SUNSET YOGA ON THE BEACH

There's something special about the summer in San Diego; a blaze of color staggered across the sky- oranges, pearly pink and vibrant purples maneuvering their ways above the crown of my head. The air was mild and the sun was fading against my skin with the comforting smell of fresh salt-water sea and the sound of waves crashing. Growing up, summers on the shore were always about watching the most perfect sunset.

It was a warm Wednesday afternoon, I slowly take my time to walk down the beach to admire the lavender kissed sky. 

Someone pinch me.

I am teaching YOGA on the beach? 

It feels so amazing to share yoga out in nature. Over the past few weeks, I have been dedicated to my yoga practice and I must say that it is finally nice to get my feet wet again. From then on, I decided to chronicle my yoga experience, to not only better my practice but to see myself in a new light, to observe myself grow as a human being.

Teaching gives me that. To observe, to learn , to grow and to better myself. The best part of teaching by the beach is the natural sound of mother earth- birds chirping, waves crashing, tree branch swaying synchronized to my breath. As I transitioned to warrior 2- a very powerful pose I might add, I dig my toes into the sand and bring my gaze to the sun setting into the horizon. I caught a glimpse of the green flash! I let out a big *sigh and truly savored each inhales and exhales. Its a great balance to be teaching yoga on the beach compare to my hectic life in the sky. 

I encourage you to visit Carlsbad Village Athletic Club for details on other classes. It's a great group of yoga instructors and volleyball players sharing the same interests on active lifestyle.

Join me next time for Sunset Yoga on the beach. Allow yourself to melt into the earth, shining your heart to the sunset sky. 

Q&A with Yogi Mommy blog

 

Why yoga?

The greatest answer to this is personal awareness. Yoga can make you sweat, burn calories but the most important part of the practice is something people can't take away from you, it is turning yourself inward and giving yourself inner peace. It is the state of being aware of your mind, body and spirit.

A few months ago, I was interviewed by a good friend Lindsey of Yogi Mommy blog. This little Q & A shows a glimpse of how I view yoga. Enjoy!

 1. How would you define yoga to someone who has never heard of it before?

- Yoga came from the Sanskrit word yuj which means to bind or unite. The union of the mind, body and spirit. Many people think yoga is just stretching, but yoga is both physical and spiritual practice. Proper alignment and breath are important in the practice. But this union cannot be achieved without meditation. Without being mindful of your thoughts, the poses only become a series of acrobatic moves. So I like to call yoga- meditation in action, not just the physical practice but also the way you move or take actions in life. 

2.  Describe how yoga can help mind, body, and the spirit.

- Yoga can help both mind, body and spirit because as you are building strength from the asanas (postures), you are also mindful of your pranayama (breath) and you begin to experience pratyahara (turning yourself inward) that connects you to your deeper self. Every inhale can be quite challenging but it's in the exhales that you have this abundant feeling of letting go. 
It helps your body from constriction to expansion. As you inhale, you are creating space in your spine allowing you to be more flexible. Over time, yoga becomes more than just a physical practice but a lifestyle.

3.   How has teaching yoga changed your life?

- Teaching yoga has taught me to remain humble and to remain as life's student. There's no greater feeling than to watch my students feel strong and more grounded. One time during svasana, one of my students started crying. While unsure of what was going through her mind, I know that her one hour practice on the mat took her to another level. Afterwards, she came up to me and thanked me for teaching a wonderful class. This changed my outlook in teaching because there will always be someone in class that are coming from a hard battle. I love that yoga helps me genuinely connect with people.

4.  What form of yoga do you teach? Which one is your favorite to practice and why?

- I teach Vinyasa flow, hatha and restorative yoga. I particularly love vinyasa flow because it is both challenging and fun. However, after teaching hatha yoga I gravitated towards the methodical approach of teaching it. Ha means sun and tha means moon. It truly is the practice of balance and union of opposites. 

5.  How can yoga help someone overcome obstacles, or build self-esteem in their life?

- Yoga becomes more powerful as you practice it daily. It teaches you compassion and to be non judge-mental. As you explore deeper into the spiritual practice of yoga, you will discover the 8 limbs path of yoga and these will refine your behavior in the outer world. While many of the poses relieves stress, yoga also de-clutters your mind of the negative and helps you focus on the positive. When we focus on the positive, we let go of our fear that are preventing us from achieving our goals. On a deeper level, yoga peels a lot of the emotional layers we experience in life. The rhythmic breath allows you to ease the nerves and calm the mind. When your breath circulates around your body it connects to your mind, and this offers your body prana (energy) to think more thoroughly and let go of fear. Fear and anxiety are the cornerstone of low self-esteem. Yoga opens a new fearless world to boost your confidence by simply focusing the mind on the positive. And not to mention... performing advanced postures gives you strength and confidence as well. 

