Indigo30 DAY 20: Ten days left. Time to prepare for the real world.

image.pngOkay people, we are nearing week 3. You have ten days to go. We’ve had our few days of not feeling great, we are now on the mend. Now it’s time to RALLY! The Whole30 Day by Day makes a great point on Day 20: “While ten days to go can be an exciting prospect, Day 20 is a reminder that you only have ten days left. Which might lead to, ‘I’m not there yet.'”

Ah yes, a daunting thought for sure. Perhaps you’re either wondering if you will achieve certain goals or still worried you won’t figure it all out. Maybe you’ve had experiences in the past with roller coaster diets that you crash on and rebound after. So that cycle might feel like a prospect to you and that is, of course bothersome. But the reason we have invested so much time in educating you is to help you realize that you now have tools that will last you, well, forever if you want. Like it or not, you know stuff about food now. And you know stuff about yoga. You know that the two together are possibly the two very best things — sustainable things — that you can do for your health. So no matter what Day 31 brings for you, you have tools in your pocket that no one and nothing can take away. Not even your dastardly SCALE.

You may also be starting to think about how you will maintain after Day 30; many of you are already planning to keep going. Or, you might actually have some stress around the idea — I usually hear something like this from participants: “I don’t want to blow everything I’ve worked so hard for, but I’m not sure how to maintain this pace, this diet, this much yoga and this lifestyle — in more moderation.”

These are fair concerns. And the short answer is: with a plan.

I was asked recently if I was going to do a follow-up on the habit blog… a follow-up that included some thoughts about how to sustain a habit after creating it. You have learned about the structure of a habit; how it starts, that it needs a cue, a routine and a reward. Once you have the habit formed, your brain lets that habit ride on auto pilot while it moves on to other things. You know how you can run up a flight of stairs after you take the first few steps without even thinking about it? Or how you can back your car out of your driveway without hardly any deliberate thought? That’s a habit. Those are acts of will that are so ingrained that they take very little presence and almost no deliberation. You’re not quite in the stage of transformation where you no longer have cravings or you don’t have to think about how to structure your day. You’re probably not quite there yet with your diet and yoga, but you are laying very solid groundwork. Now, you are likely asking, when will this willpower become automatic? What if my old habits start creeping back?

“The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits, and so if you have a bad one, it’s always lurking there, waiting for the right cues and image.pngrewards,” says Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit. “Without habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life.” So they are actually a good thing, if they are a good thing. And, you’ve created a lot of additional good habits. The question is, how do we sustain them and not let the old ones come back?

One of the keystone good habits of success is a little thing called willpower. Willpower is not only a keystone, but a necessity for sustaining good habits.

Now you may be thinking — if I need willpower to create a habit (i.e., I  need discipline to get to my mat every day) and I need a habit to create willpower (i.e., I need to get to my mat every day to feel strong enough to build up my willpower) — which comes first? Duhigg suggests this answer to the riddle: Make the willpower itself, the habit. “Sometimes it looks like people with great self-control aren’t working hard — but that’s because they’ve made it automatic,” Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania researcher says. “Their willpower occurs without them having to think about it.”

One of the first things you can do to prepare for “moments of weakness,” when you are no longer in the protective arms of your Indigo30 team, is get clear about what those scenarios might look like. I’m willing to bet that for the most part, you all are doing the program really well most of the time. And, I’m willing to bet that the times that you falter, weaken or even fall off the wagon are times when you are stressed, squeezed emotionally, pressured, uncertain or under duress. It’s in those times that willpower seems to evaporate. What is needed to strengthen the willpower in times of strain is… a plan.

Call it an exit plan, an emergency plan, or even a contingency plan, almost every company, building, or event has a plan in case things break down or get out of hand. It’s interesting that humans don’t have these kinds of standard operating procedures. (I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we all came with manuals?) Call it a 911 plan or call it a routine, it’s something we can call on and follow when our willpower loses its steam and when the ice starts cracking under our feet. We need something to help us not crack with it.

But here’s the thing. It’s not a quick fix. It’s something you have to practice. Your backup plan for when (not if, but when) you start to crack under pressure is something you have to practice and make a routine. You have to determine right now, on Day 20, what that plan is going to be, and start practicing it now… not on Day 31, but today, so that you are ready when the shit hits the fan. Because when the shit hits the fan, it’s not going to wait for you to practice your response. Your main job, from today forward, is to create a new habit loop of willpower that will be automatic after Day 30.

One willpower habit loop you all already have is your small group (if you are engaging with them. If you are not, then you have not created a habit loop of accountability.) So after Day 30, you will likely keep up communication, especially when you hit rough patches. This routine of checking in with one or all members of your group will re-invigorate your willpower. You just don’t realize it’s already happening. So going forward, you can say to yourself, “When I find myself skipping yoga for more than 2-3 days, my plan is to … (check in with my group/make a yoga date with one of my group pals/etc.) You are already doing it. Your work now is to keep the habit loop alive.

It would be beneficial for you to determine which parts of the Indigo30 you want to sustain once the program is officially over. After you have that written down, make a list of situations that you think would throw you off — they don’t have to be unpleasant, necessarily — scheduling, travel, social situations — aren’t negative, but they absolutely have the capacity to disrupt a positive habit loop. Work through these scenarios (role play) with your family and friends (and small group) so they don’t just live in your journal or in your head.

“This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives,” says Duhigg. The better you get at recognizing what will trigger, the more you can ready your plan. And before you know it, you will be communicating with your pals about going to yoga together without actually consciously thinking through how you are trying to get back on track. It will just happen because it’s a bona fide habit.

Friends, you have all the control in the world over what you eat and how you take care of yourself. You have choices that millions of people do not. Take these small lessons, the ones that arrive on your Facebook feed each morning, the ones that your leaders are sharing with you because they love you, and all the little tidbits in between, and take action. Do something amazing with the insight and education you are being given, that I believe is being channeled through me and your other teachers, to help you be the very best version of you. Don’t take it for granted and please don’t let the small things trip you up. You are too grand, too wise, and too informed to let that happen.

Now start planning. You only have ten days left.

image.png

B

Indigo30 DAY 19: Why do I feel terrible?

One of the reasons I decided to write this blog day by day instead of pre-writing them and just doling them out like a Vegas dealer was because I wanted to be right in the pressure cooker with you. Also, I thought, what if I have a topic planned and that’s not what is actually happening for everyone at that time? Well, the topic that was sort-of planned, (my attempt at at least a loose outline), was about buying local produce and meats. Sort of interesting. Not really. And not what’s actually happening right now.

What’s happening right now is that a good handful of you just plain don’t feel good. I know this because you’re telling me. And because (ahem) I don’t feel good either. Your body is hurting, you have stomachaches, you’re feeling flu-ish. And your wrestling with not only what to do about it but a genuine frustration about feeling sabotaged by the universal forces when you’re 1- working really hard and 2- starting to near the end and 3- you want to go out strong.image.png

“Should I keep eating like this while my stomach is a rumbling mess?”

“I’m sure I’m coming down with something. Should I go to yoga anyway and just lay there (because I really want my star.)”

“I feel bloated and fat. What gives?”

“My shoulder and elbow are angry and have sharp pain. Isn’t the inflammation supposed to have subsided by now instead of flaring up?”

“I have so much gas. I’m about to kill the all people around me from toxic fume inhalation.”

First of all, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you may feel worse before you feel better. Think of a fever and how it sometimes runs its course — you think you’re getting sick, you feel better and think you’ve triumphed, and then it comes back around and just kicks your butt. and it kicks it hard until all the infection is finally gone. Well, that’s what’s happening right now.

Second, just as a disclaimer, please do not come to the/a yoga studio if you are genuinely sick and get other people sick. Doing that just to get a star will get your ass kicked in a different way.

Third, and this is the moment of truth – be mindful about what’s happening. Stop the brain racing and get present…

Your body is still adapting and cleaning. That’s why you feel badly.

Or

You ate something off-program and your body is reacting.

Or

You’re just looking for a way out or someone to give you permission for a way out.

Or

You can still go to yoga, but you need to dial the intensity down.

And, on top of feeling badly and one of the above things is occurring, maybe this is also happening …

The frustration, the worry, the guilt and the runaway thoughts of being a little under the weather or a little achy and the consideration skipping yoga is outweighing the innocuous actuality of just going and doing what feels ok and resting in savasana the rest of the time.

You have to decide between the two stressors – the guilt of going and not doing as much or the guilt of not going. Or… just go to yoga and do what you can. Don’t be so dramatic about it.image.png

Also stop and consider that taking 1-2 days off amidst 30 because the flu has taken you down is not unreasonable. It’s SAFE.

Rethink what you are going through. Reconsider what’s actually happening versus what you think should be happening.

