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2116 Sunset Ave
Ocean Township, NJ, 07712

732.774.7808

What do you dream of achieving?

Imagine working with your very own champion to achieve your life plans of health, wellness and professional goals; the power of two minds collaborating toward your balanced path. I will work with you to inspire your life on your terms while creating more joy and balance in every daily aspect of who you are.

 

Blog

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Vanessa Siravo

Summer Solstice is the midpoint of the year; a time that we acknowledge and celebrate the longest hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere and the longest hours of darkness in the southern hemisphere. This is a symbolic time of contrast between the light and dark, the ebb and flow and everything in between.

The Solstice is celebrated globally in many different ways including:

  • Solstice Fires in Tyrol, Austria. This is an Alpine tradition where mountain fires were ignited to worship the earth. This tradition dates back to medieval times.
  • Solstice Salutations in Times Square. This is a day-long devotion to yoga practice which is open to every level.
  • Mount Olympus Trek in Greece.  According to some versions of the Greek Calendar, the Summer Solstice marks the first day of the year. To date, thousands of locals trek up Mount Olympus. This has been  a 2500 year old tradition.
  • Stonehenge, England.  On the dawn of the Solstice, the sun rises directly above the Heel Stone of Stonehenge. Nearly 40,000 spectators gather to dance, drum and celebrate this day.

The Summer Solstice is a powerful time for reflection and vision setting. We are all familiar with the end of year reflection and new year resolutions/soulutions.

What about creating a midyear practice as well? So much living, lessons and blessings transpire over the course of six months…

What was happening in your life during January?

What has presented itself to you since then?

What has seen its time and fallen away?

It’s not always pleasant and it’s not always pretty to reflect. Beauty, I can promise you it is powerful and empowering. Reflection creates a sense of illuminated resilience that can transform into powerful creation.

After you spend some reflecting on the previous six months, now it’s time to begin calling forth a clearer vision for your second half of the year.

What do you want to invite into your life before the end of the year?

How do you want to feel at the end of the year?

What is your spirit calling to bring to life?

Now, close your eyes and take a deep breathe in and exhale. Feel it, see it, embrace it. Trust in the timing and trust in your worth of receiving all that you need and deserve.

I want to share some tools to enhance your Summer Solstice experience:

  • Sip a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile soothes the spirit and invites prosperity and love into your realm.
  • Place an orange or tangerine outside to soak up the sun’s energy during the day, then enjoy eating it during your ritual
  • Buy yourself a bouquet of yellow or orange flowers to connect with your solar plexus ‘center of empowerment’
  • Immerse yourself in water.  Soak, swim, float.
  • Ignite your inner fire. Light a candle and gaze at the flame. Infuse the flame with your intentions.

Cheers to celebrating and honoring all of who you are!

Summer Glow: A Woman’s Personal Care Guide to Inner and Outer Radiance

Vanessa Siravo

Summer is finally upon us! I was beginning to think that I was living back in Seattle with all the rain we’ve experienced here in NJ!

While we are ready to shed layers of clothing to soak up the long-awaited vitamin D, I wanted to share a few of my favorite personal care products with you. These products support whole body health both internally and externally.

Cheers to a summer filled with vitality!


V-Magic: The perfect antidote to long days spent wearing bathing suits.

vmagic

This an all-natural vulva and intimate skin cream that soothes, protects and calms. This nourishing cream provides immediate relief for dryness, redness, itching, burning and general discomfort. Vaginal tissue is vulnerable to temperature change and dampness. This is a proprietary blend of antimicrobial and antibacterial ingredients that can counter the irritated tissues.

This is an everyday cream that can be used both day and night.


Good Clean Love Balance: pH balanced personal wash

Vaginal pH is prone to disruption with the warm temperature and swimsuit fabrics.  The soothing botanical ingredients of aloe, Oregon grape root, goldenseal, lavender and calendula  help to restore vaginal flora and soothe irritated tissue. This is wash is 100% vegan, petroleum-free and paraben-free.


ISUN Antioxidant Sun Butter

A soothing, moisturizing aromatic mix of organic and natural seed butters that protects against harmful UV rays. This butter is rich in antioxidants such as buriti fruit oil from the Amazon rain forest.

I love this sun protection as it is so nourishing and has an incredibly delicious aroma!


Adaptogenic 7 Mushrooms & Cacao Powder

Tis the season for loving up those adrenals (as they should be loved up every season)!

The adrenals help to maintain stable energy along with healthy cortisol levels and hormone levels in the body. But they are compromised due to high stress, lack of sufficient sleep, exposure to environmental toxins, poor mineral/vitamin intake and lack of movement.

Anima Mundi Herbals Adaptogenic Powder supports healing, rejuvenating and revitalizing the body on a cellular level. The cacao adds a boost of magnesium to the body which supports the nervous system and reproductive health.

This tasty superfoods powder can be mixed into tea, coffee or a smoothie.


Anima Mundi Herbals Euphoria Elixir

An elixir known to awaken loving awareness within the body. 

The summer is a lush season known for celebrating the divine feminine and creative energy. It’s the season for reaping the efforts and intentions cultivated over the first part of the year.

This exilir is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, and promotes nourishment to the reproductive organs and enhanced blood flow throughout the body.


Farmhouse Culture Gut Shots

gutshot

Gut health = overall health. A happy belly supports immune function, stable moods, overall mental health, hormone balance, ability to eliminate toxins as well as supports skin health.

Gut Shots are a simple blend of fermented cabbage, caraway seeds and sea salt. This tasty drink can support keeping the bloat at bay.

The Lymphatic System

Vanessa Siravo

What is it? Why is it important to health? What are ways to promote healthy lymph flow?

The lymphatic system is the silent transport vehicle that facilitates waste removal at a cellular level, moving it from the tissues to the blood, where it can be filtered by the liver and kidneys. The waste that is carried through the body consists of proteins, plasma, cell waste, debris, airborne pollutants, environmental toxins, and bi-products of bodily processes. 

