ACTA Wear Review.

If you’ve been following me for awhile on Instagram (@ashraeeiningyoga) then you’ve known of my partnership with ACTA Wear. I’ve been testing out the items for about a year and half now and am a HUGE fan. I also clearly am a fan of pink, green, white, & black of their items 🙂

I’m sharing my thoughts on each item, what fitness item I would wear them for, & if I’d buy them again. If you’re interested in any of these same items or other products ACTA Wear provides, my code ASHRAEEINING will provide you 15% off at checkout!

First two outfits:

  • ACTA Renew Vest Bra: One of my favorite recent items I’ve ordered, this top is very flattering for smaller chests. I also am a huge fan of the back detailing. I would wear this top for a barre class or non-heated yoga class.
  • Smoke High-waisted Shorts w/ Liner: I’m very picky with shorts and these are not a top pick of mine. I would wear them lifting but wouldn’t for running, hiking, or classes since they would ride up quickly.
  • Sunset Seamless Pro Bra: I was surprised how much I love this bra. The way the straps lay across the shoulders is super flattering. I’d wear this bra for any fitness activity or under a crewneck sweater or hoodie.
  • Sunset Seamless Leggings: The material of the seamless leggings are a bit itchy for me so I find myself not wearing these as much. I would wear these for outdoor fitness like running or hiking in colder temps.

Final two outfits:

  • Sage Legacy Windbreaker: My all time favorite item from ACTA is this windbreaker. It is almost always on backorder by definitely worth the wait because it is super, super cute. I wear this item after cardio workouts or just over thin sweaters when running around town to get errands done.
  • Flame INLUX Base Bra: I get soooooo many compliments on this color and it definitely pops on camera when I’m teaching my virtual classes. Million times would order this whole set again. 10/10 on quality, feel of the fabric, and movement ability.
  • Flame INLUX Leggings: The only negative I have for the leggings since I love them just as much as the bra is this color does show through for darker undies and is very tight fabric (I personally prefer tighter material but I know this bugs some). I would wear this set in non-heated classes.
  • Seamless Ribbed Tank Bra: My second all time favorite item from ACTA is this cropped Tank Bra. I wear this item all the time and I find it super trendy dressing it up with a cardigan and jogger pants.
  • Sage Seamless Marl Leggings: The seamless material still has the itchy factor I shared above for the Sunset set but I am so impressed by the Sage color that I look past this factor when wanting to wear this set. I really like to wear this color for teaching since it is a lot more fun than the common black leggings.
  • Sage Seamless Marl Long Sleeve: The crop long sleeve is nice to wear over tighter tank tops. This item is not available but I would recommend the Moss Flux Long Sleeve in it’s place if you are looking for a similar item.

Overall, I’m very impressed with my experience with my ACTA items and I’ll definitely continue to order more items. In the future, I’ll lean towards the INLUX and Flux products because I’m a huge fan of the feel of the material. If you have any questions or looking for recommendations for certain activities, I’d be more than happy to help!

Women’s Natural Deodorant Review.

Hey all!

This post has been long overdue for information I wanted to post! Natural deodorant is such a hot topic the last couple years when more & more people are being cautious about what is in the products we’re putting on our body. I switched to Native about 3 years ago but noticed when I would try out the different scents, my skin would react. This reaction was typically during hot seasons like spring or summer. So my doctor suggested testing out different brands and you know this girl loooooves to try out different products. I wanted to make sure to give enough time for each of these (about 1-2 months) to see how my skin would react. This post today is a quick review of each of the different deodorants I tested out, where I got them from, and if I would continue to use them.

