Experience a Cozy-Intimate Yoga Retreat in Panamá

This is a last minute opportunity to join me for a semi-private yoga retreat in Panama! How spontaneous can you be? Flights are crazy affordable and it’s a great time to go to the beach!

March 14-18, 2019
$499 – 559 CAD

  • 4 nights beach house accommodation (double or single)
  • All Meals
  • Daily Yoga, Meditation + Ayurveda
  • Private Beach Club – gorgeous!
  • Jungle Hike – optional
  • Golf & Tennis – also available as options
  • Airport transport from RIH – Transport from PTY Airport also possible but might be additional

If you want to stay longer, we can accommodate you.

(DAY PASS for locals $49 USD includes yoga, meditation, breakfast & private beach club)

Yoga Retreat Schedule

Thursday Mar 14

  • Arrival – meet & greet over dinner at the Beach House

Friday Mar 15

  • Morning Meditation & Yoga Practice
  • Breakfast
  • Free time – Walk, read, journal, pool, beach, golf (optional), etc
  • Lunch at the Beach
  • Free time – Beach & Pool
  • Afternoon meditation & light practice (optional)
  • Dinner at the Beach
  • Free time

Saturday Mar 16

  • Morning Meditation & Yoga Practice
  • Breakfast
  • Free time – Walk, read, journal, pool, beach, golf (optional), etc
  • Lunch at the Beach
  • Free time – Beach & Pool
  • Afternoon meditation & light practice (optional)
  • Dinner at the Beach
  • Free time

Sunday Mar 17

  • Morning Meditation & Yoga Practice
  • Breakfast
  • Free time – Walk, read, journal, pool, beach, golf (optional), etc
  • Lunch at the Beach
  • Free time – Beach & Pool
  • Afternoon meditation & light practice (optional)
  • BBQ at the Beach House (with vegan options of course)
  • Closing session

Monday Mar 18 – Departures

  • Morning Meditation & Yoga Practice (optional)
  • Breakfast
  • Free time – Walk, read, journal, pool, beach, golf (optional), etc
  • Departure

An escape for the soul  in a serene tropical paradise is exactly what the doctor ordered and we’re heading to Panamá to get our daily dose of Zen. The marriage of yoga and travel is an incredible transformative experience. It will allow you to escape the fog of your everyday busy lives, which are often filled with to-dos, work, family and commitments. Join me for less stressing and more stretching in the beautiful world of yoga

This is your chance to give yourself time to unwind and just be free. Enjoy Yasmin Yoga + Ayurveda while relaxing in this nature retreat.  The warmth of Panama breeze will give you a magical reminder of how far you are from winter. You will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and most importantly inspired to take whatever comes your way.

Our yoga retreat is open to everyone of all ages and all levels of experience. We are also great for first time yoga retreat participants and a once in a lifetime experience.

Our Accommodations

Panama is completely safe and beautiful. We will be staying in a private villa located in the Decameron Golf Resort. Our comfortable beach house has a private pool and over looks the 14th Green of the golf course. We are a short 20 min walk or 5 min drive to the beach!


This is Your time! Time for you to restore your spirit, strength, and peace within. Toss your to do lists out the window and trow caution to the wind. Yasmin + Yoga is here to create a  focus of breathing together to rejuvenate the soul as we fall hopelessly in love with our mind and bodies to create inner peace.

This retreat includes daily yoga classes, Meditation + Ayurveda for all levels; beginners are welcome!

Add to that inspiring destination with cozy and intimate accommodations, you will also enjoy the healthy meals for all diets vegan to omnivore.  Deliciously made to balance your doshas, with selective organic ingredients whenever possible!  As well as exclusive nutrition tips according to Ayurvedic medicine for living a healthy life!


Look to fly into Playa Blanca Rio Hato (RIH) or Panama City (PTY).

There are some great options right now available with Delta (as low as $299 round trip) and Air Transat along with other charter flights fly directly to Rio Hato, which is 5 mins to the beach.  Check out flights HERE! 

Rio Hato is 5 mins from us and is an easy pick up. Panama City is about a two hour drive. We can arrange transport for you from Panama City. It’s about $80-$100 for private taxi from Panama City to Playa Farallon where we are.  Hotel Shuttles are also available at a cheaper rate – Contact us for details.

Extra Activities (Optional)

  • Excursions available, from extreme adventure to natural treasures.
  • Jungle hikes
  • Golf & Tennis
  • Spa
  • Gym
  • Children’s playground are also options
  • Extensive green areas

What Doesn’t Include

  • Flight – but do check out the options to fly into Panama City (PTY) or Playa Blanco Rio Hato (RIH)
  • Airport transfers from Panama city to the villa – private taxi is $80-$100 USD but we may be able to give you an accessible shuttle bus for a reduced. Contact us for more details. (Airport transfers from Rio Hato airport, RIH, are included)
  • Additional activities and spa treatments are not included in the price.

What to Pack for this Yoga Retreat

  • Yoga Mat
  • 1-2 Yoga Blocks & a yoga strap (if possible)
  • Yoga clothes
  • Beach clothes (it will be hot & humid)
  • Beach Towel
  • Running Shoes for walking / hiking
  • Clothes for hiking
  • Clothes for golf or tennis if you plan do these activities
  • Sun hat
  • Books to read
  • Journal or notebook
  • Sun Screen
  • Bug repellant (optional)
  • Your personal toiletries and personal care products


On Panama villa yoga intimate retreat, you will be able to explore breath taking beaches and other natural eco-touristic spots. As a yogi you know that there’s nothing more relaxing than rolling out your yoga mat on a private beach with a secluded midst of nature! There is no better way to enjoy this country’s pleasant beauty other than on a rejuvenating yoga cozy-intimate retreat. So, check our Panama package retreat vacation and reserve your spot today!

