Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sippin' on Zen and Juice: re-cap of my first 3 day cleanse

"So, you're gonna drink only green juice for three days straight? WHO DOES THAT to themselves?!" my sister inquired as I explained to her how excited I was to start my very first cleanse. Clearly, my idea of fun and her idea of fun were on completely different planets. Nevertheless, I was signed up, paid, and committed to this challenge. It was happening. No matter how crazy it seemed to the rest of the world, I was MORE than ready for a re-boot. It was the third week of April, everything was in full bloom all around me, but I felt lethargic. Heavy. Weighed down. I felt out of sync with nature and Zen Girl don't roll like that. Everything about the timing felt perfect and divine -- it was definitely time for change. 

Lucky for me, some of my very best girlfriends just opened a green juice bar in Mission Beach, San Diego at the beginning of April. Their green juice food truck, Juice Wave had a wildly successful first year providing our city with the freshest farm-to-cup juices and smoothies and it was time to expand. They asked me to be a part of their first 3 day cleanse with their staff to test the recipes and document the experience. 


Here's the inside scoop from my very first green juice cleanse experience --

3 days, 6 juices each day
Tuesday through ThursdayI loved this set-up so we could ease into Monday and then add the cleanse into our week. For me, would have been too intense to start on a Monday morning.
- My favorite parts of the cleanse
  • I didn't have to ever think about what to make/purchase for lunch or dinner = HUGE!
  • Delicious flavors, some of the best I've ever tasted. I never was not excited to open a bottle.
  • Each juice was intelligently formulated to help with your energy levels throughout the day (like lots of ginger in the morning juices and chia seeds in #3 for a mindful mid-day pick-me-up)
  • Ended each day with almond milk with lavender to fill you up and calm your belly before bed
  • You could literally taste the freshness -- all of Juice Wave's produce comes from San Diego's local farms, no further than 25 miles away, picked within a day or two, so you could literally feel the amazingly fresh prana (life force) inside of you. I never felt more alive! 
  • I had a huge amount of energy! Everyone I ran into commented on how "vibrant and glowing" I looked.

Here I am half way through the Day 2 feeling strong and free!


My thoughts toward the end of Day 2, when I had a work meeting at a pizzeria . . . 


Of course, there were a few "downsides" to the cleanse . . . 


Naturally, there were a few things that took some time getting used to. I could honestly drink green juice for breakfast and lunch and into the evening, pretty much most of the day, every day, I would be stoked to live on fresh organic produce in liquid form. Except at night. Nighttime is a different story. It was definitely weird having only liquids post-sunset. It helped that the last juice was actually a tummy-settling nut milk, but still weird. Equally strange was cooking my husband chicken tacos for dinner while I sipped my zen and juice. And declining happy hour and restaurant dinner invitations was definitely a bummer. But honestly -- it's only 72 hours of your life. And I would 100% do it again. In fact, going forward, I'll probably step it up and do the 5 day cleanse next to really give my digestive system a total re-boot. For now, I'm super proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and taking on this challenge. I hope you consider treating yourself to a detoxifying cleanse when your body asks for it. 

If you live in San Diego, I would highly recommend joining the next Juice Wave cleanse. Use the promotional code "ZENGIRL15" for 10% off any cleanse package. They offer 1, 2 or 3 day options -- more details here. The best part?? Your cleanse package includes a free health consultation with the most adorable Holistic Health Coach, Sarah Andersen. Sarah sends out pre and post cleanse emails with all the information you'll ever need, plus is available for additional support and guidance throughout the duration of your cleanse. I loved this perk, she was a huge help!



for more information and guidance
send an email, or call 240-246-5126
 Tell them Zen Girl Mandy sent you!

Friday, April 24, 2015

reflections in baja -- a full circle experience

The deeper I travel into my yoga practice and the further I push myself outside of my comfort zone to discover new parts of the world, while discovering new parts of my self, one thing becomes abundantly clear -- life is a full circle experience. We give, and we receive. One cannot occur without the other. Where we get ourselves into trouble from time to time, is when we give too much, without boundaries, and find ourselves depleted. On the flipside, taking too much without recycling that positive energy back into the world leaves us feeling imbalanced and incomplete. When we stay in the flow and honor the karmic circle of life, we feel energized, purposeful and complete. 

