vibration from one neighboring water molecule to the next. When I heard the roar of that wave behind me at Nusa Dusa, what I was actually hearing was the sound of the past arriving in the present with me directly in its path.” While effortlessly gliding down the face of a wave, “I didn’t know where I ended and where the wave began.” -Steven Kotler (Author of popular surfing memoir, West of Jesus: Surfing, Science and the Origins of Belief.)
  • “Yoga and surfing intersect on mental and spiritual planes…There was a poster of Swami Satchidananda, founder of Integral Yoga, in a full, flowing white robe and white beard surfing a Hawaiian wave. It read: ‘You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.’ The saying speaks to a key yogic teaching about the mind: While you may not be able to calm your mind into permanent and utter stillness, you can learn to relate to the endless waves of thought in a more free and skillful way in order to surf them with grace…In surfing, just like Life, you learn that even the less-than-perfect waves & days are composed of the same substance, the same beautiful saltwater, as the perfect ones, and they can be experienced just as fully. Surfing, like yoga, is a challenge worth meeting day after day after day, no matter the conditions.” -Jaimal Yogis (Jaimal penned the book Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea- a chronicle of finding meditative focus in the barrel of a wave & eternal truth in the great salty blue. Check out the killer article he wrote for Yoga Journal entitled “Riding the Waves.”)
  • “We are united with the energy of the ocean. I don’t think there’s a real surfer alive who doesn’t have some sort of spiritual experience every time they paddle out.” -Peggy Hall (Creator of DVD series “Yoga for Surfers”)
  • Q & A sesh with well-known California based yogi, instructor, & surfer- Shiva Rea: “Do you consider surfing a part of your spiritual practice? One thousand and eight percent. Wave riding is a deep spiritual transmission of the pulsation and wave energy that is the essence of life. Has surfing affected your yoga practice and your teaching? My entire orientation to living yoga is about realizing waves of consciousness as the underlying flow of all that manifests reality. This translates physically as being able to feel pulsation and the flow of the fluid body…Surfing and yoga Palos verdes, cove, surf, sunsetcomplement each other, because they both hone and tone the fluid body. Have you had any transformative experiences in the water? Meditating during epic sunrises and chanting the Gayatri between waves. Surfing with dolphins right here in Malibu. Rainbows and sunsets while full moons are rising…there are so many experiences that they have all merged. The No. 1 reason to surf is to experience some of the most beautiful moments in nature you will ever have.” (Shiva Rea created a popular yoga & surfing DVD called “Surf Yoga Soul”. With the tai chi-like Wave Meditation she leads below, anyone can pick up on the energy of surfing in 3 short min.)
  • “The real zen of surfing, for me, is being in the moment, completely. As the wave presents itself, you do what is possible or what is asked of you to do. You find that line, you find the timing, & it’s just strange how if you do an off lip at the right section, it sets you up for the next section perfectly. There’s some kind of connection between people and the environment that seems so natural and when it’s done the right way & you see someone link things together on a wave in all the right ways, it’s like that thing already existed and that’s exactly what was supposed to happen. My ultimate goal is to tune into that at all times, my ultimate in life is to feel like I am really in tune.” -Kelly Slater (Slater is a 10x ASP world champion. Check him out below in Quicksilver’s Kelly Slater Mind, Body, Surf Series: The Mind Episode)

For more surf and yoga inspiration check out my Healthy Yoga, Surf, Music Road Trip up the Historic CA Highway 1, my Sunny-Sandy-Happiness Board on Pinterest, or my yoga surf music playlist below!

Always here to keep things flowin’,

xoxo ar

Cincopa WordPress plugin


Squash & Chickpea Moroccan Stew

I love finding new ways to incorporate more squash onto my plate this fall season. Squash & chickpea moroccan stew, courtesy of Yoga Journal’s Nov. 2011 issue, was just the meal I was jonesing for. It’s grounding, comforting, delicious, & nutritious. Its a vegan recipe, but for all my omnivore friends out there-try adding in some boiled chicken (the kind that’s tender & falls off the bone). For a bit of a protein boost, I chose to mix the stew with quinoa. 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.” 1/3 C of quinoa has 6 grams of protein & a general rule of thumb is that an ounce of meat or fish has approximately 7 grams of protein. Another added bonus is that quinoa is gluten free.

