Tag Archives: bikram yoga

USHER arrives… pockets of thoughts.

Life in the fast lanes…


Sun In Bloom has undergone magical transformation.  If you have not experienced Sun In Bloom since our renovations, I encourage you to stop by to experience the delicious inspiring and creative space we’ve unveiled.  It’s everything I dreamed it would be.  With patience and hours of hard work and determination, I now walk into Sun In Bloom feeling that I’ve arrived home. It is a reflection of me and everything I always wanted you to experience.

We are all very proud of our work at Sun In Bloom and the gifts in return have been so fun.  Most recently, USHER walked into the restaurant to sit down for our weekend brunch. Yes! Usher. Humble and quiet at first, he soon felt at home, released his guard and expressed how much he was loving his experience.  His favorite food was clearly the Strawberry fudge cake.  Hands down my favorite dessert too!

And last weekend I attended the Vegetarian Food Festival at the Met Life Center to introduce Sun In Bloom to 3000 expected attendees over the course of two days.  We prepped all week leading up to this event and arrived with 3000+ gluten-free vegan cookie samples.  I had so much fun watching the delighted responses to our samples, especially children trying these delicious healthier cookie option and parents beside themselves with the bright-eyed happy responses they witnessed.  It was simply an energizing weekend.  We also raffled off a $50 gift certificate and after drawing a business card from over 200 that entered…the WINNER IS…..Jaclyn Barth.

We are so blessed to be here with this opportunity to be part of the change we hope to see in the world.  And it is all because of your support.  Always grateful.  Always thankful to all of you!

And here’s my most recent personal journal entry…

Can you imagine what a daily log would look like if you recorded every thought that passed through your conscious, but you chose not to speak or share because of an insecurity or doubt?

10 years ago I was diagnosed with systemic candida.  It explained my history of chronic fatigue, constant stomach aches, severe bloating, constipation, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and a serious sugar addiction.  And even after being diagnosed with something so damaging to every system in my body, I continued to maintain all of my unhealthy habits that supported the growth of yeast.  I just couldn’t find the strength to face everything this “dis-ease” was supporting me to hide from and somehow found comfort living in a heavy fog.

Eventually I did hit rock bottom.  And it was this fall that pushed me forward in my journey. 

Although my awareness for the importance of what foods I was choosing to nourish myself with became increasingly present in my thoughts, it was discovering Bikram yoga that nourished me with the strength I needed to begin deconstructing the walls I had surrounded myself with.
I sweated out years of abuse and faced my fears in the studio mirror every day.  The transformation was significant.  My light turned ON and it was so bright.  Just like a baby bird chipping away at it’s egg shell, every day I was chipping away at mine until eventually I stepped out from the dark into the light.  This moment I will never forget.
 
But as soon as I stepped out of my shell, my desire to shed layers I was clearly still withholding grew deeper.  Also, Candida continued to show up present in my blood stream.  This is when I turned to my choice to live a raw food lifestyle.  As soon as made this commitment, I began to cleanse at an even deeper level – on both physical and spiritual planes.  And the combination of practicing yoga daily and consuming beautiful organic live foods opened the curtain to a life of truly being ALIVE. Life became an exquisite show.
My experiences were extraordinary and I never imagined the possibility of falling down again.  But the reality of my story is that I have… I’ve fallen hard again.  And although my sabotaging habits are leaps and bounds “healthier” than those I was choosing 5-10 years ago, I’ve continued to live with a secret.
I am addicted to sugar. 

Definition of addiction: Physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.

Since opening Sun In Bloom (2+ years), I have become 100% physically and mentally dependent on sugar (agave, dates, fruit, grains, rice, cookies, cupcakes, muffins) to support me in powering through my days and the loneliness I experience in holding up all of the responsibility of owning a restaurant.  
And although I drink green juice religiously and now very consistent with creating space for my yoga practice and gym routine, my secret is that I find every way to sneak sugar into my blood stream because my reality is that as soon as I inject, I can go another mile.

And in my quest for living the most full life possible being in alignment with my higher self, I am more aware than ever of the pocket of thoughts I hold onto.  They are my secrets.  Thoughts that enter into my consciousness and I hide them away because for whatever reason I do not have the courage to share them. I might feel self-conscious or that I need to protect someone from hurting their feelings.  The reasons for justifying why not to share are endless, but all stem from fear and insecurity.

