Thursday, December 19, 2013


Change is inevitable.  As much as I love my blog here on Blogspot, it is time to evolve.  I'm officially moving to my new website:

All of my previous posts have been transferred to the new site.  I even recorded a new video to describe my current projects and offerings.  Watch it here:

Thank you, Blogspot, for providing me a place to write, reflect and be creative all of these years.  It's time to move on and embrace the new.


Monday, November 25, 2013

The Yoga Lodge

Sometimes a girl just has to get away.  I had a day off recently and decided to maximize that time by taking a solo trip to The Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island.  A picture of the Yoga Lodge has been posted on my vision board for months.  It was written up in Seattle magazine and the picture of lush green trees, a calm pond and welcoming wooden chair just called my name. 

On a whim, I called Wendy Dion (the owner).  Since it's November, she gave me the winter rate of only $65 a night.  There was no reason not to go!

From our first phone conversation, I was impressed with Wendy's honesty and kindness.  She told me about a retreat group and a few kids that would be at the lodge on Saturday night.  Instead of trying to make a few extra bucks, she truly wanted to ensure the best experience for me.  I decided to stay for just Sunday night.  That was the perfect decision because I had the entire place to myself and could really make the experience my own.

The drive to Mukilteo was easy and the ferry ride was beautiful.  Crossing the water creates the illusion of entering a different world.  While I was on the ferry, I scheduled a massage for later that night at the Yoga Lodge.  Talk about accomodating!  My self-care mini-getaway just kept getting better and better.  Once on the island, I had a Dim Sum brunch at a local restaurant called the Basil Cafe.  I saw another woman dining alone and invited her to join me.  She was a local and taught me so much about life on the island.  Only when traveling alone do these magical, unexpected friendships pop up.  Life stories are bound to be shared!

The Yoga Lodge itself is beautiful with natural wooden banisters, tall ceilings and a community-living feel.  The yoga studio is located on the bottom floor of the lodge.  While I was practicing, a deer walked by the huge windows and peaked inside.  THAT definitely doesn't happen in the city! Wendy also prepared a lovely vegetarian breakfast tray for me with granola, almond milk, eggs, fruit, homemade sprouted bread, almond butter, tea and coffee.  I ate some with my dinner and some for breakfast. The generous portions and large kitchen allowed me to make myself right at home.

Both days on the island, I visited a magical place called the Earth Sactuary.  I didn't know much about it, but I could instantly sense that this place was special.  The entire park was filled with sacred relics, prayer wheels, stone stacks and trails.  I felt tingles when I walked into the huge Stone Circle and saw the altar on the ground.  After some research, I've learned that a man named Chuck Pettis is responsible for the awesomeness that is the Earth Sactuary.  He has dedicated his life to making the world a better place by creating sacred spaces.  I definitely value his work and spending time in this amazing park.

I went for long walks in the woods both days.  As a city dweller, I forget how rejuvenating it is to tromp around in the woods with the moss, animals, mushrooms and quiet.  Those long muddy hikes were exactly what I needed to recharge my soul.  I would absolutely recommend the Yoga Lodge to anyone needing a peaceful, meditative getaway.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What is Ayurvedic Health Coaching?

"You do yoga in there?"  This question came from a naturopath at Glow on Saturday.  This question made me realize that there are a lot of people (including people I work with) that do not understand what I do.  This got me thinking... maybe I should explain it.  Duhr.

My clients learn to correct imbalances through Ayurveda and yoga.  Whether they want to lose weight, clear skin, improve digestion or reduce stress, Ayurveda and yoga provide so many natural ways to make that happen.  I am an Ayurvedic Health Coach and Hatha Yoga Teacher.  Many people understand the yoga part and think that I teach group classes at a yoga studio.  I do some of that at the Hatha Yoga Center in the summers, but mostly I work with individuals.  Why individuals, you may ask?  Often yoga classes can not address all the varying needs of all the different students including injuries, tightness and emotional issues that may come up.  I work with people one-on-one and design our sessions based on their dosha, the season and what they need that day.  I have a gorgeous room at Glow with a big window and enough space for us to meet and practice yoga.

Based on client needs, I design a 6 session package.  This way we can see growth and change over time.  Although plans vary from person to person, here is a typical 6 session package for Ayurvedic Health Coaching:

First sessionDosha constitution assessment (that means we determine your unique mind/body type).  We discuss simple lifestyle and nutrition tips that can make a big difference in digestion.
Second session: We discuss an Ayurvedic seasonal routine, and I provided recipes based on your dosha.
Third session: Learn pranayama (breathing) techniques and meditation for stress reduction and weight loss. 
Fourth session:  Practice yoga and pranayama techniques together.  We discuss issues related to work and how to create life balance.   I also teach mantras for mental focus.
Fifth session: We practice more pranayama and yoga together. 
Sixth session:  To conclude the package, we celebrate successes. I lead a guided meditation for healing after yoga practice.  At this point, we decide if more sessions are necessary to reach goals.  Some clients see me on a weekly, bi-weekly or seasonal basis.   
Client testimonials:
“Coming here is a very peaceful experience. I am learning so much and seeing results. My digestion has improved so much along with my red bumps on my skin.”
“(I gained) common sense explanations of what can be challenging/new concepts and great recipes.  Enjoyed the yoga practice as part of the sessions.”
“ is important to have an accountability partner and support system.  Nicole is a great energy and health coach.”
How can I start?
 If you're ready to lose weight, reduce stress, clear skin and/or improve digestion, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Nicole by calling 206.568.7545.
Skype and home consultations also available.  Email Nicole at

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Intersection Between Acceptance and Change

Letting go of the outcome is one of my biggest challenges on the spiritual path.  Here's the idea: You put your time, energy and effort into a project and then release the results to the Universe.  You do not get to decide what ultimately happens.  You trust that the Universe will take care of you and give you the best outcome, even if it's not what you thought you wanted.  In this way a delay or a change can turn into a gift.  However, it only works if we release our grip on one certain outcome.