This past weekend in Baja, Mexico was just that -- a full circle experience. Positive energy, love, and purpose oozed from every corner of the Baja Yoga Soul Retreat. Every moment felt like I was doing exactly what I was put on this planet to do. Help people relax, unwind, breathe a little deeper, reconnect with themselves and nature, indulge, and then of course, complete the karmic circle by paying it forward. I felt honored to lead this trip, alongside my partner Amar Harrag, in benefit of a cause that is near and dear to our hearts -- Corazon de Vida Foundation. CDV overseas 13 orphanages in northern Baja, Mexico, one of which, Casa de Paz, is located in one of my favorite places in the world -- Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico's famous wine-producing region. Only a 45 minute drive from the coast, we created a unique experience where our retreat participants could wake up to the waves, practice yoga while gazing out at the ocean, then travel inland to explore the wine country and visit the beautiful children at Casa de Paz. A full circle experience, indeed. We give, we receive, we give, we receive . . . and the Universe smiles as we honor the intended flow of life. Here is a photojournal of our Baja Yoga Soul Retreat. I hope you join us on the next one!






valle de guadalupe ~ mexican wine country
thank you to our generous hosts Villa del Valle, Vena Cava, and Quinta Monasterio
for the delicious meal in the middle of your vineyard and VIP tour of your new spa, Viniphera.










karma yoga at casa de paz
this particular orphanage is set on a many acres of lush, fertile wine country land, so one of our key projects there is building organic greenhouses so they can live off the land and become completely sustainable. with wide open space to roam and sweet animals providing love and free therapy to the over 40 kids that live there, this home is becoming a healing sanctuary that I'm so proud to be a part of. {lesson learned:  piƱatas are always a good idea!}









thank you to Omar Araiza Photography for capturing theses stunning images of our yoga retreat.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

follow the sun - 10K GIVEAWAY winners announced!


Follow, follow the sun, and which way the wind blows when this day is done.
Breathe, breathe in the air. Set your intentions. Dream with care.
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone, Brand new moon, brand new sun.
So follow, follow the sun, the direction of the birds, the direction of love.
Breathe, breathe in the air, cherish this moment, cherish this breath.

Tomorrow is a new day for everyone, Brand new moon, brand new sun.
When you feel life coming down on you, like a heavy weight.
When you feel this crazy society, adding to the strain.
Take a stroll to the nearest waters edge, remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.
So which way is the wind blowin', and what does your heart say?


First off, I want to send a huge love-bomb to our friends over at ISLE Surf and SUP for their generous donation to my #zengirl10kgiveaway. Last year, they asked me to help design their women's inflatable paddleboard and I'm so proud of what our collaboration created! When I hit the 10K milestone last week, all I could think of was how to pay this positive energy forward and keep the love flowing. I know the the majority of my followers are travel-loving yoga girls, so what better gift to give than the ability to explore and connect with mama ocean wherever you happen to be in the world. Of the hundreds of entries I received on instagram and here my blog, one captured my heart. I'm happy to announce that the grand prize winner is -- Sarah Colmenero aka @theyogagypster! Sarah is active duty Coast Guard based in San Fransisco and teaches yoga to her shipmates while on deployment. She has a deep love for the ocean, it exists in ever fiber of her being. She is a true mermaid yogi with a heart of gold. Sarah, enjoy your new ISLE paddleboard!



THANK YOU to our generous friends at VIRA SUN for hooking up 3 additional AMAZING yoginis with the sunnies of their choice. The winners are: @andreamicheleb // @gypsini // @aimeejm11 // Each of their stories spoke to my heart. I was reminded time and time again that the soul of a woman has depths only rivaled by the sea. I think that's why this whole "mermaid" thing resonates with all of us. We understand that life is way too short for shallow living and breathing. We dive deep into all that we do and never look back.

I know that these gifts will be an every day reminder to always ~ follow the sun, set your intentions, and dream with care.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

10K GIVEAWAY!

Hi friends ~ I've got some exciting news to share! My instagram account just reached 10,000 followers and I'm ready to do my first big giveaway to say thank you for being a part of my journey! My heart is bursting with joy that so many people are interested in connecting with me, and above all that, that so many people resonate with my mission of inspiring myself and others to create more love, health and happiness in their lives. The time is NOW to release your fear. Life is waiting for you to get out of your own way and open up the channels for more positivity and abundance to flow to and through you. Yoga, breathing, paddling, connecting with my girlfriends and spending time with the ocean have been the biggest sources of inspiration and healing for me. Connecting all the dots of this journey, I thought it couldn't be more perfect than to pay it forward, and give this gift to someone else who really needs it. 

For all of these reasons (and more!) I'm thrilled to announce that for my 10K Giveaway, I'll be gifting an inflatable ISLE Stand-Up Paddle Board to one lucky ZEN GIRL follower! It's the perfect must-have for the traveling gypsy free-spirit mermaid yoga girl!

This time last year, I worked with San Diego local board company, ISLE Surf and SUP to design the very first inflatable paddleboard specifically made for yoga girls. It came out better than I ever could have expected! It's seriously so adorable and makes me so happy every time I get to paddle out. 

