Stay Divine. Fall with the Leaves. Breakthrough.

Fall..that smell of freshly sharpened pencils, new beginnings, boldness, courageous shedding of layers and breaking through old paradigms. 

AYURVEDA. Mother Earth. Witches from the Salty Seas.

Include these ingredients into your day now that the season has turned. 

Pomegranate: The pomegranate has been heralded for centuries, and in fact, it’s one of the oldest known fruits in existence. Lucky for us, this gorgeous fruit is still plentiful and we’re able to enjoy the benefits of its jewel-like seeds and juice, which is brimming with free-radical zapping antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve heart health, and possibly inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. On top of this, pomegranates are a great source of iron and vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 which helps keep your body functioning as it should.

Pomegranate seeds are delicious as they are, but they’re also incredible tossed into salads, soups, and smoothies. The next time you break out your juicer, try adding in a few pomegranate seeds to reap their rewards.

Pumpkin: It seems only natural to start this list with the most autumnal of them all, doesn’t it? Pumpkin is ubiquitous for fall and on top of being flavorful, this squash is also jam packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is incredibly rich in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full longer and keeps your digestive tract healthy. Pumpkin is also rich in folate, which aids in cell renewal, and is an amazing source of vitamin A, which helps keep your vision sharp. Just 1 cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A!

While it’s great mixed into baked goods and smoothies, pumpkin is even better when it’s incorporated into savory dishes like soups and stews. You can even roast it and mix it into pasta and rice dishes for an easy meal. And don’t toss the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, plant-based chemicals that have been shown to lower cholesterol, and they also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can help boost your mood.

Beets: People seem to either love or hate beets, and I fall into the former category. In my opinion, beets are pretty awesome. These jewel-tone root vegetables were originally harvested for their greens only, but over time people caught on to how delicious the roots were as well, and good thing, because these earthy vegetables are also nutritional powerhouses. Along with vitamin C, folate, and manganese, beets are also a unique source of betaine. Never heard of betaine? You’re not alone, but this elusive nutrient aides in reducing inflammation and has been shown to protect cells from environmental stresses and about a million other things. Beets are also an incredible detoxifyer and help to purify your blood and your liver. And don’t throw out those greens! Buying a bunch of whole beets is a nutritional two-for-one: the greens themselves contain even more iron than spinach.

Beets and beet greens are super simple to prepare. The root can be roasted, juiced, shaved onto salads, and thrown into almost anything. The greens can be steamed, sauteed, or mixed into soups and salads; whichever way you make them, they’re sure to be delicious.

Pears: After researching their nutritional benefits, I’m working on including this autumnal fruit much more into my day. Just the skin of pears contains over half of the entire fruit’s dietary fiber and three to four times as many antioxidants. Pretty incredible, right? Pears are also a great source of fiber and can help aide in lowering oxidative stress on our cells.

Pears are great raw, but my favorite way to eat them is roasted or baked as a dessert. They’re also an amazing addition to salads and can even be tossed on the grill and served as a sweet accompaniment to a savory dish.

Squash: Besides pumpkin, there are countless numbers of other squash available this season, and you should definitely pick some up. Depending on which type you choose, squash is generally an amazing source of fiber and vitamin C, and also contains high percentages of potassium, which can help muscle performance and vitamin A, which helps development.

If you’re new to the wide world of squashes, I think the two friendliest are acorn and butternut. Try trimming and roasting a butternut squash, or making it into butternut squash soup, or try making a stuffed acorn squash. Once you get the hang of it, explore the countless other varieties out there, each one with their own amazing benefits.

SPICES:
Cinnamon

Cinnamon doesn’t just smell heavenly, it also has a number of great health benefits and is actually a powerful medicinal herb used for years in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for colds and headaches, among other things. Cinnamon is known to be a great digestive aid and also helps lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Even the scent is said to boost cognitive function and memory! I love adding a small dash of cinnamon to coffee or tea, or on top of oatmeal. Cinnamon and honey in tea is incredibly soothing and delicious.

