Where do you fall on your list?

It seems we live in a list-overload type of world. Top antioxidant foods, ways to cut carbs, workout for the day, gift ideas, to-do’s, what to buy, where to go, etc. When it comes to the “big" questions, though, a list may fall short. For instance, list all the things you love. It doesn’t matter how many you name or what they are, but go ahead, do it.

As I was scrolling through a yoga teacher’s Instagram feed the other day, I stopped at a beautiful picture of her in an advanced pose, but the pose wasn’t what got my attention, it was the words beneath it. The caption read, “If I asked you to list all the things you love, how long would it take you to name yourself?"

I invite you to embrace the hebrew term that encourages a pause, a moment to let this sink in.

 - Selāh -

Welcome back.

How long is your list? Is there anything in there that celebrates YOU? Of all the lists you’ve written or will write in your life, this one should be handled with utmost care. Underneath the assignment of jotting down things you love lies an opportunity to recognize yourself as someone who’s worthy of love. I encourage a spirit of giving year-round but never at the expense of yourself. It’s so important to remember that giving, sharing and being are all external acts that stem from a single source - love - and the source of love is within. 

The importance of dealing with this now is because it dictates how we act and behave on all facets of life: work, relationships, etc. In an interview, Cameron Diaz addressed the importance of finding the intention behind all actions in order to be clear about the desired outcome. She was specifically talking about fame and happiness, and how one does not guarantee the other, but that the only truth is that in order to be happy you have to feel happy, which is a completely personal and intimate matter. She states, “If you’re looking for fame to define you, then you will never be happy.” I’d like to tack on something else, “If you’re looking for someone else to define you, then you will never be happy.” The fact of the matter is that you’re the only source of love and happiness you need. Once you know that you are love because you are made of love, your days will be filled with small things that add greater joy to your life.

In the spirit of creating a list that will actually serve me, here is one I wrote this morning when thinking of things I love, and if you haven’t already, I encourage you to do the same!

1. Levi’s sleepy and smiley face in the morning.

2. The promise of coffee in the morning.

3. Having really smooth, shaved legs (#winning).

4. Making someone laugh.

5. Writing this article.

6. Looking at my strong hands as I do a handstand.

7. Scrolling through old pictures and seeing the people I love.

8. Staying connected to my community of friends.

9. Looking into Levi’s eyes as he nurses.

10. Gardening.

Merely writing that just now made me feel incredibly peaceful. So many times we get caught up with getting everything on our lists done that we, ironically, forget to list the most important things. 

I often speak about the importance of gift-giving in it purest form - to oneself - because of the impact it can have on not only your life but that of the people around you. Today, I want to reiterate how important it is to feel worthy. The fact that you’re reading this piece means that you’re intrigued by the deeper side of things. You’re willing to explore the why’s and how’s of life. Even if this is your first time around here, having you here is no coincidence. 

I want to let you know it’s okay to sometimes feel as if life has spun a bit out of control. You are not the only one who’s felt confused or uncertain about your own worthiness or purpose in life. But hear this:  despite life’s surprises, twists and turns, you deserve a life of love… and an abundant one at that! True love, the type that brings bliss to your life and has the ability to bring light to the darkest of situations, is between you and you. No one else and nothing else. It’s such a mystery to sometimes feel it and sometimes wonder where it is, but I guarantee, if you become aware of this truth, accessing it each time you’ve lost it will become easier. 

Our journey through life will surely be worthy of an award-winning list of events. Among the intricacies and different scenarios we will all go through, my wish for you is to find this on your long list of life truths:

I am love. 

Fulfillment is within.

Love is within. 

I am enough.

May you feel these deep in your bones.
With love always,

Sara

Essential Oils That Ignite Femininity

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Well hello there, darlings!

I wanted to send you a quick note to encourage you to connect with the gorgeous woman that you are. Essential oils are a huge part of my life and I've tried to replace most common over-the-counter medicines with powerful and smart oil blends that help with relevant symptoms.

Today, I want to focus on femininity. Feeling like a woman, as we all know, has its good days and bad days. BUT, the more we understand what makes us feel great, the greater we'll feel.

Enter: essential oils.

When using essential oils, trust your intuition for what you need. There are many ways to use your oils:

  • Diffuse around home - Amazon has many options, I own this one and it works beautifully.

