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Author: Jill Romano

Not all sweats are created equal.

Did you know not all HEAT is created Equal? Why I only practice and sweat with INFRARED HEAT. 

Guess what? Sweating is good for you. Sweating is one of the body’s safest and most natural ways to heal and maintain good health. And that’s why our classes use infrared heat + yoga poses specifically designed to promote a deep, healthy and natural detoxifying sweat every time you practice.

Sometimes, I hear students say they don’t like to sweat. I get it…but I’m going to agree to disagree. Let me tell you why. I like to be efficient. It comes back to mindfulness. I am mindful of how I spend my time and I like to be efficient when I can because being efficient with some things creates more time for other things. So, if I can maximize my time spent on the yoga mat through receiving the benefits of infrared heat while also gaining strength and flexibility, I’m going to do it. 

Let’s dig in: Researchers have long told us how the body sweats out toxic substances, including heavy metals. As long as you maintain proper hydration, the more you safely sweat, the more you’ll expel from your skin and body. A hot yoga practice can be one of the safest and most effective methods for inducing a detoxifying sweat. In hot yoga, your body sweats out numerous toxins, including dead skin cells, oils, dirt, bacteria, and other toxic substances through pores. But not all sweats are the same; and neither are all heaters.

Infrared Heat is arguably more effective for detoxification  – the only technology proven to safely raise core body temperature! Rather than simply heating the air to draw out toxins, our technology will heat your core to expel them!

Infrared is the invisible part of the sun’s spectrum, which has the ability to gently and comfortably penetrate and heat objects, like human tissue, to produce a host of health benefits. It’s so safe, they even use it in the NICU to keep premature babies warm.  It’s also the same spectrum that stimulates plant growth due to cell generation. Naturally occurring from the sun, technology has harnessed this spectrum in infrared heaters for you to receive a holistic approach to a healthier mind and body.

In contrast, a conventional heat, like gas or electric, simply warms the air around you, which just induces sweating. Infrared heats your body from the inside out, penetrating up to 1.5 inches below the skin, which increases your heart rate as blood vessels expand and allows more blood to pump through. This cardiovascular benefit results in more calories burned in a shorter period of time, which can equate to real weight loss, not just water weight loss like you might receive from conventional heat. Think about it: you manage your diet, your fitness/activity levels, your water intake and your mental health- regular hot yoga with infrared heat, supports all of these goals with benefits for circulation, weight loss, sleep, inflammation, immunity, stress relief, and general pain relief. Check out this link if you want more info on the benefits.

Beyond the physical benefits of Infrared, the mental benefit is what I notice in the moment when I’m sweating. Years ago, I regularly practiced in a conventionally heated studio that didn’t have infrared technology. I always wondered why I was so exhausted afterward. I did some research and learned conventional heat must run at higher combustible temperatures in order to provide adequate heat. This depletes the oxygen levels in the air making you feel tired and drowsy…ugh. I also came upon the conclusion that breathing in hot air was subconsciously activating my fight or flight response as I fought against the suffocating feeling of breathing in hot, humid air for 60+ minutes. Infrared doesn’t heat the air, so you’re breathing comfortably, while your body heats up internally. Essentially, your body was gets warm, but your mind isn’t distracted by inhaling suffocatingly hot air.

Oh, and a few other things: With infrared, only objects in the room retain heat, keeping them nice and dry, meaning mold growth is inhibited, without dehumidifying and drying out the air. Traditional heaters can dry out your sinuses and skin by dehumidifying the air and blowing around allergens, bacteria and viruses. As an allergy sufferer and someone who’s concerned about safety doing the pandemic, that’s a big no thanks from me.  

Plus, infrared heaters won’t add any pollutants to our environment. They operate without any carbon combustion, no toxic-by-products, no open flames and no fuel lines. Essentially, infrared heaters don’t add anything to the air, and they don’t take anything from the air. Love that.

So, who’s ready to sweat?

Peace,

Jill

Why you should be grabbing a yoga prop at every class.

You look in cubbies in our yoga room and there is array of props for you to use…blocks, straps, bolsters etc. How the heck are you supposed to know how to use them? Well, you could look around at other students and how they’re using them for starters. This is what most people do. You could also ask your teacher, which we highly recommend at Thrive. We notice however, as students continue to practice, they seem to buy into this stigma that props are for “beginners” and stop using them in favor of taking more options. This is a natural occurrence with the ego (we’ll dive into ego in another post). BUT, the stigma that props are only for new students couldn’t be further from the truth. Props are for all!

Want to access deeper heart opening? Place a block in between your shoulder blades during Savasana.

Want to  “flip the grip” in Dancer? Grab a strap and hook it on your foot.

I could go on and on about various way to use props.

