5 Methods for Reducing Your Daily Waste! Earth Day with Jackie Cawthon

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Earth Day is almost here! And whether you’re the gardening hippie type, or brand new to celebrating, this day is for all! Earth Day is this Monday, April 22nd, and is a global holiday that asks us all to take a step back and look at our environmental impact. It’s a great time to go green! Re-dedicate yourself to environmentally friendly lifestyle choices or volunteer for local environmental organizations. Here at Soul Strong Yoga, we do our best to reduce our waste through providing compostable cups and reusable hand towels. However, we’ve got the magnificent Jackie Cawthon, also known as @thegirlwiththecarrottattoo, on our team to inspire us to always go the extra mile! I interviewed her about the increasingly popular zero-waste movement, as Jackie is always deepening her sustainable lifestyle. Check out the interview below for inspiration on how to reduce your daily waste, buy second-hand, and more!

CLARA: What exactly is the zero-waste movement? How did you become interested in adapting zero (or low) waste practices into your life?

JACKIE: I'll start by saying, I wish it was more popularly known as the "less waste" movement, due to the discouragement of how difficult a zero-waste lifestyle is to live, but I understand that ideally, we do want to eventually live in a 100% zero-waste world. I think the zero-waste movement is about making more conscious decisions about what you buy or accept and also how you dispose of things that you no longer need or want. We are working towards loving this planet a little more, by being more mindful of how we treat it.

I think the first time I was ever exposed to this idea was when I watched an interview of this woman who kept all of the trash she produced in a whole year, and it all fit into a small mason jar. I was absolutely blown away that that was even possible, seeing that I created more trash in a day than she did in a year. Honestly, this didn't encourage me enough to actually make any changes in my life right away, but I was immediately actually aware of the trash I was creating. It was not until some time last year that I got a lot more serious. Seeing photos of beautiful beaches destroyed by empty Hot Cheetos bags and single-use cutlery broke my heart. I noticed even in my own city, trash cans overflowing with waste. Trash trickled down the streets. It’s repulsive. And even worse, I realized I am part of the problem. I decided enough is enough. I no longer want to participate in the destruction of our home, so I started doing research on zero-waste and found so many helpful hints on Google, Pinterest, and Instagram.

CLARA: Why live a zero (or low) waste lifestyle? What are some of the benefits, both for the environment and for you?

JACKIE: Oh there are so many wonderful reasons to work towards zero-waste, and I continue to discover new benefits all the time! I'll list a few of the first ones that come to my mind:

a. Cost: I've saved a ton of money by cutting down on paper towels, making more food at home, and buying only what I need, instead of making impulse purchases. b. Power of making a difference: It just feels good to know you are changing the world.

c. Growth: You can learn new skills to fix broken items and get creative to make your own supplies (Makeup, cleaning products, laundry detergent, etc.)

d. High quality: When you give each purchase you make a little more thought and consideration, you will usually go with high quality items that will last longer.

e. Avoid chemicals: You'll begin to notice how much crap is in everything we buy! When we make our own, or opt in to buying local, there are usually fewer fillers and toxic ingredients.

CLARA: What are the easiest ways to reduce waste in daily life? What are some of your other favorite ways to reduce waste?

JACKIE: Some of the easiest ways to reduce waste in your daily life will probably depend a lot on your kind of lifestyle. For example, I eat at my job mostly every day, but our kitchen only has plastic, single use utensils. One of the first and easiest things I did was simply bring my own silverware and ceramic dish from home to keep in my desk. For traveling and going out, I bought an adorable bamboo travel cutlery set off amazon for $9. I will include a small list of some of my other favorite ways to reduce:

a. Second-hand shopping: I've always loved thrifting and treasure hunting, so this is a breeze. If I check all my favorite second-hand stores and do not find what I need, I will ask friends, and as a last resort, I will buy new, high quality items. Favorite stores include: Revival Vintage, Uptown Cheapskate, Goodwill, Room Service Vintage, Savers, Plato's Closet and Salvation Army.

b. Reusable bags: Grocery shopping is so much easier with your own sturdy bags. I can get at least 4 or 5 plastic bags worth of groceries into just 1 of my reusable bags. I try to have at least 2 in my car, but if I forget, and only have a few items, I will refuse the plastic bag and just carry my items out in hand.

c. Ceramic coffee mug: I love Starbucks. I try to make my own coffee at home, but occasionally I'll treat myself to a cup of joe in my reusable ceramic starbucks mug.

d. Stainless steel straws: AMAZON! I keep a handful at home and one or two in my bamboo travel cutlery set.

e. Paper towel replacement: I use worn out hand towels to clean up messes in my kitchen and have switched to cloth napkins for meals instead of paper towels.

