Top 5 Full Class Yoga Videos on Youtube [Bryan Kest, Nicki Doane, David Swenson, Jillian Michaels, Baron Baptiste]

Whether you are on a tight budget and cannot afford a studio yoga class or you simply do not feel like leaving your house, try one of my top five full class yoga video picks on Youtube. Did I overlook a video that would fit well on this page? Leave me a note in the comments section below or email me your suggestion: ashleegreenbean@gmail.com.

1. Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga – Three separate classes available for beginner, intermediate and advanced yogis; fast-paced, full body workouts.

2. Maya Yoga Vinyasa Fusion: Core Strength Flow Series with Nicki Doane – Viewable in three parts. Nicki Doane is one of my all time favorite yoga instructors; I hope you find her sequences and queuing as effective and calming as I do :)

3. Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice—First Series with David Swenson – The entire primary series of classical Ashtanga yoga; includes a detailed explanation of yoga, including the fundamentals of ujjayi breath.

4. Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown – A quick but power-packed strength building flow class.

5. Flow Practice to Prepare for Meditation with Baron Baptiste – Gentle, steady stretches to prime your body and mind for meditation.

Big Love & Bear Hugs,

Ashlee

 

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My Anti-Flu Medicine Bag: A ‘Natural’ Product Checklist for Preventing and Fighting Influenza

It is that nasty time of year again: The flu gave me a choke hold this week and kept me in bed for long hours of sleeping, sweating, sniffling and aching. While rest is indeed the very best relief for the flu, here are a few other natural products that will help you recover from it faster. All of these can be found at your local co-op, drugstore or right in your spice cabinet :)

1. SAMBUCOL COLD & FLU RELIEF

sambucol-cold-flu-relief

Elderberry has antiviral properties (remember, the flu is a virus) and lightens your symptoms. It is best to take these tablets at the very first sign of the flu.

2. COLD-EEZE ZINC LOZENGES

cold-eeze

Zinc! An amazing immunity booster all around. For use as soon as symptoms develop to ward off cold and flu bugs or to reduce symptoms if the virus has already taken hold. These are great to keep on hand year-round.

3. HOST DEFENSE STAMETS 7 MUSHROOM SUPPLEMENTS

host-defense-stamets-7

Incredible immune boosting power. Paul Stamets, master mycologist, researcher and creator of this product believes that mycelium (the fine, thread-like tubes that form the base of a more visible mushroom). “will provide the answers to our current ecological and health problems.” There is even evidence that mycelium can “eat oil spills and rid the world of toxins”. This product is made from U.S.-grown organic mushrooms, which means the company has to follow stricter regulations, resulting in higher quality and more uniform medicinal capsules.

4. PAU D’ARCO

pau-d-arco-tea

Made from the purple inner bark of a hardy tree found throughout South and Central America, Mexico and the Bahamas, Pau D’Arco has some serious anti-viral properties. Mix the tea with peppermint tea to help open up your nasal passageways; add some honey to counter it’s bitter taste.

5. FRESH CARROT JUICE

Follow me on Instagram: @ashleegreenbean

Follow me on Instagram: @ashleegreenbean

Next to liver, carrots have the largest amount of vitamin A: Vitamin A maintains healthy skin, teeth and mucus membranes and promotes healthy eyesight. Carrots also contain beta-carotene, which fights against cancer and other diseases as well as slows the process of aging. Another GREAT immunity booster! Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-op has a delicious variety of fresh-made juices to choose from too.

6. EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL

eucalyptus-essential-oil

Add 5 or 6 drops of this to your hot bath and IT’S MAGIC, you can breathe again :D

7. GARLIC, TURMERIC AND CAYENNE

Eat them plain or add them to an enormous pot of homemade broth. Garlic and turmeric are my favorites (read about them here). Cayenne helps to keep your mucus flowing and is also used in the prevention of headaches.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. Be well :)

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5 Tips for New Bloggers

Hands are the keys

Photo by Leslee Lazar

1. Learn how to write. There is no doubt that rising technological innovations have changed how we communicate, but it is still true that good, solid writing with use of real words and proper sentence structure communicates most effectively to readers. Write active, concise sentences and choose your words wisely.

2. Edit. In other words, do not get attached to your words! If you have trouble with this, ask a friend to edit for you. Read and reread your text to make sure that details like times, dates, names, website links, photo credits, grammar and spelling are correct. After finishing a blog post, wait 24 hours, reread it again, and then post it.

