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