  • Dab on specific body parts - pulse points, over heart, low back, shoulders, neck, stomach, feet, etc. as needed.

  • Blend with carrier oil to use all over body (my favorite!) - Carrier oils (i.e. jojoba, grapeseed, almond kernel, etc.) are mixed with 2-3 drops of desired oil to lather your body. Using oils this way allows them to penetrate your bloodstream as soon as you apply them.

These are my favorite essential oils that make me feel beautiful, powerful and grounded in my sensuality:

  • Rose creates a magnetic energy that attracts love and brings joy to the heart.

  • Jasmine has been nicknamed as the “queen of the night” and “moonlight of the grove” for its beautiful, seductive fragrance.

  • Geranium helps to release negative memories, balances the emotions, lifts the spirit and fosters peace, well being and hope.

  • Ylang Ylang balances equilibrium and restores confidence and self-love.

  • Neroli has been highly regarded by ancient Egyptians for its ability to calm the mind, body and spirit. It is stabilizing and strengthening to the emotions, promoting peace, confidence and awareness.

I hope these add a special something to your day and that you get to enjoy the powerful effects of essential oils today!

Sending you my love,

Sara

/ / C R E D I T S / /

Essential Oil Information, http://www.apteraromatherapy.com/articles6.html

DIY Acne-Clearing Face Mask

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During the first few years in my twenties, my skin began going through what my adolescent peers had gone through years prior: acne. One visit to the dermatologist became two then two became four, then all of a sudden I was on a full-blown investigative search for an explanation for what was happening to me. Being told I had "adult acne" didn't quite inform me about what was actually happening to my skin or why certain treatments were recommended. Battling adult acne for years and trying both over-and-under-the-counter skincare medicine + topical / oral treatments left me feeling frustrated, self-conscious and mostly helpless. I'd find myself sharpening my Photoshop skills by clicking away every pimple and scar, and while it did indeed made me feel momentarily better to imagine my face looking smooth and free of breakouts, it didn't actually improve my situation, for obvious reasons. 

The fork in the road happened when, on my last dermatologist visit six years ago, the doctor prescribed me Accutane. For those who're not familiar with this drug, it's a Vitamin-A-heavy oral treatment that has tremendous power in attacking breakouts but is also accompanied by harsh and dangerous side effects. I wanted nothing to do with it, which gave room for my journey into natural remedies and gentle regimes to sprout. 

I'll begin by conceding that very few things make me feel as satisfied as DIY hacks do. Add to that skin health and we're on a worship-worthy level. I've heard stories all my life about my great-grandmother regularly greeting family members with generous gobbles of honey slathered all over her precious face. The same stories usually ended with everyone agreeing she had an incredibly supple and glowing complexion. So in the midst of searching for answers and yearning for solutions, I reached for the pantry, grabbed the jar of honey and looked at myself in the mirror and said, "This might as well happen." Fast forward six years and I'm a honey-loving DIY-er who paints her face with just about anything in the kitchen. I don't have an official motto for my intense appreciation for natural skin remedies, but if I did, it would be something like, "If it's good for my insides, it's good for my outsides." I'll work on making that sound cooler. 

Let's move on to the fun stuff. This is my go-to mask when I want to:

  • reduce redness

  • reduce inflammation

  • treat breakouts

  • prevent breakouts

  • hydrate my skin

  • bring the glow back

  • increase elasticity

  • pamper myself

It's truly amazing and you can probably do it with what you have at home RIGHT NOW.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 1/2 tablespoon honey (I use this Manuka Honey. Find it here.)

  2. Pinch of turmeric (get the darker variety and make sure you only use a pinch)

  3. Cinnamon (optional)

  4. 2 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

  5. 2-3 drops of lemon (optional)

  6. 4-5 drops rose witch hazel. Find it here.

This antioxidant-packed mask helps clear acne scars, reduces oil secretion, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, exfoliates the skin, stimulates cell growth, evens skin tone, treats pigmentation, unclogs pores and protects skin from harmful sun rays among many other benefits. 

To use: Take off any clothing you wouldn't want to stain or get sticky and pull your hair back with a headband. Make a paste with all ingredients. Using either the back of a spoon or your fingers, gently lather onto skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave for 10-15 minutes and rinse with warm water. I like softly massaging in circular motion while I rinse as an added step for exfoliating. Use a clean towel or paper towel to pat the skin dry (I wouldn't advise rubbing because a- it's not good for your skin and b- the turmeric will stain fabrics). 