If we are feeling angry, frustrated, impatient or disappointed, then we are probably attached to the outcome.  Of course it's not bad to feel these things, and these emotions can be signs that we need to practice surrender, the art of letting go.  Every day I find new opportunities to forgive and let go.  For example, today I have an important meeting with a team of 8 people.  I know that I am attached to a certain outcome (medical testing for a student) and I am trying to stay open to other possibilities and other solutions.  My practice this week has been to speak my truth in a calm way and then step back.  By stepping back and letting go of the need to control or manipulate, the Universe can do her thing and send all of the help/answers/solutions that we need.  If we are completely locked in to only one right answer, then we will be angered and frustrated by any other solution.  Today my intention is to stay open.  I'm doing everything I can and now I get to let go.  I know that I am taken care of.  This situation will work out in divine timing and order.  It feels so good to let myself off the hook.  Now is time to live in faith and surrender.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Club: A Return to Love

The right people and the right books always have a way of finding their way into our lives.  Recently I have been connecting with some amazing women through the networking site,  Gabrielle Bernstein created this site for women to find new connections and mentors based on shared interests.  The networking groups have themes and are called Power Posses.  I have also made two dear friendships through the Seattle Power Posse.  We have started a book club to share books, spark conversation and connect with like-minded people.  This month we are discussing Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love.

Reading this book feels like meditation.  Marianne has such a beautiful way of explaining how to choose love instead of fear in our daily lives.  After reading for a few minutes, I can feel my mind relax and absorb her ideas.  She writes,
 "We have the free will to think whatever we want to think, but no thoughts are neutral.  There is no such thing as an idle thought.  All thought creates form on some level." 

If you would like to join us for book club, we are meeting on Tuesday, November 12th at 7:00pm.  Email Amelia at to confirm.

If you would like to join our efforts in bringing Gabrielle Bernstein to lecture in Seattle on her next book tour, join our Facebook group.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hatha Yoga Center Tribute Video

"A sweet short tribute documentary my fellow yoga student and teacher Nicole Perriella made last year when our beloved Hatha Yoga Center was forced to move after 32 years of operating in the oldest church in the University District. The video features my teachers Bob Smith and Ki Mcgraw, as well as myself and other students and teachers discussing the history of the HYC and what it has meant to us. I am so fortunate to have walked in that one evening for class many years changed my life."
-Chris List, author of

For more information about classes at the Hatha Yoga Center click here.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Ayurvedic Apothecary

As I dive deeper into the world of Ayurveda, I'm constantly discovering other amazing Ayurvedic practitioners and yoga teachers.  This alternative approach to health attracts many creative, interesting and talented people.  Cue Sarah Louisignau.

Sarah is the founder and developer of Ayurvedic Apothecary.  I discovered her by reading her blog post about How 12 Design Principles of Permaculture Apply to the Business of Yoga and Ayurveda.  Sarah is a master of finding links between her various interests.  By combining her passions for Ayurveda and Aromatherapy, she creates a beautiful line of oils designed to balance the 3 doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha).  I knew I had to try them!  When the package arrived in the mail, the little bottles reminded me more of precious perfumes than the big bottles of Ayurvedic oil I usually buy.  These bottles are about the size of a lipstick tube and easily fit in a purse.

My favorite is the Vata blend because of its musky and sweet/spicy smell.  It's intense at first, but the scent evolves and becomes more subtle within a few minutes.  The best part about these oils is that they are working to balance your body.  She uses base oils that are tridoshic and nutritional for the skin, without the use of any alcohol.  Sarah explains further:

"For example: Clove Bud Oil is known for it's carminative and it's analgesic properties - so by putting this oil in my Vata blend, I help the person using it medicinally with the prevention of flatulence and with mild pain relief in achy dry joints.  Ayurvedicly, it is warming and sweet, which will take the chill out of the Vata body and add an aphrodisiac quality to ease anxiety!"

Since Autumn is Vata season, now is the perfect time to start using this oil.  I even took Vata blend on the plane with me during my trip to India.  The roller tip makes application easy and mess-free.  It's fun to experiment and play, applying them to the third eye, neck, wrists, inner elbows, back of the knees and even feet soles.  Soon Sarah will be launching a new line of body massage oils, designed for daily Abhyanga massage, and for massage therapists working with Ayurveda. 

