Categories
Alternative Living

I Went UFO Hunting With A UFO Investigator

Before I dive into this whacky adventure that I went on, let’s all just pause for a moment and put into perspective how absolutely gigantic this Universe really is… and how tiny we all really are here on Earth.

According to NASA, the Earth’s Solar System is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, which contains at least 100 billion stars and extends approximately 100 thousand light-years across. That’s 588 quadrillion miles (946 quadrillion kilometers). Our sun is just one of at least a hundred billion stars in our own galaxy and it’s estimated that there are about a hundred billion galaxies in the Universe! 

In such a vast Universe with a seemingly infinite number of stars and planets, it makes sense to wonder what else might be out there.

Is there intelligent life on other planets? If so, have such extraterrestrials ever visited Earth? These are age-old questions that humans have been wondering for thousands of years.

UFO sightings are relatively common

According to the National UFO Reporting Center, there were about 6,000 UFO sightings in 2019 and there have been more than 4,600 sightings in 2020 so far. 

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that UFO stands for unidentified flying object. However, not many people know that another name for UFOs that is used by the government is “unidentified aerial phenomenon” or UAP.

The US government declares its interest in UFOs

In 1997 a CNN poll revealed that 80% of Americans believe that the US government hides information about extraterrestrial life. More than 23 years later in July of 2020, the Pentagon’s UFO Unit called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, which operates under the Office of Naval Intelligence, came forward and declared it would “standardize the collection and reporting on sightings” of unexplained aerial vehicles, and would finally report at least some of its findings to the public.

While the public is still waiting for updates on the release of this information, the Pentagon officially released three videos of UFOs captured by US Naval pilots and verified the legitimacy of these videos.

This groundbreaking statement from the US government seemed to fly completely under the radar in the news cycle, but I was absolutely hooked in.

It was at this moment that I realized I really didn’t know much about UFOs.

So in a desire to satisfy my newfound curiosity about this typically taboo subject, I decided that searching for UFOs was the best possible way to dive on in.

So I decided to head to the middle of nowhere to meet up with a UFO field investigator named Rex Bear to search for UFOs. I was skeptical that we would find anything at all, but what a spooky adventure this turned out to be.

My Research on UFOs 

Before the big UFO hunt, I’d need to do some research. As soon as I started diving into the UFO topic, I realized there was a lot more to this story than I ever expected.

Luckily, I used my subscription to Gaia, the world’s largest streaming service for conscious media, to access several documentaries and interviews about the UFO topic that you really can’t find anywhere else.

Through Gaia, I was even able to access the award-winning investigative journalist George Knapp’s famous news series about UFOs that aired on KLAS back in the 90s called UFOs: The Best Evidence. George Knapp is known for breaking the story about Bob Lazar in 1989. Bob Lazar is probably the most famous whistleblower on the UFO topic and claims to have worked at S4, a government base near Area 51 where he says he was hired to reverse engineer spacecraft that were far beyond our current technological capabilities.

It turns out a lot of what Lazar claimed back in the 80s, has proven to be true over the years. I also highly recommend watching the Bob Lazar documentary on Netflix and listening to his interview on the Joe Rogan podcast if you want to learn more about his story.

Bob Lazar and Jeremy Corbell on the Joe Rogan Experience

While the government has a long history of keeping the UFO topic under wraps, denying any scientific interest in UFOs, and even making a huge effort to discredit and cover-up mass UFO sightings, thousands of declassified documents have been released over the years by way of the Freedom of Information Act, many of which reveal that the UFO and extraterrestrial topic has been of interest to the US government for decades.

It was incredibly daunting to sift through so many hard-to-read and blacked out declassified documents, so I turned to retired FBI special agent, John DeSouza for more information.

“The government takes UFO phenomena very seriously,” he said. “There’s always implications of national security.”

“A lot of these UFO instances actually are military UFO drones. They’re not extraterrestrial, absolutely not.”

Then, this retired FBI agent casually dropped this bomb…

“However, extraterrestrial UFOs are also real.”

John DeSouza, Retired FBI Special Agent

And with a statement like that, I was eager to start hunting down some UFOs.

So my amazing videographer Jon Killz and I flew to Denver, rented an RV, and hit the road to meet up with Rex. Our first stop was the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, Colorado.

The UFO Investigation

Watch the full YouTube video to see what happens!

Categories
Alternative Living Spirituality

The Witch Who Changed My Life

Meet Mia Magik, a manifesting witch and an ambassador for modern magic.

Mia Magik is a modern-day witch and practices witchcraft and magic to manifest the life of her dreams. She also makes a living teaching others how to do the same with her Witch School.

“All I want to do is help people believe in magic because magic has changed and saved my life.”

Mia Magik

I met Mia through the spiritual community in Los Angeles and was always fascinated by her and drawn to her magnetic energy. I didn’t know that eventually, we would connect on a much deeper level and she would help me unlock a piece of my heart that I didn’t even know was locked up.

My Witchcraft Journey

Ever since I was a little girl I remember being particularly drawn to spiritual, witchy things. Growing up in Beverly, Massachusetts, the town right next door to Salem, Massachusetts, known as the “Witch City” where the famous Witch Trials of 1692 occurred, I was always deeply fascinated by this topic. 