3. Incorporate links. To build virtual community, link to fellow friends and bloggers’ websites. Think of it as e-networking: The old “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” mentality, otherwise known as “reciprocity.” Choose the bloggers and blogs you link to based on styles and readerships similar to your own. To gain credibility, link to factual, news-based websites: It proves that you take pride in researching and providing your readers with fresh and accurate information. Links provide an outlet for your readers to explore your blog topics on their own time, potentially fueling more blog comments, sharing, and general interaction.

4. Outsource work beyond your skill set. If you have very little experience with technology and web design, then the amount of time it will take you to teach yourself how to create a banner for your homepage, infographics for blog posts and a beautifully designed website layout will be much more work-intensive and much less efficient then you think. Consider–at least initially–asking friends and family for help or hire a web design specialist.

5. Pick a social media platform. Find the social media platform that most resonates with you (Image-oriented? Instagram. Love words and link sharing? Facebook. Short attention span? Twitter, etc.) Then, update it regularly: several times daily, if possible. Most platforms can be linked together, so connect the one you use most with all of your other profiles and updates will happen simultaneously. Marketing via social media is a great and easy way to get more views.

* This post was originally published at theBrewRoom.

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I am an Instagram #onziegoddessfinalist ! Please vote for me, @ashleegreenbean !

"Like" this photo by 12AM (PST), Monday, Oct. 14 on the @ onzie Instagram page!

“Like” this photo by 12AM (PST), Monday, Oct. 14 on the @ onzie Instagram page!

Exciting news! My yoga photo just made it into the finals of the Onzie Yoga Apparel Goddess Fall Instagram Contest!! Please help me to WIN by voting for my photo by this Sunday, October 13 at MIDNIGHT (PST) (Technically 12AM, Monday, Oct. 14). To vote…..

…..search for @onzie on Instagram, find my picture (this is it!) and either double click on the photo or click “like” to “like” it! The photo must be liked on the ONZIE Instagram page, not my personal page: The picture with the most likes wins!

I’m up against some tough competition, including a lady pictured with her baby (cheater!), so I can use all the likes I can get. Thanks for your help, everyone!

Namaste,
Ashlee

*Instagram is an app available for both the iPhone/iPad and Android, just follow this link for steps to set up an account.

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Sexual Violence Is Not A Joke: Down With S.W.A.G. Brand Products

swag-photo

This is a sexual performance drug I discovered on display in a Denville, New Jersey gas station last week. It’s called S.W.A.G., or “Sex With A Grudge,” and advertises to “TAKE YOUR SEXUAL PERFORMANCE TO THE NEXT LEVEL!!!!

Below this text reads “1 [Pill] To Hurt It,” with an image of a male stick figure having sex with a female stick figure whose private parts are smoking, and “2 [Pills] To Kill It,” with the male stick figure looking strong and accomplished and the female stick figure DEAD, with X’s for eyes and private parts engulfed in flames.

Here’s some word-for-word information from the product’s website:

“Have you ever seen those mirrors that say ‘objects may appear larger than they are?’ Well, that ass is a whole lot bigger than it appeared when she had clothes on.  If you’ve really been blessed with the luck of the draw you’ve just realized something even better. Shawty is a ‘Freak’.  Jackpot!!! Not quite.

This is where something as simple as ‘getting some’ becomes complicated.  All of sudden these paranoid thoughts come to mind.  What if she thinks I’m too small? What if I don’t last long enough? What if she doesn’t orgasm?  Can I really handle that ass let alone kill it?”

This drug advertisement is HORRIFYING. It is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. It is actually characterizing the fact that hurting and “KILLING” women–specifically in a sexual manner–is not only acceptable, but something to joke about–even an accomplishment. And sadly, it’s not the only advertisement to do this.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced rape or sexual assault during her lifetime. And this is not to discount the thousands of other sexual abuse incidents that happen throughout the world on a daily basis, nor the traumatic after-effects of rape. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)…

Rape victims are…

3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

I do not condone rape. I do not condone the abuse or murder of women. I do not think this advertisement is funny or entertaining in any way. With a marketing strategy like this, S.W.A.G. and its products should have never been allowed on the market in the first place.

SHAME ON YOU, S.W.A.G.: Develop a new marketing strategy or kindly exit the sexual performance market altogether. SHAME ON YOU, Denville Mart for carrying this product.