I was not paid to promote any of these items but this post does include some affiliate links which means if you purchase through them, I receive a small kickback. If you choose to order through these links, which you definitely do not have to, I greatly appreciate you supporting me 🙂

Starting with the Amazon deodorants:

  • Native: This one is $15 off Amazon and $11.97 as a Prime member. I’ve also heard you can find it at major retailers. You’re probably familiar with the Native brand since this is the most well known for natural deodorants. I started with this one years ago and loved the Coconut Vanilla scent. I didn’t notice any problems with it while I was using this deodorant out in San Francisco where the climate is a bit drier. Once I moved to CO, I ordered the Pear & Lavender scent and summer rolled around, my skin started to become dry and itchy. I have not ordered Native since but am not against trying out the Coconut Vanilla in cooler, dryer months.
  • Each & Every: Hands down my favorite that I’ve tried out so far. This one comes up for $15 on Amazon at the moment & claims to be Aluminum, Parabens, & Baking Soda free. I’ve been using Cedar & Vanilla and have not had any negative reactions. The texture is very smooth and glides right on. I actually found myself going back to this one in between trying out the others!
  • Underarmed: This company won me over by having THE BEST customer service & experience. I work in Marketing so I really notice the little things companies do. This brand sent a Thank You note with the order & if you reached out to them and left a review they would send you a travel size deodorant (pictured above & can’t have enough of those!). They also provided a 20% off code with the travel size item if you wanted to start a subscription. With so many options on the market right now, this small family-ran business really knows how to build a brand relationship. This one comes up at $17 on Amazon and I tested out the Lavender & Eucalyptus as my full size and the Jasmine & Rose as the travel size. Both smell amazing and I had no reaction to these. Underarmed came as a close second for me in my testing since I just love the smoothness of Each & Every.

Now for the non-Amazon options:

  • Avon OnDuty: This one was a recommendation from Mama Becky since she has been using this deodorant for years (She has recently switched to BeautyCounters). Avon is definitely the cheapest option at $3.60 but this one does not claim to be aluminum free as Aluminum Chlorohydrate is the main ingredient. It is nonscented and claims to be non-sticky and quick drying. This one was probably my least favorite as it is not the best natural option (sorry Mama Becky!).
  • Cleo + Coco: This one was a recent Christmas gift from Mama Becky since it was a recommendation on Good Morning America. It is an aluminum-free, charcoal deodorant that sells for $18 and you can also find it on Amazon. I’m currently testing it out & will update this post later with more thoughts but didn’t want to leave it out. I’m not in love with the texture but the Lavender Vanilla scent is wonderful!
  • Primally Pure: You know I had to add in my favorite brand, Primally Pure. I originally order this one after I saw a gal raving about it on Instagram. I ordered the Blue Tansy scent in a bundle around Black Friday a few years ago and feel in love with the scent of this deodorant. This one does contain Baking Soda so if you know your skin reacts to this ingredient than it might not be for you. The current prices on the site range from $16-$22 depending on the size you desire. I went back and ordered other products in the scent because I love it so much. (Psst: Code PrimallyAshRae will save you some $$)

Those are the few I’ve gone through in my journey so far & will continue to update. Following along with me on Instagram at @ashraeeiningyoga for day to day updates since I do still have a few on my list to try 🙂

And most importantly, have a beautiful Saturday!

New Wall Decor Hobby Lobby Haul.

The New Year just felt right to complete a big refresh of my wall decor. A lot of items I had hanging before were collected over the years and I had a strong desire to switch a lot out hence the full haul of decoration in my main living space.

On my shopping journey I stopped at a few different places but really struck gold at Hobby Lobby! I was aiming for a floral, desert vibe with some lighter wood accents so I could easily take these items into the spring & summer seasons. The majority of my current large furniture items are a light gray wood so I found a lot of light brown wood frames to mix it up just a bit.

My favorite find is the tall skinny vase with winter floral pieces. Hobby Lobby has amazing prices on floral pieces and I’m excited to switch up the floral pieces for each season.

Wall decor pieces were all 50% off and I was looking for a main item for my entry way (the ‘Love Grows’ sign) and a few bare areas around my space (floral piece above the tv). I really only updated my main living space so will probably update my bedroom & bathroom in a few weeks then the patio come spring.

A few items not shown are another wall piece I haven’t decided where to put yet & new pillows (because you can never have too many!). Other places I would shop for ideas & items are Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, & Macy’s.

Whole 30 Shopping List.

Happy New Year loves! I’m so excited for a new year but also to stop seeing people trash on 2020 because even through a pandemic, life is still so good. I always enjoy January since there is so much motivational energy in the air with everyone trying to determine their goals for the next year (my yearly goals will come in a later post!)