General discomfort

As I said earlier, it’s not uncommon on or around days 18-21 to feel terrible. It’s a mind trick for sure, but it’s normal. Here are some fairly easy remedies if you’re not up to par right now:

Digestive distress (gas, bloating, cramping): try some peppermint gels (watch ingredients, some have soybean oil) and digestive enzymes. Limit fibrous foods like broccoli, dried fruit and nuts. Increase good fat intake. Sprouts has a peppermint sparkling water (Crystal Geyser) that I pretty much live on. I am not sure it helps the bloat but the taste makes me feel like it does. And also peppermint tea, which, when I am a grandma, I am going to tell my grandkids cures everything.

Headache: Hydrate and supplement your hydration with electrolyte replenishment. Get more sleep. It may be stress, it may also be allergies. See if you can’t identify the trigger.

Joint and muscle aches: Epsom salt baths, Doterra Deep Blue Rub & oil, cold compress, massage, cryotherapy. Your place is in the Vinyasa-Restorative class for a few days unless you can honestly turn your practice dial down until you’ve recovered some.

Flu-like symptoms: Hydrate, rest and a potential trip to the doc — there’s a bunch of kid funk going around and that s–t doesn’t play.

Fatigue: Obviously rest. But sometimes, getting back on your mat is the cure needed to fight the fatigue, especially if you have a tendency to talk yourself into being tired.

image.png

All in all, please try to be patient with yourself. Stop, take some inventory. Get clear on what’s actually happening and try not to immediately dwell on how this “setback” means failure. Quite frankly, I’d be concerned if some of this stuff wasn’t happening to you, because if you’re really working the program, it’s inevitable. I’m going through it too, I promise. I feel like checking the “all of the above” box. So I know I need to back off a little, drink more water and get some better rest. Here’s an exercise: Even for just a day, redefine your definition of failure — make it mean not trying at all and being a judgy jerk to those who do! That is a good definition of failure, I think!

In the comments below, tell me and your comrades how you’re feeling. Sometimes hearing from others helps us realize everything is normal, we are not alone and especially that “everyone else” isn’t doing a gazillion times better at things than we are.

I love you guys. I’m so super proud of you. Keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 18: Leadership

image.pngI started a new session of teacher training tonight. For most people, that doesn’t mean a whole lot because they don’t really know what it even is (I mean, most people are rather perplexed about what I do for a living in the first place, but when I try to explain that I train teachers to teach yoga, everything gets real foggy.)  Most just think I’m teaching people how to do yoga poses. Which is about 3% true. The rest, what I actually teach and train teachers to do, is actually compilation of my life’s study and work (so far.) Somehow, I have documented and organized what I think is the most effective content and curriculum for training a teacher in a local environment, to be successful, inspiring, confident, and most of all, real not only in a yoga class room but in all of life. Over the course of the last two decades in this profession, I have fallen on my face many times. I have made thousands of mistakes.  There is no training manual for how to run a yoga studio or create a yoga school. There isn’t a course in college dedicated to educating yoga teachers AND training them to publicly teach in live classrooms of upwards of 100 people. And despite the many online offerings on “how to grow your yoga business,” no one is preparing brand new, budding teachers for the rigors of dealing with payroll taxes and HR issues, much less scaling the business to be able to offer things like benefits and PTO. And that’s saying nothing of keeping a team of teachers and employees happy and teaching with accuracy, consistency and a compelling delivery. This little tiny tributary of modern business is unchartered territory. Anyone who is blazing this trail is going in absolutely blind. And they better have grit and resolve the likes of a superhero, because when you have no guide, no map, you are going to get lost. A lot.

I used to make a fairly self-deprecating joke that I could write a book about all the things not to do as a yoga studio owner and yoga teacher. Only because I felt like I had made every mistake possible.

And then, one day I had a massive realization. I can’t recall the impetus or the trigger, but I realized a very simple truth: that I chose everything that has occurred in my life. image.pngEven the things that I suppose one could argue I didn’t choose, I still believe that I chose all of the things that led up to said “no-choice circumstance” that somehow got me in that situation in the first place. I also chose all of my reactions, all of my lamentations, all of my moments of victimization, regret, and lack of better, more thought out judgment. No matter what happened to me, I was suddenly finding myself pausing and dissecting where in the chain of circumstances I decided to start blaming someone else for misfortunes. When I figured out where and when that happened, I backtracked, and started owning it as my own. And suddenly, my dialogue changed. It was no longer a conversation of self-deprecation around having made every mistake possible. It was one of respect for every mistake made and a greater respect for catching myself sooner, and more quickly before making more. The key insight: it was all my choice.

Tonight, as I closed my class, my affable, everyday self  stepped aside in the last 45 minutes while the leader took over. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize this leader, she is so powerful and unwavering. And I know why: she believes and lives what she says and stands by it in the face of all adversity. This leader stood in front of 20 brand new and seasoned teachers alike and said something like this:

“I have a terrible flaw. It’s one of those good/bad flaws. It took me a long while to see the pitfalls of it. This flaw is one of seeing the potential and everyone. This risky flaw is that I believe in people more than they believe in themselves. Where some people see lack, I see possibility. The problem with this is that when I believe in someone, there can be an inherent pressure that is placed upon them. My intention of course is to only hold them up and show them how much potential they have. But what can sometimes happen is my belief in them puts so much pressure on them that they give up because they are afraid to let me down. Even though they couldn’t. Fear of failure outweighs the possibility of success. And sometimes, they simply don’t want the pressure. They get squeezed to be better, and they want out.

I get that. And, you (you new teachers in training) — you signed up for this. You paid money, applied, gathered references, completely rearranged your schedule, and put your heart on the line, voluntarily. You, by your own will (no one was forcing you, were they?) signed up to be under my guidance for the next 10 weeks. To do anything short of pushing you to your best would not only be an insult to you but and insult to all who came before you and did the work. So I am going to push you. And I’m going to coach you, and walk with you all the way to the end, so when you graduate from this school, you are so confident and so powerful in who you are, the world around you will never be the same.”

And I meant every word that I said. Why am I telling you this? Because your journey with the Indigo30 is really no different. You volunteered to be a part of this program, and in so doing, you gave me the responsibility to guide you. You are not doing the world any favors by sitting on the sidelines. You are not doing the people in your community or your family any favors by sabotaging your health with poor food choices and lack of movement and nourishing your stress by overworking or overcommitting. So if for any reason you think that you have, “had enough,” or, “that this is a waste of time,” or that “18 days is probably enough,” I will tell you right now, it’s time to step up to the plate and lead.image.png

Lead your family.

Lead your school.

Lead your parents.

Lead your church group, your children, your friends.

Show them what strength and discipline and self respect look like by staying the course and truly living — not just “doing” — but BEING a whole, healthy, authentic, example of self-love. There is more to all of this than just losing a few pounds and getting a new Vitamix. You are now a leader of health. Own it.

(Originally, I was just going to talk to you about cool gadgets tonight…)

Keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 17: I30 Favorite Finds, A-Z, Vol. 1

The prep, the launch, the new routines. The tough days, the rough days, the smooth and effortless days. The dreams, the conversations, the ideas, the frustrations. Everything about this program swings the pendulum, with the ultimate goal on Day 31 for the scale to balance itself right in the middle. For many days now, I’ve fire-hosed you with information that for some, was thought provoking to say the least, but probably life altering in some cases. So let the pedals of enlightenment stop spinning for a few miles so we can coast amidst some lighter topics.

I used to have an Instagram page with my BFF called “Favorite Finds.” We had so much fun with that thing, basically just posting up anything we loved from mascara to travel gear to smoothies to sunscreen. So today, I thought I’d give you I30 Favorite Finds Vol. 1. Which of course means there will likely be subsequent follow ups! It feels a little like opening Pandora’s Box for me, because even the thought of listing a few things fills me with overwhelm because THERE IS SO MUCH TO SHARE AND HOW WILL I EVER SHARE IT ALL … (gnash). But, here goes!

Favorite APPLE

Honeycrisp! Always the Honeycrisp. Slice thick and smear with almond butter and date paste. Of course alone is thoroughly enjoyable. The king of all apples.

