Sunday, November 23, 2014

Yogi Book Club Starts Today!

Hi friends! It's been a whirlwind of a month and I am so happy to be back home in San Diego! The first half of November was spent in Sayulita, Mexico leading our Mermaid Yogis Retreat in the jungle. It was a truly amazing experience. I was lucky enough to witness some major breakthroughs in the group of goddess girls that attended. This was the 6th yoga retreat in Mexico I had the privilege of coordinating and facilitating and no matter how many groups I lead on these adventures, one thing never changes -- I learn SO much from the process. The participants, their unique life paths, what they reflect onto me and my life, the lessons from the warm Pacific Ocean, the vibrations from the jungle, the messages from my local healers and shaman friends, the late-night conversations and dancing under the full moon -- all of it teaches me so, so much. 

Upon returning home last week, I felt super inspired to stay rooted in my studentship and continue soaking up as much wisdom as I can before year's end. I looked over on my nightstand and this beautiful book caught my eye: MAY CAUSE MIRACLES by Gabrielle Bernstein. 


My grandma gifted me this book last Christmas and I still haven't gotten around to it yet! I let a few friends borrow it, and I've noticed what a huge shift it's made in their lives. This isn't an easy read or something you casually flip through once a week. This is a book that requires dedication, presence, focus and intention. Most importantly, to me, this book is all about accountability. Which is probably why I've "avoided" it for almost a year now, haha! I dread discipline. I'm not so good at staying committed to a task over multiple weeks. In order for this to be a success, I'll need to call on my tribe and create a support system of girls going on this 6 week journey together.

What's the deal? 40 days of deep inner work, reflection and change. Replacing the fear in our lives with love and purpose.

How it works? Every morning, one minute guided meditation. Every afternoon, one minute check-in with your affirmation. Every evening, a journaling exercise. All facilitated by Gabby in this book, she is with us every step of the way.

How will we stay together? This is a very personal, individual journey. While we are reading this book in unison and supporting each other along the way, each person will have a unique experience. It's OK to stay on the same exercise and process it for a few days, or take a day off to deal with life. No worries! We don't all have to start and finish on the same day. Stay connected on instagram via the hashtag #zengirlbookclub to share your experiences with "May Cause Miracles" and how you are learning to release fear and invite more love in your life.

I'm excited to start the journey today, Sunday November 23rd. My personal journey with this book will take me into the first part of 2015, which I am so excited about! Please share and stay connected! Use this blog post and the tag #zengirlbookclub.

Here's to new beginnings! 

xo,
Mandy

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

tonight's taurus full moon - feeling fierce?

Have you been feeling more energized lately? More focused on your goals than usual? If so, you are perfectly in sync with the cosmos!

This early November Full Moon brings the ambitious energy of Taurus into full effect. Typically, the last two months of the year tend to get lost in a haze of holiday gatherings and over-indulging, with more focus on letting loose and less focus on our goals. However, this year is proving to be much different! The opposite energy is circulating right now -- a fierce, determined, Taurus-influenced energy is encouraging us to do the opposite of years past. During this moon cycle, your drishti is on point. For all the non-yogis, that means your gaze or your focal point is spot on. Keep your eyes focused on your goals over the next two weeks. Don't be deterred by a bustling social calendar. Now is the time to indulge -- in your work, in your passions, in anything you have been aspiring towards all year long. It could finally be yours, if you choose to harness this potent, steadfast Taurus energy. 


The perfect yoga pose to practice under this full moon is a posture that truly challenges you. One that makes you dig your hands down into the earth, find your roots and learn how to fly. For me, this is handstand. Some other perfect challenge poses for this particular moon are: pincha mayurasana (forearm stand), koundinyasana (hurdler's pose) and titibasana (firefly pose). 

Taurus is an Earth sign so don't be afraid to practice outside. Now is the ideal time to feel the sand (or grass) between your toes and re-establish your connection with mama Earth.

For those of you that are feeling unclear on your goals, unsure of the next step to take in your career, relationships and/or life in general, don't worry -- we've all been there! I encourage you to soak up this determined Taurus energy and start to focus on what you really want out of life. The answers will come if you take time to listen. Even if you're life isn't making total sense right now, understand that everything is unfolding as it should, and there is indeed a higher purpose.

