4 Ways to Get More From Your Yoga Sessions

In today’s hectic world, the ancient practice of yoga has become increasingly popular as a way to rejuvenate and recharge. The benefits of regular yoga sessions are numerous, affecting everything from muscle strength and balance to mental health and stress management.

Harvard Health notes that while there are many benefits to yoga, it is also important to take certain steps to make the most out of your practice. Here are four ways to get more out of your yoga sessions. 

Fuel properly

One rule of thumb is to refrain from eating at least two hours before your session, since having food in your stomach can make different yoga poses feel very uncomfortable. Conversely, it’s also a bad idea to begin your session on an empty stomach, as this will make you feel distracted and fatigued.

For best results, Prevention Magazine recommends avoiding food that have a high concentration of slow-moving fats and proteins. They include nuts, cheese, and fried food. Opt instead for small, easily digestible snacks like bananas, and be more mindful about what you’re eating and how. As we discussed previously here on the Sagrada Wellness blog, it is good practice to honor your meal times and eat simply.

In addition, make sure to hydrate before your session, especially if you practice Bikram or hot yoga. Drinking water or tea can make you feel refreshed and attentive in your classes. In combination with good food, it helps you begin your yoga practice with awareness and focus.

Avoid distractions

The key to making the most out of your yoga session is mindfulness, and you can’t do that if you’re distracted about other things, such as wondering if you have new messages at work or constantly checking if your shirt is riding too high.

It is recommended to wear comfortable clothes and avoid having your watch or phone within sight during your practice. Respect the time devoted to your session and let go of thoughts that drag you away from your practice so you could truly be present in the moment.

Be consistent

As with many other fitness regimes, consistency is more important than the intensity of your yoga session. Setting simple intentions like quieting your mind or listening to your body – instead of jumping into goals like completing a headstand – is a good way to reap more of the benefits provided by yoga. In fact, the New York Times reports that just 10-15 minutes of daily yoga is better than going to an hour-long class once a week.

Regular practice also boosts the good effects of yoga, especially to the heart. Lower resting heart rate, described by Health IQ as a sign of excellent health and fitness, is just one of the many ways that consistent, not intense, yoga sessions improve your health. Moreover, consistency makes your muscles and bones adapt faster, and you’ll eventually notice that you can do poses with relatively less difficulty.

Think like a beginner

Last but not least, it’s important to approach each class or session with the humility and inquisitiveness of a beginner. Not everyone will look as perfect as yogi Instagrammers when doing their poses, and some poses might take weeks for people to master. 

It’s best to focus on yourself and be patient with your body. Recognize your capabilities and be keen on the movements you make. However, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself from time to time! The end result may surprise you.

Do you have any other tips for getting more out of your yoga session? Share it with everyone in the comments section below!

10 Inspirational Quotes To Contemplate Inner Peace & Wellness


2017 is beginning to wind down and people throughout the world are starting to contemplate the year that has just passed. The holidays is that special time of the year (even if you are not religious) where life slows down for a moment and we get time for ourselves and our loved ones. With all of the things on our to-do list, it can be quite challenging to check in and see if we are getting what we want from life.

These days with social media and direct access to the Internet on our mobile device, life seems to be speeding up and there is no sign of it slowing down. While there are many benefits from having direct access to so much information, many wonder if we have lost touch with important aspects of simple living.

The truth is, cultivating our health and wellness takes time. It takes the willingness to slow down and become mindful of our choices and actions. It requires our ability to breathe and move at a pace that is natural to our own selves. Yet in this day and age we can easily lose sight of this natural rhythm when we attempt to take on more than we can handle or keep up with what we think we are supposed to be doing.

As life continues to speed up, now more than ever it is paramount that you truly be in touch with what is important to you and what makes you whole and happy. Don't focus on what other people are doing, stay true to yourself and find your pace of life that brings you joy so that you can live in harmony with your environment.

So as you begin to wind down the year that has just passed and begin to look towards the future, we wanted to provide you ten inspirational quotes and words that might spark your imagination in a way that reminds you of what is most important in life: inner peace and wellness.

1. Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within. ― Eckhart Tolle

2. Listen to the inner light; it will guide you. Listen to inner peace; it will feed you. Listen to inner love; it will transform you, it will divinize you, it will immortalize you. - Sri Chinmoy

3. Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open. – B.K.S. Iyengar


4. Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. ― Mahatma Gandhi

5. Be patient with yourself as your evolve. Small, healthy choices make a big difference in the long run! – Smidts in St Louis

6. I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more. ― Henry Fielding

7. You are one thing only. You are a Divine Being. An all-powerful Creator. You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was. ― Anthon St. Maarten

8. Don’t live your life with anger and hate in your heart. You’ll only be hurting yourself more than the people you hate. - Unknown

9. Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. - Saint Francis de Sales

10. I find it sad that too many do not understand themselves, or their potential. They don’t even take the time to get to know their unconsciousness. You can truly learn so much, by simply getting to know the “you” that is behind the reality of yourself. ― Lionel Suggs

Recent Review

Summary: As a first-timer at a yoga retreat, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect experience. Sagrada Wellness has set the bar so very high! Culture/Feel: Eva, owner, greeted us so warmly and made us feel at home immediately. The location, grounds, common areas, our private double room, yoga room...everything had a warmth and cleanliness that was so serene and grounding. I felt safe, calm and happy at Sagrada. Food: I'm going to be real here: I am not a vegetarian and worried that I might feel hungry and not like the food. I walked away from the experience with such a respect for the food that Sagrada fed us....Lourdes is a fantastic chef. It's changed my perspective on plant-based diets and I've incorporated things I learned. Yoga: Leslie St. John, our yoga instructor and retreat facilitator was the perfect blend of being inspiring, organized, mindful, vulnerable, strong and fun. I felt comfortable sharing very personal things in the safe space she created for us. I learned so much from Leslie...not just about yoga, but about going deeper in asking myself emotional and difficult life questions. She was so supportive and encouraging - yet also pushed me to places I didn't think I could go with my yoga practice! I've also incorporated so many things she taught me. Accomodations: We chose a private double room with a shared bathroom and felt so spoiled. The bed, bed linens, bathroom linens, view from our room and overall stay was so comfortable and calming. Schedule: Eva and Leslie worked together on a great schedule for us and each weekend is a little different depending on the amount of participants. One morning, Eva taught us a Qi Gong: Beautification Techniques session that I found so enjoyable and fun. There was also a morning nature walk and other ceremonial rituals throughout the weekend that I found so uplifting. I am definitely a fan of yoga retreats now!!

Happy Holidays from Sagrada Wellness

As if riding a zip line through the terrain of life, this year has soared by, yet has tethered us to countless treasured moments along the way. As stewards of this sacred land we live on, we continue to offer it's healing energy to our guests from all over the world. We see how the digital detox and peace and quiet is needed now more than ever before. Recently, we travelled to Iceland and caught it's magic! So much so that we created a new branch of Sagrada! We will be basking in thermal waters, hiking glaciers, yoga flowing, and reveling in the nordic energy of the aurora borealis with guests! We look forward to sharing moments with you in the new year and wish you peace and happiness this holiday season. 

Love Eva, Scott, Anais and Angeles 

Sagrada Wellness Yoga Retreat California 

Sagrada Wellness Yoga Retreat California 

Sagrada included in list of America's Best-Priced Yoga Retreats

We are reaching out to let you know that Sagrada Wellness was recently featured in a piece titled “Flexible Spending: 7 Of America’s Best-Priced Yoga Retreats" on Zappos.com. 

California: Sagrada Wellness Modern farmhouse retreat

Sagrada is Spanish for “holy,” and you’ll certainly feel spiritually inspired at Sagrada Wellness in San Luis Obispo. This retreat center on California’s central coast is host to several programs under $1,000. Organic, vegetarian and gluten-free meals are farm-to-table from the on-site garden and the local markets. Retreat goers can enjoy the miles of nature hikes surrounding the property, or relax on the deck with a serene view. With offerings such as Yoga & Wine, Yoga & Hiking, or Yoga, Peace & Quiet, you’ll find a retreat to match any vibe you seek."

Flexible Spending: 7 Of America's Best-Priced Yoga Retreats

Sara-Mai Conway

Ever feel like you needed a vacation from your vacation?

You return home and are just as exhausted from touring, walking, sight-seeing and eating as you were before you left? Not so on a yoga retreat! 

Not only is a yoga retreat a wonderful way to unwind from your daily grind, but it can also be an excellent way to deepen your existing practice or to begin anew if your current practice is non-existing, or inconsistent. A good yoga retreat will leave you refreshed, relaxed and energized, and will give you tools and motivation you can take home to extend that yoga-bliss feeling year-round. 