But sometime early on, I pushed away this innate curiosity because of the stigma and societal judgment surrounding the topic of witchcraft. Hollywood, the media, and the church have a long history of portraying witchcraft as evil and making it seem wrong, scary, and something to fear. It’s been completely misunderstood and I always knew there must be more to the stereotype of the witch.  

So last October, I decided to revisit my childhood curiosity of witchcraft and spend some time learning witchcraft from real practicing witches in Los Angeles where I live. I learned so much about the history of witchcraft and why those who practice it today seem to resonate with this belief system and practice.

What I learned is that witchcraft is extremely connected to the elements of nature. This really appealed to me.

Manifesting with Magic

This October, I wanted to take things a bit further and learn more about how I might actually be able to apply witchcraft to my life. And that’s where Mia comes in because she is using witchcraft to truly manifest the life of her dreams. 

Manifestation is a buzzword we hear all the time and make jokes about. But when I witness people who seem to be manifestation pros, I want all their secrets.

Mia Magik is one of those humans and someone I needed to learn more about. So I headed into the mountains of Topanga, California, to spend the day with this modern witch and see how she lives her life.

I arrived in Topanga Canyon at 10 in the morning on a Tuesday. We were up in the mountains at Mia’s beautiful home. As I walked down the driveway towards the door, I noticed a casual red Range Rover in the driveway. I wondered if it was Mia’s and I later found out that of course, it was.

Mia welcomed me and my videographer, Caitlin, into her home and immediately began showing us around what she calls, “The Priestess Palace.”

“I just wanted to create a space where me and one or two sisters can make magic together and be in our practice together,” she said. “We’ve had rage rituals in here, we’ve had sex magic rituals in here, we’ve had all the things in here.”

Rage rituals? Sex magic rituals? My curiosity meter was peaking. I needed to experience these practices for myself. 

You can watch the full video here to see my day with Mia Magik, but here in this blog post, I want to dive a little bit deeper regarding what happened during the sex magic ritual… because shit got deep real fast. 

Watch my day with Mia Magik!
The Sex Magic Ritual

I sat down with Mia and her witchy sister Hannah Marie to participate in a “sex magic ritual” using an orgasmic breathwork method. Mia explained that we would be doing sex magic without actual sex. We wouldn’t be touching ourselves or doing anything crazy. We would just be working with “the energy of sex,” or the creative energy.

“You can do sex magic with the energy of sexuality because sexual energy is the creative energy. It’s what gives life and brings life.” Mia explained.

“So you can do sex magic without ever touching yourself because it’s just bringing that energy in, that free-flowing pleasure and feeling the joy and the bliss and the openness.”

Mia asked me to think about something that felt important to call into my life. I immediately said, “more financial abundance.” She asked me to imagine a symbol that represents that to me and I told her “gold.” She then instructed me to imagine everything in gold as we moved through the practice and as the energy “reached my crown,” or the crown chakra at the top of the head.

The breathwork technique that Mia taught me was a very simple free flowing breath with free movement. She instructed me to simply feel freedom and pleasure as we breathed and moved.

Very quickly into the ritual, I started feeling the effects. I could feel the joy, the bliss, and the pleasure. It felt so good and so natural.

After only about 10 minutes of breathing, we stopped breathing and just settled into this blissful, joyful presence. It was at this moment as the waters settled, that I experienced something that I’ve only experienced a handful of times in my life. With this sense of clarity, I experienced a moment of pure remembrance. One of those Divine moments that hits you straight in the heart and the gut.

My moment of remembrance

As I was sitting with Mia and Hannah, looking into the eyes at the beautiful, strong, powerful women holding this sacred space together, it hit me so hard. I broke down.

A huge wave of remembering hit me and I felt all sorts of feels: joy and gratitude, but also a deep sadness for the world and this wisdom that seems to have gotten lost or been wrongfully taken away over the years. 

“We’ve had our power stripped away. Women need each other like this,” I said. 

The wisdom they were sharing with me, felt so innate and so real in my heart. This moment with them felt so primal and cosmic at the same time. 

“Your souls are like telling me ancient wisdom that’s been taken away or something. You’re literally giving me the gift of this wisdom that’s so real it’s crazy.”

In a world that doesn’t seem to make any sense right now, this moment made perfect sense to me.

Of course it makes sense to align with nature, the elements, and honor the Mother. Of course it makes sense to breathe with pure gratitude and pleasure. Of course, it makes sense to create space for sacred sisterhood to allow each other to feel deeply and support each other.

How could I forget this wisdom? 

Mia told me that the same experience happened to her once upon a time. She told me that when she exclaimed her remembrance to her spiritual teacher at the time, he responded with this, “We are designed to forget and the mission is to remember.” 

These moments of remembering are what motivate me. We all experience the world differently, but we must find these moments that make sense to our souls. The moments that fill us up with so much love, joy, connection, gratitude, and remembering are what we need most right now.

It just makes sense.

Right now, Mia Magik is offering the Sky Life Vibe Tribe 10% OFF her Magic School! USE CODE SKY for 10% off Mia’s Witch School so you can learn how to use witchcraft and magic to manifest all your dreams and desires 😉

Categories
Alternative Living

Inside California’s New Age Hippie Movement

When we think of the word “hippie,” we may hold a certain stereotype in our minds. We may conjure up images of peace signs, tie-dye, Woodstock, or psychedelics. Maybe we think of modern-day hippies rubbing crystals and meditating, or talking about astrology and pseudoscience topics.