CLARA: Any last tips? Things for folks to remember as they move towards reducing their waste?

JACKIE: Don't stress about being perfect. There's no need to beat yourself up EVER. This movement is all about love and respect - not only loving and respecting your planet - your home - but showing that same love and respect towards yourself. Just do your best and know that you are making a powerful difference.


Inspired to make a difference? Keep reading about the less-waste movement by checking out the links provided below. Ready to learn more from Jackie? She teaches the Beginner’s Flow at 6:30 PM at Soul Strong Sanctuary and 8:00 PM Power at the Soul Strong main studio every Thursday. Jackie also has an inversion workshop coming up! Learn to take flight and sign up HERE!

https://www.earthday.org/

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/yogis-take-on-earth-day

https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/yoga-and-the-earth

https://truenaturetravels.com/uncategorized/yoga-sequence-earth-day/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ74ZykbFFE

Jackie Cawthorn

All photos in this post are by Jackie Cawthon. Follow her instagram @thegirlwiththecarrottattoo. Did you know Jackie is also a yoga photographer? Check out her gram and schedule a session with her!

Ready to Detox this Spring: Live in the moment and experience Santosha

austin yoga

Spring is in the air, yogis! Springtime in Texas, allergies aside, is truly incredible. It feels like a brief, in-between gray area of the seasons here in Texas. The bone-chilling cold days suddenly disappear, yet we aren’t running from air-conditioned room to air-conditioned room yet. And it seems to happen so fast that if you aren’t paying attention, you could miss it. But isn’t it funny, that spring can bring us so much joy in its lack of extremes? If spring is simultaneously beautiful, while being a pit stop between our more extreme seasons, what does that say about our personal “in-between” seasons of life? You know what I’m talking about - those in-between seasons where we don’t feel like we’re in our flow. Times where we aren’t clear about our purpose or have some extra bumps in the road. When those times arise, can we slow down enough to see the unique beauty of the present moment? Must we always be chasing the next extreme, 100 degrees or icy cold, the new career or next big ticket item, when we have beauty right in front of us? What’s the risk in finding contentment exactly where we are? Because once summer comes, my friends, once this season of life passes, you may just be wishing you’d paid attention to spring.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali outlines the eight-limbed path of yoga. The eight limbs outlines steps towards enlightenment, or union with your highest self. One of the Niyamas (personal practices) he speaks of is the concept of Santosha, meaning contentment. Actively cultivating contentment with your current state can help you find more ease and enjoyment in daily life. Patanjali also speaks of Saucha, meaning cleanliness or purity. As you grow more content, you may begin to notice where there’s excess, things and attitudes you’ve been holding onto that are no longer serving you. Or maybe you’ve been on a Marie Kondo kick and are literally inspired to tackle spring cleaning. Either way, as you practice being content in the spring of things, actively living in gratitude, find some cleansing practices that help you pare down to only what serves you. Breathe in, breathe out.

If you’re still looking for inspiration, be sure to check out our spring events. Sunday Social is back at The Brass Tap starting March 31st! Sign up HERE.

Then we have two spring-inspired events. Practice Saucha at Jill’s Cleanse and Renew Workshop on April 7th! Jill will help you detox with a heated yoga flow and Saucha-inspired essential oil mixes. Sign up HERE.

Next, on April 14th, we have another Yin & Sound Bath with Jessica Cross. The theme is Refresh for Spring. Be sure to snag your spot HERE!

For more springtime inspo, check out the following links:

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/detoxifying-holistic-yoga-flow-spring

https://kripalu.org/resources/practices-season-blossoming-yoga-and-ayurveda-springtime

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/food-diet/cleanse

https://chopra.com/articles/7-yoga-poses-to-detox-your-body

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17826/a-yoga-sequence-to-spring-clean-your-mind-body.html

Happy Spring and Namaste!

Release What’s No Longer Serving You! The Moon Magic and Gong Flow Series.

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As I sat typing out the following interview with Soul Strong co-owner and yoga instructor Sepideh Jafari, I remembered that today (March 6th) is the new moon. The timing could not have been better to manifest great vibes for our upcoming Moon Magic and Flow Series! Sepi and Jessica Cross, another beloved Soul Strong instructor and sound therapist, have put together an incredible series that will guide you through yoga asana, sound therapy and ritual for two full moons and two new moons in 2019. You can purchase the whole series, HERE and attend all four events throughout the year at a discounted rate. You can also purchase the passes individually HERE, starting with the upcoming Crow Moon event on March 22nd.

The Moon Magic events will be transformational, as we draw on the powers of the moon to guide us. Check out the interview with Sepi below to learn more about the events, as well as the magic of the moon!  And be sure to snag your spot for March 22nd’s Crow Moon yoga experience!

