Categories
Health & Nutrition Self-care

My 6 AM Morning Routine For Energy & Productivity

I am not someone who naturally wakes up in a good mood. Quite the opposite. A lot of mornings I actually wake up with a lot of anxiety, and sometimes depression. I swear I could sleep most days until noon if I let myself. To combat this, I’ve developed a morning routine for optimal energy and productivity.

A quick disclaimer

Let me make something clear: My morning routine is not rigid. My morning routine may change based on my hormonal cycle or sleep patterns. It usually changes based on the season as well.

I am certainly not trying to tell you how to live or what you should do for your morning routine. Everybody is different, and this is just what works for me right now.

6 AM wake-up call

As someone who loves to sleep, waking up is always the hardest part of my day. However, there are a few tricks I’ve come up with to make sure I get out of bed on time.

It starts with the night before when I put my phone on airplane mode and set my alarm clock. When the alarm goes off at 5:45 AM, I hit snooze and give myself until 6 AM to sleep. Those extra 15 minutes give me the satisfaction of the snooze button, but to ensure that I actually wake up, I have a little trick that I want to share with you.

My early bird life hack

To make sure I actually get out of bed at 6 AM, I came up with a strategy that guarantees I wake up on time: I pay for an early workout class that I put on my calendar, which forces me to make that commitment and get myself up. This holds me accountable, because if I’ve already paid for a workout then I know I’ll be eating money if I don’t show up.

My 6:30 AM HIIT workout at DMN8 in Santa Monica

HIIT or hot yoga comes first

Moving my body first thing in the morning is essential for me. I switch every other day between hot yoga and HIIT training. This is the perfect balance between strength & cardio and mobility & recovery.

On this particular day, I am going to a HIIT workout. After brushing my teeth and getting dressed, I head out the door by 6:15 AM and drive to Santa Monica Beach to make my 6:30 AM DMN8 workout. No matter how hard I try, I usually end up being just one or two minutes late. There’s always a water bottle to fill or that one red light that slows me down. If I didn’t love hitting that snooze button so much, I think I would definitely make it on time!

Exercising for my mental health

Kick-starting my day with a challenge and a good sweat is always worth it. As someone who sometimes wakes up not feeling my best, choosing to start my day with a workout or hot yoga, helps me shift my mood immediately.

It may be a challenge, but there’s something about getting out of the mind and into the body that builds my confidence. I always leave my workout feeling like I can take on anything!

morning routine workout
I alternate every other day between hot yoga and HIIT training. This helps me have a balance between strength & cardio and mobility & recovery.

The ice bath

When I get home from my workout at 8 AM, I gear up for one of the most extreme parts of my morning routine: the ice bath.

I usually start with some movement exercises to get myself ready, which may include some very weird shaking movements, but I swear it helps get that adrenaline pumping to take on the ice. 

morning routine ice bath
Before getting in the 40-degree (Fahrenheit) ice bath, I do some shaking and movement exercises.

I choose to incorporate cold therapy in my daily routine for many reasons. First of all, doing ice baths has done absolute wonders for my mental health. The ice bath teaches me how to find contentment and presence, even in a challenging and uncomfortable situation, which is such incredible training for life! 

Learn more about why I still do ice baths and the Wim Hof Method!

In addition, the ice bath is fantastic for strengthening the immune system. Research has shown that cold therapy increases white blood cells, which help fight disease, and significantly reduces inflammation in the body.

morning routine ice bath
I spend 2-3 minutes in the ice bath while staying focused on my breath and gratitude

Time to slow down

From 8:15 – 8:30 AM, I treat myself to a warm shower. Shifting from the ice bath to one of the more relaxing parts of my morning routine always feels like stepping into a new reality.

morning routine bed making
I cannot start my workday without making my bed and cleaning my room.

I also love using this calming time after my shower to clean my room and make my bed. Honestly, I cannot start my workday until my bed is made and my space is clutter-free.

Red light therapy, journlaing, and meditation

By 8:40 AM, I dive into some infrared light therapy. This incredible practice has so many benefits including regulating circadian rhythms, promoting anti-aging, improving our skin and cellular health.

morning routine red light therapy
Journaling and meditation in infrared light therapy

I use this time bathing in the red light to get clear on my intentions and to do some journaling. I use a lot of journaling techniques I learned from my mindset coach.

Then, I call in the energy I want to attract for the day and do my Dr. Joe Dispenza meditations until around 9 AM.

I love Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations in the morning!

Morning nutrients

At 9:15 AM, I head on over to my juice bar to make some cucumber juice. This has been my go-to summertime drink because it’s super cooling and refreshing. 

morning routine cucumber juice
Cucumber juice has been my go-to summertime drink! after drinking this, I wait at least 15 minutes before having anything else.

Then, at 9:20 AM, I slow down with a warm drink I invented. I call it “The Blue Zone Drink” because I make it from this special Maya nut powder I found in Nicoya, Costa Rica, which is a “blue zone.” The Blue Zones are areas of the world where residents live the longest, healthiest lives.