Unlike a studio practice, a retreat allows time for multiple classes per day; an exploration of different styles such as power, restorative and meditation; and an intimate, small-group setting where your teachers can dial in a practice that works best for you. 

Retreats might be themed, or may combine yoga with other fun activities such as surfing, hiking, skiing and even massages and spa treatments. Sounds expensive, right? Not so! 

Here are seven yoga retreats in the continental United States that will leave you feeling refreshed in body, mind and soul, without leaving you feeling depleted at the bank. 

1. Florida: Private island retreat

Rate: starting at $825

Did someone say “Private Island?” Yes, please! This all-inclusive retreat on Coupon Key with Key West Yoga Retreats offers three nights and four days in a private 4,500 square foot home. Did we mention you’re on a private island? Not only that, the retreat includes organic chef-prepared meals three times daily. Your twice-daily yoga sessions include stand-up paddleboard yoga classes. When the lesson is over, continue to explore the island via your SUP board, go snorkeling or relax on the deck of the private home and enjoy your ocean view. 

2. Washington: Vashon Island getaway

Rate: starting at $695

The Nourish Yoga Retreat on Vashon Island is just a short ferry ride from Seattle, but you’ll feel like you’re worlds away from city life. Participants will dive into radical simplicity in this fit-to-be-Instagrammed home and enjoy a variety of energizing and restorative yoga classes, as well as creative journaling and mala-making workshops. Every room offers a full bathtub and fireplace so you can enjoy complete coziness and relaxation during your stay. Evening marshmallow roasting included. 

3. Massachusetts: A weekend with Seane Corn

Rate: starting at $650

The Kripalu Center in the Berkshires is known for very good yoga. This beautiful lakeside retreat is surrounded by 100 acres of woodlands, hills and valleys. Options for advanced practitioners and teachers include continuing education credits and deep dives into yoga and philosophy. Programs such as Seane Corn’s Yoga of Awakening are suitable for all levels. This retreat is based on Ms. Corn’s best-selling DVD and will challenge participants to activate positive change in their lives through movement, breath work and inner exploration. 

4. California: Modern farmhouse retreat

Rate: starting at $695

Sagrada is Spanish for “holy,” and you’ll certainly feel spiritually inspired at Sagrada Wellness in San Luis Obispo. This retreat center on California’s central coast is host to several programs under $1,000. Organic, vegetarian and gluten-free meals are farm-to-table from the on-site garden and the local markets. Retreat goers can enjoy the miles of nature hikes surrounding the property, or relax on the deck with a serene view. With offerings such as Yoga & Wine, Yoga & Hiking, or Yoga, Peace & Quiet, you’ll find a retreat to match any vibe you seek. 

5. Maine: Historic New England charm on the coast

Rate: starting at $1,125

A single family has owned The Sewall House for five generations. This Island Falls retreat center complements yoga with kayaking, hiking, meditation or poetry and writing workshops. All-inclusive custom retreat packages for groups of two or more start at just $1,125 for five nights. Attend in the winter and include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. After enjoying the snow, warm up in the sauna and private Jacuzzi. 

6. Oregon: Women’s glamping retreat

Rate: starting at $500

Ambuja Yoga hosts this retreat in the Pacific Northwest forest at the Tipi Village retreat center. Guests stay in glamorous tipis outfitted with cozy beds, warm blankets, down comforters and of course, electricity! This is not your average camping-in-the-woods nature retreat. And yes, there are adorable cottages on site if glamping is not your thing. Yoga takes place creek-side in the great outdoors, and gourmet meals are served outdoors as well. After all that fresh air, you’ll be reconnected with your true nature in no time. 

7. Colorado: Ski and yoga in Breckenridge

Rate: starting at $1,800

This weeklong ski and yoga retreat with Laura Loewy of Backcountry Yoga includes a four-day ski pass to Vail Resort, which makes it a great deal! Enjoy yoga daily, and tour around the historic town of Breckenridge from your home at the heart of it all. One massage is included in your package, and if you’re taking full advantage of this retreat, we guarantee you’ll need it. Chef-prepared dinners and an optional backcountry ski day make this luxury adventure a steal. 

With a yoga retreat in your future, there are plenty of additional ways to save! 

Most retreats offer early booking incentives or payment plans that can be stretched over time. Booking flights early or making other travel arrangements in advance can also save you money. Double-occupancy rooms, rooms with shared bathrooms or tent accommodations are always less expensive. If you’re attending with a friend, ask the retreat provider if they offer a discount when two people book together. 