Please help out women everywhere and call and/or write S.W.A.G. and Denville Mart to complain. Explain how this product is sexist and offensive and capitalizes on the violent sexual abuse of women. Ask to have it pulled from the shelves.

S.W.A.G.:

1.877.828.SWAG

S.W.A.G. Contact Form

Denville Mart:
42 E Main Street
Denville, NJ 07834
(973) 983-8440

Many Thanks! Keep Fighting the Good Fight!

ashlee

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Filed under Feminism, Health, Images, Personal, Politics, Social Justice, Women, Women's Health

Ceremonial Smudging: An Ancient Practice To Rejuvenate Your Energy

sage-and-feathers

I just wrote this lovely lil’ piece on Ceremonial Smudging for MindBodyGreen. Hope you enjoy it and spread it around. Like jelly.

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September 2, 2013 · 12:33 PM

How To Care For Your Teeth, Naturally

horse-teeth

Photo by Paul Walsh

After my long-overdue visit to the dentist last week, I was surprised to discover that I developed not only my very first cavity, but three of them! I have always taken my dental health seriously, but with three new fillings in my mouth, I began to question what it takes—beyond brushing and flossing—to keep my teeth truly healthy.

It is no surprise that throughout the last ten years, the level of sugar in our American diets has risen tremendously. According to an article in Parents magazine, 4 million or more preschoolers now suffer from tooth decay—that’s 600,000 more than a decade ago. Apparently, there is one main culprit—bacteria called mutans streptococcus—that damage the structure of our teeth by feeding on sugar remnants in our mouths, producing acid from them and depleting our calcium reserves. As it turns out, brushing and flossing can only remove so much of this acidic bacteria from your mouth.

To limit acidic bacteria and rebuild the enamel of your teeth naturally, follow these tips:

  • Avoid or limit foods that cause enamel loss. Examples of these foods are sodas, candy, processed cookies and cakes, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, pasteurized milk, artificial sweeteners, and commercial toothpastes. Andrew MacFarlane, Licensed Clinical Acupuncturist recommends OrmusTech’s Super Clean Triple Mint Toothpaste.
  • Realize that cow’s milk is not the only source of calcium. Arguably, it even has an opposite effect on our bones, oftentimes contributing to osteoporosis.
  • Eat more calcium-rich food. Kale, sardines, soy milk, oranges, oatmeal, sesame seeds, hard cheese, soybeans, almonds, salmon, white beans, yogurt, dried figs, turnip greens, arugula, broccoli, tofu, and sunflower seeds all contribute to the recommended daily intake of about 1,000 mg.
  • Up your intake of Vitamins D, K2, and C. Find Vitamin D in cod liver oil, salmon, tuna fish, egg yolks, and dairy products; Vitamin K2 in meats, poultry, cheese, eggs, and butter; Vitamin C in fruits—particularly citrus ones like orange and grapefruit—and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and turnip greens.
  • Make your own toothpaste. Most commercial toothpastes are full of fluoride, a serious chemical that can cause osteoporosis, thyroid damage, increased risk of cancer and lowered IQ and glycerin, which creates an oily coating on your teeth, shielding calcium and other protective minerals from reaching and rebuilding enamel. For an easy, no-nonsense natural toothpaste recipe, check out this one, courtesy of Family Sponge.
  • Eat more sea salt and fermented foods. Real, unprocessed sea salt contains trace minerals—minerals that our bones and teeth need in very small amounts; Fermented foods like kombucha and kefir contain probiotics, which increase the good bacteria in our mouths, balancing out the bad bacteria that damages our teeth.
  • Try oil pulling. An ancient ayurvedic method of dental detoxification, oil pulling involves slowly rolling vegetable oil (preferably sesame, sunflower or coconut) around in your mouth, in between your teeth and gums, to gently “pull” toxins out and encourage saliva production. Read more about it here.

Problems with your dental health can affect your entire body. Take care of your teeth with these tips and reap the overall health benefits!