If this speaks to you, please take the time to experience our latest Mermaid Meditation. Janalyn Yanover and I created a series of seven meditations, inspired by the sea. This is number two. The "confidence" meditation will align you with your divine purpose, give you clarity and that push forward to continue to pursue your goals and dreams. 


I am trusting that I am exactly where I'm meant to be in my life at this very moment.
I have faith that the Universe will take good care of me on my journey.
I release the need to control or over-think the way my life is unfolding. 
I have faith that the Universe has my back. 

{if embedded video isn't working, you can view it here as well}

check out our other mermaid meditations here. namaste!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin + Maca = Healthy Halloween Superfood Smoothie

Not sure what to do with all that left-over pumpkin pulp after carving your jack-o-lanterns? If you're feeling adventurous and ready to tap into the abundant flavors of fall, here's the superfood smoothie for you! 

As we transition into Autumn here in San Diego, one of the best natural supplements to add into your diet in autumn is MACA. It's a root vegetable that has been grown in high-altitude Andes mountain ranges in Peru for the last 3000 years. Maca has a long list of health benefits and is used medicinally to treat lots of ailments like: osteoporosis, hormone imbalance, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. On a daily basis, especially during the colder months, Maca can be used to increase energy, enhance memory, strengthen your immune system and slightly raise the overall temperature of your body, creating a warming effect. 

Have you heard of Juice Wave yet? It's San Diego's first (and still only!) green juice food truck. My yoga student Chef Arleigh Rose created this concept in the fall of 2013 and within six months, the truck was in existence and serving up healthy juices and smoothies all over town. Lucky for us, Juice Wave has agreed to share one of their top-secret recipes exclusively with the Zen Girl community!

Highlighting fall flavors and the healing power of Maca, here's Juice Wave's 
signature seasonal smoothie, The Smashing Pumpkin:


The Smashing Pumpkin
Pumpkin pulp / Orange / Carrot / Apple / Maca powder/ Almond milk 

Use approximately one cup of pumpkin pulp, one cup of almond milk, and one tablespoon of maca to make one large personal smoothie serving. Start by juicing or blending 2 medium sized raw carrots, one delicious red apple, and the juice from one ripe orange. Blend with pumpkin pulp, almond milk and maca powder and enjoy this healthy Halloween-inspired superfood smoothie!


[follow Juice Wave's local adventures on facebook and instagram]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What is Mercury Retrograde? And why do hippies say things like that?!

I never really understood when people would say "OH NO - mercury's in retrograde!" until earlier this week. I got into a car accident on a major San Diego freeway, which of course ruined my day. The woman behind me didn't leave enough room and when cars started coming to a stop, she couldn't break fast enough and slammed into the back of me. Luckily, no one was badly hurt, but it just felt like the cherry on top of an extremely inconveniencing few weeks. I let myself wallow for a bit and started to count the sh*tty things that had occurred recently, as one does when wallowing. In the past three weeks, my husband had contracted a stomach parasite requiring multiple hospital visits, my dog got a gnarly eye infection equally a large vet bill, I got stung by a sting ray and tried to heal it naturally which led to bright purple left foot (#mermaidproblems) and finally.... this. 

While venting to a hippie friend about it, she just smiled and said, "yep, Mercury's in retrograde, that sounds about right." As silly as it might sound, that made me feel SO much better. I started to investigate what it's all about and actually learned a lot about the solar system. Added bonus: I came across some hilarious memes that needed to be shared with you guys. All in all, the whole process made me laugh and remember that this too shall pass. And the next time any non-believers try to doubt the retro, I'll have a whole list of fun facts to share with them. And you will too!




what is it actually? 
- a 3 week period of time that occurs 3 to 4 times each year
- the planet Mercury slows down, then stops, and appears to move backwards
- said to cause breakdowns in communication, technology, and life in general
- it's the worst time to start new projects or promote events, response will be slow
- travel delays are at an all time high; try not to plan any last minute trips
- if you absolutely have to travel, do so without expectations, be open to twist and turns
- communication is a hot mess during retrograde. when you speak, always be clear and kind 
- try extra hard not to take thing personally; understand people are not as careful with their words
- dive into home projects! retro is the perfect time to nestle down and enjoy your home

the good news?
this too shall pass! it's only a three week phase, this is the last one of the year


what you will want to do:
hide under the covers like this little guy


what you should do, instead:
stay open, breathe, let go of expectations


my sources >< astrology >< gala darling >< mystic mamma

Monday, October 20, 2014

the zen of marketing: less ego, more love

I'm happy to announce that next Tuesday, October 28th, I'll be leading a talk on HOLISTIC MARKETING at Bird Rock Yoga studio in Pacific Beach, San Diego. Are you a yoga teacher, health coach, nutritionist or healer of any kind? Learn how to create authentic marketing techniques for your spiritual-based business. overcome the fear of technology and learn how to leverage it to spread your message, build your class sizes, attract private clients and teach around the world!