Although the word hippie may date back to the jive era in the 1930s and 40s, the term was popularized during the counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s. This was a time when the youth were seeking answers and a different way of life, participating in activism and exploring altered states of consciousness. It was a time of peace, love, drugs, and free expression. Today, we see a resurgence of this movement with the “new age hippies.”

The new age hippies

It’s clear that the word hippie has evolved over time and taken on different meanings throughout history. Throughout my journey exploring wellness, holistic healing, yoga, and meditation, I’ve somehow found resonance in what you might call a new age hippie community here in Los Angeles, California where I currently live.

After spending some time with this community, I had a feeling that there’s more to the surface level story and stereotype of the so-called hippie. It seemed to me that there’s something much deeper going on with this community, and I wanted to get to the bottom of it. Especially because hippies seem to be happy all the time… which is what everyone wants, right? 

Could it be that hippies actually hold some of the answers to life that we are all looking for? Or are they just gullible, irresponsible, tree-hugging crazies who are too happy? I wasn’t totally sure yet. So I journeyed into the California desert to find out. 

My journey to Bhakti Fest in the Joshua Tree desert 

I decided to take a trip into the Joshua Tree desert to attend a yoga and music festival called Bhakti Fest. I had attended this festival before and knew it would be teeming with hundreds of hippies for me to talk to.

Bhakti Fest is on the smaller side with attendance ranging from several hundred to a few thousand people, and because of that, the community is quite tight-knit. Unlike other festivals of this kind, Bhakti Fest is drug and alcohol-free.  

The festival includes a multitude of yoga classes, meditation, breathwork, lectures, workshops, ecstatic dance, music, and yogic teachings of all types, but with a focus on the path of Bhakti Yoga. 

Bhakti means “devotion” in Sanskrit and originally comes from the Vedas, which date back thousands of years, as one of the world’s oldest written texts.

Bhakti yoga involves not only the physical practice of yoga, but also singing ancient mantras, typically in the form of something called Kirtan, which is a call and response style of music where the community collectively sings these mantras. Bhakti yoga is practiced by all different people all over the world, and many types of people attend Bhakti Fest. But it does seem to attract a large number of people you might think of as “hippies.” 

The immersion

When I arrived at the festival, I was excited to immerse myself in the hippie culture and talk to as many people as possible, to uncover the truth about hippies.

I ended up talking to tons of people throughout my weekend, including a man who drinks his own urine, a plant wizard who makes something called ultrasonic tribulus, and a verteran who overcame PTSD with yoga. 

To see all of the interviews I conducted throughout the weekend and what the hippies had to say, watch my video about the experience! 

The influence of the East on new-age westerners

When we think of the hippie movement, we often think of sex, drugs, and rock n roll, but what has always fascinated me is the strong influence of eastern philosophy and spiritual teachings throughout the counterculture movement. 

Even the Beatles were learning from Indian gurus and became Bhakti yogis following the Krishna consciousness movement, which even influenced their music. George Harrison became a devoted follower of Krishna and his song ‘My Sweet Lord’ even has the Krishna chant, known as the “Maha Mantra” right in it!

Is Bhakti Fest cultural appropriation? 

It’s always been interesting to me that the counterculture movement rebelled so heavily against mainstream religion and society in the West, yet through this rebellion, many found their way to meaning through the spiritual teachings of the east. This also shows up today with the new age hippies. 

Bhakti Fest is a prime example of this: a group of westerners seeking to expand their consciousness without the use of substances through the teachings of yoga and meditation.

Thousands of years later, these teachings have made their way all the way from India to California. However, I noticed that not many Indian people actually attend this festival. At first, I found this a little concerning. Perhaps this festival was a clear example of cultural appropriation. So I found a few Indians in attendance to speak with, and was curious to hear their thoughts.

Every Indian person I spoke with at Bhakti Fest was thrilled about young westerners showing an interest in Indian culture and the ancient teachings of yoga and meditation. They found it exciting, and said that the reason why so many Indian gurus traveled to America was to share these teachings so that westerners could benefit from this wisdom. This festival was a great example of the results of these efforts.

What I learned from the hippies

While there is definitely truth behind the stereotype of the new age hippie, I learned so much from this group of people and how they view the world. Although stereotypes have some validity to them, it’s important to remember that these stereotypes are generalizations and there is far more beneath them Even though many hippies may appear to be happy all the time, this is not necessarily true. What I found is that this group of people seem to be more in touch with their emotions than the average humans. Through the spiritual path, it seems that hippies are learning tools to help them navigate life’s challenges and emotions.

As humans, we are meant to feel emotions of all sorts, but it’s our relationship with our emotions that really matters and what we learn from them. Ultimately, that is what this path has taught me.

Any challenge in life is an opportunity to grow and learn. Through cultivating a deeper connection with our inner world, we are able to make the most of all that life has to offer. When we do get wrapped up in a dark or negative headspace, we can decide to choose a different way and feel gratitude and presence in every moment in life. 

