The sun has just crossed the plane of the earth’s equator— this means longer sunlight-filled days ahead and a warmer climate as the northern hemisphere approaches closer to the sun. Besides the blossoming flowers and lengthier days, there is typically some form of rebirth and regrowth during this season. Whether that is a mental, spiritual, or physical form of transformation, spring is a great time to reflect and refresh as we enter into a much brighter season ahead.
There is something about spring that has always made me excited to start anew. My closet tends to get more spacious, as I thoroughly clean it out around this time, and my body tends to feel more revitalized, as I fill my tummy with lots of fresh fruits and veggies that this season offers. Besides the physical cleaning for spring, I like to focus on my internal state as well— a sort of mental spring cleaning.
As the lifeless foliage turns green and flowers begin to flourish, I find myself too yearning to mirror mother nature. I want to let the past go, forgive, and move forward with both happiness and gratitude.
One of my favorite forms of self-reflection that allows me to practice both forgiveness and gratitude is journaling. If the ability to forgive has been hard this past fall/winter season, I recommend writing a letter to this person in your journal. Writing down your frustration and collecting your thoughts in one place, allows for the transfer of built-up internal anger into organized words. I never send this letter, but at the end, I always make sure to write “I forgive you.” This form of journaling always tends to help me move forward— sometimes I even write multiple “letters” if I still feel anger towards this person. Forgiveness takes time.
Another form of journaling that helps bring about a refreshed mental state is gratitude journaling. Simply being able to focus on what I do have (this can range anywhere from talents and skills, to amazing people I am thankful for, to the highlights of my day) allows me to recognize the blessed life I am able to live. Focusing on the good (instead of complaining, wishing we had more, etc.) allows for happiness to prevail.
This spring, let’s practice moving forward and appreciate the goodness that Mother Nature has blessed us with. So, take that extra hour of sunlight, relax, and let your feelings flow onto paper as your mind is able to let go and spring forward.
This is no traditional hike, or flight of stairs for that matter. However, the Culver City stairs workout will leave you sweaty, sore and probably sun burnt. This outdoor workout is perfect if you're looking to get active outside of your regular gym. The view going up may look daunting, but the view from the top is well worth the sweat.
On a sunny day, the Hollywood sign hike is the ultimate summer outing. With medium and small inclines all the way, the hike is widely accessible and leads you to a full view of the city. Helpful tip: Go early in the morning or right before sunset to get the best view of the skyline!
Every Thursday starting on July 7 at 7 pm. The concerts feature a wide range of musical genres including indie rock, dance, classic, reggae, disco, latin + many more. Mark your calendar because this is LA's favorite summer tradition!
Find Yoga Works studios all over Los Angeles in Brentwood, Hollywood, Koreatown, Playa Vista, Santa Monica, and El Segundo. Yoga Works has classes every hour for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. If you're not already convinced, you and your friends get your first week free! Find more information on the Yoga Works website.
Blue Bottle Coffee is a San Francisco coffee roaster and has a convenient location for Angelenos on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Their menu features a specialty drink that they call "New Orleans Iced Coffee," which is cold brewed with chicory root, mixed with your cream of choice and a dash of sweetener.
On the first Friday of each month, food trucks line the one mile stretch of Abbot Kinney and small shops and boutiques on the street host special events. The new-age food trucks display an array of global influences and flavors, and surely never disappoint!
The Broad is located in downtown LA and offers free general admission. The postwar and contemporary art collection is an eclectic, provocative and vibrant representation of LA culture. If you mind waiting a few hours in line to get in, be sure to book tickets in advance. More information on The Broad can be found on the website.
Playa Vista's farmer's market opens at 9 am every Saturday morning and showcases locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables as well as the most beautiful flowers. The farmer's market also offers live music, local artists and vendors and the BEST breakfast burritos in town. Start your Saturday off on the right foot and pay a visit to the Playa Vista farmer's market.
Whether you're looking for some greenery to spruce up your home or just coming along for the ride, the LA Flower District is truly a summer's dream. 6 blocks of flower heaven and nearly 200 wholesale flower vendors, the marketplace seems to never end.