But let’s take a step back to my comment about beginners. Can we drop that label? The practice of yoga is called so because it IS a practice. And while someone who is newer to the physical practice of yoga may need a prop to correctly align, you probably need one too…even if you’ve been a regular yogi for a awhile.

In this age where we aren’t assisting as much, it’s even more important for you to understand where you body is in space and how to feel whether your alignment and engagement is helping or hurting you.

I challenge, err… encourage you to get a block and try to use it in poses you think you don’t need it, like Triangle, Extended Side Angle and Half Moon. I especially want you to use it to bring the floor closer to you. Then, rather than focusing on progressing within the pose by taking different variations, work from the floor up, starting with your feet and traveling up through your body assessing the alignment and the engagement. Are you compensating somewhere, compressing something? Are you not sure? Ask your teacher. And listen to their cues. They will tell you generally how to engage and open your body. If you need more personalized attention, take a workshop. You’ll experience more growth in your practice receiving specific guidance we just can’t give individually in a regular class.

Our next Basics Workshop is Sunday May 16th from 2-4p with Katie. You’ll learn about your body, how to access correct alignment and how to use props to support your practice..

So, are you ready to be on Team Props? I can’t wait to hear what your learn about yourself from them! Be sure to tell me and your teachers this month.

Peace,

Jill

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Simple Healthy Eating

It can be easy, accessible and delicious.

If you were to ask anyone about my skills in the kitchen, you’d receive a laugh. I’m not into food so it’s been a learning journey feeding my family because I am in to healthy, easy meals that my whole family will eat together. You don’t have to be a master chef to make meals that are healthy and taste good! I find that keeping things simple allows my mind to stay clear and stress-free in areas where I don’t excel or find interesting. How could that philosophy apply in your life?

When I’m looking for culinary inspiration, I like to use Pinterest because I can search for the dietary needs of my family, see pictures and look at the reviews all in convenient little rectangles. If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, it allows you to “pin” things you choose to different virtual Pin Boards that you can refer back to later, which is especially helpful when you need to refer back to recipes.

Crock pot dump recipes are my go to when I know I won’t have time to cook in the evening. Today, on Taco Tuesday, I’m sharing my two favorite dump taco recipes that can be made vegan, vegetarian, gluten and dairy free depending on your needs. What’s a dump recipe? As unappetizing as it sounds, it’s one where you dump all the ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on and let it cook until it’s time to eat. It doesn’t get any simpler.

Find the Chicken Taco recipe here.

Find the Lentil Taco recipe here.

Tips:

To save time, use a pre-made taco seasoning.

Use corn tortillas or these egg wraps if you need a gluten-free option.

Use Violife Shreds if you need a vegan, dairy free cheese option. I like the mozzarella flavor.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you try either of these recipes! Happy, easy cooking my friends.

Peace, Jill

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Maintaining 2021 Intentions

Shifting your mindset around New Years Intentions- How to create and maintain your 2021 intentions.

I’m not talking New Year’s Resolutions friends, I’m talking Intentions. Resolutions are typically very specific and have a timeline- like losing ten pounds in three months. An intention is broader-like increased physical self-care. That self-care may include more exercise and weight loss, but it’s a mindset shift, not just a simply goal that is so often associated with failure if we don’t “achieve” what we set out to do in a certain time frame. So, how do we stay committed or re-commit (if we’ve fallen off the proverbial wagon) to our 2021 intentions?

First, take yourself back to the basics-meaning choose the beginner’s path. The beginner’s path is hallmarked by simplicity. Taking self-care as an example, identify just one area of self-care you are struggling with- going to bed on-time, committing to a regular exercise routine etc. What is one thing you can do or change to bring yourself more in line with your intention? For instance, I love yoga (duh), but I really dislike gym workouts, which I need to maintain my intention of broadening my physical health this year. I especially struggle with classes that take more than 30 minutes. I find myself checking my watch every few minutes and getting bored. But, I am motivated by the social aspect of taking classes with others, especially my friends, because it’s more fun for me that way and we can keep one another accountable. As part of my self-care journey for 2021, I took the actionable steps to find a gym that had short workouts and invited a few friends to join me. I’m pleased to say it’s working and I’ve been enjoying mercifully short and effective 35-minute gym classes with some of my good buds.

Second, let go of comparison! Easily said, difficult to do. Let me assure you, no one is paying more attention to you, than you. No one cares if you can run a 7-minute mile or do a crazy arm balance. No one cares if you intermittent-fasted for 16 hours or ate a bowl of ice cream at 11pm. It may sound harsh to hear that no one cares, but it’s meant to liberate you from the perceived judgement and associated validation from others. No one is good at everything when they begin, so cut yourself some slack and remind your inner critic that this is a journey of small steps to improve your wellbeing, not to improve the opinion of others about your wellbeing. The freedom you’ll feel from escaping the comparison cage in favor of cultivating your own self-worth is a gift that affects so many aspects of your life in a positive way.