Winter Squash is in season and there are many compelling reasons why it should be incorporated into your life this fall. Check out it’s nutritional profile (provided by WH foods) on the right. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, this veggie is a vibrant orange hue thanks to the fact that it packs tons of carotenoids. What can high-carotenoid foods do for you?

  • Their powerful antioxidant effect can protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals
  • Provide a source of vitamin A
  • Enhance the functioning of your immune system
  • Help your reproductive system function properly

Winter squash is rich in vitamins- A, K, C, E & B, trace minerals- manganese & potassium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, and folic acid.

For other fun fall meals check out Favorite Healthy Vegan Recipes for the Fall & Holiday Seasons

Squash & chickpea moroccan stew

4 servings

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 C vegetable broth
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled & diced large
  • 3/4 pound red potatoes, dice large
  • 2 C drained, cooked chickpeas
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • pinch saffron, optional
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped (Many Moroccan & Middle Eastern recipes call for preserved lemons- lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices. I did not add this, but if you’re feeling up to it, try this preserved lemon recipe from epicurious)
  • 1 C brined green olives, preferably Cerignola
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, & cinnamon. Cook until the onions are soft & translucent, about 5 min.
  2. Stir in the broth, squash, potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, & saffron (if using). Season with salt & pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, & simmer until the squash & potatoes are fork tender. 30-45 min.
  3. Remove from heat & stir in preserved lemon and olives.
  4. Serve over couscous or quinoa

Looking to make all of this absolutely effortless? Try throwing everything into a crockpot!

Happy Cooking!




Bija Mantras- The Sounds of the Chakras: LAM VAM RAM YAM HAM OM

What is a Mantra? A sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation.” The Sanskrit word mantra consists of the root man- “to think” (also in manas “mind”) and the suffix -tra, meaning “tools or instruments”, hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”.

What is Bija Mantra? Bija means seed. “The Bija mantras are one-syllable seed sounds that, when said aloud, activate the energy of the chakras in order to purify & balance the mind & body. When you speak the bija mantras, you resonate with the energy of the associated chakra, helping you focus upon your own instinctive awareness of your body & its needs.”-DailyOM

What is a chakra? In Sanskrit, chakra translates into “wheel”. These “wheels” can be thought of as vortexes that both receive & radiate energy. There are 7 major energy centers (aka chakras) in the human body. They run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. Emotions, physical health, & mental clarity affect how well each chakra can filter energy. This in turn dictates how pure the energy is that’s emitted from different regions of the body.

In traditional Hatha Yoga, the 7 cleansing bija mantras associated with the chakras are:

Chant the bija mantras, either one at a time or in sequences. Repetition can help you access a meditative state. Ready to add another layer? Try focusing on the different regions of the body associated with each syllable/chakra as you go through the bija mantras. TRY IT! Follow along with MC Yogi’s chakra beatbox video below.

Chakra Beatbox off the Album Elephant Power by MC Yogi. MC Yogi grew up painting graffiti & listening to hip hop. Inspired by artists like The Beastie Boys & Run DMC, he began writing raps & freestyling for friends at house parties. Spending most of high school in a group home for at-risk youth, hip hop culture provided both a soundtrack & a creative outlet. Then at age eighteen, he discovered yoga. A full time yoga teacher & performing artist MC Yogi combines his knowledge of yoga with his love for hip hop music creating an exciting new sound that brings the wisdom of yoga to a whole new generation of modern mystics, truth seekers, and urban yogis. Recently got to take a Yoga class with MC Yogi in SF while on my Healthy, Yoga, Surf, Music Road trip up the California Coast, he’s a super dope cat- check out his musica!

Enjoy getting your meditation on & balancing your chakras with the Bija Mantras!