Joy does not mean being happy all the time. To me, joy is being overwhelmed by gratitude for this experience here and all it has to teach us. 

Categories
Movement & Fitness Popular

I Learned How to Handstand in One Week

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 10 years now and I absolutely love it for both the physical and mental challenge it offers. For me, yoga is like therapy, and it’s been the most consistent part of my life for the past decade.

Yoga has continued to nurture my mind, body, and soul, but recently I was feeling like I hit a plateau in my practice. I decided I needed to take on a challenge to help me push past it.

An advanced posture taught in yoga is the handstand. I’ve been able to land a handstand for a few seconds for the past few years, but I haven’t practiced it enough consistently to go beyond that. I have no problem doing a handstand up against a wall, but when I try and do one in open space I get stuck. I am petrified of falling forward and breaking my neck and it’s really just the fear that is stopping me from learning how to do it.

So, I decided to try and learn how to do a handstand in just one week, to level up my yoga practice and help me push past some mental blockages that have been holding me back.

Finding a coach

In order to succeed, I needed a great handstand coach. So I asked my friend Andrew Sealy, a world-renowned yoga teacher and a handstand wizard, to be my coach and help me learn the physical and mental mechanics of the handstand posture. 

My goal was to land a handstand for a full 10 seconds at the end of the week. 

My first handstand class

To kick-off the challenge, Andrew guided me through a handstand specific yoga class. We started with wrist and shoulder mobility to warm up, then moved into core strength and shoulder strength. Next, Andrew prepped me with some poses for proper handstand alignment.

Learning to fall

Once my body was fully prepped for handstands, there was one more thing I needed to learn before moving forward: how to fall out of a handstand. 

One of my biggest barriers to learning a handstand in the past was the fear of falling forward onto my neck. I would use my hands as breaks and walk on them. Andrew advised against this habit in order to truly learn how to handstand. 

Andrew taught me two ways to fall out of a handstand – either from side to side or the tuck in roll, which would be the way to fall if I was falling forward. 

I learned three ways to get into a handstand – the “scissor lift”, the “tuck hop”, and the “straddle kick”.

After the class, I felt like I had learned so much in such a short amount about proper handstand alignment and preparation, and I was ready to start practicing on my own for the next week.

My training schedule

If I had all the time in the world, I would be able to spend a long amount of time every day working on my handstand, but since I have to keep a business running, I would only have about one hour every day for handstand practice. I would need to really focus and make the most of this time each day.

Although I always thought core strength was the most important element of being able to handstand, Andrew made me realize how many other factors are equally important, including proper alignment, breath, and preparing the body.

Throughout my handstand training, I ended up falling… a lot. But I had to be okay with challenging myself and falling in order to learn. 

How did it go?

After a few days of practice on my own, I was still feeling stuck. So I went to go practice on the green in Santa Monica and somehow stumbled upon a handstand class that I joined in on. We did a lot of wrist, hand, and shoulder prep and I learned a few new tricks that were really helpful. It was also just really fun being with other people and learning together, rather than being alone in my living room. 

By the end of the week, I had successfully landed a handstand for 10 seconds, several times. I had finally proved to myself that I could do it, but being able to do this on command was another story.

I went to go meet up with Andrew at the end of the week to show him my progress and found it challenging to handstand on command. I ended up being able to do it for 10 seconds though, and I was really proud of myself for actually being able to do it!

By the end of the week, I had by no means mastered the handstand, but I had proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. Like anything in life, practice, focus, and dedication are required to master any skill.

Taking on any kind of challenge isn’t necessarily about the result or the outcome, it’s about the journey and the process you go through and everything you learn along the way. If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in any area of your life, taking on some kind of challenge is a great way to break out of your habitual routine and learn something new! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CKyQvBRYTE

Categories
Spirituality

I Tried Trippy Breathwork Online

Throughout the past four years of living in Los Angeles, I have tried all kinds of crazy alternative modalities, from cosmetic acupuncture to crystal healing, the Wim Hof Method and neurofeedback.

Breathwork is one modality that has been a real game-changer for me.

Now, there are all different forms of breathwork. Pranayama, the Skanrit term for breathing practice, has been practiced by the yogis and monks for thousands of years. Breathwork’s popularity in western culture really started around the 1970s when Dr. Stan Grof, a Czech psychiatrist, developed something called holotropic breathwork as a way to induce a psychedelic state for psychotherapeutic benefits, without the use of drugs. 

At this point, I’ve tried all different kinds of breathwork. I’ll never forget my first breathwork during my yoga teacher training in 2016, and how powerful this was for me. I couldn’t believe what I was feeling in my body through breathing alone.

How breathwork actually works:

As I mentioned before, there are all different types of breathwork, but generally what’s happening in most forms of breathwork, is a decrease in the levels of carbon dioxide in the body and an increase in oxygen. This causes the pH of your blood to increase and become more alkaline, and scientists have actually measured these levels studying Wim Hof breathing in the lab. 

With this change in alkalinity, the body and brain start to react in all sorts of ways physically and emotionally. There are documented accounts of people having all sorts of psychedelic-like experiences during breathwork, but the research on why this actually happens is just not something we have yet. 

Since I’ve started making more content about breathwork and other holistic modalities, a comment that I often see is that people wish they lived somewhere in the world that offers breathwork classes. 