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, my boyfriend & I will be attempting a version of Whole 30 for the month of January to get the gut health back to a good spot and feel good before heading to Cabo at the end of March (send me your swimsuit recommendations!)

There are so many sales going on right now and I’ve been wanting to get up some favorites posts up for ya’ll but I’ve been too slow & busy with work to compile those before the sales are over. But a few I’ve been eyeballing is the up to 65% off from Beautycounter & the Christmas Bundle from HydroJug. I literally went a little crazy purchasing some new water bottles with the bundle, items from BruMate when their 20% of sale was going (looks like they have select items for 30% off now!), and a few fun ones off Etsy because I’m really trying to increase my water consumption in the new year. I’ve been slacking for a while so I’ve been looking for new ways to get me excited to drink water. A few other things I’ve done recently is stocking up on seltzer waters & MiO flavoring (Yum!)

Back to the Whole 30 plan! I’ve never fully attempted the plan so I’m really excited to find new food items and recipes. I’ve also never fully eliminated carbs and dairy from my diet (I have done no added sugar plenty) so am really intrigued to see how my body feels after the month.

Below is a rough shopping list I’ll be using throughout the month. If you have found items that are great, send them my way. I’ll be sharing a lot of large topics here on the blog but smaller updates on Instagram so following along there as well (@ashraeeining). For now, have a fabulous New Year Day – I love the clean slate of the first day of the month AND the first day of the year!

Shopping List:

Meats:

  • Shrimp
  • Tilapia
  • Ground Beef
  • Chicken
  • Shaved Steak
  • Eggs
  • Pork
  • Deli Meat
  • Sausage

Produce

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Avocados
  • Canned Veggies
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Lemon
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Dry Fruit

Additional:

  • Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Almonds

I can update this through the month for ya’ll as these items change. But if you’re also doing Whole 30 let me know so we can collaborate on ideas!

How to Balance Food over the Holidays.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a “don’t indulge” post because I am the queen of indulging over the holidays. But I’m also not a fan of the “working off”, “detoxing”, or “working-out for” the holiday food either. I think the key to not feeling like you completely let yourself go is in the mindset going into these next few days.

The holidays isn’t a time to completely forget about fueling your body but a time to feed it with what it needs and also what it wants. So I’ve rounded up a couple of my tired and true tips that I’ve incorporated in my holidays to feel fueled and happy.

  • Water, water, water: If you’ve been around here at all you know I love my wine. And during the holidays, I definitely enjoy letting my hair down a bit more. But with my increasing wine consumption, I drink that much more water. Yup, on top of the recommended water you should be drinking each day, increase that when having alcohol. I aim to drink a glass of agua between each glass of wine or stop drinking wine after 3 glasses and drink 3 glasses of water if its close to bedtime. I don’t enjoy waking up dehydrated and my skin dried out so this motivates me to get more water in (especially during the winter time). Drinking plenty of water throughout the holidays will also help you feel food and not overeat or “graze” the appetizer & treat table.
  • Pick Your Treats: Maybe this is where I’m not so fun since I’m not the biggest sweet fan but I determine which treats are worth my indulgence. I LOOOOOOVE caramel puffcorn and only allow myself a batch each Christmas because I would never stop with it so I know I’m going to be going a little crazy with that treat. I also allow myself a few of my favorite homemade cookies. I pick which treats I’m going to enjoy instead of eating everything, even treats I’m not a huge fan of. This helps me manage how many sugary items I’m consuming. I try to limit my sugar intake on any given day and the holidays are not days I take off because I know how sugar drains me and upsets my gut – but I don’t avoid them!
  • Greens: I probably love my greens just as much as I love caramel puffcorn because I know how consuming the recommended amount of vegetables each day can make your body feel. I aim to get in a helping each major meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) if possible. Think about adding spinach into the breakfast egg bake, having a side salad with lunch, and some green beans and brussel sprouts with dinner. If it’s in your normal routine, drink a green supplement smoothie/drink in the morning if you know you won’t have access to many vegetable options at your holiday events. (My favorite green drink)
  • Determine the Quantity: Make a game plan before going in. I’m super type-A so you know I make a plan for what and how much I’m going to eat. I like to limit myself to two plates at dinner – one trying little portions of each item that catches my eye and then a second with more potatoes and (potentially) a protein item or whatever else I really enjoyed. Then I switch to drinking some water, taking some time to see how full or hungry I am and then assess from there.
  • Enjoy Yourself! If you have a plan and roughly stick with it then you can feel confident indulging here and then – guilt free!