Love, Love, Love, -ar


Water Blessing Labels and Attraction Labels for inspiration and personal growth

“The energetic spark of a single word or thought has the ability to heal us, soothe our emotions, inspire us to create our truth, and enhance our personal life journey. A Water Blessing carries our intentions and integrates them with the true spirit of the water at the molecular level and beyond into the level of pure consciousness.” Check out The Spirit of Water’s inspirational affirmation labels & symbol decals! Place them on any smooth surface including windows, mirrors, food jars, drinking glasses, & waterbottles and influence your water and surroundings with postive thoughts and enjoy increased health & wellbeing!

Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered molecular evidence that words and thoughts change the structure of cells in our water. Masaru Emoto was born in Yokohama, Japan & he received certification from the Open International University as a Doctor of Alternative Medicine. He gained worldwide acclaim through his groundbreaking research and discovery that water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness.

He undertook extensive research of water around the planet and realized that it was in the frozen crystal form that water showed us its true nature. On his website, he describes, “The idea to freeze water and observe it with microscope came upon me. With this method, I was convinced that I should be able to see something like snow crystals.

After two months of trial and error, this idea bore fruit. The beautifully shining hexagonal crystals were created from the invisible world. My staff at the laboratory and I were absorbed in it and began to do many researches.

At first, we strenuously observed crystals of tap water, river water, and lake water. From the tap water we could not get any beautiful crystals. We could not get any beautiful ones from rivers and lakes near big cities, either. However, from the water from rivers and lakes where water is kept pristine from development, we could observe beautiful crystals with each one having its own uniqueness.

The observation was done in various ways:

  1. Observe the crystal of frozen water after showing letters to water
  2. Showing pictures to water
  3. Playing music to water
  4. Praying to water

In all of these experiments, distilled water for hospital usage produced by the same company was used. Since it is distilled twice, it can be said that it is pure water.

The result was that we always observed beautiful crystals after giving good words, playing good music, and offering pure prayer to water. On the other hand, when negative thoughts and emotions were focused intentionally upon the water, the water crystals displayed were chaotic, fragmented structures. Moreover, we never observed identical crystals.”

How to Apply it to your life!

Fun stuff, right? I’ve always believed in the power of your words and thoughts, so it awesome that I get to transform my water into liquid prayers with this concept of water blessing labels! Try them out on your drinking water, pet & plant water, food jars, windows, pretty much everywhere & anywhere you want to transform your surroundings and influence your wellbeing. I love that these blessings labels are statically charged & cling eeasily to my waterbottle. With a bit of moisture, you can adhere these labels to any smooth surface. Surprisingly, they also stay put! If the charge relaxes, all you have to do is simply renew it by wiping it off or washing it with warm soapy water and then re-apply it! So even better, they are re-usable! LOVE IT. This makes it really flexible in re-adjusting the position &/or location of the labels if you want to put it somewhere else later! I put some of following sacred symbols on my waterbottle. I love that for as little as $5, now my watterbottle has a unique and positive twist to it. Added bonus? Wherever your decal, you can focus on the symbols/words during your meditations! Sort through the endless options of words, symbols, and affirmations at The Spirit of Water.

Amanda R at LA Corepower Yoga Studios

Interested in taking a yoga class in LA with ar-yoga? Check out Corepower Yoga Studios throughout the LA area! Search for Amanda R. on the schedule at the following CPY Studios…Wilshire & Sherman Oaks. CPY Torrance..coming soon! I’ll keep you posted. Currently, I lead consistent classes every week and sub several classes as well. You’ll find me in the following classes…
  • CorePower Yoga 1 (C1):beginner-level CorePower Yoga class, room temperature (80 degrees), 60 minutes
  • CorePower Yoga 1.5 (C1.5; formerly CAF): – between a C1 and a C2 class; designed with a focus on alignment for beginner students before transitioning to a C2 class; all levels, 90 degrees, 60 minutes
    Yoga Sculpt: All levels, CorePower Yoga class with free weights; 90 – 95 degrees with humidity, 60 minutes