Food Cravings & Solutions

Food cravings are common and I confess that I have them too. However, over time, I have learnt to manage my cravings and even find healthier substitutes.

Salty, crunchy things like chips and crackers are my favourite. I also love chocolate especially the strong, bold flavour of dark chocolate mixed with sea salt. And perhaps my favourite ‘petit déjeuner” of all time is a latté or macchiato and a fresh croissant.

Ayurveda & Food Cravings

In Ayurveda, food cravings are associated to a mental or emotional imbalance.  The most common food craving is sugar or sweet taste. This is associated with the constitution of dosha Kapha. Kapha is our emotional stabilizer. Thus, when we are a bit out of sorts because of stress or over exerting ourselves, we crave things that will rebalance us. Sweet taste is often those things.

On one hand, eating heavy or sweet foods is helpful to ground our energy as this balance Pitta (our driving force) and Vata (our creative, sometimes all-over-the-place energy). However, too much sweet, heavy foods is obviously no good for us, because it blocks the flow of our energy. When this happens we feel simultaneously anxious and lazy. Our mind is racing but our body feels lethargic and heavy. Can you relate?

{Click here for more information about Ayurveda.}

Emotional eating

Yoga & meditation helps you become aware of your emotional and physical needs and desires. This can help you avoid emotional eating and curb food cravings.

First, understanding your mental and emotional state is very important. Are your food cravings a substitute for stress management or feelings of loneliness or malaise? If yes, yoga, meditation and the letting go write & burn exercise will be more helpful in the longterm versus diving into a bag of cookies.

Another solution for emotional eating is routine. This means consistent meal times, sleep and exercise to help channel our focus and our energy. As such, we are less likely to eat out of boredom or stress.

Exercise balances the activity of the body and mind, and reduces the effects of stress. In turn, this has a positive impact on food cravings. I recommend moderate exercise daily: walking, light jogging, yoga, pilates, spinning, skiing, swimming, weight training. For more exercise tips, click here.

Hormonal changes

Sometimes food cravings are related to hormonal changes, as with women’s mensural cycles. As such, I often observe myself raiding the kitchens cupboards for chocolate around ovulation and just before menstruating. What’s more, hormonal changes also occur during puberty, pregnancy, after pregnancy, during menopause and if there are changes to medications like mood stabilizers or birth control pills. Stress also affects our hormones.

For women’s health, I highly recommend you research the herb shatavari. It’s incredible for women as it is balancing and cooling. Also great for relieving PMS symptoms, regulating your cycle and fertility.

For male reproductive health and hormonal balance, I recommend ashwagandha. It’s like a super hero of sorts and relating to ginseng. (For erectile issues or atherosclerosis, look into arjuna. It’s a fantastic circulatory herb.)

All of the herbs mentioned above are gentle and do not have adverse or contraindicative effects. For specific questions and dosage, I recommend booking an ayurvedic consultation with me.

Apply the 80/20 rule to food cravings

Food cravings are normal and sometimes you just have to give in. After all, it’s no fun to always be on a diet. Unless you have a medical reason, I don’t think being 100% paleo, ketogenic, gluten-free, sugar-free and/or raw is necessary, good for you or really, any fun. You have to live a little too.

Balance is key.

Food cravings are totally normal and it’s ok to indulge once in a while. Apply the 80/20 rule.

I like 80/20 rule: 80% of the time stick to your healthy food program or diet, whatever that means to you.  Then 20% of the time allow yourself to indulge your food cravings.

Furthermore, within the context of your food cravings, the 80/20 rule is applied. This means, 80% of your food cravings should be delicious and nutritious, and 20% can just be pure indulgence. (For me, this is liquorice, pretzels, ice cream or an extra piece of cake!)

Quality over Quantity

There is a big difference between good quality coffee and bad coffee. When you drink good quality coffee, you don’t need milk or sugar and I don’t think you need to drink as much. Do your research. Look for fair trade varieties in a medium roast and always grind the beans fresh. Taste also varies by region. Try, for example, Ethiopian coffee or coffee from Panama. Delicious!

The same can be said about wine, chocolate, cheese, bread, etc. The better the quality, the more you will be inclined to savour and the less you will eat. Trust me. Homemade or freshly baked bread, cookies and desserts are usually much better than store bought items, not only when it comes to taste but also because you control the quality of ingredients.

The best book I’ve read on the subject of savouring and learning to enjoy food is called “French women don’t get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure,” by Mireille Guiliano. The book mostly talks about healthy weight management, but even if this is not your interest, it’s definitely worth a read. I liked how the author reminds to the reader that eating is as much for survival as it is for pleasure, because sometimes even I forget this.

Alternatives for sugar

When it comes to sweets, these ingredients are on the avoid/ red light list:

  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Refined sugar
  • Fructose – glucose
  • Corn syrup
  • High Fructose Corn syrup
  • Artificial sweeteners: Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe), Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin), Xylitol, SorbitolClick here to read Dr Axe’s article about artificial sweeteners.