The lymphatic system is a system that is made up of lymph nodes and lymph vessels. It incorporates the spleen, thymus and adenoids as well as the circulatory and urinary systems. The lymphatic system also plays a role in bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells.

Lymph is a clear-to-white fluid made of white blood cells, especially lymphocytes which are the cells that attack bacteria in the blood and fluid from the intestines, which contains proteins and fats.

There are between 600-700 lymph nodes in the body that filter lymph before it returns to the circulatory system. When bacteria or other foreign invaders are recognized in the lymph fluid, the lymph nodes make more infection fighting white blood cells, which can cause swelling. The swollen nodes can often be detected in the neck, underarms and groin.

Lymph only flows in one direction-upwards towards the neck. It flows into the venous blood system through the subclavian veins which are located on either side of the neck near the collarbone.

If our lymph is not flowing through the body as it should, the immune system and ultimately the whole body suffers.

Signs of Stagnant Lymph:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Swelling in lymph nodes (like throat, armpits or groin)
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Joint pains
  • Excess weight and cellulite
  • low immunity
  • Headaches
  • Frequent infections or viruses
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Arthritis
  • Skin conditions
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Digestive disorders
  • Sinus congestion

What causes stagnant lymph?

Stress, Stress, Stress. Stress has been identified as the cause of about 80% of all disease. The chemistry of stress is degenerative and lymph congesting as cited by Dr. John Douillard.

Chronic digestive imbalances like constipation and diarrhea due to irritated intestinal villi are classic causes of lymph congestion. As the majority of the lymph in the body surrounds the gut (Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissues GALT), the quality of the villi is critical for proper lymph flow, detoxification, assimilation and immunity.

Iodine deficiency is also a common cause of lymphatic congestion. Iodine protects us from a toxic environment and supports the lymph at the cellular level.

Why do we want to support proper lymph drainage?

  • To move fluid out of the tissues into lymph nodes where bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms are destroyed
  • To reduce swelling and pain in the body
  • To stimulate immune system
  • To increase circulation of white blood cells
  • To support healthy circulation and skin tone

Ways to Encourage Healthy Lymph Flow

Breathe. Deep breathing in and out of the nose. Do this as much as possible!

Hydrate. Drink plenty of purified or filtered water throughout the day.
The lymphatic system depends on a constant supply of fluid. 

Add a sprinkle of Himalayan salt or fresh squeeze lemon juice to your water to support kidney health.

Move & Groove. When your muscles move, they massage the lymphatic system and promote the flow of fluid through your lymph vessels. Regular exercise like running, walking, yoga, and strength training keep the lymph juices flowing.

Jump! Jumping on a rebounder stimulates internal organs, supports intestinal health and assist in flushing toxins out of the body. It can also help support heart health, reduce body fat, firm legs, thighs, and abdomen; and strengthens muscles throughout the body.

jump

Sweat. Sit in an infra-red sauna or steam room to raise the body temperature to release excess fluids and toxins. This will also support the healing of tissue repair.

sweat

Massage. Manual lymphatic massage stimulates the lymph nodes and helps promote fluid movement in lymph vessels. It can also relieve sinus pressure, and reduce fluid retention in the face

Dry Skin Brushing. Use a dry body brush every day to increase circulation and boost a sluggish lymph system. Spend 3-5 minutes of brushing before you jump in the shower in the morning. Start at with your arms and legs and use long strokes to move the brush towards your heart.

Herbs including (but not limited to):

herbs
  • Red Clover: which is one of the best blood purifiers, aides in detoxification and reduces inflammation in: the body. 
  • Calendula: can improve lymph congestion and swelling
  • Cleavers: supports the flow of lymph, bringing white blood cells to the areas where they are most needed.
  • Echinicea: can be used as an anti-inflammatory and has powerful immune-enhancing effects
  • Licorice Root: supports in filtering debris from the lymphatic system and reduce swelling of lymph nodes
  • Red Root: supports the spleen in filtering impurities from the blood, and helps move nutrients from the digestive system to the liver for breakdown before entering the bloodstream. 

The Art of Yoni Steaming

Vanessa Siravo

yonilife

You may have come across the lingo through Gwyneth Paltrow or Tia and Tamera’s blogs…forget about the Hollywood buzz.

The art of vaginal steaming dates back thousands of years through indigenous African, Mayan, Native American, Caribbean, and Asian cultures. It is mentioned in early chronicles of Spanish friars.

A yoni steam is a warm steam bath for the vagina. It combines a customized blend of herbs and warm steam generated from a pot beneath a seat. It is a powerful and grounding experience that can be a vehicle in healing on all of these levels.

Yoni translates to ‘sacred seat' all-encompassing of the reproductive system: physically, emotionally and spiritually. 


Why would I do such a thing?

A yoni steam is a gentle way to bring warm steam and heat to the pelvis and to the womb, increasing circulation and energy flow. The moist heat opens up the pores of the tissues and the herbal infusion offers the medicinal benefits of the plants.

The vaginal tissue is one of the most porous and absorbent of the entire female body. As a result, the steam is supportive for women’s reproductive, urinary and digestive health.

The customized blend of herbs is crafted together based on a client’s intake of her health concerns, symptoms and focus points.

A yoni steam is a very gentle process that does not involve any sort of high-pressure application of hot water or steam. The steam does not enter through the vagina itself, but rather the porous exterior tissues.

Aside from the physical benefits, the yoni steam can offer healing on the emotional and mental levels.

vmagic

What to look for when seeking out a yoni steam session?

Since the yoni is the seat of a woman’s soul, this should be regarded in sacred  and respectful approach it is important to work with a trained womb professional.

Seek treatment from a practitioner who has undergone a certification to understand the physical, emotional, mental and energetic components of a woman’s body ESPECIALLY HER WOMB!  This practitioner should have an womb certification and a background in herbal medicine.