Favorite BLEND AT LOCAL JUICE BARS
  • Juice Junkies – Good Vibes, no sugar/add maca & the White Rabbit, no sugar/extra almond butter
  • Clean Juice – The Chocolate One, hemp protein, sub out maple syrup for date paste
  • Boulevard of Greens – Beale Street, sub out peanut butter for almond butter
  • Central Market – Superchargedimage
Favorite COCOA POWDER
Guittard’s Cocoa Rouge
and…
Dreamy Avocado Dressing (from It Starts With Food)
1/2 large avocado
1 T. lime juice
1/4 C. homemade mayo (see recipe in the Whole30 book
1 T. fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
2 T. water
Salt & Pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree to desired consistency, adding additional water 1 T. at a time, if necessary. Allow flavors to meld for 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Favorite DRESSING
Thai-Inspired Chili Coconut Milk Dressing (www.yummly.com)
1/2 C. coconut milk
1/4 C. cilantro (chopped, coriander leaves)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 chile (seeded and chopped)
(I know, I have two D’s. Couldn’t resist.)
Favorite EPSOM SALT
Sprout’s Brand – “Muscle Soak”
Favorite FAST FOOD
Zoe’s Kitchen Cauliflower Bowl with Harissa Salmon (no tzatziki or bread)
Snappy Salads Create Your Own Bowl
image
Favorite GADGET
Pampered Chef Food Chopper. Best, most-used gadget I have ever had in my whole cooking life. I got it as a wedding gift IN 1997 for crying out loud. Use it once a week at least. BEST EVER.
Favorite HERBS
Basil and Peppermint. In all the things. All the time. Maybe not together, but otherwise, everywhere.
Favorite INSTAGRAMMERS
nomnompaleo
wholesmiths
pinchofyum
wholekitchensink
nocrumbsleft
tessamaes
mysweetroots
healthylittlepeach
dailypaleomag
mypaleokitchen
whole30recipes
Favorite JUICE
Central Market’s fresh pressed Apple, Lemon & Ginger.
Kimberly Snyder’s GLOWING GREEN SMOOTHIE (especially good when diluted with Central Market’s fresh pressed Apple, Lemon & Ginger!)
PS: I love her.
Favorite KALE SALAD
Del Frisco’s Grille – Brussels Sprouts & Kale, add salmon, no cheese, sub evoo for dressing
Pacific Table – Little Kale Salad, sub evoo for dressing
Favorite LULULEMON GEAR
Midrise Wunder Under Crop
Cool Racerback
Love Tee, Tanks, anything Love fabric
Scuba Hoodie
Studio Pant
Double Up Pouch
Favorite MARINARA SAUCE
Rao’s Marinara. A tad on the spendy side but SO WORTH IT.
Favorite NON-YOGA EXERCISE
Pilates with Jayme McCoy at Body By Pilates
Favorite OUTDOOR YOGA VENUE
The Trailhead at Clearfork, every Saturday morning at 9am!
Favorite PESTO RECIPE
Whole30 recipe (Whole30 Book, adapted a tad by yours truly)
1/4 C. walnuts
1/4 C. pinenuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 C. packed fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 C. evoo
Salt & Pepper
Heat in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add walnuts and pine nuts in a single layer and stir or shake frequently until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Combine the nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the basil and spinach and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add lemon juice. While mixing at a low speed, add the evoo in a slow stream until all the ingredients are fully blended. Add salt and pepper and pulse a few times to combine. Store in fridge up to 2-3 days, or freeze in ice cube trays.
Favorite QUESO
HG queso (made with cashews) at HG Supply – sub fresh veggies for chips. I also hear Siete has a great packaged Cashew Queso new on the shelves!
Favorite RESTAURANTS FOR W30
Righteous Foods (local)
Zoe’s Kitchen (national)
Pacific Table (local)
Press Cafe (local)
Snappy Salads (national)
Pret a Manger (international)
Favorite SNACK
Chomps Meat Sticks
Handful of Olives (Trader Joes)
Dried Mangoes (Central Market)
Rx Vanilla Almond Butter
Tajin Almonds
Matt’s Munchies
Sliced English Cucumbers
Berries with melted Coconut Manna
Chia Pudding
Blanched Sugar Snap Peas
Favorite TEA
Teavana if you want fancy.
Pure Leaf Herbal Mint. Best flavor, organza bag, best price.
David’s Deep Blue Spirulina Tea — okay I haven’t tried but I’M DYING TO!
Favorite UTENSIL
Handheld Lemon Squeezer – I use this thing almost every day. You must have.
Favorite VANILLA
Wilderness Poets Pure Vanilla Powder — so great in chia puddings, coffee, over sweet potatoes or baked peaches/apples.
image
Favorite WHOLE30 RECIPE
Grilled Coconut-Curry Chicken (Whole30 Book pgs. 230-231) – This is my #2 FAVORITE W30 RECIPE OF ALL TIME. Pair with cauliflower rice and a green salad with the Thai-Inspired fav dressing above!
Favorite X
Sorry guys, I got nothin.
Favorite YOGA MAT
Lululemon’s “The Mat.” It has great grip and it’s well-padded. The bad news: if you use it regularly, it will wear out in about a year or at least start smelling real bad. Opponents of the Mat love the Manduka Pro or Prolite, which has moderate grip (I slip all over it) but it will last a lifetime, literally. Those mats never wear out and they don’t retain sweat or stink.
Favorite ZUCCHINI RECIPE
Paleo Pizza Noodles — This is my #1 FAVORITE W30 RECIPE OF ALL TIME. Replace the pepperoni with Applegate Farms Prosciutto.

image

Okay, my friends. A part of my soul is now yours. Enjoy the new fav finds!

Happy Day 17!

Keep Going,

B

Indigo30 DAY 16: TIGER BLOOD

Last night I had crazy dreams. Three of them right in a row. Like they were so out there that I had to call my friend, Morgan, this morning and explain just to laugh at how wild they were! (She said she just had a dream where she was sitting alone on a chair all by herself eating Cheetos for like 45 minutes). My first dream, of course, was my monthly standard, the — running massively late and can’t find clothes, haven’t showered and can’t find the location of where everyone in my life is waiting for me — dream, the next was one I was at a huge haunted house party where Beto O’Rourke was speaking (that one was cool), and the last, not surprisingly, was one where I was traveling with my friend Melinda, and she was buying me tons of candy and cakes and I felt badly so I ate it all! And I was almost in tears because I was so sad to ruin my program! HAHAHAHA

And then, when I went to do some research for today’s blog, the first sentence was:
“Nearly all Whole30ers report at least one dream when you’re going to town on non-compliant food. Sometimes, it’s food you’d never eat in real life. Often, you wake up feeling guilty, embarrassed, or disappointed in yourself.”

Well Morgan and I are clearly right on track. And I’m sure many of you are having crazy dreams too. I like to think that finally, my brain is clean and clear of fog and funk, and it’s running so sharply that my creativity is blowing up, and my dreams are going from hazy recollections to genius hallucinations. But what’s likely happening (I like my version better) is that we are all so preoccupied with food for the last 2 weeks that even our dreams are changing.

Tiger blood, if you haven’t heard of it before, is, uh, well, the blood that runs through a tiger. So when you are feeling really strong like the baddest cat in the kingdom, you feel like you have tiger blood. Also, it was a phrase our good friend and stellar role model Charlie Sheen th.jpegcoined (kidding of course/eye roll)… when he told the Today show’s Jeff Rossen that he had “tiger blood” and that it makes him impervious to addiction. I need to keep my mouth shut on this one, so I’ll stop here. Just wanted you to know where the term came from. Whole30 picked it up and luckily it now has a much better connotation: That you feel AWESOME. In all fairness, Sheen did also say, “I’m different. I have a different constitution. I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.”

In other words, it’s a leveling-up.

So in the spirit of keeping on keeping on, let’s consider a few ways we can go from here to the next step. When you started, you were at one level. Now you have taken a few steps up, and are for sure ready to refine even more.

  • If you are sleeping well, more soundly, falling asleep faster, waking up less and waking up rested, perhaps you can now …
    • charge your device in the kitchen instead of on your bed table
    • read before bed instead of watch TV
    • go to be 30 minutes earlier, and wake 30 minutes earlier, having a goal of 9/9:30pm sleep time.
    • buy yourself some silk pillow cases as a reward (they are so much better for your hair and skin! Look it up!)
  • If your energy is better than it was pre-Indigo30, perhaps you can now…
    • organize something that has been in disarray for months
    • walk the dogs/walk with a friend/walk alone! — once a day (even for 10 minutes; everyone has 10 minutes…)
    • write some hand-written notes (I know, novel idea) to friends or family you haven’t seen in a while
  • If you’ve noticed your yoga practice is changing, that you’ve gotten stronger, perhaps you can now … lionheart logo
    • SIGN UP FOR TEACHER TRAINING!
    • try handstand hops!
    • move closer to the hotbox!
    • do a two-a-day!
    • sign up for a fun workshop
  • If you’ve noticed that your shopping and cooking habits have become more streamlined, efficient and yet still creative, perhaps you can now …
    • cook for friends
    • experiment with children’s favorite food items to make them W30 compliant
    • take a cooking class with a W30 lens for adaptation/modification
    • budget your shopping
  • If you’ve noticed that your will is ironclad and your discipline is unwavering, perhaps you can now…
    • socialize without feeling the need to drink or indulge
    • say “No, thank you” without feeling the need to please
    • ask for what you want and need
  • If you’ve noticed your clothes are fitting differently, perhaps you can now…
    • concede that you don’t need to know your weight to know you’ve lost weight, or probably more accurately — lost inches.
    • give the ones that are too big away … because you are NOT going backwards!
  • If you’ve notice that you just feel happier, perhaps you can now …
    • show interest in others — genuinely. Ask how they are, listen to what they have to say, try not to just talk about you and your endeavors. Be a true good listener, interested in others’ lives
    • do something playful!
    • set a new goal!
    • go dancing!
    • write that book!
    • hug your kids more! kiss their faces a thousand times!
    • buy yourself flowers!