Here are some better options for sweeteners:

  • Maple syrup
  • Agave
  • Raw Honey
  • Stevia
  • Coconut sugar
  • Birch sugar
  • Date sugar
  • Fruit or dried fruit sugar

More tips to manage food cravings:

Eat eight cups of veggies a day and not only will you be healthier, but you won’t have room for food cravings! {Photo by Anna Pelzer}

  1. Always sit to eat. Like this, your body and mind will register the food you are eating and feel satisfied;
  2. Eat at the same time everyday – routine is good for your metabolism;
  3. Avoid multi tasking while eating;
  4. Plan your meals ahead – see Thursday Theme: Nutrition;
  5. Prepare for food cravings but having healthy, but tasty treats on hand;
  6. Sweet spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, clove and liquorice can be very helpful in curbing cravings for sweets, especially when taken in a tea after a meal – see Chai Recipes. This is good for digestion and can replace the need for dessert;
  7. Choose fresh whole grains (brown rice, kamut, quinoa, spelt, etc.) over white floured products or white rice;
  8. Eat your veggies! Aim to eat at least eight cups of vegetables a day: 4 cups leafy greens, 2 cups colourful veggies, 1 cup onions and/or mushrooms, 1 cup starchy veggie like potatoes. Like this, you won’t have room for food cravings!
  9. Do not snack. When you eat well during meal time, you are less likely to succumb to food cravings by snack mindlessly;
  10. Drink water at room temperature instead of juice or soda. Reason for this is because water gives you the hydration you need minus the sugar and extra calories. If you want to add a taste to your water, try lemon juice or Arbonne’s Energy Fizz or Mind Health Blend, which are excellent.

Need some support curbing your food cravings and resetting your health routine? Check out my Lean Fit & Strong 30 Day Healthy Living Programs.

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What’s the story of Christmas oranges?

Oranges are simple offerings, healthy and invigorating snacks, and symbols of good fortune. How & why did the tradition of gifting holiday mandarins or oranges come about? 

It was mid-December and on our first night in Paris, the hotel concierge delivered a small, yet beautiful basket of delicious clementines* to our room. We were touched by this simple, elegant gesture, and it got me thinking about how this tradition came to be.

Turns out, we don’t just eat and gift mandarine oranges around Christmas because they are in season.  There is also a meaningful gift with cultural significance.

Oranges as a Holiday Tradition

The mandarin orange is an important symbol of the Chinese New Year. According to S & J Mandarine Grove, the citrus fruit is connected to the sun and aligned with Yang energy: the invigorating side of the well known Yin & Yang. The Yang brings happiness and light into our spirits and homes.

As such, oranges are simple, yet powerful gifts that offer recipients abundance, joy and wellbeing.

In Canadian and European holiday traditions, oranges are also link to the story of Saint Nicholas putting gold coins in children’s stockings. Eventually over time, the Chinese and Japanese traditions of giving mandarins throughout the holidays merged with the European story, standing in as a symbolic representation of gold coins and thus, good fortune. In fact, I still received oranges or citrus in the toe of my stocking each Christmas.

* What is the difference between oranges, mandarins, clementines and tangerines?

Mandarins are a type of orange that are usually less round have a mild flavour and a thinner peel. Tangerines and clementines are both mandarins, clementines are the smaller fruit and are usually seedless. Mandarins are in season from November until March.

Nutritional Facts

A basket of oranges isn’t just an elegant gift. Did you know that one orange can provide 130% of your vitamin C needs for the day!

What else are oranges good for? According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, the list is long.

Oranges / mandarins / clementines & tangerines…

  • Help keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels under control
  • Are high in Vitamin C, fiber, folate and vitamin B1
  • Rich in copper, potassium and calcium
  • Have healing phytonutrients which help lower blood pressure… not to mention they have strong anti-inflammatory properties!
  • Offer antioxidant protection and immune support
  • Help prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Prevention of kidney stones
  • Aid the absorption of iron
  • Support respiratory system and optimal health

If you aren’t craving an orange yet, check out this fun & delicious recipe inspired from Go Dairy Free for orange spice vegan pancakes!

Orange Spice Vegan Pancakes

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour. (Note: use coconut flour as alternative for gluten-free. Usually you need a bit less in quantity compared to normal flour.)
  • 3 scoops Arbonne Vegan Protein Powder – Chai or Vanilla flavour (I find the Meal Replacement powder performs better in pancakes, but both are good!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1½ cups orange juice, plus additional as needed
  • ¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  1. Whisk the flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the juice, raisins (if using), and zest, and stir until just combined. A few lumps are okay. If the batter becomes too thick to pour, whisk in a little more orange juice, as needed.
  3. Put 1/2 a tablespoon of coconut or avocado oil on a pan, and begin heating it on medium-high. When the skillet is hot, drop the batter by quarter-cupfuls and cook until the tops are beginning to bubble. Flip the pancakes and allow them to cook for a couple more minutes until the underside is golden. Repeat until all of the batter is used up!
  4. Serve immediately. Freeze leftovers and reheat in the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast.
  5. Feel free to add some other delicious toppings such as orange slices and cacao nibs!


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Are you interested in learning more about how whole foods can boost your health? Contact me about my Breakfast Club & 30 Day Healthy Living Program. These programs are designed to support your personal health goals and incorporate fresh foods and vegan products to improve your metabolism & boost your energy.

Another Holiday Gift Idea:

Saturday Theme: Rebalancing Energy

Rebalancing and recharging energy is my Saturday Theme.

As with other aspects of my Daily Theming, I believe rebalancing energy is as valuable to wellbeing as quality time, mindset, lifestyle, heart & soul work, nutrition, and exercise. Furthermore, dedicating time to recharge my personal energy level is a nice way to close the week.

