How to start Gratitude Journaling.

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I’ve been holding onto this post for a while. It hasn’t felt like the right time to publish it until now.

The world will constantly be a combination of good and bad. And man, does it feel like there is a lot of heavy situations going on lately. But I’m here to tell you that there is a lot of good in this world as well. I know it might not feel that way as we watch the news, listen to the radio, or scroll through our social media feeds lately. But we can always focus on the good in the world and there are always good things to focus on.

Read that last sentence again.

A baby is being born, a close friend gets engaged, a family member beats cancer, or it’s simply sunny and beautiful outside. If you’ve been around here a while you know I’m also one to tell you not to bury your emotions but there is a way to process your emotions and turn those heavier feelings into something to be grateful for. I’ve been re-reading Tim Desmond’s ‘How To Stay Human In a F*cked Up World. I purchased it this last fall when I was going through a very difficult time period. For most people, sometimes it feels imposible to get through certain situations in life but personally, I find enlightenment in focusing on progress, even if it is the tiniest step of progression. So I purchased this book and it continues to be one of my staples I pull off the shelf and skim through.

Desmond mentions that ‘bringing up pain and holding it with compassion leads to transformation’. You can sit with this said pain through meditation but another way is gratitude journaling. I’m a big fan of journaling as a practice to process emotions, make decisions, and work through trama. I’m also a big fan of gratetitude journaling for difficult times so you don’t feel the world is weighing down so much on you.

Below is a few prompts that can help start a gratitude journaling practice. All you need is a pen and paper then allow the prompts to guide you in topics to write about. Not only does gratitude journaling take your mind off negative or impactful thoughts but it allows you to focus on things that will bring your mind enjoyment and actively releases stress and tension from the body.

Prompts:

  1. Someone you are grateful for
  2. A food you are grateful for
  3. A place you really love
  4. A treasured experience
  5. A skill you are grateful for
  6. A teacher or mentor who made a large impact in your life
  7. A trip you love to look back on
  8. A meal or dessert you can’t get enough of
  9. Your favorite birthday or holiday memory
  10. Your favorite books you’ve read
  11. A lesson you learn that made an impact
  12. Your favorite movies
  13. Your favorite smells
  14. Someone who believes in you
  15. Your favorite place
  16. Your favorite pet
  17. A activity you love to do
  18. Music that makes you happy to listen to
  19. Something that relaxes you
  20. An activity that makes you feel alive
  21. Your favorite memory from your childhood
  22. A goal you’ve achieved
  23. A person who makes you laugh
  24. An answered prayer
  25. Something you’ve created that makes you feel proud

Another way to start a gratitude journaling practice is to purchase a guided journal. My favorite brand is Ink & Volt. There are also endless options across Amazon and what I love is that you can find different options for women, men, and even teens and children.

I hope you enjoy your gratitude journaling practice & I would love to hear how it impacts your life!

Quarantine Pick-Me-Ups.

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As best as we’re trying, we might be feeling down quite often during this “stay-at-home” time. You might not be as productive as you would like or feel you’re getting as much accomplished as you wish. Maybe that workout routine has fallen to the waist side or there are a few too many snack times in the afternoon. And guess what, it might be hard to hear and accept, but it’s actually all alright!

We are going to feel down at points, that is how the body processes situations and emotions and we should learn to embrace them as they come and learn from them. But what’s not alright is wallowing in these down thoughts. They will happen, we’re not meant to be happy all the time and this is a very difficult situation that we’re going through (uncharted waters for literally all of us). It’s great to set goals while we have the free time but if we don’t meet these goals or feel we’ve done our best, life. will. go. on.¬†

So today I wanted to address some of my practices I embrace if I’m having a hard day or a really emotional week. Like I said before, we shouldn’t shy away from these emotions and attempt to avoid them because that has potential to cause more damage but there are certain healthy things we can do to process through these emotions.