Juniper Berries Juniper berries are commonly used as a spice in preparing hearty type dishes. As a veg head, the only way I've ever consumed them was in a beverage, but they are delicious! Their health benefits including improving digestion, lowering blood sugar and improving kidney health. Mix juniper berries with cinnamon and cloves and any other desired ingredients, simmer, strain and serve hot!

Turmeric

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and a member of the ginger family, and is thought by many cultures to be one of the most beneficial substances around. It is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian foods, and was also often used in ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that some studies show can also be used to block the growth of certain cancers. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory. It is best incorporated into food raw – just sprinkle a bit in soup or mix in with salad dressing and enjoy its mild flavor and many health benefits! Oh, and the unexpected uses – turmeric can be mixed with plain yogurt to create a skin cream to promote healthier skin, and it can also be used to make a really beautiful natural dye!

Nutmeg

I actually never knew this is what nutmeg looked like! I’m used to the ground, reddish brown powder that you get when these are ground up. Nutmeg is one of my favorite additions to sprinkle on top of soup in the fall – it has a very potent flavor so you only need small amounts. Medicinally, nutmeg has powerful antibacterial properties and can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth, preventing cavities and sickness – and nutmeg oil can be used to treat toothaches! Other health benefits include mixing with honey to help with nausea, indigestion and even anxiety and depression.

Cloves

Last but not least, cloves are another great seasonal spice that can help remedy colds, skin problems and more. Cloves work surprisingly well as an expectorant if you have a cough – add a couple cloves to your tea and let it do its work! For an unexpected use, a small satchel of cloves in a drawer can give your clothes a lovely aroma and also keep them fresh. Combine ground cloves with honey to make a homemade facial remedy that will help fight breakouts and balance out your skin.


Stay tuned for the next series on oils, stones and flowers that will uplift also.

An Island and a Dream #2

In October it will be 2 years that we moved to Long Beach Island and began this wanderlust lifestyle; Traveling between islands in Florida during the summer months while the LBI home rents.

Part of me screams, 'I'm getting too "old" for this shit,' (I'm so not old) while the other part belts out a resounding, 'You're at the precipice, where we're designed to stop, don't.' There's no turning back now. Once you've seen how big life can be, going back to playing small isn't an option, no matter how scary it gets.

You keep going forward, even if looking backwards has become a thing.

Just know, that the closer we get to what we desire, the more intense it gets and when all the tools we've learned need to be put into practice; Yoga, meditations, self care, nutrition, self worth, self love, education, community all become the life line.

Do you remember where it all started? An Island and a dream #1 blog talks about it and I needed to look back to remember because it's all getting really big and has officially fully come to life.

The signs carried us here and what we've gained and lost has all been important.

We've lost touch with some people, places, things and ideas, but the bonds with others seem to have strengthened despite time, space, distance and a lot of changes. I love seeing that truth come out.

I like to consider these years as a purification.

A time where what and who really was meant to be in our lives rose to the top, while the rest flew away to where it was meant to go.

We're about to embark on our last year of this purifying, healing, recovering, somewhat isolated island metamorphosis. The year ahead will differ in that we'll be taking bi-monthly trips into our favorite city, Philadelphia. The girls for school (and friends) and me for business (and pleasure.)

We're considering this year our re-acclimation into the land of the living and the urban lands we love; That keep the fire in our bellies alive, filled with connection, purpose and practice.

After all is said and done, a period "away from it all" has always served as a reset, reboot and realignment of who we are as humans. We've done it before and we'll likely do it again at some point. If you've never, you deserve the experience at least once for you and the family. I'm not talking about a two week vacation; Live outside the fucking box and get clear on who you all really are and what you're meant to bring to this life.

You will survive. I promise.

It's like when you're off with eating habits or vibes in relationships, fasting and abstaining has a profound affect. Furthermore, when you're manifesting something big in your life, islands, as well as peacefulness contribute a great deal. We are a testimony to that being very real.

2 years later, we assisted in saving a man his family beach home, we regained our health, we found a place deep within which was previously encompassed by noise, and nurtured it; We have an unbreakable bond with the sea, each other and the circle we've cultivated around us. Our purpose is clear as fuck and unshakable. We have arrived.