The Science of Tiger Blood

People will only do stuff blindly for so long. Then, they want to know the why. So let’s take just a minute and look at the physiology of what’s happening as of Day 15.

It would be great if we could all peacefully live by the idea of “everything in moderation.” The problem is that our brains need certainty, especially when trying something new or eliminating something that has a hold on us. Even though the Indigo30 is a big, radical change, it actually ends up being an easier path for the brain. Why? Because it narrows decisions down to six things: no sugar, no alcohol, no grains, no dairy, no legumes and yoga every day. Boom. Just like that, it has its boundaries, and even though it seems hard a first, with a little time, our brains are relieved they don’t have to make so many decisions. When it’s faced with too many options, it tends to go back to what it’s always done because that is the path of least resistance. So every decision (should I eat a granola bar, should I fit in and have a cocktail, should I skip yoga and watch Game of Thrones, should I choose an apple or a cookie?) creates more and more uncertainty. Too much uncertainty means a default to old habits — you just go into a state of overwhelm, and soon thereafter, the give ups. The Indigo30 gives you a rock-solid plan so you can be certain of what to do next. That makes for a happy brain.

This healthy happy brain is not to be confused with the “happy brain” you used to get image.pngfrom sugar, alcohol and processed foods. That is fake happy. Your brain still gets the stimuli and even a reward, but they are empty. This keeps you hooked on a sensation that isn’t even very real, but imposter flavors and experiences. When you take these imposters out, your brain chemistry (and obviously your taste buds) get to reset and taste reality. The result? Real food will taste more flavorful, fake food will taste almost sickeningly sweet.

Your body: fat is now fuel. For a very long time, sugar has been your fuel source, not fat. That is because that is what you gave it (sugar). The body can only efficiently use one fuel source at a time, so when sugar is plenty, that’s what it’s going to use. So fat just sits there and accumulates. Now, since you are sugar-free, your body is going, hey wait a minute …. and it’s slowly adapting to the change. Now you are increasing fat-digesting enzymes and even the mitochondria (the energy cells) are getting re-trained on how to work and burn fat.

Your gut: in repair. Your poor gut, omg. It was trying so hard, and you just kept putting trash in it. It was beat up, burned up, chemically damaged and … inflamed. If you had any of this, the chances of leaky gut were high, and because the lining of your small intestine became porous, stuff went where it wasn’t supposed to. And that resulted in other things in your body (joints, skin, muscles, etc.) to hurt. Your body is so smart that typically, any kind of perforations heal quickly – but you can only beat something up so many times before it can’t mend. Now that those food bullies are out of your diet for good, your gut is healing itself. The one layer of cells in your intestinal lining is being rebuilt and keeping bad stuff like viruses and bacteria out.

image.png

________

So much happening. In just 2 weeks. It’s truly remarkable, that after years and decades of poor food, stress and perhaps lack of good, healthy exercise, your body can do all this repair in just 14 days. All in all, you are crushing it. Do not give up. Do not relent to rewarding yourself with an off-program treat. Do not cave to the crave. Let the tiger blood pump through your veins! Do not cash in your chips. Each day you stay in the game, your chips exponentially multiply.

Keep. GOING.

Love to all.

B

Indigo30 DAY 15: HALFWAY THERE! What to expect, what not to expect.

Expectations are a darn tricky thing. In fact, there have been thousands of moments in my life where I realized the only thing that was causing my suffering was an expectation I had of something or someone. And being brutally honest, the expectation was usually unreasonable. And yet, how does one set goals without having expectations? I mean, even just logistic expectations? “I have a goal of completing the Indigo30. If I do 30 days of yoga and follow the nutritional standards of the Whole30, Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 10.05.14 PMI expect to feel great at the end of the program.” Not unreasonable. It’s when we inflate a reasonable expectation with something that’s irrational. Maybe for a few days, you could think about expectations like math (I seem to equate (haha) so many things with math these days, but damn it’s logical!) — listen, everyone knows that 1 + 1 = 2. “If I eat an apple, (1) and I add raw almond butter (+1) I can be sure that I had a healthy, compliant, nutritious snack (=2).” The facts equal the outcome. There are no variables or unknowns.

It’s when we do this: If I do yoga (1) and eat Whole30 (+1), I should lose 10 pounds by Day 15.”  Wait, what? That didn’t even factor in any variable (body composition, fat to muscle ratio, how many other and what kind of calories you’re eating, how hard you are working in class, if you are losing fat but gaining muscle, or even if you had any real weight to lose in the first place …?)  Do you see how easily we can create stories and unreasonable expectations? And it’s happening in your sweet little brain and therefore in your surroundings ALL DAY EVERY DAY. With your spouse, with your children, with your colleagues, with where you are in life, even with strangers in the car in front of you, expecting them to behave exactly like you need them to so that they keep your life moving at the pace you think it needs to move: “<<HONK>> WHY IS HE JUST SITTING THERE AT THIS LIGHT! <<HONNNNK>> GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE YOU _______!!” (Meanwhile, who knows but what this man in front of you just lost his wife to cancer and put his head down to cry at the stoplight.) You know it possible. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.

I’m serious you guys, your expectations are unreasonable. And wherever they sit with this program right now, I want you to do a very serious real-talk check in. Because if you’ve even followed the program 80-90%, your body is absolutely, positively changing somehow, even if its minor because 80-90% effort is 80-90% better than 0% effort. You’re likely sleeping better, your skin is likely clearing, your eyes are probably brighter, and no matter what, because I’ve thrown about a million things at you, one noodle is going to stick on the wall that you will remember, so admit it or not, you have also learned something.

Now I don’t want to discount the potential feeling of discouragement or overwhelmment. I know it’s real. I know the benefits everyone raves about are so coveted that you want them all and want them now. And some have them already. But for others of you, you have to stay the course. Your math equation has way, way different variables than your fellow team member. Your expectation of how something “should” be or “is supposed to be” could very well be the thing that’s holding you back. It usually is.

Today I realized that I’ve cared more about what I weigh than the true health of my body. I understand now that if this doesn’t change, I will never lose all the weight that I need to. This is my goal for these 30 days: changing my mindset and changing my life.” — Sara K., Whole30 Day by Day

What’s Actually Happening

During week three (can you believe it?!) you are still adapting. You have a groove, for image.pngsure. I like to think of the ego right now sitting in time out with it’s arms tightly crossed, smirk on its face, just tapping it’s foot, plotting. Like it’s saying, “Okay fine. I’ll let her do her ‘Indigo30 thing’ (in a snarky tone with and eye-roll and air quotes). She will be back. And when she is, we are going back to how it used to be, when I was in charge of her decisions and self-worth. And I will entice her by reminding her that she deserves that glass of wine and coconut cream pie, and everyone around her is WRONG.”

No, we aren’t going to let that happen. Ego may be sitting there tapping its foot, but the truth is, it’s hanging on for dear life. It knows its days are numbered now that you have control over your health. It may deliver some sucker punches as it tries to claw its way back — like cravings, negative self-talk or making you question yourself. But you have the tools now: phone a friend and get to your mat. STAT.

Now as long as I am ranting about reasonable expectations and being real with how things actually are versus the story, I think it’s good to address this question: What if, after these two weeks, you haven’t noticed much happening? Nothing miraculous, nothing huge, nothing out of the ordinary or surprising. You may be asking, is this Indigo30 thing really working?

First, it’s an absolutely fair question to ask. So think about the math equation again. Some of you came in already having done yoga for quite some time. And your diet might have already been relatively clean. So your equation is going to be pretty simple — you will just keep getting cleaner and stronger, but it’s also possible that your “progress” feels  smaller and slower because you were already pretty far along to begin with. This program, this time, has put you into what I call “refinement mode” or “polishing mode,” where your focus becomes even more detailed and specific. It’s like when you’ve been doing a yoga pose for a few years — and the teacher has you move your knee one half-inch to the right. To the beginner that would be silly if the rest of the pose was all over the place. But to the more intermediate student, that half-inch is refinement, and it can change the pose entirely for someone who is advanced. If your equation is different, say you’ve never done yoga or you were drinking soda pop every day or whatever that might look like — your results will vary as well. If you had a fair amount of weight to lose, it’s likely that you’ve lost a bunch already. And remember — please, please remember — IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS. Your body is literally healing and fixing itself and can finally function effectively, like it was designed to do from the months and years and DECADES of dietary abuse. You cannot expect it to be totally transformed in 2 weeks after years of neglect. It’s put up with a lot of your negligent shit for a long time. And a good portion of it is probably stuck in your lower intestine.