I've had some pretty epic adventures on this board. One time, my friend Jenny and I were filmed by a drone while practicing SUP Yoga on this beautiful board -- watch the video here




-  HOW TO ENTER -

- upload fun photo to instagram
- tag #zengirl10Kgiveaway
- tag @zengirlmandy and @islesurfandsup
(in the text and in the photo itself)
- in the caption, tell us:
what epic adventures would you plan this summer on your new ISLE inflatable paddleboard?
- post as many times as you like between now and Wednesday, April 15
- winner will be announced Thursday, April 16

* note: to increase your chances, leave a comment here on this blog post. please include your insta account name. submit as many times as you like! make sure you use the #zengirl10kgiveaway hashtag -- that's where I'll be choosing from. the more times you post, the more likely we will notice and choose you. also -- we love creativity! get creative, plan an epic adventure and get your friends involved. they can share your post on your behalf. 

THANK YOU for believing in my dreams and being a part of my journey. I know that whoever wins this beautiful board will continue to spread love and light wherever their wanderlusting heart takes them! 

and  in  closing . . . 


all my love,
mermaid zen girl 
Mandy 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Baja - Yoga - Soul

What happens when you combine yoga, the beach, and wine tasting adventures south of the border?

Magic in Baja California, Mexico!


I've been traveling to Baja for the last six years and always kept it as my secret little escape, just one hour south of San Diego. When I started teaching yoga full-time in 2011, I thought it would be a perfect fusion of my two worlds to bring groups of open-hearted yogis to experience the beauty of my beloved Mexico. All these years later, I've designed and facilitated seven yoga retreats south of the border, with each one being more magnificently eye-opening and life-changing than the last. As I continue my own personal journey (both spiritually and geographically), I continue to meet more generous souls that inspired new, unique excursions to include in each subsequent yoga retreat. Every experience becomes a way of connecting the dots of my life, through people, places and powerfully blessed synchronicities. It is a constant reminder that -- we are all connected. 

Here is a little photojournal of my last yoga retreat in Baja, which included quality healing time near the ocean, letting loose in Valle de Guadalupe (Mexico's award-winning wine country), and giving back to the local community. We visited Door of Faith and Casa de Paz orphanages (through Corazon de Vida foundation) and got to soak up lots of hugs, laughter and gratitude from our time with the beautiful children. All in all, it was an incredible full circle experience. 

I'm hosting the next BAJA YOGA SOUL RETREAT the weekend of April 17th, see below for more details!











 Until next time . . .




all levels of yoga experience are welcome. 
all classes and excursions are optional. 
feel free to message me with any questions!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mermaid Yogis Spring Challenge starts April 1st!

I'm so happy to announce that we're bringing it back! Wednesday, April 1st, we will kick off the 2015 #MermaidYogis challenge. 30 days of yoga, connection, sisterhood, support and gratitude for mama ocean. This journey will be guided by me (@zengirlmandy), Amelia Travis (@stoked_yogi), Jaysea Devoe (@seavibesyoga) and Mary K Benney (@beachbeeyoga). Amelia, Jaysea and I live here in San Diego, California and started this movement in early 2014. Mary K lives in Havre de Grace, Maryland and will be representing all the East Coast mermaids. Join us on facebook and/or instagram to follow along with the challenge pose each day. 

sea foam and salt water in our veins, we live by the moon and the tides. in the sand and spray we are home, dancing with the rhythm of the waves. - mermaid manifesto


Here is the official challenge line-up! These poses were carefully selected with purpose and intention to help you embody the grace and strength of the ocean progressively, throughout the month. On day one, we start in seated pose, with a dedicated meditation to help set the tone for April. As we flow through the weeks, the poses become more challenging and complex, and as always, we ask that you listen to your body and only do the variation of the pose that is right for you and your energy at the moment. 


Embodying the goddess mermaid energy flow means that you are both authentic to yourself AND respectful of your community and environment. It is our hope that through these online yoga challenges, we can encourage yogis to become more connected to and therefore, more mindful of each other, the ocean, and our beautiful planet as a whole. One of our favorite mantras is: We are all connected!



How to participate:

1) follow us 4 hosts online (@zengirlmandy, @stoked_yogi, @seavibesyoga, and @beachbeeyoga)
2) follow our generous sponsors
3) repost the challenge collage (image above) and tag your friends to join you
4) participate in all 30 days, tagging #mermaidyogis and us 4 hosts each day

* Please note: You are not required to tag sponsors, however they are donating some really awesome prizes, so you may wish for them to see your posts. Totally up to you! We will also have some surprise weekly giveaways and tutorials via the Stoked Yogi YouTube channel.  
So.... are you in? 

Comment below if you will be joining us for the April 2015 #mermaidyogis take-over!
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