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5 Easy Yoga Poses for Weekend Workout Warriors

Traveling can be a remarkably stressful experience — especially if you are flying, and if you pack the night before.

I am constantly traveling, oftentimes hitting multiple cities back to back. And through my constant traveling, I have learned to pack quickly and efficiently.

I’ve whittled it down to the basics: Typically what I do is pack and then repack, taking out what I don’t really think I’ll need. I don’t like to be separated from my luggage and I don’t like to waste time waiting for it, so I never check a bag. I have even gone to Australia and Japan for a week with just a carry-on!

Here are some packing tips that will make your travels a little less stressful:

1. Find the perfect suitcase.

Smart packing starts with a great suitcase. I like this soft case black TUMI bag that has two deep outside pockets that allows for easy access. It is compact, but also highly functional, with lots of areas for storage — perfect for my laptop.

2. Choose a monochromatic wardrobe.

Since I spend a lot of time on the East Coast, a lot my go-to tops and bottoms are black. When I go on other trips I may add a second color, like white. For vacations in warmer destinations, I tend to pack white and tan, with brown accents. If I am going to Hawaii or another tropical place, I may throw in some brighter colors.

3. Go light on the shoes.

You really only need three or four pairs of shoes: one pair of workout shoes for running and the gym; one pair of low-heeled shoes or flats, which will save space; and one pair of dress shoes. If it’s winter, I wear boots on the plane. If I’m traveling during the warmer months, then I may throw in a pair of sandals or flip-flops — they don’t take up too much room.

4. Keep it casual.

A great trick is packing less dressy clothing than you think you’ll need — especially when you are going on vacation. Chances are you will be hanging out at your hotel more than you think. Of course, the exception is if you have back-to-back formal events.

5. Carry a light garment bag.

For suits, dresses and nice shirts, a hanging garment bag is a must-have. Attach a low-profile, black garment bag to the exterior of your carry-on roller to avoid having to check anything.

6. Pack a lot of scarves.

Pack light and bright silks for warmer destinations, and cashmere and wool for trips to cooler locales. They dress up every outfit and don’t take up much room.

7. Choose cottons and natural fabrics when possible.

Things that don’t wrinkle are ideal for the inside of your suitcase. Dressy linens and silks can be hung in your garment bag.

8. Pick a zip-up tote in a soft material as your second carry-on bag.

Throw shoes, makeup, toiletries and items you may need on the plane in a tote bag. You can put a magazine and a small purse in there as well.

As long as you have the basics — workout gear, a few nice outfits and some casual attire — then you are set. And don’t forget your vitamins!

Beth’s YogaFit Warmup

Start your day with a quick standing YogaFit warmup! Follow my guidance and learn how to get your body moving, so that you are ready to take on a busy workday!


For some this is a quality, skill and trait that comes easily, for others like myself- not so much so.

I have never been a patient person.  Yoga & meditation have certainly helped me develop more of it but I often still find myself lacking…  I will on occasion remind myself to first and foremost be patient with myself.

Impatience means that you are coming from a place of scarcity- being impatient means you literally feel like there is NOT enough time.   If you can reframe situations and be in a place of abundance, you will find yourself more patient.  I am struggling with this again and I know its because it’s a lesson I need to.

I am triple type A and over achiever and suffer from the disease of being busy.  Patience does not thrive in these conditions.

I am born and raised in New York City. I moved to Los Angeles shortly after college to have a healthier life. I hated LA for the first few years.  It was big, sprawling and scary to me, but I was also learning about and dealing with new aspects of myself.

I sought sanctuary in a fairly quiet beach town where I started my business YogaFit a few years after the move.  After a while that small town mentality left me feeling boxed in and I moved to Beverly Hills. I lived in the hills for a few years and enjoyed the country feel with a close proximity to the city- my gym, shops and restaurants were a few miles away and yet I could hike and take pictures of flowers daily. It was a bit isolating but very pleasant. More change occurred and I moved again to the City of LA close to West Hollywood- a bit of an adjustment but I adapted. And more than adapted – I really fell in love with LA. I set my life up in the way that was perfect for me- I could walk to my gym, farmers market and several great restaurants. I got the perfect house and what I felt was an ideal location.