So, here I am… making a commitment to a sugar-free lifestyle for the next 90 days.  No fruit or grains, dates or sweet treats of any kind and very low glycemic vegetables. Serendipitously I started started just 90 days before my next birthday.  Living my life again fully is the perfect prize to keep me motivated on this journey.  And if I can succeed, this will be the first time in 10 years since my diagnoses of candida that I’ll truly accomplish doing the anti-candida diet and on the path towards living an candida free lifestyle.  I just know the light is going to be brighter than anything I’ve ever experienced!

 

 

Brunch #40 @ Sun In Bloom – A Delicious Fall Brunch Menu, Courage, Growth & a Powerful Shift.

While in savasana in my Bikram yoga class today, I was crafting a letter to my teacher, who I hold as one of my most influential teachers.  Every time I am in her class, I reflect on the space of encouragement, truth, and unconditional love she holds for her students that ignited my flame back in 2005.  6 months later I quit my job, gave up my NYC apartment, unloaded all of my belongings, and packed 2 duffle bags for my journey to LA where I would learn from Bikram Choudhary.  It was the first journey in my life I’d embark on without a plan.  I only knew I’d be living and breathing yoga for 9 weeks.  It was a journey of letting go, releasing my story of trauma, choosing sobriety, all in hopes that I could learn how to love myself. 

Almost 7 years later (today), I walk out of my loving teacher’s class and she thanks me with deep gratitude for being a seed of courage for her – for my understanding of what this means, how the courage takes root, feels, and manifests deep within the fibers of our being. 

I giggled and shared with her that throughout the class I was reflecting on how she feeds me courage.  And here’s just another event in my life that reminds me how we are all one.  When we are open to each other, we are each other’s teachers.  We are mirrors for one another.  If we are willing to release our fear to stand in our own truth, I believe love becomes abundant, accessible, and spills into every facet of our life.  With this vulnerability, we begin to love ourselves.

My goal was to go 60 days on just juice.  After 31 days I stopped counting.  I think I juiced for 35 – 40 days.  During the juice feast, I experienced profound shifts.  I’ve maintained almost a daily Bikram yoga practice.  I’ve been making it to the gym 3-5 times a week.  I’m nourishing my body from the inside out.  I’ve been in constant action.  My body is opening up.  Everyday in yoga, I’m in awe of my increased flexibility.  I recognize my reflection in the mirror.  The bags under my eyes are disappearing.  I feel reconnected to my faith.  I feel more trusting to the process.  There has been a letting go of fear.  I’m more at ease.  Everyday challenges no longer throw me off.  I feel deeply connected to my gratitude.  Where I’d normally turn my back and run, I’ve stood in my discomfort and created an opportunity to grow.  I know I have a lot of love to share and I’m not holding back.  I also allow myself to feel my pain and move through it until I come back to that special sweet spot of unconditional love… for myself and others.

My intention for just drinking juice was to create space for me to come back to feeling aligned and confident with my purpose.  I did not want it to become a count down to the day I could chew solid food again and treat myself to something sweet.  It was about creating positive patterns; re-training myself to nourish my body, mind, and spirit and drinking the magic juice.

So, when I started to experience some weakness in my yoga practice and with my workouts somewhere around day 35-40, I decided to transition slowly back into consuming food with fiber – first with just juice and shakes.  Today, I’m drinking 1-2 quarts of green juice everyday with a midday meal.  My body craves our Sweet Lady Green and I now treat myself like a Sun In Bloom guest and put my order in for a week supply of juice every Monday.  I know this juice is a key to me living my best life possible.

And just after I made this contract with myself to drink at least 2 organic cold-pressed Norwalk green juices everyday, I received an email from my special teacher requesting to purchase a month of Sun In Bloom’s green juices to support her in drinking 2 a day.  Yes, we are all connected. 

We look forward to seeing you this weekend for brunch or whenever the time is right for you to return to Sun In Bloom.  We are always here for you.  And, now open 7 days a week!

Wishing you abundant joy, pleasure, and love in your life.

Love,

Aimee

Day 31 – HOT Raw and Juicy Adventure… Did I say Sabotage? No, I meant to say…Opportunity!