So when I discovered a type of breathwork being taught completely online, I knew I needed to try it out to see if this is something that might be a way for people around the world to gain access to a modality that’s been a big part of my spiritual path, and is helping so many people around the world. 

So I went to meet with Michael Stone, a certified breathwork facilitator who has been guiding breathwork experiences for more than a decade in-person and online. Michael developed something called neurodynamic breathwork online in order to give people around the world access to breathwork, in an easy and affordable way.

My Experience

There are a lot of breathwork tutorials online, but what made this experience different is that it was a live class held via Zoom with Michael leading the session as a certified facilitator

Breathwork can be really intense, so it’s important to feel safe and supported. It was definitely reassuring to know that Michael was right there in case anyone needed him during the session.

Something that I really enjoyed was how people from all over the world were able to share their personal experiences after the class. Although it wasn’t the same as being in-person with people, I still felt such a strong sense of community. It reminded me that there are people all over the world who are hungry for this stuff and want to expand their consciousness. It’s not just happening in Los Angeles.

Although I would still recommend going to an in-person class over an online session if you get the chance, I know that’s necessarily a possibility for everyone. I feel that neurodynamic breathwork online is the next best thing and would highly recommend it. You can do this from the comfort of your own home while still feeling the support of a global community. 

Because Michael wants to share this with as many people as possible around the world, he’s offering the Sky Life vibe tribe a free neurodynamic breathwork session! So you can try it out and see if it’s something that resonates with you. 

Categories
Health & Nutrition Popular

5 Health Trends That Actually Work

With so many new health and wellness trends popping up everyday, it’s hard to know what actually works and what is complete BS! Luckily, I’ve made it my job (literally) to try all of these trends and report back to you what I learn along the way.

I’ve been at this now for more than two years! So don’t worry, I got you covered.

In this post, I am going to share my top five health trends I’ve tried, that I believe are actually worth it! 

But before I reveal my top five wellness picks, I need to make something clear:

If we truly want to be healthy, it is super important to be prioritizing the fundamentals and basics of wellbeing first and foremost. It’s the simple stuff we hear all the time: eating real, whole foods, exercising, stretching, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, meditating, and spending time with the people you love. Basic stuff, but super important for overall health. 

Now on the flip side, sometimes it can be really overwhelming to feel like you need to get all of these things right all the time. It’s nearly impossible! So in no way am I suggesting that we all need to be perfect in every single part of our health. But, if we can try to make better choices every day in all of these different areas, we are on the right track.

A lot of people hate on health “trends” or “fads,” and I would agree there is a danger in just hopping on the bandwagon of the latest diet or health trend and always searching for a “magic pill.” Because it does not exist. We even know through plenty of research now, that most diets fail and are not sustainable. However, from my experience trying out a lot of these different “trends,” some are actually quite useful and are a trend for a reason.

If something is “trending,” usually that means it’s working for a lot of people and gaining hype because of it. So if something is working for so many people, then maybe it could be of use to us. If anything, getting people to think more about their wellbeing and get excited about it, is a major win for the world! 

So here ya go! These are my top five favorite wellness trends I’ve tried so far: 

  1. Intermittent Fasting

When I first tried this out, I had a hard time adjusting to it, but I noticed so many benefits from doing it consistently and it’s become way easier over time.

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you fast for a prolonged period of time each day and shorten the window of time you are actually eating. Intermittent fasting is a great way to manage blood sugar levels, increase energy, and overall it’s a huge benefit for your body to take a break from digesting food so your cells can focus on clearing out toxic waste and rebuild themselves.

I generally fast every day for about 12-14 hours, and as an active female with a delicate hormonal system, this is perfect for me. I am not strict or rigid about it and the times that I start and stop eating generally fluctuate, but now it’s sort of just part of my lifestyle and works really well for me. It’s actually allowed me to feel a lot of freedom with food, which is something I struggled with for a while. 

All of our bodies are so different and respond differently to various ways of eating, but I truly think intermittent fasting is universally beneficial for most humans, and it’s not that hard to implement. 

  1. Celery Juice

People have all sorts of opinions about this trend, but from my experience I absolutely love it! I noticed a lot of benefits from drinking it consistently, especially for my skin and digestion. Celery juice also seems to be helping people with all sorts of issues, everything from eczema to gut problems, and autoimmune disorders.

I don’t drink celery juice every single day anymore because it’s a bit expensive to do that and it’s a little tedious juicing it, but I have it about 3-4 times per week. One really cool thing it does is help me curb cravings. I notice when I drink it that I tend to reduce my cravings for sugar.

  1.  The Wim Hof Method

Ever since I trained with Wim Hof this past winter, people ask me all the time if I still practice the Wim Hof Method… and the answer is overwhelming YES! This method has truly changed my life in so many ways and completely changed my relationship with both the cold and my own inner power and mental strength. Before this experience, I honestly hated the cold so much.

But after overcoming it, I actually sort of crave it now. I still take cold showers every day and get in an ice bath whenever I can. Luckily I have some friends in LA who have ice bath setups in their backyard and we will have little breathwork and ice bath parties with friends and this is one of my favorite things to do. Both the breathing and the ice baths allow me to release a lot of stress and anxiety and it brings me right back to my own strength and inner power. It’s a total endorphin rush and I love it. 