There you have it, the ultimate DIY skincare trick I've used for years. My acne still lingers and flares up some times more than others, but natural remedies like this one have made me more in tune with what my skin adores. I hope you give it a try and please keep me in the loop on your natural skincare journey. Wishing you all a loving and radiant day.

With love,

Sara 

Morning Rituals And Why You Should Implement Them

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“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive —to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Ahh, the beginning of a new day. Being able to ease my way into the day is a luxury I don't take for granted and the time I carve out for myself has become a sacred time for introspective work, whether it’s two minutes or 20 if I’m lucky and the babe is snoozing. Whatever your daily responsibilities are, whether caring for a child or being pressed for time to get to work, taking the slow approach in getting up is proven to increase feelings of happiness as well as aiding in productivity levels during your day.

About five years ago, I decided to make mornings a joyful experience rather than a dreaded one. Even though I was technically able to roll out of bed whenever I wanted, I decided to limit my use of the snooze feature and plan beautiful rituals to look forward to. According to Kenneth Wright, a neuroscientist and chronobiology expert, “Cognition is best several hours prior to habitual sleep time, and worst near habitual wake time.” Translation: our brains take far longer than we might expect to get up to speed (which explains why we sometimes do silly things in the mornings: put an empty cup in the fridge, use the wrong product for the wrong thing, pour milk over something milk isn't supposed to be poured over, etc.). So as much as we can help it, it’s best not to rush to do much right after waking up and rather let our brains play catch up with our bodies. An article in The New Yorker put it beautifully, "... taking our waking slow, without the jar of an alarm and with the rhythms of light and biology, may be our best defense against the thoughtlessness of a sleep-addled brain, a way to insure that, when we do wake fully, we are making the most of what our minds have to offer." 

In addition to brain function, taking it slow in the mornings sets up the vibe and pace for your entire day. "Positive attitudes create great days, and the best time to generate positivity is in the morning. In those precious early hours, we establish our mindset for the entire day, so it’s important to treat this critical period with attention and respect," said Amanda Kohr in an article for Wanderlust.  

Do you have any morning ritual in place already? If so, wonderful! Perhaps you’d like new ideas to add to your morning routine! If you’re a wake-up-and-go type person, then you might want to start thinking about at least trying one or a few of these. This is coming from someone who used to highly dislike mornings because they represented the simple fact that I shouldn’t be in bed, as stipulated by social standards. As you begin your journey in reinventing your mornings, you’ll [hopefully] start feeling more pleased with yourself, more acceptance toward others, more graceful toward external factors and maybe you'll notice yourself feeling happier in general. As we all know, happiness is the toughest antidote to stress, so the more happiness I produce through morning rituals and the lifestyle it encourages, the less stress that’s able to penetrate my psyche.  

Here are a few other ideas for how to start this wonderful habit as listed and described on Wanderlust

Light a candle. Sometimes even the simplest change can alter a room’s energy. Take the time to light a candle before you get ready, and enjoy the enhanced ambiance that you’ve created.

Lemon water. Hot lemon water aids in digestion and provides a plethora of vitamins and nutrients. Your mind will love this moment of serenity and your body will thank you, too!

Embrace nature. Regardless of where you live, taking the time to enjoy a bit of nature can help establish a positive outlook and a deeper relationship with the earth. Walk around the block, or spend a few minutes tending to a garden.

Read. Rather than scroll through your phone, spend a few minutes in the morning reading through a book or magazine. The activity stretches the imagination and encourages creativity and positivity, setting you up for a wonderful rest of the day.

Take a bath. If you have the time, a bath is a delicious way to begin your morning. The warm water eases sore muscles, and you can play around with essential oils, such as lavender or lemon, that are known to encourage feelings of peace and serenity.

Wash your face. Washing one’s face is essentially purifying one of your most vulnerable features. Feeling clean can lead to confidence, and the actual act of washing, scrubbing, and exfoliating creates an intimate and mindful experience.

Journal. This simple activity encourages self-reflection. Even on bad days, journaling allows us to vent and gain some perspective regarding our current situation. If you’re feeling creative, journaling can help the sparks flow and rejuvenate the imagination, leading to a more productive and inspiring day.