Consider getting away for a long weekend if a full-week is out of your price range, or seek a retreat closer to your own backyard to save on transportation costs. Last but not least, compare apples to apples! Do your research on what’s included and what’s not. Compare flights, airport transfers, additional activities, spa services, meal plans and other add-ons. 

It just may be that an all-inclusive with a bigger price tag turns out to be a good deal, and that bare-bones program where everything is a la carte just isn’t. 

Once you’ve chosen the retreat that’s right for you, forget about the cost and allow yourself to enjoy your vacation fully. After all, time spent on making gains in your yoga practice, quieting your mind and nourishing your soul is priceless.

Sara-Mai Conway is a yoga and meditation instructor who splits her time between Austin, Texas and Baja Sur, Mexico. She is a travel planner and retreat leader with Baja Surf Yoga. You can follow her adventures on Instagram at @saramaic.


Sagrada Wellness featured in the LA Times

Six wellness vacations to take this summer: Get home fitter than before you left

If you like writing, yoga and meditation ...

Where: Santa Margarita, eight miles north of San Luis Obispo

When: June 23-25 (three days, two nights)

What to expect: The Sagrada Wellness Weekend includes morning yoga, pranayama breathing and meditation sessions followed by guided writing exercises led by Leslie St. John, yogi, published poet and creator of the yoga-poetry fusion site Prose and Poses. Free time for hiking, writing and hot-tubbing.

What you’ll eat: Gourmet meals

Amenities: Sagrada’s modern-rustic farmhouse in bucolic Santa Lucia Mountains of the Central Coast countryside

Price: $595 (communal room), $795-$995 (private)

More: (805) 550-7636, SagradaWellness.com

Sagrada's Gluten-free Banana Bread

Baking during the winter time is a great way to spend quality time with family, and the end result is a foodie’s bliss. Chocolate chip gluten free banana bread has been a Sagrada signature dessert for years now and we’re excited to share its goodness with you after numerous requests! So put your apron on and spend the afternoon in the kitchen enjoying some meditative mixing time and calming aromatherapy as the oven completes its magic.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients together:

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup almond meal

1/4 organic sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of sea salt

In another bowl combine wet ingredients:

3 1/2 browning over ripe organic bananas-mash them with a fork.

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg

Fold wet ingredients with dry ingredients and mix well.


1/2 cup organic chocolate chips

1/2 cup organic chopped walnuts (optional)

Scoop batter into an oiled bread pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Remove from oven and flip bread onto a drying rack to cool.


+For extra fun top it with homemade whipped cream!

Cheers to 2016!

As the last day of 2015 has arrived, we hope you are able to pause for a moment, breath deeply, and reflect on your year. Take a minute of meditation to conjure up some memories of joy and laughter shared with loved ones. Feel the thrill of life adventures and highs you lived. And ponder for a moment the challenges that might of been part of your year too. Realize you have stitched one more square into the fabric of your life. Revel in it. And as we flow into 2016, let’s welcome personal expansion, growth, depth of heart, health, meaningful work, and rejuvenation. Happy New Year from the Sagrada Family! We hope to see you on our ranch in 2016 to help us celebrate our Sagrada Wellness 10 Year Anniversary, which we will be celebrating all year long!


Eva, Scott, Anais, and Angeles

The Kissing Trees at Sagrada

Kissing Trees

On a soft hilltop at the entrance of Sagrada there is a forest of young oaks. My 4 year of son Angeles has personified a couple of them and named them The Kissing Trees. We acknowledge them every time we pass. They began to stand out to me too. The natural wonder of these trees reminded me of the importance of the kiss.


At Sagrada Wellness we are all about slowing down and connecting passionately to our lives. And a kiss can do that too. The health benefits of kissing are incredible. A loving kiss can lower your cortisol- stress hormone levels. A passionate kiss can benefit our hearts by increasing our adrenaline. Kissing everyday promotes higher oxytocin production, which is our love and peace hormone, and may even increase longevity. It's worth a try. So for your health, practice kissing more everyday! Thanks Kissing Trees.


Comfort In A Cup At Home

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves- slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future." Thich Nat Hahn

As an herbalist, I like to consume health promoting teas everyday, especially during these colder months. It's a ritual during our retreats too to brew up a large pot of something herbal, tasty and healing. Drinking a cup of tea is a great way to enjoy a mindful, meditative moment with yourself and others. I've been teaching a children's qi gong class in which I bring a pot of tea and honey for my kids as wego around the circle sharing our gratitudes.
Here are two of Sagrada's wellness teas, easy to make at home. Enjoy.