If your schedule allows it and it’s part of your normal routine, make sure to get in your vitamins and some movement if possible. Even if it’s just a walk, a virtual workout class, or dance party! This will be a huge part of helping with digesting all that yummy holiday food.

And biggest reminder is that it’s okay to get off your routine and take advantage of the next couple days. It’s not always the holiday season so you know you’re not eating like this every week. Enjoy that cookie, glass of wine, extra helping of potatoes… or three!

I Didn’t Want to be a Teacher.

I’ve been teaching fitness and yoga for about 5 years now but I didn’t always have a desire to teach. Even after going through my first training, I still didn’t think it was for me. And to be honest on certain days I let Imposter Syndrome take over.

Well, that is a surprise isn’t it, since I absolutely love teaching fitness & yoga. But hear me out, I’m going to fill you in on my thoughts because maybe you feel the same way – and those feelings are totally normal and valid!

The Day to Day

As a current teacher, there are many days where I do not want to teach. And I hear the same from my other teaching friends! Showing up to a class as a student is a totally different energetic experience than teaching a class. Instructing a class is asking you to mentally, physically, and energetically be in a place that some days you’re just not! But that doesn’t mean you hate teaching or that you should stop.

Just this Monday I had a massive stress migraine from a weekend of unexpected stressful situations (aka almost losing my wallet and a broken phone) but had an obligation to teach my Monday night yoga class. I could’ve potentially requested a sub but felt I could still teach if my migraine didn’t get worse. I showed up and was fully transparent with my students that the class would be led a bit slower pace and we’d be diving into a long, juicy savasana at the end.

The students LOVED it. From the combination of my transparency and matching my energy with the style of class I would lead created the correct environment for a great class. Then I went home and went to bed before 8PM.

But this doesn’t always happen – there are many classes where I’m totally off. Where I am just not mentally and energetically ready to teach that day. This is going to happen but most days I still need to show up for my students so I’ve learned a few of my own tricks over the years:

  • Take a moment to step away from everything. Maybe that is in the bathroom, your car, or on your couch but you take a few minutes to yourself and focus just on your breathing.
  • I then choose a mantra like “I love teaching”, “I want to show up for my students”, “I want to lead an awesome class”. It can be as simple as that and then I begin to repeat that to myself as I’m driving to the class.
  • I normally have a coffee or pre-workout with me that I drink during my drive and I’ll choose an upbeat playlist for fitness or a yoga flow soundtrack if heading to yoga so that I begin to get in the right mindset.
  • I always aim to get to the studio with plenty of time to set up my space so I am fully ready for my students. If there is enough time, I’ll run through my class sequence to make sure the moves and cues are really top of mind before we begin class.

The Beginning

I shared a bit about my journey into teaching with my last post on the Benefits of Barre but before that I didn’t think too much about becoming an instructor. I was inspired by community classes and the teachers but thought that could never be me.

I’m enneagram 7 and really just took a leap into the Barre training years ago without actually considering it too much & the same happened a few years later when I was living out in San Francisco and signed up for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. But even as I was going through the trainings, I was overwhelmed by thought of actually leading my own classes. It’s super intimidating starting out because you’re being trained by instructors that have years of experience and you think to yourself “I want to be just like them!” But you’re simply not because you’re just starting out. You don’t have the years yet. Here is the secret though, you’re in the fun part!