In the last phase of our island living, I'll be journeying on the priestess path and continuing to open the door for women's empowerment, health, wellness, fitness and business; The twins will be getting reconnected with their life in Philly, taking a journey with a devoted Ashtanga teacher here on the island before we go and growing their skills as brilliant artists.

It's been such a pleasure being able to reach people more globally and those who we normally wouldn't had we continued to be as social and less online based, which all changed while we were away and remote as three toucans in the rainforest.

That has been a gift, returned me to my writing, and blazed a trail that knows no bounds.

With that said, we'll be re-entering the land of the living little by little and selectively, our tolerance for negativity, bull shit, and toxic living has no home, we're more than who we were before, yet so much the same and who we've always been.

Destiny.

Time to go home.

Can't wait to squeeze you all up soon.

You know who you are🖤

Silence

 
Nurture your relationship with Silence. 
It was here before anything else. 
It encompasses everything else.
It came Before Sound. 
It Takes you directly to your center.
Silence Links our soul with the cosmos.
We gain ourselves in Silence. 
Without it we are lost.
Here we find re-creation.
Everything comes alive again with Silence.
It Brings brand newness. 
Don't bury this secret in the noise. 
Return to Silence🕊

Alana Blanchard doing the same workouts as the Goddess Project!


Photo Credit: Alana Blanchard 

Did you know my favorite surfer girl is Alana Blanchard? She's just badass, grew up in Hawaii, was home schooled, surfs so beautifully and has since she was a kid. She speaks and lives like a girl after my own heart.

Did you catch her live workout this week? I love simplicity. If I can workout anywhere, anytime I will not have excuses.  "But, I want to stay on the beach today."
Done! Grab a towel, or big blanket, your phone and GO!
The Goddess Project Program highlights some of the very same moves Alana suggested to us on Friday and so many more that were created by our in house Exercise Scientists, expert trainers, athletes and skilled team. 

Alana showed us 10 simple moves for booty gains and I've asked her to share with us her Core workouts next! So keep an eye out for that follow up blog.

Alana's quickie went like this (see below) We'll call it "The Surfer Girl Booty Gains"
1: High Knees, "Keep Your Core in" Alana says.
2. Jump Squats, or just squats without the jumping, "Squeeze Your Butt" Alana says.
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Burpees
5. Jump Lunges
6. Normal Squats
7. High Knees Plus Add 5 Tuck Jumps in between.
8. Plank and Knees to Elbow (this can be done from downward dog also)
9. IN and OUT squats ( light leap up, land softly knees together, knees apart)
10. Push Up Burpees with a Jump

Alana suggests, 10 Rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
Download an interval timer app onto your phone and so that you stick to the times and push yourself.

If your knees bite back, don't do the jumps, but still do the movements with a lot of emphasis on your core, form and focusing on what your body is working on, generating more strength to the areas that need it and around areas that need it.
If you want to increase the strength training aspect add weights.

Our Interval Timing in GL varies with Alana's demo. We suggest trying 5 minutes on 1 minute off with our circuits and doing a total of 30 minutes 5 days per week with 2 rest days. 

Did you know my fitness journey took a turn for, Real Deal, when I got my dads surf board from my brother's garage and started to learn to surf? It gave me such a purpose for getting strong. I find it helps to have a goal in mind, something tangible to push us to our best selves.
Something in me just must ride my daddy Dean's board!
The one missing component is a warm beach next door all year round. I do have a cold beach as my back yard, however I must admit I never "manned up" like the locals here in Surf City and went out in the cold waters of the winter with my full body wetsuit, after a certain point.
The twins and I will be making a new journey come July, which will be changing all of that...stay tuned.

Let me know how you like the Surfer Girl Booty Gains workouts!
Feel free to email me or message me for the video of Alana's live workout, sarah@mazeylotus.com, www.mazeylotus.com 

For the Feminine



If Aristotle is right and we are what we repeatedly do then as a total creature of habit I'm quite possibly part sea animal. I love few things more than water, especially salt water and all that comes w/ it. 

I hold close to my heart deeply rooted in nature, tried, tested and true (by me and science) key ingredients for my body inside & out. 

