Arm Fitness Series.

I’m in full Cabo prep mode which means I’m working my arm muscles multiple days a week to get them tone. I’ve been requested numerous times to share my fitness & yoga sequences so you all can do them in the comfort of your own home or on the road in a hotel room. I’m sharing an arm focused series today that can be paired with a cardio session or lower body series as well. I typically use 3-5 lb weights for the whole series but you can easily do all of these moves with a resistance band or no weights at all. Put on some tunes and knock out this set 3-5x depending on how you’re feeling!

Wearing:

  • Headband: Hello Headband
  • Sweater: Target
  • Pants: Fabletics
  • Socks: Cuddl duds (softest socks ever and lol at the different height in these photos – opps

Biceps

15 Reps of each:

  • Bicep full range curls [palms facing up]
  • Hammer full range curls [palms facing in]
  • W pulses [hands out to the sides and pulse out 1 inch]

Shoulders

15 Reps of each:

  • Goal post pulses [90 degree arms // elbows straight out to the side from shoulders // pulse up 1 inch]
  • Box pulses [elbows straight out from shoulders in front // pulse up 1 inch]
  • Straight arm pulses [wrist straight out front from shoulders // pulse up 1 inch]
    • Then Pulse in 1 inch

Back & Triceps

15 Reps of each:

  • Reverse flys full range [hinge from the hips with a flat back // arms straight out to a T and then release down in front of the shoulders]
    • Then Pulse 1 inch at the top [hands straight out from the shoulders]
  • Triceps pulses [Arms straight back behind you with weights higher than glutes // pulse up 1 inch]
    • Then pulse in 1 inch

After wrapping up however many sets you completed, finish off your arm workout with some deep stretching. I’m a huge fan of utilizing a yoga strap or resistance band to stretch out my muscles after this arm sequence.

I hope you all enjoy, have sore arms after, & have a fabulous day ahead of you!

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!

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!

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!

September Running Goal.

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How in the world is it already September? I’m honestly not upset about it though since I’m so ready for scarves, warm coffees, crockpot meals, and all the baking. And with a new month comes new goals!

In August I was able to hit my 100 km (62 miles) running goal and had a moment where I considered bumping September’s goal up to 200 km. After some serious thought, I think that would be too large of an increase for me so we’ll just aim to go over the 100 km mark this month.

I’ve mapped out my daily distances again if any of you would love to run along with me! I’m also tracking a lot of my daily progress on my new Twitter account for the blog @ashraeyoga – come join the party there for random Ashley thoughts and sweaty photos. It’s going to be a good month!

Sept Running

Favorite Restorative Yoga Poses.

Over the years of my practice, I have grown an intense love for restorative yoga. This type of flow has helped me in numerous situations to deeply relax my body, calm my busy mind, and help release muscular tension. Restorative yoga is a variation of yoga practice where certain poses that typically aren’t stressing the muscles are held for an extended period of time and has the power to help heal the body and mind. 

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite restorative poses that you can do on your own time. Find a quiet, comfortable space, and let’s dive in!

The first pose (above) is Seated Staff Pose or Dandasana (Sanskrit name). Sit up straight, cross your legs in front of you at the skins, and place hands gently on top of the thighs and rested together in your lap. 

The second pose is Extended Butterfly which provides a great stretch for the inner thighs and groin, relief from menstrual discomfort, and helps maintain healthy bowel movements. From our Seated Staff pose, bring the soles of your feet together, place hands to the outside of the ankles or feet, and with a long spine, fold over your legs. 

The third pose is Savasana or Corpse pose which helps relax the body, reduce headaches, fatigue, and insomnia as well as potentially help lower blood pressure. Lie down on your back and extend your legs long allowing your ankles to splay out to the side. Arms can rest alongside your body, extend onto the floor over your head, or rest one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. 

Child’s Pose is our fourth pose and probably my all-time favorite yoga pose. This one flexes the body’s internal organs while lengthening and stretching the spine. It relieves the neck and lower back and gently stretches out the hips, thighs, and ankles. Bring your big toes to touch, knees can be together or knocked out wide, extend your arms long, and lower your chest and forehead to the floor. 

The fifth pose is Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) which is a relaxing backbend and heart melter that some like to refer to as a cross between downward dog and child’s pose. From your child’s pose, bring your knees in under your hips and extend your hips up to the sky. 

Our last pose is Bow Tie Pose which is a nice, gently release for the back of the shoulders and the neck. Extend out onto your stomach and begin by placing one forearm parallel on the group in front of the other. Then start to walk the hands away from each other, crisscrossing at the elbows. Once you begin to feel the stretch in the back, release your head to hang heavy towards the floor or your forehead resting on a block. 

All of these poses can be held with your eyes closed and between 1-10 minutes for time depending on your comfort level. I hope these poses bring your relaxation and stay tuned for more of my favorite yoga poses! 

Mediterranean Chicken Couscous.

How many times have I shared this dish on my Instagram? Way too many, that’s for sure. So it’s about time I give more details on how to make it since I’m so obsessed. It started with a Hello Fresh meal which I have a tendency to start up when I’m going through a slump with new cooking ideas. This recipe just stuck, clearly. 