I am proud to share that my education encompasses herbal science, nutrition and I have completed  both a certified womb training and continued education in this work.


How long do I steam for?

The herbal infusion is placed into a pot beneath a yoni seat. During the session, a woman will sit comfortable on the seat. She is dressed comfortably and wrapped in a blanket to keep the body temperature warm. The steam session will last anywhere from 20-45 minutes. This time is devoted to breathing, meditating, reading, journaling and connecting to one’s self.


What are the benefits that can be gained from a yoni steam?

  • Steams can support reducing the pain, bloating and body fatigue that is associated with menstruation.
  • Support reducing the stagnant blood flow that appears as brown or purple in the beginning or end of menstrual flow
  • Can support toning and healing the vaginal tissues after birth
  • Can enhance and increase fertility
  • Can reduce the symptoms of menopause including vaginal dryness and discomfort
  • Support natural detoxification processes in the body
  • Can offer anti-microbial properties to the body
  • Can support releasing stored emotions and trauma in the sacral chakra
  • Invites a new connection with the female body and recognizing the sacred place of creativity and flow

Benefits vary from woman to woman.  


What are contraindications of doing a steam?

  • Pregnancy
  • IUD present
  • Active Herpes outbreak
  • Severe Infection

Who can benefit?

Any woman from the onset on menses beyond wise woman years, outside of contraindications listed above.

What type of herbs are used? All the herbs used are food-grade, certified organic herbs.

**Disclaimer: The practice of yoni steaming is a sacred wellness practice that is offered with the intention for each woman to devote to divine self-care. This service is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Those seeking treatment for a specific disease should consult a qualified integrated physician, preferably a holistic physician, prior to participating in the service.**


What clients are saying:

Our wombs hold much wisdom & house our emotions, innocence, intuition & intelligence. Most of us have never been taught how to care for ourselves never mind our womb. In an age where more & more women take a pill to cease menstruation, Kate is on a mission to re-connect the feminine with her radiance once again. I recommend her services to women of all race, gender & age.
I recently had a Womb Wellness session with Kate and felt compelled to share my personal experience in the hopes that more women will utilize Kate’s offerings & empower themselves to let go & surrender to their beauty, grace & inner wisdom.
Kate is one of the most supportive, compassionate & intelligent women I have come to know, appreciate & respect. She soothingly guides you through a meditation as you receive the warmth & comfort of the steaming herbs, inviting you to dive deeper into yourself & gently unearth the shadows shading your light. Upon Kate’s exit, I was able to sip soothing raspberry tea & journal as my experience began to unfold.
Over the course of 48 hours post session with Kate, I continued to experience a powerful release of emotions & felt more comfortable surrendering to my own vulnerability which is often a challenge for me.
Thank you Kate for your light a beautiful experience!
— KH

Farmer’s Market Vitality Salad

Vanessa Siravo

farmersmarket

This fresh and vibrant salad sourced with mainly local ingredients is packed with color, nourishment and flavor. The greens offer a load of nutrients to add a glow to the skin and cleanse the blood. The carrots provide antioxidants to the body. Beets support natural detoxification through the liver. Avocado provide internal hydration for the skin and naturally lowers cholesterol levels in the body. Pumpkin seeds are a source of essential fatty acids and provide zinc to the body, which boosts immune function and help reduce stress levels in the body. Raw sauerkraut improves digestive health, protects heart health and helps eliminate inflammation in the body. 


Ingredients

  • 4 cups greens of choice such as arugula, kale, watercress
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 beets, peeled and cut into half-moon slivers
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into slices
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup raw sauerkraut

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • Himalayan salt 
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Rinse greens and drain. Place greens in individual bowls. Add carrots and beets. Mix in avocado. Scatter pumpkin seeds over greens. Add sauerkraut. Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving. Enjoy!

A Day in the Life on our Italian Summer Retreat

katie strakosch

Imagine yourself waking up in an 18th century restored palazzo that sits on top of a quaint village tucked away in the lush region of Abruzzo.

The village is quiet and serene, and the only sound you hear in the morning is the bell tower chiming her morning songs.

After waking, stroll outside to stretch and move your body overlooking the rolling green hills in our daily yoga classes. The classes are open to any level of yoga experience and are crafted around creating awareness and spaciousness in the body and mind.

Après yoga, awaken your taste buds with a traditional Italian breakfast spread complete with an array of cheese, meats, local fruits and plenty of café.

Then it’s time to hit the road for the first excursion in the Abruzzo Region to a family-owned olive grove. We will spend a leisurely time here wandering the property, tasting an array of olive oils, tapenades, olives, touring the production of olive oils and lounging over a delicious lunch complete with biscotti and homemade vino.

Later in the afternoon, we will head back to the Palazzo for a siesta and prepare for one of our cooking classes.

The class is led by a local chef who will serenade you with laughter and singing, which infuses the food with love and dolce vita style. We will dine on our creation al fresco as we watch the sunset from the patio.

Let your belly digest and your mind process the beauty of the day. Spend the evening hours relaxing and lounging under the Italian sky. Don’t be surprised if you see shooting stars dance through the sky.

Finally, it’s time to drift off to sleep and dream sweet dreams. Rest and rejuvenate before the next excursions including a visit to the bell foundry that makes the bells for the Vatican.

A day spent visiting islands tucked away on the Adriatic Sea. Float in the sea, sunbathe and soak in the Italian sun.


A day spent visiting islands tucked away on the Adriatic Sea. Float in the sea, sunbathe and soak in the Italian sun.

An afternoon dedicated to a rare dining experience on a traditional trabacco.

After more cooking classes and plenty of time to restore your body and mind, it will be time to return back to Rome. Perhaps you would like to explore the city while you are here?

We will meet for dinner that eve and relish in the sweetness of the week.

How Travel Awakens Your Spirit

katie strakosch

"She dreamed improbable dreams, 
followed her heart and created a little fairytale."

