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New Fall Schedule!

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Cookies with Cap on Sat, Dec 10th

Gather up your new baby items, gift cards to restaurants, the movies etc and help us support Ronald McDonald House. See you at Cookies with Cap! There will be a petting zoo, photos with Santa… and cookies!

Donations accepted at both Dr. Cap’s office and the Wellness Center before the event.

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Sound Healing and Meditation This Friday!

Sound Healing with Quartz Crystal Bowls combines sound and vibration to foster a sense of deep peace and greater harmony on all levels. During this season of giving and joy, of drawing friends and family near, it is important to remember that self-care is a necessity. You have more and better to give to all you do when you are taking steps to maintain balance and well-being in your life. After all, you can’t give those pies away until the apples have been lovingly fed, watered and tended within, right? Please bring a yoga mat or a blanket so you can rest comfortably. Chairs will also be provided if you prefer to sit in a chair. No prior experience with yoga or meditation is required.

Date: Friday, November 24th

Time: 4-4:30pm

Location: Babies in Bloom, 1948 Via Centre, Vista CA

Admission is $5.

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It’s Labor Day at Babies in Bloom!

Just a reminder… Babies in Bloom will be open on Labor Day. And Baby & Me and Toddler & Me Yoga will be happening at their regularly scheduled times- 9:30am and 11am, respectively. As always, please bring a mat if you have one. I hope to see you there! Wishing a happy, safe, and healthy holiday to all!!

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Pumpkin pie for breakfast?

Although it  currently feels like the dog days of summer here in Southern California, fall has arrived. One of the clearest signs of fall is the presence of pumpkin spice everything… everywhere. The lure of the mountainous displays of fall goodies has been a running topic of conversation among the expectant mamas in my prenatal classes. So much so that I promised this yummy, yummy (and nutritious) pumpkin smoothie recipe that is a fall favorite of mine. But first some fun facts about the benefits of eating pumpkin:

  • High in fiber for healthy digestion
  • Rich in carotenoids, which makes it both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E

So there you have it… delicious and so good for you. What’s not to love? I highly recommend roasting the seeds as suggested in the recipe. They make a great snack and taste like popcorn! So, without further ado…

Fall Pumpkin Smoothie

1 can (8 oz) pumpkin or 1 cup boiled or steamed organic pumpkin meat
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg        
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 banana
1/2 cup purified water

Bonus super ingredient: 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

If using a fresh pumpkin, use a small one, as they are better for cooking. Cut the pumpkin open; remove seeds (you can was and dry the seeds in the oven on a low temperature, 225 degrees. Remove the pumpkin stem, then cut the pumpkin into 2- to 3-inch squares of meat and skin. Steam for 15-20 minutes, until the meat is soft. Scrape meat away from the skin. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to one week. Use one cup of pumpkin meat per smoothie. Blend all ingredients once pumpkin has been prepared.

from Chakra Tonics by Elise Marie Collins

Enjoy!
 

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hOMework: Brahmacharya

Repost from my teacher training hOMework:

Brahmacharya has always been the most abstract yama for me. And, I’ve heard it defined many different ways. Moderation? Celibacy?? Continence? I wasn’t even sure of the meaning of that one- really, what does that mean? Words are a favorite pastime of mine, especially the etymology of words. So, I did what I do, and sure enough! Continence comes from Latin ‘continens’ [con (with) + tenere (to hold)]. To hold within? To contain. I’ve often heard Brahmacharya associated with one’s ‘vital energy’. So, is it about containing my vital energy? What is my vital energy? Can I feel it? After considering this, I decided that I can feel my vital energy, and I feel it most powerfully after meditation, asana, and spiritual practices. Also, I feel its absence in other situations when I feel ‘zapped’. Deflated.

My bodies are a heart-shaped balloon. My vital energy inflates it and keeps it aloft. When I step away from my Sadhana, I begin to lose altitude. Challenges in ‘the real world’ cause my mind to stress, worry, and plan. My balloon starts sinking toward the briar patch.

This week, I decided to stay in touch with my vital energy and monitor what inflates my balloon and what torpedoes it. I was amazed at how much I could feel my balloon rise and fall. I began charting its ups and downs and listing the associated activities. As the list began to grow, I noticed that their labels could also be ‘sattvic things’ and ‘tamasic things’. I began focusing on bringing a sattvic quality to my actions, thoughts, food, intention, etc. I felt my balloon soaring! As it would dip, I noticed that a rajasic or tamasic thought would usually initiate the drop, so I focused on stopping my mind at the first negative thought and countering it with an affirmation that would pump the balloon back up.

It didn’t take long to realize that coming back to Source and giving Source its proper due was the key to smooth sailing. In fact, Source is the One filling up the balloon. When it comes to sailing over the briar patch, a simple ‘I love you, Shakti. You’re doing a great job’ works better than any amount of effort. For me, Brahmacharya is about conserving our vital energy so that we may redirect it back to Source. Any action that is not feeding that reciprocal exchange is like throwing gold into the abyss. My experiments in vital energy this week showed me very clearly that any kind of excess or action that feeds the ego has the net result of one droopy little balloon. Stick with sattva! Stick with Source! Fly high!

