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Developing an Unshakeable Mindset, Pt 2: Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

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It’s impossible to live through our hearts and in faith when we live in fear of the unknown and anxiety around our lives. While trying to use the mind to change the mind is often futile, we can actively move towards living through our hearts and in our own strength by strengthening our core.

In Kundalini yoga, the core is three fingers below the belly button. This is where a plethora of nerve endings, hormones, and emotions live. By creating a strong core and a harmonious inner system, we re-connect with our intuition and are able to live as our true selves, out of the way of fear and in our highest light. It is possible to do this through physical movement, breath work, and nourishing food.

The following practices strengthen our core, inside and out, and let us unfold into our true brilliance.

  1. Twisting asanas

Doing twisting poses helps to wring out toxins that contribute to physical discomforts and emotional stress. They push us to our limits physically which provides us with a good opportunity to breathe through the challenge while maintaining calmness within. Try twisting crescent, twisting chair, and twisting half moon. Lead with your heart, holding for three to six breaths and remember to draw your breath slowly and deeply into your stomach during the poses.

  1. Leg lift crunches

Slow, deliberate movements create a strong awareness of our core. These crunches let us draw energy from the fingertips to toes to activate and strengthen the core. Lie on your back, arms by your sides. Life your right leg and reach forward with your fingertips, then reach your arms overheard, keeping your shoulder blades off the ground while activating your core as your lower your leg. Lift your left leg while reaching forward again, and alternate between legs taking a moment with your arms overhead and legs straight out in between sides. Do this slowly and with mindfulness of your core, remaining aware of your naval to spine connection.

  1. Fibrous foods

It’s critical that we allow our bodies the space and energy for effective maintenance. Fibrous foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best for this as they bind to toxins and escort them out of our systems. Digestion is the most energy intensive process of our bodies, and fiber assists with this, energizing our systems. When our stomachs are cleansed and are properly eliminating, our core is strong and our minds have the space to be clear and focused.

  1. Probiotics

There is a delicate yet powerful balance of microflora in our stomachs, and many critical hormones that regulate our emotions, energy and physical needs. The standard American diet, lifestyle, and practice of taking antibiotics for every ailment disrupts this critical balance that affects every area of our health. When we have discord in this area, it affects our immune systems, our ability to effectively absorb nutrients from our food, and contributes to emotional issues like anxiety. Probiotics restore the intestinal balance and promote growth of healthy and nourishing bacteria, contributing to a harmonious inner environment that supports a calm and stable equilibrium.

  1. Breath of fire

This cleansing and energizing breath connects you to your core and charges the nervous system, powered by abdominal contractions. Breath of fire creates and builds a cosmic change that brightens the body and clears the mind, creating radiance and light throughout your entire system. It helps release the need to control and enables us to surrender to the higher power of the cosmos that is always working to support and enhance our lives.

To do: Sit relaxed, eyes closed and focused on the point in between the eyebrows. Allow your breath to move in and out through the nose, mouth closed. Breathe rapidly in through your nostrils letting your stomach fill and expand  with air.The time is equal on the inhale and the exhale, with no pause in between. Starting out do for 1-3 minutes. It may make you light headed at first, so be aware of how you feel. As time goes on, you can do it for longer. It will pump fresh air deep into your lungs and stomach, and will give your body a great aliveness and connection with the divine.

Having a fortified core through these practices enables us to live through our hearts and in our own strength. It empowers our intuition, and gives us the courage we need to pursue our goals, our true love, and rise towards our higher selves. It enables us to call forth our divinity and to feel truly alive and vibrant. Choose one or two of the things above to begin to cultivate a strong core, and feel the power move into other areas of your life.

Photo by Anton Repponen


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Developing an Unshakable Mindset

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Living in faith and minimizing fear is arguably the most important foundation for a peaceful and happy life. This, however, can be quite a challenge as we’re constantly bombarded with options and challenges that make us question every moment and decision of our lives, leaving us riddled with fear and anxiety on a daily basis.

Working to find a calmness of spirit and faith in the journey aligns us with our true nature and equips us with an unshakable mindset.

Those who are firm in their mindset stride forth into life without letting the unknown get them down. This unwavering strength in pursuit of their goals comes from the cultivation of a deep inner trust.

For some people, this mindset appears God given. They seem to have been born with an innate fearlessness, and a positive and buoyant disposition, while others grow up shy and worrisome. For those who are not naturally extroverted, moving towards a fearless mindset can seem like an almost impossible task.