I love everything about travel: the dreaming, the planning, the hustle and busyness of airports, the foreign territory, exotic foods, the lessons and experiences that lead to so much personal growth and the sweet memories post adventure.

For those of you who don’t know this about me, I’ve always wanted to work as a travel agent.. An agent of planning and organizing soul-filled adventures and dream vacations for others. It has transpired over time, but in a different way than I first envisioned many moons ago in 2001.

For my own pleasure, I have made it a point to go to a new land, every year, alone. Why do I choose to do this? It creates a platform for me to find comfort in the discomfort. On these pilgrimages, there have been many opportunities that have been presented to learn more about myself in so many ways.

One of my visions with creating ‘Sunshine Kate’s Goddess Retreats’ has been to hold the space for women to branch out of their comfort zones and to take the leap into getting to know themselves better.

These annual retreats to Italy have been crafted with the following principles: to awaken the senses, to ignite the spirit and to hold the space to grow into a greater version of ourselves. This is weaved together within a week of indulging in divine self-care practices, while dining on the most delicious food made with love and sleeping in a restored Palazzo high on top of a village tucked away in the Apennines Mountains in Abruzzo, Italy.


Five Ways Travel Awakens your Spirit

  1. Travel invokes your creativity. Studies prove that experiencing new sounds, smells, language, tastes, sensations, and sights spark different synapses in the brain. Invoking your creative fire can spark many new opportunities for you on your journey in life.
  2. Traveling (especially on your own) gives you an opportunity to get out of your social comfort zones. You might find yourself dressing in clothes you don’t normally wear at home; you might flow into a more sensual version of yourself. I have found it to be so exhilarating to dress up and take myself out to dinner in a foreign land. A few years ago, I wined and dined myself in Sevilla, Spain en route to Marrakesh..and that was where my Radiant Path Nourishment Program was conceived!

  3. Traveling reminds you of what a wonderful gift it is to be alive. What a blessing it is to witness and experience life from so many different ways. Cultivating this sense of gratitude can ignite a regular practice of gratitude when you are back home in your routine.

  4. Traveling outside your comfort zone widens your perspective on life. Travel exposes you to many individuals from different backgrounds. This creates an opportunity to an enhance your sense of being open-minded to new experiences, new community connections and instills a sense of trust in this connection.

  5. You never know who you will meet along the way…Each experience of meeting someone new presents endless opportunities in every way. You never know who you will sit next to on a plane, who becomes your roommate on a retreat, or who you cross paths with in transit. I have met some of my greatest teachers and friends this way. Be open!

This year, I will be leading two Women’s Wellness Retreats in Abruzzo, Italy:

July 23-29, 2017 + October 29-November 4, 2017.

Interesting in joining? Learn more about the retreats here:

Yoni Egg 101

katie strakosch

You might have caught wind of the buzz these beauties are receiving.

They’ve been around for centuries, but have gained popularity in recent years.

The Housewives of Atlanta, Tia and Tamara and even Elvis Duran on the Z100 Morning Show have recently spoken about them.

There are many, many whole body benefits to be gained from using these gemstones aside from what Hollywood is sharing.

Let’s spend a few minutes together here, and have a chat on Yoni Egg and Womb Wellness 101.

I invite you to fix a cup of tea and get comfy.

Here we go!

‘Yoni’ is a Sanskrit word for the womb and means ‘sacred space’. This is the center that supports creativity, flow, fluidity and love. A woman’s womb and yoni is her inner sanctum, a place to access her wisdom and her power.

Before you stop reading this because you find yourself saying ‘Honey, my womb was removed a long time ago’


Stop.

You will always have an energetic connection to all of your beautiful organs and this connection is just as powerful in developing a deeper connection with your yoni.

The pelvic floor is a large group of muscles that form a ‘basket’ or a diaphragm which supports all of our internal organs. It is said that life force/prana can leak through the pelvic floor and be lost if those muscles are weak.

This life force energy is essential for maintaining energy levels and longevity in the body.

Living our busy lives, we do not engage the pelvic floor muscles. This leads to loss of sensitivity and sensation in the vaginal area, reproductive health problems, urinary health interferences, PMS, disempowerment, decreased libido and a disconnection to our sacred feminine energy.

Studies show that the main culprit of reproductive dis-ease is lack of blood flow to this area of the body.

According to the Yale University School of Medicine, women overall have an up to 60% rate of incontinence and 50% rate of POP (pelvic organ prolapse) post-partum today. 


What are Yoni Eggs?

This practice to strengthen vaginal health emerged in ancient China.  They’ve been used for over 2000 years.

Yoni Eggs are also known as Jade Eggs, and can come as Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Jasper, Carnelian and many other stones..  

These stones are carved into an egg shape and polished to be worn inside the vagina


How are Yoni Eggs Beneficial?

  • Gain control of the perineum and all groups of pelvic floor muscles
  • Support Orgasmic Health: including vaginal, cervical and uterine orgasms
  • Reducing PMS, menstrual cramps, breast discomfort; as through regular practice it can increase blood flow to pelvic organs and help move stagnant energy.
  • Stimulates the ovaries in a gentle way balances hormone levels
  • Reduce menopausal symptoms and balancing estrogen levels
  • Regular practice stimulates the bartolin gland inside the vagina that is responsible for producing lubrication. One of the first effects women experience is feeling juicier, which can be helpful for menopausal women.
  • Overcome traumatic experiences of sexual abuse, as it can promote a sense of trust back in the body
  • Can help to release stored emotional and energetic imprints, as the vaginal tissue holds onto these psychological blockages
  • It can prevent incontinence
  • Develop and enhance a deeper and more loving relationship with one’s body
  • Awaken creative energy, passion and libido and sexuality

How to use Yoni Eggs?

Inside the vaginal canal there are reflexology points which connect to the heart, lungs, spleen, liver and kidney.

By using the Yoni Egg, these points are stimulated increasing their functions, which works in a similar way to acupuncture.