Saturday tends to be a good day to do things with family and friends, and get stuff done around the house. Since most people are off from work, I am suggesting that with a little shift in focus, Saturdays can also be the perfect time to augment & restore positive energy and practice self-care.

This said, I think it is important to note that everyone has a different way to restore their energy.

Introverts vs Extroverts

Do you know if you are an introverted or extroverted person? Knowing this may help you figure out how best to recharge. (See video on determining if you are an introvert or extrovert)

A morning in bed with a latte and a good book or magazine is super sacred and rejuvenating for me.

Extroverted people are outgoing, talkative and energetic. They are stimulated and reenergized with people. According to Psychology Today Magazine, three-quarters of the population in the United States (no statistics found for Canada) are extroverts. As such, there is cultural bias towards extroverts and social pressure to behave like them.

Conforming to an extroverted behavior and lifestyle is tiring for introverts, who are more reserved and prefer small groups or solitary activities.

Author Susan Cain further detailed the differences between introverts and extroverts in her best-selling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop talking:

Introverts, in contrast [to extroverts], may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family […] Many have a horror of small talk, but enjoy deep discussions.

Additionally, Cain advises people to “spend your free time the way you want to, not the way you are supposed to.” For example, she suggests staying home on New Year’s Eve if that makes you happy.  Following this, I say, stay home on Saturday night if you don’t feel like going out.

How I rebalance my Energy

I think I am introverted-extrovert. Although I enjoy social gatherings, I am much more comfortable in a smaller group or in a one to one situation. My energy feels very scattered in a large group. I get overwhelmed easily at parties or in crowds.

Spending time on my own is sacred and seems to be the only I can restore my energy.

I love a quiet evening or morning alone to rebalance and refocus. I enjoy soaking in a hot bath with candles, reading a magazine in bed, my gym time (especially when it’s empty) and writing solo in a café with a latte.

Saturday Theme Questions

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s my energy like in general?
  • Do I feel like being with people or spending time alone?
  • Who do I want to spend time with?
  • When do I have the most and the least energy?
  • What can I do that is fun or different?
  • What activities will help increase and sustain my energy today?

Saturday Theme Actions

Creating a cozy, hygge corner at home fits nicely with the Saturday Theme.

  • Get outside and spend time in nature. This is especially good for people who spend more time indoors during the week and for pitta (fiery) people;
  • Eat well and practice good digestion habits. After all, food is fuel; {See Thursday Theme: Nutrition}
  • Plan your Saturday day trip beforehand so that you are ready to go in the morning. (We have difficulty with this, but we are trying to improve.) This is especially helpful if you are out late on Friday;
  • Let go of unnecessary stress {See Letting Go exercise};
  • Connect with the people you love and who bring you joy;
  • Explore a new place and do something different: a walk a different part of town, a new restaurant or an activity outside your comfort zone, maybe salsa dancing or zip lining;
  • Change and improve the environment at home by tidying and cleaning your house and let go of things you don’t need. I highly recommend reading the book the ‘Life Changing Art of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo;
  • Redecorate an area of your home by painting a wall, moving the furniture around or hanging some nice photos of friends and family;
  • Fix things that are broken or need repair. This can include sewing on buttons, bringing bags or shoes to the shoemaker for repair, gluing things back together, etc. Discard things that can’t be fixed;
  • Take a nap and maybe have a night in and go to sleep early (yes, even on a Saturday night);
  • Finally, practice all the nice self-care rituals you know: yoga, meditation, pranayama, ayurvedic self-massage, day-dreaming, reading, etc.

If you have any other suggestions for a Saturday Theme or how to rebalance your energy, I’d love to hear them! Please post your comments below.


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Friday Theme: Friday Fitness & Movement

My Friday theme became Fitness Fridays mostly because became the exercise contributor to one of Arbonne’s 30 Day Healthy Living private Facebook groups. (Everyone is welcome to join my Facebook Group: Daily Rituals for Healthy Living Inside & Out.) Since I got into the habit of writing about fitness on Fridays, the theme grew from here.

It also makes sense to focus on movement at the end of the week so as to prepare for the weekend and give your energy a bit of a boost.

Get a trainer to help you create a training program you can do at home, while traveling or at the gym.

Exercise Habits

Plus, gyms seem to be quieter at the end of the week and on weekends. When I did some research to see if there was any truth to this observation, I found an article in Women’s Health Magazine about how to avoid crowds at the gym.

The article cited an actual study conducted by a fitness tracker company Jawbone. (The company seems to have ceased activity since 2017, but they collected fitness data through their Fitbit style wearable workout tracking wristbands since 2008.) According to Women’s Health, Jawbone data scientist Emi Nomura reported that “people tend to log the most workouts on Mondays and drop off through the work week with a low point on Fridays.” The article and study also found that people tend to be less active on Saturday and Sunday than on Monday through Thursday.

I think the habit to exercise only at the beginning of the week is worth adjusting.

Like most people, I tend to have more energy at the beginning of the week, then at the end, so by Friday, I wouldn’t always feel like practicing yoga or working out. For this very reason, I made movement and fitness Friday’s focus.

Fitness Friday Questions

Hiking is a wonderful Fitness Friday activity for people with a flexible work schedule. Hiking is great cardio + fresh air and nature!

  • How can I incorporate physical activity today and this weekend s?
  • When I am energized, I enjoy kinds of physical activities…
  • What physical activity can I do when I have low energy?
  • Is there any form of exercise I have I always wanted to try?
  • What are my fitness goals?
  • Who or what can help me achieve my fitness goals?