Ginger Honey Tea

Simmer 2 cups of water with one inch chunk of thinly sliced ginger for 10 minutes. Remove ginger pieces and add raw honey to taste. This is good for upset stomach, Morning sickness, cold, flu, cough or hangover.

Full of Life Licorice Tea

This is a favorite tea here at Sagrada.
Simmer 6 cups water with 2 tsp licorice root, 2 tps cinnamon chips, 2 tsp dried or fresh ginger for 15 minutes. This tea is good for anyone experiencing emotional stress, anxiety, low grade depression, and restlessness.

Sagrada Saltwater Pool

Sagrada Saltwater Pool and Outdoor Pavilion 

We are so excited to announce we have received our permit to begin construction on Sagrada's pool. We are building a saline pool with a large outdoor yoga deck with vineyard and mountain views. We have many warm months at Sagrada, ideal for poolside yoga, and soaking in healing salt water. We will keep you posted on the progress! Namaste.

Upcoming Yoga and Pilates Retreat in California

Yoga & Pilates Retreat at Sagrada Nov 6 - 9

Rejuvenate, and energize your body on Sagrada’s signature yoga and Pilates retreat. Nicole Currie has 10 years experience leading retreats at Sagrada with a rich background in dance, yoga, and Pilates. Guests feel that Nicole gives it her all when teaching her movement classes. Her focus is on breathing, proper body alignment and individual modifications and support. Yogis fall in love with Nicole’s classes, and revel in her warmth. The retreat consists of vinyasa flow classes, Pilates, meditation, restorative yoga and a bonus fun Bollywood dance class, which is always a blast!

Fall Pumpkin Muffins

Fall at Sagrada

We love fall here at Sagrada Wellness. And we can finally say it has arrived. The sun is soft, the air is crisp and a gentle breeze whispers through the trees, making a moody and cozy ambiance on the ranch.

We celebrate fall in our Sagrada kitchen with pumpkin! Our daughter Anais is crazy about all things pumpkin, and with all its nutritional benefits, enjoy pumpkin while it's in season! We've been making gluten free pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes and tummy warming pumpkin spice muffins with chocolate chips.

Here's our gluten-free pumpkin muffin recipe! Enjoy.

1 1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
6 tbs coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbs vanilla
2 organic farm fresh eggs
2 cups pumpkin purée
1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin papers in muffin baking tray, or coat with coconut oil. Combine wet ingredients together in a bowl. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Fold wet mix into dry ingredients. Mix well and spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Sagrada's Ridiculously Addictive Homemade Granola

Our retreaters can't get enough of this mouthwatering heaven in a bowl. It's a perfect gluten free, highly nutritious way to fuel your body and start your day. The hemp hearts offer great omegas 3's to power your brain and nourish your yin (your feminine energy). Enjoy handfuls right out of the jar for a mid afternoon energy pick me up too.


1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups gluten free oats
1/2cup hemp hearts
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup raw walnuts

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.Melt coconut oil in saucepan and combine with maple syrup.
3.Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ones and fold together making sure to coat everything.
5. Pour mixture evenly onto parchment paper and place in oven.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the aromas are tantalizingly you!
7. Let cool and store in airtight mason jars.


Kale and Tahini Goddess Salad

Kale and Tahini Goddess Salad: A Delicious Vegan and Gluten Free California Picnic Delight at Sagrada Wellness Yoga Retreats


This is a new salad that is sure to be added to our Yoga Retreat Menu!

My girlfriend Willow made this for a group of our oldest and best friends. I modified it a bit adding coconut oil and nutritional yeast. It was delicious and went perfectly with a great bottle of rose wine and fun conversation during our reunion picnic. Kale purifies your blood and nutritional yeast is high in B vitamins both supplying your skin with a radiant boost of goddess goodness.


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 pounds kale, stems ribs discarded and leaves  thinly sliced crosswise
  • Preheat oven to 450°F             

    Toss potatoes with oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and 3/4 amount of garlic  then spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes.           

    Meanwhile, mix together tahini, water, lemon juice, rest of garlic, nutritional yeast and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth.

    Toss kale with hot potatoes and any garlic and oil remaining in pan, then toss with tahini sauce and salt and pepper to taste.    Enjoy!

Aaron's back...

