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Friends I’m thrilled (and slightly nervous) to announce I’m taking over Athleta’s National Instagram Stories today as part of their “Day in My Life” Series. As such I’m sharing my day, some of my favorite recipes, a first-time peek inside my office (where I write my books) and much, much more with their 348,000 followers.

(Did I mention I’m petrified and awkward on video…but I’m doing videos??? Hey, I’m 40! I’ve gotta keep challenging myself and embracing that which scares me!)❤️

Anyway to celebrate, I’m also launching a Power of She Absolute SelfCare Challenge! For 10 days I’ll be sharing my top wellness tips, tricks, hacks, and recipes to enhance your Absolute SelfCare starting with food today.

To Enter:
1: click over to Instagram and follow me: https://www.instagram.com/saradivello/

2: Comment there with questions or what you’re excited to try or you want me to include (or even just a to let me know you’re there)

3: Follow along Daily for my tips (and to see new prizes added). Winner will be picked on Day 10!
https://www.instagram.com/saradivello/

 

 

Friends, grab your camera, bathing suit, camera and even a yoga mat. I am SO excited to announce I’ll be teaching yoga as part of a private tour through beautiful BALI Oct. 3-10.

Join us as we breathe fresh island air, take in lush landscapes, explore rice fields, bike through back roads of charming villages, eat nourishing, healthy meals, partake in an ancient meditation ceremony, hike up Mt. Batur (pictured below), take a Balinese cooking class…and of course optional daily yoga with me 🙂

The amazing Jess K. at My Adventure Travel put together a holistic tour to make sure you leave the island refreshed and inspired. I can’t wait and I hope you’ll join us.

Did I mention it’s really affordable?

Learn more here.

Need more inspiration??

On the mat and off, your primary focus may be on stretching your muscles. But whatever your level of flexibility—you may actually have a fascial “restriction” on top of your muscles, and the muscles themselves may be perfectly flexible. For this reason, I work both muscularly and fascially in the classes I teach, as well as in my personal practice.

You may be wondering what exactly IS this mysterious, enigmatic fascia, which potentially holds the key to unlocking the next level of your practice?

Fascia is a wet, slippery, see-through tissue in your body that pretty much looks like Saran wrap. If you’ve ever cooked raw chicken, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And if you gagged at the thought of raw chicken, make yourself some peppermint tea, and keep reading.

Like raw chicken, humans have that same slippery cling-wrap encasing all our muscles, organs, and other body parts. If you’re not working fascially, you’re missing out on an important component of flexibility and functionality on and off the mat.

Important note: fascia doesn’t stretch. Ever. It can, however, get stuck or “caught” when ideally it should slip and glide. You can release these restrictions three ways: with massage therapy; foam rolling; and/or slow, deep stretching.

Today we’re going to use slow, deep, stretching to help release both hip flexor muscles, and the fascial covering over your hip flexors. I chose to work on hip flexors in this piece, because they can contribute to front-hip pain as well as lower-back pain. The psoas muscle, which is the deepest muscle in your entire body as well as one of your largest muscles, runs up the front of your hip, cuts through your abdominal cavity, and attaches into your lumbar spine. A tight psoas can pull you into lordosis, or being swaybacked, as well as cause lower-back tightness. The psoas is important not only for initiating every single step you take (it’s the largest of the hip flexors—as in, it “flexes” your leg up to take each step), it’s also key to spinal and abdominal health and strength. On the mat, it’s an integral part of many poses—among them, navasana (boat pose), forward folds, and many more.
Let’s get started.

From Low Lunge:

  • Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle.
  • Draw your back knee down to the mat (as shown above).
  • Rest your palms on blocks at whatever height best supports you, and lets your arms stay relaxed. The elbows should be at ease—be careful not to brace or “lock” them out.
  • Stay for 5-8 cycles of slow breath. Really tune in and focus on the sensations in your hip flexors (the front of your right hip). How tight  are they? Is this side easy for you? Do you feel them stretching?
  • Now let’s move on to the fascial release. Make sure you still feel a stretch in your hip flexors. If you’re really flexible here, you may need to bring your chest a bit more forward and/or down until you get the right amount of stretch for you. If you’re really, really flexible here, you may need to bring the right arm inside the right leg in order to bring your chest down low enough to feel a stretch.WHEN you feel that stretch, let your head hang gently forward (as show above).
  • NOTICE how this brings you deeper into the hip flexor release, if you have fascial restriction in addition to muscular tightness. It can feel really intense or almost “pinchy.” If you don’t have a fascial restriction, you may not feel this stretch intensify but stay with it regardless so that you have a baseline to compare the release on your left side.
  • Stay for 5 more cycles of breath. Gently lift the head up. Tuck under the back toes and come up to a low lunge.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Remember that everyone’s body is somewhat asymmetrical. You will have a tighter side and an easier side. You may also have a fascial restriction on only one side, or one day/week/month and not the next. Tune in and really notice your body in each pose. Notice how the muscular and fascial releases feel different. Notice which works best for you each time. Your only goal is to serve and support your body so that it can better serve and support you–both on the mat and off.

*This piece also appeared on Sequence Yoga Mats “Serious Sundays.”

