25 Things I Love About Myself

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It’s my birthday today, so I’m all about that self-love good good right now. After years of intense longing and yearning to the point of self-abuse for a differently shaped body as a teenager, I now see my body more clearly for what it actually is: real, beautiful, powerful, healthy, and strong. Here’s a love letter I wrote to it in honor of my 25th year. I hope it inspires you to see the good in your own.

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Scavenger Hunt – Lost

This is kind of perfect. It’s like Robyn had a love-child with Chvrches. I’m not mad.

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Special Two-Hour Aromatherapy Chakra Flow Class at Yoga HEAT in Grand Rapids, MI

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Beyond excited to announce that I’ll be teaching my special two-hour Aromatherapy Chakra Flow Class in Grand Rapids, MI at the wonderful Yoga HEAT. The event is Saturday, March 29 from 1-3 p.m. at Yoga Heat’s breath-taking industrial space replete with reclaimed wood floors, vast windows, and exposed brick on Monroe Street. We’ll flow through an intense and creative vinyasa sequence targeted at opening each of your body’s major energy centers before dialing it down into more yin-like postures. All the while, your class will be punctuated by essential oil aromatherapy and detailed explanations of the chakra system. This is a great way to deepen your practice and treat yourself. I hope to see you there!

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Way Overdue Praise for Beyonce’s Eponymous Album

I’ve been loving on Beyonce’s most recent, self-titled album since it came out toward the end of last year. “XO” and “Superpower” (a collaborative track with Frank Ocean, another love of mine) have been staples on my playlists for class. Though I found the inclusion of recordings from the Challenger tragedy pretty tasteless, I love the passion behind “XO” and the ballad-esque, indulgently, sensually powerful yet calming effects of “Superpower.”
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Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Chakras (But Were Afraid to Ask)!: What Is a Chakra and What Are You Smoking?

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What is a chakra?
The Sanskrit word chakra (hard “ch”) translates roughly to energy “vortex” or “wheel” in English. Sanskrit words are onomatopoetic, meant to sound like the objects they describe. Chakra is a good example of this linguistic quality, the hard “ch” meant to set the energy wheels spinning. Continue reading

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Things You Should Put in Your Mouth: Organic India Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea

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My friend Rukmini is generous as they come. She moves gracefully, almost without sound; talks in a cool, earth-smooth voice through pillow lips and a gorgeous smile; and keeps her dark hair short. She came over for dinner a couple weeks ago when I was a little sad armed with red wine, Gail Ambrosius salted dark chocolate covered caramels & lavender tea. Three favorites of mine. She didn’t have to ask to know. We’re in tune like that.

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Playlist: Sun in Pisces Flow

The sun moved into Pisces on the 18th. It’s coming up on my 25th birthday. People born during this sign are said to be creatures of compassion & creativity. Weaknesses include oversensitivity & indecisiveness. True & true. The shift in signs & impending change in seasons (as far away as it might seem in the midst of this seemingly eternal winter, which honestly, my hot-blooded self isn’t totally hating) nudged me toward a new playlist for my yoga classes. This playlist is just a template that I’ll remove from & add to throughout the month depending on my own mood or my students’ moods, much like the sequences I create every few weeks. It’s about 52 minutes long, giving you 4 minutes of silence at the top & the bottom of your practice to soak in.

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Things You Should Put in Your Mouth: Coco Roons

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I know you’re suspicious right now. Gluten-free? Dairy-free? Raw? And they call themselves “macaroons?” Hear me out though. These bad boys are out of control good, even if they’re not quite how Laduree throws it down. I took a Bikram class last night with Laurie at Dragonfly Hot Yoga, who told me to settle my bones like sand at the bottom of a pool while I laid in my final savasana. I was into it. After, I sat ravenous on my friend’s couch, nursing a cup of tea and nibbling the spiced nuts she’d just finished making when she pulled out these game-changers. “You’ve got to try these,” she said. I eye-balled the package and had some of the thoughts you’re probably having right now. But then I took a bite.
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Home Practice: A Flow Sequence to Dig into the Outsides of Your Hips [Video]

When I first got into yoga over a decade ago, I could not imagine practicing at home. I loved the community aspect of a practice at a studio, the synchronized flow of breath and movement, and a real live yoga instructor who only got one take for every line. Now, I can’t imagine a yoga practice not complemented by a home one. I use my home practice to work on goal postures in more depth, test drive sequences I put together for my classes, and take care of myself when I don’t have a full hour or more plus travel time to go take a “real” class at one of my favorite studios.

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An Open Letter to Q-106 & Country Radio Stations Everywhere: If You Value Women’s Lives, Please Stop Playing “Redneck Crazy”

I see I have some explaining to do. I’m going to have to admit to listening to (and liking) country music before I get any farther. As a young woman of Middle Eastern descent who grew up first-generation American in the heart of the Midwest, I often find myself in the midst of cultural identity crises such as this one. Growing up, I tried really hard not to like country music. I was too cool, obviously, in my studded camouflage bell-bottoms from Old Navy, and anyway I couldn’t relate. My mom doesn’t make casseroles, potato salads, or apple pies. She does, however, cook large quantities of white rice like it is going out of style, serve Arabic coffee in cup sizes that Starbucks customers would throw a fit over, and shape ground lamb into kafta for my dad to grill outside in the sweet Michigan summer nights the way most people in our neighborhood grilled hamburgers.

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