The Maya nut has been shown to improve longevity and includes tons of nutrients and minerals including fiber, zinc, potassium, magnesium, protein, iron, and copper. 

morning routine Blue Zone drink
The Blue Zone drink is made with Maya nut powder!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need if you’d like to blend your own Blue Zone Drink at home:

Although the Blue Zone drink can be a little chalky, it’s still pretty tasty and knowing that it’s packed with nutrition, makes it a little easier to drink. Since I quit caffeine, this has been a great coffee alternative.

Wrapping up my morning routine

morning routine work schedule
I usually start working by 9:30 or 10.

From 9:30 – 10:00 AM, I head into my home office and get to work. I usually give myself a good two hours of productivity before treating myself to the final part of my morning routine…

Breakfast!

Is it really a morning routine until you’ve had your avocado toast? I know this is basic AF, but there’s a reason why we all love avocado toast so much! 

morning routine breakfast
I do fine with gluten, as long as I get high-quality sourdough bread, which I pick up on Sundays from the local farmer’s market.
My morning routine is not rigid

I want to make it clear that I am not in any way “rigid” or “strict” about this routine. This happens to be working well for me right now, but my morning routine often shifts and changes based on the season. My morning routine may also change based on my hormonal cycle or sleep patterns.

Especially during my luteal and menstruation phase, I am a lot more gentle with myself. During this time I usually do a lot more yoga than HIIT workouts and I give myself plenty of rest and sleep. This is really important to consider being a woman with a shifting hormonal system called the infradian rhythm.

I also want to mention that this is my typical morning routine during weekdays. On weekends I definitely give myself more time to sleep and move slower. I have found it super helpful to take plenty of time to rest and slow down during the weekends so that I have plenty of energy to tackle the workweek.

Reflecting on my morning routine

Although my morning routine may shift and flow based on the time of the month or the season, I have found it highly beneficial to commit to some type of morning routine on most days. From getting myself to a 6:30 AM workout, to diving into that ice bath and taking time to set intentions and meditate, my morning routine sets me up for how I want to feel for the rest of the day.

My morning routine has massively improved my energy, productivity, and how I feel.

Watch the full YouTube video here!
Categories
Alternative Living Spirituality

“Breatharian” Claims He Hasn’t Eaten In 4 Years…

A “breatharian” is someone who claims to not eat food. These rare humans remain in a perpetual fast and say they get their energy from other sources, such as sunlight and ancient breathwork techniques.

Being well-versed in whacky wellness and spiritual topics, I’ve heard of breatharians before, but have always been highly skeptical of them. Is this actually possible… or is it all a big scam with a lot of smoke and mirrors? I decided to find out.

I knew the only way to get some answers was to spend time with a real breatharian. Luckily, my good friend Jeff Shub told me he knew a breatharian who lived in Miami named Devon, aka the Black Air Bender.

So I headed to Miami to spend the day with the Black Air Bender to try and get some answers.

Immersing myself in Breatharianism

To get the full breatharian experience, I decided to become a breatharian for a day and immerse myself in the Black Air Bender’s lifestyle. That meant I would also be fasting for the day. Since I have completed a 5-day water fast before, this wouldn’t be a problem for me.

But not drinking any coffee would be another story. I had become addicted to caffeine throughout the past few months and going without it for a day would turn out to be quite a painful challenge.

Meeting the Breatharian
meeting a breatharian!
Meet Devon, aka The Black Air Bender!

Upon meeting Devon, he revealed to me that he has been fasting for the past four years! I was shocked by this. He said that it took him two years to integrate into the breatharian lifestyle, by having one meal per week. After two years, he transitioned to 100 percent breatharianism. This was hard for me to believe.

“How is this possible?” I asked him.

Devon explained that breatharians can reach a certain state of “energy cultivation” where they no longer need to rely on dense foods. This involves a disciplined practice of certain breathwork and meditation techniques.

Was this for real? As skeptical as I was, I wanted to stay as open-minded as possible.

Breatharian roots in Daoism

He told me that he got into breatharianism through an ancient Daoist fasting practice called Bigu. He trained for months with a mentor called a Sifu to learn all of the meditation and breathwork techniques that he says allow him to transcend the body and sustain this lifestyle.

The Breatharian diet

Devon explained that although he doesn’t eat, he does consume a few key things. He said he drinks coconut water, fresh-pressed juice every once in a while, and… his own urine. 

breatharian drinking urine
Devon doesn’t eat, but he does consume coconut water and his own urine.

His reasoning for this? He claims urine contains 103 healthy minerals and is more sterile than distilled water. (I would fact-check that one.)

Having already spent a day with a urine drinker for a previous video, this was not a new concept to me. Personally, I don’t subscribe to urine therapy and recommend people do their research before trying it. 