  1. Digital Detoxes 

I’ve made a lot of videos about digital wellness and how we can develop a healthier relationship with our phones and social media. One way that I do this, is by taking a digital detox at least every 3-6 months. During this time, I turn my phone off, put it away, and usually I go without any technology at all, not even my camera.

I’ll go somewhere in nature and spend anywhere from 24 to 72 hours or more disconnecting with the digital world to reconnect with my inner world. The amount of presence that I feel when doing this is so beautiful and taking these digital detoxes has become a game-changer for my mental and spiritual well being. 

  1.  Cacao

In its purest form, ceremonial grade cacao is one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet. Cacao is extremely high in hundreds of nutrients including iron, magnesium, and calcium. It’s been amazing for my gut health and has helped me eliminate pretty much all stomach issues and sensitivities I was having. It’s also fantastic for the brain, so it allows me to feel calm but energized while I’m working. 

Preparing and drinking cacao involves a very meditative, mindful practice that comes from thousands of years of Mayan tradition, so implementing this ritual in my life every morning changes my entire day. Cacao is also considered a “heart-opening” plant medicine, which sounds a bit spiritual, but actually it contains a chemical called anandamide, which is the “bliss molecule,” named after the Sanskrit word “Ananda”, which means “bliss.” This molecule binds to the same receptors in the brain as THC and creates a blissful, joyful feeling. 

The one thing to be aware of when it comes to cacao is making sure you are getting a really high quality one. Many on the market are non pure-grade or ceremonial. My absolute favorite is Legacy Cacao, which comes from an indigienocus tribe in Guatemala who use an ancient Mayan recipe. The cacao is sustainably farmed, stone ground, and blessed by the priestess of the tribe. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s so worth it! 

So there you have it! Those are my five favorite wellness trends so far. Again, always remember to prioritize the basics of wellbeing before going overboard with all the trendy stuff, but if you feel called to try any of these trends, I urge you to go for it! You never know what might have a huge impact on your life.

Categories
Mindfulness

5 Days of Meditation Apps

Meditation is something I have been practicing for several years now. I began practicing yoga about 10 years ago, which is how I discovered meditation, and it’s truly changed my life.

Even though I love meditation, I am very sporadic with my practice. I go through periods where I meditate every day and then I will fall off the wagon when life gets “busy.” And usually it’s the moments when we “don’t have time” to meditate, that we need it most. 

Recently I was going through a little bit of a slump. I had low energy, my mindset was off, and I wasn’t feeling like myself. I decided I wanted to do something that could help me get back on track. Since there are so many cool meditation apps out there that I’ve been wanting to try, I decided that I would spend one week trying them all and meditating every single day.

The scientific research on meditation 

Meditation is an ancient practice that’s been around for thousands of years, and is now finally validated by scientific research. We see the benefits of meditation across multiple studies.

A 2008 study published in the academic journal PLOS ONE, found that just 15 minutes of meditation each day can actually influence gene expression. This study showed a change in the expression of 172 genes that regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms, and glucose metabolism. The researchers also found that consistent meditation resulted in a statistically significant decrease in the participants’ blood pressure.

We see again and again in the research that meditation positively impacts both our brains and our bodies and how they work together. 

My 5-day experiment

My goal with this challenge was to meditate for just 10 minutes per day using a different app each day. Hopefully I would find one that I could use to continue with a more consistent meditation practice. 

Headspace 

The first app I tried was Headspace. Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps out there. I absolutely loved the design and user interface of the Headspace app. It’s very well designed and organized, making it easy to find exactly what kind of meditation you’re looking for. I also loved the animations that it includes, which offer educational information about meditation and different techniques, in an easy-to-understand way.

I think that Headspace is particularly helpful for beginners or anyone looking for a way to easily add meditation to their life. You can even choose meditations that are just three minutes long, which surprisingly can have a huge impact on your day. 

Calm

The next meditation app I tried was Calm, another popular app on the market. Calm is particularly helpful for sleep, with an entire library dedicated to meditation for sleep.

Calm also had a whole section for mindfulness at work. I loved that Calm has 7-day programs such as “7 days of gratitude” and “7 days of self-esteem.” 

Insight Timer

Insight Timer was so cool because of the community-oriented nature of the app. As soon as you open it you can see how many people around the world are using the app and meditating alongside you. This made me feel really connected to a larger global community of meditators.

Another great feature of Insight Timer is that meditation teachers that can upload their own meditations for users around the world to follow. They have so many categories as well, everything from meditation for depression, anxiety, confidence, and motivation. 

Unplug 

What I loved most about the Unplug app is how connected I felt to the teachers on the app who are guiding the meditations. It was also organized really well with a wide variety of topics. I liked that you could sort by the length of time of the meditation.

I did feel that their design could use some work. The app was definitely not built for mobile viewing and could definitely use a tech update and better user interface. But the meditations themselves were really nice.

10% Happier

Even since hearing the story of how this app was created, I’ve been excited to try it out. 10% Happier was created by this guy named Dan Harris who is an ABC news anchor. He actually had a panic attack on live television during Good Morning America and was motivated to find a way to address the build-up of anxiety he was feeling.