Fitness Friday Actions

  • Start a new daily habit of exercise. I recommend 30-60 mins of activity daily, but that doesn’t mean it has to be intense – walk, yoga, pilates swim, bike or jog. My 30 Day Lean, Fit & Strong Healthy Living Program is amazing for this;
  • Even if your workouts for the week did not go as planned,  you can recommit to your health and start training again today: A 15 mins workout is better than no workout;
  • Start with a long warm up. If you haven’t exercised in a while, do a long warm-up and stretching session. Example: Loosen up with light cardio or 30 jumping jacks and 20 secs of running in place and repeat 3-4x and then eight to ten stretches for upper and lower body. You may actually only do this for a few days until you get into it;
  • Create a morning movement ritual. This doesn’t have to be your main workout. I do 9-10 sun salutations in the morning just to get the blood flowing, but your morning ritual could be some light stretching or walking your dog around the block; {See tips on how to create a Morning Routine}
  • Get a trainer. I see my trainer once a month for a new program and it is really helpful to have guidance for I can do at home, at the gym or when traveling;

    I tried a TRX class with my mom in Panama and it was fantastic! Also great to find activities you can do with or as a family!

  • Let go of excuses and do it anyway – even when I am alone with Koji; even when I am tired; even when it’s a travel day; even when I have so many other things to do;  Again, 15 mins of exercise and movement is better than no minutes;
  • Figure out what you can for exercise even when you are tired or busy. Maybe just a walk around the block after dinner or some yoga in the park. Think about this as a Plan B;
  • Exercise in the morning to boost energy and before the day gets too crazy or busy. Of course, you can exercise at any time of the day, but I find most of my clients have the best success maintaining an exercise program if they exercise in the morning;
  • Try a new class, a new studio and/or a new instructor. This is especially interesting when traveling and even cooler when the class is in another language! {For yoga studios and classes around the world, try Yoga Finder}
  • Have fun and add variety into your workouts. Try new equipment and new types of exercise. Fun types of exercise to try:
  • Click here for more Fitness Friday Tips (and everyday workout suggestions);

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Wednesday Theme: Heart & Soul

My Wednesday Theme is Heart & Soul.

Often referred to as Humpday, Wednesday is considered the day in which we must surmount in order to make it to the weekend.  In an attempt to brighten the reputation of Wednesdays, I use this day as an opportunity to check in and assess if what I am feeling, thinking and doing is aligned with the intention I set at the beginning of the week.

Another reason for the Wednesday Theme of Heart & Soul is Wednesday’s parallel position as the fourth day of the week to the heart as the fourth chakra.

This is the day that I try to refocus and restore my energy back to where I want it to be and reemphasize my self-care practices. I have done this deliberately because my days tend to pass quickly and I find it easy to be pulled off centre and sucked into the busyness of the week. I am trying to use Wednesdays as a day to reclaim my week.

Reconnecting with what is important to me and to the people around me is a huge aspect of this Wednesday Theme. I try to be extra patient with myself and others especially because I can feel my energy waning slightly by this point in the week. Before I used to become critical of myself if I was off track, which tended to block my energy and stunt my workflow. Now I allow myself to be more spacious and dreamy. This has dramatically improved my sense of self, allowing me to feel more inspired and solution oriented. This has also increased my productivity and given me more courage to take action steps, regardless of how small, toward my goals.


Heart & Soul Chakras

I love these Universe has your Back cards by Gabby Bernstein & Micaela Ezra.

Chakras are energy centres located along the spine that have specific physiological, psychological and emotional functions.

The Heart Chakra, known as Anahata in Sanskrit, is responsible for love, self-love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. It is also responsible for the physical heart, circulation, and respiration. Anahata is about what gives us life, and what gives us love. Being mindful of this and releasing the thoughts, actions, and people that take away from our life and drain our energy is hugely liberating for the heart and soul. (See Letting Go Exercise below)

I also believe our Wednesday Theme is linked to the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara), which is about our connection to each other and to Spirit or the divine. It is our sense of belonging, value, and purpose. This keeps us on track.

Author Gabrielle Bernstein‘s books have given me much food for thought. She discusses how being critical and judgemental of ourselves and others causes us to feel separate and alone. When things go stray in my mind or in my day, I think about Bernstein’s prayer and affirmation about fear:  “I recognize that I have chosen fear, and I choose again. I choose Love.”

About Love

TaI recently read two fantastic books on love: Love by Leo Buscaglia and The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  Buscaglia summarizes the best ways in which to enrich the heart and soul is through acts of love. He writes:  “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Chapman further discusses expressions of love by distinguishing five different “love languages”:  Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Gift Giving. He says that people tend to feel most loved when they receive love in their primary love language.  (Take the 5 Love Language test to find out what your love language is.)

Ok, back to our Wednesday Theme…


Wednesday Theme Heart & Soul Questions:

  • How can I restore my energy, focus, and inspiration today?
  • What am I curious about?  What do I want to explore?
  • Going deeper (for the courageous hearts)… Who was I before my heart was broken?
  • What can I forgive and let go of?
  • How can I serve others and how can I show my love and gratitude?
  • How can I put more heart into what I am doing today?