The Breatharian loves pyramids

I noticed that Devon’s room was full of pyramids, including a solid canopy-like pyramid over his bed and he is always wearing a pyramid-shaped hat. He explained that he uses the pyramid as a symbol for his meditative practice.

breatharian natural habitat
I immediately noticed the breatharian’s obsession with pyramids and wondered why.

Devon said he envisions pyramids “expanding and contracting” in his mind. He also compares pyramids to the shape of the human face, describing it as the “window to the soul.” I didn’t totally understand this, but Devon had me do some mirror-gazing to grasp the idea.

breatharian shows me mirror gazing
One reason Devon loves pyramids is that they symbolize the face, which is said to be the “window to the Soul.”
My day as a Breatharian

We started our morning with one of Devon’s daily rituals: squat breathing. This practice involved an inhale through the nose on the way up, and an exhale through the nose on the way down… with a smile. This was actually quite fun and I felt unable to control my giggle response.

breatharian shows me squat breathing
The Black Air Bender starts his day with “squat breathing.”
More breathwork techniques

After showing me more of his breathwork practices at home, we headed to a local park for more techniques that Devon does every day. We started with a walking breathwork practice. The hardest thing about this was how hot the ground was.

Devon encouraged me to stay focused on my breath until I could no longer feel the heat on my feet. After overcoming the pain of the hot cement, I actually found this practice to be quite relaxing.

breatharian shows me walking breathwork
Devon showed me a very relaxing walking breathwork technique.

After that, we tried a “flame breathing” practice. I had a hard time sticking with this one. I was painfully hungry and had a pounding headache at this point. Devon reassured me that this was part of the detox, which made sense considering I was detoxing from caffeine.

breatharian shows me flame breathing
I was in pain detoxing from caffeine with a pounding headache and no energy.
Embracing pain

We finished off the day by putting my pain tolerance to the test with one of Devon’s more extreme practices… standing on nails. 

breatharian teaches me how to stand on nails
Devon introduced me to one of his more extreme practices… standing on nails!

My challenge was to stand on the nails for one minute. With the timer set, I put each foot on the nails until I had my full weight on them. I breathed my way through each passing second with Devon encouraging me to slow down my exhales, hum, and let it all out.

When the minute was over, I couldn’t believe I did it. That’s when Devon said it was time to try push-ups.

breatharian doing push-ups on nails
Devon also enjoys doing push-ups on nails!

It was at this moment that I thought about how my relationship to pain had completely changed since I started doing things that are painful with intention like cold therapy and even intense exercise.

We often think of pain as being “wrong” or “bad,” but the truth is that pain is an inevitable part of the human experience and it’s only our perception of pain that gives it meaning.

I kept that in mind as I felt the nails pierce through the skin on my hands.

hands after doing push-ups on nails
My hands after doing a push-up on nails.
My honest opinion about the breatharian

Although I learned a lot from spending the day with Devon and engaging in his unconventional practices, I still have many questions about breatharianism and am not totally sure what to make of the whole experience.

As skeptical as I still am, I do feel like Devon gave me an honest peek into his breatharian lifestyle. It also helped to meet Devon’s partner Gen who confirmed that she has never seen him eat in the two years they’ve lived together.

I want to believe Devon. I think he’s a genuine and kind person and it meant a lot to me that he welcomed me into his world for a day. It didn’t feel like he was lying, but my logical brain has a hard time wrapping my head around some of the big claims he made.

Even if I am still puzzled by the Black Air Bender and may never know the truth, it doesn’t take away from how much I learned during our day together.

The meaning of it all
meeting the breatharian girlfriend
Devon’s girlfriend Gen has been living with him for two years and said she has never seen him eat!

The Black Air Bender may remain a mystery to me, but I respect his mission to share breath consciousness with the world. One major awakening I had during our day together is how addicted to caffeine I truly was.

Something in me woke up that day and I decided to quit caffeine immediately. It’s been almost a month since this experience and I haven’t had caffeine and don’t plan to. My energy levels are back and I’m not dealing with crazy mood swings like I was.

When it comes to learning about new ways of life, being open-minded is crucial if we want to shift from judgment to curiosity. That one small shift can create infinite potential and completely expand our realities.

That’s why spending time with interesting humans like The Black Air Bender, is my favorite way to live.

Watch the full video here!
Categories
Alternative Living Spirituality

I Went To Witch School To Learn Magic For Manifestation

I went to Witch School to learn how to use magic for manifestation, which turned out to help me transform my life and manifest some pretty incredible things. 

Most of us have been told our whole lives that magic isn’t real and that witches are evil. But after making several videos about witchcraft throughout the past two years, I have met a lot of lovely witches and I have witnessed how magic can actually work.

So I decided to try Witch School and see if I could take my magical powers up a notch.

What is Witch School?

Witch School is an online course created by a modern witch named Mia Magik. Mia has been studying witchcraft for more than eight years and is trained in 13 different healing modalities. 