Make your bed. Making the bed is a mindful routine that helps enhance a room’s overall aesthetic, making it feel more inviting upon your return. It also takes little to no time — ideal for those of us in a hurry.

Indulge in a sweet fix. Sometimes I like to have a breakfast appetizer or dessert, and pair a piece of dark chocolate with my coffee or tea. This little treat provides an act of self-love, and can help transform an average Tuesday morning into a divine experience.

Set intentions. While our days are often clouded with to-do lists, setting small, personal intentions can help establish a feeling of control. Ask yourself, What do I want out of this day? Maybe it’s to be nicer to strangers, or to pay more attention to your partner.

Make a gratitude list. Gratitude leads to happiness. In addition to exploring your thoughts, take the time to write down one or two things you are grateful for. Whether it be your partner, your body, or nourishment, noticing your blessings inspires feelings of overall well-being.

Pick a treat. Give yourself something to look forward to. Maybe it’s a frozen coffee drink, a bubble bath, or happy hour with a friend. Either way, a small little present can help make you feel more enthusiastic about tackling the day’s challenges.

Self affirmations. We don’t tell ourselves “I love you” nearly enough. Plant yourself in front of the mirror and say the affirmations that you need to hear. These simple daily reminders will remind of your potential, leaving you feeling open and excited.

Choose one option that resonates most with you. Give it a shot for a week and move forward from there! Give yourself grace during this period of experimentation as adding rituals is just like any other habit - they take time to stick - so don't be too hard on yourself [ever]. 

My wish for you is of bountiful mornings of bliss, serenity and positivity. I'd love to hear some of your morning rituals and your experience as you try new ones. Please comment below to share your journey with me!

Sending you all lots of love,

Sara

// C R E D I T S //

New Yorker

Wanderlust

Yoga For Everyone | Part II | Hip Openers

// This post was co-written with Katherine Harris for Darling Magazine. This is the second part in a 3-part series. Subscribe for upcoming yoga goodies! //

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Eyebrows furled, I lay on the massage table as the masseuse was pressing in between my eyes with his thumbs. Relax. Just relax. Over and over again I was commanding myself to relax without any progress. Then, a quiet voice whispered in my head, “let go, and you will go deeper still.”

Until that moment I didn’t realize that my body, not just my brows, was tense and clenched as I was demanding my body to do  relaxation. The invitation I found was to let go, and simply be. With my next exhale I physically and metaphorically let go.

How we show up for one thing is how we show up for everything. We’re constantly putting demands on our bodies to “chill out,” “just relax” or “get over it.”  But, I wonder if there’s something we can learn in untraining ourselves from constantly doing and instead create space for letting go and simply being.

From the day we’re born we’re learning to balance this fight or flight response both physically and emotionally. Crossing the street, we halt when we hear a car peeling around the corner. Our body physically braces itself when we trip and fall to the ground. Emotionally, it happens too. That discernment or gut feeling we have when we walk into a room and our heightened senses tell us ‘”something isn’t right here,” “this isn’t safe, let’s go.”

In yoga, it’s taught that the physical manifestations of our fight or flight response — these emotions of trauma, stress, anxiety, and fear — are held in the hip area of our bodies, specifically in the psoas muscle. If your life seems riddled by fear, anxiety, endless to-do lists and stress, then chances are your hips are very tight.

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Not to mention, we are a chair-bound culture. Most of us are sitting in chairs at a computer for most of the day which further tightens and shortens the hip flexors and surrounding muscles.

Today we’re going to work on opening our hips to create a deeper release in our psoas muscles and encourage what we’ve been creating the past few weeks: stress relief.  This area of our body holds so much tension and protects our bodies, but as many of us with tight hips know, when our hips are tight it impacts the rest of our body, as well. We’re programmed to do, do, DO.  But the biggest challenge of hip openers is letting go. It’s much less about doing and so much more about being and surrendering.

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Let’s begin.

First start with our 15 minute stress relief warm-up.  After you’ve completed both Sun A’s and Sun B’s meet us in Downward Facing Dog.

  • From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and lift one leg and as you exhale, bend knee and open your hip. Stay for one 2 cycles of breaths.

  • As you exhale, place foot in between hands and spin back heel down, creating a 45 degree angle with the back foot. 

  • Find Warrior II, with hips open and front knee bent to 90 degrees if possible. If your hips are tight, find a wider stance with your legs. Stay for 5 breaths.