In addition to teaching yoga retreats and running her business, Sarah recently became part Yoga Prosperity Program as a Program Host and Yoga Business Coach.  Her unique passions include pelvic empowerment through yoga, Ayurveda, the fusion of yoga and paddleboarding, acro yoga and asana as a therapeutic tool for athletes.  To learn more about Sarah and Ayuvedic Apothecary, visit

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Greatest Teacher

Sometimes an injury is your soul speaking through your body.  This has been the case for me.  Over the last 9 months, I have been experiencing swelling in my right knee.  There was no big pop, no accident, no obvious moment of injury.  This is common for inflammation problems.  They creep up on you quietly and kick you in the ass.  Or the knee.

I am dedicated to natural health and nurturing self-care.  This knee has sent me to the orthopedic surgeon, rheumatoid arthritis doctor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, naturopath, counselor, physical therapist, yoga teacher and back again.  Now I see that my true healing began in India when I finally learned what it means to rest.

Who doesn't want to rest?  Well, me apparently.  It wasn't that I didn't want to rest my knee.  It was more like I didn't know how to give myself permission to rest.  An active mind and an active body always keep me moving, working, doing chores, errands and exercising.  Like many American woman, I had been brainwashed into thinking that if I wasn't running or doing the elliptical or squatting or box jumping or sweating then I would get fat.  No matter how balanced or centered I think I am, the desire to maintain a slim figure outweighed what my body was really craving.  I'm so grateful that I am finally heeding the call.

When I was at Ayurvedagram in India, my doctors told me not to walk too much.  This meant that I only walked to meals, treatments and to the yoga room.  Yoga class was not cracked-out, hot ashtanga flow.  This was therapeutic yoga.  Sometimes we didn't even stand up during the entire class.  My ego got out of my way by day 2 or 3, and I just embraced the slow pace, movement repetitions and focused on my breath.  Mohanty, our wonderful teacher, would sing, "Inhaaaaaaaaaale. Exhaaaaaaaaaale."  His style was calm, focused and careful.  At one point he said, "If you can't do the pose, that's fine.  But if you can't relax during the pose, that's a big problem."  We weren't in class to sweat and get a hard workout.  We were there to loosen up, stretch our muscles and ultimately, relax.

These days instead of trying to squeeze in a workout after work, I put my legs up the wall and breathe.  This gentle inversion has great effects on my body and mind.  My job is very active, and I let that "count" as exercise sometimes.  My yoga practice has never been more rewarding now that I'm letting me body tell me what it needs each day.  The concept of rest is finally sinking in.  It's not only good sleep, but choosing conscious rest while awake.  I'm grateful for my knee and the way it's teaching me how to truly rest.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to Life

This first week back from India has been so interesting.  I feel like I'm an outsider in my own life and witnessing all of the people, places and events from afar.  It's like my vision has been cleared, and I see my whole life as "big picture."  I'm not back at work yet, so I have no routine, no serious obligations and my life is just wide open.

When I got back on Friday, I felt overwhelmed and in love with my boyfriend, Kevin.  He cleaned our entire place, left me a sweet note, came home with flowers and took me out to dinner.  I had been dreaming about that big, long hug for weeks.  As we sat at an outdoor Mexican place on our bustling street, I was looking around like a tourist, like I'd never been there before.  I was even looking at Kevin and thinking, "Wow, this guy's cute," as though he wasn't already "mine."  I was more quiet than usual because I didn't immediately verbalize every thought that came into my head.  It was such a strange feeling.

I've experienced this phenomenon again and again as I see friends (Wow, I see why we're friends!), enjoy my apartment and ease back into school life.  My concept of time has also shifted.  Before I left for India, I was constantly focused on my next step, next post, next project, next meal, next social event, go, go, GO!  Now I can step back and see all of the tremendous things that have already happened this year.  It really takes the internal pressure off to see how much I've already accomplished and not feel that nagging, urgent feeling to constantly need more.

Gratitude.  That's the overall essence of this week.  I'm so grateful for my life with it's bumps, beauty and love.  There is so much goodness, so many experiences waiting to manifest, so much learning and so much fun yet to have.  I don't have to force it, just flow with it.  Thank you for reading as I share this weird and amazing life.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Ayurveda Adventure


Have you ever wished that you could take a time-out for a few weeks to rest, recharge and detox your soul?  That is exactly what happened when I went to Ayurvedagram near Bangalore, India.  As I sit at home writing this post in the early hours of the morning, completely jet lagged and utterly happy, I'm realizing that this trip was exactly what I needed.

Ayurvedagram means "Ayurveda village."  It is a gorgeous wellness oasis.  The stone walking path leads around sculpted gardens, a calming lotus pond and the traditional Kerala-style buildings of a palace.  Previous warnings of deep poverty, begging, illness and congestion had me prepared for something difficult and grueling.  Instead, my dad and I were greeted by our driver at the airport with a sign, whisked to the wellness center and treated with yoga, massage and 2-hour doctor consultations on our first day.  Not to mention delicious vegetarian food and very friendly staff.  I did have a mini break-down with the doctor in the first ten minutes of my consultation.  I blame the 20-hour flight, exhaustion and overwhelm.  I got to see my beloved teacher, Dr. Jay, for a few minutes because he happened to be in India at the same time.  It was funny to me that he's from India, but seeing his face reminded me so much of home and the many hours spent learning in the Wallingford Kerala Ayurveda Academy.  It was all too much and the tears bubbled over.  Luckily my doctor, Dr. Manu, passed me some tissues and told me never to suppress a natural urge, thereby giving me the green light to cry my heart out.  I love that man.