According to her website, Witch School teaches “ancient tools for a magikal modern life,” through topics such as astrology, rituals, chakras, herbology, achieving abundance, and magic for meditation.

Why did I sign up for Witch School?

Ever since I met Mia and started making videos with her, a lot of magical things have happened in my life. This made me very curious to learn more about witchcraft and try her Witch School to see what might happen.

Week 1: The Witch Wound

The first week of Witch School included a lot of history. We learned about something called “The Witch Wound,” which is basically the result of witches being demonized, oppressed, and tortured for centuries.

Mia really uncovered a lot of history to understand the context of why this happened and why the witch wound is still so present in the collective unconscious. Much of it goes back to control and power.

A History Lesson

Once upon a time witches were the wise-people of the community. They were respected and held ancient knowledge of folklore, connection with spirits, herbal medicine, and unique rituals to invoke the power of the natural world.

During the rise of Christianity is when the mass persecution of witches began as a way for the church to gain power over Pagan and Celtic beliefs. Between the years 1500 and 1660, about 80,000 suspected witches were put to death in Europe. 

Around 80 percent of witchcraft victims were women.

An accused witch going through the judgement trial, where she is dunked in water to prove her guilt of practicing witchcraft.

Then came the famous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, which mirrored much of what was still happening in Europe.

Even today, in some parts of the world there are still people being persecuted for witchcraft, many of whom are women. 

The Hollywood Witch
The Wicked Witch of the West. The classic “Hollywood” witch.

We’ve all seen how witches are portrayed in TV and movies. They are terrifying! Hollywood and the media have played a huge role in reinforcing scary and negative stereotypes of witches. 

Ever since I was a little girl I was so naturally curious about witchcraft. It was something I was intuitively drawn to, but I pushed it away because of how witches were shown to me in movies and TV shows. I was scared of it. 

But now, re-exploring this childhood curiosity as an adult, I am awakening to why this stuff was exciting to me when I was little.

Dressing up as a “good witch” on Halloween.

I think that’s part of why during the first meditation, I had such a powerful experience. It really blew my mind. The opening meditation of Witch School was a total awakening for me and it was emotional. It was like I was remembering this innate knowing that I’ve always felt, but just forgot. 

“Your magik is going to connect with you… show itself to you. Whatever guidance you are supposed to receive will come to you.” 

Mia Magik
The Witchy Basics

The first half of Witch School was a lot of foundational knowledge. We learned about astrology, symbology in animals and nature, the Chakra system, moon cycles, how to communicate with the language of the Universe, how to cast a circle and spellcast, and lots of Witch 101 stuff. 

As a beginner witch (or a baby witch, as I like to call myself) this was all very exciting, but a little overwhelming because we were just learning so many things so fast. I bought a new notebook at the beginning of the course and quickly filled it up in about two weeks because I was taking so many notes! 

The Science of Magic

During Witch School I also read a book called “Real Magic” by Dean Radin, Ph.D. This book opened my eyes to some of the scientific literature that exists on how intention and belief actually can affect outcomes. For anyone looking for more science and evidence-based information on how witchcraft and magical practice actually works, I highly recommend this book. 

I’m someone who learns by doing, so getting into the action during the second half of Witch School was exciting to me. I was finally about to see how use witchcraft and real magic for manifestation.

Magic for Manifestation

The second half of Witch School was learning to work with the elements of nature, which is foundational to most witchcraft lineages.

Because the earth element represents our earthly reality including home, finances, etc. I figured this was the perfect time to work on manifesting a new home since my lease was up on my apartment in LA. 

So I prepared a new home abundance ritual. I tried a channeled writing practice and wrote out all of the things I desired in a new home as if I already have moved in! (This is key).

About one week later, I was having a conversation about moving into a new home that matched exactly what I had written down. About a month later, I moved into my dream new home. I could barely believe it! I literally used magic for manifestation…

This was a huge signal to me that magic might actually work…

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Another practice that we learned in Witch School was mirror work, where you basically stare at yourself in the mirror and have a conversation with yourself. Many people are familiar with affirmations, but this is a bit different. It’s more like a deep conversation with yourself. 

I imagined my “Higher Self” speaking directly to me and channeled whatever I needed to hear. This was a little weird at first, but it turned out being quite an empowering process. 

Practicing a mirror ritual and channeling my “Higher Self.”
Sex Magik

During Week 8 of Witch School, we learned about the water element. Water represents out emotions and our sensuality. This is why the week we were learning about the water element, we did a sex magik ritual. It was very intense…

The “sex magik” ritual was quite intense.

This ritual is a little hard to explain. It’s basically using breathwork to cultivate orgasmic energy for the purpose of manifestation. It was a sacred and safe space to be free and wild in my pleasure and sexuality and it was super powerful to give this time and energy to myself.

Recently my love life has been flourishing, which I see as another sign that magic for manifestation might actually work.