Aaron Ogden is back from a sabbatical. He is one of Sagrada's most gifted healers and retreat leaders. We are excited to welcome him back with open arms for an upcoming weekend warrior retreat. Check out is website and all the wonderful stuff he does in our favorite little town down south. http://aaronogden.com/


Take a look at what he has planned for our upcoming retreat.

Weekend Warrior Retreat with Aaron Ogden

"Saying Hello, Letting Go, and Finding Flow"

May we Spring forward together into the Beauty of the Heart's Path

Friday afternoon:

Grounding Yoga- The Art of Seeing What Is 


Nature Walk- Exploring the Elements of Springtime

Morning Yoga- The Art of Allowing Change; Feeling/Body, Thinking/Heart Pathway

Quiet Reflection Time- private sessions can greatly support your personal process, 

sign up for a transformative session with Aaron or Eva

Afternoon Yoga- Tapping into the Body's Energetics

Sunset Fire Ceremony- Purification and Renewal of Intention


Nature hike-  Room for a New View

Morning Yoga- Flow: Making every Breath a Conscious Decision

Farewell.. and Hello to a Renewed Path!


Some of My Favorite Qi Gong Exercises

Three Potent Qi Gong Exercises for Radiance, Health and Vitality


As an acupuncturist I've noticed that people look their best when they're grounded, in control of their emotions and relaxed. When I am centered I feel like I can access joy easily, my skin feels supple and fresh and my eyes feel rested and bright. Well this is why I love Qi Gong. Regular practice of Qi Gong has been scientifically linked to many wonderful health benefits; my favorite being that it lowers cortisol production in our body leading to decreased stress levels. This makes us feel calm, look great and ready to embrace the many adventures of life gracefully.

The combination of proper abdominal breathing, movement and intention is what makes qi gong so potent and therapeutic.Here are three of my favorite Qi Gong exercises that I prescribe to my patients and teach to my yoga retreat guests at Sagrada Wellness. Practice these self care exercises regularly and I promise you'll feel and see the benefits!

1. Ten Dragons Run Through the Forest For Thick Healthy Hair

This is a great exercise that stimulates all the acupressure points on the scalp promoting thick healthy hair growth. It's also for getting rid of stress headaches, fatigue, foggy mind, neck tension and changing your mood.

-       Place all ten fingers on your hairline and rub them slowly along your scalp from the front of your head and down to your neck. Your fingers act as racks.

-       Visualize gathering the energy from your head as you rack your scalp. When you reach your shoulders visualize the energy in your hands and toss it down into the earth.

-       Continue and inhale calming energy as you rack your scalp and exhale stress energy when you toss in into the earth.

-       Continue 10 times

After you're done, feel your head tingle, your mind fresher, your body relaxed. 

2. Eye Qi Flow to Brighten and Rejuvenate Puffy, Tired Eyes

We strain our eyes everyday  by sitting in front of computers, our eyes tiring as we constantly google and text on our phones and staying up too late with artificial light which depletes our yin energy. Eyestrain and tension can lead to headaches, premature vision loss, and crows feet wrinkles around our eyes. This exercise gives your eyes a chance to rest, and rejuvenate  and improves vision. 

Rub your palms vigorously together until they are hot. Close your eyes and put your warm palms on your eyes gently. 

Inhale and visualize heat energy being absorbed into your eyes. Exhale and relax your eyes beneath your palms.

After 3 breath cycles of this, with your palms still on your eyes, roll your eye balls 9 times clockwise slowly, and then 9 times counter clockwise slowly. 

Repeat whole exercise 2 times. The heat from your palms relaxes your facial muscles, stimulating collagen production, and rolling your eyes muscles.

3. Wash your Face Qi Massage to Rejuvenate and Revitalize Your Skin

This is a fabulous exercise to revitalize your skin, wakes you up when you feel sluggish, releases tension and benefits your sinuses! 

Sit comfortably upright in a chair. Take a few calming and cleansing breaths. Place your palms on your face with your middle fingers level with your nostrils. 

Slowly inhale as you push your palms against your skin up your face to your hairline. Exhale quickly as you move your palms back down to the starting position by your nostrils. Repeat by slowly inhaling pushing your hands up your face, and then exhaling quickly as you pull your hands back down rubbing against your face. (breath through your nose).

Notice your new mood and your radiant skin. 

Enjoy your Qi Gong Practice and I look forward to seeing you at Sagrada Wellness to learn more healing techniques!