  • Meditation: I recently shared a post for how to create your own meditation practice which is really helpful if you are new to it. This might be scary to attempt to sit with our feelings and emotions when it feels like the last thing we want to do. But addressing these feelings and approaching them with a positive attitude can completeing repaint the way we are handling them. [Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to work with mantras during meditation]
  • Journaling: Put those thoughts down on paper and let them all out. A journaling practice can feel odd and different if you’re new to it but once you find a stride with writing you can really notice the benefits it provides. Don’t place expectations with your writing either, like ‘you always need to write a full page’ or ‘you always need to write about once certain topic – like what you did that day’. Allow yourself the freedom to just write whatever thoughts are flowing through you at that moment.
  • Setting Routines: You don’t need to map out your enitre day but putting in place a simple daily routine provides your mental health structure – similar to what it is use to when “life is normal”. I just shared a morning routine for a healthy gut and this is a good example of simple daily tasks you can do to provide your life some structure. It can also be as simple as taking a walk outside each day at 3PM or maybe it’s not even daily but every other day you take a really nice bath with all the bells and whistles. Don’t only set a routine of mundane items you need to get done but also things you look forward to do and feel a bit like pampering.
  • Movement: I prefer yoga, barre, and running and I really rotate through these depending on my mood. Find a form of excercise that makes your body feel good that is accessible and you enjoy doing (for the most part because working out isn’t as enjoyable as other things – like eating brownies ūüėČ I shared my favorite at-home workouts last month so if you’re looking for ideas, check out that post! (Bonus: I also shared my favorite at-home workout equipment and all of it can be found on Amazon)
  • Get Outside: If you have the access and the weather is nice, try to get outside at least once a day. This provides you with a different scenery than inside your home or apartment and gets you body some Vitamin D. I can’t tell you how many times in the last couple weeks I’ve been feeling mentally heavy and how a simple short walk around the block with my dog can completely change my perspective.

If you are truly struggling during these times, no matter what mentally you are battling, I am also here to chat and listen. Feel free to always reach out to me at ashraeeiningyoga@gmail.com. We will get through this together!

 

Gut Health: What is it & why it matters.

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The human gut microbiome is complex and powerful in impacting our overall health – in a good or bad way depending on how we treat it. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as heart & brain health, boosted mood, healthy sleeping patterns, and an effective digestive tract.

The term gut microbiome refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. A person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some microorganisms are harmful to our health, many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary to a healthy body.

Signs your gut might be out of whack:

  • Digestive Issues
    • Gas and/or bloating
    • Constipation
    • Irregular bowel movements
  • Mental Issues
    • Like depression, anxiety, and brain fog
  • Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies
  • Unintential Weight Gains
    • Or struggles managing a healthy weight
  • Chronic Unmanaged Stress
  • Skin Problems
  • Trouble Falling into a Deep Sleep

Ways to improve your gut health: 

  • Improve Eating habits (see below section)
    • Monitor consumption of prebiotics and probiotics
      • If it is a struggle to get enough in your normal diet, consider taking a supplement (address this with your doctor to make sure it is a healthy option for you)
    • Consider food intolerances that upset your gut
  • Stay Hydrated
    • Attempt to get in a recommended amount of water for your body weight
  • Implement a Consistent Sleep Pattern
    • Going to bed and waking up at the same times will help your body & digestive system fall into a flow
  • Reduce Stress
    • This is easy said than done but consider areas of your life that are more stress inducing and consider how you can change this.

A happy gut means a healthy feeling body. A diet rich in immune-supporting probiotic & prebiotic foods will fuel your gut with what it needs for your microbiome to thrive. Probioctic foods contain “good” bacteria or live cultures that are found naturally in your gut. Prebiotic foods nourish the probiotic foods in your digestive tract.

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Probioctic Foods:

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Fermented Foods
    • Kimchi
    • Kombucha
    • Olives
    • Pickled Beets
    • Pickles
    • Sauerkraut
    • Soybeans
  • Grains
    • Sourdough Bread

Prebiotic Foods: 

  • Fruit
    • Berries
    • Bananas
    • Tomatoes
  • Veggies
  • Grains
    • Barley
    • Flaxseeds
    • Oatmeal
    • Wheat
  • Legumes
    • Beans
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils

Beginning a journey to improve your gut might take a bit, so be patient. Implementing a healthy diet and reducing your stress won’t heal a gut in a day but will begin to detox the gut microbiome of toxins.

But please keep in mind this isn’t an overhaul either! Like I always like to say, life is a balance of healthy habits and periodic indulgences. We want to incorporate healthy habits in our lives so that WE. FEEL. GOOD. but what also feels good…. a fudgy brownie with vanilla ice cream. So definitely implement new healthy habits into your life but don’t deprive yourself!

Stayed tuned for a Morning Routine for a Happy Gut later this week!

How To Start Meditating.

Meditation can be a scary topic for many as we live in a society that promotes non-stop productivity as the ultimate goal. If we’re not consistently “hustling” than we might feel like we’re failing. But meditation should actually be seen to help benefit our productivity. The practice isn’t only good for our overall health but could actually make us more productive in our daily lives. Taking a moment to slow down helps us to reset & clear our mind, become more present, and appreciate the here & now. This practice will flow into every element of our lives, allowing us to show up more fully in every moment.¬†

When beginning the journey to meditate, you might feel there are multiple aspects to “get right” but just stepping away to a quiet space to close your eyes and turn inward is really all you need to start.