  • As you exhale, place hands on either side of your front foot and move through Chaturanga Dandasana - Upward Facing Dog as you inhale and Downward Facing Dog as you exhale. 

Repeat on other leg.

yoga.sarasota.tuttidelmonte

From Downward Facing Dog, place right foot outside right hand for Lizard Pose. Stay for 5 breaths. Option to lower back knee to the mat if you feel any discomfort. Keep your core engaged to prevent pelvis from sagging which can lead to low back injuries.

If possible, lower to your forearms and try both options with back leg, keeping the leg down on the mat with toes uncurled or tucking your toes, engaging the leg and lifting it off the mat. See what works best for your body. Stay for 5 breaths.

Walk your right foot toward your left hand and let the knee drop to the mat, preparing for Pigeon Pose. It's imperative to practice Pigeon Pose in excellent alignment, as poor alignment can lead to  many injuries. 

  • Pelvis should be in neutral position, with both hip points facing forward. If you're feeling tight or uncomfortable, prop yourself up with a cushion or blanket(s) under your right hip so your hips find a neutral point.  

  • Start with right foot close to your body (not pictured), with your heel touching your left hip. With practice and time, begin moving your foot forward to form a 90 degree angle with your shin (parallel to the short side of the mat). This angle greatly intensifies the lengthening of the piriformis muscle (outer hip), so move gently and give yourself time. 

  • Flex your right foot and press the outer edge of it into the ground, activating your outer hip. Try pressing your big toes into your palm so you can feel where the activation should be coming from.

  • Back leg is straight behind you with toes uncurled and relaxed. The top of your thigh, shin and foot are grounded on the floor. 

Once alignment is secured, slowly walk your hands forward until you’re completely folded over your right leg. Stay for 10-20 breaths.

To come out of Pigeon Pose, walk your hands toward your front shin, curl your back toes under, press into your hands and transition into Downward Facing Dog. Pedal out your feet as needed.

Repeat cycle of Lizard Pose to Pigeon Pose on left side. 

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Options / Variation for Pigeon Pose:

Pigeon Pose Variation: With right leg in front, bend left knee behind and reach for it with your left hand, encouraging your hips to stay as square as possible.

Mermaid Pose: If possible, let your left foot rest in the nook of your elbow crease. Extend your right arm overhead, maintain an energetic lift from your pelvic floor (Kegel muscles) and reach for your left hand. Stay for 5-10 breaths.

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose: In Pigeon Pose, continue sending your tailbone down and crown of the head up. Encourage your torso to lengthen by securing your hands on either side of your hips. Lift your right arm up, engage your core, bend your elbow and reach back for your flexed, right foot. Lengthen the crown of your head up and allow your neck to mindfully bend back to gaze behind you. Stay here or move forward by finding balance and stability without the support of the left hand on the ground. Send the left arm up and back so both elbows are pointing upwards and both hands are holding your right foot. Continue lifting from your pelvic floor to prevent collapsing into your low back (lumbar spine). Breathe and slowly release one hand at a time before bringing your neck to a neutral position.

Follow the same steps listed above when transitioning between sides. 

What’d you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you have any questions whatsoever, leave a comment and I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can!

With love,

Sara

/ / C R E D I T S / /

Photos by Sara Kerens

Yoga Bestie, Katherine Harris of The Refined Woman

T-shirts by Spiritual Gangster


Super High | The Feeling

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Bliss. That's what it feels like to me. 

Regardless of what you think I'm talking about, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Searching for, discovering it and getting high off it creates a deep indentation in your being that remembers, "Man, that feels good. I want to feel that again."

Moving my body, whether through yoga or a killer workout, is what brings me most bliss. 

Finding our passion, our high is one of the most sacred journeys we can take in this life. Whether it's yoga, surfing, painting, writing, singing, reading, math, astronomy or connecting with people, it's YOUR personal calling, regardless of whether you decide to pursue it professionally or not. Being aware of what makes your heart flutter and what makes your face smile is the first step in deciding to do it more - because it will bring you bliss, time and time again.

This immediately reminds me of a yoga festival I attended a few years ago. Wanderlust had built a huge wood deck at the very top of Stratton Mountain where several classes were held every single day of the festival. I got there a little early before class and was in awe with the view and the feeling of being that high up on the mountain. It was an outward representation of what I felt inside.