Corepower Yoga, what style of yoga do you offer? Read on…

CorePower Yoga offers a truly unique yoga practice based on intuition rather than tradition. CorePower Yoga heals, detoxifies and exhilarates the body and mind with emphasis on movement, balance and intention. CorePower Yoga has created a dynamic, challenging program that combines strength, flow and spirituality.CorePower Yoga is an intense practice that appeals to everyone from the working professional to the stay-at-home mom. During class, time and space and the worries of the day disappear and the focus is solely on flow, movement, balance and intention. A Vinyasa-style yoga, CorePower Yoga focuses on core strength, balance and flow to build a solid practice based on strength and spirit. A secular practice, CorePower Yoga honors the roots of yoga without imposing the preconceived spiritual practices of other programs. Our role is to guide students to make their practice their own and their intention personal – each student is encouraged to embark on their own spiritual journey. As is often said in class, “I am only here to be your guide. You know your body best, listen to it and follow your intuition.”Accessible to beginners and advanced students, CorePower Yoga emphasizes breathing to connect the body and mind. CorePower 1 and CorePower 2 classes are offered at all studios nationwide. We recommend taking at least 5 to 10 C1 classes before taking a C2 class. C1 is unheated and instructors teach at a slower pace.

Yoga Sculpt? Weights AND yoga!? Read on...

CorePower Yoga Sculpt is a total body workout designed to tone and sculpt every major muscle group. Yoga Sculpt is a unique flow that incorporates weights to strengthen & lengthen, all while staying true to the philosophy behind yoga. Come flow with me to enhance, align, & strengthen your mind, body, & spirit in this invigorating & uplifting class. Using free weights as you move through sun salutations and other yoga postures adds another element to your practice, enabling extra length and strength in each pose. This intense, but easy to follow program complements your regular yoga practice while pushing your strength and flexibility to new heights.

Why strength train? The main reason to strength train is to build lean muscle mass. Aerobic activities are good calorie burners, but strength training two days a week will have a greater long-term impact on your metabolism.

Want to try Corepower Yoga?

Come in for 1 week FREE of UNLIMITED YOGA…Get your Free Week Coupon Here…tell ‘em I sent ya!






Favorite Healthy Vegan Recipes for the Fall & Holiday Seasons

You’ve already been warned the Fall is by far my favorite season. Something about the cool, crisp weather, knee high boots re-emerging, crocheted beanies, changing of the leaves, family and friends gathered around food- it just does it for me. Here I share some of my all time fav- vegan, mostly healthy (depends who you talk to), but none the less, deliciously satisfying foods for the fall & holiday season. There’s something about cooking that soothes my soul. I love that cooking provides me with the opportunity to pour my energy into something that can be so incredibly nourishing for the body- they say that food can be your medicine or your poison. Everything I create in the kitchen is usually made with organic, local foods & infused with lots of love, good energy, & positive vibes. Take the time to become a powerhouse in the kitchen and create something sacred and sublime with these simple recipes :) I love that my dinner & side dish recipes below can pack a powerful punch in taste whether you keep it vegan or you incorporate chicken or fish into the menu. No judgement on my end, I just think it’s a healthy and easy way to please all involved. Check out other ways to welcome Autumn’s energy by clicking here OR Learn more about seasonal eating here by looking over fall recipes & putting together a menu using fall ingredients!

happy cooking!

xoxo ar

Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Brown Rice

This recipe is too easy! Just make brown rice on the stovetop using vegetable broth and add either pumpkin or butternut squash into the mix. Viola! Don’t get caught up in the recipe, I only provide it as a guideline. ..note that different types of brown rice call for different ratios of liquid and vary slightly in cooking times.

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a soft boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 min, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Serves about 4.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

My best friend Jessica & I stopped in at Karyn’s on Green- a Chicago-based, contemporary, stylish, vegan eatery with delicious food and a vibrant bar scene. We had a curry cauliflower dish there that left us begging for more. My friend actually found this recipe by Sandy Todd Webster that resembles the dish to a T!

  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbs yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoky paprika (optional)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, leaves & core removed, florets cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Preheat Oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, curry, salt, paprika.
  3. Add cauliflower slices & toss to coat.
  4. Spread in a single layer on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil (for easy clean up).
  5. Bake until cauliflower is tender- crisp and brown, about 30 min.
  6. Sprinkle with lemon juice from the left over half of the lemon & garnish with cilantro.

Serves about 4.

Spiced Wine

My go to for all holiday parties that I host. There are endless varieties out there, but the following is my favorite.