If you are still stressing to “get meditation right”, here are a few tips to help guide you:

  • Breath
    • If you are a beginner, don’t fret over “calming the mind” but actually focus on the sensations of your breath. Appreciate the smells around you and the feeling of your lungs expanding and clearing.¬†
  • Mind
    • Focusing on your breath is the easiest way to clear your mind of thoughts. It gives your mind a focal point. When your mind starts to wander (which it will) just recognize you’re thinking and then come back to your breath.
  • Emotions
    • Long-term meditation shows the increased size in brain regions associated with emotional regulation. This can result in the habit of cultivating positive emotions, retain emotional stability, and mindfulness.
  • Arms & Hands
    • Relax your arms & shoulders, letting your hands rest on your thighs or in your lap.¬†
  • Eyes
    • If working to turn inward, close your eyes. If on days this makes you feel dizzy or emotional, you can anchor yourself to your space by making your eyelids heavy and focusing on the space about a foot out in front of you.¬†
  • Legs & Feet
    • If you’re sitting in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor. Draw your spine straight. If you’re sitting cross-legged or on a cushion, make sure your knees are lower than your hips.¬†
  • Time
    • The length isn’t as important as the frequency so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not sitting for an hour each day. Start in increments aiming to build up over time (i.e. 3 minutes to 5 minutes to 10 minutes).¬†
    • A timer is very helpful so that you’re not focusing on a clock. There are a lot of app options for a pleasant timer instead of relying on your phone alarm (i.e. Insight Timer, Headspace, Clam). A few of these options will also have a payment option that can then access guided meditation – another great option for beginners.¬†

Below are a few Breathing Techniques to also try out before or after meditation to calm or energize the body:

  • Warrior Breath
    • Inhale/exhale with no pause 21 times – this super oxygenates the system
    • At the end of the 21 breaths implement the Box Breath for 4 to 5 rounds
  • Box Breath
    • Inhale big for 5 counts
    • Hold for a count of 5
    • Exhale slowly for a count of 5
    • 4-5 rounds
  • 2-7-8 Breathing
    • Inhale for 2
    • Hold for 7¬†
    • Exhale for 8
  • Skull Shining Breath (Kapalabhati)
    • Take a long, slow inhale
    • Exhale rapidly through the nose by “snapping” in your lower belly for 10
      • Inhale will occur naturally
    • Inhale fully¬†

Meditation might be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be because all you need is time to give to yourself. Beginning today can help radically change your life for the better. I’d love to hear where your meditation practice is at and what it has helped you learn about your life!¬†

How to Have Good Posture with a Desk Jobs.

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It can be unavoidable to sit at a desk for long periods of time…. when you have a desk job. Which a lot of us do!

Even if we aren’t spending numerous hours sitting in front of a computer, we’re more than likely texting, driving, sitting in front of a tv, or eating at a table at some point throughout our day. All of these postures more than likely have us rolling our shoulders forward, bending our necks down, and putting a major amount of strain on our spine. Just take a moment to think about how your body adjusts to looking down at our screens and compare that image to an upright, straight spine posture. It will probably have you cringe a little (or a lot!). It really isn’t the best set up and we’ll actually start to experience the consequences over time.

But just wait! Even if we can’t completely cut out these activities completely from our lives, there are small daily exercises we can do to make sure we’re keeping our bodies happy.

  • Our spine is meant to move and bend but at it’s natural, comfortable alignment, the spine is stacked straight. So as we’re sitting, working on the computer, watching tv, staring at our tablet or phone in the check-out line, take a second to review how our spine is aligned. If it isn’t stacked upright, we’re probably putting unnecessary strain on it.
  • Move! There is no magic number that says you should “get up and walk every 30 minutes” even though we hear these statements all the time. Everybody’s body is different. If you’ve been sitting for a while and you start to notice your posture is slowly slacking than get up and walk around. Go grab a snack, go to the bathroom, go talk to a coworker, anything that will get you on your feet and realigning your spine.
  • Take a moment out of your day to stretch. It can be 15 minutes when you get up, a yoga class over your lunch hour, or a short series before you go to bed but take some time to show your body you care about it. This short routine each day will go a long way to overall health when you have a sedentary career. (I’ll be following up with a short series you can incorporate into your morning or nightly routine)
  • If you have the option, rotate between sitting and standing during work hours. You don’t have to have an adjustable desk. You can find a countertop to work at or stack boxes or books to build height for you to set your laptop atop.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or reminder on your computer to run through a few desk stretches to help relax your muscles and release any unnecessary tension you might be holding in your body. Again, these small moves can have an impact. (I’ll also be following with some fun tips on moves you can do while sitting or standing at your desk)

We’ve heard plenty of the health affects sitting at our desks and staring at our phones has on our body. Now is the time to take care of ourselves! What are some of your favorite tips or tricks to help your posture?