It took a few days to adjust to being on the other side of the world (12.5 hour time difference).  My dad and I greeted the daylight by walking the grounds and listening to nature.  During our stay, we saw white owls, huge butterflies, frogs, bats, squirrels that chirp, crows that caw so loud they wake you up, crickets, geckos, mosquitoes that loved me too much, dogs, turtles, geese and so many cows.  I reconnected with nature during many relaxing hours on our veranda with my journal, book and thoughts, watching and listening to the sounds.  When I first arrived at Ayurvedagram, I toured the gardens, library, yoga studio and wondered, "Am I going to be bored here?"  There were times when I wondered what to do with myself.  It was a real adjustment to release my need to be productive, soak in the moment and turn 45 minutes of meditation into the most important part of my afternoon.  It's incredible what comes up and out when not constantly distracted and busy with daily life.

During our stay, it was unusually busy for August.  The entire center was full, which meant that we made many international friends and enjoyed long meals and interesting conversations.  Guests from India, England, Malaysia, the States, Tanzania and the Netherlands joined us at the long table in the dining hall.  It felt like we got to have a healthy dinner party every night.  Most people go to Ayurvedagram with a specific health problem or to lose weight.  Many people had special diets, and we all learned the lingo that went along with each detox treatment.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but chatting about oil and herbal enemas and purgation days (herbal laxatives) became the new dinner table norm.

Our daily schedule:
6:00 morning walk
7:00 morning routine- a therapist arrives at your door to rinse your eyes, administer nasya (nasal drops), have you gargle with triphala water with honey and take your medicine (a shot of herbal goodness).
7:30 yoga class
8:30 morning treatment (incredible oil massages)
9:30 breakfast
12:15 pranayama (breathing exercises)
1:00 lunch
3:15 meditation
4:00 afternoon treatment
6:30 dinner

As you can see we were "busy," but it was all meant to help release toxins, clear the physical and mental clutter and learn to relax.  I love to walk and exercise and stay busy.  But during my time at Ayurvedagram, the doctors were focused on helping me heal my knee.  They told me not to walk too much.  So while my dad was power walking for 45 minutes in the morning, I was only allowed to take 2 laps around the grounds.  Maybe it took me going to India to finally learn how to rest.  My knee is doing better than ever and I was sent home with a big bag of herbal medicines and paste to continue my healing now.

This experience has helped my Ayurveda study really sink in.  I was able to experience so many different treatments (34 to be exact) with medicated oils specific for me and herbal medicine shots 4 times a day designed to strengthen my joints, slow down degenerative changes and improve metabolism.  Dr. Manu and Dr. Natasha shared so much Ayurvedic knowledge with me.  My lovely therapists pampered me multiple times a day and made me feel so cared for.  Our yoga teacher, Mohanty, taught and inspired me with new pranayama techniques and a loving example of the yogic lifestyle.  It was truly humbling to realize that there is so much more to learn and that I am still at the beginning of my journey with Ayurveda and yoga.  I know I've barely scratched the surface of India's rich culture.  I have a feeling this won't be my last visit.  I feel so lucky and grateful to be able to carve out this time, share this experience with my dad and come back feeling inspired and rejuvenated.  Let the Ayurveda adventure continue!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

India is calling!

Tomorrow I leave for India.  I have been dreaming of this trip for over two years.  Part of what drew me to Ayurveda was the opportunity to travel to India and see where yoga and Ayurveda were born.  I want to experience how it's really done, in the most authentic way possible.  This feels like more than just a trip.  It feels like a spiritual voyage way outside my comfort zone.  It may not be pretty or even enjoyable all the time, but I know it's exactly what I need.  My dad and I will be doing something called Panchakarma (which means 5 actions).  It's a cleansing treatment that will take place over our 17 days.  I'm not sure what the Ayurvedic doctors will recommend for me, but I'm hoping to find a new approach for healing my knee.  I'm excited to take day trips to temples or markets or ashrams.  Whatever opportunities present themselves will be perfect for me.

Friends have told me all kinds of crazy stories about India.  One friend shocked me with her story of a woman dumping her baby in her arms and yelling, "Better life with you!" before running away, leaving my frightened friend in the middle of the street bawling and overwhelmed.  I've been reading books and learning in preparation for my trip.  However, I already know that nothing will prepare me fully.  I'm ready to proceed into this crazy, beautiful unknown country with an open mind and a deep respect.  The wellness center, Ayurvedagram, will take care of us.  This first trip to India needs a little hand-holding.  As much as I love to explore and be the adventurous traveler, I don't yet know the rules for India.  I feel humbled at the thought of this crowded, vibrant country.  As I pack my bag and leave my phone at home, I know that these are the moments that enrich and define my life.  See you in three weeks!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Perfect Summer Salad

This week I made the perfect summer salad for Pitta season.  I was inspired by an amazing cookbook called Eat Taste Heal.  It was written by 3 Ayurvedic doctors and clearly outlines how to eat for your dosha.  Their website also has valuable information and resources about Ayurveda. 

This salad is refreshing and delicious.  I loved the creamy, cool dressing.


3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons filtered water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon maple syrup
I blended these ingredients until smooth and stored them in the mason jar in the fridge.  It can be used for other salads up to one week.
3 cups mixed greens (whatever is in season)
½ bunch watercress, stems removed, leaves rinsed, dried and torn into sprigs
12 thin slices of cucumber
1 avocado (cut into long slices)
Mix salad ingredients together and toss with the dressing mixture. 