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 (750 milliliter) bottles red table wine- experiment with organic, local, & sustainable varieties
  • 1 (3 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/3 C brown sugar, or to taste- can also use honey, but honey can also create a very sweet end result- I’ve done both in the pas, ultimately up to your taste buds.
  • 1/4 C brandy or Grand Marnier (optional)- I usually do not add this, but depends, how hard are you trying to party?

You can also add a little bit of nutmeg for an extra zing!

  1. Sometimes I just slice the oranges and toss them into the mix like that, or you can also use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from the oranges. Then, juice the oranges into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. The reason I like to slice the oranges is because then I can toss them into the serving mugs later for decoration, but why not do both ways?
  2. Add in the wine, ginger, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and brown sugar (or honey) into the pot; stir to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Cover and heat over medium-high until heated to the point that when you stick a thoroughly washed & clean finger in, it’s warm to touch, but not boiling (you don’t want to burn off the alcohol), reduce the heat to medium-low and heat for 1-2 hrs to allow all the flavors to meld together. The longer it sits & warms over low heat the more flavorful it becomes, I’ve let it settle for up to 3 hours before. Adjust the sweetness by adding more brown sugar or honey, as necessary. Strain and serve hot with a splash of brandy or Grand Marnier, if desired.
  4. I serve it in a mug garnished with an orange slice & a cinnamon stick. Mmm, warms you from the inside out!

Dark Chocolate Bark

A friend, Jackie, introduced me to this recipe that comes from Stephanie Lecovin, MS, RD from Nutrition Housecalls. Check out her website, it is filled with tons of yummy recipes to try! This dark chocolate bark is not only packed with antioxidants, but is outrageously decadent. A total hit!

  • 3 Tbs canola or walnut oil
  • 6 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 2 C raw pecans
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (less if you can’t stand the heat)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 C dark chocolate (~70%)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil and maple syrup until bubbling. Add pecans and stir until they are well coated, then mix in salt and seasonings. Cook for 4 minutes, then remove pan from heat.
  3. Place nuts on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place sheet in oven and roast for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  4. In a separate saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate, stirring often. Pour chocolate into a parchment lined 13 x 9 glass dish or onto a larger baking sheet (depending on whether you want the bark to be thicker or thinner).
  5. Break up the pecans and sprinkle over the chocolate. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly back and forth.
  6. Allow to sit out until set, 1-2 hours. Break apart into chunks.

Raw,Vegan, Gluten Free- Almond Milk & Frosted Carrot Cake Balls

After developing an almond milk recipe that I love, I was always left with a ton of “almond pulp” that I never knew what to do with. My friend Melissa, The Raw Food Stylist, provided the amazing recipe for carrot cake balls so that I no longer had to waste my almond pulp. In one of my mad scientist evenings in the kitchen, I went on to add the raw cashew frosting, and haven’t looked back since. Making these 2 delicious concoctions practically go hand in hand because once you realize they have similar ingredients, and that some ingredients for one depend that you make the other, it becomes pretty obvious that these 2 recipes were just meant to be made together- because what sounds better than frosted carrot cake & warmed almond milk? Read the recipes & follow the sequence of events depicted below to make this process as seamless as possible, because trust me, it can get messy!

Almond Milk

  • 3 C nuts or seeds (I do 2 C of almonds, 3/4 C cashews, 1/4 C hemp seeds)
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon nutmeg (pumpkin pie blend works perfectly)
  • 5 C fresh coconut water (ideally straight from coconut, but fresh water works as well)
  • 1 C of mellow date water
  1. soak your nuts: place nuts in a bowl, add fresh water, & soak at room temp. Generally, the more dense the nut, the longer the soaking time. Soak almonds for 8-12 hrs & Cashews for 2-3 hrs. Once soaking is complete rinse off nuts.
  2. blend: place all the ingredients into the blender, except for the coconut & date water. Fasten lid. Begin to blend as you slowly add the water through the small opening at the top of the blender.
  3. strain: place a cheesecloth over the opening of a large pitcher. Strain the mixture from the blender through the cheesecloth. Breakdown this process by only straining half, squeeze out any milk from the solid particles contained in the cheesecloth, place in a separate container, repeat with remaining nut mixture.
  4. enjoy! :)