I had no idea that I would fall in love less than two years later and move back to New York.

Coming full circle, I am a thinker, I brood, pontificate and ruminate – too much so for my own good. As I strive to adapt and change again, I know I will only grow from this and need to remind myself daily – just to be Patient.

A Great Nutritional Strategy for Training & Working Out

Periods of heavy physical activity are also associated with a depressed immune function and compromised immune function can be further aggravated by inadequate nutrition. The body’s susceptibility to a respiratory infection can be elevated for 24 hours after a tough workout, and a demanding race can impair your immune function for one to two weeks. Combining training with  work can overtax an endurance athlete’s resources, stress your body and compromise your ability to fight infection.

Because increased oxygen utilization during exercise can increase the production of free radicals (unstable molecules that can cause tissue damage at the cellular level), increased food intake and supplementation with antioxidants may enhance immune-system performance.

Consume a healthy diet and supplement wisely, When your immune system is compromised from training, this effect is related to elevated concentrations of stress hormones. Consuming carbohydrates before, during, and after physical activity is also a familiar practice for endurance athletes. Consuming carbohydrates seems to diminish some of the immunosuppressive effects of intense training. Carbohydrate intake before, during, and after activity results in lower cortisol levels, fewer changes in blood immune cell counts, lower oxidative activity, and a diminished inflammatory response.

So practicing yoga with optimal stores of carbohydrate not only provide fuel for your practice, but supports a strong immune system. Endurance athletes who train in the carbohydrate depleted state experience greater increases in the stress hormones that increase during exercise.

There is a window of at least several hours of depressed immune function after hard exercise. Try to stay away from individuals who have colds after hard training.

Eating Like A Yogi

In the Indian village of Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga.  The diet is simple- no meat and no alcohol. Villagers make their meal choices with the health of their bodies and their spirits in mind. As discussed in chapter 2, yoga philosophy is based on the Yama Ahimsa, the practice of nonviolence and not harming. A vegetarian diet is part of this philosophy.

The traditional yogic diet is vegetarian, promoting nonviolence to ourselves as well as all other living creatures. Yogis believe that our diets should nourish our bodies with foods containing prana, such as pure fruits, grains, and vegetables, while avoiding foods that overstimulate the digestive system. This approach to nutrition is called sattvic and involves choosing a diet that’s wholesome and pure to promote good health, lightness, and higher consciousness.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) acknowledges what traditional yogis have known for centuries. Based on medical research, the ADA states that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease . . . lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer,” and that vegetarians are less likely than meat-eaters to be obese. Clearly, excess meat eating can be detrimental to our overall health.

Many Westerners begin yoga with no interest in adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. If that’s the case with you, there remain many ways for you to alter your current diet to increase your health and take inches off your waistline. Below are some simple tips from the ADA to get you started on creating a pure and wholesome diet (for more information, see

  1. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in meals and snacks.

  2. Choose proteins such as peanut butter, fish, beans, free-range eggs, and nuts.

  3. Choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fats, sodium, and sugar.

  4. Vary your veggies. Eat more orange and dark green vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and dark leafy greens. Include pinto beans, kidney beans, split peas, and lentils.

  5. Get your calcium-rich foods. Have broccoli, salmon, or the equivalent in yogurt or cheese (a half-ounce of cheese equals one cup of milk). If you choose not to consume milk, choose soy, almond, or rice milk, or eat calcium-fortified foods and beverages.