Interested? Here are a few more great resources on this topic:

Do You Have Tooth Enamel Issues Related to Celiac Disease?
Diet To Help Regrow Tooth Enamel
Photo by Paul Walsh

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Filed under Detox, Diet, DIY, Food, Health, Images, Recipes

The Case Against Hormonal Contraceptives: Reconnecting With Your Cycle Through the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)

birth-control-packet

“A Modern Mandala” by Nancy Stockdale

While a woman’s natural menstrual cycle lasts an average of 28 days, this is not exact; It is not unusual for it to be much shorter or longer, depending on stress levels, physical activity, caffeine intake, etc. Contrary to what your gynecologist may have told you, while hormonal birth control methods like the pill and the patch do regulate your period, they may not necessarily be the safest, most effective form of period regulation or pregnancy prevention. In fact, they are quite harmful to a woman’s body and more importantly, to her psyche.

A Woman’s Cycle: The Basics

Cycle length varies anywhere from 24 to 36 days. The first day of bleeding is considered “Day One” of your cycle. The follicular phase — the phase up to and during ovulation, when an egg releases from an ovary and is able to be fertilized — averages about two weeks. The luteal phase, which lasts from ovulation until the day before the start of the new period, is typically around 12 to 16 days. Technically speaking, women can only get pregnant in the few days leading up to, during, and following ovulation. By educating yourself on your body and its natural, telltale signs of fertility, you can learn to rely less on hormonal birth control and more on your own knowledge and recordkeeping for family planning.

History of Hormonal Birth Control Pills

The FDA first approved the sale of birth control pills in 1960. At this time, pills were praised for giving women sexual freedom and allowing them to take jobs outside of the home. Since 1960, lower dose birth control pills have become available, reducing common side effects from the higher dose pills like blood clots, weight gain and nausea, but problems often still arise. The common denominator of both of these pill options though, is their reliance on articial hormones to simulate pregnancy, thereby effectively eliminating a woman’s ovulatory period.

birth-control-effectiveness-joke

The Growing Disconnect Between Woman and Body

As a holistic practitioner, I often talk about the mind-body connection and the importance of increasing mental and bodily awareness. Women using hormonal birth control methods are masking not only their entire menstrual cycle, but their natural emotions, moods and scent. Women are never taught how to chart their cycles in school; Rather, either their sexuality is looked down upon and abstinence provided as the “sacred,” “only” option or hormonal birth control is marketed to them as the most convenient and effective form of “management” of their reproductive organs.

What happened to women embracing their cycles? What happened to them taking the time to go inward for seven or so days a month to connect with their emotions and the carnal workings of their intricate female bodies? I believe women getting in touch with their natural bodies is integral to knowing themselves, both physically and emotionally and “taking charge” of their bodies and ultimately, their health and fertility.

Realities of Hormonal Birth Control

Before starting or continuing hormonal birth control, please consider the following:

  • Hormonal birth control pollutes the environment. Combined with the myriad of other chemicals flushed or disposed of daily, pharmaceutical estrogens like the ones found in birth control pills contribute to contaminated waterways and endangered wildlife.
  • Hormonal birth control causes long-term effects. Oral contraceptives have been linked to increased breast and cervical cancer and increased sexual problems. Depo-Provera alone, commonly known as “the Shot,” weakens immune systems in animals and increases the risk of contracting HIV and other STDS.
  • Hormonal birth control affects your senses and taste. According to Vicki Thorn, founder of the National Office for Post Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, when taking hormonal contraception, women change pheromone preference — the ability to choose a good biological match (i.e. an immune system complement) through naturally perceived hormones — potentially leading to relationship problems and autoimmune-compromised children.
  • Hormonal birth control is not fail-proof. All sex involves the risk or chance of pregnancy. Recognizing the sacredness of yourself and your sexuality is, I think, fundamental and should precede any and all physical sex acts.

Tracking Your Cycle: An Empowering Alternative

According to Dr. Carl Djerassi, credited for helping to invent the first ever birth control pill,

“Eventually, …many a woman in our affluent society may conclude that the determination of when and whether she is ovulating should be a routine item of personal health information to which she is entitled as a matter of course.”

Even he agrees: Tracking your cycle just makes sense!

Hormonal birth control undeniably disconnects women from their bodies. There is a kind of sweet awareness and empowerment that comes from recognizing the signs your body gives you: The low back pain you experience before menstruation, the elevated position of your cervix during ovulation and the nausea of an early pregnancy. Knowing and recognizing these key signs is a telltale step in determining your fertility and truly knowing yourself.

Learn how to track your cycle with the fantastic and informative book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and through period tracking phone applications like Pink Pad. As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below :)

Namaste,
Ashlee

P.S. Look out for my future posts about exploring alternatives to hormonal birth control and ways to restore your natural hormone balance after coming off of it!