I’m a hardcore perfectionist and I wanted to start out as the perfect teacher as well. I always want to impress people with whatever I do and I would like to believe that is most of us. Who wants to fail and have people see our mistakes? But when you’re starting out as a teacher, you’re going to make A TON of mistakes! And you’re going to continue to make mistakes, say the wrong thing, not give the best adjustment, or verbal cue, or even the right peak pose for every single student in your classes. What I decided to do a long time ago was to embrace it. Embrace all the awkwardness, all the goofiness, and all the funk because these experiences is what will lead you to your true teaching personality.

Maybe you’re the super soulful, insightful teacher or fun, goofy teacher or challenging teacher. And you’ll find your style with each class you teach. You just have to start.

The Now

I might not have wanted to always be a teacher but I can say I’ve always had a passion for fitness and connecting with others. For now, my barre and yoga gigs fill this cup for me. It might not be every day, week, or month that I feel inspired as a teacher but I always feel so grateful to be a part of each students health journey and that is truly what keeps me showing up.

If you’re going through a time in your teaching, maybe you’re a few years in or just starting out, and are feeling overwhelmed or uninspired, I’m always here to chat. And remember that with anything in life there are always ups & downs!

The Benefits of a Barre Workout.

Well, this is a change of pace!

Besides working full time at as a Digital Strategist and being a yoga teacher, I also love to teach fitness. Barre, specifically.

My journey to the barre started with long-distance running and after an injury from lack of cross-training, I purchased an unlimited membership to a Hot Yoga & Fitness studio (best decision of my life). This was about 8 years ago, and after many years as a student, attending barre, yoga, and fitnesses classes, and ultimately choosing classes over running – a weekend of Barre Instructor training was coming up during a big transitional period in my life (aka getting out of a serious relationship). I wanted something to distract myself from my emotions and throw my energy into. And being an enneagram 7, I immediately signed up for the training, not even giving the slightest thought to what would come out of the weekend. I dove in head first & it has lead me down a very beneficial path.

What is the class like?

The traditional Barre class format will target the arms, thighs, glutes, and core so you get a full body workout. Movements will be mostly in a one inch range or holds so we’re fatiguing out the muscles instead of providing the release you normally get through a full extension in a rep.

What should I expect?

Besides the instructor side for myself, there are a ton of amazing benefits to the Barre workout.

  • Physical Results:
    • Gaining the dancers physique! Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, so you build long, lean results between the process of fatiguing the muscle & then stretching it out.
    • Improves your posture
    • Increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism
    • A consistent practice can even help increase bone density
  • Mental Results:
    • Boost in mood & energy
    • Clearer mindset
    • Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Social Results:
    • New friendships & community
    • Support system

How long does it take to see results?

The list I provided above will vary for each person. If you’re active in your classes and stick around after to chat with the instructor and students, the community aspect will more than likely come first. I highly encourage this because if you’re like me, than you build the connection and support system that will keep you coming back to class even on days where you don’t want to workout!

You may notice mental results after your very first class! And I recommend taking class 3-5 times per week to get the best results for the physical & strength aspect.

If you’re completely new, Barre will take a few classes to get the hang of the movements, stances, & cues but be patient and give yourself time to learn the exercises and technique! I know how intimidating it can be to try something new but just remember we’ve all been there. And whichever studio or gym you decide to attend, the front desk staff and instructors should be more than happy to have you and show you the ropes.

Intro to Yoga Nidra + Self-Practice.

I’ve been immersing through the topic of Yoga Nidra the last few weeks in my 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and I’m surprised (and a bit embarrassed) that I really haven’t known much about it before diving in.

Yoga Nidra is a yogic sleep where you’re at a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping. Think of the period right before you fall asleep where you feel you’re in that dream-like state but not actually sleeping. This state is typically induced by a guided meditation while lying down on your back in savasana pose.

This practice of yoga nidra often starts with the awareness of senses through the body and mindful breathing which triggers the relaxation response or the parasympathetic nervous system. The wavelengths in your mind begin to slow down to help find the middle ground between sleep and consciousness.

Yoga Nidra is different than traditional meditation which is done in a seated or lotus position with the goal of building mindfulness and awareness.