  6. Eat at least half of your daily grains as whole foods.

  7. Go lean with protein. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Don’t fry it.

  8. Focus on fresh, frozen, or dried fruits.

  9. Avoid – white flour, sugar, packaged or canned food.

  10. Get tested to see if you are gluten intolerant

The Importance of Simplicity

Every few years I simplify in a big way – these periods seem to be fertile breeding grounds for abundance. Only in an empty field is there truly room to grow a big crop. In simplification mode once again I am hopeful that this harvest will be more amazing than I could have ever imagined. To simplify one must be ruthless- disciplined, determined, unattached to outcome and willing to risk.

When this part of the story is told, scribed, released it will be past the point I am sitting in now. It is past the point of discomfort, past the issues of trust, desire, past the momentary questioning of faith, action and fear.

To sit in simplicity requires patience – something I lack at times, something I work on daily. I believe that it is more important to endure brief periods of instability, fear, confusion and doubt than to jump into action, decision, and chaos.

Remember that simplicity is different for each person. For one person, simplicity may be downsizing their apartment, but to another it might mean growing your own food on a farm.  And living with less is not supposed to promote discomfort, but instead clear a path for what is most important in your life. Sometimes, to figure out what is really important to you is to get rid of everything that isn’t.

Simplicity is a state of mind. Once you are able to master it, you will see that it is possible to live an unconventional lifestyle. This may spur you to be more open to change, uncertainty, and different ways to improve your life that you hadn’t thought about before.

When you achieve a simple lifestyle, you are able to slow down and be more attentive to those that you love. If you are not spending enough time with the ones that you love and care about, then maybe it is time to take a step back and reevaluate your preferences.

One tip I have for simplifying your life is that  attracts less when it comes to stuff and clutter and things you think you must have. If you ask most people what they really want from life and work their first answer is not more money, a bigger house, or a new car. Instead they want health, happiness, time, security, love, respect, satisfaction, inspiration, and less stress. None of those things are available at the mall or through any material purchase.

Simplicity in life always gives you peace of mind.  A person who successfully simplifies their life doesn’t have to worry about material things. They are able to focus on what gives them the most happiness and enjoyment. Simplicity gives us peace of mind, as we get satisfaction with the things that matter most.

In moments of simplicity, I am connected to my spirit in a rich and immeasurable way.

How Decluttering Can Help You Lose Weight and Relieve Anxiety

What is clutter?  According to Webster, clutter is a disorderly heap or assemblage; a state or condition of confusion; or to fill or litter with things in a disorderly matter.

Why is it that so many of us hold onto clutter—whether it be stuff in a junk drawer or a disorganized closet or pantry, friends who give off negative energy, bad memories, even fat stored in your body—when it’s taking up vital space that can energize and fulfill us? It’s often because we have an emotional attachment to clutter, whatever it is, and don’t want to let it go. The truth is, clutter traps us and hinders us from becoming what I call “YogaLean.”

We have the power to declutter, just like we have the power to say no to a side of French fries. Healthy living doesn’t just mean diet and exercise. It also means limiting stressors that enter our lives and stick around, like that unneeded stuff clogging space.

Space! You need it, I need it, and your family needs it.  We need space in our schedules to exercise, practice yoga, prepare healthy food, and meditate.  We need space to move around and not feel trapped.  We need space to breathe and step away from the hustle of our day-to-day.

Yoga gives us both physical and mental space and, guess what, our environment is also in need of this space. I have a theory that overeating is like hoarding but with food, cluttering our bodies with what we consume. I believe that many people who hoard are overweight, and when I asked one of our YogaFit trainers if she ever worked at an overweight client’s home who had a neat and orderly kitchen, she agreed: A certain level of disorganization is usually associated with someone who has a “disorganized body.”

There is a direct correlation between maintaining an orderly household and maintaining your ideal weight.  If you begin a weight loss journey, you need to start with a clean slate, clearing the clutter and taking back the energy that is buried under your stuff.  Many times we become a hostage to our possessions but remember that all matter takes up space and energy. If things are in disarray, we may spend more time rummaging through them than we do on developing ourselves as a person.