Wednesday Theme Heart & Soul Actions:

  • Reconnect with your intention for the week;
  • Review your affirmations or write out new ones (See Affirmations to Create the Best Day Every Day)
  • Take time for deep breathing and oxygenate your body and mind. This can be done through breathing exercises (pranayama) and/or through cardiovascular exercise;
  • Practice self-care today, especially if you weren’t able to prioritize it earlier in the week. Examples: yoga before everyone else wakes up (Access my 20 mins Yoga Basics video); go on a solo date to a coffee shop, restaurant or to the spa; get a massage or osteopathic treatment; do the self-massage practice; take a bath; relax;
  • Work on the Heart Chakra and also on the Crown Chakra (See Chakra Balancing);
  • Express gratitude. Say thank you, send a card to someone, give someone else credit and be complementary;
  • Connect to people more. Listen with your full attention, love, smile, and look into people’s eyes;
  • Daydream in your favourite café or hygge corner at home and journal (See 20 Life-Changing Questions & How to Create a Hygge Corner by Blogger Deanna Piercy)
  • Read or listen to something that uplifts your spirit and opens your heart (See 10 Great Personal Development Books)
  • Do the Letting Go exercise to release stress and pent-up emotions: Write out everything that is going on (good, bad, happy or sad) and then burn the paper. This really works!
  • Catch up on sleep so you have more energy for the rest of the week. Try to get to bed before 11pm.

Do you have any other suggestions for a Wednesday Theme? Or perhaps any other ideas on how to reconnect with your heart and soul? If yes, please post your ideas below!

{Feature photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash}

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Tuesday Theme: Lifestyle Design

My Tuesday Theme is lifestyle design because I think it is important to consider the way I am living and experiment on how to improve it. This is a big topic in my 30 Day Healthy Living Program and a key part of my week. (See Daily Theming)


What is “lifestyle”?

The word lifestyle is used a lot in many different contexts from clothing to media campaigns. I use the term “lifestyle design” to mean how to create your ideal living and working situation on a daily basis.

A great lifestyle design to me is the difference between being where I want to be on say, a Tuesday afternoon and where I don’t. It’s also about being able to adjust things in the way that is memorable and highlighting what/who I love and am grateful for through my activities and people I spend time with. It’s about choices.

Here’s a great explanation of lifestyle from a website called Business Dictionary:

Lifestyle is expressed in both work and leisure behavior patterns and (on an individual basis) in activities, attitudes, interests, opinions, values, and allocation of income. It also reflects people’s self-image or self-concept; the way they see themselves and believe they are seen by the others. Lifestyle is a composite of motivations, needs, and wants and is influenced by factors such as culture, family, reference groups, and social class.

About Time

The definition above is pretty complete, but I believe lifestyle is more about how you allocate time than money. This doesn’t mean money isn’t important.  In my experience, people whose lifestyles I admire are people who have found a way to work less and live more without sacrificing their living standards. For me, a good lifestyle design is about having your cake and eating it too.

Author Tim Ferris revolutionized the concept of lifestyle design in his best selling book, The Four Hour Work Week.  He writes:  “To enjoy life, you don’t need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time.” 

Ferris cites Parkinson’s Law, a principle first published in 1958 that states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. This means if you have a week to complete something, it will take you a week. If you have only an hour, it will take you an hour.  (I have witnessed this with cleaning my house and with every deadline I’ve had.)  Mel Robbins also talks about this in The Five Second Rule.

Both authors discussed Parkinson’s Law while stressing the importance of limiting distractions in the pursuit of what’s important.



Creating the right atmosphere at home and work is also an important element of lifestyle design. My thoughts on this were greatly influenced by two books I highly recommend: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

Of equal importance to my environment are the people around me. I am a huge proponent of the adages “your vibe attracts your tribe,” and “you are the sum of the five people you hang around with most.”

Lifestyle Design Questions

  • What is really important to me?
  • How do I feel when I wake up in the morning?
  • Can I make this day, this week more memorable?
  • Is my highest image a reflection of the way I want to live?
  • How can my environment be cozier and more comfortable?
  • What activities, people, food, music and things inspire me and give me goosebumps?
  • Do I go to bed feeling satisfied, happy and fulfilled each day?

Lifestyle Design Actions

  • Enhance the atmosphere at home by lighting candles, redecorating or reorganizing an area of your house and play great music – change playlists for every task (I love Spotify);
  • Change how you feel about traffic by listening to audio books while driving (Thank you Audible);
  • Do something different for meals – pancakes for lunch, picnic dinner, trying new recipes (See new recipes);
  • Make quality time for the people who bring you joy and uplift your spirit;
  • Exercise and meditate anyway even when you are alone with your kids, even while traveling, even when busy or tired. It’s not easy, but worth it;
  • Delegate tasks and jobs you don’t love – For us, hiring someone to clean the Loft is the best;
  • End your relationship with complaining and gossip – seriously awesome stuff will follow;
  • Be protective of your lifestyle and your time – limit distractions as much as you can;
  • Make a sanctuary in your home like  a yoga or meditation corner;
  • Every day is a good day – use the good china for breakfast on Wednesday and don’t wait too long to travel or for “special occasions;”
  • Find something to celebrate daily;
  • Keep trying things, be open and as creative as you can.

Being protective of lifestyle is increasingly important to me since becoming a mom. I think this beneficial because I feel more productive, present and alive than ever. This said I would never be so arrogant as to suggest that I have everything all figured out. I work to find solutions to things I tend to complain about and then share my solutions with others.

Do you have any other suggestions on how you are improving your lifestyle design? If yes, please post your ideas below!

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Monday Theme: Monday Mindset

My Theme for Mondays is Mindset. Monday Mindset has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

I love Mondays! To me, Monday feels like a fresh start, like a New Year’s Day or a new month. My energy is on point and everything is open and possible. It feels like a good time to recommit to my goals, to start something new, and get to work.