This one I feel really passionate about because I've been using it for over a hundred years (yes I have been here that long) and it still seems not many people use it, know about it, or realize how SIMPLE, CHEAP and POWERFUL this stuff really is. So tell me if you've heard of it before I want to know!

FOR WOMEN, this is the ONLY thing besides water that I would ever use to cleanse my flower's insides. It dredges what does not belong and perfects what does. It creates a seal to protect too. Ideal for post childbirth. Mix a little with steaming hot water and you have a total lotus! Even better pour a small cup in your steaming hot bath.

FOR TEETH/GUMS, mix a little of this w/ water and I mean a LITTLE this is a powerful salt that CAN NOT BE SWALLOWED. Swish it around in your mouth and even if you lost a filling, or needed a root canal this would seal everything up and protect you for awhile. I have personal experience w/ this.
I have a phobia of dentists and my dentist said this stuff saved my teeth while I was avoiding her.

I also heard from an angel who whispers to me in the wind at Essene Market that there is a natural body of Alum water flowing in MA and that the salt also has a spiritual component to it as well. I am there and will report back with my findings!

ALUM SALT. ALUM SALT ALUM SALT. The only place I know where to get it is at iHERB, a place I suggest all the time for savings on expensive supplements and shakes. Use my code for FREE Shipping and get your own code to get credits if people shop!
When I say cheap I mean like less than $7. for a bag that will last you 8 months to a year! Here's my link, 
http://tinyurl.com/LoveyourVagina 

Home Practice #7: Devotion

 If you listen gently, all areas of life worth living whisper divinely asking for devotion with an equal dose of relinquishing.  

After two years of home practice and study with occassional weekly, or monthly yoga classes with a variety of great teachers, my practice has left the building! Ashtanga has always called out to me because I saw that it had the ability to free me. My body, my mind, my cells, my heart, my spirit and my soul (my abs too). Like a wave crashing on a rock, or a surfer riding that perfect wave it can be felt in a most undeniable way, from a far distance. Unwavering dedication like to our babies, a lover, or dear friend is what sets the liberation in motion. 

My home practice went as far as it was going to go without a teacher, consistent daily practice and a yoga community. After two weeks of class, I can feel this space inside me opening up in a brand new way. I'm moving forward and getting freer. 
For years I've had this sort of aching feeling in the center of my back. Ironically, my sister and mother also feel this same tension in the same place of their backs. 
That tension is leaving me now. 
I can feel a full body unraveling, like the petals of a flower opening, blossoming. 
It's very tangible and so real, reaching into all areas of my life.

Stress withers away with this practice. It's my daily dose of therapy and pampering. 
The power of a yoga teacher, like a sage, or a spiritual guide has the ability to send people, once in a cocoon, out of their class a butterfly to live the life they have been craving. 
They are true healers and they give us the ability to unveil ourselves. Where there was once pain, there will be portals. My decisions have been so clear lately, which is having a huge impact on the direction of mine and my families future.

All of the teachers have had a profound effect on me, even though I've been quietly moving in and out of class, mostly. Loren Russo and her assists have shown me things inside myself that I didn't know were there. Her adjustments of my twists have shown me how my body should feel and what that energy is that does somersaults inside of me every single day and how to communicate with it.
Although I'm dripping with sweat, she comes behind me like a bright light, gently broadens my shoulders, guides me to turn just a little further, directs my gaze and hand placement. As I'm panting, or grunting, she shows me it's safe to fall back into her, while instructing me to plant myself firmly into the ground with my legs and feet. She seems to know my body better than I do for a few moments.

My legs, arms and back have always been strong, but asking my core to engage in all of this brings up so much emotion. Sensing myself enough to practice Bandhas and body locks could help make this so much easier if I would just listen, but I never not once judge my practice. This is my practice. My practice. My journey of the self, through the self to the self. 
Asking my chest to open widely and allow me to spread my wings dredges tears from I don't know where, but they are cleansing me from the inside out and I won't stop.