Divination

The air element represents our thoughts, our psychic powers, and the way our mind interprets this material reality. So during this week, we learned about divination. Divination is basically our connection to our psychic abilities. 

Back in my witch tent, I tried the divination ritual and received so many downloads and insights. I spent some time journaling what came through and then decided to pull out my deck of angel cards.

Something very peculiar happened… 

I pulled the exact same three cards that I pulled a week before… Was this a coincidence? Or was this magic? 

It didn’t feel like a coincidence to me. I shuffled them a ton and out of the ENTIRE deck of cards, I pulled the same three cards again? What?

It was clear that perhaps I should pay attention to the messages on these cards. 

The same three angel cards I pulled two weeks in a row. The deeper meanings of these cards really spoke to me.
Burn, Baby Burn!

During fire week, we learned that the fire element can be powerful for manifestation but also for burning away and letting go of the things that no longer serve us. 

I utilized the fire element to help me release limiting beliefs that were holding me back. One of those limiting beliefs is the guilt I sometimes have around pleasure and desire. I am still working on letting this go, but during the fire ritual, it’s definitely something I set the intention to burn away.  

Unlocking My Magical Powers

Overall, this was a super transformative experience for me. I can’t believe that I manifested my dream home and I have also seen other areas of my life improve as well. My love life is flourishing and I have been making more money than I ever have as an entrepreneur! 

I still have a long way to go and lots that I am working on, but I know that magic and witchcraft will continue to be tools that I cultivate and utilize for the rest of my life. 

I am super excited to learn more about using witchcraft and magic for manifestation.

A Few Notes

It’s important to note that there are so many different types of witchcraft and practitioners who use magic for all sorts of things. This was just one representation of the craft.

The price of Witch School

One thing that’s important to address is the cost of Witch School, because it’s not necessarily cheap. The full price at the time when I went was $555. Now, Mia actually restructured it so now it’s in two 6-week parts for $333 each.

Price wise and time wise, this definitely feels more doable to me because one of the challenging parts of Witch School was that it was so long. I think six weeks is actually a perfect length for this course. 

From my perspective, I believe that spiritual teachers should be compensated properly for their time, energy, and gifts. Mia has been studying for more than 10 years and has invested thousands of dollars and hours into her growth as a teacher, and has put a ton of energy into creating this course. Money is just the way we currently exchange our energy, so this makes sense to me.

By no means is Witch School something that you need. However, it’s a really cool experience and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about witchcraft, magic and manifestation. If you have the extra money to spend on yourself, this can be a powerful investment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMn71fS2kjg&t=793s

If you want to try Witch School be sure to use my code: SKY for 10% off! 

Mia also offers scholarships and payment plans for those who may need some financial support to attend Witch School. Email team@miamagik.com to learn more. 

Categories
Mindfulness Self-care

I Hired A “Mindset Coach” And Couldn’t Believe the Results

I never planned or expected to “hire a coach.” To be honest, I sort of thought that any type of “life coach” was a bit of a scam. But after working with a mindset coach for the past four months, I can honestly say that I feel quite differently now.

Why I “hired” a mindset coach (it sort of fell into my lap!)

Let me explain how this all went down. At the end of the summer, I received a random email in my inbox from a woman named Christina Spinazola, who told me that she is a “mindset coach” and felt strongly that I am someone who would “thrive” with this kind of coaching. 

At first, I was both confused and skeptical. Mindset coach? What does that even mean?

But what made me give Christina a chance is that she is also a big fan of Dr. Joe Dispenza. She explained that her style of coaching aligns with quantum physics and many of the models that Dr. Joe discusses. Because I have grown so much through learning about Dr. Joe and doing his meditations consistently, I warmed up to Christina. And when she offered me four months of FREE coaching… I could not pass up the opportunity.

I went into this with an open mind, to just see what might happen.

Meet my mindset coach Christina!
My amazing mindset coach, Christina Spinazola!

My mindset coach Christina Spinazola is a certified professional coach and a master practitioner in the Energy Leadership Index Assessment. She is young, adventurous, super smart, and found her passion for coaching during her own healing journey. You can read more about Christina on her website.

Christina has helped me get tangible results in my life through mindset coaching and I can’t believe how much of a transformation I have experienced throughout the past four months of working with her.

If you’ve been following Sky Life for a while you’ll know that I am super into personal development, meditation, manifestation, and mindset. I have tried all different types of wellness, spiritual, and personal development methods and modalities to improve my physical and mental health.

Some of what I have tried, I hold onto and continue with… like Dr. Joe Dispenza meditations… and others I never bother doing again, like this artificial intelligence workout bike named CAROL.

So when I began trying out mindset coaching with Christina, I had no idea what to expect or what kind of results I might see, if any.

Tangible Results

Before I continue and discuss how mindset coaching works, I want to list some of the real results that have come into my life since working with Christina. I am certainly not claiming that all of these things are a direct result of mindset coaching because there is no way to measure that. However, I strongly believe that mindset work has been a major contributing factor to all of this goodness coming into my life!