 

EMFs + Self-Care

I wanted to take a moment here to discuss EMFs, Electromagnetic Fields, and how we should be interacting with these fields as well as self-care.

What Are EMFs?

The National Cancer Institute defines electric and magnetic fields as invisible areas of energy that are produced by electricity, which is the movement of electrons, or current, through a wire. Electric fields are produced whether or not a device is turned on, whereas magnetic fields are produced only when current is flowing.

We come in contact with this energy every day. This energy helps us communicate, cook, and even solve complex medical issues.

  • Radio Broadcasting Waves
  • Cell Phone Radiation Waves
  • Wifi + Bluetooth Waves
  • Microwaves
  • Infrared Waves
  • X-Ray Waves

Being in a field where I’m constantly interacting with technology makes it difficult to avoid. But there are simple ways we can disconnect more from everyday technology and EMFs!

Tips:

  • Take breaks every 30 minutes – take your hands off the keyboard, move your eyes around the room, take a quick walk, grab a snack. There are so many ways you can step away.
  • Set devices 5-6 feet away from you when watching television.
  • Get outside without devices for 30 minutes to an hour a day. Go for a walk without your phone, layout at the pool, go for a bike ride, have coffee with a friend.
  • Set limits on your Social Media platforms or your phone altogether.
  • Unplug electronics by the bed or remove from your bedroom all together when sleeping.
  • Flip off the circuit breaker to your room.

Can you think of any additional tips that can help you disconnect from your devices?

What To Do When In a Funk.

It happens. I’ve been in a funk myself for the last week and a half. It just seemed to be a consistent trend where I was getting bad news every time I turned around. When it rains it pours right? I’m not even a fan of that saying but it just seems to HAPPEN THAT WAY sometimes.

And you fall into a negative mindset where you’re only focusing on what is going wrong and it can be difficult at times to pull yourself out. But guess what? Only you can make the change!

“Everyday can’t be sunny or else it would all be deserts.”

I’m sharing some simple activities you can do that will build up to a brighter mood! These work together to make a big impact so take what works for you and leave what doesn’t. But try implementing a few of these into your everyday lifestyle and see what shifts and changes for the positive.

  • ¬†Give yourself 10 minutes in the morning. Just sit with your morning coffee or tea, set aside the phone and technology, and just sit with your thoughts.
  • Set a positive mantra for your day. I personally like “Today might be cloudy, but my life isn’t cloudy.” This is a little thought you can come back to when you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.
  • Take a walk outside. It is crazy what a little bit of nature can do to pull us out of our own reality.
  • Get creative! Paint, draw, write, dance, build a craft, write a song, play an instrument. Just let whatever wants to come out, come out.
  • Make yourself a nice meal. Seriously, splurge on yourself with one of your all-time favorite meals.
  • Work out. Release any built up stress or energy you have with a high-intensity run or weight training class. Or maybe, tap into your thoughts and process through a yoga flow.
  • Meditate. Sit in stillness and remove yourself from thoughts.
  • Start a gratitude journal and begin to jot down a few things that you are grateful for each day.
  • Most important: Don’t get down on yourself! You’re awesome and wonderful and you have so much to be happy for!

This change will take a bit of time. It might take a few days or weeks but focus on the positive in your life. If you’re having a hard time and need to vent or talk to someone, know I am always here! You can reach me at onedreamyyogaflow@gmail.com or in DM on my Instagram @mountainhippiehealthnut. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your hump day!!

Stay beautiful.

CBD Oils.

What the heck is CBD Oil and why should you consider using it? That’s what I would like to cover today.¬†(This is an¬†affiliate¬†post with ThoughtCloud and I will be sharing a link at the end for you to check out products if your heart desires.)

My Story (& Nella’s).

I’m currently sitting on my patio, surrounded by plants, and a good glass of white wine while my pug pup, Nella is at my parent’s house, healthy, happy, and a little bit chunky. But that wasn’t the case this past fall. It all started when I moved Nella and myself out to San Francisco over a year ago. I was nervous for Nella to deal with separation anxiety as well as consistent digestive issues she had been dealing with since she was a tiny puppy. Knowing I would be away during much of the day at work, I was extremely nervous for the state she would be in. After way too much trouble shooting with different dog foods, treats, and eating routines, I decided to try out pet-approved CBD Oil.