One you feel that you are ready to insert the egg, place it with the larger end next to the entrance of your vagina and start moving the egg in slow circles, slowing letting the egg go inside. 

**Always insert the egg by placing the larger end of it inside the inner labia.**

Once inserted, practice flexing and contracting the muscles.

Yoni eggs will only build muscles if you do the work!

Just like holding a free weight in your hands without moving it won’t necessarily build arm strength, the same principle stands for working your yoni muscles!

Work it, goddess!


Will the egg get stuck??

No! Don’t worry that the egg will get lost in your body. It cannot pass through the cervical walls!!

To give you peace of mind, opt for a ‘drilled’ egg. This means there are two tiny holes drilled on the bottom the egg. You can thread string through these holes, and then once inserted into the body, the strings remain outside the body. The string will enable you to control pulling the yoni egg out of your vaginal canal. This can be helpful to use when you are getting started with your yoni egg practice.


How Long to Use the Yoni Eggs?

Begin using the egg on a daily basis for just a few moments every day. This will acclimate your body to it, while building strength in vaginal muscles.


Here are some exercises to explore with your yoni egg:

All these exercises work best if you repeat each of them for a few minutes, and at least a few times a week.

Laying on the back:  Inhale & squeeze the yoni muscles as much as you can for a few seconds then exhale and relax completely

On the belly: Find yourself in locust pose and practice lifting one leg at a time as high as possible + inhale, then exhale bring the leg back down. Observe what’s happening inside. You are working on the sides of the vagina.

From cobra pose: find yourself inhaling and squeezing as you rise up, then exhale, relax and release.

Sitting:  Inhale & squeeze the yoni muscles as much as you can for a few seconds, then exhale and relax completely

Squeeze the yoni muscles 30-50 times in a row as fast as possible. **Very important to follow this with a phase of relaxation and rest**


Removing the egg

Lay down and relax, push out a little. Let your yoni muscles relax and the egg will come out.

If you have used string with your egg, then that’s the time to use it – gently pull the string and release egg from your body.

**Be mindful of your body’s needs – keep the egg in for as long as you are comfortable.  Practice keeping the egg in for just a few moments at a time when you begin to work with it.**

Create Sacred Space to work with your egg. Tuck yourself away from all distractions. Light a candle. Turn on soothing music. Tune into you!

Ready to order an egg? We have to tools you need!

My Favorite Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

katie strakosch

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a medically recognized form of clinical depression that typically occurs during the darker winter months.  It is most likely caused by shorter daylight hours which cause shifts in the body’s biological clock and hypothalamus.

The winter blues are most severe during November, December, January and February.

Some symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Mood changes
  • Over-eating
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Sleep problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Restlessness

A little background on brain health: During the hours of darkness, the pineal gland produces a chemical called melatonin which makes us feel drowsy and signals the time for sleep. Exposure to sunlight prevents the production of melatonin whilst increasing the production of a neuro-transmitter called serotonin.

When the seasons change, the circadian rhythm (biological clock) in your body shifts due to the changes in daylight, and this can affect the body’s production of serotonin and hormones. It has been discovered that disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms together with a decreased production of serotonin can trigger depression.

Hence the need for natural daylight!!


Move & Groove Every Day

Exercise pumps up your endorphins, your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters.
Movement supports a sense of well-being, while flushing away any residue from the holidays and BOOSTS the immune system!
Experiment with what type of exercise works for you and GET MOVING!

I keep a rebounder in my office and find myself taking short breaks to JUMP. Five minutes of rebounding generates such a boost of energy and gets the blood pumping!

Support your Vitamin D levels

Vitamin D plays major roles in:

  • immune function
  • heart health
  • joint health
  • manages blood pressure
  • oral health
  • mental health (as low levels are linked to depression and anxiety)
  • supports weight management

Ways to increase your Vitamin D levels:

  • eat fatty, cold-water fish like salmon and sardines
  • consider supplementation (here is a link to my last blog on my favorite winter supplements http://www.sunshinekates.com/blog/winter-essentials
  • take a vacation someplace warm and sunny ( I know it isn’t always practical to step away from life and resources can be limited, but if you really struggle with the winter blues, taking a short trip to soak up vitamin D does wonders for the spirit).

Eat

I hear it over and over again around this time of year 'I'm on a detox cleanse'. 
Yes, it is a wonderful time to move away from the overindulgence of the holiday season. But please remember this beauty, DON'T STARVE YOURSELF!
During the winter, your body needs and craves heartier foods rich in high quality protein and essential fatty acids. You need food to maintain immune function, hormonal balance and energy. 
Take the time to nourish your body through warming soups and stews.

Start your day with a boost of protein through eggs or a superfood smoothie.
Feed your body healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds, nut butters, guacamole. Lean proteins and essential fatty acids can boost levels of serotonin (which can be deficient with SAD). An increase of starchy carbs and sugars can leave the body feeling bloated and the mind foggy.


Sleep

  • Don't skimp on this essential foundation for life!
  • Emails, projects and everything can wait until the morning. 
  • Give yourself permission to rest and restore for at least 7-8 hours!
  • Create a sleep sanctuary for yourself. Remove all electronics, including your cell phone from your nightstand.
  • Buy yourself a good ‘ol battery operated alarm block.
  • The lighting in your bedroom should support a peaceful environment.
  • This room should be used for sleep and sex only.
  • Not for falling asleep with the light of the television shining on your pretty face all night.
  • Without proper sleep, your body cannot regulate its natural detox pathways. What does this mean the next morning?
  • We wake up looking puffy and have an increase in cortisol production in the body, leading to excess weight.

Light Therapy

Have you ever heard of the ‘Happy Lights’?  I had not until I spent my first winter in Seattle during college. I found myself calling it a day by 4pm, with pj’s on and feeling very blah… These ‘Happy Lights’ provide Natural Spectrum light comparable to daylight. Natural spectrum light cues the body and boosts energy while reducing sluggishness. This lovely light was a game changer for my whole body!