Granted, I am also in Witch School right now with Mia Magik, but I am not sure if the magic would be working as strongly if I didn’t have the mindset work to back it up.

So here are some REAL results that I have seen over the past four months:

  1. Subscriber growth on YouTube has doubled (per month)
  2. Revenue has increased significantly
  3. “Manifested” my dream new home
  4. “Manifested” a FREE, luxury vacation to Costa Rica
  5. Experienced the most magical New Year’s of my life

And these results did not happen because I was working more hours, strategizing, and taking more action. Christina helped me shift my beliefs above all else and actually do less. Wait… what?! How does that work?!

How does mindset coaching work?
Journaling exercises have been a huge part of working with my mindset coach.

Mindset coaching helps us witness and look at our thoughts objectively and with neutrality, so we can decide if our thoughts are serving us or hurting us.

“We think about 60-80 thousand thoughts per day,” Christina said. “But most of those thoughts are subconscious, meaning they happen on autopilot.”

Depending on our conditioning, it’s likely that our autopilot thoughts are not serving us. They are keeping us stuck. Mindset coaching is about taking back the steering wheel and deciding how we actually want to think and feel. It’s taking our power back to become the boss of our monkey mind and decide how we want to think and therefore live.

So often, we think that we need to take more action to get the results we want in life. However, all of these results truly start at a thought level. In order to change our results, we must start with our thoughts and beliefs.

I was definitely stuck in this limited way of thinking, where I believed that if I wasn’t working myself into the ground that I couldn’t possibly succeed. I am shocked and thrilled to say that these tangible results actually all happened when I started doing less and focused on being more.

What I did to change my mindset

Christina and I meet every week for a one-hour session. She helps me bring neutrality and objectivity to my beliefs and thoughts and see things from a different perspective. This is a game-changer when it comes to those pesky limiting beliefs that we all carry. Sometimes we can’t even see our own limitations. Christina is like my objective accountability buddy to call me out and question my own blocks and limiting beliefs. In doing this work, we have to be willing to get uncomfortable and take a hard look at ourselves. But that is where the growth comes from.

Journaling Exercises

Journaling exercises have been a huge part of this journey for me. I still wake up nearly every morning with anxiety. But instead of letting that dictate the rest of my day, I’ve learned that I have the ability to transform and transmute that anxiety into excitement.

I write down all of my “junky thoughts,” as Christina calls them, simply to identify what’s going on in my brain. Then, I work on my “bridge thoughts,” which are simply new thoughts that open me up to possibility, instead of limitations.

Shifting from limitation to possibility.

By simply writing, “It’s possible that…”  and coming up with a few ideas around pure potentiality and possibility, I am amazed at how quickly my brain and body can shift from anxiety to excitement. When we step out of fear and worry into possibility and excitement, we decide to live in a new dimension where we align our frequency to new outcomes that we may have been shutting ourselves off from before.

Quantum meditation
Dr. Joe Dispenza’s guided meditations are a great tool for mindset work.

Although meditation is not necessarily required or a part of Christina’s mindset coaching program, it’s something that has become complementary and important for me to really maximize the benefits of working with her.

Because mindset coaching is very aligned with quantum physics and the quantum model of the Universe, Dr. Joe Dispenza’s meditations have been a staple for me throughout the past four months. I typically do the “morning meditation” on most mornings, and I sometimes do his “evening meditation” as well. If you want to learn more about Dr. Joe, my go-to source is Gaia, the world’s largest streaming platform for conscious media. It’s basically like the “Netflix of spirituality.”

Would I recommend mindset coaching?

From my experience, I have absolutely loved mindset coaching with Christina and plan to continue working with her. Based on the results I have seen and how different I feel, I would absolutely recommend mindset coaching with Christina. If you want to sign up for her group coaching program Uninspired to Unstoppable (starting this month) here’s the link. With that being said, I always say this with everything that I try… I cannot promise or predict if this will work for you or not. But if you feel the call, then why not give it a try?

To learn more about my experience trying a mindset coach, watch my YouTube video about it! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS0vnfmDAk4&lc=Ugwi7TQ3nc6tYmfyyMV4AaABAg
Categories
Health & Nutrition

I Tried A 5 Day Water Fast. Here’s what happened…

At the beginning of this year, I completed a 5-day water fast. That means, I stopped eating for five days and consumed only water! Why would I ever put myself through this kind of torture? Let me explain.

First of all, I did not stop eating in order to drop a bunch of weight and get “quick results.” I did not do this as some extreme New Year’s “cleanse.” The truth is that I have been wanting to try what’s called a “prolonged water fast” for a long time. It may seem crazy, but fasting actually has several physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, that I will elaborate on throughout this post.

For the past two years, I’ve had the goal to complete a 5-day water fast. Finally, I decided it was time to take on the challenge.

