La Esmeralda x Florality

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Why Yoga Is More Than A Fad

A jumble of legs and arms tied and twisted in knots that you didn't realize was humanly possible. You think, "I can barely touch my toes, let alone do that."

@alissayoga on Instagram (Photo by @chandolla) A word that when spoken can be associated with so many pictures in one's head. Maybe you tried hot yoga once and then simply never went again.

@aubrymarie on Instagram

But could yoga be more than shaking in your sixth Chaturanga of the hour or slipping every five seconds out of Tree Pose? Why is everyone so obsessed with this exercise fad? If you're in that boat, this might be a good way to open your mind and learn just a little more about what yoga truly is.

What Is It Anyway?

Yoga is a practice that embodies the mental, physical, and spiritual state of one's being. While yoga originally was paired with religions like Buddism and Hinduism, yoga itself does not belong to any one religion but can still be used for one's own personal growth or to gain a deeper connection between one's self and the person's personal idea of a greater force.

There are numerous types of yoga for all different levels and body types. Additionally, yoga can be paired with meditation, healthy diet, and other positive disciplines. For example a yogi could pair their practice with the "ahimsa" discipline, which would allow the yogi to discipline his or her self in extending nonviolence to themselves and others. Or a yogi could incoporate yoga in his or her family life, much like Summer Perez does with her two children.

The Benefits of Yoga Are Plentiful

Modern weight-training today is set on the idea that building mass is the best way to get into shape. Lifting weights encourages the muscles to burn fat but also harden and constrict. Though there is nothing wrong with choosing this approach, yoga goes a different path. A path of flexibility and warming the muscles to then lengthen them, avoiding the risk of muscular tension. The yoga practice also encourages daily meditation, enhances total body awareness and health, and prevents stress by utilizing the breath.


Go Hard or Go Home?

You don't have to be the stretchiest or the skinniest to love yoga! Yoga is about making the practice yours. You choose when and where and how long. You decide what level is best for you and you grow with your own body and what you believe is beneficial.

If you can't handle a fast-paced Bikram Hot Yoga class than attend Yin and Restorative classes instead. There is no shame in that. It is your practice and it will be different from everyone else's.

If you're having fun with it, then that's really all that matters. Laughing and smiling during Pigeon pose is okay! Yoga will give back as much as you put in.

Check out some of these ladies who know how to love themselves even when they're being vulnerable:

@nayitavp with her pitbull




What did you believe yoga was? Has this changed your perspective? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Sources: Noa Belling's The Yoga Handbook and Instagram.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Kick Off New Year's + Matcha Green Smoothie Bowl

 New Year's sparks the time to start fresh. Forget what was in the past, forget last year's successful--well, more like untouched--resolutions and make new commitments this year. A vision board is a great way to help that or even a new hobby.

La Esmeralda upcycling old turntable tops.

There is nothing better than persevering toward a new lifestyle, a new diet, a new goal. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake, when you miss a workout day, when you eat a cookie on your no-sugar diet. And then move forward.

Upcycled turntable with Broods vinyl

If you're pursuing a healthier lifestyle, congrats! You're going to be pursuing a road that is, sure, hard but very rewarding! Try this recipe to get you motivated:
  • 1/2 tsp Chia seeds (ground or soaked in water for 10 minutes)
  • 1 tsp Green Tea Matcha powder
  • 1 tsp Cacao Nibs
  • 1/2 peeled & diced Avocado
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup dairy alternative milk (Soy, almond, etc.)

Simply blend the above ingredients together and pour into a bowl. Top with your favorite toppings ( I chose cacao nibs, banana slices, and shredded coconut) and eat up! This smoothie bowl is vegan and so good for you.

Try to do your best to choose organic ingredients in smoothies and juices, as it's the best choice when cleansing and detoxing your body. Conventional food will only add more unwanted chemicals and pesticides.

All the best as you look forward to your new year!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Small Things in Life

Ever wondered where all these new pop-up coffee shops are coming from? Walk by a small shop that wasn't there yesterday? Goods you've never seen before. Or maybe you have but not like this.... I call it "the small business revolution".

You go into any single one and you'll get a feeling that this is new. This is something you could get used to. The coffee shops smell like genuine, handcrafted service and then a faint hint of wood and leather. The boutique shops smell like vintage clothing with a modern twist. Not only is it new, it's comforting. But why?

Artists are taking a stand and finally holding a bit of their own. Small business owners are tired of big-name companies taking advantage of customers that deserve better. Better everything: customer service, quality, and--most of all--personability. I know it's not a word, but admit it: who doesn't love it when they find something personally crafted and meant for them? Unique to who they are as a person? And inexpensive, but high quality?

