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New Years Wishes

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New years is a wonderful time to renew yourself, make wishes, manifest new goals, refresh and create new vibes for your life. Although as I write this, I realize that you don’t need to wait until new years to do any of this. New Years is kind of a gauge, a time to wipe the slate clean and start new. It doesn’t have to mean anything, it can be just another day or it can mean everything. Make the most of what it means to you.

I try not to make new years more than it is but, for me, it is indeed a renewal. It’s a wonderful way to recommit to being the person I want to be and a great time in the calendar year to set new  intentions and decide what my goals will be for the new year. I also want to take this time to remember everything I learned, good and bad, about relationships, business, love and life. It’s also a time to be grateful, grateful and even more grateful! Some things I want to carry into 2018:

  1. Let go of people who don’t respect you and accept you for who you are. That means those who don’t respect and accept the way you look, your talents, your essence…YOU. Ditch them. Say goodbye and move on. People who don’t like you for who you are usually don’t like themselves. Until they figure that out, you don’t need to deal with their misery.
  2. Find a way to love and appreciate yourself. We all have aspects of ourselves that we want to change but hating yourself won’t help you get there. Why are you so awesome? Say why often and loud.
  3. Don’t do anything half assed, do what you love and go all in. Do it the best you can. If you find that you aren’t enjoying what you do and that you feel you HAVE to do something, you won’t do it well.
  4. Be authentic! Say what you mean, mean what you say. I’m constantly working on this. Don’t be here just to please others. State your feelings and explain yourself. Be assertive, especially my fellow ladies; our voices need to be heard.
  5. Don’t be afraid to say no especially when it comes to your business. Have a goal and go after it; say no to the avenues that you may go down that you don’t want to. Say no even if it means ending a partnership or not accommodating others. You have to be comfortable with what you are doing for your business.
  6. Be grateful for everything you have and focus on that when you feel like you are lacking in anything. You have everything you need. Material things are not everything you need. People, relationships, love, that’s what you need. Things are just fillers and they will not make you happy in the long run. Focus on quality relationships and self love.

Have the best 2018, friends. I hope you read this and it leaves you feeling better or brings you to a less confusing fork in the road. I hope 2018 is your best year yet. To all who help make The Yoga Collective what it is, THANK YOU, I’m grateful for you!

XO,

Nicole

Healthy, Easy Post-Yoga Snack (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

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CHOCOLATE CHIP PROTEIN BITES

I made these snack bites a couple of months ago and I realized today that I could definitely share these here. These are a wonderful pre and post yoga snack; they are filling but not too filling and are made with healthy, whole ingredients. Nix the chocolate chips if you want to cut down on the sugar but you should add them; life is too short to be without chocolate chips! I think I will add a few recipes here every once in a while that are healthy and vegan. Most of us do yoga to feel good, improve ourselves, show self love and eating healthy is what many of us strive to do. My blog, Forever Plant-Based, is dedicated to healthy plant-based recipes. Check it out if you are not sure what to make for dinner or need a cool snack idea. Lately, my recipes involve glorious chocolate and peanut butter, two AMAZING ingredients.

1 cup of quick cook oats
1/2 cup of natural peanut butter
1/4 cup of coconut palm syrup or maple syrup
1/4 cup of dairy free chocolate chips
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
3 tbsp of non dairy milk


Hand mix all the ingredients in a big bowl except the milk. Add in the milk and use your hands to mix. Roll into bites and store in a glass bowl. I made about 10 bites. You can store in the fridge or on your counter if your kitchen is cool and dry.