This recipe is quick and ideal for a hot summer night.  The watercress adds an unexpected bit of spicyness.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ayurveda Class is Now In Session!

Hello friends!  I am so excited to share that I am offering my first Ayurveda class on July 14th from 2:00-3:15pm at Rainbow Natural Remedies.  It is a fun and interactive experience where students will eat, sample and try Ayurvedic foods, spices and beauty treatments.  It's everything that I would want in a class.  This incredible store feels like a spa right when you walk in.  Medicinal plants greet you with fresh fragrances.  The fountain waterfall bubbles as you peruse herbs, lotions and potions.  The class is held in the book room in the back of the store.  There's a sense of privacy, so students don't feel exposed in the front display window.

There's no need to register or pay beforehand.  We like to keep things simple.  Just arrive a few minutes early to park, check-in, make a donation (optional) and get settled.  The store will be open in case you'd like to purchase any supplements, herbs or oils before or after class.

Please help me spread the word to any friends, coworkers and family that are interested in health.  It's the perfect class to share with a friend.  It's affordable and a positive step towards wellness this summer.  In addition, this neighborhood is bubbling with fun shops, restaurants and excellent people watching. Perhaps you'd like to grab a tea at Remedies Teas or a coffee at Victrola Coffee Roasters next door.  For a little nature infusion, visit Volunteer Park after class and soak in all that you've learned.

I look forward to sharing this time together. Let Ayurveda make this your best summer yet!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Teacher Love (aka discount)

It's the end of the school year.  The rush to finish report cards, clean out the class, say goodbyes with hugs and cards, hurry to make the staff party and finally.....summer break.  This time of year is so sweet because the entirety of summer vacation stretches out before you waiting to be relished, one lazy morning at a time.  It's also the season of renewal and improved self-care.  More walks, more homemade meals and perhaps some new ideas around health.

To show my love for my fellow teachers, I'm offering discounted Ayurveda Health Coaching.  Through my years of teaching, studying yoga and meditation and now incorporating the ancient science of Ayurveda, I've mastered simple techniques that create major health benefits.  Whether you want to lose a few pounds, improve your complexion, create a healthy diet or start a meditation practice, health coaching is the key to your success.

I'm offering 3 one-hour sessions for $99 (a $270 value).  Since Ayurveda is not licensed yet, we can not accept insurance.  My vision is to make Ayurveda Health Coaching accessible to teachers accustomed to paying merely a copay for alternative health services.  If you've been wondering about yoga, meditation or Ayurveda, now is your time to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
Join me at Glow Natural Health Center in Madison Valley.  Enjoy some tea in the waiting room, browse the other services available (hello, massage!) and invest in a little self care this summer.  You deserve it!  To register for this special offer, send me an email at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How to Let Go

Lately I've really been receiving the message, "Let yourself be guided."  What does this really mean?  To me, it means that I don't have to be in charge of every little detail of my life.  I'm not the only one working on my behalf.  I can relax into knowing that the Universe has got me.  It feels like falling back into a big cloud of supportive safety that will swoop me off into the right direction.  I just have to stop trying to steer and enjoy the ride.  I'm not saying that I won't work hard or hustle or put time into my goals, but the outcome of these efforts is not really up to me.  I'll put my best forward and the rest is up to (insert your word of choice here).  The same force that got me here is the one that runs my life.  As the Course in Miracles suggests, I start every day with these questions:

Where shall you have me go?
What shall you have me do?
What shall you have me say?
To whom?
Then I listen for an answer, an inkling, an idea or a push.  It's fun and exciting and a whole lot easier than struggling through my days.  Recently, I tried this exercise from Esther Hicks.  In your journal, create this table:
Things I will do this week
Things I would like the Universe to handle this week
My side had 8 items and the Universe side had 13.  I listed very specific to-do list items on my side and big wish items on the Universe side (for example, healing my knee).  Now, looking back about 3 weeks later, I realize that the Universe has already tackled 6 of her big items.  Wow!  I did all of my manageable to-dos, so together we are truly a force of awesome productivity!  I am confident that with time, the Universe will get all of her items done.  In fact, I'm betting on it.  What do you want to let the Universe handle this week?  Write me a comment, and I'll add it to my list, too.  Have fun!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ayurvedic Health and Beauty for Summer