This practice can be done at home through guided audio recordings found on apps like Insight Timer or Calm. If you’d like to fully step away from technology for your practice, try the following strategy:

  1. Choose a clear intention.
  2. Lie flat on your back, with your arms stretched out by your sides.
  3. Close your eyes & begin to fully rest the body.
  4. Bring awareness to any sensations you feel through your body or breath.
  5. Begin to repeat the clear intention you chose in step #1 three times.
  6. Take a couple deep breaths, emphasizing exhalation.
  7. Repeat steps #4-6 as desired.

Gratitude + 4-7-8 Pranayama.

As I write this evening, I’m in the middle of cooking for a little dinner get together with a close friend. I’m having to double-up tasks from my to-do list lately because my cup is overwhelmingly full. I wouldn’t have it any other way at the moment because everything I’m currently investing my time in, I truly love to do. I also know that my schedule wont be like this forever and during the holidays I usually take a step back to relax.

All that being said I’ve also noticed, as grateful as I am with my life, I’ve been consuming myself in negative thoughts at times. Its as if I don’t allow myself to just fully enjoy where I am at. My schedule is filled with self-care, teaching yoga and fitness, working full time as a Digital Marketer, and spending a majority of my free time investing in my close relationships with friends, my partner, and my dog. I’m grateful quarantine has allowed me the space to find out where I want to truly spend my time. But….

I find myself thinking of how things could go wrong & I know A LOT of us do this to ourselves. It’s as if we’re waiting for the bottom to fall out somehow. And this is not healthy! I was watching one of my online trainings for my 300 Hour YTT program last night and our lead instructor was saying how we need to be careful with what we’re manifesting.

Read that last sentence again.

Wow. This really made me stop and think. Because it isn’t just the good we’re looking to manifest (promotions, raises, good news) but our negative thoughts will also manifest situations that we may not want! And this is what I’m currently guilty of. I find myself pausing in moments & being overwhelmed with how much I love my life and then just as quickly have negative scenarios creep into my thoughts because “life can’t be perfect”. But, yes, it can! We can appreciate how much we enjoy our lives when things are really good. We shouldn’t feel guilty for being grateful and fear that it won’t stay that way. Change is definitely inevitable but we have the right to appreciate the moments we’re in.

So, if you’re like me, and find yourself feeling guilty for appreciating your life, I encourage you to pause and enjoy the below pranayama practice when fear is attempting to rob you of your momentary happiness.

Breath Work:

The following pranayama practice is one of my favorites to practice & teach. It is referred to as the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

  1. empty the lungs of air.
  2. breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds.
  3. hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds.
  4. exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds.
  5. repeat the cycle up to 4 times.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique can also help to decrease anxiety, sleep better, manage food cravings and control emotional responses like anger.

300 Hr YTT + the Tridoshic System.

It’s been a moment since my last post and I’m not even sure where the time went. When I last shared, I was busy with personal running goals, teaching, and trying to suck up every ounce of outdoor time while the weather was still nice. I went through a few weeks of burn out where my creative juices had just ran dry and I wanted to honor the process that this happens from time to time. My body, mind, and soul was simply craving other hobbies to fill it up.

My schedule is still jammed back but I’ve missed my outlet here the last couple weeks. The spark came back with a recent decision I’ve made to sign up for my 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training! I’m very excited for this next step on my yoga journey and I’ll be sharing in a separate post about which program I’ve decided to go with. For today, I wanted to share a recent topic we are learning, The Tridoshic System.

The Tridoshic System is made up of the three different doshas; Vata, Pitta, & Kapha. These doshas are made up of a combination of the five elements; air, water, ether, fire, & earth.

Vata is made up of ether and air and has the characteristics of light, airy, cool, and lean. This dosha is associated with the seasons of fall and early winter. Pitta is made up of fire and water and has the characteristics of hot, warm, diligent, and tone. This dosha is associated with the seasons of late spring and early summer. Kapha is made up of water and earth and has the characteristics of slow, grounded, balanced, and receptive to sensation. This dosha is associated with the seasons of late winter and early summer.

I’ve wrote about the Doshas in the past and share a quiz you can take to see which one you’re personality aligns with. As I dive more into the information on the Tridosha System, I’m looking forward to food pairing to correlate with the dosha of the season and sharing with you!