Worry and concern can drive our decisions and hold us back from truly walking towards that which will ultimately bring us joy and actualization. It can feel safe to wear worries as a cloak to protect us from the trouble that looms. In truth, however, worry is no more a cloak than it is a magnet, attracting pain and even creating our own suffering.

The way to move towards our strength and out of our fears is through courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the recognition of it and the confidence to move forward nonetheless. Courage comes from the Latin root cor, meaning heart. Thus, to live in courage means to live through our hearts.

Courage gives us strength through openness, and when we live with an open heart, the oneness of the world becomes available to us. This enables us to call forth our divinity and align us with our true nature. By being in touch with our true self we move closer to a purer and more whole version of ourselves; it puts us in communion with nature and our own inner enlightenment.

It’s impossible to live through our hearts and in faith when we live in fear of the unknown. The unknown will always exist; it’s getting to a place of acceptance and trust that enables us to live in freedom.

The key in all of this is to have patience with the process. To actively and consciously work towards the goal on a daily basis, to be gentle on ourselves, and to know that we are in complete control of our own experience here on earth. Ways to achieve this include detoxifying physical movement, practicing conscious thought, and right eating.

Specifics to come next article in Pt 2: Strengthening Your Core to Live Through Your Heart

Photo by Azrul Aziz


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Sorry Not Sorry: 6 Habits Every #GirlBoss Needs for Living at the Top

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1. Do you

Workout, have your nails done, get lots of sleep, do things that make you feel good. Properly taking care of yourself prepares you to show up fully for other people. We often treat others better than we treat ourselves, which is nice in the short run but detrimental in the long term. It’s true that you can’t share with others what you don’t give to yourself, and your best self should be your primary interest. This kind of selfishness doesn’t advocate ignoring our responsibilities or stepping on others to get ahead, it means taking care of your own human needs so that you can show up 100% for life.

2. Don’t apologize

Everything you do should be done with complete conviction. You know yourself and what you stand for, and don’t feel the need to seek approval in every activity. Because you seek to be understood, you always take the opportunity to explain your position or action if needed, but you never back track or have to apologize for what you’ve done. You’re firm in your heart and mind and trust your intuition.

3. Eat like you love yourself

Your body is your biggest ally when it comes to being incredibly successful, treating it as best as you can gives you the energy you need to head to the top. This means eating whole foods filled with the harmonious and powerful vibration of the earth, and cutting out toxic products with artificial ingredients, being conscious of how your emotions and habits play into your relationship with food. Eating pure, vibrant food nourishes your spirit and gives you the fuel you need to be your best self.

4. Don’t hate

Talking badly about, being jealous of, and judging others makes you look weak and unkind, which, ahem, probably isn’t far from the truth. It’s easy to see other people’s flaws, because as humans we have a lot of them. Seeing the goodness in others is a lot harder. Recognizing people for their strengths brings the best out in people, and helps you develop sincere and lasting relationships. Being the person that sees people in their best light gives you an immediate aura of authority. It removes petty drama from your consciousness, opening up space for higher and more productive forms of thought, like pursuing your goals and creating success.

5. Practice forgiveness

Being angry or holding a grudge only harms one person: you. Processing your emotions in regards to a painful experience is a necessary part of mature human growth. So is letting it go. Dwelling on the past or holding other people responsible for your unhappiness or mistakes that they made only detracts from your ability to release hurt and move forward. Everything we experience is a test. We can chose to suffer, or we can learn from those tests and be grateful for them. Choosing gratitude makes you soar.

6. Get comfortable being alone

Silence and alone time are critical to your personal and professional success. Being comfortable in your own presence enables you to let your inner wisdom speak and come forth. The human mind has a lot of doubt, but the human body has a lot of wisdom. Removing the distractions that come in the forms of noise and other people gives you the space to access that wisdom.

Meditation is the best way to do this, but starting out can be difficult, so doing solo activities is a good place to begin. Yoga, hiking, ocean swimming, or spending an afternoon in a new part of town are all great ways to enjoy your own company and watch your thoughts. The more time we spend in silence the more we can control our reactions to things, and create a deep and undisturbed inner peace. Developing a practice of stillness and quiet protects you from being at the effect of the ups and downs of life. It also improves your self-esteem and reduces doubt and anxiety, helping you to access the knowledge that you have the power and ability to create the life of joy that you want and deserve.


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What Everyone Should Know About the Paleo Diet

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The Paleolithic diet is trending, hard. Many lose weight, build muscle, gain mental clarity, and reduce or eliminate extreme food intolerances. Others, unfortunately, use it as an excuse to eat way too much animal protein and tell everyone they’ve gone gluten free.