After this experience, he tried meditation and found that it helped him immensely. He has now made it part of his mission to spread meditation with others. He wrote a book called 10% Happier and later created an app as well. 

The app is not only providing guided meditations, but also educational interviews with different experts, so you can actually learn about meditation and apply it to your practice.

10% Happier says it’s a meditation app for “fidgety skeptics.” So if you’re someone who feels like you can’t meditate because you’re too “fidgety” or skeptical whether or not it will actually work, this is definitely the app for you!

My Favorite App 

I enjoyed all five of these meditation apps for different reasons and would definitely recommend any of them to try. 

However, I’d have to say that Headspace was definitely my favorite. When it comes to design, user interface, the meditations themselves, and overall effectiveness, I think Headspace is the clear winner. Also, you really can’t beat the guy’s voice who guides the Headspace meditations. It’s one of the most calming voices I’ve ever heard! 

If you are looking to try meditation for the first time, or you want to make it a more consistent practice in your life, I definitely recommend trying out Headspace. It makes it super easy to learn how to meditate and it’s perfect for all levels of meditators. 

Categories
Health & Nutrition

30 Days of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular health trends over the past few years. Both scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggests that fasting has major benefits for the body and mind. 

I’ve been curious about intermittent fasting for a while, and after reading several articles and watching a plethora of videos about its benefits, I wanted to put it to the test to see if it could work for me.

Before my experiment, I decided to interview a medical doctor and fasting expert named Dr. Jason Fung, to learn more about the science and research on intermittent fasting.

Dr. Fung is the medical director of The Fasting Method, and uses fasting and intermittent fasting protocols to help his patients reverse Type 2 Diabetes, lose weight, and overcome other health issues. 

First, Dr. Fung cleared up some of the misconceptions about fasting.

“When you’re fasting, you are not actually shutting down your body,” he clarified. “Your body is actually pumping you full of energy.”

Dr. Fung explained that intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. Intermittent fasting does not restrict the types of foods you can eat or the amount of calories you can consume, it simply restricts the times of day that you eat.

Generally, an intermittent fasting period is anywhere from 12-16 hours, but can also be practiced for longer periods of time. Fasts that are 24 hours or more have also been shown to have massive benefits, because of a process called autophagy, where old damaged cells die and new, healthier cells reform. 

Dr. Fung explained that when we fast, our insulin levels decrease and we get a surge of counter-regulatory hormones including growth hormone.

“Everyone thinks that if you fast you are going to lose muscle,” he said. “That’s actually not true because growth hormone increases during fasting. When you start to eat again, your body will start to build proteins at a higher and more efficient rate.”

My 30-day experiment

I had already tried intermittent fasting for one week previously with my friend Eduardo for another video, so this time I wanted to try intermittent fasting for a longer period of time to really measure how it would affect my mind and my body. 

I want to make it clear that intermittent fasting is not about starving yourself. It’s a scientifically proven method that has helped many people with various health issues. Although intermittent fasting can definitely help with weight loss, it has also been shown to have several other benefits, including more cognitive clarity and focus. For me, I wasn’t necessarily looking to lose weight, but I was curious to see if intermittent fasting could help me increase productivity and overall energy. 

Week 1 

Going into this experiment, I was definitely a little nervous about how my body would react. I tend to get really hungry, especially on days when I workout, so I had to gear myself up mentally to take on this challenge.

I decided to stick to a 14-hour fasting period, which means I would have a 10-hour window where I could eat during the day. It’s very common for people to skip breakfast when they intermittent fast, but that doesn’t always work for me. Sometimes, I don’t feel hungry for breakfast, but since I like to workout in the morning, I needed to make sure I was eating afterwards to replenish and refuel.

I decided the best strategy for me would be to stop eating earlier in the evening around 5 or 6 pm, so I could hit an early workout and then eat breakfast afterwards around 8 am. Although it was a little tough not eating at night, I felt like this really improved my sleep and I woke up feeling way more refreshed and energized.

Week 2

One challenge with intermittent fasting is the additional time and effort it takes to schedule meals around the fasting period. My day-to-day schedule is never the same, so I had to be extra deliberate about when I was eating and what kind of food I was consuming to make sure I was satiated enough.

Although I was starting to get used to my new eating schedule after the first two weeks, the thought of keeping it up for another two weeks was a bit daunting. 

Week 3

During this week I definitely ran into some challenges. One day I went to hot yoga in the morning but had to wait another two hours afterwards to eat and found myself feeling really hungry and depleted. 

Socially, I also found this challenge a bit difficult,  because if I wanted to go out to eat with friends in the evening, I would have to wait even longer to eat the next day.

Week 4

By the end of this challenge, I was definitely getting the hang of this. Once I had my schedule down, intermittent fasting became way easier. 

What was the most surprising to me is how much this challenge actually helped me find more freedom with food. I found that I had increased energy and mental capacity because my body and mind were not as focused on eating and digesting food.

This challenge also made me super grateful to have access to good quality food! I am very lucky and realize that a large percentage of the population has to be concerned about  where their next meal is coming from. This experience definitely made me think more about the magnitude of what others might go through in regards to food scarcity. It felt a bit silly for me to complain about my hunger, when so many people around the world are dealing with actual hunger every single day.