Confession time: Guys, I'm super excited today. No, not about tomatoes (although they ARE exciting), or gardening, or my latest brush with crazy. No, today I'm excited because I'm featuring my very first guest post! Yay! {confetti}
Self-proclaimed grammar nerd, yogini, author, blogster, and all-around hilarious gal about town Jenny Baranick is sharing her thoughts on Punctuationasana. Read on to learn how yoga and punctuation intersect in ways you've never even imagined, then check out her blog, laugh your asana off, and then waste absolutely no time in logging onto amazon and ordering her book.
I've already ordered my copy because Krishna knows I don't want any unplanned or unwanted grammar mistakes (and neither should you, so get ordering!). And full disclosure, I've never actually met Jenny and no, she's not slipping me commissions (she has to save every penny towards her dream pad, the 50 Shades of Grey Apartment, after all). I stumbled across Jenny's blog a while back and am genuinely excited for her book and the chance to support a fellow up and coming author.
Punctuationasana
I tend to subscribe to the “live and let live” philosophy—except when it comes to yoga. I am super annoying because I try to push yoga on everyone. However cliché this sounds, yoga has enhanced my life in every imaginable way—physically, mentally, and spiritually—so, sue me:  I think the world would be a better place if everyone had healthy lower backs, a calm mind, and a generous spirit.
For a while there, I thought yoga teaching was my calling. I took a teacher training course, and I did even teach it for a while. But around the same time I began teaching, I fell in love with writing, and I felt that I had to choose because both yoga and writing would be full-time disciplines. So I chose to pursue writing as a career and take yoga classes instead of teaching it.
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My first writing endeavor is the recently released grammar book Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares.  (I’m also an English teacher.) And here’s what I realized: grammar and yoga actually have a lot in common—ending punctuation in particular.
For example, Child’s Pose (Balasana) looks kind of like a period, doesn’t it?
And like a period provides a nice long pause between sentences, we often come into Balasana when we need a nice long break between poses.
If you use your imagination a bit, Chair Pose (Utkatasana) looks kind of like a question mark:
And perhaps it’s no coincidence that when I am in Utkatasana I find myself asking this question: Why am I in this pose that is burning my thighs when I could be home on the couch?
And Head Stand (Sirsasana) looks like an exclamation point:            
And when I am in Sirsasana, I often feel like exclaiming, “Hey, Mom! Look at me! I’m upside down!”
Who knew yoga could be so nerdy! Or that punctuation could be so spiritual!

About the Author

Jenny Baranick teaches English composition, critical thinking, and a remedial English class called Writing Skills at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Consistently shocked at the poor grammar of her students, in January 2010, Jenny started her popular Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares blog.

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The garden bounty continues and this week the featured delights are tomatoes and basil…which means it’s time for homemade Caprese Salad.

Simple, easy, classic and utterly delicious. Chop some tomatoes and fresh mozzerella, slice some basil, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, a dash of vinegar (I’m into white balsamic right now), sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. #amazing!

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OK. Big news: Just this week, the totally shaded porch of our new home somehow started getting sun. This is no doubt due to the Earth's position now shifting to a place where the sun's rays can tickle the future-plant-bedecked porch in spite of the fact that the building next to us blocks the sun we should've been getting all season. Whatever. I only care that NOW I CAN GROW THINGS! HOORAY!

I immediately headed for the nearest garden center and, in an over-zealous frenzy that surely must be indicative of addiction, bought way too many plants. I got tomatoes, peppers, collard greens, two kinds of lettuce, and far, far too many beans. In the herb fam, I snagged some rosemary, thyme, and three different kinds of basil.

Here's the method to my madness:

Basil: A must. Hardy, pretty, and if you grow enough of it, you can not only save yourself the horror of pay $4 for three sprigs at the store, you can also make copious amounts of pesto. Make a double bath and the extra can be frozen in zippy sandwich bags for a summery treat in mid-winter. Trust me, it's heaven.

Beans: Hardy, fast growers that, as a fun little perk, also produce beautiful pink flowers.

Lettuce: Nothing better than a fresh-picked salad! Bonus: they don't like the heat of July-August, so when they're done, I can pluck them out and replace with a heat-lover.

Collard greens: New to me. {gulp}

Peppers: As my friend Dee once said, “Peppers are so rewarding to grow.” SO true. Love seeing them on the vine.

Tomatoes: True confession: they aren't my favorite fresh fruit (and to me they'll always be a veggie, but whatevs). But, much like peppers, they are SO rewarding to grow. When you see them covered in their brightly hued fruit, you sit back and think, “Yeah. I grew that.” Bonus: I like to give them away to neighbors. And now I have new neighbors to meet and impress with my growing acumen {blows on fingernails and rubs on imaginary lapels}


Parsley and Dill: Self-propogated from last year! Yup–these determined crops spread their own seeds from last season and came up by themselves. SWEET!! I like your spirit, guys!

So much to do…except for the self-propogating herbs. Yeah! Nice work, guys!

I spent the weekend planting. There is something so primal, so deeply instinctual about digging your hands into the dirt and planting. Hours and hours later, tired and hungry, with an aching back, I felt connected to something bigger and older than me. I also felt excited about what this season will bring. Stay tuned!

Seeing how much work there was at hand, Pelu immediately
became overwhelmed and had no other option but to take a nap.
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From this 10-pound puppy cowgirl and her human. 🙂


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