Practicing yoga and working out, breathing with awareness and intention gives me a feeling that I can only describe as euphoric - or high. And it's that exact feeling that I try to bottle up and carry with me wherever I go, in order to live a continuously joyful life. 

I invite you to look inside. Look deeply and don't be fearful of what comes up - our bliss has oftentimes been buried so deep that when we finally uncover it, we are faced with feelings of doubt and skepticism. That's when you take a step forward, and consciously decide to get high off your own bliss. Dig deep, it's there. 

With much love,

Sara

 

//

Event: Wanderlust Festival - Stratton, Vermont

The Human Charging Station

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It seems we’ve reached an almost-robotic era where events, airports and even our homes are equipped with “charging stations” to conveniently offer guests a complimentary recharge.

Have we really gotten there? To the point that a few hours of disconnect from the outside world seems unfathomable? Am I alone in battling the struggle for connecting to others through technology while still trying to resist its overuse?

The teeter-totter balancing act between the two is exhausting. Physically, I can immediately tell when it’s been too much. Days and weeks when I’ve been tech-heavy, writing articles, editing photos, posting to Instagram/ Pinterest/ Twitter, etc. I feel a clear line of stress from the muscles under my knuckles, through my forearms and up to the area where the nape of my neck meets my skull. Any gentle touch to any spot along that line would trigger a semi-painful response. Mentally, when I notice myself avoiding social interaction (read: “Netflix Movie Marathon”), I know it’s time to check myself into my very own “human charging station.”

I’m referring to my personal paradise where I don’t feel pressure to perform on any level nor do I judge myself for indulging in personal time. I have several charging stations that do the trick.

1. Yoga – whether you believe in lines of energy or not, there’s something to be said about the power that comes from grounding yourself through strengthening postures and feeling the earth under the palms of your hands. Not to mention the calming effect that spreads over me after doing yoga. In Spanish, we have a saying that literally says, “In the absence of bread, cracker,” and it basically states if you can’t have what you originally wanted (bread/ to live in a spa), then do what’s available (cracker/ yoga). Such a weird saying, but kinda cute, right? Ps. Puerto Ricans love carbs. If it’s not bread, then it better be a cracker, dammit!

2. Quality Time – Sometimes I just yearn for a nice cuddle sesh with friends or family. Throw a massage in there and I’m in heaven. Another QT favorite is going to sporting events. As boring as baseball may be to some, I love going to games! Brunch and dinner rendezvous are nice too ☺ I feel like I’m writing a dating profile. Enough about QT.

3. Nature – the scenery, the smells, the air and the general feeling of being in the right place. I try to find pockets of bliss (parks, beaches, trails, etc.) to get me away from technology and into a broader landscape.

Where are your personal charging stations? How often do you get yourself there?

Here’s my challenge to you:

Find your charging station.

Get to it before the end of next week and report back.

Happy Monday!

With love,

Sara

 

How Young Is Too Young To Be Sexy

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I had Lightroom open to a full gallery of images taken in Puerto Rico of the most beautiful girl in the world, my cousin Camila. I started doing what I usually do: select several pictures at a time and flag the best one. Flag, flag, flag, flag. They’re all so great; Camila is such a beauty! 

There are some where her face takes up the entire screen and I can see the innocence in her eyes. Then there are other images where there’s a bit more of a serious tone, almost to the point of them being sexy. I think she looks absolutely stunning in them, but then I remember she’s only 16 years old. Taking a moment to think of my fleeting thought made me want to write this post, because I feel like there’s such a gray area nowadays on not only what is sexy but also what’s the age of sexy?

I think we should rephrase the question and instead of asking ourselves how young is too young to be sexy we should ask ourselves what do we want that “sexy” to be.

Sexiness has little to do with clothing and a lot to do with being. As Mila's [favorite] older cousin who runs a boudoir photography business, I’m constantly asking myself if the content I produce would be something I’d be ok sharing with her, because if it isn’t, then I know it’s not the right type of work that boosts my vision for women.

To me, sexy should be related to these words,

  • Confidence

  • Strength

  • Uniqueness

  • Femininity

  • Power

Rather than these ones,

  • Sex

  • Promiscuity

  • Desperation

  • Revealing

  • Easy

I want Mila and her friends to know that being sexy is a way of being and not a way of dressing. I want her to know that it’s OK to embrace your femininity, as long as it’s with respect and dignity to yourself. I’m the first one to wear the smallest bikinis or post pictures of myself in lingerie, but I do it all with because they’re 100 percent ME – they’re never for attention or approval.