My results after 30 days

At the end of my 30 day experiment, I did notice a change in my body. I felt great, and also saw physical changes as well from my before and after pictures.

Intermittent fasting pleasantly surprised me. It allowed me to appreciate food even more than I already did, and develop a healthier relationship with food. This is definitely something that I plan to continue and implement in my life regularly. 

All of our bodies are completely different, and are going to react differently to different things. If you want to try intermittent fasting, I encourage you to do so, but make sure you go into it with clear intentions, and be open-minded to what you might learn through the process! 

Categories
Self-care

How I Hacked My Sleep in 5 Days

Sleep is something that I frequently struggle with. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love sleeping, but so often my sleep feels all over the place.

It’s now clear from a plethora of scientific research that sleep affects everything from our metabolism, to hormone production, our mood, and cognitive functioning. And after learning more about the research on sleep and how important it truly is for pretty much every part of our lives, I decided my sleep really needed an upgrade! 

So I spent one week trying out all sorts of sleep hacks to see if I could take my sleep to the next level.

My Sleep Hacking Experiment

For this experiment, I interviewed Dan Pardi, a sleep researcher at Stanford University, about the science of sleep. Then, I tried various sleep hacks based on Dan’s science-based recommendations. 

“Over 50 percent of Americans are getting unsatisfactory sleep,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are going to influence our sleep. Probably the most important is light.”

Dan explained that light affects our circadian rhythm, which is our body’s natural 24-hour sleep/wake schedule. Depending on the type of light we are exposed to, our circadian rhythm can be thrown off, especially in a world where blue light from technology is so invasive. 

Dan told me that according to research, blue light actually inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland of the brain that increases at night in order to help us sleep. So when we are on screens at night before bed, we are actually tricking our bodies into thinking it’s daytime, which will prevent melatonin production, disrupt our circadian rhythm, and prevent us from getting good quality sleep.

Hack #1: Controlling Light 

According to Dan, the key to good sleep actually starts in the morning. He recommended I get direct sunlight upon waking up. Because I normally wake up before the sunrise, I purchased a special alarm clock that imitates the sun as it wakes you up. I usually use my phone as an alarm, so having an actual alarm clock allowed me to remove my phone from my room before bed. 

In addition, I turned off technology an hour before bed to minimize the absorption of blue light. Upon Dan’s recommendation, I also wore blue-light blocking glasses throughout the day to mitigate the effects of staring at a screen for so many hours. I have never needed glasses, but I’ve always secretly wanted them because I think they are super cute, so this was a great excuse to wear these adorable glasses from Felix Gray! 

Hack #2: A Nightly Routine with Essential Oils 

Dan stressed the importance of developing a nightly routine to help the mind and body wind down and prepare for sleep.

During my nightly routine, I drank chamomile tea, journaled, read, and used my essential oil diffuser with pure lavender oil for relaxation.

I asked Dan if there was any science to prove the effectiveness of essential oils for sleep, and he explained that there is scientific research to show that smelling an essential oil does in fact affect the part of the brain known as the amygdala, which controls our parasympathetic nervous system, or our rest and relaxation response.

Another thing I love to do before bed is use my crystal face roller. I’ll put it in the freezer so it’s nice and cold and then apply some rosehip oil to roll out all the tension in my face. It feels amazing and is such a great way to wind down before bed.

Hack #3: Meditative Breathwork 

The next sleep hack I tried was breathing exercises before bed. Dan suggested the box breathing method, where you inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold again for four seconds, repeating for about 2-5 minutes. This breathing method worked so well and completely put me out like a light!

Hack #4: Controlling Body Temperature 

The next sleep hack that Dan recommended was controlling my body temperature. He told me to take a warm shower or bath in the evening before bed. He explained that this actually helps lower body temperature after getting out, which is optimal for sleeping. It has also been shown that sleeping in cooler temperatures promotes better quality sleep, so I opened the windows at night to let in the cool air. In the morning, I took a cold shower to wake myself up.

How does alcohol and cannabis affect sleep?

Because so many people use alcohol or cannabis to fall asleep, I was curious to know the effects of these substances on sleep quality.

“Both of those substances are problematic,” Dan said.

He explained that the consumption of alcohol affects the neurotransmission of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain and cannabinoids interfere with the neural repair that happens during sleep as well as mitochondrial function, which is critical for energy. 

Hack #5: Weighted Blanket

The last hack that I tried was not one that Dan recommended to me, but something that I had been wanting to try for a while. Sleeping with a weighted blanket is supposed to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep quality, so I got a COOLMAX weighted blanket from a company called Weighting Comforts, which is designed to keep the body cool and dry throughout the night.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the weight of the blanket made me feel safe and relaxed. I ended up sleeping fantastic with it and woke up feeling so well rested! 

My Results

About halfway through the week, I noticed I was feeling more restful and less tired throughout the day, whereas normally I feel exhausted between 2:30-4:30 in the afternoon. By the end of the week, I was feeling so rejuvenated and was shocked by the results I saw in just five days.

Overall, this was a successful experiment with some pretty great results. I learned so much about sleep and felt my sleep improve in such a short amount of time. 

If you are someone who struggles with sleep, I know how frustrating it can be. I hope that you can try some of these hacks and experiment with what might work for you!