However, check this out, just because. If you are not seeing results, ask:

  • Is your food quality truly 100% Whole30-approved? A few small diversions (a single nibble of a cookie here, a splash of cream in your coffee there, and that one half-glass of vino when you really needed it after that grueling day at work, those few days you “took off” from yoga because gosh, you were tired …) All of this, even just the singular events themselves, are more than plenty to impede your progress. The program must be completed with 100% food quality and consistent yoga practice for the full 30 days for optimal results. My teacher, Baron Baptiste, usually says this at the beginning of a training, “You will either do this program, or your program. If you do this program, you will get certain results. If you do your program, you will get the same results you’ve been getting your whole life.”  …Sobering, huh.
  • Are you eating regularly? If you are cheating yourself out of meals you are cheating yourself of valuable nutrients by eating too little or too infrequently. And because you are doing yoga every day, I’m telling you — you won’t make it through class if you don’t have fuel. I’ve done this to myself a few times, not on purpose but because my brain runs so fast that I forget to eat. I am strong and practiced, but when my diet is this squeaky clean, I need to nourish a lot more regularly; if I don’t, even I’m in child’s pose seeing stars. Not good or smart.
  • Are you adding plenty of good fat to each meal? Straight up, y’all: if you skip this you simply will not have enough energy to keep going or think straight. Fat is image.pngGOOD. Fat is your friend! Maybe think “PHAT” instead and you will like it more. Same with good carbohydrate. I am not going to even say add in more say “especially if you are active,” because if you are doing yoga every day, you are beyond active. You are busting ass. So feed your body properly – add in sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin… all great fuel sources.
  • Are you sleeping enough? Lack of sleep affects hormone and stress levels, which as we have learned, absolutely, 100% affect body composition.
  • Are you exercising too much? I know we challenge you to get on your mat a lot, but are you doing other workouts as well? Are you maxing your practice every time you go to yoga? You must pace for the long haul and always aim for balance.
  • Do you have an underlying medical condition that could potentially be affecting hormone levels, energy production, etc?
  • Are you stressed? I don’t have to explain. You know.

If you can honestly, completely say that you have ALL of these factors in line, then my answer is not only irritating but probably what you need to hear and practice above everything else you’ve learned: be patient. Many people report that it truly did take the whole 30 days (and even then some, remember Melissa Hartwig’s testimonial?) to feel the magic. Let the journey unfold. You are a complex, complicated being. It’s good to have some goals, but let the results and enlightenment come when it’s all ready to reveal itself. If you do your math right, your answers will be exactly what they are supposed to be.

Keep going.

B

image.png

 

Indigo30 DAY 14: I30 on a budget

Here is a bummer fact of life: a healthy lifestyle is not cheap. In any way. It’s not cheap monetarily, it’s not cheap physically, emotionally, mentally or logistically. It’s expensive all the way around. It requires a lot of attention, time, discipline and resources. This massive investment might be why many give up early.

However, just like with anything, there are creative ways to make it work. One thing I believe wholeheartedly is this: if you really want something badly enough, you figure out how to make it work. Think of anything in your life that you wanted more than ever … I bet you moved mountains in ways you didn’t think you could to make it happen.

In today’s blog, I’m going to give you some great ideas on how to keep going while not having to spend so much time and money. Now the effort part? The emotional and mental investment? Sorry, guys. On that you have to be all in. If you still have one foot in the junk image.pngfood pantry, then you know deep down your results will be those of having one foot in the junk food pantry. And maybe that’s enough for you right now, and that’s okay. The point here is: be present with it. Don’t deny it or fake it or make up reasons about it. Just be straight. There is an enormous amount of freedom in being responsible for your own decisions and actions. Spinning so many excuse plates is a lot of work.

So to start, here are some great money-saving tips for our program that you might not know about. I would love to hear from you as well on some savings and strategies you’ve discovered so far.

  • Plan your meals, make your list. Sorry to tell you this for the 10,000th time. But, not only does it save you time at the grocery store, but IF you stick to your list, you will not spend as much money. Use your meal planner (make copies of your blank ones!) and before you walk in the doors of the store, say, “Self, you are only going to buy the stuff that is on this list. You do not need one more bath bomb.”
  • You can get great stuff at everyday grocers. As lovely and alluring as Central Market and Whole Foods are, everyone knows they are expensive. Yes, the quality is unsurpassed, and, you can get great stuff at all grocers. Don’t count out discount retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, both of which have a good amount of Whole30-compliant selections. Even some Wal-Mart locations carry organic eggs in the dairy section and wild-caught fish in the freezer section at great prices. Remember, purchasing grass-fed and organic items aren’t part of the Whole30 rules, so just do the best you can within your resources.
  • Be willing to spend extra time initially at the store, scouting things out and reading labels. If you live in a small town, check to see if there’s a local natural foods store, farmer’s market, or co-op you may not have noticed before. Sprouts is always reasonably priced. And to no surprise, Trader Joe’s is truly the winner when it comes to affordable good food and products; hands down this is your go-to grocer for honest products, great customer service and low prices.
  • Ordering certain items (like coconut aminos, ghee, or almond flour) on Amazon is a great strategy that can save time and money, especially if you have Amazon Prime. Barefoot Provisions is another online shop that carries a huge number of Whole30-approved products. Finally, keep your eye on the Whole30 Approved Instagram feed or subscribe to Wholesome to hear about special offers and discount codes from Whole30-approved partners, many of whom sell their products on Amazon. Other online retailers like Thrive Market and specialty sites like Butcher Box, Primal Kitchen, Rx Bar, etc.  — often have discounts if you are diligent enough to follow their pages and almost always have first-time buyer discounts (as I am writing this blog and checking each site, ALL of them have first time buyer discounts!) plus free shipping.
  • Being excited and eager can sometimes make for over-shopping. Be realistic about the time you have to prep and cook, and plan your meal choices accordingly. For example, realistically, I only have time to cook two to three nights per week.  What works for me is to grocery shop on Tuesday (weekends aren’t good for me since I typically work all weekend) and meal prep a little bit in the afternoon while my kids are either doing homework or decompressing from their days playing outside. On those nights I test out one new recipe, usually a small one that takes just 20-30m at the most. I know most people, however, like to shop on Sunday and do a big meal prep that day too. So that’s a good time to cook up most of your proteins, hard boil eggs, and chop veggies for the week. When things are prepped, its easy to throw together delicious meals at home or on the go, and I can be sure I’m using all of my fresh produce for the week with no waste. I love Melissa Joulwan’s “weekly cookup” in Well Fed. Start there if you need help batch-prep inspiration.
  • Spending trade-offs. Keep in mind that for 30 days, your food and grocery dollars will be spent differently. You’ll be focusing on purchasing the most nutrient-dense foods. You will be removing and/or not purchasing things that aren’t a value for your body, nutrition-wise. For example, you won’t be buying cereal or granola for breakfast, but you may decide to purchase a $6 carton of pastured, organic eggs instead. Nutrient-wise, the eggs are a much better bargain for your budget!
  • For most families, once you take the pre-packaged convenience foods, junk foods, carry-out, and alcohol, you will find money in your grocery budget that you didn’t know was there. You may also find you’re no longer buying your sweetened coffee or tea drinks, smoothies or shakes, or juice beverages, saving money there, too.
  • Remember to keep it simple, and keep your focus on doing the most with the foods that you can afford.
  • Tips from our local nutritionist, Indigo yoga teacher, chef and BAMF, Morgan Jackson: Meal planning is so important. I write out every ingredient that is necessary for the meals I am preparing even if I know I have them. Then I go back through and cross out that ingredient. That way I can look back at it when I’m actually cooking and see what ingredients I need but I also know to not purchase it at the store.
  • Proteins are what tend to drive up your grocery bill. So on the weeks that I am not protein heavy in my meal preparation, I go ahead and purchase things like chicken breast or thighs, steaks, etc. and freeze them because I know that my bill will be lower since I’m not cooking a lot of meats. Then you don’t have to get all your meats at once which could make your bill much higher.
  • Set a budget for yourself, like $150. Then make your list go to the store get what you need and see what exactly you spend. You can shift your budget plus or minus that much. I have been shopping every Monday getting meals to cook every night for dinner as well as lunches and breakfast for my kids and I’m only spending around $160 a week. That’s it. To feed a family of five!
  • image.pngDo not go to the grocery store hungry! I will literally eat an apple or a stick of Chomps before I go shopping because if I’m hungry I will buy everything I don’t need because everything looks good!
  • On the weeks where I have all the proteins I need and know that I may be eating out once or twice, I go ahead and buy all the staples that I have run out of. Staples like spices, pantry items, etc. That way my bill will not be significantly higher because I’m not purchasing anything extra that week.
  • If your recipe calls for one zucchini, just buy one zucchini. You don’t need to buy 10 zucchinis, or even 2 if your recipe calls for just one.
  • Also, though it does save time, try to not purchase pre-sliced items. You can buy a package of pre-sliced pineapple for $4.99, or you can buy an entire pineapple for $1.99 and just cut it up yourself. When items are pre-sliced like that, it drives your bill up exponentially. This even goes for things like whole chickens. A pack of chicken breast can run $10-$14, or you can just buy the entire chicken for five bucks and took it all at once. Then you can de-bone the chicken and use the bones and remaining meet for broth. So much cheaper. Lastly, don’t fall into the trap of the by “4 for $5” game that grocery stores play. A lot of times I see a yogurt on sale 10 for $10. And I think wow what a deal I can get 10 cartons of yogurt for $10. But will I eat 10 cartons of yogurt that week? No! I could have bought three cartons of yogurt for $3.80 and not wasted instead of spending the $10.
  • Go to yoga. You didn’t think I’d bring this up in a budgeting convo, did you? Well, here’s the thing. When we are experiencing stress or worry, we sometimes shop. Yes. It happens. And not just for overpriced handbags or a new pair of jeans. For groceries too. But if you go to yoga, you almost inevitably lower your cortisol (and thus stress) and then when you hit the store, you are more focused and dedicated to your goal of not spending as much and get in and out without being guided by emotions.
  • Ways to budget your yoga: If you are a new student to Indigo Yoga, you can come to the first Wednesday of each month entirely free. Then you can get a Limitless Membership for $88, and get your second month for free, all classes, all locations. AN EVEN BETTER DEAL is to get the Limitless Platinum Membership, where you get water, mat, YogiToes and mat storage all free for just an extra $20. If you get a $2 water and a $2 rental each time you come, on top of a $20 drop in, and you plan to come 2-3 times a week? Dude, you are putting money in my pocket unnecessarily, and a true ladder climbing capitalist would be like YES! KEEP DOING THAT! But that is just silly and not smart and I don’t want you to do that. I want your stress levels low so you keep coming forever. Also with the Platinum — this is the best part — you get one monthly buddy pass for your friends! Another $20 value. ALL of you guys should be on platinum. It’s a massively better savings. Other great tips:
    • Take good care of your yoga mat. Wipe it down after every practice, and let it dry properly. Do not roll it up wet. Not only will it break down faster but it will mildew and stink.
    • Wash your yoga clothes separately from your other clothes with a proper sports laundry detergent, like WIN — you may spend just a bit more on the detergent, but it will for sure extend the life of your yoga gear AND help fight the yoga image.pngfabric stench!! And of course – hang your wet clothes to dry just as soon as you can. It only takes one time for your gear to sit in a bag wet for a day in the car to set that stank in for good. PS: friends don’t let friends wear smelly yoga clothes.
    • Bring your own bottle. Duh! Saves money and saves the earth.
    • Take advantage of our community classes at the Trailhead and Panther Pavillion that are free to the public and a great way to get out of your normal routines and enjoy the outdoors!