Another form of light therapy is using the Infrared sauna.

The light found in a far infrared sauna is far infrared light, a type of invisible light located below the optical color red in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Far infrared light is used to purify polluted air, keep newborn babies warm in hospitals, promote growth in plants and more.

The infrared saunas we have are equipped with Chromotherapy Lights. Chromotherapy is the science of using colors to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that result in health and harmony. Each color possesses frequencies of a specific vibration, and each vibration is related to different physical symptoms.

Our bodies need the sun’s light to live. Color therapy works on various energy points to help balance your body via the full spectrum of visible light, each color addressing a distinct need.

Enter in the many benefits far infrared light offers in sauna sessions:

  •  increased blood circulation
  • improved cardiovascular functioning
  • strengthened immunity
  • relief of headaches, muscle pain and joint stiffness
  • deep cellular detoxification
  • improved sleep quality
  • decreased stress levels in the body

Ready to stop reading all about the infrared sauna and come experience it for yourself?  Book your experience here: http://www.sunshinekates.com/infraredsauna/


Aromatherapy

Essential oils influence the limbic system, which is the area of the brain responsible for controlling our moods and the body’s circadian rhythm.

Using uplifting and energizing essential oils can be used as room diffusers, pillow sprays, body mist, bath soaks and body oils can boost the spirit and support the emotional body.

These oils can include (but not limited to):

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit

We’ve created a supportive ‘Beat the Winter Blues Kit’ to support you not only surviving but THRIVING during the winter months! Explore all of its magic here: http://www.sunshinekates.com/shop-sunshinekates/beat-the-winter-blues-kit

I would love to hear some of your favorite ways to beat the winter blues!

Chaga

katie strakosch

Chaga is a mushroom that resembles burnt charcoal in appearance - but tastes nothing like a mushroom.  In fact, it has the slightest hint of vanilla! Chaga grows on the side of birch trees in Siberia, Russia, Eastern Europe, and some parts of the United States and Canada. 

Chaga is considered to be a superfood and offers many health benefits to the body including:

  • Support the immune, nervous, and endocrine system. 
  • Stimulates the production of digestive bile in the liver.
  • Helps to regenerate cells and damaged tissue while promoting the growth of healthy cells.

Chaga is rich in nutrients such as copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, and iron.  It contains numerous B vitamins, flavonoids, phenols, minerals and enzymes.


Ingredients

 

  • 1-2 tsp chaga powder
  • 8 ounces water
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk (I love Native Forest BPA-Free Coconut Milk)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cloves (you can add more to taste)
  • star anise (they make everything look beautiful and an added boost of immune support)

 

Optional Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp local honey for sweetness

Preparation

  1. Add chaga to water and bring water to medium heat. The powder turns the water a dark brown color that looks similar to a cup of coffee. 
  2. Lower the water to a simmer. It is beneficial to steep the chaga for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk (or milk of choice) and continue to warm. 
  4. Stir in spices. 
  5. Adjust spices to taste.

Winter Essentials

katie strakosch

Happy 2017! Here we find ourselves in the depth of winter with the holidays behind us, and a few weeks to go before spring greets us with her beauty ☺

How do you nourish yourself during these cold months? 

I wanted to share a bit about my Winter Essentials Toolkit that keeps me moving and grooving. 

This is the time of the year that our bodies need an immune boost, our adrenals need a little extra loving, our digestive system craves a break after the holiday festivities and our bodies a deep winter’s rest at night.


My personal daily supplement regime includes:

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D helps to support immune function, fights depression, maintains bone health, helps support weight loss, protects heart health. Studies have now shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of numerous chronic disorders, including type II diabetes, cancer, infections, and cardiovascular, autoimmune, and neurological diseases.

My pick is Garden of Life Raw D3 which also contains raw probiotics and enzymes.


Essential Fatty Acids 

Essential Fatty Acids help to support cardiovascular health, hormonal regulation, support healthy skin and nails, regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses, essential for cholesterol metabolism and cellular health and brain health. 

When sourcing an essential fatty acid, look for a proprietary blend of omega 3-6-7-9. Many people tend to run high in omega-6’s through their dietary intake of saturated fats, but deficient in omega-3 & 9. 

My picks are Nordic Naturals Omega Woman and New Chapter Wholemega.


Adrenal Support 

Adrenal fatigue not only causes a deficiency in hormones, but also a deficiency in many of the vitamins, minerals and compounds that our bodies need to function. When the adrenals are compromised, we struggle low energy and lethargy.

I love and use both Vitanica Adrenal Assist and Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health Nightly Restore)

I love the Vitanica Adrenal Assist because it is a combination of B5, B6, Zinc, Magnesium, adaptogenic herbs: Eleutherococcus, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola, and Ashwagandha andImmune system support from Astragalus, Holy basil, and Schizandra. The Gaia Herbs Nightly Restore also helps to support a restful sleep.


Probiotics 

This bacteria lines your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. The benefits of probiotics have been shown effective in supporting immune function, supporting and healing digestion, as well as supporting brain/mood health and skin health.

I love Garden of Life Raw Probiotics for Women and Primal Defense.


Chlorella

Chlorella Is a single cell algae that works as a binder in the digestive system. It travels through the system encapsulating toxins before they are reabsorbed into the system. It is loaded with magnesium, B12 and vitamin D, so it nourishes the body as well as binds toxins. **Binders are very beneficial during detox protocols such as infrared sauna, ionic foot baths, colonics and lymphatic drainage sessions*

My favorite is BioPure Healing Products Chlorella.


Along with following my daily supplement regime, I work in 3-4 infrared sauna sessions per week, at least 3 detoxifying Epsom salt baths, daily movement including yoga and walking and weekly scalp treatments that consist of avocado oil, rosemary and lavender essential oils (stay tuned for all the details on this).

Maintaining and supporting whole body health in the winter is essential not only for the physical body, but also for mental and emotional health.