While most have heard of this diet, many people don’t know what it is or why it works. The core values of the paleo diet are noteworthy and there are some powerful elements to it that are worth taking on board, whether or not you are interesting in going for it fully.

What is it

The Paleolithic diet mimics the diet of our pre-agricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors. The core values of the diet are as follows:

  • Highly alkaline
  • Higher intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals through plants
  • No processed foods
  • No gluten (which, btw, is the protein found in wheat and other grains)
  • No sugars, natural or refined
  • No starch
  • Balanced omega-3 to omega-6 fats ratio from animal sources

Why it works

People who commit to this diet and do it the properly see exceptional results. This is because the principals are highly evolved while the practices are very clean cut.

The overall health of our nation is atrocious, the critical underpinning of this being our high consumption of processed foods. All things being equal, cutting out processed foods, sugar, and gluten are some of the best things you can do for yourself. This results in the disappearance of all kinds of daily ailments, reduces toxin intake, improves nutrient content and absorption, and contributes to a glowing complexion. It also means you’re eliminating a lot of potential or actual allergens, those of which are massively exhausting on your system and cause anything from brain fog to IBS to acne. This is huge for your vitality and vibrance.

Our country also has an obsession with low-fat and fat-free foods, but the truth is that we critically need healthy fat for all of the functions of our body to work efficiently, not the least of which is our brains, which are made 60% of fat. The paleo diet’s emphasis on high fat consumption is one of the core reasons it’s so successful in effective weight loss and muscle growth. Healthy fats improve your metabolism, support organ function, enhance mental clarity, and burn slowly to give you sustained energy.

Limitations

Let me first say that I have a lot of respect for those who commit to this diet and live their life in a healthy and mindful way. For the highly committed, this is one of the very few diets out there that actually works. That being said, there are some points I’d like to make about animal protein consumption that are worth considering by those adopting this lifestyle.

1. Environmental impact

The butchering, processing, and shipping of animals consumes more than 1/3 of fossil fuels used in the United States. The natural resources that are used to raise and maintain our animal agriculture is exorbitant and is creating a huge environmental impact on our country. Not only does raising animals for human consumption take up a huge percentage of arable land, but so does growing and watering the food that we use to feed them. Additionally, factory farms generate almost 2 billion tons of waste per year, which ends up in our groundwater and a lot of the food that we eat. Eating a diet high in animal protein contributes to these staggering figures.

2. Actual alkalinity

The Paleolithic diet puts a high emphasis on alkalinity, which is great, but animal products aren’t actually all that alkaline. Animal protein is one of the most metabolically acidic foods humans eat, which can cause the body to pull critical minerals from the bones and cells to return the body to an alkaline state.

3. Antibiotic resistance

80% of antibiotics in the United States are fed to animals raised for human consumption. While the paleo diet emphasizes the importance of eating grass fed, ethically raised meat, not everyone on this diet follows this rule, especially when a fast food burger sans bun fits the bill.

Because the demand for animal protein is so high, factory farms are forced to cram more and more animals into farms with little space to themselves. Because the animals are in such close quarters, they’re fed antibiotics to reduce the likelihood they’ll get sick. When we eat animals that have been fed with antibiotics, we indirectly ingest the antibiotics. This has come to a turning point and antibiotic resistance is a massive issue facing our world. Because bacteria evolve in response to the use of antibiotics both in animals and humans, they have started to become resistant to the life saving antibiotics that have been developed over the past 100 years. This is an extremely serious issue and is compromising the future of our healthcare.

So, how to do paleo right? Follow all the basic rules – cut out processed foods, reduce sugar and gluten, and eat highly alkaline veggies. When it comes to meat, be mindful. Eat pasture raised, grass fed meat, and limit it daily. For those who are disciplined and commit, this is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices you can make.

Photo by Jonas Nilsson Lee


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Bastille Day at Petrossian LA


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Caviar tasting with lavender mimosa

There is nothing I love more than dressing up to eat exquisite food with fascinating people. And when it’s on a Monday for caviar to celebrate Bastille Day, it really doesn’t get much better.

I am fortunate enough to be close friends with two of the savviest people on Beverly Boulevard, and the three of us enjoyed a luxuriously long lunch at the eponymous Petrossian in Beverly Hills.

Taylor King, owner of Espionage, a high-end gift and consignment store, is one of my closest college friends. She would charm the Queen and can sell couture to a nudist. Elegant and outrageous, Tay does gifts for some of the biggest names in show business including Renee Zellweger, Jesse Eisenberg, Oprah, and Demi Moore. Her store is full of handpicked trinkets from the Parisian markets, charming house goods, and gently used couture from LA’s elite.