When our physical environment is simplified and organized, we have more mental and emotional space available to create and grow. When our kitchen reflects the same care and order we desire in our personal life, the time we spend there and the meals we produce become capable of nourishing us in new ways. Taking time to make our kitchen a “sacred space” is an integral part of being YogaLean.

I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about the benefits of a clear space—organizing, decluttering, and how it all relates to aspects of one’s life. And I’ve developed a little concept I like to call “zen-tervention,” meaning when we organize the physical applications of our life and our stuff, we are then able to better facilitate our fitness program, food program, financial program, and pretty much any other program that we want.

When you tackle your personal zen-tervention, you will go through three steps: assessment, visualization, and clearing the decks.  In each phase, you must embrace honesty and non-judgment.  No one, not even yourself, is judging you for the clutter. So don’t worry about that. But with each item, assess why you are holding onto it and if it is serving you.

Return to the Mat

As mentioned in my book, YogaFit, my early days of practice were perhaps the most profound. I was laying the groundwork for many shifts – enjoying the opportunity to practice many different styles. What most people don’t know is that I threw myself into my practice with extreme vigor after ending a very long term relationship. In my early-mid twenties, I finally found the courage to walk away from my long term fiancé with whom I had been dating since my freshman year of high school.  Leaving him was perhaps the hardest thing I had ever done- but finding myself was more important.

Living on my own for the first time – I went to yoga constantly and no matter who I had plans with (and there were a lot of plans) my practice came first. Since that time my practice, my work, my dharma has obviously grown but I find that relationships ( at least in the way that I have been having them ) can be a big distraction from my practice, my calling and ultimately – myself. So here I am again – returning to the mat.

A shift and not one that was expected, requested or otherwise projected. Everything has shifted.

A group of us were talking tonight at dinner, just because we put on a mala, a scarf and chant, we are all still human. We are naturally flawed and beautifully imperfect.  “You are no greater for being a Buddha and no less for being a human being” Huang Po

However we can choose how to work on our positive qualities as well as our imperfections by engaging in the process of yoga, healthy living, honest reflection and trying to engage in what the Buddhists call RIGHT ACTION.

“Leaving him was perhaps the hardest thing I had ever done- but finding myself was more important.”

I am convinced that on the spiritual path we are often alone but never lonely, and to find long lasting partnership you must first find yourself. When the Universe wants you, needs you, demands that you grow, shift, transform and evolve so that you can be of service – you must listen to the call – and it points you in the right direction… and we must trust and pray and have faith.

So I am ever grateful to my practice, grateful to called again to wake up . Like Devorah said last week to us at the Donna Delory concert – “If it could be different, it would be different-  so shut up and be happy.”

I am grateful to the new friends and angels that have come to me in spiritual alignment – without effort, challenge or struggle. I am grateful to have so many exciting things on the horizon – I just need to keep lifting myself up to get there.  To rise to the occasion, the be better, to keep ascending.

Life offers us all so many opportunities to return to the mat. How many times do we take the opportunity to do so?

Meditation and the Path to Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is shifting from the automatic ego reaction (anger/self-protection hurting back), to a non-reactive conscious response of empathy; considering that the other person is ALSO a human being, perhaps not mindful.”

-Dr Ani Kalayjian, 2010 Forgiveness & Reconciliation

I had an amazing lunch today with Dr Ani Kalayjian from the UN and we spoke a lot about forgiveness. Dr Kalayjian is the founder of the Meaningful World Organization and runs four mission trips a year working with traumatized countries and citizens in Sierra Loen, Haiti, the Middle East and Palistine. We have plans to  offer select spaces on these trips to the Yogafit Network in 2015 for RYT 500 credit and the simple joy of giving back.

Today was just like most any other day that I paused at the end of my workday, wrapped my favorite scrarf that I bought in India around my head, covering my eyes and attempted to drop into meditation. Never an easy task between all the green tea I drink, the expresso shots in late afternoon and a long walk through Manhattan. You never really know whats going to come up through meditation but its all about the act of engaging in it on daily basis that brings about success in the form of so many benefits. Its a muscle that one just needs to flex often in order for strength to occur.  I usually have a lot of free floating anxiety that comes up as I drop in and repeat my mantra. Today the same person who showed up in a dream this morning came back, into my meditation.