In Seattle, dreams of summer strolls and fresh berries at the farmers market dance in our heads all winter long.  As the days get longer and we leave our jackets at home, we embrace the ancient secrets of Ayurveda to balance our bodies.  An Ayurvedic seasonal routine helps us achieve the peaceful mind, abundant energy and gorgeous glow that we all desire.  Instinctively, we know that we don’t want to eat the same foods, dress the same way or have the same routines every day for the entire year.  We adapt to seasonal cycles because these external forces create internal changes as well.  Summer is known as the “Pitta season” because it is dominated by the fire element.
In Ayurveda, when one quality increases, we add the opposite quality to achieve a healthy balance.  For example, when tea is too hot, we add ice (or time) to bring down the heat.  Similarly, in the warm summer months, we benefit from adding cooling spices, foods, activities and routines to our busy lives.  Cooling spices include fennel, coriander, peppermint and rose.  Cucumber, cilantro, mint, coconut water, lettuce, peas, apples, strawberries and figs are refreshing food choices for summer.  These make delicious additions to a smoothie, soup, salad or stir fry.
CAUTION!  You may notice that your Pitta is aggravated if you’re feeling angry, competitive, jealous or flustered.  You may suffer from acne breakouts or red, irritated skin.  Sour belching, heartburn, loose stools and excess sweating or thirst are other signs of Pitta imbalance.  When these undesirable symptoms occur, move towards cooling and soothing activities.  Reading in the shade, avoiding the noon sun, meditating or practicing yoga can be helpful.  Try a 10-minute self-massage with coconut oil (especially on the soles of the feet) or spritzing the face with rose water.  Taking a catnap or even a few deep breaths can help reset the system.  Essentially, self-care is the cure.
As we enjoy these long, sunny days of the summer months, take a few minutes to refresh and rehydrate your body.  The effects will show up in your skin, attitude and overall health. I wish you many sunny days and relaxing summer evenings as you relish your balanced, optimal health.

To learn more about Ayurveda Health and Beauty, join me for an interactive class at Rainbow Natural Remedies on July 14th from 2:00-3:15pm.  $10

For a personalized Ayurveda consultation, schedule an appointment with me at Glow Natural Health Center by calling 206.568.8298.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I Did It!

The Alcohol-Free experiment is complete.  I made it 31 days without a drop of alcohol.  I'm feeling a mix of pride, contentment and surprise.  I knew that I could do it, but I'm astonished that it actually wasn't that hard.  The month went by fast, and I have even gone a few extra dry days.  Tonight I'm planning to enjoy a glass of wine at dinner with friends.  That one glass will now be it's own mini-experiment since my system is clean.  It's funny how any sort of deprivation makes the next bite or sip of that item absolutely heavenly.  I came across this same idea recently in a captivating book called Wild.  The author, Cheryl Strayed, decided to hike the Pacific Coast Trail alone for months.  In her case, she has limited access to basic necessities like water and food.  It's fascinating to watch her experience unfold.  In a way, the hike is her own type of experiment.  At this point in my reading, she is killing it.  I'm rooting for her as she battles her demons and conquers this gruelling challenge.  Like Cheryl, I'm realizing that we can surprise ourselves with our own capabilities... if only we take the chance and dive in.  Ready, GO!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Permission to Party

Today is Day 27 of the Alcohol-Free experiment.  It has been surprisingly easy for me to resist.  I was around alcohol last night, and the thing that struck me most was the smell.  We all know that tequila has a potent smell, but it felt like I walked into a tequila cloud when I entered the kitchen.  It had never smelled that strong to me before.  Yes, it was a little enticing because I love margaritas.  But on the other hand, it made me reconsider what that fiery liquid would do inside my body.  I opted for a cranberry and soda with a big squeeze of lime.  Just having something in my hand helps me feel like I still get to participate and be social.

It's true that a lot of the silly stories and crazy adventures from the past include alcohol.  And that's OK.  It's funny to remember back on the times when we let our guard down and just let loose.  Now I'm practicing how to relax and do that without the alcohol.  My boyfriend can tell you that I sometimes don't know how to relax.  I'll buzz around the house cleaning, doing laundry, making calls, cooking food when I could just sit down and hang out.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm ready for a party, and I'm giving myself permission to party without the alcohol.  Permission granted!

Here are the other ways I'm allowing myself to relax and unwind:
1. baths with Epsom salts and a magazine (favorites: Real Simple and the Oprah Magazine)
2. reading and eating popcorn in bed (so naughty)
3. meditation
4. exercising in the gym in my building
5. going out to eat with friends (on deck this week: Plum)
6. buying flowers at the farmers market with Kevin
7. getting vegan ice cream and sitting at the park (favorites: coconut chocolate chunk from Molly Moon's and sorbet at Cupcake Royale)
8. watching New Girl, Mindy Project and Million Dollar Listing (look who has a TV now!)
9. going to the movies
10. walking around my beautiful city (I love you, Seattle!)

As I cruise through the last few days of this experiment, I'm feeling grateful for this opportunity to reconnect with myself and cut through the haze.  Have you ever tried giving up alcohol?  What worked for you?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Need a Party!

I sit here laughing as I write this because I just realized that I need to cut loose.  I have been so strict with myself lately that I'm strangling all the fun out of my life.  No gluten, no alcohol, too much work, too many's enough to drive a girl crazy.  I am officially inviting fun back into my life.  Too many rules is suffocating.  I am reconnecting with the medium path and finding any excuse to giggle, do a dance and be silly.  Bring it on, Universe!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Secret to Clear Skin

As I'm wrapping up Week Two of the Alcohol-Free experiment, I'm realizing that the best way to avoid alcohol is to keep myself super busy with other projects.  Since I'm starting my business, teaching, being a landlord, being a daughter, being a girlfriend, working out and cooking healthy foods, alcohol hasn't been part of my schedule.  I have missed a few parties because of all this schedule craziness, but I'm realizing that the moments that mean the most to me are usually time spent one-on-one with good friends.  The conversation is meaningful, and I leave feeling really happy.  I had an amazing lunch with my friend, Trina, at Cafe Flora.  Its vegetarian yumminess didn't necessitate a cocktail.  I also had Kiara over for appetizers and mimosas (left over from Mother's Day brunch).  My champagne flute was full of orange juice.  My drinking or not-drinking doesn't really matter when the friendships are solid. 