image.png

I hope today’s tips help you tighten the belt in more ways than one. Enjoy your new skills, and …

Keep Going!

B

Indigo30 DAY 13: Time for adventures!

Welcome to Day 13, you are nearing the half-way mark! You should be very proud. Half way is a great milestone. But just like doing a yoga pose or even a long sequence of poses, there’s this little triumphant squeal of glee — Yay! We completed one side! — and then the overwhelming realization of — Omg, we’ve only completed one side …

So your work right now is to “stay in the river,” as many a guru has probably said over the years. Don’t swim faster and yet, don’t just tread. You still have a ways to go. Just stay in the flow, keep a steady pace, and let the natural rhythms move you forward. You are already seeing NSVs and progress — you have shared them proudly with your friends and peers. So imagine what’s coming if you stay the course! Adventure!

Food is the way to your friends’ hearts.

One of the funnest things you can do during your Indigo30 is get to know your comrades with a meal swap. You really cannot believe how much you will love this and learn from it. You are probably ready for some new dishes, or you are starting to tire from leftovers, or you just want a day off from cooking. Well, Indigo30 Superstar, it’s time to branch out and spice it up! I promise you will not regret this. It’s kind of like the old fashioned chain letter!

It’s pretty easy to do and you can do it with one pal or a whole group — or maybe a couple of groups. Then, coordinate your meal swap. The meal swap is better with a few people – 7 is ideal. Once you pick a time and a location, each of you can make a dish that has 7 image.pngservings or a big batch. When you get to your potluck, swap it all out and BOOM – you have one new meal a day for the next 7 days! (or you can freeze and save for even later!) Share your bounty, because your chili may be super fab today, but it’s not as good when you’ve eaten that gigantic crockpot full 5 meals in a row.

Is swapping with your pals not very convenient for your schedule? Set up a roaming brunch, lunch, or dinner party once a week. Each of you commits to hosting the others for one meal, sharing in the cooking (and, hopefully, the clean-up). It’s a great way to socialize over healthy food, share kitchen tips and tricks, and pick up some sweet lunchtime leftovers for the next day.

Try a new spot. 

image.pngDo you go to the same spot in the yoga room every day? Yeah, we know who you are. And we know what kind of temper tantrum you internally have when someone is in your spot. Yogis, yogis, yogis. I want you to use your new tools of mindfulness right this minute, and get present to what is actually happening when you walk into the room and someone is in your spot. Okay — all that is actually happening is some completely oblivious person who has absolutely no idea that you have this attachment to the outcome of your practice being based on where in the room your mat is, just put their mat down there. That’s it. Or, they are wrestling with their own attachment issues and just got there before you did. Now, pause, step back for a moment, and consider how completely, utterly absurd it is to get upset about a spot for your mat in the yoga room. (Got it? Are you smiling/laughing?) Then I want you to consider that there may just be a new experience waiting for you in a different spot … perhaps there is a cooler breeze up in the front. Or perhaps hiding in the back won’t work so well this time because the teacher decides to do the entire class facing the back. Or perhaps a new student (maybe even the one who stole your spot) looks over at you and says, “Hi, I’m new. I’m really nervous. How long have you been coming?” And you realize that your purpose, instead of getting your way, was to befriend someone who is scared and worried about being new and different. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a good enough reason not to be attached to your spot.

Some of you are like, “I really have no idea what she is talking about right now, I could care less where my mat is. Half the time I’m rolling in late anyway so I don’t even pay attention.” — To you, I challenge you to arrive early and go to the same spot each day and play with consistent routine. Stretch yourself by sharpening consistency. Bust through old patterns. Break through into new spaces, the same one every day for the next 15 days.

You now how to make both of these things a new, exciting pattern? Grab a friend, or your small group, and go together. This will keep things fresh and will keep you accountable.

Spicing it up with actual spices

I planted an herb garden a year ago and after all of this rain, it’s going completely bonkers. imageI have more herbs than I could ever use even if I cooked all day every day all week. They are fun to cut and give as gifts, and even if I don’t cook with it, just having the smell of basil wafting in my kitchen brings smiles.

If your cooking is feeling a little bland, take a spin around the world with some new spices. Chances are, if you are willing to step out of your ho-hum cooking box for a minute, you will discover flavors you didn’t even know existed! Just changing just one spice can turn an Indian curry into a savory Spanish stew. The right spices can make or break a dish, turning everyday ingredients into authentic ethnic cuisine.

But be careful with seasonings (mixtures and blends). They can be tricky and sneak the sneaky sugars in right under your spice sniffer. Check out the ingredients in this taco seasoning commonly found at chain grocers:

Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citirc Acid, Autolyzed Yest Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).

“Taco seasoning” sounds innocent enough, but this spice blend is anything but innocent (or healthy). I’m sure you are looking at the list now and know exactly why these ingredients are not okay by Whole30 standards, but are they really okay by any standards? image.png

Sometimes, spices and seasonings intimidate people with their fancy-sounding names like Za’atar, Dukka, or Tabil. Melissa Joulwan (author of Well Fed), is a spice-a-holic and has an awesome list of spices and how to use them in this GREAT article.

Spice Hound is another great resource to help you identify Whole30-approved spices to fill your cabinet. A full 100% of their salts and spices meet Whole30 criteria, and 20 of their spice blends are also Whole30-approved.

Here is a complete list of all approved Spice Hound blends:

Adobo Seasoning Cajun Rub Chili Powder Blend
Chinese 5-Spice Powder Curry Powder Dukka
Fines Herbes Four Peppercorn Blend Garam Masala
Garlic Sea Salt Herbes de Provence Italian Seasoning
La Kama Panch Phora Poultry
Pumpkin Pie Spice Seasoning Sea Salt Tabil
Turkey Brine Za’atar

Though they last a long time, spices can be expensive. If your cabinet is empty, commit to buying one or two new spices a week, until you’ve collected enough to transport you to any foreign country (and cuisine) in just a few moments!

You’re considering a potluck with your new I30 buds, a different spot for your mat against all better judgement, and are about to buy Garam Masala. Now let’s try … some totally new foods! Here are some beginner and advanced “foodie” options that will keep your Whole30 from boring and snoring.