Third, remember that rebirth is a constant process. The “I’ll wait til Monday, next week, next month, etc etc” approach, or the “I’ve already messed up today by not staying on track so I’ll simply forget about my intentions” approach is a defeatist mindset. And many times, life throws us curveballs that affect our schedule and make us feel we can’t commit. Who made the rule that when a wrench is thrown into our lives, whether self-induced or not, we can’t stay on track? Well friend, you made that rule. And because you make the rules, you can make new rules. You have the power to choose rebirth; to reset, and refocus whenever you wish. How freeing is that?

Last, I’ll leave you with the reminder that the key is not to succumb to the overwhelming-ness of it all. Intentions and mindful living are not an all-or-nothing thing, they are small lifestyle patterns that build, ebb and flow.

Peace, Jill

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Starting a Meditation Practice in 3 Simple Steps

How to start meditating in 3 simple steps.

Meditation has gained so much popularity in the mainstream western world-we hear about it being used not only in yoga studios and alternative health centers, but also in corporate settings and in schools to reduce stress and anxiety. Simply Google “Benefits of Meditation” and thousands of results pop up, like this one from Healthline, if you’re curious. But how to get started yourself is intimidating and it’s one of the top things my students tell me they wish they knew how to do.

When you think of meditation, you might think of someone sitting in padmasana with their hands in jnana mudra. If you’re asking yourself- what is padmasana and jnana mudra?! Don’t worry, you don’t need to know to start meditating. It’s important to let go of your preconceived notions of what meditation should look like and open your mind to simply finding what works for you.

Think about how you start something new- if you want to start working out, you might sign up for classes at a local gym. If you want to learn how to play piano, you might download a teaching app or hire a local instructor to help you. Meditation is no different. It’s one of the reasons I love Insight Timer. It is your own personal introduction-to-meditation teacher. This guided meditation app takes out the guesswork, allowing you to listen and look inward with the speaker as your navigator. There are other apps for this too, like Calm, but I like to reference Insight because it’s the one I use.

  1. Prioritize it. Set aside time each day for this self-care and don’t waiver. You might think you don’t have time, but everyone has five uninterrupted minutes. Found time can be in your parked car somewhere before you go in or after you come out. It can be the five minutes before you go to sleep or when you wake up.
  2. Go with the flow. Don’t waste your time scrolling through hundreds of options with analysis paralysis. Choose one that looks appropriate for your mood and the time you have allotted and go with it. In time, you’ll discover which teachers you connect with and can favorite them. Here’s one of my favorite teachers, Tara Brach with a short 6-minute meditation on seeing the goodness in others.
  3. Let go of expectation. Meditating is a practice and it’s something that doesn’t come easily for many people. Your brain is designed to think- so thoughts will arise and you’ll find yourself drifting away at times. That’s normal. Acknowledge the thought and bring your attention back to the meditation. It will get easier. Eventually you may give up guided meditation in favor of simply meditating on your own…but that’s another blog post.

Happy Meditating friends! Peace- Jill

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Better Mornings Start at Night

How did you wake up this morning? Tired, hung over, refreshed, excited? Setting the tone for your day begins when you open your eyes. Which means, the way you close them the night before makes a difference.

This is more than a post about setting up your morning for success. It’s about setting up your night!

These are my five top tips.

  1. Register for your fitness or yoga class the night before. Setting the expectation that you will attend class helps you to stay in the appropriate mindset for actually making that class and not getting side-tracked. With many gyms and studios charging for no shows due to limited capacity, the ante has been upped even more to stay focused on your commitment to show up.
  2. Make a list. What’s on your priority list for the next day? Minimize the opportunity to become overwhelmed by listing what you want to accomplish. I like using the Calendar App on my smart phone to easily organize to-do’s for work and home.
  3. Clean Up. Don’t feel like doing the dishes or straightening the living room? Do it anyway. Waking up to a tidy house helps ensure you won’t be distracted by a full sink or a huge pile of laundry.
  4. Prep your meals & clothes. As a busy working mom, I hate to meal plan at the last minute because it often means less than healthy options. If you have a busy day, set up a crock pot meal or utilize grocery pick up so you’re not scrambling to feed yourself and your family. Pick your clothing the night before. Nothing is worse than wasting your precious morning time on indecision over your outfit!
  5. Listen to a guided meditation. Trouble falling asleep? Turn off the TV and harmful blue light in favor of a guided meditation. I use Insight Timer, a free smartphone app. There are meditations for almost every mood. I like to choose the Sleep Category and listen soothing meditations and bed time tales. If I happen to wake in the middle of the night, I’ll turn it on and be back asleep in no time.

Stay tuned for more blog posts that expand on this post, plus much more on mindful living. Good night friends. I hope this helps you feel more productive and clear in 2021. Peace- Jill Romano

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