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Peace of Mind

Isn’t it strange how we can lose ourselves for hours mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, yet there’s not enough time in the day to meditate for 10 minutes? I’m guilty of it, after a long day, when I’d need the benefits of meditation the most, I’d grab my phone, numb my mind, and easily waste 45 minutes.

On the rare occasion that I would put the timer on and try to meditate, I’d jump around between different practices, trying to recite mantras and counting the length of my breath, mentally screaming at my thoughts to pipe down.

Even though my lame efforts didn’t show it, I was committed to learning how to meditate, so I downloaded the Headspace Meditation app that my sister recommended. The program offers 10 free guided meditations, and after the 10th session, you unlock additional levels with a paid subscription.

I’m extremely open to spirituality, but what I liked about this program was that it was a straightforward, tangible approach to meditation. Forget about picturing aura colors and channeling your third eye. The British guide, Andy Puddicombe, gently guides your practice, without making you memorize mantras or hyperventilate with distracting breathing techniques. He leads you into your headspace, asking you to become aware of yourself and your breath. And better yet, he doesn’t have any weird speech patterns or nuisances to distract you from your practice.

The sessions are only 10-minutes long, which can feel either extremely short or excruciating long, depending on your mood. To keep myself on track, I’ve started waking up 10 minutes earlier to ensure I have time to dedicate to the practice.

After the 10th session, I realized I’d have to pay a monthly subscription to access additional meditations. While I have no doubt that the other sessions are valuable, I’ve found that the 10-day challenge gave me the jumpstart I needed to hunker down and begin exploring meditation on my own.

The Gist: While I’m not forking over the monthly fee, this program has helped me get on the meditation train. It’s made me aware of a different style of meditation that I can easily integrate into my lifestyle. If you want to learn, but are feeling intimidated by the process, try this app to ease into your own headspace.

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Non Toxic Nail Polish Review

Tried & True: Non Toxic Nail Polish Review

Product: Gabriel Nail Color in Texas Tea

Brand: Gabriel

Use: Nail Polish

Price: $5.99-$8.50 (.5 fl. oz.)

Where to Buy: Gabrielcosmeticsinc.com, Health Food Stores

Perks: Cruelty free/Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP, Camphor, and Phthalate free

The Nitty Gritty: When it comes to cruelty free polish, this brand nails it. It’s durable, shiny, and comes in a variety of different colors.

-Easy to apply, not streaky
-Only needed one coat of color
-Glossy, even without a top coat
-Long lasting. We experienced a solid five days of no chipping.
-If you’re using a dark color, we recommend pairing it with Gabriel Base Coat to avoid staining your nails.

The Gist: Even if you’re not looking to remove excess chemicals from your beauty routine, this polish outlasts commercial brands. It’s affordable and there are plenty of colors,  so you’re sure to find your perfect shade. 
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Natural Sunscreen Review

Tried & True: Natural Sunscreen Review

We’re excited to kick start our new series, Tried & True. Because we’re committed to supporting ethically responsible products, we’re spotlighting some of our favorite cosmetics that don’t test on animals. First up, our top pick for natural, cruelty free sunscreen.

Product: Skin Soothing Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

Brand: Supergoop! 

Use: Sunscreen

Price: $28.00 (2.4 fl. oz.)

Where to Buy: Supergoop.com, Amazon, Sephora 

Perks: Cruelty free/ paraben, synthetic fragrance, and oxybenzone free/ hypoallergenic/ non-irritating 

The Nitty Gritty:  This Supergoop! sunscreen has been our little ray of sunshine. We’ve tried our fair share of sunscreens, and we like this one best because it doesn’t leave our skin feeling chalky and white, or greasy and slimy. 

-It’s an unscented mineral sunscreen with a lightweight formula for your neck and face
-Can be worn on its own or under makeup
-Takes a few minutes to dry, so give it time to set, especially before applying makeup
-Leaves some shine on your skin, but if you use a setting powder it’s not a problem
-It’s not waterproof, so we reapply it every few hours for ultimate sun protection

The Gist: If you’re looking for a cruelty free sunscreen to wear alone or under your makeup, and you don’t mind a little shine, this sunblock is your sunny solution. 

 

 

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Blenderless Power Drink

This coconut milk drink is a great alternative if you don’t have time to power up the blender. It’s a sweet concoction that takes just minutes to make. The chia seeds create a unique consistency and add healthy benefits of omega-3’s and protein.

-1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
-1/2 TBS chia seeds
-1 dash cinnamon
-1/2 TSP vanilla extract
-1/2 TBS raw honey

Vigorously mix all ingredients in a glass and let sit for 10 minutes. When the chia seeds have developed a gel-like consistency, the drink is ready. Serves one.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga

By Chloe Mulliner, Guest Blogger

My first few hot yoga classes were rough. Ok, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even make it through my first class without having to tap out and leave the sweltering 105-degree F room. During my next few sessions, zenful yogis gracefully maneuvered into handstands and contortionist-worthy moves, while I sat there, trying not to pass out or throw up.

I struggled through each class, but I continued attending at least one hot yoga class each week. I slowly began to challenge myself and hold the stretches for longer. Within a few months, I was craving hot yoga, and I even started looking forward to the extreme heat and intense workout. I felt my confidence increasing as I gained muscle and flexibility. I also noticed a decrease in my anxiety and a new appreciation for being present.

Because it took me time to fully understand how to enjoy hot yoga, I wanted to pass on a few words of wisdom to help beginners beat the heat and survive those first few classes:

Change the rules

My personal rule is that I have to try something at least three times before I form an opinion about it. However, if I’d followed my own rule, I would have quit hot yoga after my first three pathetic classes. When it comes to hot yoga, I say try it at least 10 times before you bail. Ten classes and you’re probably hooked!

Tune it out
Hot yoga is a mentally relaxing practice, but it’s impossible to get into a peaceful mindset if you’re worried about what others are thinking about you. Everyone has so much sweat clouding their eyes, they can hardly see past their own noses. No one’s checking you out, judging your downward dog, or counting the number of breaks you take. For the best experience, focus on you, and only you.

Drink up
You’ll sweat unlike you have ever sweat before. It’s extremely important to hydrate before and after class, but don’t chug a gallon of water five minutes before stretching. Nothing’s worse than feeling all that water sloshing around in your stomach during your first set of planks. Your body takes time to hydrate, so knocking back a bunch of water all at once won’t do the trick. For best results, consistently drink water throughout the day.

Eat lightly

Gorging on a huge meal right before class is one sure way to ruin your entire practice. The few times I’ve made the mistake of eating too much or too close to the start time, I’ve spent the entire class trying to keep down my food. Eat a small meal around two hours before your class starts, so you can focus more on your pigeon pose and less on your escape route.

Create your own pace

Hot yoga isn’t a synchronized sport. Everyone works at their own speed. Don’t worry if you’re a few breaths behind the instructor’s pace. There is no such thing as moving too slowly. Listen to your body, challenge it when you can, and ease off when you need to.

Practicing hot yoga is mentally and physically challenging, so even the littlest accomplishments, like working through an entire class, can be extremely rewarding. Follow these tips to slowly, but surely, become a sweat-loving, toe-touching hot yogi yourself.