As I mentioned previously, I am working on becoming a more organized person. I have discovered that Daily Theming has helped me become more focused, more productive and less prone to stress and fatigue.

Full disclosure: I enjoy what I do for work. I truly love teaching yoga, doing ayurvedic consultations, running my 30 Day Healthy Living Programs and working online with Arbonne. As such, I look forward to getting into my myriad projects when the week begins.

If this is not your reality… yet, I invite you to use the Monday Theme to reshape your Mindset.  Here are some questions to reflect upon:

I really enjoy starting my days with my morning tonic of Arbonne Greens Balance, Arbonne Energy Fizz and lime juice in water. In fact, this is the perfect starting ritual for my Monday Mindset. As such, I have hooked so many people onto this including my husband, toddler, parents and countless friends and clients.

Monday Mindset Questions

  • What am I grateful for? Are there things that are already working well?
  • Do I know my top priorities for this week?
  • What is my intention for the week?
  • Am I excited about something in particular?
  • What am I worried about or dreading this week?
  • How high is my level of willingness to grow and learn?

Motivation by choice vs obligation

The one thing that has really helped me fully embrace the Monday Mindset theme is to reshape my way of thinking about tasks.  Shifting from doing things out of obligation to doing things because I choose to is a lesson in motivation I learned from Brandan Barber Coaching.

Like many of us, I use to think about my tasks on my To Do list as obligations and felt guilt, stress, and shame when I didn’t complete them. Now, I try to see each task as a choice, as something I want to do or choose to do because… and then I articulate the benefit and reason why the task is important.

Here’s an example: I used to detest administrative work, especially accounting. It felt like a chore and I wasn’t good at it. Because accounting was hard and overwhelming, I made accounting part of my Monday Mindset on abundance. I put it at the beginning of the week on purpose.  My new mantra is, “The more I have the more I can give.” Now, I look forward to paying people because I appreciate the work they do. As well, I choose to pay my rent and bills on time because I appreciate where I live and I am grateful for services like internet, electricity, cellphone, etc.

This simple shift in my perspective has had a profound impact on my productivity.  It also feels more energizing and motivating to know I have a choice. This is especially helpful on Mondays when getting started or restarted on a project is important.

Monday Mindset Actions:

  • Prepare my Monday Morning on Sunday night (See Sunday Theme);

    A morning routine is very helpful for me my Monday Mindset as it helps me get my day and week started.

  • Get up early – no snoozing!  (Snoozing creates sleep inertia and makes you feel sluggish in the morning)
  • Implement a morning routine. For me, this is meditation, yoga and my morning greens from Arbonne (Greens Balance + Energy Fizz + lime juice in water = best way to start the day!);
  • Write out a primary affirmation or focus for the week: I am calm, I am at ease, I am productive, I am having fun, I am fulfilled… (See Daily Affirmations)
  • Prioritize the two to three tasks or goals that are the most important today and for the week and scheduling them in;
  • Figure out why I want to and choose to do the things I have to and should do this week (motivation by choice versus obligation);
  • Focus on my Productivity Mindset;
  • Read or listening to an uplifting and inspiring book, podcast or training to help me get into action (See my list of 10 Great Personal Development Books);
  • Protect my Monday Mindset from distractions – keeping my phone on silent, turning off notifications, checking email only twice during the day;
  • Check in regularly to see if closer or further away from my Monday Mindset goals;
  • Exercise! I find that if I exercise on Monday, I am most likely to reach my goal of going to the gym at least three times this week.

Do you have any other suggestions for a Monday Theme? If yes, please post your ideas below!

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Sunday Theme: Quality Time, Reflection & Preparation

My Sunday Theme is quality time, reflection & preparation. This is when I spend time with family & friends, practice self-care, plan, and prepare for the week ahead.

Although I wouldn’t describe myself as organized or a natural planner, I believe that Daily Theming, giving each day of the week a special focus, has improved my mental, emotional and even physical health. I have tested this myself and find I am a lot more focused. I feel more at ease and peaceful. I am getting stuff done. And my days feel full and abundant. As such, I designed my 30 Day Healthy Living Program with these Daily Themes in mind.

Sunday Funday

Like arranged on a calendar, I mentally start the week with Sunday. It’s like a pre-weekday for me and a good day to connect with the people who are important to me.

I also try to set aside at least a half hour of quiet time to do a check-in with myself (usually in the afternoon during Koji’s nap or in the evening, after Koji has gone to bed). I review and reflect upon what’s happened over the weekend and over the last week by pondering questions like the ones below.



Figuring out how to incorporate my family into my self-care practices and discovering new ways to spend quality time together is one of the aspects of my Sunday Theme I love the most.

Sunday Theme Questions:

  • Who is important to me and how can dedicate quality time to them today?
  • What can I do today to practice self-care?
  • What happened last week that was awesome?
  • What did I accomplish over the weekend and last week?
  • What’s happening right now that could be better?
  • What can I do now that will make the coming week/days easier or better?

I recently attended a conference with Arbonne, the line of botanical health and beauty products I represent. During one of the trainings, one of the trainers, Chantale Oliveira brought up a very interesting concept that I am now working into my evening routines and as part of actions associated with my Sunday Theme of review and prepare. This is the concept of writing not only a “To Do” list, but also an “I Did” or “I Accomplished” list.

