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What I've learned in my mindful eating experiment.

 

What is mindful eating? There are many definitions.

Most describe it as devoting all your senses to eating; namely see, smell, taste, touch and hear(snap, crackle, pop).

Being grateful for the food and how it arrived to your table.

Noticing how you feel before, during and after you eat.

Lastly, we give our undivided attention to consuming our food (and beverages).

 

So I decided to give it a test run before rolling it out the our Prana Vibe community and here's what I discovered...

 

1. I noticed how I wanted to grab the remote, the cell, or a book to read. I was antsy to do something else while eating. It was difficult to resist.

2. When I just sat there and ate with no distractions, I noticed the different notes of the food. The squash had a bit of a nutty taste to them. I had to chew the food longer to masticate it properly.

3. I got satiated much quicker since I ate slower. I noticed how the food felt in my mouth and swallowing before taking another bite. 

4. I took a moment to breathe and thank the food. I appreciated every soul and process involved to get this food to me.

5. Eating in social settings was much tougher for me. I found that I ate more because I enjoyed the company and it correlated to a higher intake volume.

6. When something upset me, I noticed that I wanted to put something in my mouth right away. It's like I needed validation and wanted to feel good and avoid feeling bad in that very moment.

7. When I allowed the bad feelings to just exist with me, then the urge to make poor food choices subsided. It cleared up a great deal when I did get to better food options and enjoyed the small victory.

8. I learned that I sometimes ate out of boredom. It kept me entertained, didn't argue with me and is always there. When I chose to just be bored, eventually the urge to grab something to stuff in my face subsided.

 

I learned a lot about myself through this experiment. I have full intention to continue with mindful eating as much as possible. Our awareness around food can transform our mood, how we feel about ourselves and live a more balanced and fruitful life (pun intended). 

 

Join us on this journey of conscious food consumption. Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!


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Lying beneath the surface...

The inception of Prana Vibe came from a dream to serve the community on a highly intimate and personal level, knowing that quality is directly tied into the ability to connect with individuals and get to know them. Admittedly, larger classes and running Groupons were tempting considerations for our business. But, we chose to opt for slow growth and keep it boutique-y.

 

The following story reaffirms the path that Prana Vibe has taken and has stuck to. Jason, we love you and are so very grateful for your presence and prana.  

 

 

While in the US Army I had an accident involving a vehicle crash with another vehicle. I was driving one vehicle and got T-boned by another vehicle. I was immediately knocked unconscious and stayed like that for 40 minutes. I had an open head wound on the left side of my head. I was taken to the ER and ended up staying in ICU for 3 days, then under watch in the hospital for 2 weeks. I have no recollection of this but just know from medical records, my best friend who was the passenger and my family's account of what went down. After my release, I spend the next 6-months in speech pathology and traumatic brain injury rehab because I couldn't talk, could barely walk and i could not make cognitive thoughts. My brain had been thrashed around inside my skull and was inflamed. For the 3-months proceeding this accident and the 6-months after, I have permanent amnesia. I don't recall anything.

 

I spent this time basically on bed rest in the Army (I was in Germany) and seeing a neurologist every two weeks to go over medication, testing, rehab, etc. Eventually I reached a point where my physical wounds healed up and I was ok enough to go back to work (I was a Counterintelligence Special Agent and German linguist for the Army).

 

Ultimately, I was diagnosed with TBI, PTSD, Clinical Depression, Acute Anxiety, Cognitive Disorder, Adjustment Disorder and Tinnitus with Audible Saturation (hearing problems). I was given a rating of 100% disabled by the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs, the department responsible for Vets after they separate from the service. My conditions are not visible at all, I look perfectly healthy. Everyone thinks I'm a fully functioning adult even when they hear about my disabilities. That's ok, I haven't sought sympathy or anyone's attention. I wanted to be treated as much as normal as possible.

 

Fast forward to present day! I've spent the last 10 years as a Deputy and Program Manager for classified National Security programs, where I supervised a nationwide staff and ran 8 different departments. I worked way more than everyone else because I simply required more time to get things done. I often worked 60+ hours a week, and sometimes 7 days a week. I made over six figures despite my disabilities. I was/am a full custody father to two children. I also coached volleyball, baseball, basketball and soccer. I always wanted to do as much as possible to prove I could do things just as well as anyone else, and sometimes better. My children are used to my shortcomings; they are used to me forgetting things, misusing words in sentences, not being able to focus - but they know that I will keep trying. I found Ashtanga through my wife Jackie. She is patient and supportive.