Stay posted for my next post on The Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Cheers to nourishing your body this winter!

Winter Solstice

katie strakosch

Winter officially arrives on December 21st at 5:44am EST

The Winter Solstice is the longest night. 
It is a time of reflection.
Introspection.
Rest. 

The Solstice belongs to nature. We belong to nature.
In Winter, nature slows down.  
Deep rest can conserve and restore energy.


Can we give ourselves permission to pause and learn the lessons nature has to
teach us? 

We honor the cycles and the seasons that remind us of the
ever-changing flow of life that we are part of.

 Trust in knowing that the Winter Solstice is the longest night BUT
once that night passes, the nights will shorten
& days will grow longer.  
The Winter Solstice is also known as the 'Rebirth of the Sun'.


How do you celebrate the Winter Solstice?

Here are some rituals to explore:

Light a candle.

Set an intention, prayer, affirmation for the season ahead.

Ring a bell.

Ring a bell in company of others and celebrate connection
with each other and nature.

Reflect on the year. 

This is a beautiful exercise to do on your own, or with loved ones.



Ask yourself what are you willing to release?


Step One

Write down aspects of your life which you are willing to release: worries, limiting beliefs, regrets, resentment. 


Step Two

Transform this release through burning the paper, rip it up, or give it back to the Earth to dissolve the old.

Then, spread your gratitude, intentions and blessings back to the Earth.

Gather and spread seeds outside. 

Enjoy this beautiful changing of the seasons and all the blessings to discover!

Two Brains, One Body

Vanessa Siravo

Did you know that your gut serves as your second brain?

Research has shown that the body is actually composed of more bacteria than cells. Wow! These trillions of bacteria are called the microbiome. Most of those bacteria reside in our gut, sometimes referred to as the gut microbiota, and they play multiple roles in our overall health.

Our gut microbiota play a vital role in our physical and psychological health through its own neural network: the enteric nervous system (ENS), a complex system of about 100 million nerves found in the lining of the gut. The ENS is sometimes called the “second brain,” and it actually arises from the same tissues as our central nervous system (CNS) during fetal development.

Your gut produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to have a positive influence on your mood, than your brain does. 90-95% of serotonin is released from the gut. Serotonin is the ‘happy, feel good’ hormone in our body.


How do you support both brains through food?

Boost your gut health, brain health, mood, immune function by incorporating fermented foods into your diet.

What are fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This fermentation process preserves the food. It also creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and strains of probiotics.

Where do I find fermented foods?

Fermented Foods include sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, natto as well as kefir and fermented coconut water

Fermented foods have been explored throughout many cultures due to their health benefits.  Some of these cultures include:

  • During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut because of its taste and health benefits.
  • In ancient India, it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner yogurt drink. This traditional practice is anchored on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.
  • Bulgarians are known for their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir, and for their high level of health.
  • Ukrainians consumed probiotics from a fermented food list that included raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.
  • Various Asian cultures ate pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and consume these fermented treats until today. - sourced from Dr. Mercola

Why are fermented foods so beneficial?

They boost the body’s supply of Probiotics.  Eating and drinking fermented foods and drinks can:

  • introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and
  • help the balance of happy bacteria in your digestive system
  • have been shown to improve and support bowel health
  • improves digestion
  • fights candida
  • improve immunity
  • support mood
  • eliminates allergies

Some of my favorite brands of fermented foods include:

  • Eden Organics
  • Bubbies
  • Hawthorne Valley Farms Sauerkraut and Kimchi
  • South River Miso Company
  • GT Kombucha
  • Kevita
  • Cheers to a healthy and happy gut!

How to Become Clear on Setting Intentions and Manifesting What You Truly Desire in Life

katie strakosch

intentions

As we flow from day to day, it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind. We wear many hats during the day, and we can lose sight of our deep desires and dreams as we stay focused on what is directly in front of us. 

Are you ready to discover the ways to create the life of your dreams? Now is the time! You deserve it! 

In order to start creating this new reality, it is important to become clear on what you want in life. How do you want to feel? What do you want to experience on a daily basis?

Begin by exploring a writing exercise with these questions. Let the answers flow with no judgement attached!

  • What do you dream of being, doing, and having more in your life?
  • Where do you feel stuck or burnt out lately?
  • Are you looking for new direction in your life? What is calling to you?
  • Do you long to start something new but aren’t sure what? 
  • What do you desire to experience with more satisfying relationships with others AND yourself.

Rose Cardamom Latte

katie strakosch

This combination is divine femininity in a mug. It's sensual and fragrant.

This drink is a great source of Vitamin C and antioxidants to support the immune system and maintain healthy skin. Rose petals support reducing inflammation in the body and promote cellular rejuvenation.

This tea invokes a sense of calm and sweet stillness with every sip.


Ingredients 

  • 8 oz coconut milk (you could also use almond, rice or regular)
  • 2 oz water
  • 1 tbsp rose tea 
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • optional sweetener such as local honey, to taste

Method

  1. Combine milk and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer, then add tea. Please note, if you are using tea in a bag, cut it open and add the leaves directly so that the liquid can really absorb the flavor.
  3. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5-7 minutes. Strain. Pour in a mug and enjoy!

Cheers!

Nourishing Your 4 Bodies

katie strakosch

The foundation of my business is built on and grown from supporting all levels of health including:

The physical body, mental body, emotional body and spiritual body…

When one (or more of these bodies) is out of sync and experiencing distress, it manifests and affects the other bodies.

An example of this connection that we all can relate to is with FOOD.

Food is deeply connected to the physical body, but has strong connections to our emotional body. We very often make food choices based on our moods.

Food is connected to our mental health, as certain foods are linked to enhancing brain health while others are linked to increasing depression and other inflammatory conditions.

Food is connected to the spiritual body as we have connections to rituals, traditions and celebrations throughout the year.