Over the past four years, I've found myself trying a number of different things to making a living in the yoga/wellness world. I've taught yoga classes (on land and sea), taught other people how to teach these classes, created a yoga-inspired clothing line, built websites and social media platforms for fellow healers, been hired as a marketing consultant for a wellness brand ..... and a variety of other holistic side jobs. As a freelancer, you've gotta get creative, stay hungry and always try new things until you find the ones that stick. For the past year, my main source of work and income have come from teaching classes, freelance writing/consulting, managing 2 yoga studios and leading yoga retreats in Mexico. After trying what seems like a little bit of everything, I've finally found my groove and am ready to help those who are trying to build their spiritual-based business. In this 2 hour workshop, we'll cover everything from "how to write an OMmazing bio" to "your ego is not your amigo" - how to create content that is authentically from the heart and not ego-driven. If this sounds like what you need in your life and to help build your brand, please join us! 

investment: $20
Tuseday, October 28 from 7 - 9pm 
at Bird Rock Yoga ~ sign up here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My #1 Mermaid Must-Have

Friends, it's official - I have a new obsession. This pretty-in-pink inflatable paddleboard by ISLE has completely stolen my heart. Not only is she easy on the eyes, but better yet, this beautiful board has been constructed with such detailed intention and mindfulness. It's the perfect compliment to the busy lifestyle of the modern-day traveling yoga girl!


My friends over at ISLE Surf & SUP introduced me to the concept of inflatable paddleboards at the beginning of 2014 and these boards have been game changer in both my personal life and professionally as a SUP Yoga instructor and teacher-trainer. When I'm home in San Diego, I'm teaching multiple classes a week and need equipment that is easy for me to carry and transport around town. Two summers ago, I suffered a really bad shoulder and elbow injury from hauling around super heavy boards all day long. Luckily, these new inflatable stand-up paddle boards are so much lighter and easier to carry. It makes the whole paddle experience that much more enjoyable!


My absolute favorite feature of the new Women's Inflatable SUP is the side sling for your paddle so it's completely out of the way when you're trying to practice yoga out on the water. For the past few years, during my SUP Yoga classes, I always have to stop the flow and have my students re-adjust their paddles, placing them across the top of the board. More often than not, the paddle ends up in the water, sometimes drifting far away or straight-up sinking. When designing this new Women's inflatable SUP (or i-SUP), I insisted on creating some sort of bungee system along the rails of the board so that during the flow, your paddle would never interfere with your yoga practice. This small but mindful change has made a huge difference in my teaching, allowing me to focus on my students and the postures, versus fumbling around with equipment.



The new Women's iSUP runs 31 inches wide, which gives you plenty of surface area to practice your yoga poses. The average yoga mat runs about 24 inches wide so those extra 7 inches of space provide you a bit more room to find your balance and center yourself. While my intention was to create a board that was spacious enough to practice SUP Yoga, I also wanted to keep it challenging and make sure you were utilizing your muscles at all times to get a true workout on the water.

In addition to teaching yoga locally at home in San Diego, California, I also travel frequently to different parts of the world leading yoga retreats abroad. When traveling to far-flung places, it can be difficult to find good quality paddleboards, if any at all! The iSUP solves that problem by folding down into the size of a large backpack, allowing you to check it as a piece of personal luggage. Even the paddle breaks down into 3 small pieces! I'm taking a big group of girls down to Sayulita, Mexico next month for our MERMAID YOGIS retreat and aside from cute bikins and organic sunscreen, this board is the most important piece of luggage to pack! Imagine landing in paradise, blowing up your beautiful paddleboard and immediately getting to explore new island chains while dolphins swim past you. Talk about embracing your inner mermaid! No more dealing with renting boards when you arrive or paying exorbitant airline fees to ship your full-sized board. The inflatable paddleboard concept really makes traveling the world that much more zen and worry free.