 

The last 3 years, my conditions have significantly worsened. I receive care through the Dept of VA about twice a month, and a serious concoction of medicines for cognition, depression, anxiety and sleep. I went through another round of testing in 2016 and the physicians agreed I will only get worse, not better. At work, I ended up having headaches daily for three months plus I couldn't sleep at night. My anxiety, which I thought I had a handle on - was getting out of control. Eventually, after serious discussions with my wife and family, I chose to step away from work so I can focus on my health. This fall I ended up coaching high school girls basketball as I love coaching and kids. It was one of the funnest things I've done in a long time.

 

That leads me to Mysore practice at Prana Vibe. The ultimate medicine I've found has been the Mysore practice. My solitary journey on the mat, with a supportive teacher nearby for guidance here and there, has provided me with an opportunity to find some peace for an hour or two when I practice. It's quiet. It's dimly lit. It's conducive for calmness which I desperately need. I get a combination of exercise, plus a mental release that no medicine can equal. While I get so many benefits physically from my practice, weigh loss and muscle gain, flexibility and healthy organs - my biggest gain has been for my mental health. Not being judged, but supported with a warm and close Mysore community has been and is an amazing thing to have in my life. I literally encourage new students to keep coming every time I get a chance to talk with them as I want to advocate for the practice, the teacher and the studio.

 

Some days, honestly, it's hard enough to get out of bed. But, when I know I will practice that day I get a sense of relief. I simply can't wait to practice, to be alone in the room yet surrounded by support and stability with my teacher and the studio.

 

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Starving

cookie monster

FOOD. SEX. SHOPPING. BOOZE. PARTYING. DRUGS. SOCIAL MEDIA. LIKES. FOLLOWERS. You name it. While none of these things are bad in and of itself, our intention behind it can be both self-destructive and/or hurt those around us.

Here's my theory. We're S.T.A.R.V.I.N.G.

What are we trying to fill? What are we in search of? Why don't we feel whole? Heck, even working out every single day or absolutely having to hit the mat every.single.day or counting every last gram on your food scale 365 days a year...we need to ask ourselves and be truthful. What's the driver?

My latest and greatest...food cravings. Coming back from the Amazon jungle at a mere 124lbs, I was alarmed that I had lost so much weight. Within 6 weeks, I gained 6lbs but not in a way that I should. I indulged in pizza (like on a first name basis with the pizza shop owner), donuts (or cronuts rather), mac n' cheese, crackers, chips, spicy big bites from 7-11, and of course chocolate. Although I had an iron clad formula to eat whateva' if I make the macros fit, I didn't care to adhere to it. 

I had to question myself, what was I feeding? Why did I feel like I was deprived? Starving? I never felt good afterwards. In fact, I felt guilty and shitty (literally). What void was I trying to fill?

Then it came to me. Giving into these cravings gave me comfort. It kept me entertained, it was good company and dependable even for a brief while. It was distracting me from what I needed to do, what I knew was good for me. And ultimately, what I wanted out of life. It's fucking hard work! It gave me an outlet to fill this hole I found within me, this vast space of nothingness. I needed my reward neurons to fire constantly to feel worthy and valid. It's easy to say this now. But, facing this truth was a tough pill to swallow. 

I gave ALL my love out and saved none for myself. Heck, I help people for a living. But this is so typical of the women in my fam. Put myself last. Geez, I wasn't even in queue. Sure, I took care of my body. But, as we all know, that's a vessel in this physical world. What good is a beautiful boat, however, if there's no captain on board, no one home?

Being in solitude for a portion of my time in the jungle allowed me to be completely alone devoid of distractions (iphone, media, company, games, food, etc). NOTHING. Oh, I'd rather stab myself with a serrated knife. Just kill me already. 

It's been a roller coaster ride coming back home. Same yet different. One thing I'm present to is that we are all good and bad, light and dark, joy and sadness, jealous and compassionate, confident and insecure, supportive and "I don't give two fucks". What triggers our dark? What brings out the bad wolf in us? 

If you have the courage, if you want to seek the truth, if you want to live...look inward. The answers are there. You will NOT find it in that next conquest. You will NOT find it in another person. You will NOT find it in that perfectly chiseled body of yours. You may actually find it in a Cracker Jack box though. They've been known to have cool prizes (joking of course). 

How do we look inward? For starters, sit still. Meditate. Remove your distractions. Be bored. That's it. The thing is, most of us won't do this. It's not that we're afraid to fail, but that we have infinite potential to be great without anyone else to validate us. It takes a lot of trial and error. Be willing to fuck up. Be willing to grow from it. It'll only make you stronger. Our triggers are teachers. It reveals something deeply embedded within us. Knowing this, I've become more forgiving and accepting. I'm not trigger-free and I still have my moments where I'm passive-aggressive. But hey, I'm human and I'm a work in progress...always.