This post was originally written for the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing.

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Enliven Your Life With Everyday Awareness: Hawai’i Reminiscings 1

Living on the Big Island of Hawai’i in several different large communities, ecovillages and cohousing environments, I learned firsthand the values of service, shared responsibilities and compromise. I learned, too, how to integrate my spirit into everyday tasks, bringing greater and more habitual gratitude and reverence into my daily life. Living this way continues to bring me less anxiety and attachments and an intensified sense of self-awareness. Here are a few examples of how you can bring more awareness into your everyday tasks…

waipio

My very first trip to Waipi’o Valley

Harvesting:

Before each decent into the Big Island’s Waipi’o Valley, a culturally and politically sacred site full of rivers, natural waterfalls and farmlands, my friends and I would add a small offering to Gaia or Mother Earth on an altar made from a tree stump. This offering made our visit to the Valley more meaningful and allowed us to better appreciate its abundant passionfruit, mangoes and noni fruit.

C is for Coconuts! Blessed be!

S is for Sam; C is for Coconuts! Blessed be!

Whether you are farming for yourself or wildcrafting, make it customary to give thanks to either the harvested plant itself or to Gaia. Deposit a small offering such as seeds or fruit at the base of the harvested plant and say a short prayer like:

“I offer my thanks to Mother Gaia for allowing me this small gift.”

By thanking in this way, we are reminded and respectful of the greater, interconnected community of life.

Baking:

Baking was a sacred ritual at PeleAina, the artist ecovillage I lived in for a few months in Kurtistown, Hawai’i. For a truly blessed baking experience, be sure to start with top quality ingredients – homegrown or organic are always best. Try not to bake when you are anxious or under stress; always do so with a sense of love and ease and be aware of the energy you are transferring into your food. Gently fold ingredients together instead of stirring them harshly.

"Love bread" made in a ramshackle oven

“Love bread” made in a ramshackle oven, but full of intention

If you’d like, set an intention such as:

“May this food fill the bellies of those that I love with nourishment and contentment.”

Eating:

Baking and eating went together at PeleAina, where our household hosted a weekly “activation” potluck for our friends and greater community. After all of the guests had gathered together, we formed a large circle and our community leader, Jeffree, led a general blessing. We then went around the circle one by one, introducing ourselves and describing the dish we brought and any significance the dish had to us, being sure to mention the dietary restrictions it accommodated, like being dairy-free, vegetarian or raw. As a group, we chose a “sacred sound” to meditate on for a few breaths: Sometimes it was simple, like “om,” and other times it was silly, like “cow.” We each chose our favorite inversion to perform, then sat quietly together for a two-minute silent meditation. Finally, we filled our plates, eating in a more relaxed, more aware state.

One of many fire-y potlucks

One of many fire-y potlucks

Make your own mealtime ritual: Create your own blessing, choose a sacred sound and pause for a brief inversion or meditation before eating.

Enliven your simple, daily tasks like these with greater awareness and see if your moods, like mine, begin to balance and your stresses, soften.

Please comment below with your experiences!

Sources:
“On Wildcrafting.” Moonwatcher’s Encyclopedia of Herbs. 26 Oct. 2007. http://www.nyctophilia.net/plants/wildcrafting.htm Accessed 4 Feb. 2013.

Wigington, Patti. “What is Wildcrafting?” About.com. http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/herbalism/p/Wildcrafting.htm Accessed 4 Feb. 2013.

*Originally posted on the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing Blog

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What I’ve Been Up To: Yoga, Zines, Travel & More!

I’ve been absent lately, but it’s been for good reason! For the new year, I visited my very dear friend, Susie in Ann Arbor where she attends law school – My first time there: It’s such a beautiful, quaint little town! Picture edits are in the works. Not long after I returned home, I began teaching private and semi-private yoga sessions at the Pittsburgh Center for Complementary Health and Healing in Regent Square! Check out the link for more details on this exciting new step in my career. Also: A new zine is coming. It will be a larger size than I have used in the past and will play with white space and funny little drawings/cartoon likenesses of some of my friends/angels. Here are a few teaser images, for your entertainment … :)

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The world is our shadow box.

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Celebrating the new year and our goofiness

journal-20130129

Revisiting journals from the past!

geneva-cartoon-likeness-20130129

Cartoon Likeness

zine-prep-20130129

This is my “Work” Station… or should I say Play Station?

xx

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