Allowing my hamstrings to be melted little by little...
The coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, breath and agni...are gifts.
Reaching in bow as I watch  myself in the mirror, not resisting in pigeon and allowing the crystal healer that seemed to fly in from the clouds to work his magic on my blockages-
It's all vulnerability taking me deeper, further and changing me into a healthier, happier, clearer version of myself. 

I'm learning to say the opening and closing mantra's. Some of it feels instinctual, like I've been here before. I'm still struggling with some of the flow of the words in Sanskrit, but it feels powerful leaving my lips with a little bit of my soul on it, while feeling the vibrations of those around me. Loren translates the "gist" of what they mean so well. "Because I want more peace of mind and stability in life, I am now going to practice yoga as it has been passed down since time immemorial." Her interpretation, "For the peaceful resolution of the deluding nature of repetitive existence, I bow at the lotus feet of the Gurus, and behold the awakened joy of my own Soul; this is the ultimate refuge that acts like a shaman, a true source of spiritual enlightenment."
Her Kirtan has makes me cry almost every time. All this talk of crying...
I called my sister Kate on the day I didn't leave class with tears in celebration, like I'd reached a milestone. It's involuntary, but I don't want to let it freak me out. I'm diving into those layers of myself and swimming like a dolphin right through the riptides. I'm not alone.
I know there is something waiting there for me. It's me. I won't stop until I find her and set her free more and more. Even if it means crying in a room full of people, dripping sweat, and seriously leaving smelling offensive to those around me.
I'm working on ingesting more and more essential oils & cleaning up my nutrition to remedy the stench effect of hot yoga & Ashtanga so stay tuned and don't let that deter you from practicing with me.
I'll make it all smell like roses soon enough. 

Allow the softness to speak all of its natural wisdom and fly freely within that space. 

Share your practice stories with me! 

Thanks for reading. Sarah xx


Home Practice #6: New Moon of Completions and Beginnings

Uninterrupted practice

I feel like starting and ending the blog there because that's the single most valuable advice when it comes to mastering the art of yoga, surfing, or life- Uninterrupted Daily Consistent Practice. A new teacher who has been guiding me, Irene Pappas says, "There are no shortcuts, only baby steps to consistency. Fall in love with the journey because really that's all there is."

Giving it away

There's something about sharing that keeps me moving forward. I remember the day Lezele looked at me and saw that I could put my feet flat on the ground while in downward dog, which is not easy considering most people have to work at having flexible hamstrings and since my home practice has wavered I'll need a few days, or weeks of consistent practice to get that back. Even Lezele who most certainly is a gifted yoga girl, has to work towards hamstring flexibility. She was really impressed and asked me how I did that. I told her, "because I've been practicing every single day." That was the day she began practicing daily and THAT is what got her to where she is now doing scorpion pose and handstands. She is teaching and guiding me now. That is the way it works when you give it all away. Having the ability to pay forward what I gain from my strength training was a game changer. The way to have that capability with yoga would be to take the leap and do the training to advance my practice and be able to teach others. I've been talking about a teacher training for years. I wrote in my journal and in my blog, that I would give myself two years to prepare for a yoga teacher training and in March of 2016 it will be two years. Time is such an illusion. Where does it go?

November is for Nurturing Dreams- it's my birthday month so there's no better time to begin again. Even when we're living our dreams we still have to be sure to nurture them if we want to keep them alive. They are constantly evolving just like everything else.

What I realized about myself is that right as things start getting good and just before things take off, I stop. It might be stress, time, pain, fear, distractions, autoimmune disease, or something else, but I stop and then have to start all over again. I convince myself that first I need to eat cleaner, get healthier, shrink my breasts, make stronger abs and THEN I'll practice again. But, when I see my teachers practicing in a cast, or after back surgery, despite traveling and being in tight spaces- I know I'm making things up when I convince myself to stop. There's never a reason not to try even if it's the laziest practice known to man for a day, or more- it's still better to do it. 

That's exactly the time to keep going just when I feel like stopping. Pushing past the obstacle of wanting to give up may not feel or look graceful at first, but afterwards there's a glow that everyone will see and feel. I think that is what feeds whatever that universal energy is we all share. That's a reason not to stop. 