On my last trip to Puerto Rico, we had about 10 minutes to shoot this series. They mean so much to me because I see her at the cusp of becoming a young lady, still with an almost-tangible purity that’s held in her copper eyes.

Through these pictures, this post and all my future work, I hope to always be an example for her of what being a sexy woman really is about.

Tag or share with someone who inspires you to be sexy.

With love,

Sara

Yoga For Everyone | Part I | Darling Magazine

// This post was co-written with Katherine Harris for Darling Magazine. This is the first part in a 3-part series. Subscribe for upcoming yoga goodies! //

sarasota.photographer.delmonte.yoga

It's truly a blessing that I often get to combine my biggest passions - yoga and photography - and call it work. Yoga is a way to turn the lens around and take a look at what's going on inside, and no matter who you are or where you are in your practice, yoga is available.  

So when Darling Magazine wanted to offer its readers an accessible and short yoga flow that helped de-stress in a chaotic city like New York, we knew we were the gals for the job. When I say we, I'm referring to my best friend Katherine, from The Refined Woman. We're coming up on 4 years of knowing each other, but time has nothing to do with our love story. Kat and I come from very different backgrounds, but have somehow become women on a similar path - a path of self-awareness and constant dream chasing! 

When we’re in the same city, you'll often find us at any given park, with music & yoga pants on and breath moving up and down in unison. Regardless of the day's event, we come together and wipe our slates clean by one simple move: breathing.

I invite you to try this basic 15-minute yoga flow, prepared by Kat and myself, and experience what your body goes through. It's a perfect way to either start or end your day! 

I hope you give it a try and let us know what you think.

Namaste, loves.

With love always,

Sara

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Y O G A  F O R  E V E R Y O N E  B Y  T U T T I  +  K A T 

First, find child’s pose. Sit back on your heels, rest forehead on the ground. Relax your entire body, and start connecting with your breath.

Next, find a neutral spine on all fours. Begin moving with your breath. Inhale into cow pose, exhale to cat poseRepeat five times. (This simple movement warms up your spine, wrists and hips.)

From here, curl your toes under and press into downward facing dog. Make sure you press into your index finger and thumb to avoid dumping weight onto the outside of your wrist.

Cycle through five breaths in downward facing dog. Slowly walk to your hands. Bend knees as much as you need. Arrive into rag doll position. Hold onto opposite elbows, and if it feels good sway side to side.

Now, onto through Sun Salutations A + B.

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SUN SALUTATION A (3 times)

From rag doll, slowly roll all the way up, stacking one vertebrae over the next until you arrive and EXHALE in mountain pose.
INHALE, lift arms up, and gaze to your hands.
EXHALE, fold forward, release your neck.
INHALE, lift your torso halfway, gaze forward and widen your collarbone.
EXHALE, plant hands, step / hop back to chaturanga dandasana (if you can do a push up, you can do this!)
Bend elbows to 90 degrees and shift forward to upward facing dog as you INHALE.
EXHALE, downward facing dog.
Stay for five breaths.
Look forward, walk or jump to the top of your mat, INHALE, halfway lift.
EXHALE, fold forward.
INHALE, come to stand, raise your arms and look up.
EXHALE, mountain pose, arms by your side.

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SUN SALUTATION B* (3 times)

Make your way from downward facing dog to forward fold.

INHALE, chair pose, sit hips back and raise arms alongside your ears.
EXHALE, drop hands to the mat and straighten legs.
INHALE, halfway lift.
EXHALE, plant hands and step/jump back chaturanga dandasana.
INHALE, upward facing dog.
EXHALE, tuck toes, downward facing dog.
INHALE, raise right leg. Keep toes pointed toward the mat.
EXHALE, plant right foot in between hands, spin back heel down to 45 degrees (toes facing the top left corner of your mat).
INHALE, come to stand with arms alongside ears for warrior I (you’re doing it!).
EXHALE, plant hands to frame foot. Step back to plank, then lower halfway.
INHALE, upward facing dog
EXHALE, downward facing dog.

Repeat on left side.

