Just Me aghan

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Just Breathe

Yoga is all about the breath. Breathing is the constant that you can always come back to in your practice. "Focus on the breath." If you've been to a yoga class, you've probably heard this a thousand times. When I'm off the mat and in a stressful/anxiety inducing situation I try to focus on the breath too. It really helps.

Another way to become more aware of your breath is to meditate. You can start with just 1 minute every morning to get started, and add a little more time each week. It's such a simple thing that can be done in any quiet space, I would even suggest it at your work desk if you are getting a bit frustrated or just want to come back to center.

There are plenty of apps out there to get you started. The one I'm familiar with is the Headspace app. It requires 10 minutes a day and encourages you to gradually build up your meditation practice. You'll begin to establish a habit of meditation with their foundational course, Take10, and can sign up for a monthly subscription thereafter if you prefer a voice guided meditation.

Meditation after a yoga practice is easier for me than just sitting down to meditate; my mind is already calm and meditation fits right in. Try it out if you find yourself antsy when you sit down to meditate.

Adaptation of a meditation from Gabrielle Bernstein's book, May Cause Miracles:
Take a deep breath in through your nose, and a long exhale out through your mouth. For your second breath think about breathing in joy and strength, then breath out wisdom and peace. Take 3 deep breaths like this and see if you feel any different afterwards.

What is your experience with meditation? 
What questions do you have about starting your own meditation practice?

Monday, November 16, 2015

My Yoga Teacher Training Journey: Part 1

Since September, my free time that's not spent with Dee and our dogs has passed falling deeper in love with yoga. I started a Yoga Teacher Training in September and have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the philosophy of yoga. It's a weekend class, so one weekend a month for nine months.  It's awesome to be around individuals with so many similar interests to my own. We're all of varying experience levels; some with over five years and some with less, but experience in meditation.

Yoga Teacher Training, Discovery Yoga

Our first session was very basic, meet and greet style. The following morning started at 7 AM (6:30 if you were scheduled as a teacher's assistant) with a two-hour long yoga practice, or sadhana. I thought it was going to be too much, I'm used to one and a half hour long classes; but it was amazing, I probably could have actually practiced longer. Then we had a lecture from our amazing instructor. She's been practicing for almost 50 years and was a resident of Kripalu many years ago. I love it when she gets side-tracked and starts telling us about her life there or her experience with yoga in general.

A peek inside the studio where I spend 24 hours one weekend each month with 9 other amazing women.
Then after a lunch break we come back for Yoga Nidra. If you're not familiar with yoga, it's nap time- just kidding. ;) It's a form of guided meditation that you do in corpse pose. Usually with a blanket over you and an eye bag to block out any distractions. It's pretty great and always energizes me for our afternoon lecture.

Next, we segway into the yoga poses. Watching the teachers do the pose, watching how to instruct the asana, being guided through it, and then finally instructing each other. The first time I did this I was a stuttering Sam. I'm not really so keen on public speaking and this was very unfamiliar to me. However, as we do more and more poses I'm becoming more comfortable; even one of my fellow classmates commented on my improvement.

All six of our full days so far were formatted like this. My yoga weekends are really enjoyable. I feel like I'm away on a retreat or something. I'm thankful for my husband's willingness to take care of everything while I'm out.

One surprising benefit of all of this yoga is the improvement of my writing. I've noticed my focus is clearer and the writing comes "easier" when I'm writing a blog post or newsletter for work. Part of our "homework" is to practice a minimum of three hours a week and to write in a journal after each practice. This is hardly homework. It's enjoyable and not much of a difference from my practice schedule before I started the training.

Someone took my spot when I got up to grab a cup of tea in preparation to study. 

As I continue on my journey you can expect to see more yoga posts coming to this blog. I sat down and created 25 new post ideas yesterday, a lot of them are on yoga, social media, and content marketing/blogging. Of course, there will be some dessert and style posts mixed in there too. Oh, the freedom of a lifestyle blog... ;)

Are you interested in taking a yoga teacher training course? 
If you have completed yoga teacher training, do you have any advice or stories you'd like to share?

Pretty Pintastic Party

Monday, August 31, 2015

Eating Out: Bonefish Grill Mandarin

Second to dessert, seafood is my favorite food to eat. Fish, crab, lobster, shrimp... prepared any way Bubba could rattle off. When I was contacted to visit the recently renovated Bonefish Grill in Mandarin  - I was in.