I'm recommitting to an uninterrupted daily yoga practice. Developing a strong personal practice, or home practice has always been super important to me. Doing this prior to finding a teacher to take me through my training was always my vision. Although I may face sickness from the cleansing taking place, pain from the metamorphosis taking place, this time I WILL NOT STOP. No matter how ugly it gets I'm going to push through to the other side of that barrier and of that suffering. I'll be sharing that with all of you. 

These are my baby steps to consistency. I believe that what we choose to focus on becomes our reality and that we can create any reality we choose. Over the next two months I'll be breathing in my new story and breathing out the old.

Who wants to enter into 2016 feeling really empowered and and commit to a daily practice with me for the rest of the year, then keep going? 

An Island and a Dream #1

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it's because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it's because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea - whether it is to sail or to watch it - we are going back from whence we came." John F Kennedy

I truly feel that I'm returning to my origins when I'm near the sea. For as long as I can remember, I would play the sounds of ocean waves at night to help me fall asleep. Now I fall asleep with my window open and listen to the Atlantic ocean. 

The universe is so in tune that even a passing thought can be heard. My intention was not to move to Surf City, Long Beach Island, but this hanging in my bedroom makes me know something mystical brought us here. The plan I had in mind was to move closer to my office in University City in order to finish up working on a study for Upenn before my big departure next summer, but the wind had something else in mind.
Lately, more than ever I've been drawn to what makes me come alive. I actually don't do "intentions". I ride this rhythm that I can't really express in words. I have the support of my tribe now so it doesn't even feel bold, or brave, or daring, or like I'm doing something out of the ordinary. I'm living my life. I'm listening to the voice inside of me and taking action on what I hear. I'm living from my heart and trusting that even if I fall I can always rise up again. It's how I realized who I loved and how to love him and be loved by him. It's how my daughter's health has returned. It's everything.

We discovered this bliss of an island over the summer when Justine suggested I check out Barnegat Light House. I haven't found a beach that I really connected with since we returned from Florida to the Northeast. With a giant Ron Jon surf shop and this vast, secluded beach with cities named "Surf City" and "Ship Bottom" I instantly fell in love. I mean come on it sounds like Sponge Bob Square Pants and who the hell doesn't want to live under the sea in a pineapple?

A loud "get out of here for awhile" echoing in my head one sleepless night in Washington Square West was what led me to discovering our new home in Surf City. All of us were craving more health, sea air and serenity. Washington Square West, Queen Village, Society Hill, all stunning, classy, historic, friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia near Pennsylvania hospital and the heart of the city, but I wouldn't describe it as peaceful. My lungs have been persistently requesting salty, clean air with diagnosis like, "exercise induced asthma", I got the hint. While searching for our next home I ran across a lake house that was renting for the winter at a really low rate. I couldn't understand why it was so cheap. BUT, turns out there are a TON of OFF SEASON rentals that are gorgeous and can be rented for an astoundingly low rate for the winter. Apparently the beach is not as stunning during the winter? That's news to me. Just yesterday our neighbors pitched giant tents on the beach, drove their jeeps near the breaks, with their surf boards and fishing poles in the back. With water boots, beach chairs and blankets, they spent the entire day on the beach, catching and later cooking their dinner. This is living.

I am now saving $500 on a 3 bedroom, fully furnished gorgeous home and get to squish my toes in the sand every day, watch the sunrise and sunset as I run barefoot through the still warm water. I won't ever rent unfurnished again! My home on 7th and Lombard was $500 more and half the size. I'm still trying to clear out all the furniture. I'm breathing the fresh air once again and gazing at stars all while still getting to enjoy the vibrant city life in Philadelphia during the week. I will always love the buzz of the city. That will never change, but I knew I needed a place where I can think and focus on building my new health and fitness business. Being part of a number two team comes with its own buzz. Who knew it could save me money, make me money and save my health to chase my dreams. To think this all started with my daddy Dean's surfboard, a return of my loved one's illnesses and the frustration that comes with not living your life to the fullest. I'm never turning back. I can't wait to tell you where we will be headed in June! What's your dream?