Last week I even celebrated Stacy at Oliver's Twist with a rhubarb tarragon lemonade.  Ummm...yes please!  The conversation and business brainstorm kept me plenty satisfied and entertained. 

Do I miss drinking?  Sometimes, yes.  A glass of chilled white wine on a hot day.  A margarita on Cinco de Mayo.  But what I don't miss are the hangovers, pimples, messed up sleep schedule and exhaustion.  In fact, my skin has never looked better.  All this clean blood flowing from my happy liver is really starting to show.  Or maybe it's all in my head.  Either way, I'm busy, challenged and feeling good.  I'll drink to that!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Feeling inspired?

I had a meeting with my principal (boss) this morning after a surprise drop-in observation this week. Of course when I saw her walk in with the iPad, I knew it was game time. I didn't change my lesson (much), but everything feels so different when you know you're being observed. We had a great conversation this morning, and she gave me some good feedback about setting diverse learning objectives for different kids based on needs. As she left, I realized that I was just "coached" in a caring and supportive way. And it felt good. I implemented a few of her ideas this morning and the students loved it! They love choice, specialized small group instruction and feeling like they're getting something special. We all want to feel special, heard and appreciated. My principal did that for me, and I passed the love along to my students. Maybe this new teacher evaluation pilot isn't so bad after all.

This all got me thinking... What does it take to feel inspired? I know it takes energy and willingness. A Course in Miracles states that willingness is everything. Am I willing to be inspired and take action towards positive changes? Do I have persistence and dedication to seeking out new challenges and experiences or do I only operate in my comfort zone? Am I willing to look like a dope and fail a few times before succeeding? Absolutely! Come check out the weirdo over here. That's me!

My principal doesn't take credit for my feelings of inspiration, but just keeps cheering me on. That's what I want to offer my students, friends, family and clients. Feeling inspired is like floating around on a happy cloud of energy and motivation. What makes you feel inspired? How do you get yourself unstuck when nothing feels inspiring? I want to hear from you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Replace instead of eliminate

Week one of my alcohol-free experiment has been a big success.  I didn't drink at all this week, but there were definitely some moments when I wanted to.  I witnessed myself wanting a drink at times when I felt stressed or overwhelmed.  It was as though I wanted to self-medicate with a glass of wine or a cocktail to "take the edge off."  Instead, I choose to breathe through it, feel uncomfortable and make a different choice.  After my very first day at my new office, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted.  Instead of the wine, I reached for a cup of comforting, warm soup.  The healthy nourishment did help me feel cozy and more relaxed.  That replacement offered the comfort I was searching for.

On Cinco de Mayo, I was waiting for friends to arrive and wanted to join the festivities with a margarita.  Instead, I had a refreshing virgin mojito that still provided the festive, sweet treat I was craving.  When my friends started to arrive, I was able to relax, chat and enjoy the music.  Dancing and socializing with good friends makes alcohol irrelevant.  I see that I sometimes want to fill the "gaps" or the uncomfortable moments with a straw and a sip.

At a dinner out, I had a grapefruit San Pellegrino.  It was bubbly and delicious, but at 150 calories and 35 grams of sugar, it may not be the healthiest alternative out there.  It seems that soda water with lime is a good way to sip on something with a little flavor, but not bombard my body with sugar.

As I head into Week Two of this challenge, I'm feeling confident and proud.  I feel like I'm really "walking my talk" as an Ayurveda Health Coach and yogini.  It's all a practice of self-study and learning.  I am happy to be taking my health seriously and noticing the benefits.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Month Twelve: Alcohol Free

I've had this blog for over 4 years now, and it's taken me that long to tackle this month's experiment.  Some of my readers may not even know that my blog started as a series of one-month lifestyle challenges.  Each month I dabbled in a new goal.  These experiments give me a reason to research and experience first-hand different ways of living.  Here's the summary:

Month One: Vegetarianism
Month Two: Shopping-Free
Month Three: Caffeine-Free
Month Four: No High Heels
Month Five: Gluten-free
Month Six: Pants-Free
Month Seven: Cell phone-Free
Month Eight: Blog-Free
Month Nine: All Things Ayurveda
Month Ten: Chi Running
Month Eleven: Finding Free

And now finally, Month Twelve: Alcohol Free.  I'm not sure why it took me this long to be willing to give up alcohol for 30 days.  It just always seemed like the wrong time.  I always have a wedding coming up, a holiday coming up, a birthday coming up, whatever.  These excuses have now taken the back seat because I recently started taking an anti-inflammatory for my knee that is really tough on the liver and kidneys.  Now I finally have a good reason to not drink.  Combining alcohol with this medication would be dangerous for my body and overall health.  I have a feeling that some interesting insights will come up this month.  Bring it on!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Service vs. Ambition

Ok, let me just say it straight.  This interview blew my mind.  I love Marie Forleo and Marianne Williamson.  To put them together is a match made in heaven.  I want to be friends with them, sip tea and learn, learn, learn.  Since that girl-crush fantasy probably won't happen today, I was equally excited to listen to this interview about Marianne's new book, The Law of Divine Compensation.