Love and blessings-
Holly

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Sleep Like a Baby… Yoga for Better Sleep

We’ve all heard that getting adequate sleep is crucial to our overall health and well-being. Just one night of insufficient sleep can lead to moodiness, poor mental clarity and focus, and low physical energy. A prolonged pattern of sleep deprivation can even put us at a greater risk for certain diseases and health disorders.

As a new mom, I am more aware than ever of the rejuvenating, restoring bliss that is a good night’s sleep. One way I make the most of the precious hours of sleep I get is to take a few moments before bedtime to practice yoga postures that promote healthy, restful sleep. Here are a few of my favorites that can be done in the comfort of your bed!…

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle): This is my absolute favorite! I love this asana as a cool down during my classes, and it is a great way to wind down from your day as well. You can even use the pillows from your bed to enjoy a restorative version of the posture. It not only stretches the hips and groin area, which are areas where many of us hold tightness and tension, but it relaxes the mind and the sympathetic nervous system and promotes balance throughout the entire body. I find that placing one hand on the heart and the other on the abdomen is especially soothing. With the hands in place, focus on the rise and fall of the chest and abdomen as you breathe. And watch yourself drift into deeper and deeper relaxation…
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend): This asana is very calming for the central nervous system. It reduces anxiety, helping you to unwind. Physically, it stretches nearly all of the back body, from the Achille’s tendon into the upper back. For this reason, allow yourself to ease into the posture and watch the body open as you remain in the forward fold. Again, focus on the breathing for a deeper, more soothing experience of the asana- growing longer and more spacious on the inhale and relaxing and melting on the exhale. You can use pillows for a supported, restorative version, placing them along your legs and folding onto them.
Balasana (Child’s Pose): Child’s pose is commonly known as a resting posture. It is where I instruct my students to go if they need to rest or recenter during class. It has additional benefits, though, including a gentle stretch for the lower back, hips, feet, and ankles and a relaxing effect for the neck and shoulders. Child’s pose is said to balance all seven of the subtle body’s main chakras, or energy centers, and calm the central nervous system. Again, pillows may be used as a prop if your forehead does not comfortably reach to the bed. Place a pillow between your knees and lay over it, turning the head to one side.
Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose): This one only works if your bed is against a wall, but it is wonderfully relaxing if you are able to do it. Viparita Karani is essentially a very, very gentle version of shoulderstand. It comes with the benefits of an inversion without the exertion that most inversions require. Having the feet raised allows the bloodflow to move into the upper body, which is deeply rejuvenating. Use a folded blanket under the pelvis. This elevates the heart above the head, moving circulation into the head and helping you to relax.
Reclining Twists: Reclining, or supine, twists are a great way to stretch the back after a long day. The twisting action in the abdomen also aids digestion. If it feels okay for your neck, take your gaze in the opposite direction of the knees. This creates a spiral from the tailbone up to the crown of the head. If you have any neck sensitivity at all, keep your gaze either straight up or toward the same direction as the legs.

So, there you have it, my friends. Move through some or all of these asanas as you prepare for sleep and make the most of those hours you get. Gotta go now… time for a nap!

(Looking to get the gear to take sleepytime to the next level? Check out Casper mattresses… and thanks to them for inspiring this post!)

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New Weekly Class on Monday!

Create a solid foundation for your week with this hour-long yoga practice. A thorough, thoughtful warmup builds to an invigorating vinyasa sequence, with careful attention to breathing, alignment, and mind/body awareness. Finally, as class concludes, a cool down including restorative postures facilitates deep opening, relaxation, and rejuvenation. This class is appropriate for students of all levels of experience.

Hello, yoga lovers! Well, baby man is three months old now, and I am slowly regaining my strength and focus (hello, sleep deprivation!!…). The opportunity has arisen to begin teaching a weekly class on Monday evenings. I hope you will be to drop in and check it out!

Energize and Restore is a new weekly class at Ascension Holistic Healing Center in Bonsall, CA. It is a great little space, adjacent to a new age bookstore and cafe, next to the Bonsall Post Office on Highway 76.

This class will meet on Mondays at 6:30pm for one hour. The drop-in fee is $10, but class packages are also available. You can find more information about those here on Ascension’s website.

I’m so happy to have this opportunity to ease my way back into teaching again now that I am a momma of two. I hope that you join me and support this new adventure!

See you on the mat, my friends!!

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Please support Team Tiger for Chelsea!

There we are… the mama tiger and the little tiger.

It’s unbelievable to me that it has nearly been a year since we took this photo at the finish line of the 3rd annual Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K. What a year it has been! There has been so much inspiration, so many changes, and so many miles covered. And much of it I can link directly to momentum that began during the preparation for last year’s race.

Last year, I wrote a post about my involvement in the race and my connection to a beautiful, radiant soul whose life was taken too soon, Chelsea King (you can read it here– please do!). It was an especially intense process for me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wrote at that time that I would carry in my heart the lessons I had learned long after the race had ended. I was right. On all of those levels- physically, mentally, emotionally, I have never been the same.