I, like many of you, have not always handled my friendships with the most grace- especially when I was younger. We are not taught how to have a disagreement with a friend. So this situation from twenty  years ago came back to me and the person that it revolved around caused me even more than the usual  “am I going to be able to meditate”  anxiety.

So with a lot of self talk  I was finally able to dive into my meditation.  A lot of the self talk revolved around forgiving myself.  I literally had to have a twenty minute dialog with myself ( self talk ) in order to get to the space where I could create space.

I tell you this story because in two days the Thanksgiving Holiday will be upon us – along with a lot of family obligations, family drama & dynamics and the related stuff that gets dredged up from the past.  Dealing with family has its own challenges, there will be hurts, resentments and unfulfilled expectations that may come up.  Dealing with family dynamics requires patience and often times forgiveness.

And If we can forgive ourselves we can forgive others.

Meaningful Words – Meaningful Worlds.

May our meditation practice illuminate our shadows.



Essential Oils

I use Essential oils as a natural aid for YOGALEAN weight management. My house is full of them as they have a very positive impact on weight management efforts when combined with a healthy diet, yoga, and meditation. I use them in my water, on my skin, and in the bath daily. Essential oils can really help with weight management by helping to make your water more alkaline. It helps melt the fat and help the body carry less toxins. Some essential oils can suppress cravings, increase metabolism, reduce fluid retention, and help alleviate emotional stress and stress eating.

1. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is one of the best essential oils for weight management due to the d-limonene found in grapefruit. It helps in releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream where the body breaks them down and uses it for energy. A study conducted on the protective effects of d-limonene in animals shows that it helps reduce the lipid peroxidation which can help in lowering cholesterol.

It has long been used for various health benefits like metabolism stimulant, lymphatic system detox, and fat burning. It is packed with Vitamin C and the powerful antioxidant Lycopene which helps detoxify and cleanse the lymphatic system. Toxicity in the body creates unwanted weight gain. Our body stores toxins in the excess fat when it does not know how to release it from the body. Citrus oils like grapefruit, lemon and orange essential oils work great to release the toxins from our metabolic pathways. Along with natural weight management properties, grapefruit has antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory uses.

How to use:

1- Drink it like I do: add 1 to 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil to your daily glass of drinking water to flush out toxins and fat burning effect especially before breakfast in the morning. It also enhances the flavor of water and food.
2- Massage on skin for at least 30 minutes on areas where fat accumulates by adding it into 1 to 2 oz of carrier oil like raw organic virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Do not wash off for several hours.
3- Bathe Add 5 drops of grapefruit essential oil to your warm bath

2. Ginger – Craving something sweet?

Ginger essential oil is found to promote a feeling of fullness after meals. It’s like a perfect desert. It works to enhance the effect of all other weight management essential oils. It is also found to be very effective against candida which influences weight gain. It also stimulates the immune system.

Ginger helps increase blood circulation, stimulates the immune system, improves gut health, aids with irritable bowel syndrome, helps with metabolism. Ginger balances moods and provides a sweet treat. Use for my YogaLean Bran Tea Receipe – I do this almost every night.

How to use:

1- Add to to a cup of hot water with lemon and honey as a great desert
2 – Inhale it with a few drops on a cloth
3 – Put a few drops under your pillow to sleep well
4 – Use for improved balance and to prevent sea sickness

3 Peppermint essential Oil: 

Peppermint essential oil has unique weight management benefits. It is also great for a huge array of heath issues. Peppermint alone has been known to sooth an upset stomach. Peppermint oil also helps with candida that often influences weight management. Peppermint essential oil is packed with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and minerals like potassium, iron, and magnesium. Helps with weight management and nourishes the body and promotes a feeling of well-being. It is great for reducing appetite and helps suppress cravings. We feel full because of a special mechanism in our brain. Peppermint works on that part of the brain which then triggers the feeling of fullness when you eat. It is found to be more effective than any other scent in creating serotonin in the brain that is linked with cravings for sweets. A study on the effects of peppermint scent on appetite control confirms that participants inhaling peppermint essential oil were less likely to feel hungry and had fewer cravings than the ones who didn’t inhale peppermint essential oil. The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Institute of Chicago found that inhaling lemon and peppermint essential oil is a more natural and effective way to control appetite to help with weight management.