The part that struck me most was the discussion about service vs. ambition.  As I am laying the foundation for my Ayurveda Health Coach practice, it's easy for me to focus on the business side of things.  I really want to keep bringing my bottom line back to service and contribution.  If I make money, great.  My number one objective is to help people live healthy and happy lives.  That's what I want.  That's what I choose to focus on.  As Marianne says, "The Universe is an unlimited opportunity machine."  I choose to let that energy run my business and surprise me with all kinds of new experiences, people and chances to grow.  Universe, show me what you've got!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Sometimes faith is all the we really have.  Faith that this crazy idea will work out.  Faith that my efforts and actions are leading me somewhere good.  Faith that this excitement, passion, energy...this feeling IS the point.  This feeling IS my ultimate goal.  Achieving my goal is not really the goal.  Feeling stoked and motivated and inspired on the way to a goal is the best part. 

Opportunities keep plopping into my lap and pointing me in the right direction.  Starting May 1st, I will be a member of the Glow Team at Glow Natural Health Center in Madison Valley.  We offer acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, Naturopathic medicine, psychotherapy and now AYURVEDA!  I will be seeing clients from 8am-12pm on Saturdays and 6:30-8:30pm on Wednesdays.

The lease is being looked over, website profile being revised, insurance paperwork being shuffled, promotion events in the works...I just can't keep the secret any longer.  This is truly a dream come true.  I am so inspired to guide my clients to happier, more joyous lives through nutrition, herbs, yoga, meditation, pranayama and lifestyle routines.  I am the Ayurveda Health Coach, and I'm ready to serve.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Reducing inflammation through Ayurveda

I started this AWC program for selfish reasons... to help myself be healthy.  My final research paper came out of the same inclination.  For the last two months, I've been struggling with inflammation in my right knee.  Ironically, it started after sitting on the floor for 2 days during my last intense Ayurveda class.  The same weekend I had a strong reaction to some nasal drops administered during our Panchakarma class.  This whole experience has been really humbling as I see the limits and of my body and acknowledge my predisposition for joint issues.  After x-rays, blood tests, an MRI and countless doctors appointments, I'm now starting physical therapy once a week to help build strenth to support my knees.  When I look for the gift or the assignment in all of this, I can see that my health issues will help me be a more compassionate and understanding counselor.  Perhaps a little personal struggle helps me better relate to others.  It definitely has me researching and seeking out new resources to guide my healing.

Here are a few things I've learned about inflammation and auto-immune diseases:

1. My body sometimes overreacts to perceived threats and attacks healthy tissue.  Anything that can calm the body down (REST, massage, aromatherapy, chanting, pranayama) can reduce inflammation.

2. An anti-inflammatory diet is full of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

3. Sugar, gluten and alcohol can cause more inflammation.

4. Spices and herbs like garlic, tumeric and ginger have huge healing benefits. 

5. My mind is my strongest healing tool and ally.  I can ignite my own "placebo effect" by trusting my body's healing power and wisdom.  Tapping into my natural balancing capacities will save my knee.

6. Stress causes inflammation.  This research paper showed me that there is a HUGE body of knowledge and research about the benefits of yoga, meditation, pranayama and herbs.

As I move forward with Ayurveda, I learn more tricks and tips that help me stay on track and keep my body thriving.  Living happy and shaking off stress seem to be the best remedy.

For more information about inflammation, check out:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Graduation Day

I am an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor.  Graduation ended just a few hours ago, and I am still floating on Cloud Nine.  It was such an exciting and intense weekend as we practicing consulting with real Rogis.  The word "Rogi" in Ayurveda means client, patient and friend all in one.  It honors the unique relationship we have as teachers, coaches, counselors.  It was so rewarding to brainstorm with a team ways to create balance in these people to fit their unique needs and constitutions. 

Friends and family joined us today as Teri gave us our certificates and spoke about each student.  It was such a personal and special way to end this experience.

 I know that my journey with Ayurveda is still just beginning, and I feel lucky to have this network of passionate teachers and colleagues.  Let the adventure continue!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Creating Space

It's official.  I share space with another human being.  After living alone for 7 years, I took the jump into cohabitation with my boyfriend.  It has definitely been a transition for me to share my bed, make so many decisions together and consider another person's schedule.  After 3 weeks living together, I can honestly say I'm happier now than I've ever been.

The number one reason why it's working is because we've created some space.  Before we moved in, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find a comfortable place to meditate and practice yoga in our one bedroom apartment.  To which he responded, "You can meditate anywhere your butt hits the ground."  The funny thing is that he was right.  The even better thing is that I claimed a little area of the living room for my alter.  By placing my vision board and a candle on top of my grandma's old trunk, I immediately created the sacred space I craved.  We found an incredible picture of the Buddha and hung it above the trunk.  By not overcrowding our space with excess furniture, I carved out the perfect strip for my yoga mat in between the dining room and living room.  This little area is my favorite part of our new home.  I wake up early just to relish some time to myself in front of my alter with my mat, journal, books and music.

After a few quiet minutes of meditating and breathing, I'm prepared to re-engage with the world.  I take that calm stillness with me.  I've noticed that it makes me less reactive, less snippy and just overall more satisfied with life.  I know that everyone in my life benefits from this yoga and meditation practice.  It helps me bring my best loving, sweet self to any situation.