Tell me about the powers of the moon. Why is being in tune with it important to the yogic lifestyle?

Sepi: The moon represents a lot- feminine energy, the tides change with the moon. We do sun salutations everyday but moon salutations get overlooked. By taking the time to tune into the moon, it’s really just another way to take a step back and evaluate yourself. It’s Svadhyaya (self-study), which is one of the Niyamas (Internal Practices) of yoga.

What’s the difference between practicing yoga on a full moon verses a new moon?

Sepi: The Full Moon is when you practice letting go of things that are no longer serving you, cleansing. The New Moon is about bringing things in, manifestation.

What inspired you and Jessica to create this series?

Sepi: I love moon manifesting. It’s a great time to set an intention and manifest more of what you want to bring into your life. And I love Jessica’s sound work and wanted us to do more with the gong. The gong has a really strong vibration so it’s perfect for something like this. By doing a series, we get to reflect in all four seasons when there are big changes and your focus changes. The first one, the Crow Moon, aligns with the Equinox.

What can students expect when attending the series?

Sepi: When folks arrive, we’ll give them pen and paper to write what they want to release and bring in.  Then we’ll move through Moon Salutations - it’s more legs and standing, not like a vinyasa. Then we’ll get everyone settled in a comfortable, restorative savasana. From there, Jessica will play the gong and chimes. Afterwards, there will be a warm beverage- golden milk or a cacao drink. Students have the option to stick around a little longer and go outside for an optional palo santo cleanse.

Want to learn more about Yoga and the Moon? Check out the following links below!

And don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming series HERE!

https://www.doyouyoga.com/yoga-moon/

http://www.yogamagazine.com/yoga-moon/

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-26647/a-simple-full-moon-ritual-to-release-negativity-promote-forgiveness.html

https://www.doyouyoga.com/3-powerful-ways-to-honor-the-full-moon-in-you/

Wondering why a Crow Moon is called a Crow Moon? Read about the history HERE!

Meditation for Anxiety - Destress with Yoga Nidra

Transform Your Brain! The Benefits of Yoga Nidra

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Yoga Nidra. The Yogic Sleep. We are so excited to bring this practice to you through our upcoming yoga workshop with Todd Cline. Our regulars may know Todd for his fiery Power classes or the sweaty HIIT Fusion Saturdays. However, Todd is a great example of a yoga practitioner that lives out a well-balanced practice. While it’s important to move the body and stay strong for all of life’s ups and downs, rest and recovery are equally necessary. However, sitting still in what most of us traditionally know as meditation can be difficult! It takes a lot of practice to be able to sit with yourself, in silence, and not get caught up in reeling thoughts. While the practice of seated meditation is certainly worth it, I highly recommend easing your way into the world of meditation with Yoga Nidra! Or supplementing your meditation practice with it. Yoga Nidra, is both exponentially more restful but also incredibly accessible to the general population! The scripted, guided meditation practice brings the mind to surrender towards restfulness. And you’ll be set up in a comfortable, supported Savasana for extra coziness!

When I think of Yoga Nidra, I almost think of it as “leveling up” your practice of rest. Yoga Nidra feels like pressing a reset button in a way that a full night’s sleep doesn’t always accomplish. From Savasana, the guided meditation of Yoga Nidra lands the brain between alpha and theta waves. From this state, deep healing of all kinds can happen. Some of the most common benefits are stress relief, decreased anxiety, improved mood, and an easier time sleeping at night. However, this practice is expansive and has been proven to assist with resetting negative thought patterns. We all carry around samskaras (scars of the mind), simply from the trauma of everyday life. Consider deepening your restful, meditative practices next time you feel something’s getting in your way. I promise you won’t regret it. You can join Todd on Sunday, March 10th from 3:00-4:15 PM for this rejuvenating experience! Sign up HERE.

For more information about Yoga Nidra, check out the links below!

https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/your-brain-on-yoga-nidra

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-yoga-nidra-works_us_58efcea5e4b048372700d692

https://www.yogameditation.com/reading-room/pictures-of-the-brains-activity-during-yoga-nidra/

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/5-benefits-of-yoga-nidra

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-yoga-nidra

Achieve Neck and Shoulder Health Now! Simple Solutions for Tension and Stress.

My Neck and Shoulders...! An Interview with Josephine Ashford

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Are your motivations in taking a yoga class ever fueled by a need to relieve tension? Or quite possibly to relieve stress? Do you often find your stress creeping in as tension, rising up to the neck and shoulders? I learned in the interview below with Josephine Ashford, yoga instructor and massage therapist, that the experience of tension and stress usually go hand in hand. And that most of us are caught in a cycle of stress leading to tension and poor posture, which then leads to self-shaming and stress about our poor posture, which leads to worse posture which leads to....catch my drift? However, Josephine’s holistic, yogic perspective around healthy posture strips away the shame and helps us work towards a pain-free life with self-compassion. The upcoming workshop, titled My Neck and Shoulders…!, gave me the opportunity to interview Josephine and dive deeper. Be sure to check out the interview below, and then snag your spot by signing up HERE. Join Josephine on Sunday, March 3rd from 3:00-4:30PM at our main location, Soul Strong Yoga, in downtown Round Rock.