As soon as I started to feel myself taking off for flight, life presented challenges.  Seriously, it was like I lifted off the runway only to then realize my gas tank was half full.  So, I had to touch down, put my wheels back on the runway, and turn around.

Due to the nature of how I started Sun In Bloom, with my piggy bank filled with pennies I had saved from teaching yoga classes over several years, if a Sun In Bloom team member calls in sick, it translates to me working a very long day.  Or, this is the story I’ve written based on my fear of the penny jar becoming empty.  So, last week, as I was entering my bliss in my 4th week of juice feasting, and was taking flight, a team member called in sick each day.  Which means, I am on my feet, without break, for 14 hours.

Looking back on all the chapters of my life, I believe it was working in the Emergency Room (ER) that led me on my meandering path seeking wellness. My body never adapted to the 12-hour graveyard shifts I worked 4-5 times a week.   And to cope I developed an addiction to sugar and caffeine.  You would never believe the quantities I ingested and how I’d find ways to inhale these chemicals.   I basically hooked myself up to an IV pumping caffeine and sugar directly into my blood stream.  Looking back, I can’t believe this was my life.

It was not long after I developed these habits that I started to feel very sick, tired, and depressed.  I constantly battled fatigue.  I was always constipated, bloated, and suffering from severe inflammation.  I stopped menstruating.  My body hurt and I was literally living in a fog.

My idealized dream of what it meant to be a doctor in our country was quickly tarnished when I sought help and was pushed around the medical system from doctor to doctor with no positive outcome.   As a result, I adapted to getting by in my life being “sick”.

Frustrated and disenchanted with my experience seeking help within our health-care system, I left behind all of my studies and hard work to go to medical school and decided to pursue my photography and passion for music.  And with the flip of a page, I changed the course of my destiny.  But, I was also living with a secret.  And my secret was that underneath my mask of charisma, success, and fun, I continued to struggle with my reality of feeling sick and tired every day.

I honestly forgot what being alive felt like and alcohol and drugs became the perfect prescription to numb me from the pain and support me to live the double life of being the charismatic, successful young woman I was, as well as the deeply depressed and lost girl I had become.  And with a little practice, working hard and playing hard quickly became my routine.

A couple years later, I had a life-changing experience with Michael Franti, an incredibly talented musician and human being who chooses to live a self-aware and conscious lifestyle.  A yoga session in his green room before a Red Rocks show changed my life.  The next day I started a daily Bikram Yoga practice. And within two weeks, I resigned from my dream job, called my Mom to ask for help, and one month later I packed up my sweet condo I had bought and renovated (thinking I’d spend my life in Colorado) and moved home to NY.  I just knew I had to make some big changes, but I had no idea where they would lead me.

My yoga practice sent me down this path in which I developed a deep sense of self-awareness and I believe it has been this self-awareness that ultimately changed the fabric of who I was choosing to be in my life.  My yoga practice saved my life.  For the first time since I had hit rock bottom working in the ER 5 years earlier, I tasted the experience of feeling alive.  And I wanted this to be my experience everyday!

After so many years of feeling sick and tired, I had honestly forgotten how it feels to be alive and what life can be when you are energized, clear and happy.  And then I discovered living foods.  This is when I exceeded all my expectations for what healthy living might feel like.  I opened up spiritually and tapped into an energy resource that was unbounded by the walls of fatigue and depression.  And as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I have no doubt, it was this space of pure potential that opened up the opportunity for me to manifest Sun In Bloom.

But, as soon as I approached this place of personal expansion with Sun In Bloom, I was working extreme hours unlike anything I had ever experienced and felt that everything came crashing down as I relapsed to my state of dis-ease that struck me when working in the ER.

I quickly dug a very deep hole called self-sabotage.

So, as soon as I found myself working 14 hours everyday this past week, an intense fear surfaced.  Is this what my life is going to look like again?  Why does this happen every time I’m just about to lift off this runway?  Is there any hope for me?  Or do I just have to accept I am stuck – this is my life now.  This is what it’s like when you are the head chef and owner of a restaurant.

We were short-handed with staff and I was unprepared for my juice feast.  I had run out of important supplements, did not have time to prepare as much juice as I needed, and did not believe I could fit in yoga or exercise into my 14 hour work day.