I wanted to give my local small businesses a chance in this post, because they deserve to have a voice--and have others speak for them! Self-promotion can be really hard.

Just imagine how much they work. They invest in their own materials, spend the time and the money and sacrifice their work and time out of every day to give to something that they believe in, that they want to see flourish. Doesn't sound to different from us dreamers, huh?

But out of the hours of time spent on their work not many are recognized or supported in the way they need to be. Would you agree? Why do some succeed and others, not so much?

If you haven't already, give them a chance. Even if you can't pay for anything, visit their shops, share their works of art via social media. There's plenty you can do. And maybe one day these lovely small businesses won't be so small anymore.

Here are the great businesses featured in the pictures above (in order of appearance):

Nearly all of these and many other fantastic small businesses were featured at the Phoenix Flea Market Small Business Saturday market. Check out the upcoming event (Holiday Bazaar) happening Friday, December 18th through Sunday, December 20th at the San Mercado Agustin in Tucson, AZ.

Good night, Dreamers! <3

Friday, August 7, 2015

True Wanderlust

You've saved up, you've dreamed, you've packed your bags. And now you're standing in line to board a plane that's going to take you to the place you've always just thought about going to. But now it's actually happening.

This feeling is true wanderlust.

If you don't already know, the word "wanderlust" actually originates from the beautiful Germany itself. "Wander" is wandern in German, which means "to wander" and the German word lust is "to desire." Literally: to desire to wander. Pretty straight forward.

So it only seemed right when I finally took the chance to travel to the place I've been wanting to go to for years....Germany.

I bought a special notebook just for this trip and the future ones to come, to log all of my adventures. I had a place to stay with my best friend, a suitcase full of hopes and dreams, and not a single itinerary in hand...

The first thing that had to be accomplished! Germany surprisingly had a wide variety of ethnic food. Turkish, Indian, Italian, and Chinese only being a few selections in many meal decisions...all good choices.

And, of course, I didn't forget to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Vegan Numi Chocolate Tea Cookies
Organic Matcha Green Tea Lemon Sorbet

And the sights were breathtaking. Every landmark is so surreal. I had to consistently ground myself every day and say "I'm in Germany. The place I've wanted to be in for five years."

The Dom Cathedral in Cologne, Germany

"Schloss Benrath" (Benrath Castle) in Dusseldorf
"Altstadt" (Old City) Dusseldorf
Cologne, Germany
Die Liebesschloss Brücke (The Love Lock Bridge) in Cologne

Hofgarten in Munich

The Viktualienmarkt in Munich
But the best part of it all? The friendships. Every single person was beautifully unique, from all over the world and Europe. And Germans are one of the most accommodating!

King Ludwig White Beer & the Chinese Tower in Munich

Planning to travel to Germany soon? Here's some DOs and DON'Ts that will be helpful for navigating:
  • DO use Trip Advisor for your sightseeing needs. Google Maps is also a great source!
  • DON'T buy your phone SIM card in the airport. Wait and ask your hotel staff or a friend where the best place is to buy it. I promise you it's at least four times cheaper!
  • DO travel by "Meinfernbus", it's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get around all of Germany!
  • DO ask for help when you're lost. If your German is good enough, ask someone for directions! Germans are very approachable (despite the straightforward expressions they may put on) and if you're brave enough to try your German, go for it!
  • DO stay at places with free WiFi. You'll need it.
  • DO let your bank know that you'll be leaving the country. It would be a shame for them to close your bank account because of unknown ATM withdraws while  you're abroad!
  • DON'T stress too much about a set schedule. Germany is very hipster and very laidback. Unless you planned to go during an event, I challenge you to go without a plan! Things will come up and you'll be glad you didn't plan because you can make the most of this new opportunity!
  • DO try the beer. Germany is known for it. In many cities they have beers that they're known for. Cologne has the "Kölsch." Dusseldorf has the "Schlösser." Munich has liquid get the picture.
  • If you're staying with a host family DO where your house shoes and DON'T forget to bring them a gift for their hospitality. A guidebook of the city/state you're from is nice!
  • DO buy Birkenstock shoes. While Germany considers most Birkenstock shoes (especially the Arizona style) to be house shoes, the fashion in the U.S. begs to differ. So buy them here. They're half-price at the brand name store. Don't get me started on the Birkenstock outlets.

Ultimately, have fun! Wherever you're going, or wherever you want to go, cherish your time there, take pictures, and make memories that will last you a lifetime.