Carrot Cake Balls

Makes about 25 balls

  • 1 C carrot pulp (Use pulp left over after juicing or I throw carrots into my food processor until they are so finely chopped they are more of a mushy pulp vs solid and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 C almond pulp (left over solids from making almond milk)
  • 1 C of dates (soaked & pitted, you want them to have soaked long enough that they are mushy & pliable)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (when I use fresh vanilla bean, I cut it in half lengthwise & scrape the insides & use 1/2 of the vanilla bean here & the other 1/2 for the frosting)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon mix (make your own blend by mixing cinnamon, nutmeg, clove- I only use a bit of the nutmeg & clove as they can be overwhelming spices & use more cinnamon)
  • dash of sea salt
-With your hands, mash all the ingredients together in a bowl. You want to rip & mush the dates apart and really work it into your mixture so it becomes somewhat sticky. If it’s not sticky enough, try adding a bit more “stick factor” by adding a couple more dates.
-Roll into small balls (Tip: Make balls small rather than big because these bad boys are going to be sweet and you don’t want to have an overwhelming amount in your mouth all at once. Better to eat 2 small ones vs one giant one)
-From here you can get fancy & roll them in coconut flakes, frost them (recipe below), or keep them simple by doing nothing else
-Place balls in refrigerator (If making these for friends or a party, I usually make them the night before. I find that leaving them in the fridge overnight allows them to really hold their shape.


  • 1 C cashews (soak for at least 30 min & no more than 1 hour)
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3 pitted fresh dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla (when I use fresh vanilla bean, I cut it in half lengthwise & scrape the insides & use 1/2 of the vanilla bean here & the other 1/2 for the frosting)
  • fresh purified water
-Except for the water, place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
-Begin to blend & slowly add water.
-Watch for the mixture to become creamy. Feel free to stop the blender & taste test for the desired consistency. Better to go slowly than add too much water and make a watery frosting.

Cincopa WordPress plugin



Music I am Diggin, in this moment, right now: Afro-Blue

First and foremost, I don’t even have cable so the fact that I happened to stumble upon the talented vocalists of Afro-Blue on “The Sing Off” was a complete accident. BUT NOW I find myself all caught up in “The Sing Off”, which showcases some of the best a cappella groups from across the country. The groups perform popular songs in weekly competitions and every week, one group goes home. The groups will be competing for a chance to walk away with the ultimate prize – a Sony Music recording contract and $200,000. In this moment, right now, I am definitely feeling Afro-Blue. Afro-Blue is a fun-loving Jazz/Pop a cappella ensemble from Howard University in Washington, D.C. The group started as a class in the music department at Howard in 2002, with this current version of the group singing together since 2009. Group members include: Eliza Berkon, Reggie Bowens, Trenton Cokley, Christie Dashiell, Integriti Reeves, Devin Robinson, John Kenniebrew, Mariah Maxwell, Brian Vickers and Danielle Withers.

They all come together & make jazz and scatting sound so darn sexy, fun, and fresh. Scatting is an old jazz term used to describe a jazz singer saying/singing random sounds, syllables, & phrases of nonsensical words. Think- Skap-a-dap-a-diddily-bap- Ski-ba-doo-doodily-bap-swee-do-dee-bop! Now you go ahead and try to make that sound sexy. Life Mission #9343. YouTube poster Voices2BeHeard is spot on in their description, “Afro-Blue has plenty of soul, and all ten members meld together quite nicely. With beautiful harmonies, soaring solos and a fresh look, Afro-Blue is a legitimate contender in any singing competition in which they are involved.” Check ‘em out!


Steve Jobs, innovative spirit and extraordinary entrepreneur, passes away

Today the world lost an innovative spirit and extraordinary entrepreneur. Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, impacted technology, and the world for that matter, in a manner that is beyond words. The empire that he was largely responsible for building is a testament to the passion and devotion that he had for his work. Everything he had a part in creating reflects that commitment.

