When there is an opportunity to travel to the west coast…I’m there! It was manifested by accepting to lead a wellness circle at We All Grow Summit in Long Beach, CA. As I have been a Latina Blogger Connect contributor for over a year, I was honored to attend this conference. My favorite part of the trip is connecting one on one with others. Inspiring others or being inspired by them was the best gift. The service and accommodations at Hotel Maya were impeccable. One of my cherished spots is Lake Shrine in Los Angeles, CA. That is a must-see!
I’ve returned more motivated in making this blog more impactful: mind, body, and soul and most of all giving back. I’ll be as bold as to say that my #goal is to be a keynote speaker and lead a yoga class at the next conference! Please enjoy some pics of my travels.
Breathtaking sunrise at Long Beach, CA.
Aveeno, one of the summit’s main sponsors offered delicious smoothies!
Cristy Marrero led an inspiring Kundalini yoga class. Photo by: We All Grow Summit
A room full of amazing and goal-oriented Latinas.
For more inspiring pics, please visit my Instagram page.
Often times, we naturally forget to breathe. How can that be possible? Well, through challenging times, it’s east to feel the tension in the body and allow our breath to become shallow. Our breath is vital to not only bringing in oxygen but to bring ourselves to the present moment. Most importantly to release negative thoughts. The following 3 breathing exercises I have used through some difficult times.
As much attention we give to charging our electronics, we should give time to recharging our minds. In yoga, there is prana. Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifest in the universe. For example, we receive prana from food and most importantly, the breath.
Sama Vritti or equal breathing calms the body and the nervous system. This exercise can be done in a cross-legged position or lying on your back. Close your eyes and become aware of your breath. Mentally count to four as you inhale. Then count to four as you exhale. Try to keep your inhales of equal length to your exhales.
Abdominal breathing can calm your body as well as boost energy. Sitting comfortably in a chair or lying on your back, calm the mind. Place one hand on the abdomen. Inhale through your nose and allow your abdomen to expand. You should feel the pressure against your hand as your abdomen is rising. Then exhale through your mouth. Don’t force each breath. It should be natural. Try this exercise for 10 minutes.
Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing is one of my favorite breathing techniques. At first, I experienced difficulty with this exercise. I felt angst but it turned out to be very beneficial for me. This removes toxins, restores nervous system, and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In a comfortable seat, hold the right thumb nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the top of the breath, pinch both nostrils and hold the breath for small pause. Then open the right nostril and exhale. Continue these exercise for about 5-10 cycles.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” Thích Nhất Hạnh
It’s said that you are what you eat. I’ve made a promise to myself to eat more organically. I’ve increased the intake of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. I’m not a vegetarian, but love the natural way of eating! Therefore, I love making at home organic beauty products!
In recent years, I’ve integrated actual foods into my beauty routine. I have tried and every technique listed below. I like to think that they work as I’m often mistakenly for a 20-something-year-old. Thank goodness! Some of these techniques you may have heard of or some you might think, ¡Dios mio! Que? Yes, there are pricey beauty products that I love as much as the next girl. However, the following DIY beauty products are priceless and bring great results!
Oatmeal and olive oil mask – For banishing wrinkles and improve glowing skin. Cook oatmeal as you would for breakfast. Let it cool and then mix it with olive oil. Place on the face and leave on for 20 minutes. You’ll feel the face tighten. Wash off with warm water.
Coconut Oil – This is good for everything! Good for shiny hair. On dry hair, I place this on the ends. Leave on for 30 minutes. It’s a bit tough washing it off, however, you’ll see the difference.
Strawberries, kiwi and honey face mask – Good for erasing wrinkles. Honey is key! Mix a small cup of these ingredients. Place on the face and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water. You’ll feel an extreme softness to the skin.
Peanut oil – For dark circle under eyes. I’m famous for these dark suckers! Dab peanut oil under and around the eyes. Leave for 15 minutes and then wash off with warm water.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Great for cleaning your system and improving skin. I drink 1 tablespoon but be ready to squirm! It’s strong but doable. Follow with a a glass of water. I’m a loyal to Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
Michele Kadison is one of my favorite dance teachers! I had the pleasure in taking her contemporary jazz class in Florida. Not only was it exhilarating, she knew body alignment down to a science. As picky as I am in choosing a dance or fitness class just right for me, Michele is one of those teachers where I relish taking her class.
Why Body Activation?
I created Body Activation from my dance warm up, which was a part of a contemporary Jazz class that I taught for over 30 years. I noticed that dancers who took classes with me were able to heal their injuries while strengthening their core muscles and thus were becoming much more efficient in their use of movement. I realized that this would be a perfect fitness protocol for anyone wishing to maximize their movement potential, whether for performance, sports, or for simple daily motion.
Body Activation is designed for the body in motion, helping people achieve a sense of ease as they discover a greater range of movement. The technique helps people develop healthier physical habits through exercises that yield deep and immediate results. Through releasing tension and unblocking stressed areas in the body, my students feel refreshed, lengthened, toned, mentally sharpened, and full of revitalizing energy.
Can Body Activation benefit a non-dancer? If so, how?
Body Activation is designed for the non-dancer, as well as anyone who wishes to heighten and maximize their physical potential. The technique is easy to follow and includes many exercises that repeat in order to create a type of biofeedback, whereby the body remembers the movements and positions in its quest to feel better. Because every exercise is designed to affect the body on a deep level, students feel immediate results: core muscles strengthen, the lower back and hips become more flexible, joints become more supple. And because circulation increases due to creating more room inside the body, there is an immediate sense of well-being, inner balance, and mental clarity.
There are many fitness fads with fancy marketing. What advice would you give someone to cut through all that noise?
No matter which fitness protocol attracts you, make sure that the teacher has experience working with the body. S/he should have a quantifiable background in fitness, dance, or yoga, with a deep understanding of how the body functions anatomically.
As this person will be responsible for making sure you get fit with great results and no injuries.
With so many teacher-training classes out there, it is easy for a person to pay the required fee, put in the time, and emerge with a certificate. This does not mean that s/he has the experience and intuitive qualification to care for you properly. Like you would with a doctor or lawyer, look at the credentials!
Photo Credit: Yingli Xu
What is your goal with Body Activation?
My goal is to create global awareness about the efficacy and beauty of this technique. Once someone has taken even one class, s/he is usually convinced of Body Activation’s power to uplift and heal the body, and how this in turn affects the mind and spirit.
I hope to develop teacher training classes for seasoned and experienced dancers and fitness practitioners who wish to teach Body Activation. My ultimate desire is to create a franchise so that Body Activation classes can be available to people around the world.
What inspires you to keep dancing?
I was born with dancing in my blood. It is my lifeline and my joy. When I dance it is a form of making love, connecting with the music, connecting with the universe … an ecstasy I give to myself and share with others. Body Activation is an extension of this joy.
Photo Credit: Malik Meuthen
For information on booking Body Activation for a workshop or other event, you can contact Michele at: email@example.com