I first started out with dropping the oil on top of her dinner and even in her water, then eventually moving to baking it into her treats. Nella has never had a lack of appetite, which the oil can also help with, but it helped her immensely with anxiety and sleeping issues. Now through a mixture of home cooked meals and CBD Oil infused treats, she is a happy three year old pup.

During this time, I was also dealing with a significant move and career change that had me anxious constantly. This life pattern was affecting my sleeping, eating, and weight management routine. After much research online and through conversations with numerous connections I decided to give CBD oil a try myself. ¬†I’ve been using them ever since. I would say the major benefits for myself are daily anxiety and my sleeping routine. Especially once I moved to Colorado and was working through my body adapting to the altitude, I depended on CBD Oil for a good nights rest on many occasions.

What is CBD.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. CBD does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. In fact, most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana.

The company I am sharing today has multiple different products they sell. The Full Spectrum products can contain up to 0.3% THC while the Sustainable Isolate products have 0.00%, as ThoughtCloud has isolated the CBD so that is contains no THC. Both formulas are completely non psychoactive when taking the recommended serving.

Various Benefits of CBD:

  • Relieving pain
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Can help to reduce cancer symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and pain
  • May reduce acne
  • Digestive Aid
  • And much more!

What I use.

I am a fan of many different CBD companies and I will share specific products in later posts here and on Instagram but the first company I started with was ThoughtCloud. Their site was informative and simple that I wasn’t worried shopping through them for products for myself and my dog. When I first started educating myself of CBD for pets I was super uninformed and by the time I ordered Nella’s products, I felt 100% comfortable with what I was going to be giving her.

I currently use the Full Spectrum in Coconut Oil (500 mg & 750 mg). Nella is using the Full Spectrum for Pets (400 mg) in cold pressed hemp.

I’m just like so many others out there that have really become enthralled with the many benefits of CBD oil. If you have more questions or would like to learn more, let me know! I would love to connect!

Namaste.

P.S. Here is my personal link to ThoughtCloud but if you are interested in other companies or have different preferences I would love to hear about them ūüôā https://thoughtcloud.net/ref/ashleyeining/?campaign=AshleyEiningBlog

Lush Product Favs.

These are my personal opinions and Lush is not affiliated with this post. (I am working on getting a discount code for you though ;))

Is anyone else OBSESSED with Lush?

Every time I go into a Lush store, I’m like a kid in a candy shop. I could spend hours just sniffing every single item in there. I love their products and I’ve been promising a review for about a month now since I last stocked up on some of my favorite items. So if you’re a Lush fan I’d love to hear your thoughts on the following items or your personal favorites so I can run out and get them myself. ūüôā

Bronzing Bar:¬†¬†This stuff is so great on your arms and legs when you start to show some skin after a long cold winter and yo got no color! Some of us cheat and get a spray tan and some of us own our paleness (I fall in both categories) so when I’m in the latter I’ll use my bronze shimmering bar on my skin to give it a little glow.

T for Toes:¬†We ALL have smelly feet – and don’t be acting like you dont! We all have those shoes that we don’t wear with socks because they aint cute with socks sticking out the top. I tap this powder into my allbird slip ons since I wear those way too much and it has been a huge help with keeping the shoes and my feet smelling wonderful!

Cuticle Butter: This stuff smells like fruit loops AND I LOVE ME SOME FRUIT LOOPS! It has been my go-to item during the cold months when your skin seems to alwaaaaaays be dry (so annoying). I use it on my legs, elbows, and directly on my face which all seem to be my dry areas in the winter.

Hair Moisturizer:  I do a lot of heat damage to my hair so anything that will help my ends stay healthy between visits to my hair guys, I am all about! I take a small pea-size on my fingertip and then rub along my ends after getting out of the shower.

Toner:¬†I spray this bad boy directly on my face after getting out of the shower. It smells amazing and I do believe it helps with moisturizing my face. I purchased it last spring so this little bottle could possibly last me an entire year & I swear I’ve used it pretty much every single day. Good buy!

Lush Tin: This item is a godsend while traveling. I can store the bronzing bar, bobby pins & ponytails, soap bars, jewelry, etc. and my items stay nice and contained even through the roughest travels. I’m thinking of stocking up on more because I currently only own one. They also come in different sizes as well!

Let me know if you give any of these a try. And if you haven’t been to a Lush before, you’ve been warned (they’re AMAZING!).