Start learning how to love yourself. Hug yourself. Tell yourself why you love you. Every morning, before you day begins in a fervent frenzy. Do it. Make it a habit. And, this is ironically how we really show up for others. Truth is a bitch but it will always set you free.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us." - Marianne Williamson


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the angry yogi

angry yoga


One of the first things that drew me to yoga were the teachers who didn't sugar coat the process. Maybe it's because I grew up with "tough love". 

Let's all be honest, that first vinyasa class probably kicked your a$$ hard. I distinctly remember my wrists and shoulders b.u.r.n.e.d. I thought it wasn't possible to suck more. No forward folds to speak of. Arm balances? What's that? Backbends? In my f*n dreams.

But, I loved it! Finally! I didn't have to run to get fit. The gym rat thing wasn't working for me. Oh, and my first yoga teacher was HOT. I still remember her. Golden honey skin with short wavy hair. She wore a tank top which exposed her lower mid section. She had on loose fitting sweatpants that draped over her legs and her movements flowed with such ease, strength and grace. Her body was tone AF. Wow. I wanted to be her.

While my inspiration to start practicing was very much a physical one, it transcended to other realms of being. It even launched me into the journey of teaching this craft. So, first off, I want to confess that I'm certainly not all rainbows and unicorns. Believe me, I've tried and the shoe doesn't fit. I curse. I bite. I scratch. I can be rough around the edges at times. I will never be that teacher who enables her students, who glorifies mediocrity to make them feel better about themselves. I'm not that gal who speaks of prancing through flower filled meadows during your practice. That warrants a bonafide slap across my face. I will support you and encourage you. But, I will not give praise just because I want your membership.

What DOES float my boat is seeing you show up and doing the best you can that day. It might not feel like much but trust me, I can tell. Energy and effort don't lie. Making your way through struggle reveals depth of character.

I always strive to be in my most light self, however, a sliver of darkness will slice through once in a while. Lately, I've come face to face with her, acknowledging her and hearing her out. We are in this together, the ego and I. We may have our off days. We may have moments when we're triggered by something or someone and our reaction is disproportionate to the actual event.

What yoga and other life changing experiences have taught me are...

- Always look at yourself first
- Breathe deeply
- It's ok to be angry and pissed off; acknowledge those emotions and then it'll have less of a hold on you
- Set boundaries; know who you are and what you stand for and if someone can't respect that, then tell them to f* off
- There's a light and dark side to all of us, some have more light and some have more dark. The dark is not bad. She just needs to be understood so you can manage her better and not let her           wreak havoc.

Clarity & Levity.

Handle my $hit. That's why I visit my mat. I'm not here to pretend all is right with the world. I practice to feel better in my body, sooth my soul and empty my mind. I practice so I can be less pissed off. I practice so I don't want to smash your face in. I practice so I can hate myself less and love myself more. I practice so I can let go of my anger. I practice to forgive. I practice to find my breath again and again.

Why do YOU practice?

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October's Mobility Focus Pocus! WICKED SPLITS

Two words for you. Hips & Hamstrings. Feast your eyes on this lil' sample of good things coming!

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These are some of the top areas (hips & hamstrings) people want to work on to feel more functional and just overall amazing in their day to day and when they wanna play.

Let's dive into one of the more exciting ways to open those suckers up! S.P.L.I.T.S.

We'll look at a variety of splits to help you achieve more supple hamstrings and mobile hips. 

Why do we want to do this you ask?

Well, for starters, everyone should be able to bend down and tie their own shoes or pick something up without throwing their back out or can't even get back up. So, functional longevity. 

Second, range of movement. Squat lower, extend farther, straight legs toes-to-bar, leap over rainbows with ease and grace.

lisa frank 



 Tribute to Lisa Frank (you always got  a piece o' my heart)





Thirdly, better posture. When hip flexors be tight, your body can tend to pitch forward if you're not aware. That then leads to an overreactive response from your QL (those are the muscles on either side of your lower back). Muscle spasms much?

You say you're too old or whatever? I say you might be right. We can chronologically be 50 but feel 20 or vice versa. Regardless, don't you want to feel more able overall? Munch on that for a hot sec.

There will be progressions offered during this month to help you access this best for where you are in the journey. Start with what you have not what you used to have or what you never had. Just start and don't bitch. Okay? Okay. So let's get started!

Step 1: Follow us on IG for tips and tricks: pranavibe
Step 2: Perform the splits 3x/wk
Step 3: Post a pic of you performing all three splits on IG by 10/31 w/ #pranavibe #pvwickedsplits #focuspocus

Here's to juicy hips and pliable hamstrings!!!



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