What are some of the biggest benefits of taking time out to focus on your neck and shoulder health?

Josephine:
--Learning to actively prioritize your own well-being—this is self-love and compassion.  You’re taking care of an issue that is causing you distress.
--Alleviating physical discomfort and range of motion limitations. Staying more comfortable and mobile in your body on the whole.
--Prevention and slowing or stopping the progression of postural dysfunction. The impact of shoulder and neck problems is not isolated, but concurrent with, or predictive of, future issues in other parts of the body.

What inspired you to teach this neck & shoulders workshop?

Josephine:
Along with yoga teaching, I have also been a massage therapist for nearly 12 years. Between the two, I can tell you what I hear most frequently is:
“my problem area is my neck and shoulders”
“my shoulders are really tight”
“my upper back between my shoulder blades is really tight”
“the tops of my shoulders and neck hurt…they just stay tight”
“I feel hunched in my shoulders all the time”

These statements are usually accompanied by an acknowledgment that this is a common issue. Most of us are all too familiar with this type of tension and even pain, but many people don’t know exactly what can be done about it.

I often hear clients and students berating themselves for not having better posture, which is not psychically helpful or kind to self. And I hear that they try to “sit up straight,” but know they fail all the time. I see people needing to better understand what is happening in their bodies and why on a deeper level. I see them needing some concrete and accessible ways of starting to change their thinking about postural health (starting with not calling it “bad” or “good”), physical and daily living practices that can start them on a path to a healthier, easy posture, and more body awareness and presence—this is also strongly related to stress management, habit change, and a great use of mindfulness.

What should students expect when signing up? How will yoga be tied in?

Students can expect to gain a deeper understanding of their postural health, learn simple exercises and stretches (to do during the workday, for example) that will start to move them into having a more natural posture (and thus feeling so much better). They will learn how to go about different activities of daily living (particularly use of screen devices and sleeping positions) in ways that promote healthy posture and movement.

We will do an asana practice of some key poses for the neck, shoulder girdle, and back (and what to focus on while in them, posturally) that help to develop the balance of soft tissue strength and functional flexibility, as well promote maintenance of optimal joint movement (ie: the vertebral joints).  The asana in this workshop will be accessible to beginners, and modified as needed.

We will also share a conversation about habit change, stress manifestations in the body, and a somewhat guided mindfulness meditation.

I am very excited to teach this workshop, and grateful for the opportunity to spend purposeful time with everyone there.  One of my greatest passions is to help people learn how to live easier in their bodies. Namaste!

Want to learn more about Yoga for the Neck and Shoulders?
Check out the links below!

https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/healing-yoga-sequence-ease-neck-shoulder-pain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SedzswEwpPw

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/3-poses-for-neck-and-shoulder-pain

https://www.everydayhealth.com/back-pain-pictures/best-yoga-poses-to-soothe-back-pain.aspx

https://yogainternational.com/article/view/restorative-yoga-for-chronic-pain

Yoga for Tight Hips

The word is out: we’re hosting another yoga series. This time, it’s all about yoga for hips! Nickie Hebert has been hard at work designing a four-week program cleverly called, Hip Hip Hooray! I recently had the privilege of taking a peek at Nickie’s notes, and let me tell you- this is one you do not want to miss! From her background in ballet, to certified yoga teacher, Nickie’s knowledge of the hips goes beyond what you can cover in a Flow yoga class. Over the course of four weeks, she’ll be offering up a weekly series that will help you get to know this area of the body in new and fun ways, as well as sustain hip health for years to come. There will be yoga practices to both strengthen, open and stabilize the hips, as well as education around anatomy, common hip issues, and more!

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Mindful New Year’s Resolutions and Creating Habits that Stick

Visualizing 2019: New Year’s Resolutions and Manifestation with Todd Cline

Everyone has a different approach to the New Year. For some, it’s all about the New Year’s Eve party: celebrating the past and moving into the future with some fun! For others, January 1st, 2019 rolls around and it’s just another day. Here at Soul Strong Yoga, we’ve got our eyes set on manifesting our dreams for 2019! While talk of New Year’s resolutions may be rampant and overwhelming this time of year, we’re ready to redefine the flaky resolution. By diving deep into what it means to set meaningful intentions and realistic goals in the interview below, we learn how to move towards the future we want to see. 

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