Take a Hike! There is no other remedy like retreating into nature for a few hours to change setting. Being amidst the grandeur of nature and its beautiful forms has an amazing way of broadening your perspective to see the things cluttering our lives are very small, insignificant even. Fresh air, exercise and the sound of silence have immense healing and grounding properties.
Create a Vision Board. Heck, throw a vision board party. Gather your closest buddies, grab a few stacks of old magazines, pick up some foam boards and start gluing. Don't forget the wine. But seriously, creating a vision board is a great way to literally design your dream world, and it really gets the creative manifesting juices flowing.
Don't hate, meditate. You don't have to be in a yoga class or a temple to get quiet, silence the mind, and tap into your inner eye. Start with a 10 minute mediation in the morning or before you go to bed and watch your days transform. I prefer sitting on the ground, cross legged, eyes closed with soft music or silence. Natural or dim light preferred. I start quieting the mind by "following my breath." Follow the stream of breath flowing deeply in, and stretching all the way out. Once you clear that mental space, you're open to receiving light and good energy.
With the end of the semester around the corner and summer calling my name, my life tends to go into overdrive around this time every year. Between planning the rest of the year out, planning the rest of my life out, and staying afloat in work and school, it's easy to get stuck in the weeds of STRESS during the most beautiful time of the year. Over the past few years, I've learned to get a handle on stress so that I can be my best self and not let stress take over my life.
Stay in the NOW! Last summer, a friend lent me Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" and it changed my life. The message of the book is simple: living in the present moment will transform your life for the better. This amazing read has reminded me on countless occasions to get out of my head and just be grateful for that moment. In the hustle and bustle of planning, take a break to appreciate what's going on right now.
Get enough sleep. It seems counterintuitive that when you're caught up in an endless to do list, you should drop everything for a cat nap. Sleep is essential for a person's health and well-being and is a huge part of limiting your stress. Often times, when your body doesn't seem to be functioning at optimum level, you may just need to get some Z's to regenerate and rest.
Take time to check in. Every six months or so, I take a couple hours to sit down to write down my short and long term goals (personal, health, and career-wise). When you're starting to feel overwhelmed by your tasks, check in with these goals to make sure the things you're doing every day are in line with your long term vision. Be a person of your own design.
Surround yourself with people that support you and want to see you do well. As much as I think of myself as a one-woman show, there are countless individuals in my life that I owe all of my success to. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you, who will remind you of the bigger picture and push you every day to be great.
Take time everyday to regroup, get grounded and retreat. Everyone has different ways of doing this. Some let off steam at the gym. Some like to meditate and focus on their breath. I have found that my happy place to re-center myself is through yoga. I started my practice a few years ago and since then it has been a crucial part of my life. I encourage everyone to take the time to try out a class at your local yoga studio.
Don't know where to start? Here are a list of my favorite studios on the West Side!
Yoga Salt. Of all the studios I've tried in the area, Yoga Salt is by far my favorite. The classes are mostly all levels, which makes it easy to bring some of my friends that haven't had much experience doing yoga. The studio is simple, bright and welcoming. Located at 11955 Washington Blvd. in Culver City.
YogaWorks. One piece of advice: Bring a towel. YogaWorks is no joke and will leave you feeling sore, sweaty, and like a true yogi. With locations in Santa Monica, Playa Vista and El Segundo, finding the right class for my schedule is always easy.
Yoga Vista. Located right in Playa Vista, this small vinyasa studio provides a variety of classes that are accessible for all levels and are taught by truly incredible teachers. Being located right by Whole Foods is also a plus.
Hot 8. Right next to the Promenade in Santa Monica, you can easily get your sweat on after a long day of shopping. Hot 8 will leave you feeling refreshed, detoxed and slightly euphoric. Hot yoga isn't for everyone, but is worth working up a sweat for. Also located right next to Nekter juice bar, another plus.
Please pass along your favorite ways to de-stress in the comments! Also, let us know any of your favorite yoga studios if we've missed any. Namaste, yogis.