Beginner/Intermediate:

  • Ghee: Like butter, only better! A personal favorite is Bulletproof Grass-fed Ghee, but there are many great brands.
  • Coconut butter: My most favorite I30 find this go-round! Delicious by the spoonful straight out of the jar. (I could stop there, because I have done a lot of this lately) or as a slightly melted topping for sweet potato, apples, or berries. You guys, I nearly DIED when I took my first bite. Look for Nutiva Coconut Manna in the nut butters section. Tip: when you get it, it will likely be solidified in the jar. You have to dig it up and even out (I dug it all out of the jar, mixed it up good and put it back into two) because the oil will separate from the pureed coconut meat. I promise you, it is worth every second of effort! And as a reward, peruse the Nutiva recipe page — you will have loads of post-I30 treat ideas ready to roll with this magic manna from the heavens.
  • Jicama: A sweet, crunchy root that looks like a big, round potato. Peel, chop into sticks and top with lime juice and chili powder, dip in salsa or guac, or just eat plain as they come. Central Market has jicama tortillas and rolls, which are delicious with tuna fish mixed with W30 mayo rolled in!
  • Coconut Aminos: Soy sauce is off limits for your Whole30 (I’d like to see you bid farewell to this gut buster forever, but for now…) I will tell you, coconut aminos taste the same. They’re a healthy Whole30-friendly replacement for soy sauce in recipes, and perfect for dunking sashimi. Find them in the soy sauce aisle of your local health food market—or order from Amazon. Speaking of sashimi…. gosh that sounds good! Have you thought to add it into your restaurant options? Bring your coco aminos when you go! You can buy them in single serve packets!image
  • Sauerkraut: Raw and fermented, sauerkraut contains tons of healthy bacteria to keep your digestion happy with all of its natural probiotics. Purchase it at any of our local grocers or let Whole9 Envoy Extraordinaire Stephanie McCormack teach you how to make your own in this fun video. Sauerkraut has made a serious comeback!

Advanced Adventurer (Vegans and Vegetarians, kindly skip to the end…)

 

Okay my friends, my word count is way out of range, so in closing as always, KEEP GOING, and in the words of a wise little bear..

image.png

B

Indigo30 DAY 12: It’s here again. The weekend. Don’t downshift; level UP.

Welcome to Weekend #2 of your Indigo30! I’ve already given you some super fab tips on how to survive social situations. So … here’s a thought. I bet most of you have already figured out that staying home is slightly easier. You’re also not drinking so you’re not crashing on the sofa after your third glass and you are likely getting up earlier. Suddenly, you have time you didn’t have before. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING.

So, maybe, just maybe, you could use this new-found time and energy, for something that will absolutely, positively, level you up and leave you with all kinds of new insights, creativity, emotional balance and even deeper rest. I’d be willing to be this little thing will also make your relationships with your partner, kids, co-workers and friends better. Now that you have the basics of the Indigo30 down — your diet and your yoga are cruising along at a lovely little tick and you’ve got the hang of it — maybe you could use this weekend to take on a new challenge. All it will require is 5-10 minutes a day.

Meditation.image.png

Oh gosh, there I go again. Pitching the crazy. Well before you deem it a new-age trend that only the patchouli-drizzled, mala bead clad wizards and witches on Platform #9-3/4 practice, I want to share some really interesting scientific research in the field of mindfulness.

________

Back in the 1960s, a guy named Dr. Paul D. Maclean devised the “Triune Brain” model as a way to explain the brain’s evolution while reconciling rational human behavior with more primal and violent outbursts. The Triune Model suggests three parts to the brain:

  • Reptilian (posterior, brain stem): the source of instincts
  • Paleommamalian (mid-brain): the source of emotions
  • Neomammalian (cortex): the source of rational thought

In this hierarchy, the older brain structures (reptilian, paleomammalian) are ruled by the newer one (neomammalian). The cortex regulates and inhibits instincts and emotions so that you control behaviors and responses. Thank goodness for that!

When you experience stress, mostly extreme stress but it could be any level, this model is thrown into disarray; your survival instincts assume control. In this scenario, the lower brain structures hijack and override the cortex. Theoretically, when stress ends, you shift out of survival mode and back into regulated mode. Sometimes, however, the shift fails to properly or fully occur. When this happens, the rational mind doesn’t reclaim control and the lower brain, with nothing to inhibit it, floods you with so much stimuli that you shift into meltdown mode. Reclaiming control relies on helping your cortex resume its regulatory and inhibitory activities; the key to this is your prefrontal cortex. 

Unknown

This part of the brain is like mission control in so many ways. Known as the seat of your executive function, the prefrontal cortex affects self-regulation, decision-making, and attention processes. After high stress, this part of your brain can experience a decrease in its capability. From lessened blood flow on the left side (the location of analytical processes) to increased activity on the right (the location of sadness and anger), changes in your prefrontal cortex can cause stimuli flooding, emotional overwhelm, and dark mood swings.

Getting your cortex back on track (or, as one neuroscientist described it in this research, “getting your drunk CEO sobered up and out from under the desk”) can be done naturally through two simple daily practices. Both processes train your ability to focus your attention, the major inhibitory effort of your cortex.

Yep, you guessed it. And it’s not food. And it’s not exercise.

Reduce Anxiety Through Mindfulness

Many times the lower brain structures focus on the past or the future. If you can pause for a moment and think about any worries or fears you have, you will realize that they are all about the past or the future. Because right now, you are just sitting wherever you are, reading this blog. There is no actual threat in this moment. This one. Not the one two hours ago or the one three days from now. This one.

Mindfulness deliberately places attention in the present moment, activating the cortex through an observational process that shuts down unnecessary instincts and emotions, while activating rational thinking. << READ THAT PART OVER LIKE FIVE TIMES. 

Try this exercise two to five times per day in moments of tension and also relaxation:

  1. Deliberately pause what you’re doing.
  2. Take a deep breath in; imagine in your mind taking a step back.
  3. Turn inward; notice what you feel inside your body and mind.
  4. Suspend judgment; let anything come up. Observe without evaluating.
  5. Label what you notice (“I’m feeling _______________.”)
  6. Observe the experience as if you were watching a friend move through it.
  7. Notice when the emotion or experience subsides.
  8. Redirect your attention to a pleasant or desired focus.

So what is mindfulness? Getting present to what is actually happening, in the moment. The opposite is living in the fantasy world of thought and Storyland. And in Storyland, there lives judgment, fear, anxiety, assumption, irrational narrative, me-centered dialogue and most of all, illusion. Mindfulness helps us get present to what’s real.

________

Reduce Anxiety Through Meditation

The process of meditation is a terrific strategy for training your brain in the area of attention because it deliberately creates neural pathways dedicated to deliberate control of your focus. Studies have shown that in as little as five minutes per day over a period of just ten weeks, meditation can significantly increase prefrontal activity and strength, resulting in a quieting of your overall mind and specific lower brain structures. The myth about meditation is that you have to empty your mind in order for it to be successful. In fact, your mind must wander in order for meditation to have the desired training effect. Try this:

For just five minutes every day take yourself to a quiet, safe space and close your eyes. Choose something to focus your mind on; this can be a sound, a word, an image, anything. Let all thoughts subside and maintain an attentive focus. When your mind wanders or becomes chatty, simply redirect it to your chosen focus (and know that every time you do, you are successfully training your brain).

My first meditation teacher, John Freese, taught me this, and I will never forget …

Remembering … is progress.

What that means is that if your mind wanders during a quiet sit, and you remember to come back to your point of focus (the sound, the word, the image, whatever it is) — that act of remembering? That is progress. Remembering means you are getting stronger mentally. Don’t you just LOVE that???

brain map.jpg

Mindfulness and meditation are the two most effective brain trainers to support optimal prefrontal cortex functioning. Do you see now … this has nothing to do with religion or faith or spirituality or world view or belief system. It has to do with exercising your brain so that you can more effectively manage stress and cope with difficulty with ease and grace and problem solving creativity. The more you incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily experience, the more you will be training your brain to recalibrate, balance, and control.

What’s better? The more you strengthen your brain in moments of low stress, the better it will respond in high-stress situations allowing you to reduce anxiety.

I promised you that I would not let you focus only on food or the latest coffee creamer or who has the most stars. I promised you that I would teach you about balance in all areas. Gandhi is famous for saying, “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department.” My team of nearly 60 teachers, employees and contributors at Indigo are constantly hearing of my demand to “walk the walk,” and I accept nothing less from them. They must do and be what they teach others to do and be. They must be true in all areas of their life, because they are leaders of truth. They are seekers of balance and authenticity in all areas. So to lead a yogic lifestyle means that we take all areas — our nourishment, our yoga, our mental health, our emotional health, our word, our behavior and our relationships — as equals parts of the whole. If you are going to take care of your body in this program, then you must also take care of your mind. And do you know what really ends up winning? Your soul.

Get on your cushion, my love. Your brain is waiting.

Keep going.