What an awesome idea! I have been doing this all week and my daily satisfaction feelings have skyrocketed! While To Do lists are helpful for keeping track of things and fit in perfectly with our Sunday theme, I Did lists help us stay on track of our progress.

You may think checking off boxes on your To Do list might serve the same function, but not really. Try this and you’ll see what I mean.

Sunday Theme Actions:

  • Spend time with family & friends and remembering what’s important;
  • Reflect upon and write down your “I Did” list with the things you accomplished over the weekend and last week;
  • Make a personal, professional & family To Do lists for the week ahead;
  • Prioritize the tasks on your lists (See Productivity Mindset);
  • Delegate as many tasks as you can;
  • Add reminders & allotting time for your essential tasks on your calendar;
  • Schedule appointments for the week;
  • Do laundry (if needed);
  • Grocery shop (you can order groceries online) & meal prep for the week (See Simple Plant-Based Food Plan) ;
  • Prepare clothes, lunches and other stuff needed to make Monday morning as easy as possible;
  • Self-care: Rest, read, self-massage, meditate, journal, breathe, go outside and daydream on the  ‘big picture’ (See 20 Life Changing Questions);
  • Practice Letting go;
  • Take a relaxing bath,
  • Go to bed early.

Of course, another suggestion for a Sunday Theme is to REST completely – no errands or chores on Sunday. If your home tasks like laundry & groceries can get done on another day, it’s lovely to use Sunday to have quality time with family and/or friends time and time for personal development, reflection, gentle organization, and self-care.

Do you have any other suggestions for a Sunday Theme? If yes, please post your ideas below!


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Stress Management with Pranayama & Three-Part-Breathing

Pranayama is the practice of learning how to breathe consciously and increasing our vital energy. Regardless of life’s ups and downs, the breath is always with us and is our most tangible connection to the present moment.

Nevertheless, it is surprising how little emphasis is placed on breathing throughout our daily routines. It’s the same tune we’ve heard before: We wake up. We run out the door. We work all day, barely stopping for a lunch break or a deep breath. We multitask all day and then run errands after work. We have dinner perhaps while watching TV or being on our phones, and then we go to bed only to do the exact same thing the following day.

Running around all day, living and breathing on autopilot, isn’t optimal for our physical and psychological well-being and yet most of us do this often, self-included.

Some statistics about stress

  • According to Health Canada, more than 70% of Canadians feel stressed on a regular basis.
  • Statistics Canada reported that more than 30% of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 claim that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful.
  • Women were 1.5 times more likely than males to report that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful.
  • Interestingly, the proportion of residents who reported that their days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely’ stressful was higher than the national average in Quebec (26.2%).

The impact of these findings by Statistics Canada indicated that high levels of daily stress resulted in a lower rate of life satisfaction.

Physically the body responds to stress with a “fight or flight” response, explains Barbara A. Brehm in her book Stress Management: Increasing Your Stress Resistance. The heart beats faster and harder, blood pressure rises and breathing becomes more shallow and rapid. Over time, countless studies, including several conducted by Stat. Can., have shown that chronic stress can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and rheumatism, migraines chronic bronchitis and stomach or intestinal ulcers.

How to manage stress with pranayama

Practicing proper breathing techniques is perhaps the simplest way to help the body cope during strenuous times while allowing the mind to relax and focus on the task at hand. Yogis say, “When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the breath is still, so is the mind still.”


Pranayama is about increasing life force. In his classic book Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar’s wrote: “Prana is the breath of life of all beings in the universe. They are born through and live by it, and when they die their individual dissolves into the cosmic breath.”

The yogic practice of breath work is called pranayama, which also means to control vital energy. There are three types of breathing: clavicular (shallow), intercostal (middle), and diaphragmatic (deep).

Clavicular Breathing: Air enters the body by raising the collarbone and shoulders. This method of respiration is the least efficient since it only involves the upper part of the lungs. When we are stressed or anxious, we often revert to this type of rapid, shallow breathing. (Studies show that more women breathe this way, as women react to a higher range of stressors than men.)

Intercostal Breathing: Often referred to as ‘athletic breathing,’ the intercostal form of respiration fills the middle region of the lungs by lifting the ribs and expanding the thoracic cage or chest wall. When combined with diaphragmatic breathing, the body is properly oxygenated.

Diaphragmatic Breathing: This type of breathing is categorized by the swelling of the abdominal region, as the diaphragm subsides on the inhalation and the base of the lungs fill with air. The rhythmic lowering of the diaphragm produces a constant, gentle massage of the abdominal area and helps the organs function correctly. (Most men breathe this way.)

Dirga pranayama or threepart breath


The most energy efficient method of breathing incorporates all three types of breathing— diaphragmatic, intercostal, and clavicular. In yoga, it is important to breathe in and out through the nose, because the air that enters and exits the body nasally is warmer and more filtered than through the mouth.

As you inhale –
1- Lower and flatten the dome-shaped diaphragm – ‘breathe’ into your belly’
2- Expand the rib cage;
3- Raise the upper part of the thorax and collarbone.

As you exhale – 
1- Lower the collarbone and upper thorax area;
2- Deflate the rib cage;
3- Gently contract the abdominals and squeeze out any residual air left in the lungs.

TIP: Focus on the exhalation
Most people believe that, in the act of respiration, one must give precedence to drawing in the breath. However, unless we first exhale the breath completely, it is impossible to inhale correctly. At the end of the exhalation, the abdominal muscles should contract to help empty the lungs of impure air.

Pranayama is also an excellent segway into meditation as it calms the mind and has myriad benefits.


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