The beautiful thing about the paddleboarding culture is that it's inclusive to people of all ages and walks of life. I was at a paddle festival this past weekend where I witnessed a woman in a wheelchair paddling on the open ocean. Where there's a will, there's a way! That's the inspiring mantra of the ocean-minded community and as you can see, paddling is also a very family-friendly experience. Children of all ages can hop onto the front of a SUP and get an up-close and personal experience with the sea. This adorable little mermaid hopped onto my board the other day and we had a blast exploring the ocean together. The iSUP is even spacious enough for some partner yoga poses and a double down-dog!




- quick facts -
length: 10' 4"
width: 31 inches
weight: 27 lbs
pricing: $699 
(includes ~ board, adjustable aluminum paddle, hand pump and free shipping)

special offer for all my readers! 
for the next 30 days, use promo code ZENGIRL for $100 OFF listed price *offer expires 11.12.14

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gossip Detox: Why Negative Words Won't Equal a Positive Life

Ever feel like you need a gossip detox? Just like that upset feeling you get in your tummy after you've stuffed your face with food that sounded good at the time, but you immediately regretted, gossip can leave us feeling empty, unsatisfied and just plain icky inside. We're all guilty of it. Many, many times I've found myself at a dinner table full of girls and our conversations consist solely of other people and our judgments on how they live their lives. At the time, it makes us feel more connected to our friends, like we share some kind of sacred bond. But what we all know deep down is that this kind of negative dialogue sends negative vibrations into the Universe and boomerangs that negative energy right back at us. The cosmic boomerang never fails to reveal the truth. When our conversations lack love, so do our lives. Negative, hurtful words (towards yourself and others) will never lead to a positive life. 

I recently came across this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that really got me thinking . . ."Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people"

[ photographed by horizon light photography for valleau apparel ]

This quote put a big mirror up to my face and had me asking myself -- What are YOU discussing?  These days, the focus of my everyday life is growing my yoga business and fulfilling my personal goals, which leaves very little time for mindless conversations. In the conversations that I do have that are non-project-related, it just doesn't make sense anymore to waste my time on petty gossip. If my goal is to increase the amount of love, joy and success in my life, why would I engage in a downward spiral of negative energy flow? One is propelling me forward, one is holding me back. Can you see the contradictions there???  My new intention lately has been to elevate all my conversations to the level in which everyone involved leaves feeling empowered and soul-satisfied.

Some people have the misconception that the yoga community is somehow immune to gossip. They think us yogis sit around all day talking about our upward-facing dogs and how quickly we're moving towards enlightenment. SO NOT TRUE! Well...kinda true, haha! I do spend an obscene amount of time dissecting the anatomy of yoga poses with fellow teacher friends and could talk all day long about that sweat lodge experience in Mexico. But, let's keep it real, people.

You can drink all the green juice you want and preach world peace all day long, but if you run your mouth around town spewing hurtful, malicious words about others, you'll never propel yourself forward in the direction of your dreams. Your best, most positive life is out there waiting for you. Why waste another minute? As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his book, The Four Agreements, always be impeccable with your words. Use the power of your Word in the direction of TRUTH and LOVE. And maybe try a gossip detox .... you might just like how good it feels!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

tonight's aries full moon lunar eclipse - what's holding you back?

Tonight, we will experience a total lunar eclipse during the Aries Full Moon. This represents lots of changing, powerful energy in the air that can be harvested for reflection and used towards the betterment of yourself, if you so choose. 

There are 2 full lunar eclipses in 2014, the first one occurred on April 15th and the second is this one on Wednesday, October 8th. This eclipse happening now brings closure and a period of winding down as we transition in Mercury retrograde this fall. What events from the late spring (April 15th and on) are you ready to put behind you? How can you bring yourself full circle during this Aries Full Moon eclipse and graciously close out this phase in your life? According to NASA, here in California, we will be able to clearly see this total lunar eclipse between 3:25 and 4:25 AM and it will appear 5.3% larger than the one back in April.

My favorite moon reader, Rebekah Shaman explains the upcoming moon phase in this way: "The Aries full moon total eclipse will help us to see what internal processes are stopping us from shining bright. Aries is the fiery first sign of the zodiac, the youngest of the signs and the one that is the most impetuous, aggressive, superior, competitive and immature. This eclipsed moon can remove the veil so that we get to see this weakness within us and where it is not serving us." 