Once you’ve completed the left side, breathe in downward facing dog.
Look forward, walk or jump to the top of your mat, INHALE, halfway lift.
EXHALE, fold forward.
INHALE, chair pose.
EXHALE, mountain pose.

Repeat complete cycle three times.

*Options for Sun Salutation B:

First Cycle: Add a lunge twist after warrior I, left hand down, pick up back heel, and twist toward raised right arm.

Second Cycle: Humble warrior I after warrior I, interlace hands behind back, bring torso inside bent leg and stretch shoulders. THEN release left hand down for lunge twist.

Third Cycle: Repeat above steps and add a side plank after lunge twist.

Finally, rest in child’s pose for five breaths.

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Come to all fours and neutral spine, INHALE, right arm up.

EXHALE, thread it under left arm. Rest on right shoulder. Stay for five breaths.
INHALE, press up to untwist and gaze up.
EXHALE, neutral spine.

Repeat on left side.

We’ll end with breath practice. Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and breathe.

INHALE for counts of four.
EXHALE for counts of seven.

Stay for three to five minutes, then slowly open your eyes, and smile.

Namaste, loves!

 

// C R E D I T S //

Photos Via: Sara Kerens

Yoga Bestie: Katherine Harris from The Refined Woman

Yoga T-Shirts: Spiritual Gangster

Yoga Mat: Jade Yoga

Time For Self-Care

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WHAT IS SELF-CARE?

I'll be honest with you: I don't have the answers. I only have experiences, reflections and lessons. Isn't that the way life works though? If we take a moment to step out of our own lives and allow ourselves to see the bigger picture, doesn't it all boil down to experiences and lessons?  

The main question I ask myself is, “How can I love myself well?” Self-care has become a coined term relating to practices that range from quietude to luxurious treatments, and although they’re all fair definitions for it, I want to include perhaps a new way for you to approach it.

It involves stepping outside our minds and entering our hearts. One of the most recent revelations I've had is that I want to be able to be as aware of my feelings and needs during times of joy as I am during times of stress. Self-care facilitates this transparency. It's the link between our hearts and our perspectives on life. That's where I think the gift of the precious present lies. The pot of gold. The edge of the rainbow.  

The ultimate lessons in self-care that I can pass on to you are this:

SELF-CARE IS FUN

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. - Dr. Seuss

A life of leisure in my everyday life is what I strive for. These are some of my favorite spontaneous practices: middle-of-the-day DIY face scrubs and masks, extra essential oil drops on my skin to feel like a goddess, long walks through the plant store while listening to my favorite music, gym time, reading all kinds of books that enlighten and inspire me, signing up for that class I've been wanting to take, etc. Thinking of "normal" activities as luxurious ones or even switching the time of day I enjoy them adds an element of fun and playfulness to my self-care routines. In addition, taking a leisurely approach to my day immediately adds the illusion of time to my life, which makes me more prone to notice, acknowledge and perhaps even smile to the person next to me. This is one of the truest benefits from practicing self-care: when we care for our internal selves we're better able to externalize feelings of peace, compassion and love to the world around us.

SELF-CARE IS QUIET

Silence is the quickest avenue to our soul. In quietude, we face ourselves, our feelings, our lacks, our desires, our questions and our dreams. I find that each day is different when it comes to sitting quietly. Sometimes I'm in the zone for twenty minutes straight and other times it's a huge struggle to stay still for two minutes. It's always telling of what's underneath the surface of course. I've experienced enough of the bliss that happens when I push through the chatter and arrive to my inner peaceful place to know that it's worth pushing through. Bliss, my loves. BLISS. If you're willing, I encourage you to check out these apps. I use them either at home in the mornings, in bed at night, or sometimes while I’m nursing and Levi drifts to sleep. Make this experience your own and don't overthink it. In yoga, it's said that a still body will facilitate a still mind, but just remember that the goal isn't to quiet the mind completely, it's to slow it down enough for you to see what's there, without judgement. These are my favorite meditation apps:

  • Calm

  • Headspace

  • Mindfulness

  • Stop, Breathe & Think

They each have free + premium options. I usually just choose a free one and it does the trick! 

I hope you enjoy this approach to self-care. I'd love to hear about your journey as you incorporate some of these or maybe even come up with ones that your heart is yearning for! I find that taking a step back from our busy lives, listening to our hearts and honoring what it needs always brings a sacred perspective to our days and lives. 

Sending you all love,

Sara