How To Begin A Meditation Practice At Home

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I wrote the below article for my blog Forever Plant-Based, a place where I write about vegan recipes and my thoughts on fitness including yoga and meditation. I love my blog, it’s my most favorite thing to do on a rainy or non rainy day and I love sharing my thoughts with the world. Hope you enjoy this!
I love teaching meditation at my yoga studio. I pick a theme and focus my guided meditation around that theme. Sometimes my students are strangers, most times they are friends. It’s so much fun to connect with people in a cool, intimate, relaxing setting where I can share my favorite essential oils and talk about life. After meditation with my three friends last week, we chilled on our yoga mats and talked quietly about various topics. We drank Happy Tree maple water and ate cookie dough bites. It was such a fabulous ending to a great day. I wrote this post to inspire you to make meditation a new habit. There are always habits we need to break; why not begin a new habit?!
Studies have shown that meditation is excellent for mental and physical health. People who meditate are able to deal with stress more easily and regular meditation can lower blood pressure and anxiety levels. Sitting quietly and breathing is enough to clear your mind and reset your body. Living in NYC, I know how important it is to stop and find quiet throughout my day. Sometimes, just having fifteen minutes of down time, can leave you feeling recharged and ready to take on the rest of your day.
As a yoga and meditation teacher, I teach many guided meditation classes where I help people focus on breathing, slowing down their thoughts and feeling present in the moment. It’s easy to slide into a delicious meditation after savansa but it isn’t a requirement to only practice meditation after yoga.
Here are a few ways to begin a meditation practice at home:
1. Choose a quiet, cool place in your home where you can be alone. Make the space your own by adding calming pictures and comfy blankets to sit on. Make sure you can be in this space by yourself for a period of time throughout your day.
2. Sit with your back straight and your legs in a comfortable position. If you feel better lying down, this is great, just don’t fall asleep.
3. Take a few deep breaths and feel your heart rate slow and stress leave your body. Inhale until you cannot inhale anymore, hold for a few seconds then exhale. It’s a great activity for your lungs and will open up your chest muscles and deliver oxygen to all parts of your body. When we are stressed and tense, we forget to breathe and breathing is very important when you mediate.
4. Clear your mind and just think about being in the present moment. Focus on your breathing, feel the breathe coming in and going out of your lungs and concentrate on that. Let your mind go where it wants to go. When you feel yourself thinking about your grocery list or what you need to do later in the week, come back to your breathing. This is a great time for you to turn on calming music if you cannot sit in silence. Turn the music on low so it’s not distracting but so that it helps you stay focused on meditating. Using music for meditation is similar to listening to a guided meditation.
5. Meditate for anywhere from 5-30 minutes or more. When you are just beginning a meditation practice, start out with short periods of meditation and build up. Meditate at any point in the day when you have free time. Thinking too much about when and how much you will meditate makes it more stressful. There is no specific time of day or length of time that you need to meditate.
6. After you meditate, take the time to appreciate nature and smile. Take your calm, relaxing meditation with you throughout your day.
Making time to meditate is an important aspect of our overall health. It’s wonderful when we eat healthy and exercise but regular meditation can help you slow down, appreciate life and feel grateful for all that you have. Never doubt the power of sitting and breathing for just five minutes a day; it can change your life.
Love,
Nicole, TYC
The Yoga Collective NYC Blog

Prana Fresca

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Try this deliciously cool summer drink, Prana Fresca, from Yoga Journal’s “<a href=”http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/3155″>Summer Coolers</a>”. Serve at this weekend’s BBQ or just treat yo’ self…you deserve it!

Combine…

1 cup honeydew melon chunks
10 to 12 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon himalayan or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon raw sugar,
and 2 ice cubes… in a blender.
Add 1/3 cup filtered water and blend until smooth.
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon raw sugar,
and 2 ice cubes… in a blender.
Add 1/3 cup filtered water and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

Photo from Sabonhomeblog.wordpress.com

The Yoga Collective NYC Blog

Seva or “Service”

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Seva or “service” “…is an expression of compassion for others and the genuine desire to uplift those around you.” – Yoga Activist

How can we make time each day to uplift one another? Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.

What have you done to uplift another? Has someone helped you along the way? Please, share your experience so we may salute each other for acts of kindness.