How to use:
1- INHALE – Peppermint essential oil smells refreshing use before meals to reduce the appetite. Put it in your ears to wake up like I do — be careful
2- Drink it Peppermint tastes great and gives an extra little energy as an added benefit so you can even add 1 to 2 drops of oil to your glass of water and drink before the meals to have the same effect of reducing appetite.
3- Bathing – add few drops to your bath in the morning to suppress cravings and have energizing start of the day.

4 . Lemon Essential Oil:
Fresh and clean – wake up with Lemon Oil. It contains d–Limonene and full of minerals and vitamin C. Lemon essential oil is great for addressing intestinal parasites that are often a secret cause of weight gain. It helps in weight management by dealing with various digestive ailments, balancing your metabolism and increasing energy levels. It helps the body to carry less toxins which it stores in the fat cells for no good reason.
The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Institute of Chicago found that inhaling lemon and peppermint essential oil scent is more natural and effective way to control appetite to help with weight management.

How to use:
1- Daily rubbing and massaging lemon essential oil to the cellulite areas helps to eliminate toxins and waste that are stored in the fat cells. Ridding the body of these toxins will make it thinner and healthier as well.
2- Adding 1 to 2 drops of lemon essential oil in the drinking water before breakfast will have a gentle detoxifying effect on the body.
3- You can also inhale or diffuse lemon essential oil before meals.

5. Bergamot Essential Oil: 
Feel better now – Helps control bad cholesterol and stress eating- This oil it is perfect for those who eat when they are stressed. Sedative properties of bergamot essential oil make it perfect for fighting with stress related weight gain and controlling stress triggered eating. It can be more effective if you pair it with lavender essential oil.This oil is very effective in weight control because it contains extremely large amounts of the polyphenols (that are also found in green tea). This polyphenols content is great for fat oxidation (halt production of blood fat), increasing metabolism and preventing the absorption of cholesterol.

How to use:
1-  inhale the vapors to calm and relax when you are stressed out and hungry
2- You can also put a drop into one teaspoon of honey or drink in a 4oz of coconut milk to have more calming effect.
3- It can also be used for applied or massaged to the feet or on the neck adding it in the carrier oil like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
4- Bathe – It can also be diluted in a warm bath to feel fresh

6. Cinnamon essential oil:

A sweet treat. Cinnamon essential oil is found to promote a feeling of fullness after meals. It works to enhance the effect of all other weight management essential oils. It is also found to be very effective against candida which influences weight gain. Cinnamon is also known for its anti-inflammatory uses and it stimulates the immune system, and may even help with  increased libido. Cinnamon helps increase blood circulation, stimulates the immune system, improves gut health and irritable bowel syndrome and metabolism.

How to use:
1- Drink few drops of cinnamon essential oil combining it with honey in one cup of warm water before breakfast and at night before sleeping.

2- Inhale or diffuse cinnamon essential oil before meals or try adding 1 to 2 drops of oil to drinking water and take before half or one hour before meals to help with appetite.

7. Eucalyptus Oil

Want energy? Tired and stress eating? This great oil wakes you up. It helps overcoming negative feelings and behavior so that you no longer feel tempted to eat more to deal with stress.

How to use:
1- Diffuse it and inhale the vapors by diluting it a diffuser for a fresh home
2- Apply it directly on the stomach or to the feet.
3- Add 1 or 2 drops in your water