It just so happens that in conjunction with this eclipsed full moon, I'm also currently obsessed with the book "The 4 Agreements" and am using the month of October to present these special agreements, one each week, in my yoga classes. Yesterday commenced Week One and in all my classes, we are collectively moving through the first agreement, "Be Impeccable With Your Word". Spiritual teacher Don Miguel Ruiz describes this first agreement as the most important one you can ever make with yourself. It is through this agreement that you can change the course of your life and direct yourself towards freedom and liberation. 


Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

I agree that this is the most important "pact" you can ever make with yourself. So many times throughout the day, we find ourselves in situations where we are tempted to gossip about others. In our society, oftentimes we're even encouraged to spew negativity and hatred from our lips. Many, many times, since I was a child up until this very morning, I have found myself in groups of girls (sorry ladies -- we are definitely the biggest culprits of this!) where the only topic of conversation is about someone else and how they choose to live their lives. On a deeper level, gossiping or sometimes we call it "connecting" with our girlfriends feels good and like we are bonding with them on some profound level. But, at the end of the day, that's just not true. Listen carefully to how a personal speaks about other people to you. This is how they will speak about you to other people. Think about it: it's all fun and games gossiping about others until you are the one being gossiped about. 

This whole "be impeccable with your word" thing is actually two-fold: not only should you be mindful of the words you speak about other people, you should also be extremely mindful of the way you talk about yourself. When looking at yourself in the mirror, in photos, on a yoga mat, when you catch your reflection walking by a window....try starting with positive affirmations before the negative ones arise. Recognize your outer beauty AND start to appreciate and acknowledge the inner beauty you are developing over the years through new found wisdom and spiritual connection. The most important relationship we can ever have is with ourselves - choose your thoughts and your words wisely.

This all ties back into the current moon phase we are traveling through. This eclipsed Aries Full Moon invites us to notice what in our lives is holding us back from becoming the most vibrant, positive version of ourselves. To me, it all comes back to our thoughts, which manifest as our words. When we are being truly impeccable with our words, speaking with intention, we are kind to ourselves and those around us. We are not tempted to get caught up in petty gossip or trying to bring others down to make ourselves feel better. We surround ourselves with positive, uplifting people who engage in profound conversations and support the growth, nourishment and flourishing of others. As the ravishing Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” 

 What are you discussing?

Friday, October 3, 2014

find your tribe >< endless summer mermaid meetup

“Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World .... it is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that's where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.” - Paulo Coelho

We held our third #mermaidyogis meetup on Sunday, September 28th at La Jolla Shores beach in San Diego to create a space to bring together all the southern California participants in our month-long "mermaid yogis" challenge on instagram. Amelia Travis, Ayami Hiroshige, Rivka Reynoso and I hosted this end-of-summer gathering last weekend and even now, a few days later, I feel like I am still riding the wave of positive energy flow that was created. Something powerful happens with you gather like-minded souls and vibrate together as one . . . .




Here are more of my favorite pictures from our #mermaidyogis meetup. All images were captured by the talented photographer, Janalyn Yanover - aka Horizon Light Photography. Please credit @horizonlightphotography when sharing her images. Janalyn is available for private or group yoga photoshoots in San Diego and worldwide on yoga retreats. She will be joining Amelia and I in November on our Mermaid Yogis Retreat to Sayulita, Mexico. We can't wait to share those moments with you all!

Thank you "Farm to Fork" for providing us fresh, delicious cold-pressed green juice to keep us healthy and hydrated! If you are in the La Jolla area, check out their shop in Bird Rock! @farmtoforkjuice


click here to view the rest of the photos ... }

Saturday, September 27, 2014

MERMAID YOGIS RETREAT - NOVEMBER 2014 IN MEXICO!

Have you ever spent a week cultivating your own personal goals AND a sense of sisterhood with new goddess friends? A week exploring the wild jungle AND being healed by the sea? Diving deep into your yoga practice both on AND off the mat? If this is exactly what you're craving in your life at this very moment, then our upcoming MERMAID YOGIS retreat is just what your soul needs. Join STOKED YOGI (Amelia Travis), ZEN GIRL (Mandy Burstein) and professional photographer and waterwoman Janalyn Yanover NOVEMBER 8 - 15 in Sayulita, Mexico.

here's a little preview of our upcoming retreat: 
[if embedded video isn't working, click here instead to view it]

we can't wait to meet you!

  check out our retreat itinerary here.

 reserve your spot here
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