B

image.png

INDIGO YOGA MEDITATION SCHEDULE

WESTSIDE STUDIO: 

Monday through Friday, classes held 12:50-1:25pm

Thursday (Zen Den “Quiet Zone,” 6pm-close) class held 5:35-6:10pm

Saturday/Sunday, classes held 9:15-9:50am

SUNDANCE SQUARE STUDIO:

Currently we do not have any meditation classes at Sundance BUT, we invite you to come to one of our Vinyasa/Restorative classes, where you will experience 40 minutes of mindful movement, 5 minutes of rest, followed by 45 minutes of restorative yoga, which many find to have similar benefits as meditation and yoga nidra. Try it all! See what is your best fit. And as always … more to come!

Vinyasa/Restorative Classes held Saturday/Sunday 4:30-6:00pm, Tuesday 6:15-7:45pm

Indigo30 DAY 11: The Stages of Change

Welcome to Day 11. I’ve armed you with tools, tips and tricks. We’ve talked recipes and ideas and hacks. I’ve stayed consistent with my message about balance, which can always be found on your mat and in your heart. For all practical purposes, you have what you need to keep going. The thing is, you are entering into a phase of the program that will push you in different realms, realms that can’t be soothed with some Magic Mushroom Powder or epsom salts. Your mood and emotions are one of the last-ditch efforts that your habits and your ego will call on when your will and determination are finally getting ahead. Social pressure will add to the dynamic, and it may only take once to hear, “Are you STILL doing that diet/yoga thing?” to make you cave to frustration, resentment, righteousness or dissolution.

Not everyone is going to love the Indigo30. Some of you are downright bummed out, disappointed and just plain irritated. It’s not what you expected and it’s not what you signed up for. Except that it is. But maybe the change that is occurring isn’t the change you had imagined.

Change is hard. No one likes it unless they choose it voluntarily. Let’s dissect change for a moment so you can see how it affects you, step by step.

The Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was developed by James O. Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island, Carlo Di Clemente and colleagues  beginning in 1977. It is based on analysis and the use of different theories of psychotherapy. The basic idea is that behavior doesn’t happen in just one step. People tend to progress through specific stages on their way to change, and each of us moves at a different pace. Sometimes, we go backwards and have to repeat a step over and over. In fact, some people never totally progress because they get stuck in a certain step and aren’t willing to do the uncomfortable and demanding work it takes to step off the hamster wheel, so to speak. And, trying to give someone advice or consequences for one stage while they are still in another … well, it simply doesn’t work; they aren’t ready. You’ve all experienced this yourself. If you’ve ever said, “Why couldn’t I see it when it was happening?” you know what I’m talking about and how it feels. It’s a hindsight thing. You just weren’t ready.

In each stage of change, we have to wrangle and wrestle with different issues. Messages will be heard differently, advice will be heeded or ignored, and conversation can either be considered, threaten, or dismiss. Knowing what stage you are in with certain things will also help you more insightfully understand which stage those around you in; and when you know this piece of information, your communication can be tailored in a way that’s more effective.

The Five Stages of Change include:

  1. Precontemplation. This is the first stage, and it’s when people are not yet acknowledging that there is a problematic behavior that needs to be adjusted, modified, replaced or totally stopped. People in this stage tend to defend their current bad habit(s) and do not feel it is a problem (sometimes it’s even your problem). They may be defensive in the face of other people’s efforts to pressure them to quit or modify. They do not focus their attention on quitting and tend not to discuss their bad habit with others. In some addiction circles, this stage is also called denial.
  2. Contemplation. Okay, so, there’s a problem. And, the person is still not sure they are ready to change. Here is when people have a bit more awareness that there might, af8b174b4c3132bee8fb6cc65345d8cb.jpgjust, perhaps be some consequences and even might spend some time thinking about the problem… but still aren’t ready to do anything about it. They weigh pros and cons, they may even consider the long-term impact, but are still not totally on board to lay down the habit and take any action. Overall they do not see yet that any benefits associated with the quitting or reduction of the habit will outweigh the short-term costs.
  3. Action/Willpower. Change occurs. Often because something drastic, some dramatic consequence, a serious wake-up call, or some impactful incident occurs that shifts the dynamic overall. It doesn’t always have to be negative, in fact, sometimes people move into the third stage because of something inspirational or even a program like the Indigo30, where others are participating and there is a new level of accountability. Nonetheless, the person believes they have the ability to change their behavior and are actively involved in taking steps to change. This is a miraculous stage, because it is when people start depending on their own willpower, versus the power of the default behavior. Overt efforts are made to quit or change the old habit. This is also the time when there is the greatest risk of relapse, so it’s imperative that whatever steps have been taken and the support that has been built stay intact so the person can leverage them and stay motivated.
  4. Maintenance. Ongoing, daily maintenance of the new habit is the ritual of this stage. Not only are the rituals maintained, but so is the willpower to avoid temptation and return to old ways. The goal of the maintenance stages is to maintain the new status quo. Progress made is a constant reminder. What one is striving for has purpose and meaning. Patience is a strong thread in the fabric of maintenance, as the person in this stage knows that it takes time to let go of old behaviors and successfully maintain new ones. Thoughts of “how I used to be” and old habits will regularly occur, but at this point, temptation is resisted.

You can probably categorize yourself as well as the people around you, witnessing your stage. Some don’t want to hear one word about what you are doing (they are in a precontemplation stage). Others may be asking you questions, and at the same time, challenging your responses — they doubt the process, argue their position and defend their behaviors (contemplation). Others are carefully watching and taking notes, gathering information and probably even planning their own journey to change. This is important for them; just as our pre-program week of preparation was for you. Diving in head first to behavior change (“cold turkey”) works for a few, but not for most. These folks are in an action stage. And finally and most excitedly, you may have people in your life who are really interested and want you to teach them what you are learning. They are committed and motivated — by you! They are in a maintenance stage.

Now remember — this stuff doesn’t just happen on its own. The habits, the behaviors and all of the effects have had lots of time to simmer. And when you cook it all down to its base, what you are left with is simple but powerful and all-encompassing for many: fear. Think about it for a moment — why, if change is something (the Indigo30, for example) that will only benefit you, make your life better, help you achieve things you never thought possible, improve all aspects of your life — why would anyone be so incredibly stubborn and reluctant to give up old patterns? In a word, fear.

Fear of admission — If you admit you have a problem, then by default, you acknowledge that you need to do something about it. Change is uncomfortable, but for many, mediocrity, status quo and old ways of being, while unproductive, ineffective, painful and even depressing, still may feel easier.

Fear of failure — Some people have tried so many times to lose weight, fix their health issues and problems, and what we see most — exercise more and eat less (only to end up eating more and exercising less) — that they consider each attempt a bona fide failure, whether they actually made progress or not. Failure in its actuality sucks for sure. The proposition of repeating it over and over is terrifying.

Fear of success — Oh yes, this is such an interesting one. So… what happens if I actually succeed? What kind of new pressures does that put on me to maintain? Some people have assigned their illness, their weight, and their health issues as their identity. So imagine what kind of life shift not even knowing who you are anymore is for someone who has attached so completely and entirely to their weight as identity, or their illness as who they are as a person. What if you suddenly had to change your name? It would be as if the old you just vanished; and with it all the stories, all the history, all the reasons to behave how you do. So when you are no longer Overweight-Mark or Tired-Jenny or In-Pain-Jane, the prospect of losing the story and the payoffs of attention, sympathy, lack of responsibility you get from that story/identity — is a big trade-in.

Fear of responsibility — From the trade-in I just spoke of, also comes a new responsibility that some people simply aren’t wanting or willing to take on. To accept the idea that they could feel better by changing their diet and lifestyle is to accept the fact that their own actions in part could have contributed to their illness or health condition — and owning that is not only difficult, but takes a huge amount of bravery and vulnerability.

________

In yoga class, I often remind my students to remember that all of the stuff I teach them is, in fact, just information. Ultimately, they get to decide what to do or not to do with it. It’s the same with this. You will, undoubtedly, go through some of these stages, if you haven’t already. Knowing that there are actually stages at all will calibrate your dial, even if you do nothing at all to progress yourself through them.

In the end, you just get up each morning and give it your best shot. I imagine all of you, deep down, are aiming to just keep learning and be a better human overall. I am too. Today I had a wild moment of insight while talking to a friend about a pattern I have of rescuing. I said to her, “Do I attract it? Am I drawn to it for selfish purposes? Do I need it to feel needed? Do I want it? Or is it … (I sat there for several seconds) … is it just a default behavior?”  I walked away from that conversation feeling somewhat more consciously evolved because I took a moment to look at myself and question my own interpersonal pattern, and went a step further and verbalized it to a friend, which made it real, and made me own it. There was no solution or answer; but the acknowledgment of it was likely a step I needed. Now perhaps, with that aspect of my life, I will move into a new stage — the action stage — and not rescue the wounded (ooohhhhh it’s gonna be hard.)

So take this information and let it distill. Be gentle with yourself if you are still in stages 1 and 2, and call on your people if you need help. Lead by quiet example and be confident in your choices to the best of your ability. Seek socialization, not isolation, unless you can feel in your bones that you need to ground and restore on your own.

And, above all, keep going.

B