Our host, Fabian Gallardo, is the Chef de Cuisine at Petty Cash LA. Petty Cash is one of the best restaurants in LA, and was just awarded the ‘Best New Mexican Restaurant’ award by TimeOut Los Angeles. It’s one of my favorite places for the Hamachi ceviche, fresh Kushi oysters, and octopus tacos. Insanely flavorful and meticulously curated, many of their ingredients come from their organic rooftop garden, and their meat is locally and sustainably sourced.

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Stacked rings from Espionage LA; my mother’s diamond ring

Lunch at Petrossian was a dream. After ordering prosecco and lavender mimosas, we were treated to an extensive tasting of some local and some totally rare varieties of caviar. Our favorite was the Hackleback, Ossetra, and the Kaluga. We then had the crab bisque and a caviar and butter lettuce salad, and finished with a truffle flatbread, garnished with artichoke, peppers, goat cheese and fresh arugula.

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Truffle flatbread

The service was delightful and the company was all time. These kinds of days are what make me love LA, and I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have such dynamic people to enjoy the journey with.

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 Summer wardrobe: necklaces from XIV Karats (Beverly Hills), Espionage (West Hollywood), and Crow’s Nest (Half Moon Bay); vintage belt; denim dress from H&M

 

 


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Hot Yoga, Hotter Sex

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One of the greatest tools for longevity, happiness, and health, yoga strengthens your body, mind and spirit. Not surprisingly, it’s also incredibly good for your sex life.

Physically, yoga increases your endurance, activates your pelvic floor increasing sensation in that region, boosts your energy levels, and strengthens your core making you more flexible and more comfortable trying new things. That’s all well and good, but where yoga can take your sex to on a mental and emotional level is insanely powerful, and should not be overlooked when it comes to the evolution of your practice.

Creating a deep knowing within

As people get older, being comfortable with themselves is one of the main things they attribute to better sex. Yoga teaches us that the body is divine, no matter how out of shape or stiff we feel. This enables us to embrace and cherish ourselves so we can experience personal bliss. Through the deep inhalations and exhalations of yoga, we counter ideas that are ingrained in us that sabotage our spirits. The more comfort you feel in yourself, the better you naturally are at sex.

Getting in tune

Yoga is a direct intimacy with reality itself. It creates a powerful connection to the divine within and makes you present, putting you in a higher vibration to be in touch with the energy that surrounds you. Yoga softens you, which helps you be aware of another person’s needs. It enables you to learn more about yourself, what your needs are, and what feels good to you, helping you feel more complete.

Through yoga, we can truly relax with ourselves, which helps us relax into the body and spirit of another. When you’re in tune with your own body it knows what to do and how to move. By practicing regularly you become more attuned to the needs of others, which makers you a much better partner. Practicing with your significant other is also an incredible way to expand your connection and become more energetically aligned with one another.

When you create deep knowing, deep intimacy with your breath, you feel naturally intimate in other relationships and love overflows into every area of your life. This creates a love and generosity in even the most basic of interactions, and breathes life and joy into every corner of your existence.


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The Golden Rules of Healthy Living  

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There are tons of theories out there when it comes to being healthy. While everyone is different and certain lifestyles work better for some than others, the following tips are important for everyone to incorporate.

1. Cut out sugar

…or at least work towards it. Studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine. Sugar is the underpinning of so much illness, both physical and mental, and is in almost everything. The one best thing you can do for your health is to reduce and cut out sugar. This includes sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup, aspratame, and sucralose. Read your labels, opt for natural, raw sweeteners, and look forward to a vibrant and dis-ease free existence.

2. Be present when you eat

Ever wolf down a meal without even tasting it? Breathe. Chew. Relax. The way you eat says a lot about the way you live your life. Are you slowing down to enjoy it, or rushing through it to get to your next task? 

3. Drink lots of water

As simple as it is, most people aren’t adequately hydrated. Drinking water is the basis for a clear mind, healthy organ functioning, and beautiful skin. Do the best you can to drink water throughout the day, and brighten it up with lemon, orange, cucumber, or strawberries.

4. Eat the colors of the rainbow

The most amazing thing you can do to honor your body is to nourish it with vibrant foods from the earth. Eating lots of bright fruits and vegetables will provide you with all the minerals and nutrients you need for glowing skin, great sleep, tons of energy, and a strong immune system.

5. Live every moment with gratitude and love in your heart

Don’t hold grudges. Recognize your blessings. Release relationships that don’t serve your higher purpose. Our lives are the blink of an eye, work towards making your life an expression of love and you’ll align with your personal joy and true nature.

Photo By SCHICKA