One of the most readily apparent changes is that I became a runner. A real runner. At this time last year, I was amazed that I could run 3 miles without stopping. Now, a 5K fun run is actually fun for me. Three miles is a light running day. I have even gone on to compete in several 10Ks over the last year.

In each of those races, and on most other days I run, I wear a little orange bracelet that I was given at the finish line of last year’s Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K. On one side, it says “Chelsea’s Light Foundation,” and on the other, “They can because they think they can” (the foundation’s motto). Whenever I put that bracelet on, I am instantly reminded to count my blessings. I am reminded to be grateful for every opportunity I have to do my best. I am reminded of Chelsea. If Holly is feeling lazy and making excuses about lacing up my shoes and hitting the road, then do it for Chelsea. That always does the trick.

The foundation’s motto has also become a mantra for me. So much of my progress as a runner is a result of mental, rather than physical, fitness. As long I keep my thoughts in positive territory, I continue putting one foot in front of the other. If an “I can’t, this is too hard” somehow creeps in, my body stops before I realize what is happening. This is a lesson I learned early on in my fledgling running career, and it is one that I’ve learned applies in everything I do. I call upon it daily, as a mother, as a runner, as a yoga instructor, as a human being who wishes to do good in the world.

Admittedly, my preparation for this year’s race has been quite different from last year. For one thing, running a 5K is not something that I need to train for months to do. For another, I will be nearly 8 months pregnant on the day of this year’s race. I have continued running throughout my pregnancy, though distance and pace went out the window months ago. Since this year’s race is guaranteed to be an entirely different experience for me, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to approach it and what would be the best way to honor the spirit of “Chelsea’s Run” this time around. I decided that doing everything I could to hold space for joy, hope, and positivity with every step I take in those 3.1 miles would be a fitting way to honor Chelsea’s legacy. How best to do that? Bring my little tiger. He has become a runner in his own right in the last year, competing in a couple kids’ races, winning some medals… you know. Although he can really tear it up when he gets going, it’s usually in short bursts. He’ll be a great running partner this time around. I just know it.

So there you have it… the 4th annual Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K will be a family affair for me- both of my children will be coming along to support me and the cause. It is quite fitting, in fact, since the Chelsea’s Light Foundation aims to create a better world and a brighter future for children. The 5K is the foundation’s primary annual fundraiser, benefiting their Sunflower Scholarship Fund. This fund provides educational opportunities for exceptional students who might not have access to them otherwise. Additionally, this year’s event is being co-sponsored by the Girl Scouts, an organization that was a big part of Chelsea’s young life.

Now, the rallying cry, my friends… please support Team Tiger in our efforts to help Chelsea’s light shine! If you feel moved to stand up and support our cause, we have a fundraising page that will be accepting donations through race day on Saturday, March 1. This is such a wonderful foundation and an amazing group of people that I truly want to do all that I can for them. Click here if you agree!

A huge thank you to you for your time and support! And, as always, thank you to Chelsea, the Kings, and the Chelsea’s Light Foundation for being an endless source of inspiration!

FOR CHELSEA!!!

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Yoga this week!!

Guess what??… December’s here!!! Can you believe it? We’ve officially arrived in the last month of 2013.

Fortunately, we are blessed and lucky enough here in Southern California to still have favorable weather for yoga at the beach. The last few Sundays have been absolutely gorgeous, and the view can’t be beat. We will be in action at the beach on Thursday at 9am and Sunday at 9:30am. Please bring a mat (and probably a towel for under your mat) if you plan to attend.

And the conditions are always warm and inviting at Black Sheep Yoga in Oceanside. I will be teaching Yoga 101 at Black Sheep on Wednesday at 10am and Sunday at 11am. Join me for an all-levels appropriate class that is built around mindfully practicing basic postures with careful attention given to alignment.

As Jason Crandell points out so astutely in my favorite quote of the week, “The best way to develop advanced postures is to practice simple, accessible postures with exquisite detail, attention and care. Basic poses will compound over time and allow you to do more challenging poses skillfully.” Start building those foundations with me this week, yoga lovers!

See you on the mat!

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Upcoming Events

Sep
26
Tue
9:30 am Moms & Movers Yoga @ Cap Wellness Center
Moms & Movers Yoga @ Cap Wellness Center
Sep 26 @ 9:30 am – 10:15 am
Crawlers+
12:00 pm Yoga @ VeraVia
Yoga @ VeraVia
Sep 26 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
VeraVia is an all-inclusive, luxury health and wellness retreat, located within the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Please visit VeraViaFit.com to learn more.
Sep
28
Thu
9:30 am Baby & Me Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Baby & Me Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Sep 28 @ 9:30 am – 10:30 am
This class combines a gentle, postnatal appropriate yoga flow with yoga for baby and postures mama and baby do together. Appropriate for 6 weeks to crawling.
11:00 am Toddler Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Toddler Yoga @ Babies in Bloom
Sep 28 @ 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Crawling to 4.

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