At a 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, Jobs shared the philosophy that drove him.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

These words of wisdom resonate highly with ar-yoga. His intuition spoke loudly and he knew the truth in his heart- most importantly, he never turned his back on that (a challenge that is not easy to take on). He inspires us all to keep the faith and never settle. May he rest in peace & his legacy live on.



Autumn’s inward energy

fall, autumn, energySpring’s energy rises, Summer’s energy expands, Late Summer’s energy dissipates the full blown expansion of the summer, and Autumn’s energy is all about pulling us in. This time of year, we come home & draw in earlier because dusk comes sooner, which is a change of pace from the long, drawn out days of summer. Shorter days and longer nights give us the opportunity to self reflect. That calls for a bit more of a serious tone in comparison to the sunny, fun, carefree days of summer. Gathering our thoughts and being introspective allows room for transformation. On all levels we see this contraction of energy during the Fall- from foods, to nature, to families & friends gathering around the dinner table to celebrate. Leaves transform by changing colors, and then settle into the earth to be mulched into something new. Fall tends to be a rich, warm time of year, which in reflected by the deep red, orange, and nude/brown hues that tend to rule the season to our food choices. We prefer slow cooking and warm root vegetables. The foods in season that we tend to crave around this time have lots of gathered energy at their core- Think, apples, pumpkins, persimmons. Autumn’s energy influences the lungs & large intestine. From a relationship standpoint, you may find that you need to create more space for yourself. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, they say, and the cycles of the seasons are no different. All that upward energy of the Spring needs to find its balance with the inward energy of the Fall. In a partnership, it is important that both individuals take the time to draw deep into themselves and sift through their own issues in order to make the relationship stronger.

ways to welcome Autumn!

    • Experiment with the foods that are becoming readily available in Autumn! HELLO! short-grain rice, pumpkins, apples, persimmons, pears, and warming spices like cinnamon! Check out the seasonal eating section for interactive seasonal maps, seasonal ingredients, menu planners & recipe ideas!
    • Draw Inward! Shift your focus onto you and get right with yourself! A healthy relationship with yourself allows you to view the world with increased clarity. Autumn facilitates you going deeper into the core of your being. NO matter what comes up, stay positive, and acknowledge that going through this process is the first step in transforming yourself & shifting your vibration to higher levels. Re-visit your goals- get motivated by reading ar-yoga’s posts dedicated to goal setting, write in a journal, start a blog, when making decisions, draw in and listen to any strong feelings stemming deep from your core aka your intuition, meditate-check out the meditation page to jump start your practice, focus on your overall wellness and look over yoga suggestions, & incorporate some core exercises into your fitness routine in order to allow Autum’s energy to seep deep into your mind, body, & spirit!
    • Energetically focus on your sacral chakra! In Autum it’s all about pulling into your core, so draw your attention to the sacral/navel chakra. Location: between the navel & base of spine. Color: orange. Visualize a warming orange color clearing any imbalances that may lie here. Interested in a more detailed chakra balancing exercise? Try this: 1) Check out the chakra page 2) Find where each chakra is located by looking at the chakra body chart 3) Read up on each one by clicking its specific link 4) Starting from the ground up focus on the chakras one at a time 5) Dedicate 30 seconds or more to balancing each one by saying “I am releasing any issues associated with this specific energy center and it is now harmoniously balanced and flowing with ease” 6) Seal that intention by visualizing that part of you body glowing a vibrant (insert color associated with that chakra). There are endless ways to balance your chakras, here’s an example using the Sacral chakra: Bring your focus to the sacral chakra, located between your belly button & base of spine. Imagine it glowing a warm orange. Repeat 5x ” I know that who I am & what I do is enough. I have enough rest, energy, food, fun, & money. I link my self-worth to appropriate things, and have the ability to create healthy boundaries to protect myself & my vital life force” With each repetition visualize the orange glow coming from your sacral chakra become increasingly brighter and healthier.
    • Speaking of core, Focus on the diaphragm when you Breathe! The lungs & large intestine lie within your core and are influenced by Autumn’s energy. The Diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that lies horizontally within your core and assists in respiration. Above it you will find the lungs and below it you will find the large intestine. Learning Diaphragmatic breathing draws you into your core and can reduce your stress levels, deepen your yoga & meditation practice, and encourage a more efficient breathing pattern. Learn how to do it and get acquainted with your anatomy by watching the video below & if you’re still hungry for more check out this link which goes in depth into diaphragmatic breathing!