I loved the classy vibe at the restaurant. The atmosphere was refreshing and more more high end compared to other seafood chains. No carpeted floors here.

We started off the night with one of my husband's favorite dishes to order, ceviche. The mango and pineapples were a nice addition to the traditional ceviche we were used to and gave the dish a tropical flavor. Hubby ordered their tasty corn and crab soup, and I skipped this course to save room for dessert. ;) We couldn't get enough of their bread and pesto though. The chopped olives made for a saltier pesto than normal and was perfect with their freshly made, warm bread.

I ordered their grouper special topped with a lobster and crab thermidor sauce. Yum-oh! That sauce could transform any fair dish into amazing. Our server said it was also his favorite and mentioned how good it was on steak; I could definitely go for a filet with lobster and crab thermidor sauce on top. :)

Anytime we see lobster rolls on the menu my husband kind of geeks out. It seems to be more of a northern dish and one we don't see it very often in Florida. Bonefish offered one though, and of course he had to order it. It was a little different than what I was used to, celery and a hint of wasabi, but he enjoyed it no less.

During the entirety of our visit we were well attended by multiple employees. There was someone rushing by to clear off a table, or serve someone nearby a drink every couple of minutes. We had no problem catching a servers attention if we needed more bread or a refill on drinks.

By the time my favorite course rolled around I was reading through their menu for a dessert that could easily travel home with us. Fresh doughnuts sounded perfect, but they didn't even make it into the box. Chris Herring, the Managing Partner of Bonefish Grill Mandarin, recommended another dessert to us, the Jamaican Coconut Pie. (Insert smiling husband and wife here.) If you've been around this blog before you know that we got married in Jamaica and are kind of obsessed with the people, food and culture there. This couldn't have been a better recommendation. It was delicious, and warm, and the rum sauce was pretty awesome too.

If you're looking for a nice place to grab a bite Bonefish Grill Mandarin is a nice spot for a date night, a meal with the girls, or maybe just a post-shopping cocktail. The oak furnishings, tasty menu and comfy booths make Bonefish a cool spot for any occasion.

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card to Bonefish Grill in exchange for a review on the recently renovated Bonefish Grill in Mandarin. I wouldn’t have blogged about it if I didn’t enjoy it, these are my true opinions on the restaurant.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'll Never Get Tired Of

I saw a post like this on Neely's blog and thought it would be nice to do some personal posts like this one. So here it goes.


I'll never get tired of...

Smelly dog kisses

Falling asleep to a rainstorm

Sunsets in St. Augustine

Writing on a Sunday morning

Hubby helping with chores and telling me to relax

At home yoga sessions

Splitting the last cookie with Dee

Sending silly videos to my sister to make her laugh

Taking 10,000 pictures of my food/outfit/dogs to get the perfect shot

What will you never get tired of?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Lunar Event at Magnolia Supply

A blue moon and a fun event/sale at Magnolia Supply was the way to close out July in St. Augustine. With free cocktails, a braid bar by Philosophie Salon, live music, and some serious sales, Magnolia Supply was the place to be last night. Bri and Tara, the adorable owners of the shop, threw a rockin' event, and I'm glad I attended.

Bri West and Tara Ferreira
Mandy and Brittney from Philosophie Salon were tying up braids left and right. I was happy to see so many familiar faces and spent some time chatting with Sarah, Blogger at Vegan on the Run and Editor for St. Augustine Social. We both had braids put in by the lovely Mandy, but I'm sad to say mine didn't get much visibility as dinner was a Chipolte sofritas bowl on the couch. :/ 

Braid bar by Philosophie Salon
Aslyn and the Naysayers performed as guests milled around with Blue Moon beers in hand. There were stones scattered throughout the shop building on the energy from the full moon. I found a sweet pair of druzy earrings that look like peacock ore. Stay tuned for those in a future post.

Magnolia Supply Collage

Read Bri and Tara's blog for posts on their travels and beauty/fashion advice like this one: To Bang or Not to Bang. Stop by their shop if you are in St. Augustine or view their shop online.

58 San Marco Avenue, Suite B, St. Augustine, FL 32084

Did you do anything special for the blue moon? Or is it just like any other moon to you?