The science & benefits of fasting

Fasting has been a spiritual practice for millennia but has become a popular “biohack” in the past few years, due to a growing body of research that supports the health benefits of fasting. It makes sense, given that our ancestors had to survive without food for long periods, and overeating is a contributing factor to many lifestyle-related diseases.

I’ve already tried intermittent fasting, but I wanted to take it up a notch this time.

To learn more about the science and research of water fasting, I spoke with anti-aging and longevity expert, Dr. Betsy Yurth (MD), to learn more about water-fasting and get advice on how to do this the right way.

“Fasting is hugely beneficial,” Dr. Yurth said. “When you start going into a fast that’s more than two days, and your body starts relying on ketones for energy, we start to see a change in the brain.”

What happens to your cells during a fast

Dr. Yurth explained what happens on a cellular level in the body during fasting, and why a prolonged fast can be so beneficial. It all comes down to a process discovered in 2016, known as autophagy. Autophagy is what happens when your cells are not relying on glucose for energy anymore and your body goes into a state of ketosis. What happens on a cellular level are that old, damaged cells start recycling into new, healthy cells.

“And that’s a really good thing,” Dr. Yurth said. “We’ve gotten rid of all the bad proteins and now you can start with new, healthy cells and a clean slate.”

Preparing for my 5-day water fast

Dr. Yurth told me that although the first two days of fasting might be really hard, I could hopefully expect an increase of energy and mental clarity around day three. She advised me to avoid intense physical activity during my fast and give my body plenty of rest. 

Because I was already in Costa Rica for New Year’s with my friend Kiley, we decided to take on this 5-day water fast together.

my PIC for the water fast
My partner-in-crime for this 5-day water fast, Kiley Mac!

We spent the week leading up to our fast at a permaculture community called Punta Mona, eating super nutritious meals, preparing our bodies for the 5-day water fast.

a typical meal leading up to the water fast
A typical meal at Punta Mona, where we spent the week before our fast.
My dream fasting destination

We knew the location for this fast would be important. We definitely wanted to be fully immersed in nature and ensure that we had access to high-quality, mineral-rich drinking water.

After careful consideration, we found the perfect place to do this fast: Rio Perdido Hotel & Thermal River. Rio Perdido is a wellness resort in the middle of nature, running along nourishing thermal hot springs. It has pure, mineral-rich water that would keep us hydrated during our fast. This would be the perfect place to rest & rejuvenate for the week.

the perfect location for our water fast
Rio Perdido was the perfect location for our water fast.
My 5-day water fast 

On the road to Rio Perdido, Kiley and I enjoyed our final meal at a little fruit stand that was the only thing open at night. We had a boatload of bananas, mango, papayas, coconut, avocado, and almonds.

our last meal before our water fast
Our last meal before the fast!

After arriving late at night to Rio Perdido, Kiley and I passed out, gearing up for the 5-day water fast.

Day 1 

I was surprised to naturally wake up at 4:30 AM the next morning with a ton of energy. I spent the morning meditating, journaling, and swimming in the thermal river. For the rest of the day, Kiley and I spent plenty of time drinking in the healing environment at Rio Perdido. 

At sunset, we spent time meditating and journaling along the river and got clear on our intentions for the week.

My intention for this fast was clarity within mind, body, and Spirit. My intention for 2021 is bravery and I knew I would need bravery to complete this challenge.

Day 2

I definitely started noticing the severe hunger kick-in on day two, especially when I saw food for the first time! This was not fun…

Pancakes spotted during my fast was torture
Having to see and smell these fluffy pancakes was torture.

Sleeping a lot and spending time in nature, without the ability to see food, definitely helped make things easier. Both Kiley and I were sure to drink plenty of water, about double the amount we would normally drink, which equaled about each of our weight in ounces each day. 

Day 3
This 5-day water fast was emotionally draining.
I went through a major life event during this fast that I didn’t expect. It made the entire challenge that much harder.

Something happened during this water fast that I am still processing, and I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to share this at all. However, because it was such a significant life event, I feel like I cannot share my experience of this fast without being honest about what happened.

In the middle of my fast, I lost my Grampy, someone who is so important to me. The pain of this loss was horrible. I felt devastated that I was not with him and so far away from my family. I almost quit the fast and booked a plane ticket home to go and be with my family.

But I decided to stick it out… It really came down to knowing what my Grampy himself would be telling me, “Skylah, you gotta do what you gotta do,” he would say. “You gotta stick to it and see it through.” So that’s what I did.

I don’t want to get into all of the details surrounding the grieving process I was going through, but somehow dealing with this loss of my Grampy while fasting seemed to open up my Spirit in a way I didn’t anticipate.

Day 4

Despite being emotionally exhausted, I somehow gained a surge of energy on day four. Kiley and I spent the day in nature again, which was really healing for me.