The Mediterranean Chicken Couscous dish is very filling with refreshing, nuritioning ingredients. It’s a meal I have about once a week if I know I have a big day the next day and will need to feel energized. It also makes good left-overs if you eat within the following 2-3 days.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Chicken breast
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Zatar Seasoning
  • 2/3 cup Coucous
  • Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • Feta Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Directions: 

  • Preheat over to 350 degrees
  • Line a pan with a piece of foil, slice tomatoes in half, place in pan topped with olive oil, garlic, and half the dill. Cook in the oven for ~15 minutes.
  • While roasting tomatoes, boil chicken in a medium pot on high on top of the stove. 
  • In another medium pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil on high. Once hot, pour in coucous and let cook until browned. Boil with 1 1/2 cups of water until couscous is thoroughly cooked. 
  • Once chicken is thoroughly cooked through, take out of the pot and shredded. Pour out water and rinse pan. Place shredded chicken back in the pot cook on medium for 4-5 more minutes with balsamic vinegar and zatar seasoning. 
  • In a small bowl, combine greek yogurt, 1 tsp water, remaining dill, and lemon juice. Stir until consitency is creamy. 
  • Place cooked couscous, chicken, and tomatoes in bowl and top with feta cheese and yogurt creama. 
  • Enjoy! 

Primally Pure Review.

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Anyone else trying to jump on the all-natural makeup & body care kick?

How amazing is it that we have access to the knowledge we need to know about what we’re putting on our bodies. And the fact that there are so many incredible companies that we can purchase these products from! I’ve been slowly transitioning my items to all-natural options as I run out, which I’ve found has been a common strategy for many of us. Makeup & body care items can be expensive so this totally makes sense. And in all transparency, this transition has taken me a full year and I’m not even fully all natural yet. I have a few products that I’m really attached to – hello, amazing grace lotion.

One brand (out of many) that I have been testing and have fallen in love with is Primally Pure. I was introduced to this brand through a friend of mine that raved about it – and it’s not so surprising after I dabbled in a few of their products.

I took advantage of a seasonal Black Friday sale last Fall and invested in two of their bundles; the Starter Kit & the Spa Kit. I’m a huge fan of bundle products not only because you get a handful of the brands products for a reasonable price but they are normally sample size, which are perfect for traveling. And I travel quite a bit!

A little about Primally Pure before I dive into my thoughts on the products: The company was founded by Bethany, the wife of a farmer, out of her passion for real, recognizable ingredients – not just in the food on her plate but also out of her skincare products (music to my ears!). Bethany’s family started Primal Pastures, an organic livestock farm in Southern California, which helped her to discover the power of eating real food and subsequently the power of real ingredients in her skincare. She purged her bathroom cabinets of toxic conventional products and began formulating her own replacements, that eventually inspired the creation of Primally Pure.

So great, right?! I was really excited to try out each item not only because of what my friends were saying about the brand but because I felt a real connection with the story and that this brand truly cares about their customers.

Here is what I received in each kit and my thoughts on each item:

The Starter Kit:

  • Full size 1.7 oz. deodorant
    • I was a Native deodorant user before this and was having a bit of issues with y sensitive skin when I would switch scents. After testing PP Blue Tansy deodorant, I have not notice my skin react and the scent is super lovely!
  • 2 oz. body butter
    • I picked this one in Alomond Vanilla and it is like a jar of sweet smelling cookie dough. I put it on my elbows and dry batches. My dog also can’t get enought of the scent after I use it.
  • 1 oz. everything spray
    • I personally always use a rose water toning spray on my face after I get out of the shower and I’ve rotated that with the Everything Spray. It leaves my face really refreshed and moisturized. I’m currently due for a reorder of this as well.
  • three lip balms
    • I allowed the order to send me the top three flavors of lip balm which had me end up with Lavender, Creamsicle, and Cocoa. I really like the Lavendar and Creamsicle but not a huge fan of the Cocoa. You can never have enough lip balm around!

The Spa Kit:

  • one dry brush
    • I didn’t really get the dry brushing trend until I recieved a brush in the Spa Kit. I’d seen plenty of people across social media talking about it but you just don’t understand the benefits until you try it out yourself. I began dry brushing my arms from my wrist up to my arm pits to help with flow to my lymph nodes. I noticed after just a couple uses of the dry brush that my forearms were a lot smoother and eczema had slightly calmed down. Another highly recommended product from me!
  • one 2 oz body oil
    • I love oil and was really excited for the Blue Tansy Body Oil in this kit. I use it when I get out of the shower and all over my torso. I have pretty combination skin type but living in Colorado, I do find that my skin is a lot drier than I’m use to so the oil definitely helps.
  • one 6 oz sea soak
    • Hello! This girl loves her some bathtime! The next two items are why I chose the Spa Kit. The Sea Soak is decribed for ‘Detox + Soothe’ and the scent is a bit more powerful than the flower bath. I use these bath salts on more stressful days when I need to unwind.
  • one 6 oz flower bath
    • As for the Flower Bath, it is described as ‘Balance + Soften’ and as the name may let on, it has a more floral scent. I like to use these bath salts on more quite evenings to tune out a little more.
  • organic bag
    • Each kit comes with a mesh organic bag. Full honestly, I’ve collected a lot of bags from beauty kits over the years (where are my clinque fans at?) but I travel so I do use select ones that are good quality – and these ones are it! I use one of the bags to hold all my nail polish because it is stretchy but can hold the weight. The other I use for bath products when traveling.

After a few months of using these products, I would say my favorites even though I’ve enjoyed all of them, are Deodorant, Body Oil, and Everything Spray and will be ordering these again. If you’re interested in testing out Primally Pure, the bundle kits are definitely you’re best option to be able to try out multiple products without having to invest to much at first.

If you would like to support me and the side hustle, you can shop Primally Pure through my personal link. You can use code PRIMALLYASHRAE at checkout for 10% your order. All support is more than greatly appreciated 🙂 I’m also here to share my thoughts on any specific product or my other favorite brands.