However, rather than completely folding in on my fear, something miraculous did happen – I stayed in action.  I posted an ad, interviewed several cooks, invited one to train, and trained my entire team to support me in areas of the business that depended completely on me.  But, I found myself in the situation where I needed to taste recipes.  And because I tasted recipes, I believed I had sabotaged my juice feast.

Yet, with perfect timing, a powerful conversation about self-sabotage with my dear friend showed me that this was simply a beautiful opportunity.

It was an opportunity to be gentle, kind, and loving towards myself.  It presented this perfect opportunity to let go of judgement or expectation for this journey to unfold with perfection.  It provided me with this opportunity to practice creating a new pattern in which I remove the actions of self-sabotage.

As soon as my chef returned Saturday, I jumped back into my yoga routine, prepped my juices and followed my body’s desire to continue juicing.  So, here I am, Day 31!

And I truly continue to feel more alive each day.  I feel closer to my essence.  And my story here is just like a child who falls.  She scrapes her knee, but with a quick wash, she is running through the field again, following her bliss.

Day 22: HOT Raw & Juicy Adventure – Juicing through my Inner Mean Girl

This past week, I wanted to give up.  My “inner mean girl” (a term I’m borrowing from Christine Arylo) took control of every thought I was having.  She critiqued and judged every part of me, every decision I’ve made, and propagated all negative stories I’ve created in relation to myself.   It felt grueling!  And I nearly succumbed to the hold she had over me. 

Self Critic by Corinne Geertsen, "the daughter of a psychologist who discussed his work at the dinner table."

Do you experience anxiety, fear, or find yourself obsessively focusing on an old story? The next thing you know, this story is repeating itself like the echo of a broken record, taking control of your entire life.  For a long time, I thought I was alone in this experience.  Today I think it is universal. 

 It’s been my experience that the change of seasons draws old stories to the surface. Maybe it’s associations I make with temperature, similarly to how different tastes trigger emotional reactions.  Yet, as I move more deeply into my being with the support of this juice feast (today being day 22), a space is opening up that is allowing me the opportunity to develop greater awareness for the vibration my consciousness is operating on. 

And something marvelous is happening.  I’m experiencing the space in which I can witness my experiences, just like you watch clouds moving across the sky.  There’s no emotional response to watching a cloud glide across the sky.  And our experiences are only here for us to experience a lesson, not for us to attach oursleves to them and press reply (again and again).  So, as soon as I witnessed my inner mean girl’s dialogue distort my experience of being love, going to my Bikram yoga class was a non-negotiable.  

Savasana - Surrendering to stillness & Relaxation.

 As soon as I chose going to class over rehashing all the debilitating old stories and reconnected to my breath, I felt a powerful shift.  A sweet delicious balance came over me and the river of life started to flow through me again.  My heart opened and I once again felt infinite potential.   

I’m falling in love with life again.  Day 22 of my juice feast, and what I find most profound with this experience is how my mind continues to feel more strong, flexible, present.  Being the chef / owner of a restaurant is the most challenging project I’ve embarked on, but I think for me the true challenge that I’m feeling is being on the road to higher consciousness.  Sometimes it just feels lonely.   

It’s easy to live in our stories and play same record again and again.  But, for me that is not my happiness.  And, I want to implement a life practice for choosing to play with thoughts that support me in creating the life I want to live.  

We truly can fly free.  For myself, I know I need to continue on my juice feast and prioritize my yoga practice.  For now, these are the tools supporting me to witness my experiences, rather than hang on to imprisoned memories and stories that hold me back from ascending into my truth and the essence of who I really am.    

And I believe that as I gain control of my mind and learn to change the channel more immediately from “inner mean girl” to being love, life is going to get fun!  Our true essence is playful, happy, sunshine… yes, like a child!  I’m ready to embrace her fully. 

Ben... a very special Sun In Bloom guest!

 I hope you are enjoying the delicious shift of seasons.  Stay tuned to Sun In Bloom news… I’m in action and working to solidify some exciting developments!  If you are on Facebook, like us or follow us on Twitter.  I like to play on these platforms.  They allow me to stay present and share fun news, tips, and reflections. 

 Love, Aimee

 P.s. My beautiful friend, Liz Neves, the founder of Raganella, is hosting a workshop at Sun In Bloom -  Make-It-Yourself Cleaning Solutions workshop on Thursday, September 22nd from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Sun In Bloom.  If you are available, come play with us!  Everyone will take home 3 beautiful products.