I need to recognize how grateful and lucky I am to have had Kiley with me during this experience. She helped me so much and was such a fantastic friend during this difficult time. I don’t think that I could have done this without her.

Kiley was my PIC for this water fast
I could not have done this without Kiley by my side!
Day 5

On Day 5, I woke up with severe anxiety. I started questioning myself so much. What if I was actually damaging my body by doing this fast? What if I was ruining my metabolism or self sabotaging all the hard work I had put into my body? My mind started going crazy.

What I really had to practice was complete surrender and trust. Knowing that my body is so strong and healthy and it knows exactly what to do. I really had to work on trusting my body and this process. 

Breaking the 5-day fast 

In order to come off my fast properly, I consulted with Dr. Yurth about the refeeding process. Although refeeding syndrome is rare, especially for young, healthy people, it’s definitely something to be aware of.

“Obviously when you come off your fast, you don’t want to go and eat a whole cheesecake,” Dr. Yurth said. “But we know there are many benefits when coming off a fast.”

Dr. Yurth explained that when we fast, we lower growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor, or IGF. But when we begin to re-feed and come off of a fast, we then get a big surge in IGF. Which means that post fast is a great time to increase muscle, burn fat, and take advantage of this surge in IGF.

“Coming off your fast, you’ll want to consume higher protein and healthy fats and avoid sugar and carbohydrates,” Dr. Yurth said.

That’s to avoid spiking insulin levels too quickly after fasting and to keep the body in a state of ketosis while reintroducing food. I broke my fast with a homemade bone broth from the organic kitchen at Rio Perdido.

I had bone broth to break my 5-day water fast
 I broke my fast with organic bone broth. I’ve never been so happy to eat broth!

The following day, I had green juice with cucumber, celery, lemon, spinach, and then another bone broth. Later in the evening, I introduced solid food again with fish, avocado, and steamed broccoli to start getting more protein and healthy fats for dinner.

green juice to break my water fast
my first solid meal after my water fast
My first solid meal after my fast: local fish, steamed broccoli, and avocado.
finally eating after 5 days of fasting
I was so happy to finally eat again! The gratitude I feel for food has significantly increased after this fast.
My advice for fasting

I learned so much about water fasting and about my body during this experience. Here are my honest thoughts and advice if you are considering doing a fast:

  1. The first thing I want to reiterate is that I would not necessarily recommend this to anyone. Yes, there are benefits, and yes, this was a powerful experience, but it is extreme. Not eating for five days is no joke. I would think deeply about if this is something that would be right for you and consult with a medical professional before embarking on a fast.
  1. If you have a female body, I would highly suggest planning your fast in a way that aligns with your cycle. The best time to do a fast is any other time than the end of your cycle, which is called the luteal phase, about 10-14 days before your period. I didn’t time this well, and I fasted at the end of my cycle. I expected to get my period about two days into the fast, but I did not because I was not eating. Literally, as soon as I had the bone broth, I got my period almost instantly. If I were to do this again, I would absolutely time this differently with my moon cycle. 
  1. If you struggle with your relationship with food, I would not necessarily recommend this, mainly because it’s more likely that you could end up struggling with overeating, relapsing, and binges after the fast. I have done so much work around my relationship with food over the past few years, and have still noticed some of these unhealthy tendencies around food come back into my psyche. You have to be super intentional and careful about what you’re eating after a fast, and having those kinds of restrictions is not suitable for me.
My honest reflection

With all of this being said, I am so happy I did this and super proud of myself for finishing it. I’ve had this goal for a long time, and more than anything, I feel a lot of strength from overcoming this major challenge.

On a spiritual level, the week was super challenging for me, having lost someone I love dearly, but I feel such a deep connection with my Grampy’s spirit, and I can feel him with me, cheering me on into this new year. There’s a lot I want to accomplish this year, and I have started the year overcoming such a big challenge. I feel a ton of strength to go full speed ahead into 2021 and am ecstatic to execute all of these visions and dreams for the upcoming year. 

How to get the benefits of fasting without actually fasting

Say what…. You mean to tell me I didn’t have to go through five days of torture to get the benefits of fasting?! You mean there is a way to actually get the health benefits of fasting without actually having to go through it?! Well… sort of. Let me explain, because if fasting feels too intimidating for you, then this is a pretty darn good alternative.

Dr. Yurth let me in on a little secret. It’s a supplement with a hilarious name that I almost completely discredited at first until Dr. Yurth filled me in on how incredible this supplement truly is. It’s called SpermidineLIFE. So how does it work?

“Spermidine actually helps your body get into autophagy, naturally,” Dr. Yurth said. “We know that the places that have high levels of spermidine in their diets actually live longer.”

Not only does spermidine help induce autophagy in the body, but research shows that it can also improve brian function, increase hair growth, and slow down aging. 

To learn more, be sure to check out this interview on Bulletproof Radio, where Dr. Yurth discusses the magic of spermidine with Dave Asprey.

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.