Recently, our country experienced an event that caused many emotions to spark…The days after the election were filled with raw emotions. We were in the thick of it with the non-stop media coverage.  It might have felt easy to get caught up, get swept away in it and lose our connection to ourselves.

A dear friend recently reminded me that change is inevitable. ‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’- Benjamin Franklin.

I have had conversations with clients and friends since last week about this topic, and some have commented on how ‘stuck’ they feel.

I want to share a very powerful breathing exercise that energizes the body, moves the stagnant energy out and increases circulation for renewed oxygen to travel through the body.Remember that BREATH carries oxygen, our life force and moves toxins out of the body!This breathing exercise is called the ‘Ha Breath.’ My mentor, Sierra Bender taught it to me and I have used in for over 5 years to transform and empower my whole body.

I recommend exploring this breathing exercise in the morning as you begin your day!

Onward and upward!

Time Change

katie strakosch

We’ve just turned back the clocks and continue on the journey towards the shortest day of the year next month…

How does your body adjust to this change?  

For many, this time of the year can be a challenge. We gain a bit of daylight in the morning, but then find the nights becoming longer and longer as well as the temperatures becoming colder and colder.. With this shift, our routines change a bit.

I’ve prepared a guide for you that will support your physical, mental and emotional health during this time of year.


How to Thrive while Adjusting to the Time Change

Secure a Solid Sleep Routine. 

Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. This will support your natural circadian rhythm.

Get as much natural light that you can during the day.  

Natural light boosts serotonin levels in the brain and can have a similar effect to antidepressants.  Start the day by spending a few moments outside in the early light.

Explore ‘Chromotherapy’.  

What’s this you may ask?  It’s a form of light therapy to adjust the body’s vibrations to frequencies that result in boosting health and harmony. Each color is related to different systems. Read more about chromotherapy on my blog here: http://www.sunshinekates.com/blog/chromotherapy-sauna-benefits-color-therapy-explained?rq=chromotherapy

Buy a light box..aka a ‘Happy Lamp’.  

I spent many years in Seattle,  and only wished I learned about them earlier during my time there. You can find them here: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_16?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=light+box+for+sad+therapy&sprefix=light+box+for+sa%2Caps%2C152&crid=PO765XMA98QQ&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alight+box+for+sad+therapy

Love up your digestive system.

Your gut is your second brain and 90-95% of serotonin is released from the gut. Support a healthy and happy gut biome with naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, miso, kefir and fermented coconut water. These foods help keep the good bugs happy. In the market for a quality probiotic?  I am a fan of Garden of Life Raw Probiotics and Jarrow Formulas. You can find some great options here: http://www.pharmaca.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Probiotic%2C.

Don’t overdo it with caffeine and stimulants like sugar.

The body needs time to adjust and acclimate to this change without being overstimulated. Adaptogen herbs like Holy Basil and Cordyceps mushrooms like Reishi and Maitake helps soothe and support the adrenals. Host Defense is a great choice. Here are some great picks: http://www.pharmaca.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=mushrooms

Create a sleep sanctuary.

This means no electronics in the bedroom. Use a good ol’ battery operated alarm clock. Set the mood for a peaceful and restorative environment with candles and low lighting. Clear out the clutter. Your mind is busy enough. This room should be dedicated to simplicity and invoke a sense of peace.

The Morning After….

katie strakosch

And so, it happened again. You swore to yourself that the last time would be the final time. You know how you feel afterwards. You feel empty, embarrassed, full of shame..and that hangover!

So here it is, the morning after. 

Your belly hurts. Your head is foggy.

Memories of last night still linger.

It all started a few weeks back. You gave yourself the pep talk when you started seeing the signs in stores. 

You told yourself to hold out. After October 31, it was out of sight and out of mind..

But, it sure was a decadent end.

Now here you are with that sugar hangover….

It’s not the end of the world. You might feel sick now, but trust that it needs to work its way of your body.

The emotional component might linger longer than the physical. 

You find yourself in that vicious cycle of negative self-talk. You feel ashamed that you gave in so easy to that bowl full of sweets.


So what now?

First things first, beauty.

You are going to stand up, roll your shoulders back and strut your way into your kitchen.

Once there, you are going to fix yourself a cup of warm water with a shot of apple cider vinegar and a slice of fresh lemon. You are going to serve it in the prettiest mug you can find. Love up that liver of yours as you sip your tea.

Then, you are going to fix yourself the most nourishing breakfast you can craft together. It’s going to be full of healthy fats like avocado and eggs (use the yolk, baby). It’s going to have dark leafy greens mixed into it. Then you are going to sit down and enjoy it.

Throughout the day, continue to sip warm water with lemon to support digestion. 

Need some extra support here? Add a teaspoon of fresh, minced ginger. You can also explore digestive enzymes that can ease distress. Here is of my favorite brands: http://www.pharmaca.com/renew-life-digestmore-ultra-45-vcaps.

Continue to nourish your body with protein-rich foods. Enjoy a hearty and colorful salad topped with your favorite type of wild fish or organic meat. Add a heaping spoonful of sauerkraut or kimchi to give your digestive tract more love. 

Finish the day with a blood sugar balancing and mineral rich soup. Here is a recipe for you. Here is a recipe for you.


Vibrant Body Tonic Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or other gluten free option such as amaranth or rice
  • 1 small leek, sliced into thin crescents
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup turnips, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free miso, or to taste
  • ¼ cup parsley or cilantro, finely minced

Preparation

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté leek, turnips, carrots, ginger root and garlic in olive oil until vegetables are tender.
  2. Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Add mushrooms.
  3. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for another 20 minutes.
  4. Remove a cup of soup broth and dilute miso into it.
  5. Then, add to soup.
  6. Turn off heat and add parsley to soup.
  7. Cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  
  8. Add quinoa or other grain to soup bowl and top with soup.

Need some ideas for teas?

My favorites include Traditional Medicinals Turmeric Ginger, Belly Comfort or Ginger Aid

Remember, it’s a new day.. Forgive and nourish yourself deeply today.