Berkeley- Vegan Adventure!

My life as a flight attendant is constantly changing and being on reserve makes it that much more unconventional. One thing though that I have been wanting to do is try all the amazing healthy food from all the places I visit. So one day while being on reserve in Oakland, I drove my car around Berkeley to search for some healthy VEGAN food. Berkeley is nestled in the most quaint town just north of Alameda in the bay area. There is so much to explore but what attracts me the most is the sense of culture that envelopes this town. When someone says Berkeley, I immediately think of the prestigious public University empowered by liberalism and revolution. And of course, I couldn't help but think the food here must be good as well. My first stop was this low-key restaurant called Cha-ya. There's plenty to say about a cash-only restaurant without a website but one thing is that you have to be open-minded... and obviously Yelp helped. While it had many great reviews, my experience at Cha-ya was incredible indeed and I am beyond inspired to make these healthy concoctions. 

Below is the picture of a vegan soup bowl called Cha-ya Nabe. It's a vegan sukiyaki with napa cabbage, red onions, carrots, mushrooms, kabocha, lotus roots, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, snap peas, snow peas, silver noodles and tofu in sukiyaki broth. Ummm, can you say divine?

After Cha-ya, of course... I had a craving for something decadent yet healthy. I ended up in Cinnaholic, a place where wild dreams come true! To get further, their ingredients are dairy, soy, egg and cholesterol free. Talk about inventing something that all vegan culinary chefs worships! Gourmet "vegan" cinnamon rolls. 

Pause...

Just enjoy this photo for a second without actually drooling. This amazing salted caramel almonds cinnamon roll is just heaven. Absolute heaven. 

I will be posting a recipe soon inspired by all of my vegan discoveries. 

      In love and light,   Jill 

 

 

 

In love and light,

 

Jill 

Costa Rica 2014

My 10 day adventure in Costa Rica left me a piece of lesson I will cherish for as long as I live. Each day was a grand adventure of exploring lands, jungle, unpaved roads, volcanoes and beaches. Some of those days, especially the first time spent driving on dirt road, were not too enjoyable. I kept thinking to myself, "gosh, this is just awful. We are never going to make it through this with our tiny car." But there was something about this one particular town at the end of this dirt road that captured my heart.

The town is called Nosara.

Nosara is a sleepy surfer town that magnifies the beauty of a free spirit. I immediately gravitated to the towns positive energy. Surfers and yoga instructors alike thrive in this town and there is a sense of community behind it. I remember being inside the car in the smoldering heat driving through dirt road anxiously searching for our hotel whispering to myself, "are we there yet?". And then, having this feeling of being completely excited for the new adventure I was going to embark. I can't remember the last time I was that excited!

As I explored Nosara's beauty, from beach bumming, massages to taking yoga classes once a day... I noticed that the yoga studios in this town did not contain any mirrors. I know, I know... why, right? How could you correct your alignment? I come from San Diego California and I am used to seeing mirrors because... its just the thing. But, I got this sense of the towns concept of releasing your ahamkara (ego). After the class, I felt less judgmental to people around me and to myself. It's just you and your mat in the jungle.

When I truly turned myself inward (pratyahara), my excitement in seeking new things gave me a new perspective. It placed a smile on my face even when no one was looking. It felt genuine. It was a breath of fresh air.

On my last day in Nosara, I was given the wonderful opportunity to teach yoga at this villa I was staying at. I was probably the happiest person on earth at that moment. I taught hatha mix with vinyasa flow to 3 lovely ladies and my bf. Nervous, but I managed to find that voice in me to still teach. After all, it was part of my voyage to also find my voice.

The day I left Nosara, I drove one last time on the dirt road and this time, it was different. Every minute I spent driving on that dirt road, I wished was longer. I drove slow because I was enjoying every minute of it. My eyes weren't searching anymore, they were saying goodbye and were feeling grateful to have learned so much about this town.

Marcel Proust once said, "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

My 10 day adventure in Costa Rica gave me new eyes that I wish to carry in all of my travels. New eyes for santosa (contentment). New eyes for pratyahara (turning yourself inward). New eyes for releasing your ahamkara (ego).