signed, sealed, & delivered with love, hugs, and rich warming vibes of autumn!

xoxo ar

Summer’s Expansive Energy

In May, Spring winds down and in June the sweet summertime emerges! Spring brings on energy that rises upward- flower buds begin to rise up from the earth, nature is fresh and green, and the idea of renewed life in turn causes you to be in high spirits. When all that upward energy from spring reaches a climax and expands, we call it summer. We spend the hot days of summer being active outdoors. There’s also a tendency to be relaxed, expanded, and open to the possibilities of the season- hey, schools out for the summer and the weather practically demands that you slow down and relax poolside, or go travel and sprawl out on the beach. We melt into the warm vibes of the season by enjoying all the flowers, fruits, and veggies that have blossomed to their fully expanded potential, we eat outdoors, and we tend to use high searing temperatures to cook our food- roasting, grilling, & stirfrying in order to keep the roaring days of summer going strong. Yet, we also balance out the heat by eating juicy, cool, refreshing foods like cucumbers, watermelons, & tomatoes. The internal organs that are ruled by summer’s energy include the heart and small intestine. The energy centers of the body that are nourished during this season are the warmed up heart chakra and the glowing solar plexus. As the hot days turn into warm nights you’re fueled with fire and energy so relationships are passionate, you’re open to the possibilities of what summer romances have to offer, and you’re warming up to the idea of being invested in the connection. Summer has a memorizing presence, it’s BIG, HAPPY, and CAREFREE.

Late Summer: The bright, sunny, long days of summer can’t stay at peak intensity forever. From August to September, the hot vibes of summer begin to calm down. It’s a time to focus on the summer harvest. You gather in all the ripe and mature crops that the summer had to give. This settling lends itself to a more mellow time of year. This can be considered the pause between the full expansion of summer and the contraction of Autumn that is about to take place. Sweet, settling, balancing, steamed foods are IN- like onion, squash, & sweet rice. Relationship wise- summer romps may fizzle, but if it still feels sweet and soothing you’ll know because subconsciously you’ll be in a mood to settle into a routine (anyone else feeling that back-to-school vibe swirling around?) and the energy of late summer calls for a deeper understanding of one another (so sorry summer eye candy, but good looks alone will not be compatible with this kind of relating). The reins are pulled in on the high intensity passion coming from the heart and that energy is drawn downward feeding into the stomach, spleen, and pancreas- major digestive organs and highly correlated with the solar plexus.

ways to welcome SUMMER!

  • Experiment with the foods that are becoming readily available in the Summer! HELLO! Leafy greens, cooling veggies & fruits such as cucumbers & berries, sunny yellow corn, & ripe tomatoes! And for late Summer! HI! Onion, squash, & sweet rice. Check out the seasonal eating section for interactive seasonal maps, seasonal ingredients, menu planners & recipe ideas!
  • Get Outside! Get some vitamin D the old fashion way! Ground yourself into the dewy morning grass. Meditate as you watch the sunrise. Get outdoors and do a few yoga poses and sun salutations to welcome the light into your life. Go for a walk or go on a hike. Swim in a river. Take a tennis lesson. Spend time in someone’s luscious garden. Hit the sand for some beach volleyball. Whatever your activity preferences are, just make sure you maximize the long days of summer by spending time outside. Check out meditations to help you get on track, look over yoga suggestions, & incorporate some fitness into your life in order to allow Summer to expand into your mind, body, & spirit!
  • Be Confident & follow your heart! The heart & small intestine are sensitive to expanded energy, as they are governed by it. Summer’s energy gives them a natural boost. And the digestive organs ruled by the late summer’s downward energy, are emphasized during this time. These areas are associated with the heart chakra- which is all about following your truth & being true to what’s in your heart and the solar plexus- all about being confident, owning your power, and checking in with your self-esteem & self- worth. Good time to love your body and ooze self confidence as you rock your new summer swimsuit!

signed, sealed, & delivered with the rip roarin’ vibes of summer!